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Four months ago now we moved out of Cumbaya, Quito´s suburban middle and upper class suburb, for cheaper digs. While we were getting a good deal on our house compared to rents in the area, the house was plagued with constant problems-leaky toilets, dysfunctional water heater, peeling paint, etc-as well as expensive maintenance for the garden and cistern. Our gardener, at $30 a visit, was reasonably economical, but we also had to stay home Saturdays which were his only available day. To hire another gardener who would come during the week, the going rate was at least $50. At two visits a month, it adds up no matter what.
Tumbaco, just down the road about another 5 miles past Cumbaya, is still a pretty typical Ecuadorian small town, with fewer of the higher costs associated with Cumbaya. It´s inhabited by mostly locals, as well as being popular with Europeans, especially Swiss and Germans. Our rent dropped nearly in half, to $750 a month for a 3 BR home with a nice yard for the kids. We live in a small development of only six homes-these housing developments of just a few homes are popping up more and more in Tumbaco where land is still cheap, and I wouldn´t be surprised if another 10 to 15 years Tumbaco´s land prices also increase substantially as well as rents.
We have cows just outside the gates, roosters and dogs too. There are no sounds of traffic and the nights are nearly silent. Water costs are much cheaper here-our bill has dropped from nearly $35 a month to around $5. I guess rates here are still based on agricultural and not urban usage, so that´s a big savings. Our condo fee for the development is nearly double what it was in Cumbaya at $160 monthly, but this includes a gardener, cistern maintenance, and a watchman on duty every day during daylight hours.
The location adds on another ten to fifteen minutes to our commute to Quito, but the tranquility of the place and lower costs are priceless. It´s also even warmer than Cumbaya, as the elevation is a few hundred feet lower. Since our development is a small community, it´s safe for our kids to play out in the street in front of the house, and it was easy for them to make friends with neighbors´ kids right away. So if you´re looking to relocate with access to Quito, but want lower costs as well as proximity to most of the private schools that serve Quito, Tumbaco is a great option worth a close look.