If you need any kind of medical or dental care, or even just a great massage, you'll find Cuenca health care services to be some of the best in Ecuador, perhaps even South America.
Highly trained doctors abound here, and many of them make house calls. You'll also have no problem finding dentists, including ones with specialized training, here in Cuenca.
Along with massage therapists, natural therapy doctors, dozens and dozens of natural products stores, and very inexpensive medicines, you'll receive the treatment you need at a small fraction of the price you'd pay in the United States.
Cuenca has three medical schools (University of Cuenca, University of Azuay, and the Catholic university). U of C's is said to be one of the best in all of South America. So you don't need to worry about the quality of the medical care you receive.
In fact, unlike in the US, the doctors here aren't in the back pocket of the pharmaceutical companies. If they think a natural remedy or treatment will work better than a drug, they'll prescribe it for you. When was the last time a doctor in the US told you to take a natural product, or to see a naturopath?
There are three hospitals here in Cuenca, and dozens of smaller clinics scattered throughout the city. Not all of the clinics have an emergency department, so should the need arise, you'll want the taxi driver to take you to one of the hospitals.
The hospitals that you should look to if you need emergency care or surgery are Hospital del Río, Hospital Monte Sinaí, and Hospital Santa Inés. All are teaching hospitals, so you may be poked and prodded by students and/residents, but you will receive very good care.
Hospital Universitario del Río (commonly called Hospital del Río) is Cuenca's newest and finest hospital. With spacious patient rooms and state-of-the-art General Electric equipment, you can't go wrong with this hospital.
You won't have to wait long for any treatment either, as the hospital is currently at about 35% daily occupancy. Some say that's because of its distance from much of the city's population (it's out next to the Bypass Highway, off to the northeast).
The oldest of the three hospitals (although it does have a new office building where medical appointments are held), Hospital Monte Sinaí is a well equipped facility. It does have a small emergency department, however. It's a bit farther out from the center of Cuenca than Santa Inés, but it's still close to much of the city.
Hospital Santa Inés is smaller and a bit older than Hospital del Río, but, being in the heart of the University of Cuenca area, it's closer to most of the places where expats live and visitors are staying. This hospital also has a small emergency department.
Health insurance is available that will cover you here and anywhere you may travel. Click here to learn more about the health insurance available in Cuenca.
Coopera credit union has very inexpensive health insurance that covers regular doctor and dental visits for just $2.00 per visit. It also reimburses you for a portion of prescription drug purchases, hospital care, and medical specialist visits. Click here to learn more about Coopera's medical insurance/dental insurance. (See the next section for an example of the dental savings!)
As with medical care, the dental care you'll receive in Cuenca is, generally, top notch. And so much cheaper than the same work in North America.
A typical filling will cost you in the $40-$50 range, or less. Compare that to well over $100 for the same filling in North America. Cleanings are very inexpensive.
There are several orthodontists in the city if your children (or you) need of braces. Dentures, implants and other hardware are also available.
If you're worried about the skill level of Cuenca's dentists, know that many of them either studied in the US or practiced there before setting up in Cuenca.
You can find naturopaths here in Cuenca, along with many doctors and pharmacists familiar with traditional therapies and treatments.
Shamans of the various indigenous peoples here in Ecuador are also available if you want to try a traditional mystical approach.
The Amazon (El Oriente) is a fabulous treasure trove of medicines long used by the indigenous who live there. You can find one for just about any ailment you could possibly be suffering from.
And if you enjoy massages, you've come to the right place. Cuenca has some very good massage therapists, who provide their services at incredibly low (to expats) prices. Is $13 for a 45 minute hot rock massage cheap enough for you?
If you prefer traditional allopathic medicine, Cuenca health care options include some of the best doctors in South America. If you want the homeopathic or natural healing route, you have several options there as well.
Dentists perform every procedure available in North America for a small fraction of the cost, while relaxing massages can be had for a price that will relax you even more.
As the site grows, we'll be adding contact information for specific practitioners who've been recommended by other expats and visitors. Stay tuned!
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I just want to thank you both soooo much for creating this web site. I am originally from Cuenca but moved to New York 11 years ago and have not being back since. My husband and I are planning on visiting Cuenca over the Summer and this web site has helped me a lot.
When I came to the US we still had the "sucre," the bus ride cost 1,000 sucres and a pack of trident gum would cost 3,000 sucres. I am very nervous to go back, but thanks to your web site I now know what to expect.
My husband is American and Captivating Cuenca has taught him a lot about what my great city has to offer, things that I had forgotten about myself! :)
Thank You both so much! I cannot wait to visit Cuenca!!