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Deke Castleman

Deke Castleman, long-time travel writer and editor, arrived in Cuenca and joined forces with David in producing CuencaHighLife. Together, David and Deke have written a number of books about Ecuador, Cuenca, and expat life, as well as articles for such publications and websites as The Miami Herald, The Financial Times, Huffington Post, International Living, and Live and Invest Overseas, and have contributed to articles in The New York Times and The Guardian.


From Montecristi and Jipijapa to Cuenca, Ecuador’s Panama hat trade has a long, colorful history

By Deke Castleman |

By Deke Castleman Quick: Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb? How long was the Hundred Years War? The Canary Islands are named after what animal? And what country do Panama hats come from? If you answered  … Read more

Walking around Cuenca’s El Centro offers a great education — and entertainment too

By Deke Castleman |

By Deke Castleman As Calvin Trillin wrote in a recent Condé Nast Traveler, colonial Cuenca “doesn’t look like a 16th-century city that has been preserved; it looks like a city that has been in use  … Read more

The toilet paper issue in Ecuador: An in depth look at etiquette, pipes and BYOW

By Deke Castleman |

By Deke Castleman On my very first night in Ecuador in 2010, in Quito at the Casa Sol, a sign in the bathroom initiated me into toilet tissue Ecuador-style. The sign put us on notice  … Read more

Does cuy really taste like chicken? At Mi Escondite it tastes just like cuy

By Deke Castleman |

By Deke Castleman “It tastes like chicken” is such a common expression that it has almost become a self-fulfilling prophesy: Any uncommon meat is now compared to the bland standard of this particular poultry. Rabbit,  … Read more

Owning a car in Ecuador: licensing, buying, parking, and much more

By Deke Castleman |

By Deke Castleman and David Morrill Although most expats get by without a car in Cuenca, many own one. You’ll find prices for new cars to be about 20%-30% higher than in the U.S. For used  … Read more

Common Law versus Civil Law: Societal safeguards or personal responsibility?

By Deke Castleman |

by David Morrill and Deke Castleman The U.S., along with the U.K., Canada, Australia, India, and a few other former Commonwealth countries, are ruled by “common law,” also known as “case” or “precedent” law. Common  … Read more

2013 cost of living survey for Cuenca expats

By Deke Castleman |

By Deke Castleman This survey, conducted in January 2013, received 282 responses: 240 from Cuenca and 42 from miscellaneous places around the country (Vilcabamba, the coast, Quito, Loja, Cotacachi/Otavalo, etc.). Just over 200 respondents rented  … Read more

DINING WITH DEKECuenca fast food isn’t real fast, but it is real food

By Deke Castleman |

We didn’t sample either of the two American fast-food operations in Cuenca: Kentucky Fried Chicken and Domino’s. (Nope: no McDonald’s or Burger King, Taco Bell, or even Starbucks.) I’m not prejudiced; I’ll try both when  … Read more

DINING WITH DEKECuencano lunch in a German bar with American music

By Deke Castleman |

The mid-day repast in Cuenca, typical of Latin America, is a big meal and a big deal. It’s long, starting as early as 11:00 and continuing till as late as 4:00, and many shops, stores, offices,  … Read more

DINING WITH DEKEWhen it´s time to splurge, you can get fancy at Goda

By Deke Castleman |

[Editor's Note: This is the debut restaurant review from Deke Castleman, who spent a month in Cuenca recently and delved deeply into the dining environment. Deke'll be the new food dude at CuencaHighLife, but we encourage  … Read more