This paper examines how the inhabitants of four poor communities in the rural Ecuadorian highlands perceive poverty and conceive of strategies to overcome it. While seemingly similar with respect to location, market access, ethnicity, and access to health care and primary schools, the four communities are quite heterogeneous, particularly with respect to educational achievement, basic services, supply, and access to productive resources such as land. Nevertheless, perceptions of poverty vary relatively little, and coping strategies build uniformly on temporary migration, increased female and child labor, and decreased consumption. Practical solutions for poverty reduction include credit and training. Community characteristics are also important in determining individual preferences. Rural anti-poverty policies for Ecuador (and possibly other Andean countries), can build on such similarities among heterogeneous communities.