Edd Staton

Author Image for Edd Staton

Edd Staton is International Living's Cuenca, Ecuador correspondent. After he and his wife Cynthia were both downsized from successful careers in 2008, they decided to explore options to retire early and live abroad. But they feared there was no place on the planet that could fulfill their seemingly impossible "wish list."

Their research turned up a location they had never heard of, in a country they knew next to nothing about--Cuenca, Ecuador. Intrigued that this small UNESCO World Heritage City appeared to offer everything they were seeking, an exploratory trip was immediately booked. A year later, in May 2010, Cuenca became their home and has exceeded all expectations.

Edd is a frequent contributor to IL publications, and he and Cynthia are the Cuenca representatives at IL conferences. Edd also regularly contributes to International Living's Ecuador Facebook page.

Archives

Cuenca

An Added (Secret) Bonus of Living in Ecuador

There’s a lot to love about Ecuador—the amazing biodiversity; great weather; the low cost of living. And in the larger cities like Cuenca, where I live, the excellent medical care and cultural amenities are an added bonus. I’ve been kept up to date on the miserable winter in the States through Skype conversations with my two children. Right now I’m looking out the window at blue skies and am looking forward to yet another day with temperatures in the 70s.

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An Added (Secret) Bonus of Living in Ecuador

There’s a lot to love about Ecuador—the amazing biodiversity; great weather; the low cost of living. And in the larger cities like Cuenca, where I live, the excellent medical care and cultural amenities are an added bonus. I’ve been kept up to date on the miserable winter in the States through Skype conversations with my two children. Right now I’m looking out the window at blue skies and am looking forward to yet another day with temperatures in the 70s.

The Ecuador Insider – February 2014

My wife Cynthia and I recently returned from IL’s Fast-Track Ecuador conference in Quito where we gave presentations on Cuenca, Loja, and Vilcabamba.

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How to Get By with a Little Help from Your Friends in Ecuador…

I recently watched the Grammy salute to the Beatles commemorating their performance on the Ed Sullivan show 50 years ago. Yes, I was among the 73 million households glued to the TV set on that historic night. A song that Paul and Ringo performed on the show, “A Little Help from My Friends,” got me thinking about how getting things done where I live in Cuenca, Ecuador is so much easier when you are open to the assistance of others.

Cuenca

What Do Retirees Overseas Do All Day?

But nature abhors a vacuum, and I know of no one here simply staring out the window wondering how to spend their time. During four years of living in Cuenca I have been amazed to observe the many creative outlets foreign residents dream up to be active and productive. Free from the yoke of employment (although many expat-run businesses have sprung up) folks are starting foundations and volunteering, learning Spanish and teaching English, tending animals and growing food, traveling in Ecuador and far beyond its borders.

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What Do Retirees Overseas Do All Day?

But nature abhors a vacuum, and I know of no one here simply staring out the window wondering how to spend their time. During four years of living in Cuenca I have been amazed to observe the many creative outlets foreign residents dream up to be active and productive. Free from the yoke of employment (although many expat-run businesses have sprung up) folks are starting foundations and volunteering, learning Spanish and teaching English, tending animals and growing food, traveling in Ecuador and far beyond its borders.

Edd Staton on horseback

Three Day Trips from Cuenca, Ecuador

You have probably heard of Cuenca. It’s Ecuador’s most popular retirement haven, home to thousands of contented expats, colonial architecture, verdant parks, galleries, museums, and plenty of bars and restaurants. But that’s just the city itself. Since arriving, my work with a local tour company has helped me uncover some of the best day trips.

November 2013

Ecuador is famous for its colorful festivals and every town in the country has their own traditional celebrations and events throughout the year and my adopted hometown of Cuenca is no different. There’s always something going on here. To show you what I mean, here are just some of the things that have been happening in Cuenca the last couple of weeks.

July 2013

Baños is one of Ecuador’s top tourist towns and we recommend a visit there if you get a chance. But be aware that Baños sits in the shadow of Mt. Tungurahua, an active volcano. It’s been active since 1999, but that doesn’t imply constant or even regular eruptions.

ThreeDayTrips

Three Day Trips from Cuenca, Ecuador

You have probably heard of Cuenca. It’s Ecuador’s most popular retirement haven, home to thousands of contented expats, colonial architecture, verdant parks, galleries, museums, and plenty of bars and restaurants. But that’s just the city itself. Since arriving, my work with a local tour company has helped me uncover some of the best day trips.

PeopleAlwaysAsk

People Always Ask, “What Do You Do All Day?”

Retirement is the perfect time to try on old dreams and see if they still fit. After graduating with a degree in journalism I embarked on a career path that had absolutely nothing to do with my field of study. But I loved writing and never gave up on the possibility that one day I would be able to pursue my interest. Today I sit here at my computer happily sharing this message with you.

February 2013

On the way back to Ecuador last month from a holiday visit with our family, my wife and I had a layover in the Miami airport. While killing time awaiting our next flight I wandered into a clothing store and spotted the most outrageously gorgeous leather jacket I had ever seen.

The simple markets that provide the freshest produce in Cuenca are much different to the super food stores in the States.

Life Just Gets Easier in Ecuador…

It’s interesting what you get used to—and what you forget about that you used to be used to. Since moving to Cuenca, Ecuador three and a half years ago my wife and I have noted how much simpler our life has become. For us moving abroad and retirement went hand in hand, so we’ve attributed this phenomenon to no longer having careers with the accompanying stress and pressure.

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No Experience Required for Profits in Ecuador

Barbara Wilson, from Michigan, launched Mindo Chocolate Makers in Mindo, Ecuador in 2009, with no experience. Originally she and her husband, Joe Menza, ran a hostel and restaurant, but when Barbara couldn’t find good cocoa for her brownies, they decided, “Let’s make our own!”

cuenca-market

Life Just Gets Easier in Ecuador…

It’s interesting what you get used to—and what you forget about that you used to be used to. Since moving to Cuenca, Ecuador three and a half years ago my wife and I have noted how much simpler our life has become. For us moving abroad and retirement went hand in hand, so we’ve attributed this phenomenon to no longer having careers with the accompanying stress and pressure.

The best locations in Yunguilla, a long valley area, are less than an hour’s drive southwest of Cuenca.

The Valley Lifestyle—Just One Hour from Cuenca, Ecuador

Yunguilla is a long valley that begins just south of Cuenca and ends near the seaport city of Machala. Its elevation ranges from about 7,000 feet near Cuenca down to 4,500 feet at the Santa Isabel side (closest to Machala on the coast). At its highest point, Yunguilla is 1,500 feet lower than Cuenca, which translates to a warmer climate and very short rainy season. Since the valley is oriented east-west, it gets direct sunshine all day long.

The Christmas parade in Cuenca sees an endless procession of floats from neighborhoods in and around Cuenca carry children dressed to depict the nativity scene.

The Spirit of Christmas in Ecuador

It is Christmas morning, and my wife Cynthia and I are celebrating the joyous occasion with our daughter’s family in New Jersey. Tomorrow we fly to North Carolina to do it all over again in the home of our son. When we moved to Cuenca, Ecuador three and a half years ago we had no grandchildren. In the space of 19 short months we experienced our own private “baby boom” and today we have three (and counting?).

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The Spirit of Christmas in Ecuador

It is Christmas morning, and my wife Cynthia and I are celebrating the joyous occasion with our daughter’s family in New Jersey. Tomorrow we fly to North Carolina to do it all over again in the home of our son. When we moved to Cuenca, Ecuador three and a half years ago we had no grandchildren. In the space of 19 short months we experienced our own private “baby boom” and today we have three (and counting?).

All Your Stuff: To Ship Or Not To Ship?

All Your Stuff: To Ship or Not to Ship?

To ship or not to ship? That’s the vexing question many prospective expats face about their belongings when moving overseas. On the one hand, there are the mystery boxes in your attic or basement that have remained sealed since that last move. Then there are the books, the keepsakes, and that comfy chair. The china cabinet you cherish and the china inside it. Can you bear to leave these behind and just start over?

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Travel Adventures in Ecuador

“So why did you move to Cuenca, Ecuador?” Even after three and a half years I’m often asked this question, and there are many answers—the low cost of living, temperate climate, proximity of the U.S., excellent medical care, and the wonderful mix of historic architecture plus modern conveniences.

When Wally and Hazel Mountz discovered Cuenca they knew they had found the perfect location.

Turn Your Hobby into a Monthly Income in Ecuador

Wally and Hazel Mountz thought they had their retirement all figured out. They were building a lakefront home in Georgia when the real estate crash of 2008 shattered their plans. Unwilling to continue working and unable to afford their new mortgage, they started looking abroad. Italy was their first choice, but what they could purchase there would leave them in a rural village without expat companions.

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The Kicks and Perks of Life in Ecuador

The very thought of moving abroad seems like such an adventure, doesn’t it? The world is full of so many intriguing locations. Which country would you choose? Which city? If you actually pull the trigger and relocate, then the adventure truly begins. Everything is new, exciting, interesting, frustrating, and exhausting all at once. You’re meeting new friends—maybe learning a different language—adapting to a foreign culture, and exploring surrounding areas.

Cuenca, Ecuador has proven to be a terrific choice for IL's Cuenca correspondent Edd Staton and his wife Cynthia's relocation.

Ecuador vs. United States

My wife and I just returned from a three-week trip to the States to visit our family. We babysat the grandchildren, ate some wonderful meals out, and purchased clothing and other provisions to bring back. We have lived in Cuenca, Ecuador for three-and-a-half years, and with each journey (there have probably been more than 10 by now) we come to appreciate more and more how fortunate we are to embrace the best of both worlds.

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Living in Cuenca, Ecuador, Has a Downside…

A lot of folks look forward to and truly enjoy the change of seasons. Spring blossoms…the warmth of summer…fall foliage…bundling up in winter. I would not be included in that group. I’ve never been a fan of cold weather. Whenever it snowed I enjoyed walking around and throwing snowballs for about an hour. Then I was ready for it to go away so I could put on a bathing suit.

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Find A Property Bargain in Ecuador

You’ve got the options of a cosmopolitan lifestyle in cities like Quito, Cuenca, and Salinas… or a more quiet existence in any number of smaller enclaves where you can garden with a view. And your choices extend to the kind of home you’d like as well—from the convenience of a modern high-rise condo…to the space afforded by a single-family home with a yard…to raw land on which you can build your dream escape.

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Ecuador vs. United States

My wife and I just returned from a three-week trip to the States to visit our family. We babysat the grandchildren, ate some wonderful meals out, and purchased clothing and other provisions to bring back. We have lived in Cuenca, Ecuador for three-and-a-half years, and with each journey (there have probably been more than 10 by now) we come to appreciate more and more how fortunate we are to embrace the best of both worlds.

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An Insider’s Guide to Buying Property in Ecuador

Real estate prices in Ecuador are low—among the lowest anywhere. That means you can find some of the best bargains in the world. So if you choose this country, you may decide it makes sense to buy a residence.

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Living a Relaxed Lifestyle in Cuenca, Ecuador

For the last three years, I’ve lived in Cuenca, Ecuador. During that period I’ve experienced a profound transformation in the way I approach life. This beautiful mid-sized colonial city has a special magic to it. Shy vendors in our open mercados…

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How to Find a Business Niche in Ecuador

Sometimes a business idea appears as if by magic. Rich Westcott worked full time as a magician in the U.S. for 20 years, performing over 700 times a year at the peak of his career. As the economy took a downturn and his work began to wind down, he and his wife Patricia realized they were facing a dim future.

ASliceOfPie

A Slice of Pie Funds a New Life in Ecuador

Dedicating your life to the service of others can open up a world of possibilities. You could become an activist to save small family farms. Maybe live in Nicaragua for a year. When you can bake to-die-for pies, you might even open a restaurant in Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca, Ecuador: What Your Research Won’t Tell You

Cuenca, Ecuador: What Your Research Won’t Tell You

Much has been written in International Living by me and others about the tangible benefits of living in Cuenca, Ecuador—the low cost of living, the temperate climate, the lovely colonial architecture, excellent medical care, and cultural amenities plus modern conveniences.

Confessions of a “Taco Bell” Spanish Speaker

Confessions of a “Taco Bell” Spanish Speaker

When my wife and I were actively considering moving abroad we created a specific checklist of what we were looking for: a low cost of living…ideal climate…proximity to our family in the States…excellent medical care…cultural activities…and modern conveniences

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Cuenca, Ecuador: What Your Research Won’t Tell You

Much has been written in International Living by me and others about the tangible benefits of living in Cuenca, Ecuador—the low cost of living, the temperate climate, the lovely colonial architecture, excellent medical care, and cultural amenities plus modern conveniences.

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“Our Retirement Was Coming Off the Rails”

Shortly after my son graduated from college, I talked to him about life. I told him that life is like that first big hill on a rollercoaster. At his young age, he was slowly going up…up…up…and all he could see were blue skies ahead. I, on the other hand, had crested the top…

For IL Ecuador editor Edd Stanton and his wife Cynthia, becoming partners with an Ecuadorian made tremendous sense.

Making Connections with Local Entrepreneurs

If you want to set up business overseas, you will most likely consider doing it by yourself. But if you don’t have the language and you’re not familiar with the country itself, this can be a daunting prospect. A solution could be partnering with a local.

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Confessions of a “Taco Bell” Spanish Speaker

When my wife and I were actively considering moving abroad we created a specific checklist of what we were looking for: a low cost of living…ideal climate…proximity to our family in the States…excellent medical care…cultural activities…and modern conveniences

Health: This is a Top Haven for Quality Care Overseas

Health Care in Ecuador: A Top Haven for Quality Care Overseas

Patty and Mike Grimm have been in Ecuador for nearly three years. During that time, “we have pretty much covered the gamut of medical care, including dentistry, eye exams and glasses, emergency rooms, colonoscopy, mammogram, gallbladder removal, treatment for ulcers (endoscopes), and serious back treatments,” says Mike.

The Tombamba River is one of four tumbling brooks that spring from the lush Andean highlands around Cuenca. © Hugo Ghiara

An Insider’s Guide to the Best Neighborhoods in Cuenca

For many reasons, Cuenca, Ecuador earns top billing as one of the world’s top expat destinations. The cost of living is low—three-course lunches start at $2.50—the weather is great, usually around 65 to 70 F during the day, and it’s never too cold or hot. When we want to travel back to the U.S., it takes us as little as six-and-a-half hours’ flight time to New York (plus you’ll get a major discount on your fare if you are a resident retiree).

Cuenca, Ecuador

My Advice: Leave this “Baggage” at Home

Whether coming with suitcases or loading a container, people relocating abroad fret about what to bring along on their new adventure. Precious keepsakes, favorite books and photos…there’s only so much room. Well, I can recommend eliminating one thing…

healthcare-ecuador

Health Care in Ecuador: A Top Haven for Quality Care Overseas

Patty and Mike Grimm have been in Ecuador for nearly three years. During that time, “we have pretty much covered the gamut of medical care, including dentistry, eye exams and glasses, emergency rooms, colonoscopy, mammogram, gallbladder removal, treatment for ulcers (endoscopes), and serious back treatments,” says Mike.

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