Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

Today’s Quito is a world-class metropolis with happy surprises tucked in so many corners. You wouldn’t know that, of course, if you’ve only flown in and out of its international airport. If your only experience of Quito is spending time stalled in traffic on your way out of the city, your opinion may not be high. But spend even a few days getting to know her and you’ll find that Quito is a very special place.

 Often called the “most beautiful big city in South America” for its location in the palm of a valley cupped between towering Andean peaks, Quito has so many parks and plazas, it’s hard to pick a favorite.

The 14,000-acre Parque Metropolitano, bordering the city’s Bellavista neighborhood, is the largest urban park in South America. (For comparison, New York’s Central Park is just 834 acres.) Hiking here, in the maze of forested paths, is a nature lover’s delight—the air smells of eucalyptus and pine, and from atop the eastern ridge, the views of Quito to the west, and to the east, the valley and volcanoes beyond is something you’ll not soon forget.

On a clear summer day in Quito, in fact, you’ll see the snow-topped Antisana, Cotopaxi and Cayambe volcanoes looming over the city. (That’s the way it appears, but they’re actually some distance away.)

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Teaching English from Ecuador to Taiwan

When I quit my job to travel the world for a year‚ the last thing I wanted to do was work. Well, at least not in the capacity that I used to as an editor in Manhattan. In fact‚ part of the reason I left the country was to take a break from the New York corporate rat race. When I first moved to Quito, Ecuador in 2012‚ I worked at two language schools teaching English. But after several months‚ I wanted to explore another way to make money.

Baños, Ecuador: Hot Springs, Waterfalls, and Miracle Cures

She’s a wanton woman with a feather beneath her skirt, cause for her constant state of libidinous arousal. Men and women alike are smitten with her overpowering beauty and limitless energy. But she has a temper, this one. When her flirtations are not returned, her anger boils and she quite literally blows her top like nothing you’ve ever seen.

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In Pictures: Six of the Best Mountain Towns in Ecuador

Recent years have seen the small South American country of Ecuador attract many foreigners to its borders. The low cost of living, diverse geography, and ease of immigration are just a few factors that make this equatorial nation appealing.

Fall in Love with Jungle Life in Tena, Ecuador

Toucans and macaws glide around the lush jungle canopy and scores of monkeys parade through the overhanging branches. Neon-green and electric-blue butterflies of preposterous sizes flit across gurgling streams, while waterfalls drop into deep pools. Welcome to one of my favorites among Ecuador’s secret spots…a place hidden in the east of the country, where indigenous shamans still perform timeless rituals and a small number of adventurous expats have found new lives surrounded by nature.

Become a South Pole Adventurer, England on Horseback, Brazil’s Vineyards…And Much More

Become a South Pole Adventurer, England on Horseback, Brazil’s Vineyards…And Much More

Imagine your own floating home, one that takes you from port to port as you island-hop the Caribbean or delve into the history and culture of the Mediterranean… A yachting retirement is surprisingly affordable and for an increasing number of adventuresome folks it’s more than just an idle dream. In fact, in the right places it often costs a lot less than “traditional” retirement back home.

Los Establos, Panama

2014 Fast-Track Panama Package

2014 Fast-Track Panama Package
Panama City – April 2014

You can live comfortably on the beach in Panama for just $1,500 a month with many foreign retirees are doing exactly that. Panama’s Pensionado program is widely recognized as the best retirement program in the world, you too can retire in paradise.

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No Experience? In Ecuador That’s No Problem

Let me tell you about three young college graduates from Oregon who landed in Ecuador early in 2012. They were eager to go into business. They didn’t have a lot of experience but they did come up with a terrific idea. Ryan, Nathan, and Daniel—all now aged 25—were used to the good craft beers of home. Could they make a microbrewery work in Ecuador?

Quito

Safety in Ecuador: How to Avoid the “Bull’s Eye” Effect

We are asked constantly about safety for expats living abroad, and in particular about safety in Ecuador, the country where we currently live. A lot of these questions start like this: “How safe is it in Ecuador? I heard a story about a couple who got robbed there.” This is a big issue for potential expats, and in today’s hyper-connected Internet environment, a morning blog post about robberies in Ecuador can be the topic of discussion over lunch in Portland or Charleston. But two major points need to be made.

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This is Why People are Moving to Ecuador

I can’t give you one good reason why Americans and Canadians are coming in droves to Ecuador…because there are dozens of very good reasons. There are so many that I can’t list them all here…but based on a recent trip there, I can tell you what some of the best reasons to live in Ecuador are.

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If You Never Want to Meet an Expat in Ecuador…

In our years abroad, my wife, Suzan, and I have met expats who told us clearly that it was their intention to live someplace where they never saw another expat again. Although I admire the spirit and determination of this kind of total immersion, I can’t help but recall what an expat in the real estate trade in Mexico told us many years ago.

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This Ecuadorian “Eco-Valley” Won’t Stay Undiscovered for Long…

This thick cover acts as one of the few remaining intact habitats for elusive pumas, jaguars, and other smaller felines. The endangered spectacled bear also calls the Intag home along with hundreds of varieties of exotic birds. As the condor flies, this cloud forest valley is not far from the market town of Otavalo. In fact, it’s only 35 miles away by road. But for years now that one-and-only road has been a narrow, mountain-hugging dirt track accessible only from the towns of Otavalo or Cotacachi.

Quito

2014 Fast-Track Ecuador Package

2014 Fast-Track Ecuador Package
Quito, Ecuador – February 2014

Ecuador has it all: sophisticated historical cities, miles of unspoiled beaches, temperate mountain hideaways… perfect weather year-round… top-notch, low-cost medical care, low-cost health insurance… low-cost transportation (you won’t need a car)… overall, a very low cost of living.

Ecuador

We’re Getting Complaints About Ecuador…

Another conference, another 400+ people who know more about Ecuador and living overseas than they’d ever imagined. And again, after this latest Fast-Track Ecuador Conference, more than a few attendees have come up to me with dazed looks in their eyes to say that they’re simply overwhelmed by the amount of information and networking they’ve […]

Cotacachi

Moving Our Family to Cotacachi Changed Everything

Two years ago, my husband David and I broke the news to our friends and family that we would be moving to Ecuador. We enjoyed much about our life in the States, but we didn’t like the high-pressure work environment and focus on consumerism. We longed to break out of the corporate rat race and have the chance to work for ourselves.

Uruguay enjoys four distinct seasons including a warm summer.

Best Places to Retire Overseas and Escape to a Better Climate

Tired of shoveling snow, braving the torrential rain or wrapping up against the bitter cold? If so, check out these top three places to retire for a better climate as ranked in International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2014. With a perfect score of 100 and for the second year in a row, Ecuador comes out top in the Climate category and is the overall runner up in this year’s Global Retirement Index. Lying directly on the equator, it enjoys 12 hours of direct equatorial daylight 365 days a year.

For the fifth year in a row, Ecuador has ranked number one for great value property.

The Best Places to Buy Real Estate When You Retire Overseas

Whether you are looking for a home on the coast, on an island or in a colonial city, these three countries have the best value real estate. If your dream home includes a pool, a big back yard in which to swing from a hammock in the sun, a place close to the beach where you can snorkel, relax with a good book or watch the sunset…rest assured, you can have it—because your real estate dollar stretches further overseas. You can buy a superior property in a better location for the same amount or less than you would spend on a home in the U.S.

Penang, a cultural melting pot, is a great place to move to with children. 
© mellsva - Fotolia.com

Best Places to Retire Overseas For Families

We all dream of giving up the rat race, packing our belongings, and moving some where warm and sunny, but why wait until you retire? Moving overseas can be a big decision, even bigger when you have children—but the benefits that make living abroad a good thing for adults are similar to those that make it a good thing for kids. A lower cost of living, healthier lifestyle, varied life and cultural experiences…they all benefit your child’s life in some way. Here are some of the best places to retire for families.

Inside Track on Researching Your Franchise Options

One of the ways to reduce the uncertainty of moving overseas and setting up your own enterprise is to buy into a franchise—an already proven business model. The advantage of a franchise is that it has name recognition, provides you with the necessary “know how,” and much of the groundwork has already been done, which will increase your chances of success.

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“Beach Condo or City House in Ecuador? We Can Afford Both”

I’m typing this from the comfort of a lawn chair on the patio of my house in Quito. It’s early December and even though Quito is moving into winter, today is warm and sunny. Quito, Ecuador’s capital (a UNESCO World Heritage site), sits on the spine of the Andes nestled between two mountain ranges and several ice-capped volcanoes. The climate is mild, with high temperatures in the 70s and lows of around 50.

Large cities like Panama City, offer excellent and affordable health care.

Five Places to Get Affordable Health Care Overseas

In the following five countries you will pay less for health care than you do at home. And the quality is at least as good…in fact, many expats say it’s better. Affordable health care isn’t the only reason to move overseas—but it makes the move more attractive. You can get great quality health care for less abroad, lowering your monthly expenses. Panama offers excellent quality health care and modern hospitals in Panama City and other large towns or cities…

Salinas is one of the world's most inexpensive beach resorts.

Expats Reveal Their Five Favorite Restaurants in Ecuador

Ecuador has an abundance of restaurants offering cuisine from around the world. Here, our guys on the ground give you their friendly recommendations of five of the best places to eat in Ecuador.

Belize is a great place to explore nature.

5 Quick Questions Everyone Should Answer Before Moving Overseas

There are many benefits to moving overseas: the weather is better, your quality of life will improve and you will always have something to do. Here are a few quick questions that you should ask yourself before moving overseas. 1. What type of weather do you like? If you don’t like the snow then you should…

Healthier and Happier—The Appeal of Ecuador’s Sacred Valleys

Healthier and Happier—The Appeal of Ecuador’s Sacred Valleys

A patchwork quilt of blue-green grass stretches before you, complemented here and there with splashes of fuchsia, lavender, coral, bright yellow… The unmistakable aroma of eucalyptus hitches a ride on a fresh breeze, accented by wood smoke that you can just spy wisping its way out of a red-brick chimney poking from an adobe-walled casita, barely visible on the mountainside far across the way.

The World’s Best Retirement Spot

The World’s Best Retirement Spot

Winner of the 2013 Global Retirement Index, Ecuador offers sophisticated historical cities…miles of unspoiled, sun-kissed beaches…fertile farmland…and temperate mountain hideaways…and all of it for pennies on the dollar. You can live well for a fraction of the cost of living back in the U.S. And with Ecuador’s official currency the U.S. dollar, you needn’t worry about complicated currency calculations or exchange risks.

The mestizo side of this Ecuadorian cemetery is more ornately decorated than the indigenous side, for the Day of the Dead celebration.

Five Great Traditional Festivals in Ecuador

Ecuador is famous for its colorful festivals and every town in the country has their own traditional celebrations and events throughout the year. Here are our five favorite festivals, taking place over the next couple of months, where Ecuadorians celebrate in style with fireworks, drinking, music and dancing.

A couple can live near San José, Costa Rica for just $1,700 a month.

Americans Living Off Their Retirement Savings Overseas

The average U.S. Social Security check is $1,230 a month for a retired worker. That may not seem like a lot–but when you retire overseas you can cut your cost of living. Below are stories from expats who did just that.

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Expats Reveal Why They Fell in Love with Ecuador

Out of all the countries International Living writes about, one in particular shines. It’s topped our Global Retirement Index—our pick of the 22 best countries to retire in the world—five years in a row…has a temperate climate year-round…offers a higher quality of life at an affordable price (cost of living can be as low as $900 a month)…and has a city, town or village to suit every taste or budget.

How I Opened Quito's First Bagel Shop

How I Opened Quito’s First Bagel Shop

The Peace Corps advertises itself as the “toughest job you’ll ever love.” It’s true—I loved that experience enough to extend my two-year commitment for a third…but I never imagined just where that experience would lead me when I got off the plane in Quito, way back in August 1982. Fast forward 13 years and you would find me opening my own bagel business.

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How I Opened Quito’s First Bagel Shop

The Peace Corps advertises itself as the “toughest job you’ll ever love.” It’s true—I loved that experience enough to extend my two-year commitment for a third…but I never imagined just where that experience would lead me when I got off the plane in Quito, way back in August 1982. Fast forward 13 years and you would find me opening my own bagel business.

cuenca-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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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.

health care in Costa Rica

Health Care Survey: The Best Havens for Quality Care Overseas

You’ll find excellent, affordable care in many locations overseas. But where? For our 2013 Health Care Survey, we asked our experts to reveal what’s on offer in seven of the world’s best havens today. These are the most popular countries with expats: places that score high on quality of life in general. Where you’ll find affordable real estate or a lower cost of living…

A New Freedom Overseas

A New Freedom Overseas — After Losing My Job…

It was the first full day of our vacation in Canada, when my best friend, Sharri, and I got some news that put a different spin on our trip. The company we worked for was being acquired. We spent the next day of our vacation listening to conference calls. Each one basically said the same thing—nobody knew anything about what the future held.

san-juan-del-sur-pacific

A Warm Beach or Cool Mountain Hideaway?

When my husband, Dan, and I were first married and first started thinking about living overseas, we pored over every issue of International Living and we read every International Living e-postcard. We compared and contrasted, planned and dreamed…Certain we would live in an exotic tropical destination, we wanted it to be relatively close to family and friends back home in the States…

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Ecuador: The New “Land of Opportunity”

The moment I arrived in Ecuador I knew my decision to abandon my old life in the U.S. was the right one. With the shrinking economy and very little chance of scratching out a living in the home building business, it was time for change.

The Unvarnished Truth about Ecuador

Ecuador: The Unvarnished Truth

In Ecuador, you can have it all…but it doesn’t come without sacrifice. At times, International Living is accused of seeing the world through rose-colored glasses… of overlooking the bad and omitting the blemishes. If you’ve been here in Quito the past few days, you surely would not agree with that.

The Truth About Retirees in Ecuador

The Truth About Retirees in Ecuador

“These are the best years we have left, and we don’t want to waste a single one of them.” That’s Edd and Cynthia Staton’s philosophy. During their 35+ years of marriage, they raised two kids and enjoyed long successful careers. But a few years ago, while living in Las Vegas, they were smacked hard, as many of us were, by economic recession. They both lost their jobs.

The Smartest Choice of All Was to Move to Ecuador

The Smartest Choice of All Was to Move to Ecuador

“No matter what kind of lifestyle you’re looking for, you can find it here in Ecuador,” I told about 350 people today. It may be a small country, but the variety it has to offer is huge… From palm-lined beaches… to tranquil living in small mountain villages… to modern cosmopolitan living in sophisticated cities like Quito and Cuenca, both of which have historic centers that are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Live Well in Ecuador On Your Social Security Check

2013 Fast-Track Ecuador Package

2013 Fast-Track Ecuador Package
Quito, Ecuador – February 2013

You can afford to retire, and in style! An apartment with spectacular views of the lush Andes mountains or blue Pacific Ocean…a colonial city where the sun shines every day… fresh, healthy food…friends who share your interests… household cleaning help for just $10… You can have it all…

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