Ibarra is known throughout the country as La Ciudad Blanca (The White City), due to the many whitewashed buildings that line the cobblestone streets. One might think the city lacks color, but nothing could be further from the truth. Brilliant sculptures rise from traffic circles and murals brighten up many a street.
Two years ago Rob Hamm and Tracey Krause along with their two children relocated from Winnipeg to Cotacachi, Ecuador. Their goal as a family was to experience a new culture, travel, and learn a new language—which they’ve successfully done. But, there was a catch. Rob and Tracey are only in their 40s and still needed to earn an income to support their family. In preparing for their change in lifestyle, Rob took his interest in photography to the point where his photos could provide income. Several months before coming to Ecuador he began submitting photos…
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?
There are a growing number of people who have realized that retirement dreams can come true by moving abroad. Ecuador is one of the countries seeing an uptick in retired expats—many of whom have settled in the mountains of this equatorial nation. Here are five reasons why moving to Ecuador’s highlands could be right for you.
If you’re in the process of planning your move abroad, I’m betting you’ve spent a fair amount of time daydreaming about your future experiences, too. But despite the advantages and excitement that a move abroad brings there was one stumbling block that nearly prevented us from taking the leap: fear of commitment. And we’re not the only ones who have faced this. From talking to other expats it would seem that many people experience a mental block when it comes to making a final decision on where to settle.
I’m writing this postcard from a veranda overlooking the Caribbean Sea on a nearly forgotten tropical island. The ocean is showing off several shades of blue and a slight breeze teases the palms. The piña colada at my side completes the picture. But as my family’s annual vacation draws to a close I’m actually a bit anxious to return home to Cotacachi, Ecuador.
With amazing biodiversity, a near-perfect climate, and a low cost of living…Ecuador continues to be one of International Living’s favorite destinations for expats to live well for less. From snow-capped volcanoes to dense Amazon jungle…sun-drenched Pacific beaches to the famous Galapagos Islands…beauty abounds in Ecuador. Cities like Quito and Cuenca offer excellent health care and an exciting alternative for those looking for more than beach or mountain living.
- Safety in Ecuador: How to Avoid the “Bull’s Eye” Effect
Posted on March 24, 2014 by Dan Prescher
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.
We’ve been living overseas since 2001. We’ve lived in seven communities in four countries (and purchased property in a fifth). We’ve bought, renovated and sold two homes in Mexico and bought and renovated a condo in Ecuador, where we now live. We’ve tried out beach life, mountain life, and both big-city and small-town living. So we know something about the expat life…
When Gary and Kathryn Kelly, both in their 50s, moved to Ecuador from Sargent, Texas, in 2011, they expected this would be where they spent their retirement years. They bought a house at Punta Carnero Beach, about 10 minutes’ drive from the popular Ecuador beach resort town of Salinas, and began refurbishing it.
I had just polished off an al fresco meal at an Argentine steakhouse with my family, and was relaxing to the mingling sounds of several street musicians, when the bill arrived. Though I’ve been in Ecuador for some time, I still suffer from reverse sticker shock. A similar meal for four at a restaurant of the same caliber in the U.S. runs well over $100.
It seems a lifetime ago when my husband David and I began our journey toward going overseas. In addition to taking care of the necessities that come with moving we spent a lot of time imagining what adventures lay in wait. Dreams of leisurely roaming the cobblestone streets of mountain villages floated through our minds.
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.
I visited San Miguel de Allende recently while working on a video project, and I had a chance to catch up with an old friend from when my wife, Suzan Haskins, and I lived there back in 2007 and 2008. It pleased me to find him doing well and to hear that his two children were growing into handsome, intelligent young adults. Part of the reason for that, he told me, were the chances they’d had to travel.
- Best Places to Own Premium Water Views for Less than $150,000
Posted on March 11, 2014 by Laura Doyle
In Mexico, Ecuador and Costa Rica properties with stunning views can be bought for as little as $119,000, according to a new report by InternationalLiving.com. “A great view usually translates into a premium price tag. But if a buyer knows the right places to look, he can find properties with world-class vistas for much, much less than you’d expect,” reports InternationalLiving.com’s property correspondent, Margaret Summerfield.
- The Importance of a “Dream Retirement Overseas” Shortlist
Posted on March 10, 2014 by Dan Prescher
We’ve already lived in seven communities in four different countries. We’ve had some time to honestly assess ourselves and what we need to live somewhere for more than just a month or two a year. By now we have some pretty clear criteria for what we really need a location to provide.
The couple to my left, in their mid-70s, was a “good-ol’-boy” Texan and his pretty, soft-spoken wife. Both were raised as the children of sharecroppers. Across from them, the octogenarian of the group was a nuclear submarine engineer in his native Canada. And at the end of the table sat a former automotive repair-shop manager from California and his accountant wife.
- “A Low Cost of Living, Perfect Weather and Other Reasons Why We Moved to Salinas, Ecuador”
Posted on March 5, 2014 by Denver Gray
When Jo realized I was serious and that our move was a matter of weeks away, she said something I heard more than once before leaving the U.S: “I could never do something like that!” Of course, people have different reasons for thinking that way. And I’ll grant you, our move to Ecuador wasn’t what’s called “normal.” At 55 and 62 years of age we were supposed to be settling into a routine, shopping for rocking chairs…
We sold the house and had to decide what to do with all that stuff. So we took inventory—stuff we wanted to keep on one side of the ledger, stuff for the garage sale on the other. The idea was to get rid of all the things we didn’t need and keep all the things that we thought gave our life meaning and stability…the stuff we absolutely couldn’t live without.
As a wise man once said, “Forewarned is forearmed”…and that’s never truer than when it comes to taxes. Informing yourself of all the IRS regulations is a sensible idea—and could save you thousands of dollars. While it’s important for every American citizen to understand the phraseology of the regulations, if you’re thinking of living, working, or investing abroad, it’s even more important.
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.
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.
When Gary and Kathryn Kelly, both in their 50s, moved to Ecuador from Sargent, Texas, in 2011, they expected this would be where they spent their retirement years. In Texas, Gary had owned a property tax management company and Kathryn worked as his executive assistant. In Ecuador, they hoped to laze away the days on the beach in front of their home…
- How to Get By with a Little Help from Your Friends in Ecuador…
Posted on February 28, 2014 by Edd Staton
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.