When John and Heather Schmit sold their 10-year-old trucking business in Phoenix, Arizona in 2011 they found their dream home amid white sandy beaches, rocky headlands, gentle surf, and inland breezes…
Their home in Punta Carnero on the coast of Ecuador “is our piece of paradise,” says Heather. “I can walk along the beach and be the only one out there. It’s so quiet and peaceful.”
As they were considering their overseas move, Heather began conversing with a former classmate who lived in Vilcabamba for three years…so Ecuador made it on to their radar.
Both Heather and John loved the beach, so they zeroed in on the coast. Punta Carnero is a 15-minute drive from the town of Salinas in the Santa Elena province. It has a dry climate and temperatures averaging around 82 F year round.
Originally, both Heather and John were from Wisconsin, so the idea of a warmer climate really appealed to them.
The couple bought their house on the beach in 2012 with an investor’s visa and immediately started renovations, which took approximately eight months. “It’s a great property,” says Heather, “much bigger than we needed for the two of us.”
When they realized that each room had its own bath, John said, “You know…this would make a great B&B.”
Two-and-a-half years later, Las Palmas del Mar is attracting guests from around the world and many Ecuadorians from Guayaquil and Quito. Although the couple had never run a B&B before, they had experience in customer service and working with people. “We weren’t afraid of the challenge,” says Heather.
The couple lives on a combination of their savings and income from the B&B… gradually shifting more to the income of Las Palmas del Mar.
The Schmits are practically “youngsters” in the retirement world (ages 59 and 51) and feel the best of life is ahead of them. They both love the climate, the food, and the kindness of the Ecuadorian people who have made them feel right at home.
“Every day is an adventure,” says John.
John and Heather never imagined the series of events that would lead them to Ecuador—walking along the serene beaches collecting shells…watching gorgeous sunsets from their terrace…and feeling the soft ocean breeze against their faces—but now Punta Carnero is home to them.
“Five years ago, Ecuador wasn’t even on our radar,” admits Heather, “and now we’re experiencing the rich cultural rewards of our new life.
“The next pages of our story are yet to be written.” For now, the couple is enjoying each day as it comes…in paradise!
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