“I’m in better shape now than I’ve been in many years,” says Warren Sklar, reflecting on his new life in Ecuador. “I was 140 pounds heavier, I was having a very difficult time controlling my blood pressure with three medications, and my diabetes was pretty much out of control… If I had stayed in the U.S., I’d be dead now.”
If you had only $1,200 of monthly retirement income to live on, could you do it? Could you pay your mortgage or rent and all of your utilities? Would you have funds left over for groceries and basic living essentials? Could you still pay for fuel and car insurance?
Ecuador has long appealed to expats and we have a solid group of international residents scattered throughout the nation. The family that lives next door to me hails from Australia. I buy my hearty European-style bread from a German fellow. And my family and I rented our first apartment from a woman from Spain.
As a child, I dreamed of living on a farm. I wasn't much interested in tractors and combine harvesters, but the thought of a life that revolved around animals thrilled me. Alas, my parents both grew up on farms in the Midwest and had no interest in running one of their own.
I'm going to let you in on a secret. There exists a beautiful, small city full of friendly locals, lovely buildings, and interesting parks. Its climate is akin to the southern coast of California with comfortably warm summer days and only an occasional need for a sweatshirt in the winter.
Kristin Simmon-Lowman has found she can live her life just as she desires in Ecuador. "I'm a routine person," she says. "I spend eight hours a week taking Spanish lessons and that's something I enjoy a lot. Also, I teach English twice a week to 11- and 12-year-olds through a local education program, Uno a Uno," she says.
When I came to Ecuador five years ago, deciding where exactly to settle down was the dilemma that my family and I faced. Eventually we landed on Cotacachi and we feel we've found that sweet spot of locales. Here's why.
Each morning Tennessee natives Bobby and Becca Vines are greeted by views of two stunning volcanoes. Small-town life in Cotacachi, Ecuador, is never dull, and the couple spends their days viewing international films, enjoying live music, and visiting with the locals.
Ecuador has many qualities that appeal to those over age 65, including good healthcare, an affordable cost of living, benefits for those of tercer edad (retirement age), and a steady mild climate. But if you think these expats came to Ecuador simply to escape the snow while twiddling their thumbs through their golden years, you'd be dead wrong.
Ask anyone in the mountain town of Cotacachi, Ecuador, where to find the best homemade ice cream and they'll direct you straight to Coo Coo's Nest.