"Ecuador is amazing," says expat Laura Zabroski. "We were so surprised during our exploratory trip here. We had all these preconceived ideas about Ecuador that were completely inaccurate."
I’m a new arrival in Cotacachi, a small town of around 8,000 people in the valley between two volcanoes in Ecuador, far away from my former home in the U.S. My new life chapter called for quick adaptations and a ready sense of humor.
As we lounge by the pool on this glorious sunny day, I marvel at the amazing lifestyle my wife, Johanne, and I have created for ourselves in less than a year. We had no idea that all of this was achievable—and that it would cost us so little.
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.
With record breaking snowfalls this winter in many parts of North America, my husband Michael and I are betting that many folks are dreaming of escaping to somewhere warm and tropical. Perhaps even dreaming of that vacation home they are going to have someday.
Since leaving our all-American life in 2013, with three kids in tow, my husband, Ron, and I have spent time in 28 countries and counting. More than half of our time wandering the globe has been rent free, which saves us an average of $2,500 a month…approximately what our home in Seattle, with utilities, cost monthly.
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.
If travel is for fun and casual exploration is what you’re after, then a great way to save money when traveling is to restrict your visits to restaurants. Choose instead to visit local markets and grocery stores, purchasing fresh ingredients to create your own meals.
The original plan was to try out retirement abroad—a short test drive. But after just a few months on Panama’s Pacific coast, Rex, 77, and Colleen Swanson, 68, were ready to stay for at least two years.
From the vibrant colors of nature and local artistic creations, to the sounds of wildlife, roaming musicians, and multilingual conversations, Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast is teeming with life.