“I woke up this morning and saw 30 or more horses grazing in the bamboo forest across the street from our home,” says Roger Thomte. “How’s that for a tranquil retirement view?”
Roger and his wife Cyndy feel they made the right decision when they bought a lot and built their three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in a gated community—just a 10-minute walk from the town of Olón, Ecuador and its seven miles of soft-sand beach.
“Olón’s beach is one of the most beautiful in Ecuador,” says Cyndy. “We live just far enough to avoid the assault of the salt air.”
“We have lived in Ecuador for a year and a half now, and we have no regrets at all,” says Roger. “We are happy here, we feel welcomed by the locals and the expat community. We couldn’t ask for a more tranquil setting for our retirement than Olón.”
The Wergins first started thinking about retirement overseas almost four years ago. At first, they were looking at Panama, until Cyndy came across Ecuador in their research. “The more research we did, the more we liked about it,” says Roger. “What immediately drew our attention was the low cost of living and economic stability. Everything seemed to fall into place—the fact that it used the U.S. dollar, property ownership rights, and the great weather (temperatures here rarely drop below the low 70s F). After we visited, it was the beauty of Ecuador, its people, and the peace and tranquility that had us sold.”
“We arrived in January of 2015 with just our suitcases, clothes, computer, and camera—and our visas,” says Cyndy. They rented a place in Punta Carnero for six months while they looked around for their retirement home.
They found what they were looking for in the quiet little community of Olón. You can live on or near the beach, or amid the lush greenery of the surrounding hills, as Roger and Cyndy do. It’s a very restful spot, but only a few minutes from the amenities and restaurants in the larger town of Montañita.
After buying a 4,450-square-foot lot in Olón, they then picked out one of the model homes available and had it built to their specifications. Their gated community provides security and the maintenance of the common grounds. There’s a large social area with swimming pools and picnic areas. The total cost for the lot and construction of their 1,200-square-foot home came to about $115,000.
“There are only about 10 full-time residents,” says Cyndy of their neighborhood. “So we have the place mostly to ourselves except for weekends and holidays.” Their neighbors are very friendly and the 24-hour staff are also very supportive.
Settling into retirement in this peaceful setting has been easy. Their cost of living, including their mortgage, food, utilities, and a gardener who visits on a regular basis, is around $1,800 a month. Both Roger and Cyndy enjoy biking and walking around the area, making new friends, and catching up on their reading.
Roger has taken up photography as a hobby. And Cyndy, who studied music performance/education in college, is currently teaching piano lessons for free in town. They also enjoy exploring more of Ecuador, as they’ve felt welcomed everywhere they’ve been.
“Everywhere you go, you see smiles,” Cyndy says. “School children, adults, store owners—everyone seems happy here.”
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