Football Games and American Rock in the Ecuadorian Hills

On any given evening, you’ll find Kasie Estevez serving up drinks and tasty snacks while laughing with the regulars at the bar she opened in Cotacachi, Ecuador.

“I love it here,” she says. “The weather’s good, and you develop friendships like nowhere else. I think people have more time to invest in relationships.” Plus the cost of living is low. A couple can live on as little as $1,600 a month in Cotacachi.

Kasie finds that Ecuador’s slow pace allows her to enjoy life more. It’s a far cry from holding down a sales job as a single mother in Las Vegas.

Each day, her stroll from her quiet neighborhood on the edge of town takes her past restored colonial homes and creatively tiled sidewalks. Cotacachi is well-known for its spring-like weather 12 months of the year and a low cost of living, both of which have attracted several hundred expats to this pretty town.

In fact, Kasie’s stepfather, Joel, has also moved to Ecuador and he became her business partner when they opened the bar together last year. In less than a year, their little pub has become one of the premier places for fun in this mountain town. It’s where expats watch Monday night football with friends…listen to American classic rock or Ecuadorian bands…and take advantage of the weekly ethnic food buffets that Kasie delivers.

Joel, a freelance video producer with 25 years of sales management under his belt, is using his skills to promote the pub.

Best of all, he has a place to play music. A keen keyboard player, Joel now rocks the house several times a month.

The biggest benefit Kasie sees in owning her own business in Cotacachi is that she gets to see her daughter more. Without the hectic work lifestyle she once experienced while working in sales in Las Vegas, Kasie now has the time to be a more involved parent.

Life in a small town with a population of retired expats is also a much easier place to bring up her daughter, Peylon, who was just 5 years old when they moved. “They say it takes a village to raise a child and Peylon definitely has a village here,” Kasie says.

Though Kasie stays busy with her business she enjoys taking day trips to nearby places with her family.

A favorite haunt is Lake Yahuarcocha, which is a large lake and recreational area about 45 minutes north of Cotacachi by car. There, Peylon can play on the several playgrounds on the shoreline…or the family can rent a paddleboat in the shape of a swan or fish to explore the water itself.

All in all…it’s a good life.

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