Preparing for Ecuador
Keith’s last day of work was yesterday, much to our relief, and now we’re gathering up our belongings to take back to storage while we spend the next couple of frigid months basking in the warm, tropical and bio-diverse paradise that is Ecuador.
We’ve both had a hankering to go to South America for awhile. A few months back I began researching the various options for the continent. Eventually we would like to see all of the countries down there, but one of the goals of this particular trip is to go have fun and stay warm in a place where we won’t spend too much of our savings. Someone told me about Ecuador; I started reading more about it, and I’m hooked! Last year at this time we were at the Pole, so why not do the equator this time? Actually, I have been to Ecuador once before–but spent almost the entire time on the amazing Galapagos Islands. I was intrigued by the mainland, though, and now that I know more about it I can’t wait to get back down there!
Ecuador is currently a retirement hot spot, where they claim a couple can live comfortably on about $600 per month. We’re going to see if they’re right about that. We’ve been working ourselves into a frenzy of excitement watching videos about Ecuador (we’ve gotten hooked on Ama la Vida TV on YouTube–check it out if you speak Spanish) and reading books about it. We’re pretty interested in the area around Loja in the southern part of the country, which looks like a good match for active, health-conscious, culture-loving people like us.
Videos we’ve been watching:
- Ama la Vida episodes, especially ones featuring Loja, and other YouTube videos mostly in Spanish
- Videos by Matt Monarch about property he’s selling down there
- House Hunters International – A Relaxed Life in Cuenca
- 7 Days Ecuador
- Global Treasures: Cuenca, Ecuador
Books we’ve been reading:
- Living and Retiring in Cuenca
- 100 Points to Consider Before Moving or Retiring in Ecuador
- Our House in the Clouds: Building a Second Life in the Andes of Ecuador
- Expats in Ecuador: Life In Cuenca
- Ecuador & Galapágos Islands: The TRUE Insider’s Guide
- The World’s Cheapest Destinations – Americas
- Plus a lot of stuff online
A few weeks ago we booked our flights with our frequent flyer miles (total cost: $112 each round-trip for fees and taxes). Then a few days ago I booked a hotel for our first night, since we’ll be coming in super late. After that, it’s a 2.5-month blank slate! We’ll probably take a few days meandering down to Loja and explore stuff along the way, then start house-hunting as soon as we get there.
Based on what I’ve read, we should be able to find a nice apartment for around $300 per month and buy enough bananas to feed a small army for less than $1 (Keith is excited about this; he loves bananas). Clothes and electronics cost more than they do in the U.S., but food and housing cost less. Gas is super cheap, which in turn means transportation is super cheap. We can travel most places in the country for under $20 on the bus (that would be for a really long trip from one end of Ecuador to the other), and get a nice, clean hotel room in many areas for $10/night. Supposedly. Our first night is actually a lot more than that, but it’s close to an international airport so maybe they can be forgiven. We’re going to investigate around… I’ll keep you posted.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to the packing!
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