Cotacachi- the Cold Truth Revealed

I’ve got a confession to make.

Even though I’ve been in and out of Ecuador for six years now, bought property, and been writing this weekly newsletter on Ecuador investing/living for a year now…

cotacachi-real-estate

Lake Cuicocha near Cotacachi Ecuador

…until this week, I’ve never been to Cotacachi, one of the most hyped-up expat destinations in Ecuador.

Why?

I guess a “gringo village” with inflated for-foreigner prices in the middle of no-where never really appealed to me.

At least that was my impression of the place before I went.

What were property prices like?

Despite the years of international promotion I found the prices to be rather reasonable, but not cheap for Ecuador standards. Apartments are starting around 40k, new houses just outside the town start around $100k. Vacant lots in the town were really expensive, while out on the fringes the prices start around $30 per m2. Further out you can find for cheaper, often starting around $20 per m2. Lots in gated communities were going for $40-60 per m2.

Producing farms in the general area were going for $10,000 per hectare.

My take?

To my surprise, Cotacachi is not just a “gringo village” and is in fact a typical Andean town with cobblestone streets, green mountains, colorful markets and far more locals than foreigners.

It is quiet, quaint and beautiful but I found it NOT any more or less beautiful than dozens of other nearby towns like Ibarra.

The lake (Cuicocha) you see in the photos online is truly the most stunning I have ever seen, beating Lake Como (Italy), Lake Toba (Indonesia) and Glacier (Montana, USA). But it is quite far from town (10 mins by car) out-of-site and protected so no one can buy property in the vicinity.

Overall, Cotacachi’s quiet environment is ideal for retirees looking for a temperate, mountain climate near other foreigners.

It is NOT ideal for more active folks looking to start a business or work. Even during peak hours Thursday through Saturday many of the shops in town were closed and the streets looked rather bleak. Few tourists were around, just the occasional expat (there are approximately 300 living in the area).

Although prices have risen over the last 3 years you still can find deals like the $8000, 300m2 lot I found right in town if you know how to look and take your time.

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