I recently emailed that I had saved a 2013 email from you about the residency visa process, and used it to get to the Paypal link, and paid. The linked asked for 14.95, and I did not know that...
Our experience is the same as Larry P’s: with our Ecuadorian bank account, we have no problem depositing money to other people’s accounts AND we do it from the States using the online banking system at our Ecuador bank. In addition, at least two people have deposted money into OUR Ecuadorian account — one was local and the other in Europe. Also, we have debit cards AND credit cards through our bank that work at all the larger establishments in Ecuador (where the amount or volume works for the vendor) — that includes not only mall establishments but also places like some of the internet stores, etc. So I’d say banking works pretty much like the U.S., EXCEPT, as Dom said, you have to own property (which we do, but we are not residents yet) or have a “known” friend. We got two bank accounts established pretty quickly, compared the services and interest rates, etc, and closed one after the experiment. The “known” person we used for the one we stayed with, was our lawyer, and I would highly recommend and commend him for expediting us through the process, even though we speak limited Spanish. And when we had a problem while in the States, he cleared it up for us in about 15 minutes. That said, Ecuador banking seems to work pretty much like it does in the U.S. A last comment: Larry’s advice on checking out the relative fees for depositing a check vs wire transfer is good advice.
I don’t know about adding A/C to a coastal rental house, but we looked extensively at condos for sale in the area around Manta & Bahia, and there were A/C units in all the newer buildings, and some of the older ones as well. (And we loved the area and ended up purchasing, too.)