10 Ecuador Must-dos. My personal Ecuador 2018 bucket list

If you’ve been following me a while you know i do pretty ambitious bucket lists.

Not this year, I think it’s best to prioritize and keep it simple and that way you can actually get more of the list done.

Here’s what I’d like to do-have-be in ECUADOR in 2018…

1. Bike the whole coast.  I think it would take around 7-14 days only.  Most of the road is flat and well-paved.  Maybe I could do it in parts.

2. Climb a volcano.  There are many 20,000 footers to choose from in Ecuador like the famous Cotopaxi or Cayambe, both a stone’s throw from Quito where I live.  Most trips can be hired out of Quito and take 2 days to summit. Best to go in dry season from May-November

3. Amazon trek. Get off the grid for a few days, I just spoke with friends who saw Anacondas, the pink river dolphin and piranhas in their lodge near Cuyabeno (Lago Agrio).  5 days is all you need.  And I’ve heard the bugs actually aren’t that bad.  Can book 3-4 day trips starting around $300 per person all included.  Best to book in Quito at one of the street agencies, can often find better prices than online.

4. Kayak a river in the Andes.  There are (just a few) outfitters in Baeza where the rapids flow down into the Amazon for all levels.  Most don’t know Ecuador even offers this but the rivers are plentiful and amazing in Ecuador.

5. Start a farm in Ecuador.  I’ve already got the land on stand-by, now it’s time to make it productive (don’t worry I’ll keep you informed on how it goes).

6. Flip a property on the coast.  (At least one.) This is what I do.  Probably stick to the less expensive stuff under $20k, it moves faster.

7. Expand out my property management biz in Guayaquil to 5 properties.

8. Deep-sea fish off Salinas.  Hire a chartered boat to take me out or hop on with the locals.

9. Hang-glide off the cliffs of Crucita.  Been putting this one off.

10. Trek to the lost city of Ecuador in the Zamora jungle area and the ancient Tayo Cave famed to have hieroglyphics and alien activity (even Neil Armstrong trekked there to check it out).  On the way you can see a pre-historic, gigantic coral reef now covered in jungle.

If you have one you’d like to add to the list let me know, happy 2018!

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8 steps to convert any property into a successful AirBnb rental in Ecuador

This week I had the pleasure of acquiring a new condo in Guayaquil I plan to rent to short-stay clients.

It had been vacant for over 4 years and covered in filth.

The power was cut and the AC didn’t work (important in Guayaquil).  Neither did the hot water.

But the one bedroom suite did have the basics, a bed, mattress, TV, and sofa.

So literally, about 3 days and $400 later I was ready to rock. With websites like AirBnb you can turn any unused space (like a bedroom, or a vacant unit) into a money maker if you follow these steps.

1. Hire a professional to deep-clean the place and get the grime and mold out of the bathroom.  In Ecuador this means find someone who can clean real good and pay them the day rate $15-25.

2. After verifying the basic services are up like water and electric, focus your energy on three more ALL renters will require… Hot water, WiFi, and AC (on the coast).  Cable TV is a nice extra but not necessary.  This week I hired the Internet plan on Wednesday and they were installing on Thursday.

3. Change the door locks.  I suggest a keyless smart lock on the exterior door, one you can grant and deny access with on the click of a button starting available for around $100 at places like Target or Best Buy.  As for the interior doors, make sure they are all keyless bathroom-style door knobs, because your guests will close them and get locked out of the bedroom or bathroom.  It will happen, trust me.  And with any tiny screw driver like one you leave in a hidden location in the unit they can open the door. No key needed.

4. Put signs everywhere.  If you’ve ever stayed in one of my rentals you know I love to sign things up.  Sign up the suite indicating the WiFI code, hot water direction, how to call a taxi and anything else pertinent to their stay (so they don’t have to bother you).  Make it easy for them.

5. Accent color.  Like in my case with white walls everything was white and black in the suite so I just added one accent color (red).  Red sofa cushions, red (fake) roses, red bed cover, etc. And for very little money I gave the suite some pop.  Best not to have many bright colors.  Just one for some pop.  No need to be a major in interior design for this one.  But if you have access to someone with design background ask for assistance!

6. Include basic necessities.  I’m always surprised scouting my competition on AirBnb how many forget to put the basics like toilet paper causing bed reviews.  Think like a hotel.  People need toilet paper (try to put an extra one), towels, hand towels, and soap as well as hand soap.  That’s about it really. Start people off right and they’ll love you for it.

7. Must secure private space.  A space where only you and your cleaner/manager can access, this way you can store things like extra toilet paper, sheets and things you don’t want your guests to have full access to.  Can be as simple as putting a lock on one cabinet door.

8. Broken signs.  Maybe you have a washer and dryer you don’t want your one night guests to use.  I’ve found it useful to put “BROKEN- DO NOT USE” signs on things you don’t want your guests to use.  They won’t want to risk their clothes or whatever and will respect it.  And if you have a guest staying longer term you can tell them to simply ignore the signs and use it.

OK, now you’re ready in 3 days or less to post your unit in Ecuador on Airbnb.com and start making money! Check out this link to my new unit for rent near the airport and Mall del Sol in Guayaquil here. 

Hasta pronto, if you liked this sign up for my Ecuador Insider’s newsletter so you can check out my latest posts(not available online) on living and investing in Ecuador:

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How to beat the big boys in Ecuador accepting barter

Like with any small business you put in Ecuador, you’re going to have competitors with DEEP multi-million dollar pockets.

In my case for my 19 room hotel near the Quito airport, I compete with the Wyndham an international chain.

So how can a little guy like me or you when against these corporate dicks.

Of course, there’s always charge less than them.

But there’s other creative ways to beat these guys too.

Like what I started to do this week: Offering alternative payment methods.

For instance a month ago on a trip to the States I noticed many younger people in the States like my brother pay for everything with Cash App, a free phone application that connects to your bank account and allows you to make payments to other users quickly and super easy.  I now accept Cash App.

You could also try accepting Bitcoin.  It’s as easy as creating a digital wallet through an app like Blockchain.  Search for it on Google Play Store.  Download and you get a digital address people can send Bitcoin too. It has a learning curve but you get the hang of it quickly.  I now accept Bitcoin.

You could also accept barter.  Why should we be forced to always accept fiat money, aka cash?  Why not except goods in exchange for a service.  For instance, I have someone coming from the States bring me something they buy (so they can verify the contents), and on arrival I reimburse what they spent as per their receipt for the item and for the act of bringing it I offer the room free. If they item can net a $100 gain here, I now sold my normally $40 room for $100.  I now accept barter, too.  Email me if you need a room.

The big guys move a lot slower and it may be years before they adopt these alternative payment options that gives you the advantage in the eyes of some customers.

Hasta pronto, if you liked this sign up for my Ecuador Insider’s newsletter so you can check out my latest posts(not available online) on living and investing in Ecuador:

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