I know you’ve probably heard how Ecuador is cheap, cheap, cheap.
Actually, for many things, it’s not.
In fact, many things in Ecuador are way more expensive than in North America.
It’s due to the ever tighter restrictions on importing many consumer goods.
And with the current administration, its only getting worse.
But of course this leaves the door open to business opportunity. Opportunity that even the casual traveler can cash in on.
For instance, an iPad Mini 16GB was for sale on special in Best Buy (USA) over the Black Friday weekend for $200. It normally sells around $250-300.
In Ecuador, the same 16GB iPad Mini was for sale in the mall I visited for $807.
On Mercadolibre, the eBay of Ecuador, new, sealed iPad Minis are going for around $400-450.
Thats just one example.
Other products that are historically more expensive in Ecuador are usually electronics, name brand clothes, shoes and perfumes.
Other random things like certain brands of spices and pepper sauces, perfumes, body creams, liquors, sugar cubes (I know its ramdom but they’re really hard to find here), large size clothing and shoes are simply not found in Ecuador.
So if you have a business that deals with people constantly coming and going from Ecuador (like in the travel industry), or if you yourself are constantly going back and forth, its quite easy to tap into this and become the go-to guy in your area of Ecuador bringing down things for people and charging to do it.
Why don’t resident expats in Ecuador just order online and have stuff mailed to them?
They do, but there’s a risk in that like what happened to me recently when I had a package mailed to me and it got stuck in customs and generated a steep tax that I had to pay and it was way more than the goods were even worth. It was just random stuff like a few books and clothes. I decided not to pay the tax and I never got the package.
Other items like cell phones have strict import restrictions and may not be released from customs, period. Never know.
Other times, it just doesnt make sense to pay $40-50 to get something like a pepper sauce you like mailed down when you could pay someone else $10-20 to bring it down for you.
Welcome to the concept of micro-importing. And its a real opportunity for some in Ecuador.
Micro-importing is under-the-radar-style importing where travelers take advantage of un-used space in their bags to bring down items that are for personal use only that folks living in Ecuador don’t have easy access to.
At the very least, its something that could help pay off your next airfare to Ecuador.
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