How to pay for your trip to Ecuador with barter

 

The basics are cheap in Ecuador: food, water, utilities, gasoline, natural gas, shelter.

Consumer goods are expensive in Ecuador (much more so than North America): Clothes, shoes, electronics, perfumes and liquor to name a few things.

The reason is the protectionist import policies the current government has imposed with strict regulations and high tariffs.

But this has created an opportunity for the casual traveler to Ecuador that I think VERY few are taking advantage of.

You see, if you bring just one or two units of any one item the customs officials will deem the items as for personal use only.

No problem.  Wave you on through.

And at the same time there is a BUNCH of people in Ecuador (Ecuadorians and foreigners) running businesses that I’m sure would be willing to exchange their services for an item they want/need brought from the USA.

Pay your trip with barter, basically.  

Instead of exchanging cash for a service you are offering a service for a service.

First, you could plan your trip and decide what you want to do and where you want to stay.

Then, you could email the travel providers you plan to work with (hotels, car rentals, tour providers, AirBnb hosts, etc.) and see if they would like something brought from the USA, they could pay you back just what you paid for the item based on your receipt and give you their service (like a hotel night) free in exchange for you bringing the item (s) down to them.

Some would accept, some may not.  As a hotel owner in Ecuador, I’d know I’d listen to someone offering me this.

 

Car accident in Ecuador

“Oh, sh-t” I thought as I sat there looking at the motorcyclist on the ground.

I had tried to make a quick U-turn (where maybe I shouldn’t have) and a motorcycle trying to zip around me on the right clipped my bumper and him and his bike went tumbling down.

He quickly got up and got in my face as I still sat in the drivers seat.

“Give me $1000 now for the damage on my bike!”  He shouted as his bike laid in the street.

“Hey, I got insurance buddy,”  I said in my muffled Spanish.

Then… “Wham”!

A big noise made me cinch my face muscles.  I looked over my shoulder and I couldn’t believe my eyes!

While the motorcyclists bike laid there in the street and he was arguing with me to give him a quick buck, another car came and run over his motorcycle!

It was now completely wrangled around the under-organs of the car that just passed over it.

The bike now totaled.  Before, it was damaged but he probably could have just drove off.

Now, there were two angry Ecuadorians yelling at each other and me to one side.  You see, in Ecuador during a car accident I think the locals think that whoever can yell the loudest will be granted the right of way.

Within a few minutes the police showed up.

Immediately, the police said all the vehicles would be impounded until a traffic court could determine guilt, unless we could work something out.

Then he asked for our documents.

License and registration.

And to my surprise, but I suppose not uncommon in Ecuador, both the motorcyclist and the other car driver had no license nor proper registration.

So the policeman quickly looked to me, the calm, bewildered foreigner with the proper documents and said to me… “give the motorcycle guy $100, give that car driver $150 cash… and get out of here.”

My truck just had a few scratches on it after-all.

“Yes, officer,” I said joyfully and away I went!

That’s how a car accident more or less works in Ecuador.

The wild west?  Yea, with these kinds of things I’d say so.

STORY PROVIDED BY …

Jack Abercrombie, a guy from Atlanta who has been living in Ecuador a few years now.
He has a truck he uses to help new arrival expats in Ecuador move large loads of goods and pets within Ecuador.  You can reach him at journeymanjack.com@gmail.com or 770-828-7913(USA) or 098-743-3009(ECUADOR).  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/journeymanjack 

 

How starting a hotel moves you towards your dream

“Oh, man, empty” I thought…

This past week I went to the inauguration of a friends restaurant here in Quito, Ecuador.

Empty.

It’s tough to start a restaurant, he’ll probably be done within a month or two.

Later that same afternoon, I had to rush out of there to go serve dinner to 32 people in my hotel who were staying there.

I don’t even like having to serve food.  I wouldn’t if I didn’t have to, there’s just not many options near me.

But that’s my point.

Maybe your real dream is to start your own restaurant, or transportation service, or relocation specialist, or real estate agency, sell art work, do surf tours, or Hummingbird walks… whatever…

It’s much easier to get clients for any of the above when you have people sitting on your couch staring at you practically begging you to feed them and give them interesting things to do.

So first host them. Then sell them what you really want to sell them.

Start a B&B, hostel, hotel or even just offer lodging via AirBnb.