How to Register Troublesome Visas in Ecuador


“I can’t believe this sh*t”

My friend said as we waited for our number to be called in the Migration Office in Guayaquil.

“It was so easy to get my visa, now registering it once in the country is such a hassle.”

It’s true.

It is a hassle.

Basically, Ecuador is requiring that all visas attained while abroad be registered once in Ecuador at one of the immigration offices in Quito or Guayaquil.


Well, according to them there has been a lot of fake visa problems.

So, if they tell you you need to register your visa what do you need to do?

In Guayaquil, or Quito, you need to go to the DIRECCION DE EXTRANJERIA… in Guayaquil it is on the corner of 9 de OCT and Pichincha.

Once there, you will need to draw a number.

When your turn hits you will need to sit down at the computers they have there and do an internet registration via their site.

Afterward they will tell you you need to go to an internet cafe, there are several nearby, print off the email they automatically send you when you register with them online, and make copies of the photo page of your passport, your visa, and your first entry stamp on said visa. It is easier process to get e Visas for Kosovo.

With the print off and copies in hand you will need to buy a folder for them to hold said documents and go around the corner to deposit the $10 fee for the registration in the Bank BANCO INTERNATIONAL account #200104432.

With the receipt of payment, your original passport, plus the copies and folder mentioned above take them back to the office where you can then register your visa.

They will probably tell you the process takes a day, but if you tell them you have a flight to catch and that it’s urgent they will often try to do it right then and there.

One way to avoid having to register visas is simply to wait until once you are in Ecuador to get the visa you are interested in. Most nationaalities can enter Ecuador with only their passport and get an automatic 90 day stamp.

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2012 Internet Access in Ecuador


“I hate to say it, but I just can’t live without the internet.”

A tenant of mine proclaimed this week.

I know, I get it, I am of the same.  Haven’t watched TV in months but its hard to go even a day with connecting to the net.

So how’s the Internet access in Ecuador now in 2012?

It’s a lot better than it was in 2009, just a few short years ago, before they connected the new internet line to Ecuador from the ocean.

On even the cheapest plans costing around $20 a month it is fast enough to watch videos on YouTube without much pausing.

So what are your service provider options? 

Generally speaking, there’s only the big 4 in Ecuador.  CNT (state-run), TV Cable, Claro and Movistar. 

Only CNT, TV Cable and Claro offer land-line internet service to homes.  In the larger cities of Ecuador, all you have to do is visit one of their offices in the malls and solicit service.  Sign a contract, you can do so with just a passport and a copy of a utilities bill, and then they’ll come and install the net in your home in less than a week.

I’d recommend working with Claro, of the 4 I’d say they provide the best customer service.

Prices are relatively the same in all providers, with the cheapest option being unlimited internet access at a speed of 1 MB for $20 a month.  1.5MB costs $27 a month and is usually fast enough for 2 or 3 people to connect and navegate comfortably at the same time.

Is internet available in the countryside and on the coast? 

Yes, and no.

On the coast of Ecuador, where it is more rural, many folks don’t even have telephone lines.  And without a telephone line the ISPs can’t install internet in your house.

The only company of the big 4 that can install a telephone line and land line internet to your home in the rural areas of the coast is CNT, but it could take weeks or months after the solicitation for them to install your phone line.

Ask your neighbors, CNT will ask what the phone numbers are of your most direct neighbors, to see if you qualify for a new phone line.

If a telephone line, and susequently land-line internet service is not an option for you due to your rural location in Ecuador, you could get a HUAWEI internet chip from Movistar or Claro that you plug into your computer and from wherever their is cell phone coverage, which is almost all of the coast, you can get internet access.

Unlimited internet plans for your HUAWEI start around $32 a month but you will often need to be on some type of residency visa to get a monthly plan.

If you are just a tourist in Ecuador, you could pick up a prepaid HUAWEI from one of the 2 cell phone service providers mentions above for around $77, then charge the phone with credit whenever you like.  $18 buys you 500 Mb of navegation which tends to last about a week depending on how much you navegate the net.  Streaming vids will consume much more bandwidth then say reading text online or checking your email, which practically consumes none.

Yes, with these HUAWEI internet chips or USBs you could even plug it into your computer on the beach and surf the net from there.

Another option for foreigners visiting Ecuador is buying internet access minutes for your smart phone.

For your iPhone for instance, Movistar offers 7 day pre-paid navegation packagess for $11.20, 15 day packages for $17 and 30 day packages for $22.40.  They also offer monthly plans with 1000MEGs of navegation, which on a phone could last you the better part of 3 weeks, for $32 plus tax including $12 of minutes.

In the rural areas of Ecuador where phone and internet land-line service are not available, there’s also a few budding entrepreneurs installing mini-towers who will install a dish in your home and from that connect you to their internet signal.  Inquire with your neighbors once on the ground if any of these folks are in your area.

Now you know how to get connected in Ecuador.

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Where Locals Stash their Cash in Ecuador: Cooperas

Loja, Ecuador
Loja, Ecuador

I know what you’re going to say…

“10%, 17% annual earnings on a savings account?  Are you nuts?”

Well, no, I’m not nuts, this really does exist in Ecuador.

You see, you’re probably used to a society where credit is free flowing and easily available, 0% APR credit cards, 4% home loans, etc (even after a serious crisis).

Well, the rest of the developing world, like in Ecuador, is not like that.

Cash is king, and not as easily available in the form of loans.  And subsequently worth a lot more.

Heck, that’s why I aim for investments that’ll show me at least a 40-50% annual return.


Down here, 10% is nothing.  You can get that simply depositing your money how I’ll explain now.

In Ecuador, there are Credit Union-type establishments called “Cooperas” that gather money from a pool of investors and lend it out in the form of micro-financing for business, consumer and housing projects.

Often at really high interest rates (20% APR or more) for projects that were turned down by normal banks.

That’s why the established credit unions with a legit track record offer around 10% APR to their investors on 6 month – 1 year CDs.

I’ve even seen the unestablished fly-by-nighters offer as much as 17% to their investors on 1 year CDs.  But those are a little too risky for my blood.

Whereas normal banks in Ecuador place tight restrictions on opening accounts for non-resident foreigners, these credit unions don’t! 

Want a bank account in Ecuador without being a resident, this may be your answer…

Foreigners can walk right into one of these credit unions and open up a savings account with their passport (and a copy), and a copy of their electric or water bill (it doesn’t have to be in your name), plus an initial deposit of $25.

That’s it.  You don’t need to be a legal resident or have an Ecuadorian ID card.

And you’ve got a place to stash your cash in Ecuador. 
Once you’re a member of the credit union with an account, you can then invest in CD’s from 1 month to 1 year that often earn around 10% APR, minimum investment for the highest rates is $1000.

Are these safe?

Well, your money isn’t guaranteed like it is in normal banks, so I certainly wouldn’t invest your whole nest egg here, and some Cooperas are much more legit than others, but there are some with lengthy track records that are trusted by the locals.

One many locals trust which has been around for 48 years with offices in the Cuenca area is La Coopera La Merced.  They offer 9% APR on one year CDs of $1000 or more.  But slightly higher interest rates CAN be negotiated for larger fixed deposits.

There are many others with shorter track records that offer in the 10-11% range, and the newbies or higher-risk ones often offer upwards of 14%. 

Heck, personally, I find these to be at least a little more reliable than the stock market these days.

If you’d like to learn which Coopera I use to make over 12% sign up for my Weekly Ecuador Insider´s Newsletter, where you’ll learn everything YOU NEED TO KNOW before you invest in Ecuador, you can unsubscribe at any time:

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Kookaburra Cafe: Cuenca Expat Hangout

Kookaburra is a hopping little cafe popular with Expats right on Calle Larga in Cuenca.

Their menu boasts all-day breakfasts including bacon and other typical American and English breakfast cuisine.

They also have interesting treats like the Potato Tamal, a typical Cuencano dish.  (Pictured below)




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Di Bacco: Cuenca Expat Hang Out

Address: Tarqui 9-61 between Gran Colombia and Bolivar

Another popular expat spot to meet and hang out.

Di Bacco is a quiant, up-scale Italian restaurant.  Prices are reasonable but not cheap with the pasta dishes starting around $5-7 for instance.

The atmosphere is more laid back with a quiet cocktail bar at the rear of the restaurant.

The menu boasts a wide range of Italian dishes, pastas, vegetarian, seafood, salads, pizza and more.

The food is good, if you’re looking for an authentic Italian eatery in Ecuador, this is one of the few good ones.

I had the vegetarian pasta primavera and it was good, I counted at least 10 different types of veggies in there, served with bread and olive oil, could you expect any less from an Italian place?

Great for romantic dinners with your significant other.




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