Free Ecuador Expat Information Center

Would you like free, unbiased answers to your questions about moving to Ecuador?

Now, at the Ecuador Expat Information Center of Guayaquil you can get ALL your toughest questions answered with one of our English speaking representatives.

How to hire health care?

How to get a residency visa?

How to ship your household goods without hassles?

How to find rentals and property at the lowest prices in your area of interest?

And we also serve as a bed and breakfast and can pick you up upon arrival in the Guayaquil Airport!

Click here for more on the Guayaquil Bed and Breakfast and Expat Info Center.

A view of the matrimonial room
A view of the front door and lobby

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Will you get priced out of Ecuador?

This week I got an angry comment from a reader.

“The bottom line in all of this is that if you do not buy now you will be priced out of the market. The Americans Have literally driven the prices up so high that prices are ridiculously higher than they were even 5 years ago. What I do not like is how the Americans went into Ecuador and bought properties for 15, 20 ,25 thousand dollars and are reselling them for 150, 200, 250 thousand dollars. The people in Ecuador at the time were not aware of how valuable their houses were and when they were shown so much cash, and for them 15 thousand at the time was a lot of money they went for it. Now many of them feel duped. But the President of Ecuador is becoming aware of this and he could step in at any time and do whatever he wants to do, to expats. So do not under-estimate a president that graduated from an American school in Ecuador to take care of his own first.”

Pescado a la Plancha in Ecuador, a typical and delicious dish...

My take?

Truth is…

I recently left Ecuador for a year to go live and work in China and India.

Came back a few months ago.

And within a few weeks found a liveable place with a beautiful ocean view for under $20k… that, yes, needed a lot of work.

No biggie.

The “Ecuador dream” of finding a desirable piece of real estate CHEAP is still out there.

But you have to know how to look!

As more foreigners buy up places the prices will naturally rise.

But they don’t rise across the board down here because there is no nationwide MLS system, most people have NO IDEA what true market values are when they buy or list homes.

It’s a free for all.

A crap shoot.

But it’s fun for those who know how to play the game.

Fact is, most of you will come down and think prices have already risen or that there is simply not much available.

Bull sh#t.

You can still find deals well under $50k if you are patient and know how to find them.

This was an example of one of my weekly Ecuador Insider emails, if you’d like to start receiving them sign up below, you can unsubscribe at any time:

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Cotacachi- the Cold Truth Revealed

I’ve got a confession to make.

Even though I’ve been in and out of Ecuador for six years now, bought property, and been writing this weekly newsletter on Ecuador investing/living for a year now…

Lake Cuicocha near Cotacachi Ecuador

…until this week, I’ve never been to Cotacachi, one of the most hyped-up expat destinations in Ecuador.


I guess a “gringo village” with inflated for-foreigner prices in the middle of no-where never really appealed to me.

At least that was my impression of the place before I went.

What were property prices like?

Despite the years of international promotion I found the prices to be rather reasonable, but not cheap for Ecuador standards. Apartments are starting around 40k, new houses just outside the town start around $100k. Vacant lots in the town were really expensive, while out on the fringes the prices start around $30 per m2. Further out you can find for cheaper, often starting around $20 per m2. Lots in gated communities were going for $40-60 per m2.

Producing farms in the general area were going for $10,000 per hectare.

My take?

To my surprise, Cotacachi is not just a “gringo village” and is in fact a typical Andean town with cobblestone streets, green mountains, colorful markets and far more locals than foreigners.

It is quiet, quaint and beautiful but I found it NOT any more or less beautiful than dozens of other nearby towns like Ibarra.

The lake (Cuicocha) you see in the photos online is truly the most stunning I have ever seen, beating Lake Como (Italy), Lake Toba (Indonesia) and Glacier (Montana, USA). But it is quite far from town (10 mins by car) out-of-site and protected so no one can buy property in the vicinity.

Overall, Cotacachi’s quiet environment is ideal for retirees looking for a temperate, mountain climate near other foreigners.

It is NOT ideal for more active folks looking to start a business or work. Even during peak hours Thursday through Saturday many of the shops in town were closed and the streets looked rather bleak. Few tourists were around, just the occasional expat (there are approximately 300 living in the area).

Although prices have risen over the last 3 years you still can find deals like the $8000, 300m2 lot I found right in town if you know how to look and take your time.

If you liked this, you’d love my Weekly Ecuador Insider´s Newsletter, where I spill ALL the dirt about life and investing in Ecuador, SIGN UP BELOW, you can unsubscribe at any time:

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Ecuador vs Panama… for Expats

Salsa music’s in the air.

Dominoes are being smacked down on almost every street corner by the older folks.

Mulattas, and Mulattoes dressed to impress traffic the cobblestone streets below my balcony.

This week, I’m checking in from Panama City, Panama.

So I thought I’d take the chance to compare life in Ecuador vs Panama.

Here goes…

Money: Both countries use the US dollar, which makes life MUCH easier for us greenback carriers. The dollar can drop in value all it wants but the effect is minimal when in a “dollar” country.

Cost of Living: The essentials are cheaper in Ecuador… food, shelter, transportation, whereas consumer goods are cheaper in Panama. Food is noticeably more expensive in Panama with lunches starting around $4 compared to Ecuador where lunches start around $2. Rents for a 2 bedroom apartment in a nice area of Panama city start around $500 but often cost more compared to Ecuador cities where you can find similar rentals in livable areas starting around $300/month.

Real Estate: Panama real estate is clearly on the down-swing following the general world crisis trend. Since 2009, Ecuador is on its way up since mortgages became more accessible to locals and Ecuador began to be mentioned often by the International retirement press. Panama already had their big boom when prices skyrocketed from 2005-2008. Bottom line, it’s hard to find a decent apartment in Panama City for under $100k, in Ecuador that task is still very doable, especially if you know how to look.

Government stability: Panama wins here as with each time I come here I am more reminded of Hong Kong. Ecuador governmental policies seem to always be closing the doors (more on that in a future newsletter).

Public transportation: In Panama most have cars while in Ecuador most people don’t! Consequently, cars are a need in Panama with much fewer public transport options. Taxi rides start around $2-3 here in the City but at rush hour you can see hundreds of people waiting in the streets for buses and trying to catch taxis making it VERY evident public transport is extremely lacking in Panama.

Food: Food is clearly more expensive in Panama as I see prices only a shade below those of the US. The local gastronomy is not nearly as diverse as that of Ecuador… you’ll see a typical Caribbean beans, rice and fried chicken plate in many of the local eateries.

Women/Men: The women and men in Panama are mainly mulattoes similar to the Dominican Republic. The people are attractive with nice figures, and friendly, and seem to treat foreigners well and are not as quick to overcharge them as I see elsewhere. They are more animated and vocal. Today a girl serving me food at a fast food joint struck up a conversation with and asked for my number… that rarely happens to me in Ecuador, people are a bit more reserved until you get to know them.

Safety: In Panama I feel surprisingly safe, walking around at all hours of the day and at night although there are areas we should avoid.

Weather: It hasn’t stopped raining since I’ve been here. From December to April is the sunny season, the rest of the year is quite rainy, typical for the Caribbean. Also, the humidity, at least this time of year, is so thick at times I feel I have to walk with an extra zest just to push myself through the air, not so in Ecuador.

Airfare: It is MUCH cheaper to get to Panama from the US with budget carriers like Spirit Air.

Visa Residency Requirements: Both offer an investors visa but you need to invest a much larger amount in Panama to qualify. In Ecuador invest $25-30k or up. In Panama, $100-250k. Pensioner visas are also available in both countries.

Banking: Far easier in Panama for a foreigner to open a bank account and the banking system is more sound. With $1000 deposit (that you can withdraw later) and a few bank and personal reference letters you can open an account in many of the banks here in Panama. In Ecuador, unless you know someone, banks won’t open an account for you until you are a legal resident.

Overall: I love Panama, and I’m going to miss the Panamanian ladies, but I’ll stick to Ecuador for the milder weather, lower costs of essential items, the food, the public transport and the business opportunity I see right now.

To see some of the top reader comments, check the forum here… and leave your comment too!

If you liked this, you’d love my Weekly Ecuador Insider´s Newsletter, where I spill ALL the dirt about life and investing in Ecuador, you can unsubscribe at any time:

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The view of Montanita Beach in Ecuador, not quite like the Caribbean.

NEW! 3 bed, 2 bath oceanview house for sale, Puerto Cayo $145k pre-build

Enjoy the best oceanview of the whole Ecuador coastline right from your porch of the islands off Puerto Cayo!

The house is a short 3 minute walk from the beach and a short walk to the center of a sleepy, safe fishing village with AMAZING seafood!

Rise in the morning and slide open your sliding glass doors and bask in the 180 degree oceanview from your porch.

Also, enjoy the safety and comfort of a small gated subdivide without all the politics of a large one.

Entertain your loved ones during a BBQ from your deck as you whale watch and entertain your closest friends and family.  This beach house, built to North American standards is the place for you, all for under $1000 per square meter which is much less than the new construction residences in nearby Manta!

Year built: New! 2015
View: 180 degree oceanview
Lot size: 337.5 m2 (33750ft2)
Roof: Spanish-colonial style clay tiles
Availability: 1 finished house available only, 3 pre-construction

Construction size: one story 190m2 (1900ft2)
Distance to beach: 500 meters
Bedrooms: 3
Bath: 2
Patio/deck: covered (27m2 or 270ft2)
Garage: covered, one car.

Property type: Stand alone home in small (4-5 units) gated community.
Landscaping: Desert landscaping
Master bath: His and hers sink, bath-tub. (9m2 or 99ft2)
Bedrooms: Finished wide closets with extra large loft bed with desk.

Water pressure: House comes with installed pump and pressure tank, plug and play.

City water: yes!
Sewage: Septic
City electric: yes!
Internet/Telephone ready.

Open kitchen with island, air extractor, and granite countertops.

Porcelen flooring
Spanish tile roofs
Screens for windows

Very desirable area for rentals… great possible return on investment! Duplexes in nearby vacinity are going for over $250,000 with no oceanview.

Finished! Move-in ready. Only 1 finished house available, could go quick!

For the finished house asking $159,000. For $145,000 get the same house on adjacent lot if you buy pre-construction!

For more details or a showing call 0988899774(Ecuador) or write us below and we will respond within 1 business day:

[contact-form 20 “Cayo house for sale”]