How much do farms cost in Ecuador?

Good question.  

Sometimes in Ecuador it seems like the people actually selling their farm have no idea how much to ask as prices are all across the board.  Asking prices can be particularly high once a crop is already producing.  

But you can find a lot of farms for sale for under $1000 per hectare (2.2 acres).  

But when you inquire further or actually visit the farm you realize why they are so cheap.  

No road access.

Or very poor access in that you literally have to travel for a while on rough dirt road that will often get washed out during the rainy season.  Even still, some farms will force you to park and walk because they can not be reached by car.  

On the flip side, farms near a major highway (say within 15 minutes of driving) yet down an unpaved side road reachable by car usually go around $3-6000 per hectare.  

While farms with direct highway access usually ask around $5-8000 per hectare.

Next up, water.  

Does the farm have a river or two on or bordering the premise?  If it does, it´s worth something, if not forget about it as "well water" might suffice for building a residence on a property but not for actually growing crops.

Following that, overall remoteness, electricity, cell phone coverage and more play into it…  Like, how close is the farm to the nearest town where you can actually find workers and take your crops to market?  Important, indeed.  

For instance, this week, I was in the Santo Domingo area, about half way in between Quito and the coast in the coastal plain lowland region of Ecuador, and through a friend I found one interesting buy.  

A 16 hectare farm with direct highway access and several small rivers in a green, rainy area, electricity and minutes from a large town asking $60,000.  That´s just over $3500 per hectare.  

The owners inherited the property and have no interest in it and just want to liquidate.

In my experience, this is a good deal, having direct highway access gives you a lot of options like possibly building a restaurant (paradero) or guesthouse down the line.  

The area has a sub-tropical, mild, yet humid climate due to the median altitude of 950 meters (3100 feet).  

Many both cold and warm weather crops can grow here like sugar cane, citrus fruits, Cocoa, Stevia or more local varieties with local demand like Naranjilla, Palmito and Borojo. Also, coffee is a possibility.  

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Which Ecuador residency visa option is best for you?

My brother is married to a Thai woman.  

Even still, when they go to live over there for part of the year, he still has to do "border runs" every month or so.  Even for him, residency is complicated!

Other countries, like the Philippines, or Colombia don´t force you to leave the country but every month or so you have to keep paying and paying to renew your tourist visa.  

Ecuador is not like that.  

Ecuador is one of THE EASIEST countries in the world to get residency, no doubt about it.  And after three years of legal residency you could apply and get a South American second passport which opens up the whole continent to you making it much easier for you to live in Colombia, Peru, Brazil or any of the other countries down here.  

But which visa is the LEAST hassle for you?  
Got a pension or disability income of at least $800 a month?  Or $900 if you want to bring a spouse?  Go for the 9-1 Rentista (Pensioners) visa.  This is the most hassle-free visa there is if you qualify.

Don´t have a pension or steady income for life you can prove?  

You could go for the 9-II Investors visa by investing at least $25,000 USD in a real property or a CD in a bank in Ecuador.  A mere pittance compared to the $500,000 USD the USA requires as investment to gain residency there.  Even other latin countries like Panama and Costa Rica require a much larger investment.  
But what if you don´t have or don´t want to put $25,000 down?

No problem, go for the visa I´m on, and the one that opens Ecuador wide open to young people with no pensions… the 9-V Profesional visa.  All you need is a four year degree from a university on their long list of accredited universities.  Then you need to get that degree vaidated by the Ecuadoran Institute of Higher Education, the SENESCYT, and apply, that´s it, you´re in!  And if your university is not on the list, no problem, you can still apply, but you just have to do an extra step to get your university put on the list.  No other country I know of has this visa option for literally ANY career type!  

What if you have no degree?  
I didn´t know this until I talked to an expert on the subject while preparing my Guide to Ecuador Residency due to be released in about a week, but you could also apply for the 9-III Investor in a personal business visa.  For this visa, you have to show investment in a business located in Ecuador in the "exporting, or industry or agriculture fields".  

​You place a value on all the inventory in the business equalling at least $30,000 USD.  Like my "$3000" lap top I´m writing on now.  Oh yea, and my "$20,000" car. This could include your home office.  A bit more complicated, sure, but it´s covered in my guide and the experts recommended therein could help you see it through.  Tough to do this one on your own but It´s an option if you don´t qualify for any of the other above visas.

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How 1 Expat Got Nailed For $1800 Bringing Their Pet To Ecuador


"$1800?" I gasped.  

"Yea, $1800," the guest at my hotel in Quito near the airport continued a few days ago in October of 2015, explaining how he just spent $1800 just in taxes and fees paid to the government to bring his dog to Ecuador.  

This is excluding what he paid to ship the dog here.  

And excluding what he paid a translator/facilitator to help him with the process.  

So, actually, he spent a lot more.  

What was the problem and more specifically, how can you avoid spending this kind of money?

He wrongly brought the dog down over 20 days after he had arrived to Ecuador.  

Big mistake!  

In Ecuador, they consider that an import, with steep taxes incurred to boot.  

While if you bring the pet down with you it's considered a personal item of the traveler.  And if its small enough to carry on, it walks right out with you, no extra fees or taxes, provided you have all the necessary paperwork from the vet and Ecuador consulate.  

Or you could send it as BAGGAGE which drops it right out on the carosel.  Or if its too big you can send it as cargo meaning you'd have to pick it up the next day paying a few nominal fees and showing your boarding pass in a few different offices all near the airport.  

What happened to this guy is United didn't let his dog board the plane when he went to fly, if this happens to you, simply don't come until you can travel with your pet to avoid these elevated taxes.  
I've found United to be VERY picky about letting pets board whereas American and Delta and other carriers are not so problematic.  

He didn't know.  

Now you do!

And to avoid overspending on a resident visa in Ecuador, it's actually a surprising easy and cheap process if done right…

Ideal for anyone considering Ecuador as a living destination.  Simplify an otherwise complicated process and learn how you, a foreigner to Ecuador, can become a permanent legal resident within just a few short weeks saving thousands on legal fees and the headaches along the way. 
With this info no costly lawyer is necessary!  You can do it yourself or with a friend that speaks Spanish.
Now, until midnight, OCT 31order the guide for half-price, now just $24.95, after released, it will be $49.95!  
Hasta pronto, and thanks to everyone who bought my 2015 Insiders Guide to Random Importing to Ecuador, it has now been taken offline completely so those that bought can take full advantage of the info.  

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3 exotic Ecuador fruits with big-time export potential

“Damn, that’s good.” I remember thinking when I first tried it upon arriving to Ecuador.

“Really good.”

It was sweet and sour at the same time and really refreshing.  And not like any other fruit flavor I had ever tried in North America, Asia or Europe.

1. The “Naranjilla”.  Or “Lulo” as they say in nearby Colombia.  I don’t think there is even an English word for this fruit like most of these things in Ecuador that don’t exist in North America or Europe.

It grows in the rainy foothills of the Andes and along the edges of the Amazon and are not eaten raw but made into juice by the locals.

It has HUGE local demand, but I think could also be exported.

It’s true, like a lot of fruits, they might not make it to their destination without spoiling or getting bruised up.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t export it!

What about as a canned jam, or as a frozen pulp for juice mixes, or even dried fruit?

The possibilities are endless.

Here are two other fruits I think could have a BIG impact abroad if exported widely.   See pics at the bottom of this email of all three.

2. “Tomate de arbol” or Tree tomato, this fruit doesn’t actually taste like tomatos at all and looks like a mini-nerf American football.  They are not eaten raw but made into juice here by Ecuadorians.  The taste is unique, truly indescribable.  This fruit is grown in the highlands near the big cities like Quito and Cuenca.

3. The “Ovo”.  Many ecuadorians don’t even know about this one.  There is only ONE PLACE in all of Ecuadorwhere this fruit is grown, in the dry Chota Valley north of Ibarra.  They are sold usually along the highway that passes through the valley on the way to Colombia and every time I pass I get some.  They look similar to the coastal variety called “Ciruelas” but the taste is completely different.  The Ovo when ripe is bright orange and sweet with a seed inside like a grape.  The taste is unique and delicious.  On the other hand, the Ciruela on the coast is sold green or red and is bitter and often eaten by locals with salt.  The Ovo is the one I think has BIGexport potential.

Of course, Ecuador has MANY more fruits with big export potential but these were the first three that came to mind.

At the very least on your next trip to Ecuador be SURE you try these three fruits as juice or in their native form.

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ovos in ecuador
naranjilla in ecuador
tomate-de-arbol in ecuador

My 2016 Ecuador bucket list: Must dos no one else knows about

You know what they say, by putting it out there you help attract it to you.

Throughout the year I’ll let you know as I do these things and if interested in joining just hit reply and let me know.

So here it goes… my 2016 (primarily Ecuador) bucket list…

1. Go black panther tracking in the Amazon, and in the meantime visit a local indigenous community in Ecuador and meet with a shaman witch-doctor.

2. Hike, and summit Chimborazo, Cotopaxi and/or Cayambe, 19,000+ ft volcanos near Quito.

3. Spearfish or pearl-dive off the coast from Ayampe.

4. Create passive income (s) of at least $3000 a month online or locally here in Ecuador (and write about how I do it on this newsletter!).

5. If the dollar stays high buy a property on coast of Spain (or in Colombia).

6. Open my first large-scale agricultural-operation in Ecuador.

7. Sell out my ocean-view subdivide in Puerto Cayo.

8. Expand my new Guayaquil business to at least 6 suites, Guayaquil Airport Suites Mall del Sol. luxury suites near the airport in Guayaquil at a budget hotel prices.

9. Visit Trinidad, Puerto Rico, and surf El Salvador. With the new cheap flights of JetBlue from Quito to Fort Lauderdale traveling from Ecuador to the Caribbean and the rest of Central America just got a whole lot cheaper. Plus, applying what I now know and show in my Insiders Guide to Random Importing I’m confident I can at least cover the cost of my plane tickets.

10. Begin importing and/or exporting something with continuity.

11. Visit the petrified forest of Puyango along the Ecuador-Peru border.

12. Have a drink, dance and hang out for a night with the artists/hippies and see if they will show me how to make some of their jewelry along the infamous cocktail alley of Montanita.

13. Hitch-hike on the coast of Ecuador. I’ve heard its easy.

14. See an Anaconda in the most remote area of Ecuador, the Yasuni, in the Amazon region before they start their planned drilling.

15. Take the newly-re-opened train through the high Andes from Ibarra to Salinas (a different Salinas than the one on the coast).

16. Hike arguably the most beautiful area of Ecuador from the Lagunas de Atillo to the largest waterfall in Ecuador, the San Rafael Falls and the Volcano Reventador area.

17. Visit the Saquisili (near Latacunga) thursday market for an interesting more authentic (less touristy) look into indigeous highland life.

18. Go silver bargaining along the main plaza in Chordeleg (near Cuenca) where silversmiths flex their creative muscles.

19. Try hand-gliding for the first time off the cliffs of Crucita or Canoa on the coast.

20. Bike down the entire Ecuador coast from Esmeraldas to Salinas. Hope I get to do this one.

21. Watch the Tungurahua Volcano erupt at night from the look out over Banos. Tours can be arranged in one of the many agencies in Baños. Cost $20 per person.

22. Observe the amazing Pink river dolphins as they frollic in the unique flooded rainforest of Cuyabeño in northern Ecuador. Tours can be arranged once on the ground out of Quito or Lago Agrio. Anacondas, monkeys and sloths are also possible to be seen. Canoe Tours start from $40 per person.

23. Scuba dive in the crystalline waters of Galapagos off Wolfe Island where its common to see schools of hundreds of Hammerheads and dozens of whale sharks. 2 Dives start from around $130. Best arranged once on the ground in Santa Cruz Island near the port in Puerto Ayora with local dive shops.

24. Snorkel with the worlds smallest penguin, gigantic manta rays, big marine iguanas and (friendly) reef sharks off las Tintoreras on the picturesque snow-white sands and turqoise waters off Floreana Island in the Galapagos. Day tours to Isabela arranged in Santa Cruz start around $65/person.

25. Eat two buckets of the locally-famous garlic crab at one of the best crabhouses (Manny’s Crangrejal) in Guayaquil, a city known for its numerous crabhouses. Near San Marino Mall any taxi will know where it is. $12.

26. Hunt for fossils along the banks of the Nangaritza River, the only river that connects the Amazon to the Pacific Ocean, high in the Condor Mountain Ridge (Cordillera del Condor). For more try $25-50 /person.

27. Deep-sea fish for Marlin and Whale-watch in August off the calm shores of Salinas. Trips can be arranged in one of the several agencies along the boardwalk. Cost: Whalewatching from $20 per person, deep sea fishing price varies depending on amount of people.

28. Visit a coffee farm in the Intag near Ibarra and learn the whole process from harvest to belly.

29. Hummingbird watch and observe thousands of butterflies at a butterfly farm in the cloud rainforests of Mindo. Tours can be arranged once in Mindo. Start from $20/person.

30. Trout fish in one of the surreal apline lakes in the barren Cajas National Park near Cuenca. Tours can be arranged with Terra Diversa in Cuenca.

31. Go way off the beaten path and hike to the Lost City (Ciudad Perdida) of Ecuador’s Southern Amazon. Extreme adventure available through local guides only out of Nangaritza. Cost: Highly negotiable.

32. Pamper myself with a the natural mud bath in the mud pools in the dry rainforest of Machalilla National Park and spend the night playing volleyball with the local indigenous and later sleeping in one of their tiki huts. From Puerto Lopez hire a motorcycle taxi and pay a few bucks from them to take you to the indigenous community of Aguas Blancas in the park. Cost: $10 for the day tour to the mud baths and $10/person for the night.

33. View thousands of Orchid species and hummingbirds along the well-kept trails of the Podocarpus National Park easily reached in a $4 taxi ride from the town of Zamora. Free entrance to park.

34. Get a taste of ancient Incan life by hiking the 10km trek from El Tambo to Ingapirca, ancient Incan ruins and effectively Ecuador’s own “Machu Picchu”. You can also take a train, taxi or bus which can be arranged out of Canar. Ruins Entrance fee $6.

35. Get certified as a glider plane pilot in Santo Domingo through a one month course with a local flight instructor. They say if you can fly a plane without an engine you can fly a plane with one. Course starts around $1300. 2015 prices yet to be released.

36.Learn to kite surf with an instructor against the strangly barren cliff landscapes of Santa Marianita near Manta. Classes can be arranged on site. Prices vary.

37. Zip-line through a Banana plantation in Machala and learn all the ins and outs of the interesting business with CristyViajes. Tours start around $20 per person.

38. Fish for Pirana in Laguna Pañacocha, a beautiful black wáter lake backed by cloud forests. To get there, hire a local canoe where the Rio Panacayu meets the Rio Napo, to get there you’ll need to take a Nuevo Rocafuerte Canoe hired in the town of Coca. Price varies depending on season.

39. Visit a Chocolate factory in Mindo.

40. Hike the Quillotoa Volcano and witness the majestic, stunning turquoise-colored lake in the volcano’s crater. Can be done solo by taking a bus from Latacunga and getting off near the base. Cost: $4 bus fare from Latacunga.

41. Mingle with sexy locals dressed to the tilt during the 2 hour river-boat cruise on the all-you-can-drink boat ‘Morgans’ which leaves every night from the boardwalk (Malecon) of Guayaquil. $15 per person includes all you can drink.

42. White-water raft and try kayaking with top rated kayaks in 2018 for the first time in the lazy to fierce rivers around the city of Tena where the activities have made the town famous.

43. Explore the rarely-visited beaches north of Esmeraldas while at night dancing salsa to afro-latino beats after eating the local delicacy of Shrimp cooked in spiced coconut milk (encocado de camaron). I’m sure I’ll feel like I’m in the Caribbean. Cost: $5-6.

44. Just for fun one day try panning for gold in Yantzaza with the locals in the southern Ecuador Amazon.

45. Volunteer in one of the animal shelters in the Ecuadorian Amazon (or start my own here in the highlands.)

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