$170k, Malacatos Property for Sale

FOR SALE: 11,000m2 proprty with 3 new 1 bdrm houses. Malacatos, Ecuador-1/2 hr from Vilcabamba.Fruit trees,garden,electricity,water, irrigation, easy access.Photos avail.$170,000. Contact: Chris Campbell; [email protected]; cell-0993690627.

To be notified of similar properties for sale as soon as they hit the market, sign up for my weekly email alerts below, you can unsubscribe at any time:

First Name
* Email
* = Required Field

25 Essential Online Tools Expats Cant Live Abroad Without

I couldn’t even dream about living abroad without the following list of (mostly free) online tools I personally use on a daily basis here in Ecuador…

1. Magic Jack App. for iPhone:  I wouldn’t suggest ever living abroad without a Magic Jack, a little apparatus you plug into your computer that not only gives you a US phone number people can reach you at (VoIP) wherever in the world you are free but also allows you to call for free to any number in the US and Canada.  Cost is a one-time fee just under $100 found in most electronic stores.  But if you have an iPhone you can download the free MAGIC JACK app and have a US number people can reach you at that you can answer from your phone, free.  You can also make calls to US numbers via the app free as well, but you need to be connected to the internet.  VERY useful when staying in touch with friends and family but also in business if you plan on selling to Americans & Canadians from abroad. 

2. Teamviewer: Teamviewer is a free software you can use to “screenshare” or share what you’re seeing on your computer with someone anywhere else in the world, for free.  You can also take control of someones computer mouse and control their computer if they give you permission through the program or give permission for them to take control of your PC.  VERY useful for online working, I used it when developing a software with a guy in India showing him detail by detail what I needed. Realtors say they can’t work properly without the real estate software (find out more from Unify CRM). 

3. Toll free forwarding:  Toll free forwarding is great for small business owners abroad who want to appear bigger than they really are by having a 1-800 number that forwards to their local number, anywhere on the globe.  Very useful. 

4. Webgistix:  If you’ve been wondering, “jeeze, I’d love to begin exporting to the US little by little but who would receive my goods, unpack them, and reship them to my final customers?” Then Webgistix is for you because they do just that!  A game-changer indeed. 

5. Virtual Post Mail: As more and more people flock to greener pastures abroad several companies like this one have begun to offer this important service to anyone living abroad.  They offer you a US address you can have things mailed to, they open your mail and scan it if you request it, or they can shred it if you request that too.   They can also forward your mail upon request to anywhere on the globe. 

6. Skype:  Skype is not a new thing but is still a must for anyone living abroad.  It’s a free way to not only make and receive calls, anywhere, but also it’s a great way to make free video conference calls with up to 12 team members at once.  Great if you live abroad and work online with a team scattered throughout the world. 

7. Pamela.biz:  Pamela is a complement plug in for Skype that allows you to record calls you make or receive via Skype.  Great for doing international business or simply recording something important. 

8. Club Correos:  I had to throw at least one tool in here that specifically helps expats IN ECUADOR.  This service is run through the Ecuador post office and once you sign up you can order stuff online in the US and have it delivered to their PO Box in Miami, once there they will forward your items to you in Ecuador.  Great if you don’t have a mother or relative in the States that can provide the same service.  Thanks mom. 

9. Vocaroo:  If you’re on my newsletter I’m sure you’ve received and sent emails.  But have you ever sent a voice email to someone?  Yes, one where they receive an email from you, open it, then listen to your message (not read it).  With vocaroo you can send free voice email messages great if you better selling verbally than via written text or also if you’d like to break up with someon from a distance but don’t know actually what to write.  “Really baby, it’s not you it’s me… “  I’ve never done this I swear.

10. Faxzero:  I know fax is a thing of the past but every once in a while you will have to send a fax maybe when applying for something or to an old timer who doesn’t use email yet, faxzero.com lets you send the fax for free online to US and Canada numbers.  For sending fax to the rest of the world I use sendfreefax.net

11. Dreaminder:  Dreamminder is great to send yourself or anyone else an email at some point in the future.  In other words, you can schedule an email.  Great for reminders but also business tasks. 

12. Gmail canned responses:  I love this one!  Canned responses for gmail is a new feature you have to activate in the LABS section of your email, but once activated you can set fixed responses you can click on and they automatically appear in your email, you can then modify the message as you need and send, no copy and paste necessary, plus you have the saved standard meesages available to you from any PC anywhere if in a jam.  Huge time-saver, I use it in all my businesses! 

13. Boomerang for gmail:  This little complement plug in for Gmail is great for doing the task I enjoy least in business… bill collection.  That’s right, when my Italian-American forefathers might grab a baseball bat to collect an outstanding debt, I use Boomerang with Gmail, a simple app that lets you send a recurring email, once every day to a certain recipient until you decide to cancel it (once they’ve paid).  Its also great for cyber-stocking that special someone. 

14. Drop box:  Yes, I have actually spilled a wine glass clear across the keyboard of my lap top.  My lap top survived but if it hadn’t I wouldn’t have cried for the machine, but for the info I would have lost.  Now, with a free service like DropBox you can automatically back up important files you’d like to back up securely online. That way you have access to them from anywhere and can download them in the case of a PC crash.  Useful if traveling a lot and living abroad. 

15. Wetransfer:  Sometimes when living and working abroad you will need to send a file that is TOO BIG to attach normally to an email.  In those cases, I use WeTransfer, the free service works great for file transfers.  Important when working online or from abroad. 

Breaking the language barrier-
16. Google translator:  Still the most accurate tool online to quickly translate sentences or paragraphs of text from one of dozens of different languages. 

17. http://www.verbix.com/languages:  Anyone who has studying languages knows the backbone to any language is VERBS.  This handy tool online will give you the full verb conjugations of any verb in several dozen different languages. 

18. Forvo:  Is a great online dictionary of PRONOUNCED WORDS.  Just search the word and listen to the pronunciation.  Very handy. 

19. Wordreference.com:  When the word is so technical that Google Translator fails you, I use WordReference, similar to one of those fat Webster dictionaries but available for free online, works with English to French and Spanish.

20. livemocha.com:  A great, free program for studying languages online and having pen pals in forwign countries that help you along the way. 

21. Google Chrome:  The official free internet browser of Google that allows you to automatically translate entire websites in foreign languages to the language of your choice.  You may have to activate this feature in the settings.

22. Google alerts:  Are you a news junky?  Or just want to stay informed on a specific topic while abroad?  Then sign up for a free Google alert.  Every time your topic of interest is mentioned somewhere online Google will email you the exact link so you can check it out.  For instance, a lot of people use it to monitor the rep of their business name. 

23. timeanddate.com/worldclock:  When living abroad it’s great to know the time of another point in the world almost instantly, great tool.  Specifically good for when you’d like to watch sporting events in your home country and need to know when you need to tune in. 

24. XE.com:  Great free online tool updated every few minutes that allows you to convert any currency to any other instantly.  Important when living or doing business abroad. 

25. USTVNOW  / FirstRowSports.eu:  First Row Sports is a free service that streams live sporting events from around the world, don’t miss your favorite sporting events just cause you live in a country that lives and dies the mindless sport of soccer.  USTVNOW is great for watching live American TV shows online. 

Can you tell I’ve lived abroad a while now? 

To receive part 2 of this article, sign up for my list below, you can unsubscribe at any time:

First Name
* Email
* = Required Field

Where’s the hottest long-term rental market in Ecuador?

“This is insane, feels like a job interview.”

I thought this week as I found myself being interviewed for the “priviledge” of renting an apartment in Quito.

Next to me was another guy who was being jointly interviewed for the same apartment.

“So why should I choose you?” The owner of the apartment asked.

As I sat up in my chair I replyed… “Well, I’m clean, quiet and pay on time.”

Then she asked the other guy the same question and said OK I’ll call you tonight if I choose you.

As we left other folks interested in the apartment were entering.

She never called back.

I didn’t get it.

Now, I’ve rented in hot rental markets like San Diego, Honolulu, Madrid and China, but I’ve never seen a place where its so competitive to find a decent rental at a decent price.

The demand is huge. Certainly one of the best opportunity areas to own a rental in Ecuador.

It’s definitely not like the vacant, abandoned buildings in many areas of my home city, Cleveland, Ohio.

Quito is at capacity.

But I’m not surprised.

The planes to Ecuador are packed.

People are coming in droves.

The price is right.

Like one friend told me Brazil was like 10 years ago.

Now, the planes to Brazil are practically empty.

It’s too expensive due to the exchange rate. Nice country, but they’ve priced themselves out.

The sweet spot right now, or the rentals that get taken the quickest in Quito are the ones in the north of the city anywhere from the Mariscal/Floresta/Catolica area of Quito up until about the area of the “Y” and the Jipijapa area.

The most in-demand area is the very centric Carolina Park area near the biggest malls in Quito like Quicentro.

That’s where most locals and foreigners alike want to be.

The long-term rental apartments that go the fastest are the 2 bedroom ones in the above area in the $250-400 a month range.

Literally, for decent rentals in the above-mentioned area in this price range if you publish an ad in the local paper by the afternoon you’ve found a long-term tenant.

Really its the quick.

And the wait is only a bit longer if your rental is higher-priced.

Now, you could buy in this area starting around $35-45k and if renting long-term for the above prices would generate a 10% annual return not to mention the capital gains the market is experiencing.

Annual property taxes for an apartment in Quito of this value usually run less than $100. And condo fees are usually less than $40 a month, and the tenant usually pays that.

Nicer and newer 1 and 2 bedroom apartments in the same area can go for around $60k and you could command a bit more rent.

Quito rentals are hot indeed.

And to stay in-the-know on everything Ecuador related, sign up for my list below, you can unsubscribe at any time:

First Name
* Email
* = Required Field

Related: Austin Tenant Advisor Employee Office Space Design.

1 undiscovered mountain town in Ecuador with true “eternal spring-like” weather

zaruma real estate

I hear it all the time.

“I don’t like the heat and humidity of the coast of Ecuador but frankly, Cuenca is too damn cold.”

I know, I understand.

I usually respond just like I did in my last email… “A lot of people try to push Cuenca as “eternal spring” but actually it’s more like eternal ‘late fall’ “.

Now, I’ve lived in places with true eternal spring-like weather.

Example, Hawaii and Medellin, Colombia.

You know, places that have constant year-round weather where you can walk outside with a t-shirt and shorts and not even think about the temperature cause you are neither hot nor cold.

The problem with Medellin? It rains too much.

The problem with Hawaii? Not much, but if you press me I’d say it’s too expensive and many locals really don’t like “outsiders” or people not from Hawaii even though the ones that work in tourism well try to hide it.

In fact, Ecuador does have places with eternal spring-like weather.

Places just high enough to avoid the muggyness, mosquitos and humidity of the coast while not being as high as Cuenca or Quito.

One such place is one you’ve never heard mentioned before.


Zaruma is a cozy town of about 20,000 folks built into a cliffside with a wooden-spanish-colonial style old town surrounded by lush slopes of coffee plantations in southern Ecuador about 3 hours from Machala, 4 hours from Loja and 6 hours from Guayaquil.

The town was founded hundreds of years ago by ambitious miners in search of gold.

Further downstream the mines still run rich, but up in Zaruma the mining has stopped.

All that’s left is a stunning, little, undiscovered place to live.

The town is perched at an elevation of 1200 meters (3937 feet(about half the elevation of Cuenca)) and the year round temperature hovers around 22 degrees C (72 F) and drops just a bit cooler than that at night so you can sleep comfortably with a blanket over you (no AC or heat needed!).

The nearest airport is Santa Rosa, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours by car away.

Most the locals shop in the fresh produce market right in the middle of town and get their bare necessities from the little street stores that dot the town.

The town has a free, public hospital that is known for having good service.

The locals are friendly and quick to strike up a conversation with one of the few foreigners in town.

Within Ecuador, Zaruma has a great rep for it’s amazing coffee, particularly beautiful people and sweets.

Rents for a 2 bedroom house/apartment just outside the old town start around $150-300/month and plate lunches start around $2.

A local specialty is the TIGRILLO, a breakfast dish made of mashed plantanes, cheese and eggs.

A cool thing many visitors do is take a guided tour of the town gold mine, now extinct, it was an actual mine for hundreds of years and the tour is done by an actual miner and is very informative (and free!).

I’d stay in the Cerro de Oro Hotel in the town center, nice, clean rooms for only $10 per person. Ask for a room on the top floor for some spectacular mountain views but watch your head on the way up the stairs. Any taxi in town knows where it is and can take you for $1.

Buy your coffee at the local distributor, an 80+ year old man with a great sense of humor, Don Marcelo Valverde, he has his shop in the town center, just ask around for the “tienda de Don Marcelo” and folks can point you the way.

The only negatives of the town I see at this point for expats wanting to take residence are the distance to a major city and the fairly steep town roads.

Foreigners? Not many, yet.

There you have it, one mountain town in Ecuador with a steady, warm-yet-comfortable climate year-round.

But before you make any investment in Ecuador, you’re going to want to sign up for my Ecuador Insiders weekly newsletter filing in the blanks below, youll learn everything you need to know before you invest to Ecuador:

First Name
* Email
* = Required Field

Photo Diary of Zaruma Ecuador

Here are a few pics from a recent trip I made to Zaruma Ecuador.

zaruma ecuador

photo zaruma ecuador

zaruma ecuador house for sale


tigrillo zaruma
The Tigrillo in Zaruma

zaruma photos

zaruma real estate

To learn more about Zaruma fill in the blanks below:

First Name
* Email
* = Required Field