Robbed in Quito, Ecuador

robbed in quito ecuador The Panecillo near where I was robbed.

“Are you serious, an apartment for a total price of $9000 in Quito?” I thought.

I gotta see this one myself.

You see, I’m in the market for a place in the north of Quito in the area starting from the Old Town all the way until about the airport.

This 1 bedroom condo for sale was in the old town, a one bedroom suite in a refurbished, subdivided, old colonial house.

Now, myself, like most folks who have spent significant time in Quito know that there are parts of the old town that are “shady” to say the least.

So I did diligence by doing a quick search for the exact location of the property on Google Maps and the spot checked out, right near the rejuvenated area near the famous “Panecillo” or virgin angel statue on the hill. Well, I doubt the “virgin” part if shes in Quito.

So off I went.

As I pulled up to the property, as can be expected for the price I wasn’t blown away with the house itself, but the suite was nicely finished, and I was right at the base of the Panecillo hill a short walk from the center of the Old Town.

The location was decent, just a block or two away from the nice part.

As I was walking out of the suite I turned left and started walking down the hill on the sidewalk with a big wall to my right.

After about a block 2 younger guys who previously walked past me in the other direction sprinted towards me from the back, one grabbing my shirt ripping the collar, the other pulling out a knife from his belt.

They were yelling something at me and trying to pin me against the wall.

When I saw the knife my heart jumped, this was for real, I was being robbed.

First time in my life. Couldn’t believe it.

Without thinking I reacted.

I threw my left arm up to shield me from the man lunging towards me with the knife and I dove.

Head first.

Right onto the concrete through the little gap that remained between one of the men and the wall.

I slid through, pushed myself upright and started running.

I didn’t look back until about a block later.

And they were gone.

And my hands were covered in blood from when I dove away baseball-style right onto the concrete.

I had lost chunks of flesh in my hands from the fall and my shirt was badly ripped.

I then walked a few more blocks.

I didn’t know what else to do.

Until I flagged down a taxi with my fists closed hiding the blood. I didn’t think they’d pick someone up with bloody hands.

And off I went.

Now, to be fair, in 5 years of being in and out of Ecuador and one year of permanent living, and a whole lot of dumb walking around at night, I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve been robbed in Ecuador and it’s NOT common.

I’d say violent crime is far less common in Ecuador than in the US, but petty theft is rampant just like you’d expect in any poor country.

In other words, if it’s not tied down, it’s gone.

The most common ways I’ve seen people get robbed in Ecuador is by taxi drivers who drive off with all the bags in the trunk of an unsuspecting, overtrusting traveler (seen it happen twice in a year) or when you’re in the bus and the workers of the bus line rumage through the bags and see what they can quickly find (seen guys do this once) while everyone is already boarded.

How can you avoid getting robbed like this?

Travel light, with only one bag so you don’t have to put things in the trunk of a taxi. And have a simple, cheap cell phone, maybe one you buy down here for $40 you can quickly pop an Ecuadorian SIM card in to connect to the local network.

And don’t walk long distances at night in the 3 major cities of Ecuador (Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil).

Ecuador’s an AWESOME place that I highly prefer to the US, but there is a downside you should know about.

You gotta keep “yo head on a swivel” but for most that’s just part of the fun.

Cowboy rules.

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$45,000 neg., Beachfront Pedernales Lot


$45,000 negotiable,  Beachfront Pedernales Lot For Sale, 11m x 14m (1657 ft2).  For more call 094-206408My take: This is one lot right in the heart of the tourist center on the malecon (boardwalk) of the city right on the beach and next to restaurants and hotels, good for some type of tourism project. 

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$80,000 neg., Crucita Beachfront Restaurant


$80,000 negotiable. Crucita Beachfront Restaurant for sale 340m2 (2690 ft2), Call 092-457737 for more.  My take: Great location beachfront and right in the center of the main boardwalk (malecon) of Crucita.  Big lot with open space behind the restaurant that could work for a hotel or condo project.  Renovating the restaurant or putting a bar would generate instant income.

To be the first to know of similar properties for sale, as soon as they hit the market, please sign up for my weekly, Ecuador Insider’s Newsletter below (You can unsubscribe at ANY time):

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$40,000 neg., Puerto Lopez Beachfront lot


$40,000 negotiable, Puerto Lopez Beachfront lot for sale 210m2 (2260 ft2) beachfront lot right in the hot tourist zone. Call 089-793108 for more info.  My take: Not many of these left at these prices right in the hot tourist zone of the boardwalk beachfront in Puerto Lopez, great for some type of income generating tourism business. 

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5 Mistakes when Bringing Household Goods Tax-Free to Ecuador

household goods to Ecuador|

There’s a lot of bad information out there on bringing your household goods to Ecuador.

Let’s clear the air.

Foreigners moving to Ecuador DO qualify to bring one container… one time… of their household goods TAX FREE just like Ecuadorian migrants living abroad who move back to Ecuador.

In order to qualify you need to have a residency visa and your goods need to arrive in Ecuador within 6 months of getting the visa.

Or within 2 months of your arrival in Ecuador.

Here are 5 common mistakes many foreigners experience when moving their goods…

This info was attained through an interview with Vicente Villafuerte, an agent for montreal movers and Storage Company, which can handle your move to Ecuador door-to-door. Contact Vicente at 1-866-942-4229 or at

1. Shipping before getting the visa. Many foreigners ship before actually attaining the visa, which can be a grave error! Often, the visa process is delayed and your belongings may have to sit in costly storage in customs until you get your visa stamped in your passport and can clear your items. Get your visa first!

2. Applying for the visa from a distance. I recommend getting your visa once in Ecuador, it is much easier, faster and less expensive than applying from abroad but you will need to bring a few documents from your home country so do your homework beforehand.

3. Shipping prohibited items. Alcohol, and things like wine collections can not be brought into the country tax free, period, nor can guns or weapons of any kind. Guns are not permitted to be carried by the general public in Ecuador.

4. Not following the different rules for foreigners. Understand that different rules apply to foreigners when bringing their tax free container when compared to locals. Foreigners can not bring anything with an engine (like a car, motorcycle or plane) tax free in their container. While Ecuadorians moving back to Ecuador CAN bring one car up to 4 years old and with certain CC restrictions. Ecuadorians moving back can also bring one motorcycle or other type of motorized vehicle. The moving company you choose can help advise you if in doubt.

5. Not professionally packing their items. Have your moving company do the packing for you, it is usually included in the same cost and having professionals pack your items could save you a lot against having your items broken in transit. Before packing contact your moving agent to be sure your documentation and packing list are right, often even when you ship fully insured the insurance companies will fight not to honor claims. while a public insurance adjuster can assist with the claims process, he or she cannot get you more money than you are entitled to under your insurance policy. If you choose to pack yourself, Affordable Removals sells a variety of removal cartons and Packing Material Services both new and second hand to suit your needs. Cartons can be purchased back after your removal.Should you decide to move with us, we offer a carton loan service whereby we deliver as many cartons as you need to your door with an out of pocket expense of only $25. We will even pick up the cartons when you have finished with them, free of charge of course. We also supply TV boxes and portable wardrobes to use on the day of the removal at NO CHARGE.

By air or by sea?

Generally, if you have more than 15 cubic meters of cr@p it’ll be cheaper and make more sense to ship by sea.

How much will it cost to ship your goods to Ecuador?

Here are a few prices based on recent real-world examples…

Canada-Cuenca 8m3 $6,400

Miami –Cuenca: 1×20’ $7,000

Houston-Cuenca: 1×40’ $12.000

And for the exact process you’ll need to follow in order to bring household goods to Ecuador tax-free, without headaches and at the lowest cost try my weekly newsletter on Ecuador living and investing, you can unsubscribe at any time:

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