Friday, May 31, 2013

Three tickets to Paradise by Deborah A. Brookhart

Book Description

May 13, 2013
After a man loses both his full-time and part-time jobs within a month of each other and cannot find employment, he decides to cash in his 401k and move to Ecuador. This is the story of how he, his wife and teenage daughter, along with a dog and cat, deal with language barriers, "gringo rates" for items, a crazy builder, and a home invasion where the wife was pistol-whipped.*******Caution: contains adult language, including the F-bomb**********

Olon Again...Naturally: Cuenca Again

Olon Again...Naturally: Cuenca Again:

Friday, May 31, 2013

Cuenca Again

May 31, 2013

I’m back in Cuenca for a week or so to take care of on-going eye problems.
I saw my eye doctor yesterday and I am scheduled to have cataract surgery next Tuesday. Both of my eyes have cataracts, but the left eye is down to 20% vision, so that one will be operated on first.  This is the same eye that I had laser surgery on about 8 months ago to repair a torn retina, and because I had Lasik surgery done on my eyes about ten years ago, the surgery will be a little more complicated than normal cataract removal.

I have a lot of confidence in my eye doctor here in Cuenca, and looking forward to being able to see again.  I don’t know what cataract surgery costs in the States now, but the cost of this procedure here is going to cost $1200 - $1500, depending on what type of lens is needed (to be determined during the operation).

The Festival of Corpus Christi started yesterday. It is a weeklong celebration that includes fireworks, bands, a multitude of the stands selling dulces, and other festivities.  It’s always fun to wonder around El Centro and Parque Caldron during these holidays.

In fact, it seems like every time we are in Cuenca, there is some type of holiday celebration happening, generally rooted in some religious observance (during our last trip here, it was during Palm Sunday weekend), and I love that Ecuadorians embrace merriment at the drop of a “Panama” hat.*

Taken during last visit to Cuenca
during Palm Sunday weekend.

Ecuador Expat Bloggers: Blog Update -- May 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

Blog Update -- May 2013

Here are new bloggers (at least that I've just found) to add to the roll.  Quite a few of these blogs are from peace corps volunteers (PCV), and there are also blogs from missionaries.  I was able to compile this list using the resources from Ecuador News Magazine which has done an amazing job of collecting all of the blogging information.  And there are also new bloggers from the expat population detailing their move from their old home to Ecuador.

Enjoy! many more:....

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

So, You Want to Retire in Cuenca Ecuador…

So, You Want to Retire in Cuenca Ecuador…
So here is that all important question…
Do you really want to retire in Cuenca, Ecuador?

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear About Cuenca Ecuador….

  • It will cost at least $1000 a month to live in Ecuador (You cannot live on $600 per month). When I say live, I mean more than just exist. Living means seeing a show now and then, eating out once in a while, living in a place that has walls and a roof. Having internet access and satellite TV. Maybe hot water for your morning shower would be nice. Rents and real estate prices are going up. Be aware of these things. Arriving with not enough money will turn your dream into a real nightmare.
  • You really need to speak a little Spanish in order to relate to the locals. Learn how to order food and how to ask directions. Take a class for goodness sake.
  • The residency Visa process is not a piece of cake. It will be tedious and frustrating. Get help if you need it.
  • Learn about the local culture and respect the local culture. Don’t expect to find some little USA when you move here. This is Ecuador.
  • Calm down, slow down, and quiet down….. Do not bring that ego and “better than everyone else attitude” with you. Arrogance is a very unattractive trait. You will be a guest in this country, so try to act that way.
  • Rent for the first year. Ecuador is a big country. There are beautiful coastal towns like Manta (pictured below) and beautiful mountain communities like Quito or Cuenca Ecuador. Do not buy property right away. Slow down. Look at everything first. Get a feel for this place.
  • If you think that those International Magazines you are reading are telling you the whole truth, think again. A lot of them are selling seminars, books, and real estate. Get your info from more than just one or two sources. Read local blogs and get in touch with some of the local groups on Facebook. Talk to people who are living in Ecuador. Be careful.
  • You must visit before you move to Ecuador. If you cannot afford to visit Ecuador then you cannot afford to live in Ecuador.
  • You have choices. Ecuador is not the be all end all place. There are a lot of great places in the world to live. Keep your mind open.

Cuenca Ecuador
Coastal city of Manta Ecuador

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

6 Things That Make Ecuador Affordable

By on March 12, 2013 
Affordable Cuenca, Ecuador
Thinking about making the move abroad and wondering where is the best location for a soon-to-be expat? Your answer might just be Ecuador, the newest hot spot destination for retirees and expats wanting the good life without the financial stress.
Affordable Cuenca, Ecuador
Ecuador is the world’s best place to retire overseas on a retirement budget. Here you can live better than you do in the U.S. for less money. The cost of living is low, and the cost of real estate is one of the lowest for Latin America. With monthly estimated living expenses ranging from $900 to $1,400, Ecuador surpasses Panama, Mexico, and Costa Rica.

1. Real Estate in Ecuador Is Affordable

If you want to call Ecuador home for good, the process of buying a house is straightforward. Real estate prices are still relatively low. Some expats find it is still possible to build new residential construction for under $100 per square foot. But remember, this is local construction… cement or red clay brick. There is almost no wood construction in Ecuador....

AAA LIVING IN CUENCA: Trip to Machala, Ecuador - the banana capitol of t...

AAA LIVING IN CUENCA: Trip to Machala, Ecuador - the banana capitol of t...:

Stephen and Geri picked me up around 10 am on Saturday morning along with Val and Ana. We headed towards Yunguilla, a beautiful village in the lust green mountains south of Cuenca, and then down to the coast. Leaving behind the 72 degree weather of Cuenca. Two and a half hours later we were in the 86 degree weather of Machala with 80% humidity! It was nice to wear shorts and t-shirts again.

Machala is the banana capitol of the world and we drove through miles of banana fields.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Market Watch Article about Ecuador - TUE, May 14, 2013

by: Grimms' Travel Tales- Tuesday, May 14, 2013-Market Watch Article about Ecuador:
 As a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, Mike Grimm traveled to 57 countries in his 29 years of service. “I’ve seen how people live all over the world,” he says. When it came time for Mike and his wife, Patty, to retire in 2010, Grimm, by then a teacher and living in Arizona, knew he wanted a low-cost location with good health care, natural beauty, nice weather and plenty of cultural opportunities.


Grimm and his wife opted for Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador. “We live on about $1,500 a month,” Mike says....We were recently interviewed (via Skype) by a journalist writing for the Wall Street Journal's Market Watch segment.  Here is her completed article:

There seems to be a lot of interest all of a sudden in Ecuador.  Please remember to bring your manners and your desire to learn Spanish with you to this beautiful country.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Health Care for U. S. Military Retirees - Live Outside the U. S.

by- Grimms' Travel Tales

Health Care for U. S. Military Retirees

Live Outside the U. S.

Any age:  Tricare Standard is the only one you can get outside of the States and it is primary (since Medicare applies only in the States).  You pay up front for your medical costs, and then get reimbursed.

Here is information of how we get reimbursed for our medical expenses while living in Ecuador:

 Since we are outside of the U.S., the only choice in Tricare coverage is Tricare Standard.  Medicare doesn't work here, so Tricare Standard is primary.  We pay the medical bills and prescription costs ourselves and then submit the claim form to receive reimbursement.  The claim form is DD Form 2642 and can be found on the following website:  You fill it out online, (don't forget to save to your computer if you wish), print the completed form, sign it, attach the backup doctor statements/receipts, and mail to the following address:

TRICARE Overseas
Region 15
P. O. Box 7985
Madison, WI  53707-7985

Friday, May 10, 2013

What Do Ecuadorians Think About Americans in Ecuador?

What Do Ecuadorians Think About Americans in Ecuador? Americans in EcuadorDo You Care About What Ecuadorians Think About You?   (part 2) Lets start with a couple of short stories today…

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Officials review Ecuador's earthquake vulnerability; Cuenca is at a lower risk while coastal risk is highest

Posted By Admin | Published: May 7, 2013 12:43
How prepared is Ecuador for a major earthquake? Not very, say some Ecuador's emergency management officials, who are reviewing emergency procedures that would respond to disasters similar to those suffered in Haiti. Peru and Chile in the last five years.
Ecuador lies on the eastern rim of the seismically active area known as the Pacific Ring of Fire, according the Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute. There have been at least 37 earthquakes of magnitude 7 or higher since 1541, when written records by the Spanish were first maintained, the institute says. The government estimates that more than 80,000 died as a result of those earthquakes.
It is important, officials say, to know the level of risk of the area you live in. For example, Manta is at a relatively high risk for a catastrophic earthquake whereas Cuenca is at relatively low risk. Countrywide, the area of greatest risk, says the institute, is the coast, particularly the area from Manta to the Colombia border, followed by the northern Andes including the cities of Ambato, Riobamba, Quito and Ibarra.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Lonely Planet - Introducing Ecuador - Best in Travel 2013

Picturesque colonial centers, Kichwa villages, Amazonian rainforest and the breathtaking heights of the Andes – Ecuador may be small, but it has a dazzling array of wonders....

Click here to find out more! Advertisement
Cultural Splendor
The historic centers of Quito and Cuenca – both Unesco World Heritage Sites – are lined with photogenic plazas, 17th-century churches and monasteries, and beautifully restored mansions. Wandering the cobblestone streets amid architectural treasures from Spanish colonial days is a fine way to delve into the past. You can travel further back by contemplating great pre-Columbian artworks at museums across the country...

Galápagos Islands vs Isla de la Plata, Ecuador

Isla de la Plata is known as the ‘Poor Man’s Galápagos’. It’s certainly easier and cheaper to access – just 27km off the Ecuadorian mainland, while the Galápagos is 1000km. Species here include whales, sea lions and birds, including boobies, frigatebirds and waved albatross; Galápagos faves such as giant tortoise and penguins are absent.
Worth the saving? A Plata day-trip (around US$35) is fine, but is no match. An eight-night Galápagos cruise costs from US$1500 plus flights – but find the cash if you can....

Another ‘monster’ sighting in the Cajas Mountains; British hikers and guide

Posted By Admin | Published: May 6, 2013 23:06
He is called Wawa Grande by the indigenous people living in the Cajas Mountains west of Cuenca. He was called the Monstruo de las Cajas in a 1997 German magazine article.

He can also be called the monster that won’t go away, despite the best efforts of Ecuador’s national park service and a number of scientists.

A Quito television station reported three weeks ago that two British hikers and their tour guide spotted the elusive creature in Cajas National Park during a three-day trek. The trio claimed to have observed the over-sized humanoid animal for several minutes in a remote area of the park in early April.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Discover Quito Ecuador: La Mariscal District in Quito Ecuador

Discover Quito Ecuador: La Mariscal District in Quito Ecuador
 La Mariscal District in Quito Ecuador
      La Mariscal District

As promised we’re going to talk about the three main districts that are located in Quito Ecuador. This post will be about the La Mariscal District in Quito.

Each area of Quito city has its own unique ambiance that sets it apart. La Mariscal is also known as “the tourist area” because it is where many tourists stay and there is a lot to do and see here.


ECUADOR NEWS MAGAZINE: Ecuador Andes guide - GUARANDA: At 2668 m Guaranda is the provincial capital of the province of Bolivar in Ecuador. Located in the heart of the country.It is the smallest p...

ECUADOR NEWS MAGAZINE: Potpourri - Ecuador expats blogs

ECUADOR NEWS MAGAZINE: Potpourri - Ecuador expats blogs: Ecuador news magazine - If you are coming to Ecuador and staying for more than 90 days you better give some thought to getting an Ecuadorian drivers license if you plan on driving. Recently police have been pulling over gringos and checking their documents. 
If you have been in the country for more than 90 days and do not have an Ecuadorian drivers license you are subject to arrest with an automatic 3 days in jail and a fine.