Ecuador Living! Some days I can’t even believe I’ve done it! How I got here was magic, serendipitous.
I was born in England but lived much of my life in Florida. My work as a hairdresser, a colorist, involved frequent commutes between L.A. and Florida. It was hard work and I developed carpel tunnel.
As a result of this occupational injury, I began to project ahead and figured I had perhaps ten years left working as a hairdresser. My house was paid for but I realized that social security would barely cover the basics.
Where would money come from? I was screwed!
So I looked around on the Internet for places I could afford, places that also had the right climate and culture for me. Uruguay was my first choice because I speak Italian. However, it was too far from the United States and from my daughter. Plus I was sick of the heat and Uruguay is hot.
I’m pretty well traveled, but I’d never heard of Quito. I had heard of Ecuador but didn’t really know where it was! As I began checking out places to live, the idea of Ecuador living kept popping up. I felt led here.
Within 3 days, 3 different people spoke of Ecuador. Two were in the salon where I was working---a woman’s husband was going to Quito. Then while I was in a store, a man mentioned that he was going to Quito.
I wanted beauty, great climate, affordability and proximity to the states. Those were my priorities. I did my research and originally I was going to move to Vilcabamba, in southern Ecuador. I never made it there.
I sold my house. Then began to wonder, “What if I hate living in Ecuador?” But I came anyway, with no job and knowing no one. I ended up in Cotacachi.
I remember the day I first went to San Miguel, a walled community being built on the outskirts of Cotacachi. It was raining and there was this amazing rainbow shining overhead. Within five minutes I had decided that it was for me!
And you know what? Many women who come here have done the same---decided within about five minutes to buy in San Miguel. It’s as if we were all guided here.
I love San Miguel. It reminds me of England in the summer because I came from the Cotswolds.
Now I’ve gone back to doing what I used to do and what I dreamed I would do. I dreamed of Ecuador living in a hacienda-style house. Now I have the house and I have the horses and ride every day, walk, enjoy nature. I have created all of that here and all within the eighteen months since I arrived.
In the morning I wake up, have my tea (my English heritage!). I sit on my beautiful terrace, look at the volcano in the distance and can’t believe I’ve done it!
Ecuador living...Hell yes! I did it! And I love it! Not one day since I have been here have I regretted it.
My favorite kind of day is to go to Ibarra, a large town about a half-hour north of Cotacachi. I ride the bus, go to Supermaxi, a great grocery with most everything I need, then have lunch across the street at “Ruminahui.” They have fantastic fried garlic shrimp, cucumber salad and plantain. A nearby bakery has the best cappuccino I’ve found. Next I get my mani and pedi.
Another excellent part of Ecuador living, I don’t do any housework, gardening or laundry. I get all of that for $70 a month, plus 24-hour security.
There is one difficulty with living in Ecuador that I face. People want to please. They say yes to anything and are very non-confrontational. Drives me crazy. They “yes” you to death! You confront them with things like deadlines, inconsistencies, whatever, and they look at you blankly. They give no excuses.
Then out of the blue you will find someone who operates differently. For instance, I found a man who makes curtains and he put up great rods, curtains, all at a reasonable price and most of all, by the date he said he would!
One bit of advice. Don’t go to a restaurant hungry. It’s nothing in Ecuador to wait for an hour for your main course. When this happens, I have learned to say, Wait… This is what I came to Ecuador for! The slow pace of Ecuador living.
I’ve gotten used to it. So have a little snack before you go out to eat. . . Or you’ll want to kill somebody!
I had been searching for my life’s purpose and now I have found it. Mine is to help women like me, in the second part of life, to live their dreams. It is possible because I have done it!
I didn’t intend to do real estate. But I am so passionate about living in Ecuador that it is a natural choice for me. So far I have helped six women to find the courage to live their dreams and make a new life in Ecuador. All have bought land here in Cotacachi.
Some invested with the idea of retiring in Ecuador. Others will build a house and live in Ecuador occasionally. They meet me and say, “I can do this, too!” And they are smart women, heads of corporations. It’s just that meeting someone who has already done it can give you that little bit of courage you need to do it yourself.
I didn’t come here with a lot of money. And I came here with no income. I get calls from people saying, “You are an inspiration to me because you have made a success of things!” All my sales are to single women like me. They are the ones I resonate with.
They can do the things while living in Ecuador that they can no longer afford to do in the states. Here in Cotacachi, they can go to La Mirage, a really first-class five-star spa with membership in the Relais and Chateaux association, one of only a very few in all of South America. They can pamper themselves with fabulous massages and dine at the spa’s restaurant for $30. An hour away there is a wonderful mountain hot springs with medicinal waters.
If they own their own house in the states and sell it, they can easily afford to buy land and a great house here for around $75,000, then invest the rest. It’s really cheap to live here compared to the United States, England or many places in Europe.
Since my house and land are now paid for, I can live on around $400 a month which covers food, utilities including internet and direct tv, maintenance, gardening, laundry, security guard and maid. This is Ecuador living!
I’m having granite countertops put in my kitchen, getting fitted for new riding boots, and looking forward to the arrival of my mare, a former polo pony, so I can ride daily up to the land I am developing in the hills above Cotacachi.
There I am creating another dream—a place of serenity and safety where women or anyone can live very reasonably yet abundantly. The houses there are adobe, two-story townhouses of about 1600+ square feet, built on ½ acre lots. They all have incredible views of the hills and volcanoes.
Click here to read about Jahua Pacha, Carolina's latest project, which is fast becoming the premier expat Ecuador living development in Cotacachi.
Cotacachi is now my home and I love it here. In the short time I have been here I have developed an international circle of friends, discovered a new lifestyle I never dreamed possible and found lasting satisfaction in assisting others to do the same.
In helping others make their dreams come true, not only have I found my reason for living, I am creating my own path to abundance, happiness and community through Ecuador living.
Eagle and Condor Internacional Cia. Ltd., owner of Pro-Ecuador.com, is the sales agent for Jahua Pacha. To read about our services or to contact us, click here.