Domenick Buonamici, an expat and entrepreneur shares with us his 7 most positive and negative things about Ecuador.
7 positive things Domenick bets you did not know about Ecuador
7. Rent a bike for $5 high in the Andes, in Baños, and then be amazed as you casually descend through the foothills of the Andes into the Amazon Jungle Basin (60 km). Then catch the bus with your bike back up. This can be done in 1 day, only a moderate level of fitness is needed.
6. Deep-sea fish for Marlin for a fraction of what it costs in Mexico or Oyster dive with locals near Salinas.
5. Gamble in the Casinos of Guayaquil, or take an all-you-can-drink 2-hour river-boat cruise similar in style to what I’ve seen in San Diego, Toronto and London. (This is how I met my last ex-girlfriend.) Leaves almost every night in Guayaquil.
4. Eat strawberries the size of your fist in Ibarra, cheese made in a leaf (Hoja de Queso) in Ambato, and entire fish cooked on a grill along the coast (pescado asado)…all delicious!
3. Get certified as a glider pilot near Otavalo for a little over $1000… they say if you can fly a glider plane (it looks like a small airplane, but with no engine) flying a plane with an engine is even easier.
2. Help harvest cocoa on a plantation in Machala then visit an active gold mine later that day.
1. Eat Filet Mignon for $6 then get 5-10 years taken off your face --not exaggerating-- with the treatments of locally-famous Dermatologist Janeth Arevalo in Loja for a fraction of what you’d pay in the States. And she’s much better than the Dermatologists that treated me in the US! Tell her Dom sent you. Dentistry and other medical treatments are also world-class and at a low cost in Loja! Alone, cheap cost of living is a bad reason to move to another country, that could change overnight! But as you can see, Ecuador offers a lot more than that, in fact, I’d live here even if it were more expensive than the States (but not a lot more).
Domenick’s 7 negatives to life in Ecuador.
I love living in Ecuador but it’s not all peachy like you’ve probably read elsewhere… Many ask, “If Ecuador’s so great, why hasn’t prices shot up already like they did in Costa Rica?” The short answer is that it’s a little further away and not as discovered, but there are other reasons some choose NOT to invest in Ecuador.
7. Prices of consumer goods: It’s true that housing, food, transport and medical costs are all significantly cheaper in Ecuador than in the US/Europe. BUT costs of consumer goods like digital cameras, computers and brand-name clothes are often around double that of the States thanks to the import taxes imposed by the government.
6. Lack of expat community: 90% of the people who write me say they’re looking for cheap property near things to do. Well, the coast of Ecuador is, uh, rural, so in many areas there aren’t many “social” things to do (But Manta is an exception, the coast’s largest city with plenty to do.)
5. Lack of public golf courses: All the golf courses I know of in Ecuador are private, meaning you have to know someone (or do someone a sexual favor) just to get on the green. This could change shortly though. If there is a new public course available I’m unaware of please write me.
4. Price of air tickets from the US: The cheapest ticket I’ve ever found was $250 one way from Miami to Quito. Roundtrip the cheapest out there start around $350/400. Other Latin destinations closer to home usually can be a little cheaper than that these days.
3. Can’t drive there, or bring used cars: As mentioned a few weeks ago, it’s difficult to bring used cars to Ecuador and you can’t simply drive them down (no road connects North and South America).
2. Left-leaning president: The current president Rafael Correa is left-leaning but he’s studied Economy in Europe and is not nearly as extremist as Chavez. Since he’s came to office with the exception of a few blips, business has hummed along as usual but things have gotten a bit more orderly and for the first time people feel like they have to pay taxes (annoying the country’s rich). Ecuador can’t close itself, it needs the outside world, foreign investment and tourism. And besides, the Ecuadorian people are capitalists, through and through, and are a small, peaceful bunch who generally like foreigners (you’re probably taller than most of them).
1. Cloudy coast: Most of the Ecuador coast is overcast most of the year. Though, there are a few areas that get more sun. For instance, on the southern coast the sunny season with sapphire blue water is from January to early April, the rest of the year is mostly overcast. But I like it though cause I burn easy. Ecuador’s food, culture, people, weather, and business opps are amazing, but it’s helpful to have someone tell you a few of the negatives before you invest on that flight down.
Domenick Buonamici - Ecuador