Ecuador Live the Life
Translate This

Archive for February 2015

Home Watch Services

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | February 27, 2015

At LIVETHELIFE, we strongly believe that vacation homes should be places where people can relax, be free of stress and worry, and simply enjoy everything about life. Vacation homes should never be a source of stress for their owners, especially during times when they are away. One of LIVETHELIFE’s goals is to provide clients with peace of mind each time they’re away from their homes.

If you own a vacation home in Ecuador, or are simply planning to leave your home for an extended period of time, we at LIVETHELIFE can provide you with all the services you need in order to maintain and keep your home and all of its amenities in tip-top condition. We can schedule frequent, thorough property inspections to make sure everything’s in order, and no problems occur in your home. During each inspection, we’ll go over every inch of your home to ensure everything is properly functioning.

Here are a few of the things we do during home inspections:

• Check for any plumbing issues, see if faucets are running, and toilets are properly flushing.

• Clear any signs of prolonged absence such as newspapers, flyers (we can set these aside for you, if you prefer), debris caused by weather, and other items.

• Go around your home’s perimeter, and check if everything in your property’s exterior is undamaged and secure.

• Conduct a thorough, room-by-room inspection, checking for damage to any walls, ceilings, and floors.

• Look for any signs of pest infestation, water damage, and other issues that may prove to be a headache if left unaddressed.

• Inspect all cooling, heating, and water systems, and see if everything’s functioning properly.

• Take note of any potential maintenance issues, and notify you immediately before they turn into bigger problems.

We’ll provide you with a detailed and in-depth report after each home inspection, and will send you photos and descriptions of any potential issues and damage that may need to be addressed. From there, we’ll work with you closely, providing you with different options and coming up with an ideal course of action in order to deal with the issues effectively and efficiently. In case certain problems need to be dealt with immediately, all we need is your authorization, and we will handle the problem in a manner that’s both timely and professional. During weather disturbances like thunderstorms, you may also call on us to make sure your house is secure before the storm hits, and will check for any damage afterwards.

Our home watch services are very customizable. You can decide on the frequency of inspections, dictate specific instructions, and ask us to prioritize any room, feature, amenity, or system in your home. You may also give us instructions regarding any special devices or objects you may want to look out for. Our comprehensive service also includes irrigation, utility bills payment, swimming pool service, and cleaning and maintenance.

We can guarantee to look out for your home the best way we can, so you can be at ease even if you’re thousands of miles away.

Cultural Activities and Festivals in Ecuador

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | February 25, 2015

Let's dance!

Let’s dance!

With its rich and colorful culture, storied history, and many interesting traditions, Ecuador provides visitors with a glimpse of a unique past, telling the story of a beautiful country that was once home to many ancient civilizations. Most tourists are attracted to Ecuador because of its beautiful natural surroundings and diverse opportunities for outdoor recreation, often overlooking its many enjoyable festivals and cultural activities throughout the year.

Festivals in Ecuador are some of the most interesting and enjoyable events found throughout the world. As in other cultures, the holidays, events, and festivals in Ecuador are connected to various seasons, cultural traditions, and religious observances.

If you’re in the mood to celebrate or would just like to get a taste of colorful Ecuadorian culture, here are different events and festivals you can check out:

Easter Week

Celebrated in the city of Quito, Ecuador’s capital, Easter Week is a celebration made up of a series of rituals and ceremonies that starts on Palm Sunday. Starting at noon on Good Friday, the March of Penitents, which recounts the events during the time when Pontius Pilates ordered the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. During the march, several hooded figures (called “cucuruchos” and “Veronicas”) are accompanied by men carrying heavy crosses, representing Christ. The group begins at the Church of San Francisco, making its way through the historic downtown district. The ceremony lasts until 3pm, which is said to be the hour of Christ’s death.

Corpus Christi

Celebrated during the second week of June, Corpus Christi, which means “the body of Christ,” is a religious holiday throughout Ecuador, and one best experienced in the small town of Pujili. During this holiday several participants garbed in exotic and symbolic costumes along with “Dazantes del Sol,” or sun dancers, perform a ceremonial dance intended to express gratitude towards the sun and the moon for a bountiful harvest. At Corpus Christi, guests can enjoy a celebration filled with music and plenty of food and drinks, along with beautiful gardens that are showcased in honor of the holiday.

El Paseo del Chagra

Similar to Spain’s “Running of the Bulls” celebration, El Paseo del Chagra is a festival with rodeos and a herding of “Ganado Bravo,” or “fighting cattle” from the plateaus of Cotopaxi National Park. It is celebrated every 19th of July. One of the highlights during the event is a challenge involving hundreds of “chagra” (Ecuador’s cowboys) who work together to locate, wear down, and herd the bulls, guiding them to the haciendas and ranches at the bottom of the valleys.

Mama Negra

Widely considered one of Ecuador’s most popular and unique cultural events, “Mama Negra” (“the Black Mother”) is a one-of-a-kind celebration held in Latacunga during the second Saturday of November. The festival mixes different cultures – Spanish, African, Incan, Mayan, and Aymaran – into one enjoyable public celebration of civic pride.

Mama Negra is a festival based on the time when the Spanish colonized Latacunga for its resources. They attempted to forcibly convert its native inhabitants to Catholicism – a task they were unable to successfully accomplish as the indigenous simply took elements of Catholicism and mixed it in with their own traditions and beliefs, creating a hybrid belief system.

The arrival of the Mama Negra, which is carried by a rider with his face painted black, is the highlight of the entire event. The idol is a combination of the Virgin and African deities.

Sightseeing and Tours in Ecuador

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | February 23, 2015

With its rich culture and abundance of absolutely breathtaking natural surroundings, there are many interesting locations to visit and spectacular sights to see in beautiful Ecuador. Here, you’ll find majestic mountain ranges, lush forest valleys, pristine beaches, spectacular waterfalls, and endless miles of trails waiting to be explored. And in case outdoor activities aren’t really your thing, there are numerous historical buildings, bazaars, and marketplaces where you can get a taste of Ecuador’s rich history and buy authentic items and souvenirs.

If you’d like to experience Ecuador like never before, there are plenty of services that provide sightseeing tours and guided explorations of the country’s many different attractions. Whether you’re looking for a short, two to four-hour hike, a tour around the city, or a multiple-day cruise that will take you to different islands, there are many great sightseeing tours and services that will provide you with truly unforgettable experiences.

Take a look at these great tours and travel services below:

Adventure Life

Adventure Life provides a wide variety of different tours that will take you all over Ecuador and its surrounding areas. Their tour packages range from relaxing cultural immersion trips, light hiking treks, or wildlife watching tours to more pulse-pounding adventures that involve activities like whitewater rafting, mountain biking, horseback riding, long distance hiking, and more.

Adventure Life offers single-day trips and enjoyable multi-day journeys of up to 16 days in amazing locations.

Take a look at their different tour packages at

Happy Gringo Travel

Happy Gringo Travel offers fantastic, customizable tours designed to show you the best of what Ecuador has to offer. The travel company has an endless list of satisfied clients, and is highly recommended by renowned publications and websites such as Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor, Footprint Guide, The Guardian, and more.

Their special tours can take you all over Ecuador, from the mainland, the Galapagos Islands, the avenue of volcanoes, to different forests, valleys, and charming towns and indigenous villages. They have short, mini-tours of two to four days and longer expeditions that can last up to 14 days.

Happy Gringo Travel prides itself in providing tourists with the smoothest, most enjoyable adventures available. You can count on them to take care of all the details and handle everything for you, so you get to fully enjoy everything about Ecuador.

Take a look at Happy Gringo Travel’s best-selling tours here.

Imagine Ecuador

Imagine Ecuador specializes in providing action-packed, adrenaline-pumping Ecuadorian adventures perfect for all types of thrill seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. From the Cuyabeno Reserve, to Yasuni National Park, to the Amazon rainforest, Imagine Ecuador provides tourists with one-of-a-kind opportunities to experience the country’s breathtaking surroundings.

Imagine Ecuador has tour packages like Safari Ecuador and Extreme Adventure Ecuador which features different activities like kayaking, zip-lining, whitewater rafting, rock and mountain climbing, bridge jumping, trekking, horseback riding, paragliding, and many more.

For the truly adventurous, the tour packages offered by Imagine Ecuador are the perfect way to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery of the country.

Take a look at Imagine Ecuador’s different tour packages by visiting

Exploring Cuenca

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | February 20, 2015

  • View of Cuenca, Ecuador

    View of Cuenca, Ecuador

From above, the historic city of Cuenca looks like a sea of red and orange-tiled roofs, punctuated with occasional patches of lush greenery and a round cathedral dome or two. The rushing waters of the Rio Tomebamba bisect the city. From this vantage point, Cuenca looks just like any other European-style colonial town. Apart from the fact that it’s remarkably well preserved, what makes it so special? To truly get to know Cuenca and to discover what makes it uniquely Ecuadorian you need to walk its streets, talk to its locals, taste its cuisine, and breathe in its air. To know Cuenca is to love it.

A cultural wonder

Santa Ana de los cuatro rios de Cuenca serves as the capital of the Azuay province, right in the heart of the formidable Ecuadorian Andes. For centuries, Cuenca has beautifully preserved its original orthogonal plan. This, along with having a high concentration of historical buildings, has made this center for the culture and arts a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Formerly a settlement of Inca-Canari peoples, Cuenca’s architecture features a successful marriage between the town’s own local flavors and various European influences.

Take a stroll

One of the best ways to get acquainted with Cuenca is to walk through its extensive network of streets, which are either wide and paved or narrow and cobbled. Taking a stroll throughout the city, you’ll be able to admire some of its architectural and historic gems. You can work your way from Parque Calderon, where the influence of the three pillars of society can be felt. The political and judicial aspects are represented via the town hall, the Governor’s Office, and the Law Courts, while the church’s influence is evident through the two cathedrals that stand opposite each other. The Church of the Shrine or Old Cathedral, while done in the Baroque architectural style, is comparatively simpler than its neighbor. Today, it functions as the Museum for Religious Art. Across the park, you’ll find the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception or the New Cathedral; its three robin’s-egg blue and white domes easily distinguishable in the Cuencan skyline. Completed in the 1970s, the New Cathedral predominantly features a Romanesque Revival style, while at the same time combining small architectural elements from the Neo-Gothic, Baroque Revival, and Byzantine Revival movements.

During your leisurely walk, you’ll encounter these historic landmarks as well: the Monastery of El Carmen de Asuncion, Museum of the Aboriginal Cultures, House of the Ecuadorian Culture, and the Museo Monasterio de la Concepcion.

Eat, Dance, and Make New Friends

Get to know Cuenca even better through the local cuisine and special events scheduled throughout the year. Cuenca’s streets are littered with various dining establishments, from artisanal cafés to casual hole-in-the-wall restaurants to luxurious fine dining that showcases the best of Cuencan and Ecuadorian cuisine. Check out Restaurante Todosantos, Goda Restaurante, and Las Monjas while you’re in town.

There may be plenty of rich history and attractions in Cuenca, but the city’s true wealth are its people. Take some time to talk to the locals and know more about the historical center. Listen to their stories about the city and find new windows of opportunity to dive deeper into their history, culture, and lifestyle; you’ll find yourself living like a local in no time. Immerse yourself in your surroundings and let the city delight all of your senses; this is how you explore Cuenca.

Relocation Guide: Ecuador’s diverse food supply

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | February 16, 2015

Fresh organic tomatoes in ecuador
  • Locally Grown Vegetables

    Locally Grown Vegetables

  • Organic Tomatoes

    Organic Tomatoes

  • Beef dish, Ecuador
  • Rambutan

    Tropical Fruit, the Rambutan

  • Fruit stand

    Local Fruit stand, one of the many in Ecuador

  • Local Dish

    A sample of typical local dish

  • Local restaurant, Ecuador

    Hungry? Come and dine at a local restaurant

  • Coastal area, Ecuador

    Catch of the day at the coastal areas.

There’s a growing number of restaurants that offer quintessential American comfort food in Ecuador. However, if you’re thinking about moving here, it’s good to get acquainted with the local flavors and cuisine. As they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do! And when in Ecuador, eat as the Ecuadorians do!

Ecuadorian food is very soulful, diverse and rather under-represented on the world stage. The cuisine varies depending on the region, with each of them having their own special and distinctive delicacies. One can expect a lot of soups, meat dishes and hearty flavors that are essential to South American cuisine. Surrounded by pristine coastal areas and boasting a tropical climate, expect a lot of fresh seafood and fresh produce – some of which may be new to you, so it is highly encouraged that you explore local markets and restaurants that offer local cuisine so you can learn more and explore what Ecuador has to offer in a more personal way.

Typical Ecuadorian cuisine in the highlands (sierra)

Cuisine from the highlands usually has these usual suspects: potatoes, sweet corn, avocados and cheese. There are also a variety of meat dishes here made of pork and beef, as well as guinea pig, considered to be a local delicacy. Typical dishes that you should definitely try include Ilapingachos (deep fried patties made with mashed potatoes and cheese, served with egg, avocado and beetroot which may come with sausage or a slice of pork), whole roasted pigs (locally called hornado), and fritada (deep fried pork).

Cuisine along the coast

With the Pacific edging Ecuador on the west, you can expect plenty of options when it comes to fresh seafood fare like shrimp, crab and lobster which you can get straight from the local fishermen yourself. Just one of the local seafood dishes you should definitely try is ceviche, a raw seafood dish served with lemon or lime juice that is also usually served with popcorn. You should also definitely try arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) or arroz con camarones (rice with shrimp), which you can get pretty much anywhere, as these are staple dishes throughout the country.

What you’ll notice is that a lot of the dishes in the coastal region use ingredients like plantain, rice, coconut and yam. Plantain is a huge part of coastal cuisine and is considered to be a very versatile ingredient. Used in a variety of local dishes, it can be thinly sliced as chips or mashed with cheese for a more savory and filling dish.

Exotic tropical fruits

When it comes to fruits and fresh produce, Ecuador has plenty of exotic fruits and vegetables for you to explore. Just some of the more not quite well known yet delicious tropical fruits that you should definitely try are mangosteen, dragon fruit, borojo (a fruit native to the Amazon), guanbanana, and the rambutan.

If you’re looking for something a little closer to home when it comes to shopping, Ecuador has a popular supermarket chain called “SuperMaxi” where you can find your well-loved American products, from potato chips and soda to dog food and hygiene supplies. They also sell cookware, kitchen and home supplies like wine glasses, pillows and kitchen towels.

Relocation Guide: Cost of living in Ecuador

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | February 12, 2015

Bird Watching in Ecuador
Cloud forest in Ecuador
View of Cuenca, Ecuador

A beautiful place to live, with its pristine beaches, interesting Spanish colonial history, attractive tropical climate and friendly locals, Ecuador has quickly become one of the world’s top destinations for retirees who are looking to do more while spending less. In fact, The Huffington Post even dubbed Cuenca, Ecuador’s cultural and economic epicenter, as “The World’s Most Fabulous Place to Retire on a Budget.”

Perhaps one of the most prominent reasons why Ecuador is the top choice among expats, particularly those from the United States, is the fact that the currency used is American dollars (no need to worry about exchange rates!), not to mention the fact that living in Ecuador offers great value for money.

Living comfortably in paradise – on a budget

You’ll hear many expats talking about how far their money goes when living here, considering the quality of life they get to enjoy. International Living magazine even confidently declared that a couple could comfortably live in Ecuador for $2,000 a month – that’s approximately $24,000 a year. You can even spend lesser than that by making a conscious effort to save more. You can opt to use a fuel-efficient car or use alternative sources of energy like solar power to cut on electricity bills. There are a lot of factors that come in play when it comes to how much you will be spending each month when you retire – it will all depend on your budget and lifestyle.

The cultural difference

One of the reasons why living in Ecuador is much cheaper than the U.S. is the fact that the culture is very different here. The South American lifestyle is much more laidback, as opposed to the Western consumer culture where people are encouraged to keep thinking about acquiring or purchasing things and they’re constantly bombarded with advertising in so many forms. Living in Ecuador is a breath of fresh air, which makes it even more perfect for those looking for a more relaxed and stress-free environment.

Ecuador offers a change of pace for retirees looking for an alternative lifestyle that is much different than what they are used to. Those who are now living in Ecuador rave about how moving here took so much pressure off from their daily lives – living in rural and semi-rural communities with a developing economy and a different culture, where being “busy” is not the norm allows people the chance to enjoy the simple things in life and value the things that matter the most, instead of worrying about paying off the things that, in the end, don’t matter as much.

The cost of real estate

Having a country home or beachfront home is much more affordable here, as they often come with very reasonable prices. If you choose to rent here, an apartment that features beautiful views of the Andes can rent out for as low as $600 a month, while a modest apartment in Cuenca can go as low as $250 a month. Properties that are further away from the city center and prime beach areas are even cheaper, so if you’re on a budget, it’s good to weigh your options and lifestyle first.

Due to the increasing attention Ecuador has been getting as a prime retiree destination, the value of real estate in the most in-demand areas is expected to increase. Over the past decade, real estate prices have risen at a steady rate of 10-12 percent each year, but remain affordable.

Ecuador: World’s Leading Green Destination

AgentImage  | February 11, 2015

Over the past two years, Ecuador has consistently bagged the title of “World’s Leading Green Destination,” a distinction awarded by the World Travel Awards. The country received its latest recognition as a green destination in an awarding ceremony held in Anguilla Island last December 7, 2014. Ecuador’s Vice-Minister of Touristic Promotion (a branch of the country’s Ministry of Tourism) Dominic Hamilton received the award. Last year, the country was neck-in-neck with several countries such as Brazil, Belize, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Norway in several categories. Of course, Ecuador prevailed!

This recognition, along with many others, attests to Ecuador’s great natural beauty. From the Andes to the Galapagos, the country has been blessed by Mother Nature with beautiful beaches, verdant jungles and valleys, breathtaking mountains, and more – it truly has some of the world’s most diverse landscapes.

Three Regions, One Country

Divided into parallel sections, mainland Ecuador is home to three distinct regions. In the east you’ll find the Oriente, a region that extends well into the upper Amazon basin. The area is sparsely populated so don’t expect to find a lot of commercial establishments. What you’ll find, however, is miles upon miles of dense tropical rainforest, home to various flora and fauna. Unfortunately, the region is constantly threatened by the encroachment of colonization and the oil industry, but with more and more people becoming more aware of the importance of preserving the environment, this situation may very well still change.

West of Oriente is the Sierra, the indigenous and agricultural heart of Ecuador. In this region you’ll find the Ecuadorian capital of Quito, as well as some of the country’s oldest and greatest cities. Formed by the western and eastern portions of the Andes mountain range, the Sierra is home to more than thirty volcanoes! It has a gentler side, however, as rolling hills also form part of the region’s topography. The land is fertile here as well, as evidenced by patchworks of fields, farming villages, and haciendas found in the area.

In the coastal region, you’ll find pristine beaches, port cities, fishing farms, as well as mangrove swamps. Bordered by the Pacific seaboard, the land is very fertile and produces some of the country’s most important produce. Banana, sugar, rice, coffee, and cacao plantations are found in this area.

Of course, we shouldn’t forget the famed archipelago that is the Galapagos Islands. 19 islands comprise this “living museum,” which are found in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 1,000 kilometers away from the mainland. Three ocean currents converge right at the spot where the Galapagos Islands are found, which is what makes it one of the world’s richest marine life sanctuaries. Isolated in the middle of the ocean, the islands are home to an exciting and unusual population of animal life. Here, you’ll find different types of finch, the land iguana, and the Galapagos tortoise. The reptile is the 13th heaviest living reptile, weighing up to 250 kilograms. The Galapagos tortoise is also one of the longest living vertebrates. There are only two known places where the giant tortoises are found. If you weren’t fortunate to see a giant tortoise in the Galapagos, then head to the Aldabra coral atoll in the Indian Ocean.

News Release: Torrin Brauch acquires Ecuadorian real estate license

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | February 9, 2015

On January 19, 2015, Torrin Brauch was able to successfully acquire his real estate license in Ecuador with the license number 6/478, with the official signatory of Maria Veronica Vazquez Lopez, the commercial registrar of Cuenca. 

The acquisition of this license legally allows Torrin Brauch to officially handle estates and related commercial matters in Ecuador. 

Licensed realtors in Ecuador operate as members of the not-for-profit institution of the Federación Nacional de Corredores de Bienes Raíces (The National Association of Realtors) wherein real estate professionals who are given the license are required to comply with the organization’s strict rules and regulations, assuring homebuyers that they are working with someone working under a strict code of ethics who is knowledgeable in the process of buying and selling a home in Ecuador. 

For further information, contact Torrin Brauch directly at 239-848-5876 (USA Cell) or 097-994-7670 (Ecuador Cell)

For those dialing from the US, contact 011-593-97-994-7640 or e-mail