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Archive for April 2015

Volcano Climbing in Ecuador

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | April 28, 2015

Mountaineers from all over the world are no strangers to climbing volcanoes; after all, some of the highest mountains in the world are or used to be active volcanoes. Three of Ecuador’s highest peaks, in fact, are volcanoes. While it’s been some time since they last erupted, Cayambe, Cotopaxi, and Chimborazo still present equal amounts of danger, challenge, and fun. Climbing these impressive peaks is no easy feat and definitely not for the faint of heart, but conquering a mighty force of nature can be extremely rewarding.

Before you embark on what could possibly be a life-changing journey, take care to get acclimatized first and do your research. Read on to learn more about three of Ecuador’s most popular and satisfying volcano climbs.


Located in the province of Pichincha, ice-capped Cayambe towers at 19,000 feet. It’s the third highest peak in Ecuador, situated approximately 40 miles from the Ecuadorian capital of Quito. Aside from being one of the world’s ultra prominent peaks, the stratovolcano is also the only mountain that lies directly on the equator. It’s best to summit the mountain during the months of October to January. Check out for more information.

Climbing the Cotopaxi (Ecuador)

Climbing the Cotopaxi (Ecuador)


One of the highest active volcanoes in the world, forbidding Cotopaxi is a favorite among alpinists with its almost perfect conical shape. Standing at 19,347 feet, the second highest mountain in Ecuador is just roughly 31 miles from Quito. While it’s not difficult to scale Cotopaxi, it is considered a very technical climb. Hanging seracs and crevasses are commonly encountered on the way to the peak. For more information, log on to


The crowning glory of the Cordillera Occidental mountain range, Chimborazo reigns supreme among summits in Ecuador at a height of 20,564 feet. We know Mount Everest to be the highest mountain in the world, but Chimborazo’s glacier-covered summit makes it the tallest mountain when measured from the center of the earth. While you can climb it all year round, June to July and December to January are its best climbing months. Head over to to find out more about Chimborazo.

Machalilla National Park

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | April 24, 2015

The Ecuadorian Manabi Province cradles deep within its thick jungles the country’s sole coastal park. Parque Nacional Machalilla is regarded not just as a national treasure, but a global one. Sprawled over more than 55,000 hectares of land and around 20,000 hectares of marine habitats, the Machalilla National Park was named by the Ramsar Convention as a Wetland of International Importance in 1990. It is home to diverse landscapes, lush vegetation, and thriving wildlife, some of which are regionally and locally endangered. Aside from providing a protected home for these animals, some parts of Machalilla serve as important breeding grounds, crucial for the continuation of certain species.


Paradise on Earth

Blue-footed Booby, Ecuador Coastline, Isla de la PlataMachalilla National Park is massive. The area on which it sits is composed of various landscapes, from tropical dry forests, to coastal scrubs, to islands. It is divided into three sectors: north (southern to northern Puerto Cayo Machalilla), south (south to north of Puerto Lopez, including Isla Salango), and Isla de la Plata.

Aside from being a sanctuary for endangered animal species, the park is a botanical haven where you can find the most common to the most unusual of flora. Its marine areas are teeming with ocean life, with some of its regions serving as breeding grounds for humpback whales. With biodiversity this rich, many environmental organizations struggle to protect it from threats such as deforestation, poaching, and the ecological effects of tourism.

Leave No Trace

TMachalilla National Parkhere are plenty of outdoor recreational activities you can take part in to thoroughly experience the wonders of Machalilla National Park. Options include trekking, hiking, mountain hiking, diving, and snorkeling. Going to Machalilla is an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience, so be sure to practice the principles of leaving no trace [insert link:] to help preserve the environment.

For more information on Machalilla National Park, you can visit the following websites: and

Puerto López’s New Malecón

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | April 22, 2015

The small fishing village of Puerto Lopez is widely known as a tourist destination. With its mesmerizing natural beauty, lively ecotourism economy and eco-friendly fishing practices that make use of hand lines and small boats, it’s definitely worth a visit. The town has various trails, beaches and coastal areas with stunning landscapes and numerous attractions, making it one of the most-visited tourist destinations in Ecuador. Now, with the recent construction of its new Malecón, it’s bound to attract even more visitors.

Whale watching

In Spanish, the word “malecón” refers to a paved walkway situated near a lake or an ocean. Puerto Lopez’s malecón is found north of the beachfront establishment Hotel Pacifico, and is just a few steps away from Hosteria Mandala.

From this promenade, enjoy beautiful views of the Pacific Coast with some of Ecuador’s most treasured ecotourism hotspots just close by. Visit the Machalilla National Park where you’ll find gorgeous beaches, or enjoy a variety of outdoor recreational activities. Head to the Spondylus reef for an unforgettable diving and snorkeling experience or go hiking in any of Puerto Lopez’s numerous trails and lush forests. If you’re looking to tour the area, one of the best ways is to go island hopping to La Isla de Plata or the Salango Islands.

Around the malecón, you’ll also find lots of restaurants and bars serving fresh seafood and delicious traditional Ecuadorian cuisine. At night, there are plenty of options for visitors and locals as the area also has a vibrant nightlife scene.


Humpback Whale Watching

Fwhale-watching-660x500rom July to September, Puerto Lopez’s shallow waters are visited by humpback whales. From the malecón, visitors get a majestic, unobstructed view of these gentle giants curiously swimming through the waters, exposing their distinguishable broad and rounded tails, and performing acrobatic feats. The whales are quite used to humans and are not afraid to go near ships and small boats.




The Top 4 Beach Towns in Ecuador

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | April 15, 2015

Beach on the Ecuadorian shoreline, clouds in the background and waves coming in. On the left hand side some small fishing boats are visible as well.

Beach on the Ecuadorian shoreline, clouds in the background and waves coming in. On the left hand side some small fishing boats are visible as well.

The ability to live near the beach is one of the top reasons tourists go from visiting Ecuador to making it their permanent residence. Some beaches are always full of tourists while others will be better for living out your regular days. Choosing the best beach town will depend on what you enjoy doing the most near the water such as fishing, surfing, paddle boarding or just enjoying the sea air.

In the spirit of beach living, there are some areas more conducive to life along the coast. Here are the top four beach towns in Ecuador:

Puerto Lopez: Located in the Manabi Province, Puerto Lopez is a popular spot for whale watching and boat trips. Beautiful sand and wildlife line the beaches in this area, making it an ideal town to call home.

Manta: As the 3rd largest and fastest-growing city in Ecuador, Manta has all the big city amenities but with the small town feel. Many of the bargain priced properties have already been bought up, but you can’t beat the convenience of life in Manta.

Canoa. This is a surfer and backpacker haven with an energy all of its own. Beach, surf and young ideas blend together to create this town 25 minutes north of Bahia de Caraquez.

Playas. This is the closest beach town to Ecuador’s largest city of Guayaquil. With plenty of shopping, restaurants and activities nearby, residents enjoy the best of beach living and all the creature comforts they need for life.

Of course this is just a small selection of the beach towns available to you in Ecuador. Here, you’ll find everything from secluded, private beaches to pristine shorelines thronged with happy visitors. The choice is yours: be in the action or relax in the privacy of your own paradise.

Whether you’re searching for a great escape from the hustle and bustle in the form of a vacation home, or you’re planning on moving to Ecuador permanently, it would be my pleasure to introduce you to some of these fantastic beach towns. When you’re ready to learn more, please do not hesitate to contact me.
I am always available for consultation and look forward to sharing my knowledge of the local area and its real estate with you. Connect today to get started!


Expat Guide: The Cost of Living in a Paradise Like Ecuador

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | April 10, 2015

Ecuador Homes

Ecuador Homes

Before making the move to a new home, let alone a new country, it is critical to create a new budget to account for a new cost of living. Even if you’re already projecting the cost to be lower, it’s better to actually put it on paper. Here are some important things to remember when moving to Ecuador.

The Basics

It’s easy to see the cost of a move to Ecuador as expensive after you move all the furniture and household items such as a vehicle or other large items, but what about after you arrive and settle in? What kind of costs can you expect to have while living in a new country? Everything from food to utilities will be variables you have to plan for. Remember that local items at the stores will be less expensive than the items shipped to the country from the US or other places. You may have to get used to different brands, sizes and flavors to save money. The good news is that many of the items will be considerably less than what you would spend in the US for the same item. Try locally grown produce, meats and products instead of the imported brands. Not only will it help immerse you in the culture but you will find some new favorites.

Medical Care

The major cities in Ecuador have relatively lower healthcare costs than the surrounding countries and do provide adequate care. Before moving, price the health insurance companies who specialize in out-of-country medical coverage to find one that suits your needs and budget.

Real Estate

The majority of properties in the larger cities will cost more, as is the case with any city in the world so finding any size apartment or condo will be more difficult if you are on a tight budget. Consider moving outside the city if you have the flexibility. Ecuador has several smaller cities with reasonably priced homes and you can buy a larger property for much less than you would in the States and there are some near beaches, mountains and forests.

Have questions? Connect with me today to gain a better understanding of the real estate market in Ecuador and what you should expect when moving here. I look forward to hearing from you and to helping you find your own piece of paradise.

3 Things You Need to Know About Buying Real Estate in Ecuador

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | April 8, 2015

EcuadorBuying real estate in Ecuador can be a much simpler process than it is in North America, but it can still be confusing for the first-time buyer who has to deal with the language barrier and necessary documentation. The first step in making a real estate investment in Ecuador should be finding a qualified real estate agent and asking for their help. Even if you’re familiar with real estate dealings, a foreign country brings up a whole new set of issues and sometimes problems. By using the services of a skilled agent, you can avoid problems and have an easier journey to the closing table.

Language: This can be a barrier if you want to make a real estate deal but it doesn’t have to be. Consider hiring a translator to go with you to the meetings and closing. You may feel comfortable with your agent but always keep in mind that you may want someone devoted completely to you rather than an agent filling you in on the relevant conversations. You want to hear it all. A third party interpreter can help with this. Also, have every document you sign translated into your own language before signing. It will be worth the price.

Funding: Before you begin the search, understand how to fund the transaction. You don’t want to get caught in a contract without the ability to fund it. Sometimes transferring the funds from certain banks can be tricky if not impossible so before you even start, know what you’re getting into. As currency rates fluctuate, you need to be prepared for the final costs before you reach the closing table.

Benefits: Ecuador has clear benefits for real estate investors. Low taxes, plenty of available properties and sellers eager to let go of their properties for the right price, this South American country is in the prime stage for investors to come in and begin to develop areas.

These are just a few of the many tips that I can provide you when you choose to contact me. With years of experience in the real estate market, it would be my pleasure to help you navigate the purchase of your next home in Ecuador. Connect today to get started!

Must-Eat Ecuadorian Foods

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | April 6, 2015

a local dish found in ecuador
a local dish found in ecuador

Ceviche, a local dish found in Ecuador

No trip to a new country is complete without sampling some of the local cuisine, but not knowing what to try keeps many tourists from venturing out and discovering something new. Here are some of the dishes we recommend – they’ll leave a great taste in your mouth during your stay in Ecuador:

Empanadas. Street vendors and cafes will sell these delicious treats and many times you can avoid any health issues as they are baked. Try one with cheese or plantain if you are wary of meats in a foreign country. You can grab one and browse the local market or eat it on the bus en route to a fun day of sightseeing.

Ceviche. Typically served all along the western coast of South America, this seafood dish is raw seafood and shellfish marinated in citrus juice. A delicious way to eat healthy and experience the taste of truly fresh seafood, ceviche is found from street vendors and restaurants near the coast.

pastries in Ecuador

Variation of Ecuadorian pastries at a local bakery

Pan de Yuca. Another great option for a light, quick snack. This is yuca root and cheese bread sometimes made into a tortilla or served like a donut hole with a chewy inside. It is simple and delicious.

Cuy. Also known as guinea pig. It is roasted, fried, baked, or stewed with spices and sides such as potatoes, hominy and salad. It doesn’t have a lot of meat, but what there is, is delectable (though it may be an acquired taste for some).

Hornado. A delicious dish that will fill you up and be reminiscent of a Sunday dinner at home. Served with chocio (Andean corn) and vegetables.

Langostinos. If you want fresh seafood, try these Ecuadorian prawns for a true taste of coastal seafood at its best.

Whatever you decide to try, keep in mind that restaurants can be a safe bet for fresh food and cleanliness but street vendors often have the most authentic flavors. Ask around and find a street vendor with a good reputation and try some of their foods. You’ll be amazed at how scrumptious fresh and real food prepared and cooked in the open air can taste.
Ready to make your visit to Ecuador more permanent? Explore your real estate options by connecting with me today. I look forward to hearing from you and to helping you get acquainted with the area. Connect today!

The Top 5 Celebrations and Festivals in Ecuador

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | April 2, 2015

Every country has its own unique culture and history and Ecuador is no exception. With regular festivals and events, whenever you go for a visit, you’re sure to find something exciting happening. The time of year will determine what is going on as the weather will dictate the extent of the festivities. There are not many indoor facilities to hold the festivals, so in the rainy months there will not be as many outdoor events. Here are the top five festivals to enjoy in Ecuador:

Ecuador - LivethelifeinEcuador.comFestival of the Flowers and Fruits (Fiesta de las Flores y de las Frutas). In the Tungurahua province, flowers bring the streets to life, 40 days before Easter. Celebrating nature and the beauty of this mountainous region, residents decorate the streets and buildings with flowers and fruits in offering.

Cassava Beer in Sarayaku. In Pastaza, cassava beer is prepared in February and accompanied by a ceremony. Women collect the necessary ingredients while the men go out and hunt and the celebration begins. Both men and women work together to create the beer and it is done in a ritualistic fashion.

Carnaval. Celebrated in February or March, whenever the week of Lent falls, the Ecuadorians throw a great party. In contrast to other countries’ celebrations, the youth get into Carnival and throw balloons and other objects filled with flour, mud and anything else that will make a mess.

Day of the Dead. November 1st and 2nd are two of the most important days in the indigenous calendar. This is when the dead souls are said to visit their living relatives and rituals are performed to welcome them.

San Juan Bautista. Held on June 24th and in the Otavalo Valley, this unique celebration extends for a week and honors not just the saint, but also Mother Earth. Men dress up in varied costumes and dance from house to house until they reach the San Juan chapel, where more dancing ensues.

When you visit another country and participate in their festivities, keep in mind it may seem different or strange, but it’s always a good idea to remain polite. Just because you don’t quite understand it, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. Get in the crowds, try the food and drinks, and dance. The locals will appreciate your open mind and you’ll have a truly memorable experience.

Explore this vibrant country and its real estate by connecting with me today. I’m always available for consultation and look forward to seeing you at some of these exceptional events.