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Archive for May 2015

Homes and Land for Sale in Puerto Cayo

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | May 27, 2015

About 26 miles south of Manta in Manabi Province, Ecuador is the coastal village of Puerto Cayo. Part of the canton of Jipijapa on Ecuador’s southwestern coast, this quaint fishing village is at the southern end of Ecuadorian State Route E15, more popularly known as Ruta Del Sol or Ruta Del Spondylus. This scenic highway connects many Ecuadorian beach communities.

Beach strip in Puerto Cayo

Beach strip in Puerto Cayo

Puerto Cayo’s blend of small-town charm and laidback oceanfront living has attracted many prospective residents and visitors who enjoy its warm climate, quiet beaches, and numerous opportunities for surfing and whale watching. South of Puerto Cayo lies Parque Nacional Machalilla, a protected area encompassing around 136,000 acres, including 98,000 acres of tropical dry forest and 31 miles of beaches. The park is home to more than 200 species of birds, as well as rare plants, and is considered one of the world’s most threatened tropical forests.

The Puerto Cayo Real Estate Market

Real estate options in Puerto Cayo are a diverse selection of single-family residences that range from cozy beach cottages and luxury villas in gated communities to bungalows and coastal mansions with a commanding view of the Pacific Ocean. Homes have distinct Spanish stucco-style and Mediterranean influences and the best are built with high-quality materials and furnishings. Many have top-of-the-line appliances and come with services like Internet and cable TV, particularly in the newer and more upscale developments like Delfin Villas.

Click here to view listings in Puerto Cayo and surrounding areas.

How Much?

A small beach home in Puerto Cayo with 3 bedrooms can start as low as $60,000 while estate properties near the ocean can go as high as $800,000, which is still considered affordable when you compare it to similar homes in the United States. Those who prefer to build their very own custom home can purchase vacant land and lots suitable for new construction, with many providing spectacular views of the ocean and direct access to the beaches. As always with beach communities, the closer your property is to the water, the higher its price, and Puerto Cayo real estate is no exception.

Coming Back Home: Ecuador Wants Immigrants in the U.S. and Spain to Return

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | May 18, 2015

To find jobs and a better life for their families, over 1.5 million Ecuadorians (almost 11% of the country’s population) migrated to Spain and the United States to find livelihood.

The diaspora of over 550,000 Ecuadorians to the United States started in the 1970’s. The number grew exponentially in the 1990’s following the crash of the financial system in Ecuador, which led to a political and economic crisis.

More than 700,000 Ecuadorians migrated to Spain. It was easier for them to settle there since it did not require for them to have visas until the year 2003. There, a lot of Ecuadorians took on labor-intensive jobs as construction workers or domestic helpers.

The Welcome Home Plan

In 2008, the economic crisis in the United States as well as rising unemployment in Spain made a lot of migrants think about going back to their home country as options for stable employment made it difficult for them to stay.

The Welcome Home Plan (also known as Plan Bienvenidas a Casa) was launched by Ecuadorian Government under President Rafael Correa’s 2006 campaign to aid in the return of immigrants in a way that is “voluntary, dignified and sustainable.”

In collaboration with non-profit organizations, the program provides initiatives, support and aid in the transition of those who wish to return to Ecuador. One-way tickets, various workshops, language classes as well as business subsidies, custom breaks and low-interest loans are also available for program beneficiaries. One of the popular programs under the Welcome Home Plan is the “Cucayo Fund” where entrepreneurs were given start-up capital of up to $50,000.
In 2008, 59 projects were sponsored by the Welcome Home Program, while approximately 300 projects were covered under the program’s budget in 2009.

As of 2009, an estimated number of around 5,000 Ecuadorian immigrants from the United States have gone back home through this government initiative.

Ultra Running at Altitude

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | May 13, 2015

If you’re an endurance athlete who’s tired of the usual marathon, Ecuador is the right place for you to push your limits. Welcome to the world of ultra running, where runners from across the globe go beyond the standard 42 kilometers and reach distances of up to 1,600 kilometers. Ultra running is no mean feat; it not only tests your physical fitness, but your mental capacity as well.

Inclement weather, elevation changes, and rough terrain are some of the common obstacles an ultra runner has to overcome, but some have taken the sport to even greater heights. Some runners want to run across the land, but some dare to run in the sky, and thus, skyrunning was born. While ultra running at high altitude hasn’t gained much popularity in Ecuador (yet), there’s no denying the fact that the terrain lends itself very well to it. Here are some spots you should check out to acquaint yourself with ultra running at altitude.

Cotopaxi National Park

While we don’t recommend running all the way to the summit of Mt. Cotopaxi as it is perennially covered in snow, vertical running on the volcano’s first thousand meters will allow you to acclimatize and avoid altitude sickness. You can start at the 33,390-hectare reserve the volcano sits on and run all the way to Cotopaxi’s lower heights; it’ll test your legs, your stamina, and your mental strength.

Intag Cloud Forest Reserve

Run your way through El Refugio de Intag’s fields and thick forests. Located in Imbabura Province, the reserve is elevated at around 6,000 feet, an excellent starting point for those who are interested to try ultra running at altitude.


Who said you have to go deep within Ecuador to run at altitude? The Ecuadorian capital of Quito is already elevated at an impressive 9,350 feet as it sits on Pichincha’s eastern slopes. With its spectacular vistas of some of the country’s highest peaks, as well as its impressive maze of historic buildings and attractions, ultra running through Quito is far from boring.

Local Running Races

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | May 8, 2015

Warm up and get ready to sprint! Here are some of the hottest and most-awaited races in Ecuador.

Galapagos Running Adventure and Sierra Negra Volcano Galapagos Marathon
When: April 10 – 18, 2015
Where: Galapagos National Park

Spanning a total of 9 days, this running adventure will take you in and around one of the most beautiful and bio-diverse places on earth. The race starts at the rolling highlands of San Cristobal Island and will culminate on Isabela Island for the Sierra Negra Volcano Galapagos Marathon. For more details, log on to

Racing the Planet: Ecuador 2015
When: July 26 – August 1, 2015
Where: Quorum Quito Convention Center, Quito, Ecuador

Rugged highlands, national parks, snow-capped mountains, and indigenous Inca villages are just some of the landscapes you’ll pass through in Racing the Planet: Ecuador. On its eight year, the Roving Race takes runners on a 7-day, 6-stage, 155-mile running tour around the country. It’s a grueling ultra-running event that will test each runner’s endurance and will. For more information, head over to

Maratón de Guayaquil
When: October 4, 2015
Where: Guayaquil, Ecuador

Held annually, the Guayaquil Marathon is one of the most awaited running events in Ecuador. Runners have the option to run a full marathon (with an official distance of 42 kilometers) or a half marathon (with a distance of 10 kilometers). The course will pass through some of Guayaquil’s most iconic attractions, such as the El Velero Bridge, the Malecon 2000, and the Barcelona Sporting Club Stadium.

Carnaval in Cuenca and Lentag

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | May 5, 2015

This colorful, festive celebration of masks, extravagant costumes, parades, food and merriment happens every year in Ecuador a week before the celebration of Good Friday. This celebration is held all over Ecuador, with each region and city having their own unique way of conducting their own festivities.

Carnaval - Cuenca, Ecuador

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In the historic town of Cuenca, a bunch of activities happen during the week that leads to the official dates of Carnaval as an exciting prelude to what’s to come. During this week-long celebration, the busy marketplace of El Centro transforms into the center for playing Carnaval as shops and stores close down in anticipation of the celebration. There is a variety of events, including food fairs, concerts, art shows as well as traditional fishing and carnival games, which are held not just in the downtown district, but in coastal beach areas as well. If you’re up for it, try one of Ecuador’s famous delicacies – “cuy” or roasted guinea pig, which you can have fresh off the roasting pits.

Why do Ecuadorians celebrate Carnaval?

The word “Carnaval” (carnival in English) is derived from the Italian word “carn-aval” which means “absence of meat.” The festive celebration happens before Lent, wherein Catholics by tradition abstain from meat to commemorate the crucifixion of Christ. Carnaval is like a celebration of excess and merriment before the beginning of the season where Catholics are expected to abstain in penitence.

Carnaval in Ecuador is also influenced by the traditions of the Huarangas Indians from the Chimbos nation who celebrate the second moon of the year by throwing flour, flowers and perfumed water – a tradition that has influenced the popular Carnaval activity or series of activities known as “playing Carnaval.”

Carnaval -

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“Playing Carnaval”

One of the notable activities in this celebration involves water fights using water guns and balloons to playfully target unsuspecting passers-by, festival goers and most especially tourists. Expect to get sprayed with perfumed water or shaving cream, get dusted with flour, and/or be thrown raw eggs at as locals take aim from the safety of their balconies, way up on their rooftops, or even randomly as they walk by you.

Brick Construction in Ecuador

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | May 1, 2015

Traditionally, the main materials used in the residential and commercial structures found in Ecuador are made of locally produced and highly durable materials like adobe brick and steel – materials that are durable enough to withstand the regions’ varied geographic, seismic and environmental conditions. Locals rarely use wood in the exterior construction of homes here, as they may deteriorate faster due to the humid weather conditions.

The Advantages of Adobe Brick

Ecuadorians have been building adobe brick homes for generations and these bricks are made manually (often the entire family is involved in the production process). Adobe is a mixture of earth/clay and straw and is a highly durable material that’s particularly well suited to the country’s climate, with its warm days and cool nights. Well-built adobe brick homes are naturally energy efficient – the walls keep the interiors cool in the daytime and give off some of their absorbed warmth at night.


If you’re planning on building a home in Ecuador, it is important to take into consideration the fact that labor and construction practices here vary from those in the United States. It is highly advised that you work with an architect and contractor that you can trust so as to avoid any mishaps and to make the construction process less stressful for you. Here, here’s a quick crash course on what to expect:

The Building Process

The construction process in Ecuador is relatively slower than that of the U.S. as it relies heavily on manpower – from the mixing, pouring and spreading of wet cement to the laying of bricks, the majority of the work is done by hand. Building inspections and paperwork are not very strict; however, it is highly advised for you to review labor laws and building guidelines so as to avoid any problems in the future.


Residential construction in Ecuador is also affordable. In fact, the construction of a brick home can have an estimated cost of around a hundred dollars per square foot. If you’re working within a strict budget, you can start on building your home for less than $15,000 dollars and then go on adding another story or feature as your budget allows.