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Archive for April 2016

Ecuador before the Incas

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | April 15, 2016

IncasThe conquering Incas ruled what is now known as Ecuador from around 1450 to the 1500s and exerted a great deal of influence in shaping the country’s culture.

However, even before the Incas came, Ecuador had already nurtured a rich civilization that left an equally indelible mark in the country’s history.

Ecuador before the Incas

The Valdivia

The Valdivia was the first permanent culture in Ecuador. It was believed to have existed between 3500 and 1800 BC, and was formed by people who migrated west from Brazil.

Pottery was an important part of Valdivia culture. It is believed that the pieces began as simple, functional clay objects. Decorative work appeared in later examples, until the practice evolved into sculpture produced around the feminine figure of “Venus of Valdivia.”

The Venus of Valdivia figurines depict pregnant and birthing women with prominent breasts and genitalia. The figurines are believed to have been used for fertility rituals.

The Chorrera

Chorrera culture is considered the most influential group in Ecuador’s “Formative Period” (4000 to 300 BC). It spanned the Pacific lowlands to the Andean highlands and even southern Colombia.

Pottery was also the trademark of Chorrera culture. It included utilitarian and artistic pieces characterized by a highlypolished finish and life-like depictions of plants, animals, buildings, fruits, and humans. While the earlier Machalilla culture appears to have greatly influenced Chorrera pottery, new forms– such as the whistle bottle – originated from this culture.

Chorrera and Machalilla cultures practiced skull deformation, which involved elongating and flattening the head for social status.

Other cultures

Around 600 BC, cultures that included the Bahia, Guangala, La Tolita, and Panzaleo developed hierarchal societies ruled by shamans and long-distance traders.

The Panzaleo is said to be the first culture to practice head shrinking or “tzantza” for ritual or trade purposes.

More cultures were integrated into early Ecuadorian society, including the Mantenos, the Caras, the Puruha, the Quitus (from which the present-day city of Quito was named),and the Cañari, who occupied present-day Cuenca.

The Incas eventually conquered the strongest cultures of the time: the Quitu-Caras, the Puruhá and the Cañari.

Modern indigenous groups in Ecuador are descendants of these early cultures and are stalwarts of Ecuadorian identity.

Know more about Ecuador by following our blog.

Tax benefits from your Ecuador property

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | April 12, 2016

Tax BenefitsInvesting in Ecuador real estate doesn’t only give you a piece of paradise. It also presents a slew of tax benefits. Here are a few details you need to know.

1. Deductions on taxable income

Just like your properties in the US, the real estate you own abroad will be taxed in much the same way.

This means you get the same tax benefits for properties abroad as you do for your real estate investments back in the US.

Here’s a list of tax deductible items:

  • Mortgage interest and property tax payments you make on properties for personal use.
  • Expenses you incur for renting out property for more than 14 months. While you’re taxed on what you make off your rental, you can deduct insurance premiums, utility payments, and property management and advertising fees.
  • Depreciation costs. In Ecuador, the depreciation for a property is amortized over a period of 40 years, versus only over 27.5 years for a US property. This means you enjoy this tax benefit longer for a property abroad.
  • Travel expenses related to maintaining and managing your rental property abroad

2. Deductions when you sell your property

As with a US property, you get capital gains tax benefits for a long-term property investment abroad. In Ecuador, a piece of property is considered your prime residence if you’ve lived there for at least two years.

This means that when you sell the property, you can deduct up to $250,000 (or up to $500,000 if you’re a married taxpayer) from the sale amount, and save on capital gains tax along the way.

3. No double taxation

If you’re afraid of being taxed twice for your Ecuador property– once by the Ecuador government and again by the U.S. government — relax.

Taxes you pay on your overseas property may be credited against your US tax return. This means you only need to pay the higher amount stated on either your US or Ecuador returns – and not totals on both.

To find out more about buying property in Ecuador, contact us today.

You’re invited to the grand opening of the Live the Life Lodge TODAY!

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | April 2, 2016

IMG_3107Live the Life is proud to announce the grand opening of the new Live the Life Lodge, along with the El Agave Restaurant and El Toro Bar!

The grand opening takes place today, April 2nd, 2016. There will be food and drinks, live music, dancing, and more, so feel free to join us!

There’s going to be a ping pong tournament, a horseshoe competition (starting at noon), Yuca pizza and barbeque, drink specials, dance lessons, and more.

For more info and reservations, you can email Drew at

Live the Life Lodge

Our new lodge can serve as a rest stop for tours or a place to stay and relax during your adventures in Ecuador.

Some of its many features include:

DSC_0014Real estate office
Full-service organic restaurant
El Toro Bar
Clermo’s Juice Bar
Dine-in pizza kitchen
Swimming pool with snack bar
Zip line
DSC_0016Volleyball courts
Fish ponds
Sprawling gardens with organic produce and rare plants
Organic seed store
Spacious 1 to 2-bedroom units
Large house that can accommodate up to 18 guests

Bird watching tours, hiking or biking trips, organic farm tours and trips to Cuenca, Mancora, the El Chorro falls, coastal towns, and other destinations can also be arranged at the lodge.