Ecuador Live the Life
Translate This

Archive for December 2017

How I got the nickname “Flaca”

AgentImage  | December 11, 2017

Yes, many people have the nickname flaca here but I was extremely surprised when people started calling me flaca. What does flaca mean you ask? Skinny. Flaca means skinny and that is something I had never really been called before. So how did I come about obtaining this nickname? I’ll share with you now.

In the United States, I worked at a restaurant called Buffalo Wild Wings. Home of wings, beer, and sports. I had worked there for six years starting in high school and then in college as well. I spent a lot of time there with some great coworkers, fun clients, and the most delicious chicken wings that to this day I still drool over. With the fast paced life of the US and between work, school, and trying to have a social life, the last thing I wanted to do was cook a meal at the end of the day, so many times I just ate at work for convenience.  I probably devoured 8 or 12 wings covered in ranch and blue cheese probably about 4 or 5 times a week. Those calories add up quick. I was never really overweight as I lived a pretty active lifestyle and I have always felt good about my body however, I was a little thicker all around. I weighed about 190lbs by my senior year of college and had terrible acid reflex disease (probably from all of the spicy sauce, fried food and eating at random hours of the day).

Flash forward to today after having lived in Ecuador for 2 years and I weigh about 140lbs and haven’t had to take a single pill for my acid reflex. So what happened? Did I go on a hardcore exercise regimen?  Did I do an extreme diet? Nope! None of that. The only thing different in my life was the type and quality of food that I was consuming.

A typical Ecuadorian lunch consists of rice, a salad or two, and a meat. Dinner about the same. But each food item is fresh, many times organic, and about 400 times more flavorful. Markets are lined with crates of crops that had been picked by the farmer that day. Snacks such as fruits and yogurts are much more preferred rather than chips and cookies. Lemonade or fruit juice is served at restaurants, not soda. My diet changed to this, a more natural wholesome diet, foods that we should be eating, that provide our bodies with the necessary nutrients, not foods pumped full of preservatives and chemicals. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a delicious, greasy hamburger or even chicken wings about once a week but all of the other food that I eat is so much healthier for my body, and it is clearly visible.

So I guess you could say that I did go on a diet, the Ecuadorian diet. Eating the foods that everyone else in the country eats. And now today I find myself flaca. But I still ask if I really needed to go all the way to Ecuador to do this or if this type of lifestyle change could be done in the states resulting in the same outcome?


So many of the foods that characterize a Western diet come from global supply chains and this has produced devastating effects on our bodies, economy, and environment. I remember returning to the states in March and visiting my local grocery story. I had a lot of thoughts and realizations in that store as I browsed the aisles. I remember thinking that all of the fruits and vegetables were unnaturally shiny, healthy organic food was extremely expensive, and there was a large presence of insta-meals or “just add water” type of box dinners.  No wonder it is so difficult to be healthy in the states! I feel grateful each time I go to the market and can buy my weeks’ worth of fruits and vegetables for about $3. I could only buy 6 limes or maybe a bundle of apples for $3 in the states. Look at the ingredients of those mashed potato flakes or sugary cereals; do you recognize all of them? So I believe that eating the same foods as here in the US wouldn’t result in the same outcome. The quality of food is so different in the northern hemisphere and it’s not good for us. Our health is detreating each day because of our food and we see evidence of this as more and more people struggle with heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. In my opinion, I think it is way more difficult to eat healthy in the U.S than it should be and this needs to change. Healthy food wasn’t a reason as to why I came to Ecuador but it is certainly a reason as to why I am staying.

I am aware of the food problem and the fact that there isn’t really enough food to feed every mouth in the world but then I am also looking at this 15 hectare property located here in Yunguilla that can produce crops all year round because of the great climate and nutrient rich soil and I ask myself why more people aren’t taking advantage? Ecuador seems to be this little country that hasn’t been overtaken by multi-billion dollar companies looking to mass produce food and this is one of the reasons I love Ecuador. I can be healthy, I can eat deliciously, and I can live life fully.I invite everyone to come down for a visit and just see how different you will feel and look. The effects are almost instant. Here, I feel better, I look better, and I am happy to be called flaca.

It’s Time for Adventure. It’s Time to Visit Ecuador

AgentImage  | 

Ecuador is a place of variety. From the abundance of life inhabiting the great Galapagos Islands and the lush vegetation of the Amazon rainforests to the awe-inspiring peaks of the Andes Mountains and the cultural rich city of Cuenca, Ecuador has a little something for everyone. Each one of these distinct regions offers a wider variety of different types of adventure and in my opinion; it is hard to ever say you are bored here.

I would call myself an adventure seeker. It isn’t always the purpose of my travels but I love new experiences and am not afraid to try anything (unless it deals with insects, I hate insects). I have done so many exciting and new things in Ecuador and each experience teaches me something about the world and about myself, and this is what makes traveling so enriching.


My first trip I took within Ecuador was to Mindo and talk about a beautiful little city. We visited a butterfly farm with butterflies in all colors of the rainbow and some the size of your hand. I saw the largest number of hummingbirds that I have ever seen before in my life all clustered around one birdfeeder. I got my first experience of a zip line cart across a valley where hiking to hidden waterfalls waited on the other side. Everything was absolutely magnificent and it made my first impression of Ecuador a great one.


Next on my list is Quilotoa, a 2 mile wide crater lake located in the Andes. I traveled there with a few friends and as soon as I saw the lake, I was astounded. Such beauty radiated from the crystal blue water and the surrounding mountain landscape;so still, so smooth. We spent the night in the town drinking canelazo (a typical serrano alcoholic beverage made from orange and cinnamon) before we made the hike down the mountain the next morning. Hiking down took about 45 minutes and below we rented kayaks to get up close and personal with the volcanic water. After making a few puppy friends we took the hike back up by foot and I realized how out of shape I was. 2 hours later we finally made it to the top and I felt stronger physically and mentally knowing that I hiked a mountain! I could have rode a donkey up but I am too proud to do that and to this day, I still question how the livestock leaders climb up those mountains like it is nothing.


Bañoswas my third trip in Ecuador and this is an adventure filled town!! Every block is lined with tour companies offering different activities such as rafting, biking, zip lining, canyoning (repelling down waterfalls), bungee jumping, this list goes on and on. We decided to do the rafting and canyoning because we love rafting and canyoning was something we had never done before.

You know how they say you don’t know if you like something until you try it? Well this statement has never been truer for me and canyoning. I LOVED IT! It was so much fun and such a rush! I remember my body trembling and my heart pumping as I repelled down the first waterfall. However, as soon as I landed at the bottom a huge smile came across my face because I had just experienced the most fun thing in my life! Each waterfall became easier and I now think that canyoning is one of my favorite things to do!I loved it so much that I’ve done it twice more since that first trip.

The rafting was also grade A fun and the guides were excellent. My dad said that the rafting in Bañoswas the best he had ever experienced and coming from a man who as rafted in almost every location he has visited, that is saying a lot.

Bañosis also home to the famous Casa delArbol, a famous tree house that has a swing that lets people swing out over the side of a mountain with the active Tungurahua Volcano as the background. The perfect photo op. Visiting here was breath-taking and so much fun and something that would never be allowed in the states as there aren’t many safety measures in place for this swing haha. All in all, still a lot of fun.

We rented bicycles the last day of our trip in Bañosand cruised down the waterfall trail. It is a very easy ride along a downhill road and bike path that leads you to see thepowerful Pailon de Diablo Falls. Along the way there are also other impressive waterfalls where you can stop, take pictures, and even zip line across the river to get a better view. After getting all the pictures we wanted, we hopped in the back of a truck and headed home. A great trip overall and a place that I know I will continue to return to.


Ahhh Puerto Lopez, my home. But it wasn’t always my home. I first visited Puerto Lopez on weekend vacation from Quito to go visit the famous humpback whales that migrate to the area every June. With my roommate and a tour group, we took the 1 hour boat ride to the Isla de La Plata (also known as the poor man’s Galapagos) and along the way GIANT humpback whales were jumping out of the water left and right! I always thought that whale watching tours were kind of a scam, that most of the time you probably wouldn’t see a whale but rather spend your hours staring at the water with no luck, but with this tour, I was pleasantly surprised! So many whales, so close to the boat! It was so cool and fun! The island was also a great, getting up close and personal with the infamous blue footed boobies and the fragata birds. Not quite the abundance of wildlife that the Galapagos offers but still an amazing place. The tour ended with snorkeling and I found myself playing with giant sea turtles, colorful fish, and even a Manta Ray! Isla de La plata and Puerto Lopez are mustsees in Ecuador. I fell in love with this beach town and decided to make it my home. I moved here in January, opened my own discoteca, DiscotecaWett and have never been happier J Talk about an adventure.


At this point in my story you’ve heard a lot about my experiences but I want you to see that other people have also enjoyed the many wonderful things this country has to offer. I reached out to my fellow expats and friends to see what some of their favorite adventures have been and here is what they said:

Robert Marcom “We have had several once-in-a-lifetime adventures in Ecuador. But the top of the list must go to our stay with a wonderful and generous Achuar family with whom we spent a week at the invitation of my friend and brother, NapoleonUyunkar. It was an opportunity to meet and spend time with a traditional family living in the splendor and majesty of the Amazon rainforest, which they call Ikiam. We met the people of the community of Mashian, learned about the bounty of la selva and had a mystical experience of restoration and revelation. We are forever grateful for the opportunity to participate in their lives.”

Jo Reason “A 6 day canoe trip To Yasuni”

Dave Ward“My most memorable experience was a balsa raft trip on the Napo river. We were with a tour group (Gate One) on our first trip to beautiful Ecuador. The guide tried to push me off the raft into the river just for fun, but I managed to grab him and we both went overboard! Next thing you know, everybody is splashing about in the river as we floated downstream. I couldn’t believe how warm the water was. It was a memorable trip.”

Judith M Hirschman “The hike AROUND the quilotoa crater is awesome too, but you need to be in shape and have hiking experience. 4-6 hours, moderate-strenuous.”

TresaDanleyKonderla “Paragliding in La Crucita”

Doug Moench  “A 9 day motorcycle tour of the Andes, Amazon and Pacific with Ecuador Freedom Bike Rental. Saw a lot of the country, many of its attractions, wonderful lodges and hotels and hostals, zip lining in Banos, banana plantation, Mindo and chocolate farm & tour, monkeys in Misahualli, Amazon lodge, cloud forest and Vicuna on the slopes of Chimborazo. On a motorcycle, did I mention that? Awesome trip.”

Siru Y JotaCe “Definitely Galápagos, tour de losTúneles on Isla Isabela was awesome, but all of it really, the animals, snorkeling with sea lions, sea turtles, sharks, penguins, sea horses, mantas, marine iguanas etc… all the birds, even flamingos, giant tortoises, cactus trees…hiking to Muro de las Lágrimas on Isla Isabela where you can see giant tortoises especially when there´s garúa, hiking on San Cristóbal in the rain and mud on slippery lava rocks ????. Listening to the silence and bird song. I´d go every year if I could.”

Luis Bailon Castillo “Bungee jumping off of a bridge in Baños. I have never had so much adrenaline in my body at once!”

See… It’s not just me who thinks this country is great J

I find this country absolutely wonder, mystical, and refreshing. Life is short and we need to take full advantage of the many opportunities it gives us. I am gratefulevery day that I have been able to fulfill my dreams, experience new things, and continue my quest for knowledge. I dare you to try something new every day, to learn something new every day, to start living your life and enjoying it. It’s time for adventure. It’s time to visit Ecuador.

What’s the Weather Like?

AgentImage  | 

The infamous question of every phone conversation I have with beloved friends and family, “what’s the weather like? Is it hot?”  As simple as these questions may be, they are surprisingly difficult to answer. You see the weather of Ecuador depends on where you are. Each of the 4 regions offers a different climate and sometimes each city within a region differs in it weather compared to its neighbor. And despite being named after the equatorial line, Ecuador is not always blistering hot. More times than not, it’s a comfortable temperature with a mixture of sun and clouds. So to give you an idea of the climate, here are the current temperatures of some of the most famous cities

Puerto Lopez – 72o F (Where I live on the southern coast)

Puerto Viejo – 88o F (Onehourfrom Puerto López)

Guayaquil – 75o F (on the southern coast)

Canoa – 78o F (on the central coast)

Esmeraldas – 81o F (on the northern coast)

Quito – 62o F (at 2,850m in altitude in Sierra region)

Otavallo – 63o F (2,550m in altitude in Sierra region)

Loja – 65o F (2,060m in altitude in Sierra región)

Cuenca – 70o F (2,560m in altitude in Sierra region)

Banos – 46o F (1,820m in altitude in Sierra region, also known as entrance to the Amazon)

Napo – 85o F (in the Amazon)

Tena -85o F (in the Amazon)

Tulcán – 59o F (Northern Ecuador, known for being the coldest city in Ecuador)

GalagaposIslands – 73o F

Chimborazo Volcano – 18o F


As the numbers show, the variety in temps is enormous and answering that “simple” question of “what’s the weather like” is not so simple after all.

Now you think equator, you think sun, right? Wrong. Just how there are different seasons of  summer, spring, winter, and fall, here there are rainy seasons, and dry seasons. But again, when these seasons happen depends on where you are.  June – September is “winter” and is considered the dry season. While I agree with this because rainfall was minimum, there wasn’t a lot of sun and being a sun worshiper, I didn’t enjoy this season.  At least for us on the coast, June – September was filled with mild days, cloud cover, and slight drizzle. October – May is “Summer” or otherwise known as the wet season. Yes, rainfall definitely increased but I was ok with it because sun was plentiful. This season is also considered “la temporadaplayera” and many people vacation to the coast to take advantage of said sun. So basically to sum it up, it will be either be hot, sunny, and rainy, or mild, cloudy, and dry.  So depending on what you prefer, you can understand why the slogan for this amazing place is “All you need is Ecuador.” There is truly something for everyone.

**My inspiration for this post is the current weather of Puerto Lopez. It is now almost the end of November, which as I just showed is technically the summer with sun and rain. However, the sun has made a very slow comeback and I am a little sad and I can’t wait to be relaxing on the beach in my swimsuit once again. I am waiting for you Mr. Sun, we all are!

10 Reasons Why I Love Ecuador

AgentImage  | 

10 Reasons Why I Love Ecuador


People ask me all the time why I came to Ecuador and honestly, the only thing I can say is because I hadn’t been there before. I didn’t know much about Ecuador before arriving besides that it was in South America, I didn’t need a special visa to go there, the Spanish was easy to understand, and the people were generally nice. But after living here for 2 years, I now have many reasons why I love this country and choose to make it my home. So here are 10 reasons why I LOVE Ecuador

  1. The beaches – I am from Wisconsin and I don’t care what you say, lake beaches are not the same as ocean beaches. I currently live in Puerto Lopez and every day I feel like I am on vacation. With bright afternoons that make the water the bluest of blues in color, and daily sunsets that could be on post cards, I feel like I live in paradise. That is why I moved to Puerto Lopez; I saw people living in paradise and asked myself “why can’t I live in paradise?” Goodbye snow shovel, hello sand castle.
  2. The food – You don’t know what a tomato really tastes like until you’ve tasted a tomato from here. Everything tastes better: it has more flavor, it is rich and juicy, and the best part, natural. I have never seen so many fruits and vegetables until I walked through an Ecuadorian market and wow let me tell you I sure felt stupid when I did because I didn’t know what anything was. My grade school knowledge of fruits and vegetables is still challenged every day as I continue to encounter foods that I have never seen before. But even if I don’t know what it is, I know it will be delicious.
  3. The landscapes – Amazon Jungle, Andes Mountains, Coastal Beaches, and the Galapagos Islands all in an area the size of Oregon, imagine that. In one bus ride I can literally go from seeing the highest mountain in the world (Cotopaxi) to the most virgin beach (Los Frailes) and see breath-taking views along the way. There is nowhere else in the world where that can happen. Each region is so beautiful and has so much adventure that it is impossible to ever say you are bored here.
  4. The relaxed style of life – I never realized how fast-paced my life was until I left the United States. Always with pressure to get things done, working and studying, having little time to enjoy life, family, and friends. Well here that fast paced life is not adapted by many but rather things like eating dinner every day at home, celebrating every birthday and resting if you are sick are much more valued. While I can’t lie that the “do it tomorrow” attitude does bother me sometimes because of how deeply rooted my culture and my OCD is, it has given me the chance to really reevaluate what is important in life and how important it is to enjoy life. We are not machines born to work then to die. There is a lot to enjoy in between and things that need to get done will get done.
  5. The healthy style of life – I came to Ecuador and weighed 190 pounds and thought I was pretty healthy. I ate decently, did some exercise, but I did enjoy a few chicken wings and hamburgers every now and then. After a year of living in Ecuador I was down to 150 pounds. What changed you ask? Really nothing besides the quality of food that I ate. I ate the same salads and chicken dinners but with vegetables and meat that were produced naturally and fresh. Most food that characterizes a traditional western diet comes from a global supply chain which has produced devastating effects on our economy, our health and the environment. Food here is NOT pumped full of chemicals and preservatives. It is natural, grown on local farms, consumed in the same day because there are no preservatives. I feel the difference every day as I wake up with more energy, less pain, and better skin and hair. I’m not an expert but I am a true believer that what we eat is a huge part of our health and my continuing weight loss and improved health is my evidence.
  6. The low cost of life – My friends think I am crazy when I say I earn $375 a month, but here, that $375 goes a much longer way than it would in other parts of the world. A traditional lunch in a restaurant cost $3. A 5 gallon jug of water cost $1.25. A 14 hour bus ride from the coast to the mountains cost $14. Everything is just generally cheaper. If I wanted to spend more and have a more luxurious life I could do that by buying imported items and eating only at chain restaurants but that is not my style. I live a perfectly comfortable life with everything I need and I do it all for a very low cost.
  7. The adventure – Around every corner there is adventure. I have climbed down a waterfall, swung on a swing that hangs over a cliff, zip lined through the amazon, and snorkeled with Manta Rays. And every weekend I can change what adventure I want to do. There is truly something for everyone which makes Ecuador such a desirable place. No matter who is here, they will find something they have never done before and maybe it will turn out to be something they love to do.
  8. The people – It is so refreshing to have people come up to me and talk to me with no hidden agenda. They aren’t trying to sell me something (not always), they aren’t trying to find out my gossip, they just genuinely want to talk, want to help, and are so nice. As a traveler, we often find ourselves needing help and having to ask questions and when that time comes, it can be nerve-racking because we are so accustomed to receiving the cold shoulder. But here, people are so friendly, warm and inviting that my fear of asking for directions went away almost immediately. They will invite you into their home for dinner, and tell you their stories and they look for nothing in return. I am blessed to have met everyone that I have so far.
  9. The potential and opportunity – Ecuador is a developing country which means there is a lot of room for growth. Technology and ideas that exist in other parts of the world have not found their way here yet so that leaves a lot of room for entrepreneurs like myself. I am the proud owner of Discoteca Wett and I can only see improvement and more growth in the future. It was easy to start my business and it is exciting to run. I love coming up with ideas that haven’t been done before and blowing people’s minds with something as simple as elegant decorations made from cardboard. Yes, I would say I am creative but having so much potential gives my creativity worth in this country where the market isn’t completely saturated.
  10. The welcoming atmosphere – Everywhere I ‘have gone in Ecuador I have been 100% welcomed. I know that there is major turmoil in the United States currently and it is sad to see people fighting people for being people. Ecuador and its people made me feel right at home from day one and I feel absolutely comfortable calling Ecuador my home because that is truly how it feels.


So there are my top 10 reasons why I love this country. I could go on and on but every person is different. So I invite you to visit and see why this country is so great and I bet you will find your own reasons as to why you love Ecuador!