NEW – website launched – EcuadorResources.com

After spending too much time trying to track down information – we thought why not network and then build a resource website for us ‘expats’

Having some spare time I started to build an online resource for Ecuador
Let me know – thoughts and input are always welcome
We are looking for recommendations or referrals for services you have used
Also if you offer an email newsletter, classes etc – details on that would be great
This is a work in progress – happy to share the work load with anyone who wants to help
We are hosting the site & doing all the work for free – no advertising, no fees to use
All the best
Patrice & Dave

Website: http://www.ecuadorresources.com

Facebook: Website: https://www.facebook.com/EcuadorResources

Beautiful Tierra Firme lot for sale in Cotacachi, Ecuador

We have 1 lot left for sale (ours, the one we had planned to build on), if you know anyone who is interested. You can email us for more details or to view.

Tierra Firma is located about a mile outside Cotacachi on the road to the Pan Americana Highway. It is tucked away off the road and entered by way of a winding driveway, through rolling green pastures and past a tranquil pond with stone water fall feature. The views from all of the lots are simply stunning. Tierra Firme has 23 lots in total and is considered the premier development in the Cotacachi/Otavalo area.

You enter this development through a winding road with many trees, walking paths, green spaces, beautiful views of the dormant volcanoes and the Andes Mountains. Tierra Firme is located in a gated community and offers privacy, security and beauty.

Lot #17 price $46,000

All utilities are underground.
Homes must be built with a Spanish motif
Average cost to build is $550 to $570 per square meter Architect service is available with most builders
Example: A 1,600 square foot home at $570 per square meter would cost $85,000 plus the lot.

Easter Island

We were fortunate to spend a fabulous sunny day on this island. You know how some places you have heard about and your expectations build and then you hear more and more and you build such expectations that you don’t think anything could live up to it. Well after hearing about this place and reading about it with all the history I was ready to be let down by our visit.  I can tell you that you can believe all the hype! This is an amazing place and one that we will not soon forget.

They told us that sea swells can be problematic and not many ships can tender into the island. You see there is no dock on the island. So the only way to get ashore is by tendering in. Look in this next picture at the Tender boat coming back to the ship. Where we went ashore was just past that first row of rocks and just before the second row of rocks. One tender (boat) lost its front corner window and another one lost the front door. They had to stop bring people to shore for a while after we were ashore. Even some of the afternoon ship tours were not able to get ashore and had to be canceled. We counted ourselves lucky, for sure.

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Once ashore we found our guide and headed off for a private tour of Easter Island. Along the way we heard about the history of the island and what it is like to live there. There are a total of around 8,000 people that live on Easter Island, according to the last census. The place has been growing as the previous census recorded 4,000 people.

It had rained for several days before our arrival and this day was a beautiful partly cloudy day. Everything was clear and bright. You will notice the bright fresh green in some of the pictures.

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Yes for us the island lived up to all the hype. It is a very special place that we are very lucky to have spent some time on.

Coming to visit us in Ecuador – here is a list of things to do

What better way to end the year than to start a list of things to do next year. This isn’t my list that follows but there are many things on this list that I want to do next year in Ecuador – Before you read the list though I just wanted to say Happy New Year to everyone and hope things are in Lucky 13!!

1. Watch the Tungurahua Volcano erupt at night from the look out over Banos. Tours can be arranged in one of the many agencies in Baños. Cost $20 per person.

2. Visit the gold mine in Zaruma where resident Spaniards found a 2 and ½ pound piece of gold and gifted it to King Felipe II several hundred years ago, causing the king such joy he decided to lower the taxes for everyone living in Ecuador. The mine is called “El Sexmo” and is now open to tourists with guided tours from actual nearby miners. Free.

3. Observe the amazing Pink river dolphins as they frollic in the unique flooded rainforest of Cuyabeño in northern Ecuador. Tours can be arranged once on the ground out of Quito or Lago Agrio. Canoe Tours start from $40 per person.

4. Scuba dive in the crystalline waters of Galapagos off Floreana Island with hammerheads and whale sharks. 2 Dives start from around $130. Best arranged once on the ground in Santa Cruz Island near the port in Puerto Ayora with local dive shops.

5. Snorkel with the worlds smallest penguin, gigantic manta rays, big marine iguanas and (friendly) reef sharks off las Tintoreras on the picturesque snow-white sands and turqoise waters off Isabela Island in the Galapagos. Day tours to Isabela arranged in Santa Cruz start around $65/person.

6. Eat two buckets of the locally-famous garlic crab at one of the best crabhouses (Manny’s Crangrejal) in Guayaquil, a city known for its numerous crabhouses. Near San Marino Mall any taxi will know where it is. $12.

7. Hunt for fossils along the banks of the Nangaritza River, the only river that connects the Amazon to the Pacific Ocean, high in the Condor Mountain Ridge (Cordillera del Condor). For more try lindoecuadortours.com $25-50 /person.
8. Deep-sea fish for Marlin and Whale-watch in August off the calm shores of Salinas. Trips can be arranged in one of the several agencies along the boardwalk. Cost: Whalewatching from $20 per person, deep sea fishing price varies depending on amount of people.

9. Bike on a rented bicycle from the city of Puerto Ayora in the Galapagos to the deserted, idyllic beach of El Garrapatero while passing through over a dozen micro-climates and witnessing the giant Galapagos tortoises grazing in their natural habitat. Cost: $5.

10. Visit a chocolate farm near Guayaquil and learn the whole process of how to make chocolate from harvest to belly. Get more info here.

11. Hummingbird watch and observe thousands of butterflies in the cloud rainforests of Mindo. Tours can be arranged once in Mindo. Start from $20/person.

12. Climb Cotopaxi, one of the worlds highest active volcanoes at 19347ft / 5897m with a guide arranged in Quito, I’ve been told even beginners can do it!

13. Explore the massive, underground lava tunnels on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos. Free.

14. Trout fish in one of the surreal apline lakes in the barren Cajas National Park near Cuenca. Tours can be arranged with Terra Diversa in Cuenca.

15. Go way off the beaten path and discover the Lost City (Ciudad Perdida) of Ecuador’s Amazon. Extreme adventure available through local guides only out of Nangaritza. Cost: Highly negotiable.

16. Pamper myself with a the natural mud bath in the mud pools in the dry rainforest of Machalilla National Park and spend the night playing volleyball with the local indigenous and later sleeping in one of their tiki huts. From Puerto Lopez hire a motorcycle taxi and pay a few bucks from them to take you to the indigenous community of Aguas Blancas in the park. Cost: $10 for the day tour to the mud baths and $10/person for the night.

17. View the thousands of Orchid species growing wild along the well-kept trails of the Podocarpus National Park easily reached in a $4 taxi ride from the town of Zamora. Free entrance to park.

18. Hike the 10km trek from El Tambo to Ingapirca, ancient Incan ruins and effectively Ecuador’s own “Machu Picchu”. You can also take a train, taxi or bus which can be arranged out of Canar. Ruins Entrance fee $6.

19. Get certified as a glider plane pilot in Ibarra through a one month course with a local flight instructor. They say if you can fly a plane without an engine you can fly a plane with one. Course starts around $1300. 2013 prices yet to be released. For more info write me here.

20. Visit the worlds only birds that live in a cave, in the only cave they live in at the CUEVA DE LOS TAYOS. Tours arranged out of Macas. Prices vary.

21. Tailgate, then enter a game in Quitos rowdy Atahaulpa Stadium as the National Soccer team attempts to qualify for the next World Cup in Brazil. The cheap seats start around $10.

22. Learn to kite surf with an instructor against the strangly barren cliff landscapes of Santa Marianita near Manta. Classes can be arranged on site. Prices vary.

23. Party with fun locals along the infamous Plaza Foch in Quito during Quitos Festival Week “Fiestas de Quito” the first week of December. Free if you can find a sugar-momma/pappa to buy you drinks.

24. Take a tour of a Banana plantation in Machala and learn all the ins and outs of the interesting business with CristyViajes. Tours start around $20 per person.

25. Fish for Pirana in Laguna Pañacocha, a beautiful black wáter lake backed by cloud forests. To get there, hire a local canoe where the Rio Panacayu meets the Rio Napo, to get there you’ll need to take a Nuevo Rocafuerte Canoe hired in the town of Coca. Price varies depending on season.

26. Bike the wonderful 7 hour (60km) downhill ride from the high Andes to the mouth of the Amazon in Puyo and witness the furious waterfall of Baños “Pilon de Diablo”. Bike can easily be rented in Banos. Cost: $5

27. Soak in the odd street water-wars during Carnaval in February in Cuenca where everyone goes around throwing water balloons and soaking random strangers with water guns. Free.

28. Hike the Quillotoa Volcano and witness the majestic, stunning turquoise-colored lake in the volcano’s crater. Can be done solo by taking a bus from Latacunga and getting off near the base. Cost: $4 bus fare from Latacunga.

29. Experience the naughty, packed, full-moon-style New Year’s Eve party in Montanita. Free if you sleep on the beach in a tent (doable), just don’t bring valuables.

30. Mingle with sexy locals dressed to the tilt during the 2 hour river-boat cruise on the all-you-can-drink boat ‘Morgans’ which leaves every night from the boardwalk (Malecon) of Guayaquil. Can be arranged out of my B&B in Guayaquil. $15 per person includes all you can drink.

31. Follow the rarely-visited path of the world-famous indigenous Shuar who were the ones that originated the practice of shrinking the heads of their conquered enemies. Tours now available with local guides through Macas or Zamora. Prices vary.

32. Learn to kayak in the lazy to fierce Andean rivers around the city of Ibarra with Natural Adventures. Prices vary.

33. Devour delicious seafood at the locally-famous “Parque de Mariscos” along the beach in Manta heading towards the airport. Specifically I want to eat a ‘Cazuela’ Soup, an amazing nut-based fish soup truly unique to Ecuador. Cost: $6.

34. Have a 10 minute long conversation in Spanish with a local after a month long Spanish crash course at the highly recommended Galapagos Spanish School in Quito. Cost: one-on-one classes with real teachers start around $6/hr.

35. Dance salsa to afro-latino beats on the white-sand beaches at moonlight in a beach bar near Esmeraldas after eating the local delicacy of Shrimp cooked in spiced coconut milk (encocado de camaron). I’m sure I’ll feel like I’m in the Caribbean. Cost: $5-6.

36. Visit the perplexing, friendly afro-ecuadorian community of Chota in the middle of the Andes near Otavalo and have a local Shaman (witch doctor) cleanse away my worries. Cost: $5 bus fare from Quito.

37. Have literally ten years taken off my face through the marvelous work of the locally-famous and reasonably priced Dermatologist Janeth Arevalo in Loja. Men are welcome. Cost varies depending on what is done.

It sure is Christmas time

We were downtown manning the Real Estate office for a friend and there was such a clatter we had to go outside to see what was the matter. When we looked out…low and behold there were all of these kids lining up right next door. They all started to sing Christmas carols too. After a few songs their Moms took them and everything was quiet again. Take a look at what we saw…

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Three Sisters Garden

Walking short walk from where we live to town regularly we walk through small pastures and small fields scattered with Cows, Sheep, Chickens, Goats and other live stock from time to time. It is really nice to see how things change and what is going on so close to our little town of Cotacachi. A couple of things we noticed along the way were; how fast everything grows here, and growing other plants in the corn fields. I thought I recognized the plants growing with the corn so I started asking questions and researching it a bit to satisfy my curiosity. So what the heck are they doing?
One of the names for gardening this way is called “Three Sisters Garden”. But this was a bit larger scale from your backyard gardening and everybody is doing it. Since things grow here year round we have not seen what they do every time they plant, but this late September / early October, at least, they plant the Three Sisters.
From what I found out the Three Sisters are Corn, Pole Beans, and Squash. The Corn provides the pole for the Beans to climb and the beans add Nitrogen to the soil. The third sister Squash provides ground cover and helps keep moisture in the ground. Having never seen this way of gardening before I wondered whether were did this method come from or are these South American farmers’ just geniuses when it comes to growing things. Enter researching this method…
What I learned was that this dates back to the Native Americans and they shared it with the European settlers. So it is logical to deduce that this is the way they have done it here for centuries. They actually plant each plant at different times. First the corn is planted, next is the pole beans, and finally the squash. If you would like to see a short planning description of how to do this, this link does a good job I think http://www.nativetech.org/cornhusk/threesisters.html Here they don’t do mounds though as you can see in the pictures but the same concept is done here.

Following are a few pictures to aid in the visual for what I am talking about, (Note – It is a half mile to town and you can click on the picture to see a larger version):

Walking to the Back GateOut the back GateCorn & BeansThe Three SistersLive StockBack to Gate