Patrice Was Interviewed

Cutting Their Teeth in Ecuador Left Them Wanting More
By Wendy DeChambeau

It was the low cost of dental work that initially brought Patrice Baron Parent and her husband Dave to Cotacachi, Ecuador. "We first came here for a dental vacation in 2009," says Patrice. "But while we were here we just fell in love with the place. We liked the people, the culture, and the landscape—including the two dormant volcanos."

Patrice hails from Canada while Dave is originally from Alaska, but at that time the couple were living and working in Seattle. However, despite returning to their regular lives, the memory of their vacation lingered, and in 2012 they decided to go back to Ecuador for good.

At that point Dave had retired and Patrice had given up her business built on web development, website construction, and search engine optimization. But one thing led to another and Patrice again found her skills in demand. Today, she is able to work from home or wherever she happens to find herself, as long as she has access to a good internet connection.

Having a mobile career makes it easy for Patrice and Dave to pursue their passion for traveling. "We've traveled a lot," says Patrice. "In the last 15 years we've seen about 65% of the world. We've been through Asia, Russia, Europe, South America, and even Antarctica."

In fact, Patrice found that because of her travel experience she was often booking travel plans for friends. So she recently decided to work as a travel agent too and earn some income from her expertise, which now gives her two portable sources of income.

While Dave and Patrice are frequently on the go, Cotacachi is their home base. A mellow little town, with a distinctly Andean feel, Cotacachi is everything Patrice fell in love with and more. There are community seed exchanges, harvest and planting festivals, and a market brimming with quinoa, potatoes, and other mountain staples.

But above all, Patrice loves the weather. "It's like spring every day." In fact, the average daytime temperatures hover in the mid-60s F all year long, making it an ideal climate for many folks.

And the pair found that they can continue their hobbies and interests in Cotacachi without any problem. As foodies who enjoy eating healthy, this was important. "We make everything—all our own food," says Patrice. "We make our own bread, cheese, sauces...everything. We spend a lot of time cooking and entertaining. You can't go to a store here and find 19 different bottles of hot sauce, so it's not always easy to source ingredients, but you can do it."

Patrice also spends her time sewing clothes for children, knitting, and making jewelry. She's also found satisfaction in volunteering in the local community. "Last month we hosted police officers who were in town for an event and we made them breakfast each morning," she says. She's also been actively involved with a scholarship program for indigenous high school students in the local area. "There are 75 kids in school because of these scholarships and they're all doing amazing things. Because of this program, they're going on to get a higher education which will allow them to be of greater help to their communities."

Not only does Patrice get to live the good life in her dream destination, she gets to give back to the local community while she does so. What's not to love?

To learn more about the Scholarship Program and how you can help http://www.itsaboutchildren.org/

Patrice's Travel Agent Website https://www.cruiseshipcenters.com/

Ecuador – Bucket List

this belongs to a friend

1. Go black panther tracking in the Amazon.
2. Visit a local indigenous community in Ecuador and meet with a shaman witch-doctor.
3. Hike, and summit Chimborazo, Cotopaxi or Cayambe, 19,000+ ft volcanos near Quito.
4. Spearfish or pearl-dive off the coast from Ayampe.
5. Visit Trinidad, Puerto Rico, and El Salvador. With the new cheap flights of JetBlue from Quito to Fort Lauderdale traveling from Ecuador to the Caribbean and the rest of Central America just got a whole lot cheaper.
6. Visit the petrified forest of Puyango along the Ecuador-Peru border.
7. See an Anaconda in the most remote area of Ecuador, the Yasuni, in the Amazon region.
8. Take the newly-re-opened train through the high Andes from Ibarra to Salinas.
9. Hike arguably the most beautiful area of Ecuador from the Lagunas de Atillo to the largest waterfall in Ecuador, the San Rafael Falls and the Volcano Reventador area.
10. Visit the Saquisili (near Latacunga) thursday market for an interesting more authentic (less touristy) look into indigeous highland life.
11. Go silver bargaining along the main plaza in Chordeleg (near Cuenca) where silversmiths flex their creative muscles.
12. Bike down the entire Ecuador coast from Esmeraldas to Salinas.
13. 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.
14. Observe the amazing Pink river dolphins as they frolic in the unique flooded rainforest of Cuyabeño in northern Ecuador. Tours can be arranged once on the ground out of Quito or Lago Agrio. Anacondas, monkeys and sloths are also possible to be seen. Canoe Tours start from $40 per person.
15. Scuba dive in the crystalline waters of Galapagos off Wolfe Island where it’s common to see schools of hundreds of Hammerheads and dozens of 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.
16. Snorkel with the world’s 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 Floreana Island in the Galapagos. Day tours to Isabela arranged in Santa Cruz start around $65/person.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. Visit a coffee farm in the Intag near Ibarra and learn the whole process from harvest to belly.
21. Hummingbird watch and observe thousands of butterflies at a butterfly farm in the cloud rainforests of Mindo. Tours can be arranged once in Mindo. Start from $20/person.
22. 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.
23. Go way off the beaten path and hike to the Lost City (Ciudad Perdida) of Ecuador’s Southern Amazon. Extreme adventure available through local guides only out of Nangaritza. Cost: Highly negotiable.
24. 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.
25. View thousands of Orchid species and hummingbirds 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.
26. Get a taste of ancient Incan life by hiking 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.
27. 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.
28. Zip-line through a Banana plantation in Machala and learn all the ins and outs of the interesting business with Cristy Viajes. Tours start around $20 per person.
29. 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.
30. Visit a Chocolate factory in Mindo.
31. 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.
32. Mingle with the locals 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. $15 per person includes all you can drink.
33. White-water raft and try kayaking for the first time in the lazy to fierce rivers around the city of Tena where the activities have made the town famous.
34. Explore the rarely-visited beaches north of Esmeraldas while at night dancing salsa to afro-latino beats 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.
35. Just for fun one day try panning for gold in Yantzaza with the locals in the southern Ecuador Amazon.
36. Volunteer in one of the animal shelters in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

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

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.