Ecuador

First up in the Exploring Ecuador series, we will take a look at a city that is not on most people's radar when it comes to a place to settle in Ecuador. But Rita and I visited the city of Machala in the El Oro Province, and although it is not for me, there are some interesting features that this city of just over 200,000 has to offer. I recently wrote about it for International Living Magazine, but here is some...

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What's the best place to live in Ecuador? There is a clear and simple answer. It is certainly a hot button question, though. Name any place at all, and someone will jump in to explain categorically to you why you are wrong. I suppose it is only human nature, but whenever you ask that question of expats in Ecuador, they invariably will inform you that by a wild coincidence, it just so happens they have settled in the ideal spot....

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The road from Machala on the coast of Ecuador to Loja in the Andes passes through some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet. The mountains in this region jut up at very steep angles, and are every shade of green due to the lush natural vegetation and planted crops. Add to that the clouds dipping over peaks and through the gaps between with the deep blue of the sky – well, some things have to be seen to...

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Last week I posted a link to a video of a band I was in a few years ago, and someone asked for more "gringo music". Got me thinking that I should put something together for the holidays for the family back home. This time of the year, I know a lot of expats are thinking about the folks back home, and we are no exception. So I decided to dust off the musical instruments and recording equipment I brought to...

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“How was your trip to the States?” our friends in Ecuador ask, and it is sometimes hard to frame a simple answer. It is always great seeing family and friends. Manicured and landscaped lawns were a treat, and it was almost scary how easy it was to communicate when everyone is speaking English all the time. But there were other things, unsettling things, that we noticed as well. Rita and I have lived in Ecuador for three years this January. Over...

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You hear a lot about how friendly the Ecuadorian people are, and it is all true. They are also extremely proud of and loving towards their children. I was thinking about this the other day as I watched parents and their children playing on the beach, and it reminded me of an experience we had a when we were still brand new to the country. We had been in Salinas only a few weeks since closing on our new home....

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We've seen in the past few elections the occasional threat/promise, "If my candidate doesn't win, I'm leaving the country". It used to be that no one took that too seriously, it was just something you said to show your extreme displeasure with the other candidate. In this weird election cycle however, we heard this a record number of times from both sides of the aisle. It seemed like no matter who won, at least half the country was going to get...

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The first thing you notice are the birds, hundreds of them circling in the distance. Then as you get closer, you see that you were wrong – there are THOUSANDS of birds! Nothing as ordinary as seagulls, these are big frigate birds, some with wingspans of five feet or more. As you continue down the hill on the new road to the Puerto Pesquero (fishing port) of Anconcito, you also see the flock contains pelicans, some so large you can...

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People always want to know what health care is like when you choose to live overseas. So I would like to share with you my experience from last year, dealing with a problem that required surgery. First off, Rita and I have not signed up for IESS, which includes national health insurance here in Ecuador. It is very affordable, but we do not like that we could only use the designated state doctors, hospitals and clinics. We prefer a little...

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Recently, Rita and I took a week long exploratory trip up the coast, along the "Ruta del Sol" of Ecuador. When we announced our plans to friends and family back in the States, I was surprised at how often we heard some variation of the admonishment to "Stay safe!" Now I know that usually it is meant along the lines of "drive safely", but sometimes there was a darker undertone as well, an idea that we should keep in mind...

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