Moving to Ecuador in 2014

| January 31, 2014 | 88 Replies


We Are Finally Moving to Ecuador

Moving to ecuadorHappy New Year Everyone. The countdown has begun. We are less than a month and a half away from moving to Ecuador and we still have a house to sell, three cars to sell, and an ongoing “Investor Visa” process we will talk about today.

I think I have finally figured out what I am going to do with this blog. Pretty sure you will like it. The full reveal next month.

This is also my membership drive post for the year. And when I say membership, I really mean that I want you to subscribe (Don’t worry, it’s free).

Promise me now that if you like what you read that you will subscribe. Say it now. Out loud if you have problems keeping promises. And you promise to share this site with your friend who is thinking about retirement, or dreams about building their own home (part of the new format), or anyone else who has 10 minutes of free time and likes to read…

I have a big agenda today with a lot to cover. Here is a tickler to keep you interested.

  • Gold and Silver as an investment. Should I or shouldn’t I? My not so simple answer.
  • Getting a Resident Visa “before” moving to Ecuador.
  • Is Ecuador the Fountain of Youth?
  • Can you leave all your friends and family and move to another country?
  • Are you still feeling guilty about that same sex experience you had in college. Later this year I will explore the subject of taboo things, weird feelings, and why guilt and regret are a burden we need to work through in order to have a happier life…. What does this have to do with Ecuador? Absolutely nothing but I need subscriptions so I am trying to inject a few naughty and bizarre stories into my blog…. Sign up now and don’t miss out on all the adult whispers and fun tingly feelings…
  • Original Stories: “Are You The Center of Your Own Universe?” and “Goodbye Old Friend”  (Original short stories or brain farts as I call them)
  • “Ask The Alcoholic” is in the house. Do you or someone you know have a drinking or drug problem. The crazy drunk stories should be a hoot.
  • And I want to touch on why having “an awareness of self” is so important to me. Knowing where I fit in, or if I fit in. “Why do I always feel just a little different than everyone else? Am I weird, or is this a normal part of the self awareness challenge?
  • Finally, where do I come up with all this stuff? Is it normal to always be questioning everything? Why not give it a rest? Is this just another manifestation of an obsessive compulsive disorder? Maybe.


So, lets start where we left off last time. We could call this part two but I would rather just use the above list of subjects and write until I get tired. These blog posts are starting to turn into novels. Lets just cover 4 or 5 things from the list….


Gold and Silver… Why did I buy it before moving to Ecuador?

Moving to Ecuador

Do you have any doomsayer friends? You know the type. “The end is near or the sky is falling” types. “9-11 was an inside job”.  All they talk about is how we are being manipulated and that our government is a cesspool of corruption… I used to be guilty of this.

I am always reading that the interest we pay on our national debt is accruing so fast that money can’t be printed fast enough to keep up and soon the dollar won’t be worth the paper it is written on. Is this true? Are we building a house of cards that will crash and burn in our lifetimes???

And depending on who you talk to, it is Bush’s fault. But then the next guy tells me Obama is satan and it is his fault. But wait, I thought the large corrupt Corporations were to blame. Look a little closer and some might think it is those idiot Supreme Court Justices that say corporations are people. Then you read or hear about all the insider trading that goes on, the funny money slight of hand they call derivatives (this is still going on), and how our country doesn’t produce anything but Ponzi schemes anymore.

I am pretty sure I will never be able to figure all this out…. but it bothers me. I am not very happy with how things are going. A lack of confidence in leadership, both in our government and in our corporations, would be an understatement.

So I bought gold and silver…..

Moving to ecuadorAnd I bought just enough to get rid of that insane “End of Days” fear that keeps flaring up every once in a while.

I found that $10,000 worth of gold and silver was just the amount I needed to cure my anxiety.

It seems to me that the corruption that surrounds us on a daily basis is not going away, and the benchmark for what is right and wrong seems to be barreling towards rock bottom. This concerns me but I will not allow it to overwhelm me. I will not become a walking doomsayer.

A big bag of rice, some ammunition, a couple cases of water, some toilet paper and a little gold and silver is a small investment to make for a little peace of mind. Now I can ignore the Armageddon stories because I now have my little insurance policy.

And if nothing happens, I will have some precious metal that will probably be worth double what I paid for it 20 years from now. But if our monetary system fails, I will at least have a commodity that has always maintained its value throughout history.

It is a sad day when you have to go through all this craziness because you don’t trust the integrity and competence of the people in charge. I hope things become more stable but I suspect it may get worse before it gets better.

So it is that simple. If paper money becomes worthless then my family will have a little something to survive on while the world regroups and finds its way.

This is working for me so that is why I am doing it. If my fear is irrational, this takes care of it. If my fear is rational, this also takes care of it.

And please don’t break into my house. All I have here is 50 pounds of rice, some mac and cheese, a couple cases of water, and a few rolls of toilet paper.


Getting Our Residency Visa Before Moving to Ecuador

We have traveled to Ecuador three times in the last two years. On one of those trips we went and sat around the immigration office for about 4 hours.

moving to ecuadorWhy you ask?

We needed to make a decision. Do we wait until we get to Ecuador to get our residency visas, or do we work on getting them while we are still in the United States?

Because we do not speak much Spanish yet, and because of what we saw at the immigration office that day, we have decided to use a facilitator to help us get our visas before we leave the states.

We could have hired an attorney but our process should be pretty simple. We are two single guys with no arrest records, we have never been married or divorced, we have never changed our names or done anything weird or bizarre. (Well, one bizarre thing but I was in college and technically it wasn’t illegal)

So we hired a facilitator, Maite Durran, who lives in Ecuador and will do most of the work for us. All she needed was a copy of our Passports to get things started. Then she sent us all the info for our specific type of visa process. So far so good.

I will let you know how it goes in my next post. We are right in the middle of getting her all the paperwork she needs. We are applying for an Investor Visa which will require us to deposit $25,000 each into an approved Ecuadorian financial institution. We could also choose to buy real estate to qualify for this type of visa, but we will be renting for the first year or two.

If you are married, it is $25,000 for the qualifying party, and $500 for each dependent. So, married with 2 kids would be $25,000 plus $500 for the spouse, and $500 for each kid. Pretty simple stuff.

Chad and I are legally considered to be two single guys so it will be $25,000 each. If we had a domestic partnership agreement or if we were married, it would be $25,000 plus the $500. Ecuador is pretty progressive when it comes to this, at least compared to Virginia or Tennessee.

More to come on this subject as we move through the process.


Will Moving to Ecuador Make me Younger?

First a child and then my adolescence where I come of age, then some time for wanderlust, then to settle down and maybe fall in love, to raise a family, to test the promises I have made to myself and to others, to realize that I will not live forever, and maybe, if I am lucky, to become comfortable with myself at the end.”  (Inspired by a book I read by Mitch Albom).


moving to ecuador

I love this. It is kind of a road map for life. It gives me some perspective.

It helps me see how moving to Ecuador is going to make me younger. I will move from the “not going to live forever” stage and go all the way back to the “wanderlust years”.  Any kind of lust will be welcome at my age, but wanderlust on this new journey sounds incredible.

And I will get to settle down again for a while, then maybe more wanderlust. I just love that word “Wanderlust”. Not sure if I still can, but maybe I will try 5 wanderlusts with a little rest in between each one.

See, I’m feeling younger already.


Moving to Ecuador will be Sad

We are counting down and are now less than 45 days before moving to Ecuador

I’m still working. Three ongoing projects plus the teeny tiny house remodel.

One of these projects is the new living room addition for my niece and her rapidly growing family.

Yesterday we had the big inspection.

Inspections are a pain. The county gives you a four hour window, so you have to sit and wait for the inspector. I was 7th on his list so I needed to be at the site from 11am until he arrived.

Half my day wasted just sitting around. Or so I thought.

My niece is home with her new baby. I think the baby is two years old now. She cries and gives me dirty looks every time I visit, and she screams if I try to pick her up…

But not this time.

I walk in and sit down at the kitchen table and she starts playing peek a boo from the other room. And she is smiling, and waving, and even laughing. All of a sudden I am laughing and smiling and waving too.  “Nana nana nana, you can’t see me.”

Today is a half day at school so Jessica is out the door to pick up the 2 boys. Now I am back into that hurry up and wait mode.

It is not even 10 minutes and they are back. Books, papers, and backpacks get thrown right in the middle of the kitchen, I get a real fast uncle hug, then straight to the refrigerator. These are great kids.

We talk for a few minutes, the littler one, Justin, lays on the carpet and quickly falls asleep. The older one, 5th grade I think, says he has math homework to do. I tell him I will help and he likes that.

Adding and subtracting compound fractions…. I was surprised I was still able to do these. I love this. What a wonderful time we had. Seeing Joseph work these problems out, and sharing little math tricks with him, and watching his eyes light up when he finally understood… This was magical.

moving to ecuadorI hear a truck pull up just as we are working on the last two problems.

The clock says it is almost 3 o’clock. We have been doing math problems for almost two hours, and having an incredible time.

I go outside and talk to the inspector for a few minutes, everything looks good.  I hear the door open, and it is the little guy just waking up.

He looks over at me and then at the inspector and says, “Hey mister, we really need to keep moving on this place. Please sign the papers.”

James the inspector looked at him, then looked at me with a little smirk, then with exaggerated movements picked up the inspection card, made his mark in all the needed places, and then handed it to little Justin.

moving to ecuador

Justin, Joseph, and Uncle George

“There you go young man, you passed your inspection.”

Justin looked at the inspection card and then looked up at the inspector with a big smile.   All of a sudden the inspector has a giant smile on his face too. I am watching all this and now I have a crazy stupid smile on my face…

In 25 years, this was the best inspection day I have ever had.

I will truly miss my family when we move.


A Few Random Thoughts

I need to get these off my yellow writing pad. I jot this stuff down thinking I will write a story about them and then never do. So now the list becomes the story. Enjoy.

  • When you drive by an accident, do you stop to help or just look and keep going?
  • Do you ever wonder if everyone secretly bites their toe nails?
  • What deep psychological syndrome causes pee shyness?
  • Do you cringe when someone starts a statement with “You people”?
  • Oh ya, and are you a bad person because you didn’t stop and help at that accident?
  • Simultaneous thoughts. I am doomed and then wondering what I can do to make this the best day ever.
  • You might be a product of your environment so maybe you need to change your environment if things are not going the way you want…
  • Stop complaining about things you can do nothing about and start focusing on what you can change… You.
  • Does the rain in Spain “always” fall mainly on the plain?
  • Are you what you think you are?
  • One of the fundamental mistakes of the last 50 years is using profit as the metric by which we measure the health of our society.
  • What is it about love that makes us so stupid?
  • Does everything that is wrong in the world boil down to “dollars and cents”?
  • Picture fear as sweet candy. “Sir, may I have another?”
  • Have many of our young people have slipped into survival mode by just shutting down?
  • Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, and reasoning. Is this discipline dead?


Let me pick one of these things and write a story. I am up against the clock to get this posted today. My new years resolution is to post at least once a month….


Are You What You Think You Are?

I woke up this morning with three or four things going on in my head. I was designing a fantastic home in my head, and then I was thinking about writing and wondering if this writing thing will take off for me. I was also inventing stuff in my head using that “think organic” process I teased you with in my last post. And lastly I was practicing a few little Spanish words. Thank god I wasn’t thinking about everything we still have to do as we ready ourselves for this move to Ecuador. I am not letting that worry me.

So, if you “are what you think you are”, this makes me a house designer and builder with a minor in writing and organic thinking who is learning a second language and has learned to let go and not stress to much… And guess what, that is just about what I am….

Now as I think back, about five years ago things were a little different. I would wake up late with a nagging headache, maybe from one to many drinks and lack of sleep, thinking I am going to be late for work and for the hundredth time I remind myself that I need to stop after the third vodka… God I hope I didn’t do anything stupid… and look, things must be ok, my car is in the driveway….

So, if I use the same formula, I’m a heavy drinker, an excuse maker, and my profession is secondary to my unhealthy habits. I am also a master rationalizer, and at best a dreamer with no plan… Yikes!

So, what do you think you are?

Does the answer come easy?

Do you like the answer?

I hope so.

And if you don’t like the answer, stick around… Most people don’t even know enough to ask the question… That means you are now half way there…


I have run out of time.


Please subscribe. The button is all the way up to the top and to the right.

Next time I will focus on the “organic thinking” process I have spoken about (I made up that name) and “Ask the Alcoholic” will makes its debut.

And expect a little Spanish and a couple original short stories….


Isn’t this the most bizarre blog … I guess that makes you a little weird…

It is fun to be a cog off. Don’t you think?


Please leave a comment, share on Facebook, and subscribe…..

Give me your take on precious metals in the comment section or how you are handling being away from family and friends.

Thanks for hanging out with me. Have a great weekend.


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Category: Before The Big Move, Moving to Ecuador

Comments (88)

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  1. Gary A Sisk says:

    Well looks like you guys are on your way! A new fun adventure is waiting for you! And I see lots of travel in your future!
    See you in 45 days!

    • Ecuador George says:

      It is a bit of an emotional roller coaster. No fear but some anxiety. As we accomplish things, sell a car, work on the visa thing, set a date for departure, the stress seems to be falling away. We still have a lot to do but we can now see an end… feels good. George

  2. Chad Davis says:

    Two questions: When were you in Spain and where did you hide the gold?

  3. Greg and Conchi says:

    I find people who think, contemplate, plan and wonder how to live a better and a more aspiring, rewarding life very interesting. People should question most things (although most don’t) but when you question yourself, that form of soul searching usually leads to new horizons. Because I am in your corner routing for you and Chad, I will closely follow your blog. I too with my wife and two teenage boys will move to Ecuador once we sell our property in Spain. Go ahead and be yourself as you empty your heart and mind as many of us would love to encourage you and at the same time learn from your aspirations and journey.

    G and the gang

    • Ecuador George says:

      Hey Greg… Nice comment. For years I didn’t question anything or really have much of a plan. I made myself a nice nest and was very satisfied with just that. Now I have destroyed that nest and I am out exploring everything I can. Good luck and see you soon in Ecuador. George

  4. gerry says:

    Have you checked out this way to get your visa using a College degree? Or if you can show $1800 of monthly income that works too. Yes, land ownership if you are so inclined. It seems a chancy to park any money in an Ecuadorian or any foreign bank these days. We just purchased five beautiful acres outside Cuenca that we will farm. We could use that as our visa but will use income instead. Where is your destination? good luck as you wrap things up.
    Gerry in Oregon

    • Ecuador George says:

      Gerry, I made your link clickable and I think you mean $800 monthly income. We might buy real estate down the road and we are not retired yet so don’t have easily verifiable income. Thanks for the info. George

  5. Nancy Hofmeister says:

    Do you have a date yet? Have heard good things about Maite Duran. She is helping another friend with their citizenship paperwork. Glad to see that your head is still going 90 miles a minute, I think. Luv & stuff. Nancy

    • Ecuador George says:

      Currently our plan is to leave in March and drive across the United States and then fly out of Miami. This will make it a quick flight for the dog. We are looking for a place to rent in Cuenca starting April 1st. Miss you Nancy….

      • Cindy says:

        How are you working out the dog transport? We have 2 little ones to bring and I am having one heck of a time getting clear answers but I was told they need a health check done 10 days before we leave…notarized by the USDA, Apostilled then brought to the consulate…Is that what you were told? For us that would be taking it to Denver for the apostille from Durango, then driving down to Phoenix to the consulate, then a drive to Chicago to say goodbye to family and off we go. Just don’t know how we’ll get it all done in 10 days! If you have found better info I sure would appreciate a share…this is putting me in a panic!

        • Ecuador George says:

          Cindy, we have not done the dog stuff yet but we have a vet that will help with whatever we need. I will be looking into that in the next couple of weeks and post it here… George

        • DeeDee says:

          Hi Cindy, we are moving from Colorado to Cuenca this year. I just contacted a travel agent to find out about my dogs, have you had any luck yet?

          • Claudia says:

            Hi, We are also in Colorado and have thought about Cuenca for 3-4 years. I too have dogs and hoped you had a better reply than I’m giving you ont eh legality of bringing them to Ecuador. I have heard it’s fairly easy and legal to bring them across. I’ll keep an out out for real answers. Your ahead of our move.How exciting!!
            Cheers Claudia

            • Ecuador George says:

              Claudia, it is stressful and there is a lot of paperwork, but the process is very doable. Good luck. George

  6. Tom Gallagher says:

    Nice job George as usual. Glad to see that you will be heading south soon, fulfilling your dream, I’ll be joining you as soon as I get rid of all the anchors and the house. However, I suspect that I will be on the coast.

  7. Tom,
    I am here if you need any help. And we may be on the coast a couple months out of the year. Hurry up, we are not getting any younger….

  8. Prin says:

    Hello George
    Like you blog – Gracias.
    Do you know that with a “Union de Echo” here in Ecuador – same as you call a “domestic partnership agreement”: you will have to swear in front of a notary that you have been living together more then 2 years as a couple and then you only need once $25,000 for the investor and for the “dependant” the 500.–. But if something happens to the main investor – the dependant has to start over the process. And you have to renew every year your one year CD – ask Maite if you can go for a two year CD…
    Also if your University is registered on Senescyt listing you/or both of you could apply for a Professional Visa Maite should be explaining to you the details.
    Where are you planing to stay at the Costa? We are also thinking to be a few weeks/months in the warmer part 🙂 Saludos, Prin

    • Ecuador George says:

      Wow Prin, thanks for the info and we will ask. We might just deposit money for each of us in case something happens, plus I like the 9 plus percentage we are going to make on our deposits…. George

  9. Looks like you are about as crazy as I am, so of course I will subscribe. I am interested to hear you expound more on critical thinking as I have just started a course on it. We are in Cuenca, myself, esposa Deanna, 16 year old Karah and 13 year old Kristen. Got our visas last Thursday and are loving our life in Cuenca. Hope to meet you when you get here. Michael Gossman

    • Ecuador George says:

      Thanks Michael…. Crazy is as crazy does… I can’t wait to see my stuff on critical thinking either. Not sure what I am going to write yet… but it should be fun for sure. See you soon in Cuenca.

  10. Georgia says:

    Hi George, love the posts – I, too, question myself a lot and have yet to come up with an answer that I like so am doing some serious adjustments to my attitude and psych. My husband and I are looking at Ecuador in the next couple years. We will both be retired and it will make our retirement income stretch. Besides, I was thinking of travelling around the world in the southern hemisphere. To me, this sounds like a real blast – totally different from above the equator (don’t know why – it’s just as I have it implanted in my head). I know we, too, will be happy in Equador. Hope your move goes slowly and you have many happy moments.

  11. Gregory Cracolice says:

    George, your ability to be insightful, self-guided & constantly in a state of learning & growth are quite impressive. They seem to not be over shadowed by anything less it be your incredible self-driven ability to turn your dreams into performances, or, I should say “action”. I have had many professional “hats”, licensed Psychologist, Professor and Entrepreneur. My partner of 24-years & I have our eyes set on Ecuador but have struggled with what we will do for actual employment once there. Though we have ideas & the ability to open a business like a restaurant or such, my dream would be consulting others with their ventures and perhaps find a business opportunity opening or joining an educational business helping others with language and other subjects I am certified to teach? Once you are settled I look forward to communicating more with you but I know this time is needed to get your life put together, packed-up and on your way, so good luck to you and I have sent invitations to 10-close friends to join your Blog with me. God-Speed & Congratulations….. Greg & Rob

    • Gregory, what a nice comment. Thank you. I was thinking a nice art gallery or maybe you figure out how to get a local dairy to produce some better cheeses. Also dog food is not very good in Ecuador. Wondering how hard it would be to retool a local dog food line and add better ingredients. Just some off the cuff ideas… And thanks for recommending the blog to your friends. That is great. George

      • Lee Patrick says:

        You can buy Royal Canin at Pekes beneath Pio Pio at Gran Columbia and Unidad Nacionale. Little pricey but these ARE our children we’re talking about.

        • Lee, How much is a lot for dog food. We pay about $35 for about 40 pounds here in the states. Wonder if it would be cheaper to make your own???? Just thinking out loud. George

          p.s. I sent a message to your friends about finding us an apartment. I have not heard back from them. Maybe I was not reasonable????? See you soon. George

          • Mike & Lotis says:

            Hi George! The dry pelleted dog food here is very cheap but not of good quality. The best they have here is Pro Plan (Purina), but quite pricey at $25.00 for a 3kg (6.6 lb)bag. What we have done is to switch our mini Cocker Spaniel to the raw food diet. The quality of the meat and poultry here is impeccable and very inexpensive compared to the states. Combined with a variety of grated veggies and some soft boiled eggs plus the ground shells (for calcium) makes an excellent diet for dogs, and is less expensive than Pro Plan. We make it in bulk and freeze it until it is needed (thawing it out the night before). Since Sully (our dogs name) has been on this raw food diet he has incredible energy for a 9 year old, as well as a greatly improved and shiny coat. It’s workable here in Cuenca because of the low cost of quality meat(provided you don’t have an Irish Wolf Hound or Great Dane to feed :-).

            My wife and I bought a house on the outskirts of Cuenca 2 years ago as part of my retirement plan. I retired in September of 2013 and we moved into our new home. We also did a 40 ft container as well (which is a story in itself). We were also able to do our residency visas while still in the US using a Power of Attorney with help from an Ecuadorian friend as a facilitator. Bear in mind that the residency visa costs escalate with all the document translations that are required. And these costs are not included in any facilitators contract (we checked). We basically did it all ourselves (including the translations, which can be done using a translation program or even Bing). Even when you get here in Cuenca George the registration process at the Ministry can be a real pain. But is it all worth it? A resounding YES!! Once you get over a period of transition and orientation you will, I’m sure, absolutely love Cuenca as we do.

            George, the one important piece of advice that I will share with you is not to isolate yourself from the Ecuadorian community, which many expats tend to do. Our experience has been that the more you integrate yourself into the Ecuadorian community itself, as well as working to become independent, the better off you will be, and the happier you will be in this your host country.

            Best of luck on your quest George. Look us up when you get here. We have subscribed to your blog.
            Mike and Lotis

            • Deanne says:

              @Mike & Lotis,

              I noticed no one responded…you are so right about the raw pet food diet. I have done that here for years and it makes a huge difference. Hey dogs are classified as domesticated wolves and wolves don’t eat grains they eat raw meat primarily. Prior to switching to raw meat diet for my dogs, my buff colored male lab got diabetes. He wasn’t eating cake or drinking pepsi, he was eating dry dog food and the better brands too. Yes genetic does play a role in your susceptibility but what makes the major difference is what you eat.

              We are thinking about retiring there in about 10 yrs possibly. Diet plays a big role in our lives and health. We eat a Paleo autoimmune type diet and heavy on the meat and veggies, what does hamburger go for or ribeye or chicken thighs, lamb a lb? Is their meat grassfed entirely or grain free entirely? Do they have better standards than the USDA? I am hoping so. Most countries are!

              My concern is that after all the costs associated with moving and all,the cost of living won’t be that much different. Did I hear that the 25K for visa gets 9% interest? Can you use that or does that stay with account?

              My husband is an elementary teacher. I was thinking maybe we could spend a yr in Ecuador with him teaching down there to get a feel for the country and area after he retires to see if that is the way to go? Help pay for the exploratory trip.

              We tend to be more rural folks and renting an apartment in noisy city for low rents doesn’t sound that appealing from some of the many videos I have watched from Ecuador. I also see that Ecuador is located in higher earthquake activity areas like we are in the NW. This is a bit confusing since I see a lot of stucco and cement type buildings from the pictures and not sure about how safe the construction is there. I bet George knows the answer to that.

              We are used to living at 500ft level and living up in the mountains will be more huffing a puffing than we are used to. Living near the coast sounds nice but I stuff like malaria is a big deal. Not sure taking all those vaccines is such a good strategy for immune system either. Trying to find that goldie locks just right place for us in Ecuador.

              I don’t know, just my first impressions of this after digging into this topic 🙂

      • Teri Schroeder says:

        Love the idea about better cheeses!

        • Mike & Lotis says:

          There are private farms now getting into the cheese business. The Italian cheeses (Parmesan and Pecorino Romano)are getting to be of better quality. However, unless you are able to buy them at the source they are even more expensive than in the States. Some of the restaurants sell good quality cheese on the side, but the cost is high. The Parmesan in the Super-Maxi’s is hard and dry like rice grains. And not much taste. For those that like Feta cheese the packaged “Apetina” brand in the Super-Maxi’s is of very high quality in taste and texture. I’ve still yet to see a good quality aged cheddar. Most average cheddar here is sadly just a small step above Velveeta in taste and texture. Now there’s an idea for a new business venture!

  12. Mike says:

    Glad to hear you’re on the way. I’ve been to Cuenca for about a month. But, being from FL, it was too cold for me. During that trip, a friend of mine from Cuenca spent a some traveling around EC. It was then, that I discovered Salinas. After that, I made a few trips to Salinas. During the last 2 week trip, that turned into a month, was when I found a place to live, and established a bank account.

    Now, Salinas is my home. The weather, people, culture and the food are all fantastic.

    By the way, you mentioned traveling with your dog. I brought my 2 cats, and they are doing great here.

    Best of luck !!

    • Ecuador George says:

      Mike, We really liked Salinas Once we are settled in Cuenca we will be touring the coast for a couple weeks. We would like to spend a month on the coast every year. We want to visit Bahia area and see Manta. We will look you up for sure…. Thanks for the comment. George

      • Ray says:

        @MIKE Mike would love to exchange a few notes about Salinas with you. I’m still in Fl.

        George, as always loved reading your comments.

        • Mike says:

          Hi Ray,

          So sorry for the delay in replying, but I’ve been through the visa mill, and am just now getting freed up.

          Where in FL do you live. I lived in Orlando for 36 years. I’ve travelled to EC several times, and have settled on Salinas. I love it here. Been here for about 2 and a half months now.

          What can I help you with about Salinas? The weather is great. Also, having come from FL, I found Cuenca to be too cold. Even the hot weather is great here. I’ve only used the A/C about 4 times this season. Very little rain as well.

          The people are great. The seafood is fantastic. Inexpensive housing too !

          Get in touch with me, and let’s share notes.

          Take care,


    • Eden Cross says:

      Mike, we’re considering retiring to EC in about a year perhaps. Loving warm weather in FL also, not sure we’d be happy w/cold weather and a lot of grey days w/rain, in Cuenca. What is there to keep busy with in Salinas? Health care nearby? Thanks for any insight. Oh, we have a dog…small Yorkie.

  13. Anne Luyster says:

    Hey George. Enjoyed the post, as always. Don’t know about the gold and silver but having had a bug for the past week think the extra toilet paper is a really, really good investment.

    • Now Anne, some really smart investors say you should have 10 percent of your portfolio in precious metals. I prefer real estate and real estate notes so the precious metals never interested me. My opinion has changed a little, but I still own mostly real estate for my retirement… and toilet paper.

  14. Edie Baxter says:

    Great reading another of your fun and funny posts. Gold, silver, our government, etc……I believe you have all of the right ideas, (especially the part about no longer completely stressing out about them). Do what you can (gold & silver purchase extremely smart move) and focus on solutions for dealing with the rest (moving to Ecuador….Yup, I think you have nailed it).

    My hubby and I have tried for 2 years to find flights from the Pacific Northwest into Ecuador for an exploratory trip and given up each time. Last year we spent 6 weeks in Costa Rica and this year we are headed to Panama for a month. We still really enjoy your blog about Ecuador but doubt we will ever get there unless it is a trip from Central America just for a visit. The golf courses in Costa Rica really have my attention and it is so much easier to fly home or to bring our daughter down.

    Keep writing….I’ll keep reading!

    • Ecuador George says:

      Edie… you are right about how difficult it is to get to Ecuador, and expensive. I am so glad you are hanging in there with the blog. Glad you like it… George

  15. Janet Payne says:

    Excitement is in the air, move day is right around the corner. Good luck and sending many happy thoughts your way.

  16. Ri hard says:

    Hi George.
    I really enjoy your blog. You have great insights and an interesting perspective on life. Glad I stumbled on it.
    My partner and I are retiring in cuenca in September and are starting the involved process you have been blogging about. I appreciate your thoughts and reflections and look forward to more. Perhaps our paths will cross one day in Cuenca. Good luck with the move.

  17. Larry says:

    Hi George,
    I have been following you for over a year, maybe two, times flies by.
    I hope you and Chad will enjoy living in Ecuador. I can hardly wait for my next visit to that beautiful country and seeing my friends again.
    I just have one question about the gold and silver thing. If the economy collapses and money becomes almost worthless then how do you get change for gold and silver when you make a purchase of something.
    I just gave you something to cover in your next blog.

    • Larry, are you deliberately trying to raise my anxiety level??? LOL

      If all hell breaks loose, precious metals should go up 10 times their current value. That means an oz of silver will be worth $400. So silver should not be a big problem. But gold might be… An oz of gold is pretty small and if it is worth $13,000, we might have to shave a little off an oz with a potato peeler…

      Without re inventing the wheel, these things usually work themselves out and the best solution shows itself pretty early. This might be an interesting question to throw out to all the readers….


      • Alex says:

        Hi Geroge
        good luck in Ecuador, I have been getting your info. since about a year ago. I hope my wife and I can meet you some day

        • Ecuador George says:

          Thanks Alex…. Let me know if there is anything you want me to write about. As you can see, I don’t limit myself to just Ecuador. I think I will be focusing in on Critical Thinking and Organic Thinking, which might be the same thing, but I am not sure yet… George

  18. John Roosa says:

    George, add me to the list waiting to see how your move and final settlement goes. I am a 71yrs single lawyer from West Texas and planning on retiring by the end of 2014. I have been reading your blog just waiting until you guys finally settle in, because all of the other blogs are interesting but I want to learn more from your experience the first few months….and I can tell from you followers, they are folks who do more than sit and watch the grass grow and complain. I will keep waiting for your updates. Best Wishes.

  19. Ruthie Cassidy says:

    Hi George~~Great post! Really enjoy your p.o.v. on things :). I visited Ecuador 2 times, 6 yrs. ago…and recently changed my plans from moving to Mexico, to Ecuador instead…heading down in May with my wonderful cat, Kiki. I hadn’t thought of getting the visa process started before my move; but it sounds like Maite is doing a good job for you. What is her fee? And would you share her contact info?
    Thanks and Cheers, Ruthie (love the pics of your dogs!)

    • Ecuador George says:

      Ruthie, Maite is doing well so far but I can not personally recommend her yet until we are done. She does have a lot of great reviews, and that is why we went with her. Our process should be done in about 4 weeks. I will look for her webpage and post it here sometime today or tomorrow. See you in Ecuador! George

  20. Sheila says:

    Hey George!
    I’ve been a subscriber for a couple of years now and have learned so much. I decided a while back that when the visa process time arrives, Maite will be the one we’ll call. We have a little over a year to go but will keep up with you on your move to help us during our process. I look forward to meeting you in the park. Oh yeah, don’t forget to stop by on your way to Florida when pass through Mississippi!!

    • Sheila,
      I will have a report about the visa process in my next post. So far Maite is doing a great job. And if we are within a hundred miles on our trip, we will call and meet for dinner or coffee. And hurry up and move! Goerge

  21. George In Quito says:

    Hi, George!

    Great post! The gold/silver thing was one of my concerns when I came down here a year ago. I didn’t have that much, but it was in “junk silver” form (pre-1965 US silver coins). They’re recognized all over the world and easy to trade for everyday stuff. The gold, like always, is used for the big ticket items. I remember reading that, during the Weimar hyperinflation in 1923, a man bought a restaurant for a five mark gold coin. Just sayin’.

    When I was a kid in Indiana, I helped raise a pack of miniature Schnausers for show. Part of my duties every day was to fix the dogs’ food from scratch. I remember the dogs being really healthy, and my guardian explained that making it from real foods instead of the processed stuff just starting to come out was the best way to keep the animals healthy. It stayed with me. I mention this because I read all the replies, and that struck me as a potential business opportunity.

    I’m looking forward to your post on critical thinking. That was one of the complaints of John Taylor Gotto (New York City teacher of the year for several years running). It was taken out of the curriculum because the school system was being geared toward turning out willing, obedient corporate workers, and they didn’t need to know how to think critically. Some of the universities are starting to bring it back. They’re calling it Argumentation. lol

    Me gusta tu blog, Dude! I’m glad you’re finally making the move. Buena suerte!

    • Hey George in Quito,
      This dog food thing keeps coming up and I just know someone will take the lead on it. In the mean time I know there are a few specialty shops that sell the better food. And we may prepare our own since we will have time being retired and all….

      I woke up this morning thinking about the next post and I think it might be on critical thinking. That is a subject that would be hard to cover in 5 books, so it will be interesting to see how I do it in a blog post… but I will try.

      Thanks for hanging out, George

  22. Susie says:

    Hi George….can you tell me how you found Maite Durran to assist you with your visa process and what services she will provide….also the cost if thats not a cheeky question. My partner and I are very interested in doing aomething similar so would welcome some knowledge from someone already engaged in the process.

    Thanks so much

    Susie and Mike

  23. Susie, I have not completed everything with Maite, so this is not a recommendation yet but here is her website. You can tell her you saw this on my blog…

    Good luck.


  24. Ab says:

    I like your comments about gold and silver. I think you made a wise decision to invest in physical gold and silver. Your investment will double in far less than 20 years. Gold is a steal at today’s prices. Good luck with your move to Ecuador.

  25. Bill Schafer says:

    Hi George, I just came across your Website and it’s great ! We live near Phila. ,are planning on retiring in three years (at 62) and we are seriously considering Ecuador. We plan on visiting next year for 2 weeks. We have never been to Ecuador and you have giving us some terrific info. Please keep it up as you get settled in. I’ll be checking in often as your experience so far is invaluable to us and I agree so much with your viewpoint. Thanks again and Congrats on having the courage to do something most others only dream of.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Subscribe and my posts will come directly to your email box whenever I post. Thanks for following the blog and good luck as you get ready for a new life. George

    • Richard Hoff says:

      Hello Bill,
      We are also from Phila., suburbs, I am also retiring to Ecuador. My wife and I are boxing items up and getting everything together before we make the move. If you want to drop me an email, I am at
      I would love to compare notes. We are really excited about moving there, and of course have a million questions.
      Hope to hear from you soon.
      Richard & Joanne

  26. denise says:

    You invested in gold??? From what I have read about the quality of TP in Cuenca, maybe you should invest in that, instead (LOL).

    I am moving to Cuenca cold – no prior trips or inspections…some day we will get together and discuss how you prepared and how I just jumped right in.

    I will be sending an email to your facilitator just to get a feel for what she does and what she charges.

    See you in May

    Charlotte NC

  27. Diego Arroyo says:

    Hello George, I want to wish you the very best in your move to Ecuador. I have been following your blog for about a year and now it leally looks like your coming very close to the big move.
    I am a native of the beautiful South American country and I hope to return to it some day on a permanent basis, it is amazing to me how much the country has progressed and in so many ways during the last ten years.
    My wife, several friends and I have made several trips during the last four years and driven around a good 45 to 60% of the territory this alone was impossible to do just a few years ago, we will be back soon…so many other things to see.
    I feel proud that so many people from al over the world are choosing my native land as a spot to retire and live the good life, I am sure you will be oh so happy…..
    Warm regards….

  28. Mike B says:

    George, I was told by the Embassy here in Vancouver, Canada that I would have to give someone Power of Attorney to act on my behalf in Ecuador when it comes to an Investment Visa (assuming I applied before leaving Canada). I’m not sure I would be willing to grant Power of Attorney to anyone I didn’t know VERY well.

    I have also heard of facilitators keeping one’s original documents until they are paid excessive amounts of money to get them back.

    I will be very interested to see how it goes for you. And hoping very much that the process, for you, goes without a hitch and the least amount of stress.

    Also, I would be very interested in the bank you choose for the investment. I am considering Banco Pinchincha because of it’s stability. However, their requirements to set up an account are a bit of a nuisance. I have heard some people used JEP Cooperativa and are happy. They apparently don’t require anything more than your passport to open an account. There are only certain banks that are recognized by immigrations for investment CD’s.

    After what happened to one of the COOPs recently I would rather jump through Banco Pinchincha’s hoops than risk my hard-earned dollars.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Mike…. I hear what you are saying. I will not have my Investment Visa before we arrive, and will have to complete the process while we are there. I trust and then verify. The fee for the preliminary work is at risk, but I would never pass $50000 with a POE. I would only wire it directly. Good luck. George

  29. Lisa says:

    Hi Uncle George,

    As always your blog is very entertaining and so are you 🙂 We are looking forward to seeing you guys Saturday! Very excited for you and Chad and this big adventure you are on!! XOXO

  30. janet payne says:

    Hey George and Chad, looks like you’re headed to S.A. and bravo to you. I know you are retired and plan to be a writer but I couldn’t resist because it is so beautiful, so check out hotel for sale:

    Happy travels,

  31. Mike & Lotis says:

    Hi George,
    For those of you that are using a Power of Attorney to get your residency visas in the states before entering Ecuador it’s very important that you make sure that Customs doesn’t make the mistake of stamping your visa as a “Tourist Visa” upon entry into Ecuador. If this happens to you (as it happened to us) you will have problems registering with the Cuenca police (part of the process) and your paperwork will be rejected by the Ministry in Cuenca. The Ministry will not allow your registration to proceed until it is corrected. And the only way to correct it is to go back to the original port of entry (which for us was Guayaquil) and have it corrected in person. The Cuenca Ministry will not correct it no matter how much you plead your case, even though it was the fault of the Customs agent. And no one can represent you to correct this. The Ministry told us that this happens quite frequently; with Customs assuming that because you are an Expat that you are a tourist. So, just fair warning for those who use a POA to get their residency visas in the US. Make sure when you go through Customs entry in Ecuador that you open your passport to the page containing your residency visa so they don’t make this mistake. And for everyone in general, POA or not; always make sure when you leave and then return to Ecuador that you open your passport to your residency visa page at Customs and make sure they stamp you as a resident. It happened to us, as well as many others, and it was very unpleasant.

    • Very good info Mike and Lotis… So many things can cause a hick-up in the process. My Visa package was kicked back because a staple was removed and then replace on a notarized document. That document had to be redone and re-notarized and then resubmitted. Just keep on trucking along and do not get frustrated. I just assumed that we would have small problems and just went with the flow. We should know soon. George

  32. You might want to read Peter Mayle’s book ” Year in Provence” if you haven’ already.
    Autobiographical, Peter moves from England to a French village in the Provence region.
    His story is humorous, cautionary and always entertaining, from dealing with contractors to exploring his new world, to getting used to the customs, to pursuing his culinary interests.

    A “Year in Equador” should make great reading for those who wonder what it would be like to actually live there the first year in a strange country.

    Good luck in your endeavours; I always like to hear about brave souls who throw caution to the wind and live out their dreams. At 84 years of age, I’m ready to do the same.

    Ken Christiansen

    • Ecuador George says:

      Kenneth, I will try and find that book. Sound like a perfect book for me to read. I am a bit of an odd duck. I love to write but I don’t read much. I will never be guilty of copying another persons style… From your comment you sound like a very interesting man, someone I would like to meet. George

  33. Gabriel says:

    Hi George, thinking like you, I’ve also bought some precious metal before coming to EC. I wonder if you have brought it into EC yet? If you have, how did you do it, by shipping or carrying on your body? I plan to ship, but wonder if I’ll have to pay duty on it. Is it duty-exempt if it’s part of a new resident’s move to EC? Any information will be appreciated. You may email me if you wish. Thanks in advance.

  34. Paul says:

    Hi George,

    I’ve read a few of your blogs and Q&As so far, but haven’t found the follow-up post you had indicated that you will make regarding the outcome of your visa application process with the help of Maite.

    My husband and I are a few years behind you in terms of making the move to Ecuador. So far, we have visited twice, in 2013 and 2014. We definitely prefer the perpetual springtime weather of the mountains, so our first trip was Quito and Cuenca, with side trips around those cities, including Vilcabamba. We fell in love with Cuenca and this year, we spent 3 weeks in Cuenca and a couple of days in Vilcabamba. Our plan is to return each year to Cuenca until we retire and move there in 5 – 8 years time. I’m 54 and my husband is 49, so we need to work a few more years before we can afford to retire. Our last two trips have been around Easter, so we’d like to check out the other times of the year in our next visits.

    We will most likely go with the pensioner visas. We can most likely qualify for the professional visas, but then we plan to retire, which would seem a little cynical. I’m wondering whether you had looked into the “Union de Echo” question, as posted by one of your readers. This question will apply in our case as well. Both of us will qualify for a pensioner visa individually, but I think I’ll prefer to be granted visas as a couple, just in case there is any issues down the road recognising our relationship. I know we can simply go in front of a notary in Ecuador and get the “Union de Echo” certified. We’ll probably have to do that anyway. We are Canadians and have been legally married since 2006, although we have been together for 18 years (we married on our 10th anniversary). Given that Ecuador does not recognise same-sex marriages, just domestic partnerships, I would doubt that they’ll recognise our marriage. Anyway, if you or any of your readers have any insight on this, it’ll be good to know. In any case, it’ll be another 5 years at least before we have to deal with this and by then, the law may have changed.

    By the way, I’ve read your blog on being gay in Ecuador and both my partner and I are on the same page as you. We’ve not encountered any problems in Ecuador or any other place we’ve travelled to. By the way, we also stayed at Casa Ordonez during our first visit to Cuenca and actually helped Alberto out a bit with a French guest who didn’t speak any English or Spanish and my husband speaks French.

    Anyway, sorry for rambling. Keep up the good work and I’ll be looking forward to reading about your new life in Cucnca. Perhaps we’ll get a chance to meet up in our next visits.

  35. Paul,
    You caught me. I only follow up on about 50% of the things I say I will. Gotta save something for the book I am not going to write…

    Maite at GringosVisas was the best. She has an office here in Cuenca and one in the states, so she can do everything for you. It is a perfect set up. We had our Visa and the our Cedulas in less than 2 months.

    Chad and I are both a little to young to have a pension so we just deposited $25000 each in a local institution here in Ecuador. We did not explore any other options. We like the interest we are getting on our money here, it is a hundred times more than what we were getting from our bank in

    Good luck and hope to meet you next time you are here in Cuenca.


    • Richard Hoff says:

      Hello George,
      It is Richard and Joanne again, and again we have a number of questions, we have agreed on moving to Cuenca,
      Is it hard is to find a good apartment, second can we get one as soon as we arrive, we do have a small pug, is there a waiting list. Can we find one that is month to month?
      Thanks again,
      Rich and Joanne

      • Richard, most people move two or three times before they find just the right place. Try
        Apartments Otorongo in Cuenca. A lot of people live here for a month or two while they look for a permanent place. They are very dog friendly… Good luck. George

  36. Richard Hoff says:

    Hello George,
    Thanks for the information, I trust everything is good on your end. Really getting nervous about this, but my wife is really
    Pushing all the junk out of the house and getting ready for the move. By the way I did email Maite for the visa and documents, how was the service overall?
    Thanks again,
    Richard & Joanne

    • Richard,
      What you are feeling is normal. The last 30 days are the most crazy. Just keep doing one thing at a time and you should get through it. Lots to do.

      We used Maite and all went very smoothly.

      Good luck,


      • Richard Hoff says:

        Hello George,
        Thank you for again your cool and timely email. We will get through this, right now it is about our dog, a small
        Terrier, about twenty pounds, and nine years old. My wife loves her dog as you may have heard from an earlier email. Anyway she cannot fathom that we can put her furry friend in luggage, I have checked and get a host of responses, I am wish that I had one solid answer on how we can take her with us. I know about the shots, USFDA and on it goes, my concern is the airlines!
        If anyone has an answer I would love to hear from them.
        Again thank you George.
        Richard & Joanne

  37. Tanya says:

    Hi George,
    Do you have a shipping company you recommend to get items from the US to Ecuador?

  38. Nancy says:

    Hi George….Your blog is so great! I did get your latest entry at 6 month post move, but since we are in the process of moving there on 01/02/15, I thought I would go back and re-read your earlier posts as we are in the final countdown. We are behind our ideal schedule having left EC almost 2 years ago thinking it wouldn’t take long to sell our house and pack up and move and that was not the case. So now we find ourselves getting ready to leave during the holidays, which has it’s benefits, we will be seeing all of our friends and family to say goodbye, but also hectic time of year to get things done!

    I’m curious how many bags you moved with and if there’s anything you didn’t bring that you wish you had? We will be sending all of our documents off tomorrow to Maite and hopefully that will all go smoothly. We have to come back in May for my daughters wedding and by that time we will know if we want to ship all of our stuff down or not.

    So….I’m definitely at the lay awake at night phase thinking of the endless details to deal with before we leave. You will be my guiding light these next few weeks…thanks for all the advice, Nancy

    • Nancy,
      We just brought clothes and good walking shoes. I would also bring at least on set of good bed sheets and a couple of really good bath towels. We are coffee freaks so we brought a latte machine. It is good that you are going back in May. By then you will know what you really need and can bring that back. Good luck.


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