These are resources that I have found during my reasearch of Ecuador. This is still a work in progress and I will annotate when updated.
Basic Facts about Ecuador
I was intrigued by a link I found on the forums and clicked over to find Jos’ tourism blog At Home in Ecuador. This is an absolute treasure trove of beautiful photographs, short videos and background of Ecuador’s popular tourist destinations with resource links for more information. I could spend hours here finding fun places to visit.
While I was busy exploring the touristy places I noticed a tab at the top of the page labeled Ecuador Expat. The page opened to a list of useful links from and about Ecuador and his tagline boasts “All sorts of information you might need to know if you are moving to Ecuador.” Running down the left side are links to various categories. I clicked on the label “links.” OMG, need to find a hotel or a real estate website? Here you go. On the remaining posts Jos has cut and pasted the most pertinent information from the forums (and a few blogs too) and organized it so it is easy to refer back to.
So many Xpadorians living in the land of SOZ travel throughout the country. See Travel Information for Ecuador.
(Added Dec 31, 2012)
Expat Exchange – If you are completely naïve and haven’t yet decided if Ecuador is the right place for you, this is a good starting point and knowledgeable Xpadorians may learn something new too. A word of caution though with over 200 pages in their archives it is best to search before you ask a question that has already been answered several times before. A very active group and a good mix of knowledgeable folks living in-country (some that must spend hours typing away with their advice) and those that are curious about what it takes to eventually move down south of zero.
UPDATE #1: I have discovered that their search function is woefully inadequate. I recommend that you use Google’s search within site function. Type in your search term, space, and then add site:expatexchange.com and click the button.
UPDATE #2: Discussions on the Expat Exchange Ecuador Forum tend to get quite contentious. For some expats, this is the perfect place and manner in which to interact. Others have no desire to engage in such heated debates and want nothing more than a pleasant place to exchange information and ideas about what it’s like to live in Ecuador. In an effort to serve the needs of this group, the administrators have created the “Ecuador Welcome Forum” for supportive, non-judgmental discussions.
Ecuador Expat Yahoo Group – Lots of information for those in transition (where do I find, how do I go about, does anyone have any recommendations – that kind of stuff.) You can sign up for email updates and post from your phone. This forum is moderated and it might take a little while before messages are available online. This is another very active group (however, the one specific to Cuenca not so much.) In addition to the forum there is wealth of information in the attached files, links and documentation.
Expats in Ecuador Yahoo Group – This new group was formed from ex-members of another unmentioned Yahoo group who wanted a little more freedom of speech and the ability to promote their business without threat of banishment. They are rapidly building up a database of resources.
Expat Blog (Ecuador Forum) – I’m encouraged that this forum seems to be attracting more participation as of late. Lots of good practical advice and it seems to steer clear of the sometimes heated political discussions of the more popular groups.
Facebook Ecuador Expats – This is a recently formed group and is just starting to generate activity. Matching faces to names is probably the best feature so far. (Note: this is a compliment to the Ecuador Expat Yahoo Group.)
Ecuador Expat Gardening – This new Yahoo group is a place for expats (and English-speaking Ecuadorians) to discuss all sorts of topics related to plants and gardening in Ecuador including: organic gardening, permaculture, medicinal plants, seed and plant exchange, etc. Already their links page is full of great resources.
Yahoo Group for Coastal Ecuador – For those who think that life is a beach, this group is dedicated to the sharing of information about the Pacific coastal region of Ecuador. It’s for those who already live in Ecuador, those planning on moving and doing research, tourists and travelers to the coast, and for the promotion of business and events. If you’re interested in La Costa why don’t you join up?
Total Ecuador Forum – Not as useful as the other groups and many questions go unanswered. A strange mix of advice, some of it good, but you will have to weed through a lot of self promotion.
Ecuador Forums – Most of the posts are old, some links to websites are no longer in existence, and there is not enough recent activity to even bother with.
My Ecuador Space – Limited number of members, better luck elsewhere.
(Updated Aug 19, 2011)
Safety and Security
I’m not going to debate the question “Is Ecuador safe?” (There is more than enough of that on the forums.) This is a detailed analysis from an international security expert working for the United Nations World Food Programme. In the first part of his risk assessments he discusses the various regions of Ecuador and ranks their security level. In Ecuador: Part 2 he analyzes the specific threat challenges (number one: road traffic accidents.)
As Xpadorians we are most concerned with personal safety. At home, you know when and where to go and when and where not to go. Abroad, even if it’s not your first time, can be a downright stressful experience, especially if you are making a transition. Often times you may feel overwhelmed by your new surroundings, not to mention the culture shock, and because you are naïve it’s easy to make errors in judgment and trust the wrong people. These days, anywhere, everywhere, one needs to be aware at all times, use common sense and take precautions. If the hairs on the back of your neck go up pay attention and trust your instincts.
Now what can we do to protect ourselves. I want to recommend that everyone read Bob Arno’s “Travel Intelligence” and take a look at their fascinating blog Thiefhunters in Paradise. He and his wife Bambi study street crime against travelers. Mostly that means pickpockets, but also bag-snatchers, three-shell gamers, con artists, pseudo-cops, hotel crawlers, identity thieves and scamsters. They say it best: your first defense is awareness and a healthy dose of cynicism.
(Added Sep 16, 2010)
Blog Roundup – Cost of Living 2012
Faces of Cuenca – Look What $20 Buys You At The Market
GoGo-Gringo – Cost of Living in Cuenca, Ecuador
Life in Quito – Cost of Living in Ecuador (index)
Looking for the Simple Life – Three Months in Cuenca
Retiring in Ecuador – Cost of Living in Manta, Ecuador
Blog Roundup – Cost of Living 2011
Our Ecuador – Real Costs of Living in Cuenca
Finding Our Paradise in Ecuador – Prices, Shopping and Services!
Gringos Abroad – Cost of Living in Ecuador: Haines Family in Cuenca, Fall 2010
Expats Again – Monthly Expenses
Ecuador Insider – Ecuador Cost of Living Index 2011
Living and Retiring in Ecuador – How Shall We Then Live?
Life in Quito – Cost of Living in Quito, Ecuador
(Added Feb 6, 2011)
Blog Roundup – Medical Issues
Clarke and Brenda –Medical Care: Almost Impossible To Believe
Cuenca Perspectives by Jim – Health Insurance Answers
Finding our Paradise in Ecuador – Farmacia Sabando – Pharmacy
looloo in Ecuador – Discount Cards
Our Ecuador – Doctors, hospitals and pharmacies
Pro-Ecuador Blog – Ecuador Health Care (index)
(Added Sept 14, 2011)