WATERFALLS are NOT supposed to be like THIS! (Dos Mangas Ecuador Cascadas)

Amelia And JP VLOG 252: We waited for the rainy season to do the hike up to Las Cascadas in Dos Mangas, Ecuador. It’s been on our list since we moved to Olón, but the waterfalls (cascadas) have been dry for most that time.

It was a sunny day again and beautiful outside so we called our driver to take us to the trailhead. That’s where we picked up our guide, Luis. He told us about all sorts of plants and wildlife on our roughly 3 hour trek to the waterfalls.

Sadly, the coast of Ecuador is in a multi-year drought so the rainy seasons haven’t been very rainy for a long time. Meanwhile, the population in the area has grown and there is more livestock being raised and crops being planted that require more water.

As a result, the rivers and waterfalls are dry! The small trickles you saw in the video are nothing compared to the 100 foot high waterfall that is normally the climax of the hike. It still flows after a heavy rain, but it no longer flows continuously during the rainy season as it once did.

None-the-less, we thoroughly enjoyed our hike and Luis was an excellent guide!

Here are the links we mentioned in the video:
Dos Mangas Howler Monkeys
Olón is Booming
Soluna Tree of Life


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AMELIA FULFILLS A DREAM!!!

Amelia And JP VLOG 251: In this video, we get to see what heaven looks like when Amelia closes her eyes and imagines it! She did a great job of fighting the temptation to dive headfirst into a bowl of her favorite substance!

Chef Daniel Ampuero, a talented Ecuadorian chocolatier and teacher, was kind enough to give us a private chocolate cooking class in his laboratory, fulfilling one of Amelia’s lifelong dreams!

If you would like to buy some amazing chocolate or take a chocolate cooking class with Chef Ampuero, you can contact him via Instagram.


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Olón is BOOMING! Plus, Meet our FAMOUS Ecuadorian Neighbor: Quimbita!

Amelia And JP VLOG 250: Despite water shortages, Olón continues to prosper. We have several new tiendas and restaurants, a few remodeled restaurants, electric scooter rentals, new bike sales, and a few new murals.

Plus, thanks to Ed Lindquist, and Yenis and Joel Bejas at Cuenca Expats Magazine, we got to meet our famous Ecuadorian neighbor: Olmedo Quimbita.

Quimbita is an internationally renowned Ecuadorian artist from Cotopaxi. His art has been featured in exhibitions in 20 different countries around the world. We’re not art experts, but his work reminds us of Picasso’s cubism with a touch of Inca and lots of bright Latin colors.

If you would like to learn more about Quimbita, Cuenca Expats Magazine will be sharing an expose about his history in their upcoming issue.

And if you would like to book a stay at the Quimbita Hotel here in Olón or buy some of his amazing artwork, you can learn more about that here.

As we mentioned in the video, I’m going to discuss President Elect Lasso’s top 10 policy plan for Ecuador in this week’s newsletter. It may be surprising to some, while calming to others. Whether he follows through with his plan remains to be seen, but at least we’ll know what’s on his mind.

After you opt-in to the newsletter, you’ll also gain immediate access to our Ecuador Cost of Moving and Living Calculator. And you can opt-out at any time. Sign up here before Friday at noon to get this week’s newsletter.

Here’s the link to the inspirational MOMO video: Be INSPIRED and Be WHOEVER you want in Ecuador! An UNCONVENTIONAL Origin Story…


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Be INSPIRED and Be WHOEVER you want in Ecuador! An UNCONVENTIONAL Origin Story…

Amelia And JP VLOG 248: Adventure! Romance! Entrepreneurship! Unconventional Life Choices! This video has it all!

Join us as we share the inspirational story of two unconventional expats from Sweden and Argentina who found their home, their future, and their love in Ecuador!

After moving from Vilcabamba to Olón, Johan and Anahi started MOMO, one of Olón’s most successful gourmet restaurants serving fusion cuisine with a variety of delicious and artistically presented dishes for every palate preference.

They also have a gourmet store, which sells a variety of local, as well as hard-to-find, speciality items.

For the entrepreneurs among us, they share what it’s like to own and operate a business that employs more than a dozen local Ecuadorians.

And as expats from the United States, we especially enjoyed hearing why two expats from other countries chose Ecuador over EVERY other place they visited, and why they love this magical country as much as we do!

Make a Reservation at MOMO


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What SURPRISED us about Ayangue Ecuador + Is it a good place for expats? (2021)

Amelia and JP VLOG 241: Following our visit to Ayampe about 30 minutes north of Olón, several of our viewers asked us to show Ayangue, which is about 30 minutes south of Olón.

We know a few people who live there and really like it, but we weren’t sure what to expect. Every place we visit in Ecuador is dramatically different than the last, and Ayangue was no exception.

In this video, we shared several things that surprised us about our afternoon in Ayangue, and we discuss if we think it’s a good place for expats to live.


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$500/mo COST OF LIVING for LOW BUDGET EXPATS in Ecuador (2021)

Amelia and JP VLOG 239: We’ve been accused of MISREPRESENTING Ecuador and OVERPAYING for EVERYTHING because our monthly cost of living in Ecuador is more than some people who live much more cheaply than we do.

In this video, we share what life in Ecuador might look like on a $500/month budget for a single person and $800/month for a couple. It’s definitely possible and still very comfortable.

Our recent Cost of Living in Ecuador video: Ecuador Cost of Living for Two American Expats (2020)

Our Affordable Beach Rentals video: Affordable Beach Town Rentals in Olón Ecuador (2020)

You can download our Cost of Living and Moving to Ecuador Calculator with the new Low Budget Cost of Living tab.

The shoes we mentioned in the video are Olympikus.


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We live by HOWLER MONKEYS!!! Incredible jungle trek to the natural springs of Dos Mangas (2021)

Amelia and JP VLOG 238: The Dos Mangas Ecuador jungle trail has been on our bucket list since we arrived in Olón and we’re so incredibly thankful that we finally did it!

I guess we thought it was further away or more difficult to get there, but it’s actually very close to Olón. It’s about a 15 minute cab ride ($5 each way) and the park entry fee is $5. We asked our driver to come back to get us.

You don’t need a guide to hike the trail, but we hired one for our first time to get the full experience, including Amelia’s Peter Pan hat! The guide cost is $20 total.

The hike took us about 4.5 hours because we were filming and we took a detour to get a closer look at the Howler Monkeys. However, it can normally be done in about 3 hours, including 30 minutes in the natural spring cold pools at the top.

We arranged our adventure through Xavier at Bike Spondylus. He’s in the video wearing the Semper Fi t-shirt and he also helped us book our tour to Isla de la Plata. He can help you with all kinds of adventures and day trips around Olón. If you contact him, tell him you saw our video.


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Epic Adventure FINALLY Checked Off the Bucket List! (Isla de la Plata & the Blue-Footed Boobies)

Amelia and JP VLOG 237: We’ve been wanting to experience this adventure since we moved to Ecuador!

We took the hour long boat ride from Puerto Lopez out to Isla de la Plata (aka The Poor Man’s Galapagos) to see the Blue-Footed Booby nesting grounds. These interesting birds with bright blue feet only nest in Isla de la Plata and the Galapagos Islands, although we have seen them hanging out in Puerto Lopez where it’s easy to find fish scraps from the fishermen.

On our boat ride out to the island, we spotted a pod of Pilot Whales. We thought the tour leader called them Pride Whales, which is what we said in the video; however, Pilot Whales don’t sport the same rainbow colors.

The boat landed at a small beach on the northeast side of the island that was shielded from the big waves. Then we hiked up to the top of the ridge and back down the other side on the southwest side of the island where the boobies nest.

The Blue-footed Boobies are very white and fluffy as babies, but they lose the down as they age and their feet turn bluer the older they get. We also saw some Nazca Boobies, which are mostly white with black masks.

After the nearly 2 hour hike, we re-boarded the boat and took a short trip to a good snorkeling area. Unfortunately, the GoPro battery was dead due to operator error so we weren’t able to film under the water, but Amelia got some good shots from the boat of the turtles and fish.

We booked our trip with Xavier at Bike Spondylus Tours & Rentals based here in Olón.  If you book a tour through him, tell him you saw our video!


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Can you get ELECTRIC BIKES in ECUADOR? YES! And the COST might SHOCK you! (ElectroBike Guayaquil)

Amelia and JP VLOG 232: During the pandemic, when the taxis and buses weren’t running, we were forced to walk 2 miles to Montañita to get cash from the ATM and groceries from Tía. That prompted a frequently asked question, “Can you buy e-Bikes in Ecuador and how much do they cost?”

In this video, we went to ElectroBike in the Urdesa neighborhood of Guayaquil to find the answer to this question and make a decision about buying one (or two) electric bikes. You can learn more on their website, but some of the info is out-of-date because they’ve been too busy to update it.

We also visited La Central Deli Shop in downtown Guayaquil for a delicious lunch. We were sitting in Mall del Sol enjoying a cerveza when Francisco stopped by to say how much he appreciated our videos showing the beauty of Ecuador.

And he invited us to visit his wife’s and sister-in-law’s restaurant for lunch if we had time during our visit. We really like that area of downtown Guayaquil by the Malecón so we were happy to have an excuse to go there again and we’re really glad we did! The food was delicious and the service was great! If you would like to learn more about them, check out their Instagram profile.

And finally, if you need a reliable and safe driver with a nice car in Guayaquil, we’ll be happy to connect you with Julio. He works for the Sheraton Hotel and he’s also an independent driver who can pick you up at the airport or anywhere in Guayaquil and drive you most places in Ecuador, including the coast, Manta, Machala and Cuenca. He charged us $30 to drive us around Guayaquil for the day, he waited while we filmed our video, and he even helped us with Spanish translations. Drop us a note through our contact form and we’ll send an email introduction.


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NEWS from ECUADOR Grab our Ecuador Cost of Living and Moving Calculator so you can more effectively budget for your move. After you sign-up for our weekly newsletter with expat-relevant news from Ecuador, you’ll get the download link.

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Is Cuenca STILL The Best Place in Ecuador to Start Your Expat Life Abroad?

Amelia and JP VLOG 231: Since we left Cuenca and moved to the small rural beach town of Olón Ecuador back in February 2020, lots of people have asked us if we still recommend Cuenca as the best place to start as an expat in Ecuador. In this video, we take a walk down memory lane while we attempt to answer the question, Is Cuenca Still The Best Place in Ecuador to Start Your Expat Life Abroad?

If you’re going to bring your fur babies to Ecuador, here’s a must read article for you that we mentioned in the video Ecuador Pet Care, Pet Sitting & Pet Food.

If you would like access to our entire list of (mostly) English-speaking service providers in Ecuador, including all of our doctors, dentist and physical therapist, we provide their contact info in our Scrollodex.

If you’re concerned that the elevation and weather in Cuenca may outweigh all the benefits of this amazing city, you might be interested in our article about the Best Cities to Live in Ecuador for Expats.

Videos We Referenced:
Cuenca Animal Clinic: Daisy’s Day at the Dentist in Cuenca Ecuador (2019)
Paradise Indian Restaurant in Cuenca Ecuador
Ecuador Resident Visa Types & Process 2019


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