Cotacachi Ecuador Pros & Cons

Nestled amidst the majestic landscapes of Ecuador, Cotacachi emerges as a destination that’s loved by travelers and expats alike.

Whether you’re intrigued by its affordability, captivated by its culinary delights, or drawn to its tranquil beauty, Cotacachi promises an experience like no other.

Before you embark on this journey, let’s dive into what makes this place truly enchanting, and also touch upon a few aspects that might require a bit of acclimation. Here are the pros & cons of Cotacachi, Ecuador.

Watch Our Video About the Pros & Cons of Cotacachi Ecuador

Affordability: Live More, Spend Less

Cotacachi offers a lower cost of living that is especially evident in areas like:

  • Housing: Though it’s the priciest aspect of living here, it’s still more affordable than the coast and other big cities in Ecuador like Quito and Guayaquil.
  • Utilities: Say goodbye to expensive electricity bills. The temperate climate means there’s no need for heat or air conditioning.
  • Local Markets: The Mercados teem with fresh, locally-grown produce at prices that won’t break the bank.

A Culinary Journey: Restaurants Galore

From local delicacies to international flavors, Cotacachi is a haven for foodies. Some must-visit spots include:

What’s more, the city layout ensures that most of these gastronomic wonders are just a short walk away. And for caffeine aficionados, the town brims with cozy coffee shops.

Activities Aplenty: Never a Dull Moment

There’s a plethora of activities to indulge in:

  • Join the expat meetups.
  • Embark on invigorating hikes.
  • Plan day trips to nearby attractions like Laguna Cuicocha, Peguche, Lago San Pablo, Otavalo, Cayambe, and Ibarra.
  • Volunteer for local initiatives to help dogs, kids, and the elderly.
  • Immerse yourself in bird watching or photography.

Safety First: Peaceful Living

Cotacachi is tranquilo. Its safety features include:

  • Low crime rates.
  • A community-centric environment brimming with locals and indigenous folks.
  • A tendency to wind down early, making late-night activities sparse.

Retail Therapy: Shop ’til You Drop

From high-end boutiques to mom-and-pop stores, shopping here is an experience:

  • Find budget-friendly gems like the local’s favorite shoe stores.
  • Weekly organic markets offer fresh produce.
  • Tia and the Mercado provide daily necessities.
  • The world-famous Otavalo Indigenous market is a one-stop shop for everything you can imagine.
  • And yes, there are ATMs dotted around town for convenience.

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Expat Haven: Find Your Tribe

The burgeoning expat community is a testament to Cotacachi’s appeal:

  • Fellow expats are always eager to assist newcomers.
  • With many English speakers, communication is a breeze.

Nature’s Best: Beauty Everywhere

Cotacachi is a portrait of pristine beauty:

  • Clean streets and fresh air.
  • Mesmerizing views of the Cotacachi and Imbabura volcanos.
  • A plethora of bird species around town and in the nearby natural areas.

Commute Simplified: Get Around with Ease

Navigating Cotacachi is straightforward:

  • Most places are just a stroll away.
  • Buses and taxis are readily available at the bus station and the taxi stop next to Parque Central in the center of town.
  • It’s a 10-minute drive to Otavalo and 90 minutes to the Quito airport.

The Flip Side: A Few Cons

Every rose has its thorn, and Cotacachi is no exception:

  • At 8,000 feet / 2,400 meters, its high elevation can be challenging for some.
  • The weather tends to be on the cooler, cloudier side like Seattle in the early fall.
  • Medical facilities are limited, with just a small private clinic and an IESS hospital to cater to health needs. If you need any serious medical care or specialists, you might need to drive to Quito.
  • It’s a small mountain town with around 9,000 people so its size might not be suitable, especially if you prefer a bigger city.

Final Thoughts…

Our adventures through Cotacachi, Ecuador have unveiled a destination rich in culture, beauty, and community spirit. This gem of Ecuador beautifully encapsulates the reasons why so many are drawn to its vibrant streets and serene landscapes.

Whether you’re considering a brief visit or pondering a longer stay, Cotacachi promises memories to cherish and experiences to relish.

As we continue our journey, remember that the heart of exploration lies in the stories we gather and the connections we forge. Dive into Cotacachi and discover your own story.

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Hola todos! Welcome to my author bio page! Let's see. Where to begin... I grew up in the country on a lake outside a small Kansas farm town. As soon as I could, I got the hell outta there! Since then, I've lived and/or worked in Kansas City, Washington D.C., Denver, San Francisco, and Ecuador. I started and sold a dotcom, wrote a book about it, started a YouTube channel, and now I write a lot. Amelia and I have embraced the Unconventional Life and we want to help you do it, too!

3 replies
  1. Thomas Rivera
    Thomas Rivera says:

    Amelia + JP,
    Have enjoyed ur videos over the years. You apparently left Cuenca
    due to weather. Where have you now settled that is better?
    PS So sorry for the loss if ur beloved dog. I lost mine after fourteen yrs.
    Be safe!

  2. John V Turner
    John V Turner says:

    Nice summary. The area around Cota is lovely. We loved our laguna cuicocha hike. That is a must for nature lovers. So many dogs in Cota. I wanted to take them all home… so much that I now donate regularly to a dog care charity there. I love Cotacachi.


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