Tag Archive for: Special Guests

Buying Real Estate in Colombia: Process & Tips

We had the opportunity to interview Juan Camilo Villegas on our recent trip to Medellín, Colombia.

Juan is an experienced real estate agent and shared some valuable information about buying real estate in Colombia, the unique process, and the essential steps for foreigners looking to invest in the country.

In this blog post, we summarize the main points of our conversation with Juan to help you successfully navigate the Colombian real estate market.

Understanding the Colombian Real Estate Process

The Colombian real estate market operates differently from other countries. There is no MLS and no real estate agent licensing, which means anyone can work as a real estate agent. That makes it even more important that you work with an experienced professional like Juan.

Negotiations can be lengthy, and the transaction process can take anywhere from one to three months.

Watch Our Interview w/ Juan About Buying Property in Colombia

Tips for Foreigners Buying Property in Colombia

Here are a few important tips that Juan shared about buying a home in Colombia:

  1. Rent before buying: Juan recommends that foreigners rent properties in various neighborhoods to get a feel for the area before committing to a purchase.
  2. Open a brokerage account: This is the first step for entering the Colombian financial system and will help keep track of your transactions.
  3. Work with a local lawyer: A lawyer will help you legally bring your money into the country, register your property, and perform due diligence on the property.
  4. Secure a permanent residency visa: If you plan to stay in Colombia for an extended period, you will need to apply for a permanent residency permit.

Homeowners Insurance and Earthquake Safety

Colombia offers homeowners insurance, but it is not yet a widespread practice. Juan recommends purchasing insurance for protection against theft and damages.

Medellin is not prone to earthquakes, but landslides can occur in some areas.

Construction and Building Codes

Colombian construction must adhere to strict building codes that ensure safety and earthquake resistance. Codes are updated regularly, and new constructions must meet higher safety standards.

Homeowners Association (HOA) Dues

In Colombia, HOA dues are called “administration fees.” They cover expenses related to security, common areas, and property management.

On average, the cost is 90 cents per square meter or 12 cents per square foot.

Final Thoughts

Juan Camilo Villegas and Amelia Medellin ColombiaBuying real estate in Colombia can be a complex process, but working with an experienced agent like Juan Camilo Villegas can help ensure a smooth transaction.

By understanding the local market and customs, foreigners can successfully invest in Colombian real estate and enjoy the beautiful country for years to come.

Check out this article next: Medellín Colombia Real Estate Tour: 4 Amazing Properties.

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS. THERE IS NO COST TO YOU AND SOMETIMES YOU'LL EVEN GET A DISCOUNT BY USING OUR LINK. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

 

Get the FREE Live Abroad Checklist

Enter your email address to receive helpful and timely information about living abroad, slow travel, having more freedom, and living life on YOUR terms!

You'll also get immediate access to our FREE Live Abroad Toolkit, which we created to help jumpstart your dream of living in another country.
 

Kristen Shares Her Story About Living In Ecuador as a Single Woman from the United States

We’re often asked, “Do single women live in Ecuador?” Yes, they do, and we’re excited to share Kristen’s story because she is a single retired woman living in Cuenca, Ecuador.

We met Kristen through Amelia’s belly dancing studio when we lived in Cuenca. She is one of those people who lights up a room when she enters it. She never meets a stranger and makes everyone feel welcome.

If you’re a single woman considering a move to Ecuador, you’re certain to appreciate Kristen’s perspective. Here’s her story…

Living Single In Ecuador Kristen Shares Her StoryYou’re Moving Where?

In 2014, my dear friends, David & Juan, moved to Cuenca, Ecuador and opened a business called “Cuenca Car Share”.

Why, Cuenca?”, I asked David.

He said, “You need to come down and see for yourself.”

So I did.

In 2015, my sister Kelly and I flew to Quito, Ecuador and then on to Cuenca for our first visit. We stayed ten days and in that time I lost my heart to Cuenca and the surrounding Andes Mountains.

I told my friends, “I think I could retire here!”

Six months later, David and Juan called and asked me if I was serious? It was completely out of the blue.

They said they would be willing to pay my round trip flight, I would have eight weeks to be alone in Cuenca and really see if that’s where I wanted to live.

I just had to house and pet sit, and run their business. How could I refuse?

I was certain I would be bored out of my mind, but I was delightfully busy!

I went on walks every day along the Yanuncay River with the dog. I went to Bingo on Wednesday afternoons. I met a lot of expats through Cuenca Car Share and some of them I developed personal friendships with that have lasted to this day. I played volleyball in Parque Paraiso; which I still do every Sunday.

I started reading Gringo Post every day to see what’s happening around town. I wandered around El Centro and checked stuff out.

Tribal Fusion Hafla 2019 Cuenca EcuadorCuenca is a beautiful, clean, tranquil city and my love for it grew deeper. I went to free symphonies! Who wouldn’t love that? I explored the cathedrals, domes, shops and mercados.

Two months went by in a blink and it was time to go home. I returned to LAX and was waiting about ten minutes at the curb with my luggage; the plane and city fumes began to fill my lungs and by the time my ride showed-up I got in the car and said to my neighbor, “I’m moving to Ecuador!”

She said, “You’re moving where?”

I said, “Cuenca, Ecuador!”

“When?” she asked.

“I’m going to take a year and get rid of everything, retire, start collecting my social security and then go in March 2017,” I told her.

And I did exactly that.

Eight Weeks Told Me All I Needed to Know

Unlike so many people who move to Ecuador, I did very little research.Kristen Julio Belly Dance Cuenca Ecuador

I mean, I did a little research for the purpose of allaying the fears of my relatives and friends who all thought I was crazy!

Cuenca, Ecuador was in the top ten places in the world to retire. The currency is the US American Dollar. The language is Spanish. And at the time I moved here I thought I spoke pretty fair Spanish! Ha!

In Cuenca, the weather is mild. I would honestly say that the weather here is like all the seasons, every day! It doesn’t snow here, so for me coming from Southern California that’s perfect!

Usually it is sunny in the morning and then in the afternoon around 3 or 4PM comes what I like to call, “The Witching Hour,” when it often rains.

Of course, it could rain at any time, even when the sun is shining! Which is why I learned to always to carry an umbrella in my bag. It doesn’t necessarily get cold when it rains, so the umbrella is a real lifesaver and I’m never without it.

The biggest thing I had to learn (besides actually how to speak Spanish) was how to slow down.

I opened fifty-three restaurants around the world during my career and I was the Food and Beverage Director for CBS Studios for twelve years.

I only had one speed: Fast!

In the eight weeks of living in Cuenca on my own, I was busy all the time, but never rushing everywhere until I passed out at night from exhaustion.

The pace of life here is so much more laid back. Granted, being retired makes it a whole lot easier, but I still had to work long and hard to change from constantly “doing” to “being”. It made a huge difference in my ability to not get fidgety and impatient in lines at a bank, for example.

I tend to walk a lot more than anywhere in the States, especially Los Angeles where you drive everywhere and the only walking you do is going back to your car. Since I opted to not have a car here, I either walk or take a taxi.

I keep pretty good records of my spending and would say on average unless I have something big, like a trip to Guayaquil when I hire a van or a private driver, my average monthly transportation expenses are usually under one hundred dollars.

There’s a plethora of activities for anyone interested in participating. You can always find a class to take and I’ve taken quite a few. Things I’d always been interested in learning but never had the time.

Just recently I took a stained-glass class and loved the process and was delighted with my piece, which now hangs in my living room!

I found a place called “Cuenca Soup Kitchen” run by some wonderful people: Des, Bill and Smith. With my background in food I thought it would be a great fit for me to volunteer.

It was one of the best things I’ve done since I’ve been here. They feed 175 families every week! I’ve helped fill food bags and sort donated clothing and I can tell you there’s nothing better than doing something for those unable to do for themselves. I’ve met so many friends there because they’re like minded people interested in giving back to the community we live in.

Beyond that, the clever Directors started “Abuela’s.” It’s a group of men and women who are willing to get a cake and gift for a child who otherwise would not have a birthday cake. I signed up immediately and can only tell you that every cake I make is a love letter. There’s very little that beats the random photograph we receive of our designated child smiling holding their cake and gift bag!

Also, I joined another offshoot called “Heart-Strings” where we knit or crochet hats, scarves, blankets and the like for when the temperatures drop here in Cuenca. Again, it warms you in a way you can’t imagine.

 

Get the Ecuador Cost of Living & Moving Calculator

Enter your email address here to get our Live Abroad Newsletter with all sorts of timely information about living abroad, online income and retiring early.

You'll also get immediate access to our Ecuador Cost of Living & Moving Calculator, which will help you budget for your life in Ecuador.

PLUS, there are several other free perks in our Live Abroad Toolkit we think you'll enjoy!
 

After Five Years Here

In the five years I’ve lived in Cuenca, I’ve managed to take full advantage of how much this country has to offer.

I’ve never felt scared or afraid for my well being. This could be because I don’t walk along the rivers alone at night or because I lived in Venice Beach, CA. where gunshots were a common sound at night. I’m groomed to be aware of my surroundings at all times; wherever I am.

My sister Kelly and I went on an eight-day trip to the Galapagos Islands, which was unimaginably wonderful! We also took a bus to Peru! We took a gorgeous train ride train to Cusco, Machu-Picchu and Sacred Valley.

Kristen Crawford Hummingbirds Mashpi LodgeMy friend Rocco and I took a trip to The Amazon for New Year’s! We experienced The Amazon river up close and personal! However, I would suggest going at another time of year.

When we woke up on New Year’s Day, we realized the river had dried up and we had to walk 100 yards in deep mud to get to our boat! The following day it was 200 yards. Beyond that, it was magical!

The Amazon is like nowhere else in the world. From pink dolphins, red-eyed Caiman, blue, green and yellow Military McCaw’s, many types of monkeys, anacondas, piranha, spiders that look like sticks, spiders that look like spiders, and so much more, the Amazon is a world unto itself. We spent four days there and learned how little we knew about living without the outside world and technology.

We’ve gone to Ingapirca, Loja, Cajas, Cotopaxi, Izhcayluma, Vilcabamba, Biblian and plenty more.

We’ve been to and adore the coast: Guayaquil, Montañita, Olón and Puerto Lopez.

The capital city of Quito is rich in history and has lots of things to do and see.

Kristen Crawford Ecuador ShamanOne of my personal favorite adventures was to Mashpi Lodge, which is one of the 10 Most Amazing hotels in the World! I highly recommend a trip there if you can swing it! The price is high, but they often offer discounts and you can call and negotiate with them.

Rocco and I went for one night that seemed a lot longer. We were picked up in Quito and driven the three hours to the cloud forest. The last hour of the ride was so bumpy that when we stopped, I said a prayer of thanks before exiting the van!

After I stepped out of the van, the past hour vanished in the beauty of the grounds. We went inside and were treated to carefully prepared refreshments. This hotel lives up to its reputation for being amazing! All meals are included and we had a wonderful buffet lunch and three desserts to share!

We were taken to our room on the second floor and our guide told us about the room and said, “Let me turn on the TV for you.”

She pushed a button and the blinds that covered the windows began to rise. The ceiling to floor windows revealed the heart of the cloud forest and we both whispered, “Wow!”

We freshened up and joined our naturalists to choose our afternoon activity. It was pouring rain, but we still elected to visit the hummingbird sanctuary. They took us in a van and by the time we arrived the rain had decreased to almost a fine mist.

There were 10 huge hummingbird feeders and plenty of hummingbirds bouncing between the feeders. None of them seemed concerned with us.

The guides brought out bananas and peeled them and stuffed the fruit into large cracks in logs stationed about six feet off the ground. Very soon all types of birds appeared for lunch. It was amazing!

We decided to stop at the bar before dinner and I was treated to the best, most painstakingly prepared, Bloody Mary I’ve ever had! It took the bartender 15 minutes to craft this drink!

Then, on to dinner in the elegant dining room. Rocco is a professional photographer and he marveled at the lighting in this room. It was extraordinary! We made our dinner selections and once again, our meal didn’t disappoint.

Kristen Crawford Mashpi Lodge DragonflyBefore heading to our room, we decided to see if we could book a trip for the next morning on the Dragonfly, which is an aerial gondola taking you above the canopy of the cloud forest.

After a delightful night’s sleep and a wonderful buffet breakfast we took our ride on The Dragonfly. The gondola seats six with three rows of benches.

Our guide sat in the last row and gave us more history on how this hotel came to be built, which is an amazing story! He told us what we were looking at as we traveled over the cloud forest answering all our questions.

Then, after about 45 minutes he said, “Okay, I’m going to let the cloud forest tell you the rest of the story.” He never said another word for the remainder of the trip which was about another 45 minutes. Crazy amazing!

Every year that I live here, I fall more in love with this country and its people. It may not be for everyone, but for me: It’s the smartest decision I’ve ever made to come here and I’m so thankful for this beautiful life!

The Bowens Share Their Insightful Story About Raising Children in Ecuador

The Bowen Family (La Familia Bowen) is from Washington State via Arizona in the United States, but now they live in southern Ecuador with their young children.

In this insightful story, they share what it’s like to raise a family in a foreign country and take grandchildren so far away from their grandparents.

A Letter to the Grandparents: We’re Moving to Ecuador!

The Bowens Raising Kids in Ecuador

Your adult child informed you he is planning on moving to Ecuador. And yes, he is taking your grandchildren with him.

Maybe you’ve heard it before, years ago: “Guess what! I’m going to backpack through Asia/join the Peace Corps/volunteer at a Moroccan camel rescue!”

If your response was, “Cool—let’s try to meet up when I finish circumnavigating the globe by dogsled,” then this letter is probably not for you.

But maybe you didn’t love it, then. You accepted it, sure, as a common precursor to Real Adulthood—one must find one’s self, after all. But such shenanigans are best confined to those blissful few years when one’s competent enough to hail a tuk-tuk but still so young he’s got his entire life ahead of him.

You certainly never expected this from your adult child. Not now, when the stakes are so much higher.

When you realized he was serious, you may have tailspinned into a cycle of grief. I bet you didn’t know that after denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance there’s actually a sixth stage called “I told you so,” during which you obsessively searched for news articles and personal antidotes of questionable reliability that draw attention to Every Bad Thing That’s Ever Happened in Ecuador Since the Beginning of Time.

You forwarded each of them (out of love, of course).

And yet his resolve is unchanged.

Where does that leave you? How do you reconcile this with the dreams you have for your grandchildren?

Grandpa Bowen in Podocarpus Ecuador

Making multigenerational memories in the Amazon

And, frankly, the dreams you have for yourself?

We’ve been there. Our parents have been there. And there’s really no way to lessen the blow. But know this:

Ecuador is a wonderful place to be a child.

So don’t worry.

At least, don’t worry anymore than you used to when we lived in the same town.

This is a good move, we promise. For all those adult sort of things that you once feared we’d never grow into, but also for our kids.

It’s going to be great.

Love,
Your adult children

Not quite good enough? We understand. And we invite you to read on.

What It’s Like to Raise Children in Ecuador

Ecuador is a small South American nation known for its diverse wildlife, resplendent vistas, and its production of bananas, orchids, and—
Forget it.

You’re not interested in that sort of thing. Not yet. Hopefully never, if your family comes to its senses and gives up this ridiculous scheme.

You want to know the reality of what awaits your grandchildren. And perhaps, to a lesser extent, their parents.

What does growing up in Ecuador look like? And why on earth would anyone choose to raise their kids there?

Bowen Children Studying in Ecuador

When Grampa’s a retired teacher and the grandkids moved to Ecuador, Grampa’s University lives on, thanks to Kindles and videoconferencing.

Here’s a bit of good news for you: Children are treasured here. And I don’t just mean your grandkids can expect to be cooed over by little old ladies in the supermercado, though that will routinely happen.

More significantly, the government has codified extensive protections and rights for children. We’ve read it, and it’s pretty impressive. There’s a strong sense that the entire country is responsible for its children. Mandatory reporting is a duty of all citizens.

Our trusted taxi drivers watch until our daughter has been met by whichever friend she’s waiting for. Parents send their children to run errands or ride their bikes to a friend’s house, never questioning that they’ll be safe.

Bikes…and scooters, skateboards, and strollers too… children in Ecuador spend a lot of time outside. Where we live in the lojano countryside (near Loja, Ecuador), the weather’s always springtime-perfect. Always. There’s never a need to bundle up, and if it rains? They’ll dry!

From kicking a soccer ball around in the parque to playing at the river to running around the farm, our kids are outside for hours each day. Almost all of that is unstructured time, critical for the development of so many skills, and something many children in the United States are missing out on.

That might sound like your own childhood—we say that when we moved to Ecuador we were transported to the past, in all the best ways.

Not that our kids always appreciate this new-old life. They miss visiting grandpa’s house, with its shelves of chips and freezer full of microwavable breakfast sandwiches and frozen appetizers.

There are very few convenience foods in Ecuador. We make almost everything from scratch, and the kids get to help. They’re learning a lot about meal preparation and nutrition, and the variety of fresh produce growing year-round is mindblowing.

Children in Ecuador love their french fries and ice creams, but the average diet is plenty nutritious to allow for those treats, plus whatever you bring them in your suitcase when you come visit. That same grandpa may or may not have lugged a Costco-sized carton of Red Vines all the way to Ecuador.

Our Ecuadorian friend’s irrelevant but insightful reaction upon trying said Red Vines: “It’s like eating a sweet candle.”

I saved you the best for last: Ecuadorian kids are happy. They’re also friendly, polite, cheerful, and well-adjusted.

But isn’t it sad that they’re missing out on Lego Robotics and club lacrosse? What about Disney princess tea parties and elaborate playgrounds?

It’s true—most of the playgrounds near us are pretty sketchy. But now our kids think ancient metal seesaws and janky swings are the greatest things in the world, so that’s cool.

Ecuador doesn’t have all the things. At least not in the campo (countryside), where we live. When Grandpa visits and asks the kids what they want to do, they answer: “I know! We can walk the other direction today!”

But kids here don’t seem to think they’re missing out. Who are we to tell them otherwise?

 

Get the Ecuador Cost of Living & Moving Calculator

Enter your email address here to get our Live Abroad Newsletter with all sorts of timely information about living abroad, online income and retiring early.

You'll also get immediate access to our Ecuador Cost of Living & Moving Calculator, which will help you budget for your life in Ecuador.

PLUS, there are several other free perks in our Live Abroad Toolkit we think you'll enjoy!
 

When Grandchildren Live Abroad

Grandpa Bowen Ecuador Waterfall

Grandpa discovered just how cold an equatorial waterfall can be!

I bet I know what you’re thinking… All this sounds great. For Ecuadorians. Which your grandchildren are not. Their experience is going to be different. They have to contend with language-learning, and, perhaps trickier, culture-learning.

Will it be hard? Probably. And depending on the schooling option their parents choose it may not come quickly. But bilingualism is an incredible gift. And biculturalism? Even more so.

To learn the humility that comes with being an immigrant… To discover the beauty and blessing of “different,” firsthand… To learn to be flexible and be able to adapt… To expand one’s definition of a successful life…

These are complex and challenging things to learn. And while there is a lot that you can and should teach your grandchildren, these are lessons that can’t easily be delivered around your dining room table. Gifts that aren’t yours to give.

But there are some gifts that can come from you, alone:

  • Learn the technology that will allow you to stay in touch. Whether it’s Zoom, Marco Polo, or good, old fashioned email, there are so many ways to lessen the distance. Both sides of our families started family Whatsapp groups. In some ways, we’re more connected now than ever.
  • Commit to visiting, if finances and health allow. Credit is due to our parents: It’s an understatement to say they weren’t overjoyed when we announced our move (on Mother’s Day, no less). Oops. But every single one of them expressed their willingness to visit. Brittany’s dad was even willing to brave the snakes and huts on stilts that he assumed were in our future!
  • Validate your grandchildren’s fears and struggles without undermining their parents. We promise: We want what’s best for them, too. And on the flipside, enjoy the fun of discovery along with them. Exclaim over the new things they’re seeing and doing and share in the adventure.

Being International Grandparents

There’s even one more stage of grief, it turns out, one unique to international grandparents: ambassadorship.

You’ll start to hear about Ecuador all over the place. You’ll see headlines, meet people who have visited, become aware of Ecuadorian celebrities and sports stars. You might end up championing Ecuador to the point your friends are sick of it and wish you would just move, already.

Maybe this isn’t going to be so bad, you’ll start to think.

In fact, maybe it’s going to be great!

Cuenca Ecuador Neighborhoods

Cuenca Ecuador has several neighborhoods that are popular with expats.

We lived in El Vergel, which was more popular with Ecuadorians at the time, but now has become more popular with expats, as well.

In this article, you’ll learn about the inner and outer neighborhoods of Cuenca Ecuador that are most popular with expats.

Cuenca’s Outer Neighborhoodshttps://ameliaandjp.com/cuenca-ecuador-neighborhoods/

Then we worked our way east to Challuabamba before looping back to the north to Cebollar and finally west to San Joaquín.

The east side of Cuenca where Challuabamba is located is about 1,000 feet (305 m) lower in elevation, which means it’s also warmer, sunnier, and drier than El Centro and the western neighborhoods.

San Joaquín is about 1,000 feet higher in elevation than El Centro and near the base of El Cajas National Park so it can be quite cool, especially at night. It also rains a lot more in that area and it’s cloudier.

Cuenca Outer Neighborhoods Map Legend

  1. Turi
  2. Ciudadela de los Ingenieros
  3. Machangara
  4. Challuabamba
  5. Colinas de Challuabamba
  6. Cebollar
  7. San Joaquín

Cuenca Outer Neighborhood Map

Watch a Video About the Outer Neighborhoods of Cuenca Ecuador

Xavier Montezuma owns and operates Apartamentos Otorongo, which I like to call the “Expat Landing Zone” because it’s so popular with new expats. He is a Cuenca native and offers neighborhood tours like the one in this video, as well as more adventurous hiking and mountain biking tours.

 

Get the Ecuador Cost of Living & Moving Calculator

Enter your email address here to get our Live Abroad Newsletter with all sorts of timely information about living abroad, online income and retiring early.

You'll also get immediate access to our Ecuador Cost of Living & Moving Calculator, which will help you budget for your life in Ecuador.

PLUS, there are several other free perks in our Live Abroad Toolkit we think you'll enjoy!
 

Cuenca’s Inner Neighborhoods

Most new expats choose to live in the inner neighborhoods of Cuenca Ecuador. Unlike the outer neighborhoods, you’ll able to walk most places and easily find taxis and buses, which means you won’t need a car.

The most popular areas are El Centro, San Sebas, El Vergel and Gringolandia, which is a bit of a misnomer. While there are a lot of expats living in Gringolandia, they account for less than 5% of the population in that area. It was given that name mainly because it has western-style housing and highrises.

Cuenca Inner Neighborhoods Map Legend

  1. El Centro
  2. San Sebas
  3. Gringolandia
  4. El Batan
  5. Sucre
  6. Don Bosco
  7. El Vergel
  8. Cañaribamba
  9. Totoracocha
  10. Miraflores

Cuenca Inner Neighborhood Map

Final Thoughts

If you’re considering a move to Cuenca, we recommend checking out the inner neighborhoods first so you can get around easily without a car.

After living in Cuenca for awhile, some expats choose to move further out from El Centro where the rents tend to be less expensive and the neighborhoods are quieter. However, they usually buy a car to make transportation easier.

 

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS. THERE IS NO COST TO YOU AND SOMETIMES YOU'LL EVEN GET A DISCOUNT BY USING OUR LINK. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

 

Get the FREE Live Abroad Checklist

Enter your email address to receive helpful and timely information about living abroad, slow travel, having more freedom, and living life on YOUR terms!

You'll also get immediate access to our FREE Live Abroad Toolkit, which we created to help jumpstart your dream of living in another country.
 

Schools & Raising Kids in Ecuador

Ecuador is a beautiful country with a rich history and culture, that’s why many people choose to live there as expats. If you’re moving to Ecuador with children, one of your top concerns will be finding the right school for them.

Additionally, raising children in a foreign country has its unique challenges, but it can also be a rewarding experience.Schools and Raising Kids in Ecuador

In this article, we’ll explore how it is to raise children in Ecuador and the different types of schools in Ecuador, including public, private, international, and homeschooling, to help you make an informed decision.

Raising Children in Ecuador

We interviewed Jason, an Australian digital nomad, and Michelle, an Ecuadorian with 15 years of experience in the tourism industry, to share their experiences raising children in Ecuador.

Cultural Differences

One of the most significant cultural differences that Jason has faced is how much children are adored in Ecuador. Everywhere they go, people flock to children, which can be nice but takes some getting used to.

Breastfeeding is another aspect that Jason and Michelle noticed, it is a natural part of human evolution that no one will scold you for doing. In Ecuador, breastfeeding is openly accepted, and people will even give you pointers on how to do it correctly.

The “machismo culture” is another aspect that Michelle brings up. Although it is changing, there is still a significant difference in how women and men are treated, and the same goes for boys and girls. For example, it is still common for people to tell boys not to wear pink because it is for girls or to tell girls to help in the kitchen because that’s what girls do.

Jason and Michelle Expats Ecuador

Parenting as a Blended Family

Michelle and Jason are a blended family, and one of the most significant challenges they face is needing permission from both biological parents to travel outside of Ecuador with their children.

It is a real sticking point for them, as they need the father’s permission to take the children on a family vacation to Australia.

Activities for Children

There are many different activities for children in Ecuador, with soccer being the most popular one.

Other activities that are gaining popularity include aerial yoga, which is not traditionally done by males in Ecuador, making Michelle’s son’s choice to do aerial yoga an excellent example of breaking stereotypes.

In addition, there are many cultural events, including festivals, parades, and concerts, that children can attend.

 

Get the Ecuador Cost of Living & Moving Calculator

Enter your email address here to get our Live Abroad Newsletter with all sorts of timely information about living abroad, online income and retiring early.

You'll also get immediate access to our Ecuador Cost of Living & Moving Calculator, which will help you budget for your life in Ecuador.

PLUS, there are several other free perks in our Live Abroad Toolkit we think you'll enjoy!
 

Types of Schools in Ecuador

Public Schools in Ecuador

Raising Kids in EcuadorPublic schools in Ecuador are free for all students, but they’re not the best option for expat children. The quality of education is low, and the infrastructure is poor. Teachers also rotate frequently, making consistency difficult to achieve.

Additionally, most public schools require students to speak Spanish, which can be a significant barrier for non-spanish speakers.

Private Schools in Ecuador

Private schools in Ecuador are the most common choice for expats. They offer better infrastructure and a higher quality of education than public schools.

However, they are more expensive, with tuition fees ranging from $300 to $1000 per month. Most private schools require students to learn Spanish, but they also offer personalized education to help expat children overcome the language barrier.

International Schools in Ecuador

International schools in Ecuador are the most expensive option, with tuition fees of up to $1000 per month. They offer a more comprehensive education that includes subjects in English and other languages. They’re an excellent choice for expat children who plan to attend university in their home country or elsewhere.

However, they’re not necessary for most children, as private schools offer an excellent education at a more reasonable price.

Homeschooling in Ecuador

Homeschooling is becoming increasingly popular in Ecuador, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic many schools were forced to switch to virtual learning.

It allows parents to control their children’s education, providing a personalized curriculum that includes emotional intelligence training, which isn’t always recognized in Ecuadorian curriculums.

Homeschooling is also an excellent option for expat families who want to travel frequently or live a more flexible lifestyle.

However, it’s essential to note that homeschooling is a life-changing decision that requires a significant commitment from parents.

Private Schools in Manta, Ecuador

We also interviewed a family from the United States who live in Manta and send their child to a private preschool.

They explained that in Ecuador, parents can get high-quality education at a fraction of the cost compared to the United States. Private schools in Manta, such as Glenn Doman and Leonardo Da Vinci, offer a great education for children from preschool to high school.

The Leonardo Da Vinci school is a bilingual school, and they teach three days of Spanish and two days of English. This is a great opportunity for children to become bilingual and learn a new language at a young age.

Enrollment in private schools is simple, and parents will need to make an appointment with the school, go through an application process, and meet with the school director. This is also an opportunity for parents to ask questions and ensure that the school is the right fit for their child.

Private schools in Manta have smaller class sizes ranging from 10 to 25 students per class, with a focus on basic subjects and additional courses like computers, electronics, and tablets.

The schools, whether public or private, are inclusive of families, and they often host school functions that bring parents and students together. This is a great opportunity for parents to meet other parents and make new friends in the area.

While private school tuition fees are significantly lower in Ecuador than in the United States, parents should also be aware of additional costs associated with schooling, such as school supplies.

Final Thoughts

Ecuador is an excellent place to raise children, but it does come with its unique challenges. By being aware of cultural differences, finding ways to participate in activities that interest their children, and choosing the right school, parents can create a fulfilling experience for their families.

Private schools in Manta, such as Glenn Doman and Leonardo Da Vinci, offer high-quality education at a fraction of the cost compared to the United States, making Ecuador an attractive destination for expats.

If you would like even more information on this topic, checkout this guide from Jason and Michelle on their blog Expats Ecuador.

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS. THERE IS NO COST TO YOU AND SOMETIMES YOU'LL EVEN GET A DISCOUNT BY USING OUR LINK. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

 

Get the FREE Live Abroad Checklist

Enter your email address to receive helpful and timely information about living abroad, slow travel, having more freedom, and living life on YOUR terms!

You'll also get immediate access to our FREE Live Abroad Toolkit, which we created to help jumpstart your dream of living in another country.
 

Be Inspired and be Whoever you Want in Ecuador! An Unconventional Origin Story…

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

Watch Our Video About MOMO Restaurant in Olón Ecuador

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS. THERE IS NO COST TO YOU AND SOMETIMES YOU'LL EVEN GET A DISCOUNT BY USING OUR LINK. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

 

Get the FREE Live Abroad Checklist

Enter your email address to receive helpful and timely information about living abroad, slow travel, having more freedom, and living life on YOUR terms!

You'll also get immediate access to our FREE Live Abroad Toolkit, which we created to help jumpstart your dream of living in another country.
 

Elder Care in Ecuador

Elder care in Ecuador is available, but not nearly as prevalent and somewhat different than in the U.S.

Ecuador is a familial culture, so it’s very common for multiple generations to live under the same roof. That means there is less need for dedicated nursing homes or assisted living facilities in Ecuador.

You will find some “tercera edad” (third age) facilities in the major cities like Cuenca, Manta, Quito and Guayaquil, but most expats who need elder care typically opt for in-home services provided by a nurse.

In-home nurses are available for around $5/hour. That means you can hire a full-time nurse to come to your home for around $40/day or $1,200/month. You can get 24-hour, in-home care for about $3,600/month, which is far more affordable than similar services or nursing homes in the U.S.

VIP Home Healthcare Services of Cuenca Ecuador

We get a lot of questions about home healthcare and elder care options here in Cuenca Ecuador, so we interviewed the founders of VIP Home Healthcare of Cuenca to get some answers.

VIP Home Healthcare provides a whole range of services, from nursing and homecare, all the way through to end of life.

Here are some of the services they provide:

  • Implement doctor’s instructions
  • Medication
  • IVs
  • Prescription Pickup
  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Escort to Appointments
  • Post-Op Recovery
  • Short and Long-term Care
  • Dementia Care
  • End-of-Life Services – Legal Docs, Power of Attorney, Cremation
  • Language Translation
  • Errands
  • Housekeeping
  • Cooking
  • And more…

VIP Home Healthcare Costs

The cost of services varies depending on the type of care needed, days per week and hours per day. However, you can expect to pay roughly 1/3 the price in Cuenca compared to a similar level of service back in the States or Canada.

Insurance is currently not accepted, but they are investigating options.

Watch Our Video Interview with VIP Home Healthcare in Cuenca Ecuador

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS. THERE IS NO COST TO YOU AND SOMETIMES YOU'LL EVEN GET A DISCOUNT BY USING OUR LINK. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

 

Get the FREE Live Abroad Checklist

Enter your email address to receive helpful and timely information about living abroad, slow travel, having more freedom, and living life on YOUR terms!

You'll also get immediate access to our FREE Live Abroad Toolkit, which we created to help jumpstart your dream of living in another country.
 

Cuenca Expats Magazine Interview w/ Ed Lindquist

We had the great privilege of interviewing Ed Lindquist, Managing Partner of Cuenca Expats Magazine. He shared his knowledge and expertise of Cuenca’s expat population, as well as his experience starting a business in Cuenca Ecuador.

About Ed Lindquist

Ed Lindquist moved from the US and has been living in Cuenca, Ecuador for 6 years. He started Cuenca Expats Magazine with Maite Duran from GringoVisas over four years ago and has become a respected fixture in both the expat and Cuencano community.

With an extensive background in business, Ed is helping Cuencano entrepreneurs improve their marketing and promotion skills while helping connect Cuenca’s expat community.

About Cuenca Expats Magazine

Cuenca Expats Magazine is a monthly community magazine specifically for expats. Its goal is to introduce expats to each other, as well as help them connect with Cuencano businesses.

If you would like to download the last edition of the magazine, click here: ExpatsMags.com. You can also find the free magazine at several stores around Cuenca.

Watch Our Video About Cuenca Expats Magazine

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS. THERE IS NO COST TO YOU AND SOMETIMES YOU'LL EVEN GET A DISCOUNT BY USING OUR LINK. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

 

Get the FREE Live Abroad Checklist

Enter your email address to receive helpful and timely information about living abroad, slow travel, having more freedom, and living life on YOUR terms!

You'll also get immediate access to our FREE Live Abroad Toolkit, which we created to help jumpstart your dream of living in another country.