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Real Ecuador Risk

For some reason I have been getting many questions recently about Ecuador risk from volcanoes, mudslides, spiders and snakes.

First…spiders and snakes.  Outside the Amazon I have seen one snake in Ecuador over 14 years.   This was such a big deal to the shaman I was with, he brought all his apprentices to look and took pictures!  “Wow! A Serpent!”

Consider snake encounters in Ecuador a really low risk deal!  Spiders too. They just are almost not there.

Granted there are some pests.  For example, we are currently battling pigeons in the roof of our hotel.   But there are not any dangerous pests to speak of….again outside the Amazon jungles.

Where we live in Ecuador seems much safer than in the US and where we live in the US seems much safer (as long as I stay off my tractor) then most cities (Santa does not carry guns up here) in North America.

The greatest risk of accidental death in the US, of course is traffic.  Probably in Ecuador too.

Because most of the people I know who have moved to Ecuador tend to drive much less, life is most likely a lot safer in Ecuador than in the US.

Health wise Ecuador is good also.  The food is far less refined. We walk more and there is so much less stress.  People write continually and tell me how their weight seems to melt away and how they feel so much better.

Ecuador Volcanoes

Ecuador does have a number of active volcanoes, however.  This has never worried me since I grew up in the shadow of Mt. St Helen’s and Mt. Hood.  I know that only those foolish enough to be right in the lava flow have any big risk.

Read what I wrote about Ecuador volcanoes last time there was a big eruption

You can get a lot of information about Ecuador volcanoes at NOAA

If I were concerned, it would be over earthquakes.  Volcanoes are spectacular but they generally give plenty of warning and as long as you stay away…there is not much risk.  One has to work hard to get close to a volcano because they usually are on top of a very high mountain!

Earthquakes seem to me to be more of a risk…less obvious and predictable.

Ecuador has had some bad ones…the last in Bahia in 1998, about a half hour from our home on Ecuador’s coast.  That was the last bad earthquake in Ecuador.

In our Province Imbaburra there have only been tow in the past three centuries, in 1868 and 1987.

You can learn more about Ecuador earthquakes here.

However consider this.

An article at www.physorg.com says:  On January 26, 1700, at about 9 p.m. local time, the Juan de Fuca plate beneath the ocean in the Pacific Northwest suddenly moved, slipping some 60 feet eastward beneath the North American plate in a monster quake of approximately magnitude 9, setting in motion large tsunamis that struck the coast of North America and traveled to the shores of Japan.

Since then, the earth beneath the region – which includes the cities of Vancouver, Seattle and Portland — has been relatively quiet. But scientists believe that earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 8, so-called “megathrust events,” occur along this fault on average every 400 to 500 years.

To help prepare for the next megathrust earthquake, a team of researchers led by seismologist Kim Olsen of San Diego State University (SDSU) used a supercomputer-powered “virtual earthquake” program to calculate for the first time realistic three-dimensional simulations that describe the possible impacts of megathrust quakes on the Pacific Northwest region.

The articles stated that these studies will hopefully raise awareness of the possibility of megathrust earthquakes happening at any given time in the Pacific Northwest.

You can read this entire www.physorg.com article here.

So when I watch this sunset with my mom in Lincoln City, Oregon…I wonder…that the earthquake risk may be greater…


then when I am watching this sunset from our Ecuador beach condo.


When I visit my mom in Portland and see this view from her front yard…I worry more about Mt Hood erupting than…


than I do when I look out the windeow of our condo in Cotacachi and see Mt. Cotacachi.


There are plenty of mud slides in certain parts of Ecuador’s Andes.  I have read about a couple where people lost their lives in the last 14 years.  Those were in 2000 and 2001.

I suspect that this is less of a danger though than in California because Ecuadorians do not tend to build where a mud slide is likely…as they do in the California hills.

No one should downplay the risk of natural disasters anywhere.  However one should not also magnify the risk…in a place unfamiliar when real-honest risk is equal or greater at home.

Statistics suggest that few of us will ever be injured or die in an earthquake, volcano or mudslide…or from a snake or spider bite.

Overall Ecuador seems to me a pretty safe place so I do not worry about these unlikely events.  I focus on driving safely…especially when driving my John Deere tractor.  According to the Farm Law website, “farming is one of the most dangerous jobs in America.”

Until next message, may your life be safe from worry.