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Ecuador Retirement

Ecuador Living readers, considering an Ecuador retirement, may find two recent articles in the press disturbing.


Mount Cotacachi at dawn. Ecuador has great weather and scenic beauty.

Let’s review these and then look at an interesting Ecuador retirement trend I am seeing evolve.

The first article on March 25th 2010, The Economist,  is entitled “Ecuador and financial crime the Andean laundry
Worries that organised crime is tightening its grip”

Here is an exceprt:  IT WAS long an island of tranquillity surrounded by countries racked by guerrillas and drug trafficking. But whereas violence has declined in Colombia and Peru, Ecuador has acquired a reputation as a new capital of financial crime. Last month the Financial Action Task Force, an inter-governmental body, declared that Ecuador has not shown “a clear high-level political commitment” to address its “strategic deficiencies” in fighting money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Tourists, residents and club owners complain of rampant crime in La Mariscal, Quito’s nightlife district where some bouncers are now Russian and many of the customers African and South Asian. Ecuador has become particularly attractive for money launderers because of its combination of weak laws and use of the American dollar as its currency. An American think-tank, the International Assessment and Strategy Centre, reckons that it has become a hub for Russian and Chinese crime syndicates.

The left-wing government of Rafael Correa rejects all of this as factually wrong or ideologically inspired, or both. “There are no Russian or Chinese mafias operating here,” insists Miguel Carvajal, the security minister. But he admits that drugs from Peru and Colombia do pass through. In response the army and the police have patrolled more. They seized more than 73 tonnes of drugs (mostly cocaine) last year, more than double the figure for the previous year. Surveillance of the northern border, almost non-existent before the Colombian bombing raid on the FARC camp, has been stepped up. Mr Correa has sharply increased spending on the police.

Mr Correa retorted that the government would ignore the task force’s findings. But his attorney-general said that it would seek to overturn them. Mr Carvajal says that Ecuador already complies with 60% of the recommendations and that officials are quietly drafting a bill to outlaw the financing of terrorism. Not for the first time, Mr Correa’s government seems to be pointing in several directions at once.


Ecuador has great low cost health care and alternative ways of health. This is Esrella the Shamana at La Mirage. She has helped many of our readers health.

This seems worrisome… but I ask, before we review another negative article… what this has to do with retiring in Ecuador?  For example anyone who retires in Ecuador knows better than to go to  La Mariscal, Quito’s nightlife district. We have warned readers about this for years.  Every place has its good and bad spots.

I am happy to see these concerns voiced in the global press because despite the huffing and puffing Ecuador’s government does seem to respond.

However some articles seem to go beyond positive journalism such as an April 12 Wall Street Journal opinion entitled “Ecuador’s Chávez Another Latin dictator gets a pass from the Obama administration” by Mary O’Grady. This article is  pretty slanted in my opinion… so much so it had to be placed in the Opinion section of the paper (rather than based on fact)  as it says: The Obama administration continued its charm offensive aimed at Latin America’s authoritarian governments last week by sending the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela, to Ecuador to call on President Rafael Correa.

Why pay attention to a mid-level diplomatic visit to a banana republic? Because if you want to know what Honduras avoided by refusing to kowtow to the U.S. last year, Ecuador is it. Moreover, Mr. Valenzuela’s visit demonstrates how little the U.S. is willing or able to do for people who fall victim to left-wing tyranny.

After taking office in 2007, Mr. Correa decided that his popularity put him above Congress and the law.

A solid majority of Ecuadorians wanted a new constitution.

Using these methods, it didn’t take Mr. Correa long to destroy the institutional checks and balances in government that stood in the way of his becoming Ecuador’s very own Juan Perón.

Last June, when I reported on previously unreleased FARC documents seized by Colombia in a raid on a rebel camp that told of complicity between the FARC and members of the Correa government, the Ecuadorian president hit the roof.  On a trip to New York the next month he threatened to “sue” The Wall Street Journal for my piece because, he said, “we are sick of their lies.”

The U.S. response? Mr. Valenzuela would not rule out a meeting between Mr. Correa and Barack Obama. If that happens, prepare for a redux of the Obama embrace of Hugo Chávez in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in April 2009—more humiliation for Americans who used to think of their government as a noble defender of liberty against despots.


Ecuador has every creature comfort. Here is the restaurant at the Relais & Chateaux La Mirage.

These articles seems pretty offensive to Obama, Correa and Ecuador starting with the term “banana republic”, “left wing tyranny” and the suggestion that Obama humiliated America but at least this is clearly an opinion article… not based on fact.

One must first ask what was the alternative in Ecuador and in the USA?  Ecuador has one of the largest gaps between the rich and the poor in the world…. huge social inadequacies… incredible national debt and an old boys’ network that had held a lock on the power structure for centuries.

Correa like Obama has a rags to riches story. His father was caught smuggling drugs and committed suicide (some say). His mother a maid in California. He worked his way from poverty and is trying to make change.  He was elected by a landslide vote and even as the NYT author points out in the opinion,  “A solid majority of Ecuadorians wanted a new constitution”.

Correa is a politician who comes from academia and was elected by a clear majority in a fair election.

Obama, has a similar story and I think he is trying to make change as well.

One change perhaps that Obama is trying to make is to reach out to countries like Ecuador who previously may have been treated badly.

Maybe both will fail. Maybe both are lousy Presidents or are simply incapable of making the changes required. Both America and Ecuador have some great problems.  But really… will they affect the life of a simple retired gringo?


Ecuador offers opportunity.  Here is one of the many crafts people who display at our Inn Land of the Sun (formerly Meson de las Flores) during our Ecuador export tours.

But a quick review of the internet shows that every city has problems.

Comments on London. One has to be careful in Brixton, Clapton, Stockwell, Peckham, London Fields, Homerto & Hackney Downs. Not far from Lower Clapton road in Hackney borough the area is named Murder Mile.

Personally I have been robbed several times in Central London.  I had a thief break into my office in the middle of the day just blocks from Buckingham Palace… but I always felt reasonably safe in the main shopping district.  However I knew if  I wandered onto inner London communities and beyond I could be in a dangerous area.

Comments on Paris. It is generally safe, but some of the outlying suburbs are high crime areas.  Some of the Parisian parks can be dangerous at that time.  An area of the 18th bounded by la rue du marché Dejean, la rue des Poissonniers and la rue Poulet. Là is considered by some Parisians to be unsafe.

Here are some comments on the internet about crime in some other major cities.

New York.
“I wouldn’t walk through a neighborhood I knew nothing about, the Bronx, parts of Queens, Harlem Not far from Lower Clapton road in Hackney borough the area is named Murder Mile. It is starting to get bad for crime, but I know my way around there.”

Tampa. “I lived in a small 4 Building, 3 story Project building in Tampa for a couple years. We lived on the first floor so I had to sleep on the ground to avoid possibly getting shot thru my window at night. Every other night I would hear screaming or arguing, and Ive personally known people who have been shot/murdered.  I was jumped multiple times riding my bike from school in middle school, witnessed the murder of my best friends, Dad in our courtyard, and have taken part in various activity’s with “friends” that I wont talk about too many times to count.”

The point is that every city has dangerous places and residents know where to go and not to go.

Every place has good points and bad.

Every place has a lot of people who will write opinions about how bad things are… without giving solutions.

Could Ecuador end up being more socialistic than I like? Yes.

Could the United States end up being more socialistic than I like? You bet.


Ecuador has sweet people.  Here is Merri with a shaman and Jean Marie Butterlin who help conduct our shamanic tours.

What does all this bad news information have to do with retirement in Ecuador?

The reality is nothing.  Like in the USA… in Ecuador those who use common sense… stay away from high crime areas and don’t worry about the never ending mish-mash of political jargon… live well in the US or in Ecuador.

In Ecuador they happen to live for a lot less… and in many ways in a sweeter… more caring environment… without a lot less stress.

I believe this is why we are seeing a  second evolution of Ecuador retirement starting now.  This is  an interesting Ecuador retirement evolution.

Merri and I have been in Ecuador for 15 years now and have seen many of our readers move to and retire in Ecuador.

One expectation we had was that some who retired there would then decide to leave and return to their homes in Canada, Europe or the US.

Now a second Ecuador retirement wave is beginning to evolve.  Those who retired in Ecuador…. left for home… and are coming back to Ecuador!

One of the first couples I knew retired in Ecuador about 11 or 12 years ago. They stayed for about eight years then when the husband reached 90 years of age they moved back to the USA…. four years ago.

Here is the new evolution. These retirees are moving back to Ecuador.

Merri recently received this note from these two friends.     

Hullo there dear Merri!  Here is a surprise good morning from us.    I have thought about contacting you for some time and am finally getting round to it – prompty by a reference to Gary Scott in an item about colloidal silver.    We are strong promoters of that and have seen it do wonders  for a lot of people.

Well, as you know, we left Ecuador in Feb. of 2006 and settled in North Charleston SC, thinking that that would be our last move.  We came back to Ecuador for a visit last June and found that it was quite clear that we needed to come back to keep an eye on things and supervise a reorganization of  the work by the Ecuadorians we had previously started.    Not only that,  but we found life in the US increasingly difficult,  it is almost impossible to get help  there at any kind of reasonable price, and also we did not do well in all the economic upheavals that have taken place.    As we have good friends here who are eager and willing to help us we decided to return to live, and we arrived on Oct. 24.    A friend of ours,  a builder who worked with us at the hacienda, built a dear little house for us with wonderful views and rents it to us for $150 a month – perfect!   We are at 5000 ft. and can cope with that fairly well, although at 94 years of age there is a need for oxygen at night and sometimes during the day.    We had never thought that colloidal silver would help with oxygen deprivation,   so that was good news indeed as we have our own microcolloidal generator with us here.

We know that this is the place for us and we are glad to be here.    We certainly have the loving help that we need.  My husband is now 94, and I will be 89 in July, so we are no spring chickens.    We have made several major moves in our lives, but this last one was the hardest due to our physical limitations.    We were indeed rather old to be selling nearly everything up and starting again   However,  we made it!     Had to get visas again because ours had expired, and what a struggle that was, also getting our little 20 ft.container in was  a huge battle.   The last episode of that was that the truck left Esmeraldas with it on board,  then shortly got tires blown out.   Shortly after that he disappeared from view or contact, so we evertually had to send out a search party, and they found him parked by the side of the road,  sleeping off a big drunk!     They waited for him to sober up and then followed him here!    It was a miracle that the container had not been broken into.   All was well.  It is really sad to see what is going on in the States now.     There will certainly be a day of reckoning.  Hope all is well with you both, Blessings and love.

There you have it from real people… voting with their lives… not journalists spewing off opinions.

Once one is here in Ecuador… sometimes it is easy to forget… the bad winters…. the horrible north American politics…. the lawsuits…. the high taxes…. the insurance costs… the health care problems… the lack of service… the rules and regulations that are enforced by a multitude of three letter bureaucrats… the traffic… the bad food… that harsh systematic approach that turns everyone into a number.

Having lived and worked in dozens of places and visited over 70 countries in the past 42 years… I am convinced that Shangri La does not exist… but Ecuador is a great place to be and offers a wonderful sun filled lifestyle at a low cost.

However I do not ask you to believe me… but recommend that you come see for yourself.  Meet the people of Ecuador.  See how you are not bothered.  Feel how you are safe and soak in the sun.

Then you can decide for yourself if Ecuador is a place where you would like to retire.

See ideas on how to increase your investment income.


See how to live on the beach in these Ecuador beach condos on $700 a month… total


Our Ecuador exports tour is filled but you can still learn about Ecuador real estate.

Apr. 17-18   Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 20-21  Coastal Mid Coast Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 23-24  Quito & Mindo Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

April 26-27 Cuenca Real Estate Tour

May 9-12       Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Cotacachi Ecuador

May  13-14    Ecuador Shamanic Minga

May  16-17    Imbabura Real Estate Tour

May  19-20    Coastal Real Estate Tour

May  22-23    Quito Real Estate Tour

May  25-26    Cuenca Real Estate Tour

You enjoy discounts by attending multiple seminars and tours.

Here are our multi tour adventure discounts.

Two Pack… 2 seminar courses & tours $998 Couple  $1,349 Save $149 on couple

Three Pack… 3 seminar courses & tours   $1399 Couple  $1,899 Save $98 single or $348 on a couple or more

Four Pack… 4 seminar courses & tours   $1,699 Couple $2,299 Save $98 single or $697 on a couple or more

Five Pack… 5 seminar courses & tours  $1,999 Couple $2,699 Save $496 single or $1,046 on a couple or more

Six Pack… 6 seminars courses & tours  $2,199 Couple $3,099 Save $795 single or $1,395 on a couple or more

Here is the balance of our 2010 schedule.

June 24-27 International Investing and Business North Carolina

June 28-29    Ecuador Travel & Andes

June 30-Jul 1 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

July 3-4      Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 6-7      Quito Real Estate Tour
July 9-10     Cuenca Real Estate Tour

Sept.   3-6   Ecuador Export Tour
Sept.   8-9   Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Sept. 11-12   Coastal Real Estate Tour
Sept. 14-15   Cuenca Real Estate Tour
Sept. 17-18   Ecuador Shamanic Mingo

Oct.    7     Quantum Wealth North Carolina
Oct.   8-10   International Investing & Business North Carolina
Oct.   11-12  Travel to Quito and Andean Tour
Oct.  13-14   Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Oct.  16-17   Coastal Real Estate Tour
Oct.  19-20   Quito Real Estate Tour
Oct. 22-23    Cuenca Real Estate Tour

Nov.    4-7   Super Thinking + Spanish Course Florida
Nov.    8-9   Travel to Quito and Andean Tour
Nov. 10-11    Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Nov. 13-14    Coastal Real Estate Tour
Nov. 16-17    Quito Real Estate
Nov. 19-20    Cuenca Real Estate Tour

Dec.   3-5    Ecuador Shamanic Mingo
Dec.   7-8    Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Dec.  10-11   Coastal Real Estate Tour
Dec. 13-14    Quito Real Estate Tour
Dec. 16-17    Cuenca Real Estate Tour

Ecuador and financial crime The Andean laundry