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Ecuador Q&A January 29 2011

Ecuador  Q & A Saturday January 29, 2011.


Here I am in my Florida office for the moment… answering your questions… sharing your comments.  Soon we head south to Ecuador where we have unveiled some new… incredible Ecuador values.

See the questions and comments below:

#1: Impact of Global Warming on real estate.

#2: Ecuador Weight Loss Spas.

#3: Ecuador airfares.

#4: Cost of Meds in Ecaudor.

#5: Learning Spanish With Frequency Modulation.

#6: Ecuador Export Question.

#7: Ecuador Rental News.


See how to save up to $78,000 on Ecuador real estate right now.


Remember just six days left to order Ecuador Valentine’s roses.

Here are reader questions and comments from this last week.

#1: Impact of Global Warming on real estate. Reader Question: Gary, how does global warming affect the long term value of real estate? Is it factored in somehow?

My reply: First, let’s get a handle on this term called global warming.  Many dispute it. Many dispute that humans have much to do about it.  Even more dispute that the current attempts to stop global warming are effective at all.

Rather than wasting time arguing, it’s better to think than get caught up tryng to answer questions we cannot.

Why instead… as intelligent investors… don’t we  recognize that there is a great possibility that the climate is changing and just ask ourselves what impact this change might have?  Let’s ask what problems global climatic change will cause, regardeless of who or what is creating it, because problems create opportunity.

In North America and Europe for example global warming might be making winters colder… summers colder.   So what happens if North American weather becomes more extreme?

Some places will be more at risk in the summer than others… such as New Orleans.  If warmer weather creates bigger summer storms, than any lowlands around the sea or below a large body of water could be even riskier.

Winter changes could have an impact as well.  Take citrus. As a small commercial grower I know that the citrus industry industry is shaking in its boots!  There have been three cold winters in a row.   Just sheer good luck has stopped a lot of citrus from being wiped out.  This could lower real estate values in parts of Florida off the coast.

Ecuador might benefit from this because  hurricanes start at the equator and move north or south… so the Ecuador coast does not worry about hurricanes. However if climactic change alters La Nina, then too much or too little rain could create floods or drought.

What have I done about this?  First… I have moved to high land.  We do not own anything on a coast.  Second, I have been looking and learning about turning our grove into an organic premium citrus grove.  If the citrus industry gets hit hard enough… oranges and grapefruit may stop being a fruit staple… just a premium product. If so I’ll maybe be in a good position to make the shift.  We started last year spraying our citrus grove with bio degradable Bio Wash.

We are researching the reason that BioWash appears to help plants develop a natural immunity to disease.

The possibilities of eliminating the need for toxic pesticides is exciting!  Merri and I  sprayed our orange groves with biowash last spring.


We expect to see good results.Hopefully, we will see:

1. Increased numbers of blooms.
2. Better retention of blooms during drought and high winds.
3. More oranges.
4. Better retention of oranges during the above.
5. Sweeter oranges. (Higher BRIX)
6. Faster growth of trees.
7. Earlier maturity of oranges, thus premium prices.
8. Increased resistance to cold temperatures, down to 27 F.
9. Increased disease resistance.

See more on this here.

Weather is such a complex subject and climate change one so fraught with imponderables that it is beyond my logic.  One can look at the obvious… such as areas sensitive to flooding etc.  and adjust investing accordingly… but beyond that it is currently impossible to really know what Mother Nature will do to real estate values.

#2: Ecuador Weight Loss Spas. Reader  Question: Hi Gary-  Do you know of any types of places in Ecuador that might be like a “health spa” type of place where they “force” you to excercise, eat right, and relax?  I need to lose about 30 pounds and want to get to a place like that for a couple of weeks for a detox type of thing.  I just tipped the scales at 200 pounds, which is super scary.  The winter has not been kind to me and I have been eating and drinking too much!!  I should weigh 175 and have just balooned up in the last few months.

My reply: I don’t know of any health spas in Ecuador with trainers, etc., but you can stay at Land of the Sun and eat only the meals they serve. Tell them no dessert.  If you do lots of walking at those higher altitudes and stay away from the junk food, you will lose weight because you are eating better and exercising.  No “force” is involved, just better habits.

This is a great Ecuador business idea.  Create a  two week “Weight Loss Boot Camp”.  Set up a program at our hotel in Cotacachi or wherever you choose.  Offer classes on nutrition, cooking, exercise, etc.   Mix in some health treatments from the local shamans and naturopaths along with local culture for fun, long walks and exercise.

#3: Ecuador airfares. Reader Comment on Quito Airfares: Hello,  Just like to add my 2 cents to the traveler from LAX.  I find the lowest airfare to Quito is from Miami!!!!. Book the international flight separate and then get deals from Price line or Expedia or any others for the US travel. Airlines will re-imberse the luggage fee when you connect with international flights. Hope this helps!

Another reader wrote about Quito Airfares: Wanted to let you know that I have found  itravel2000.com to have excellent fares…they seem to be able to offer fares with much lower taxes & surcharges  than other sites.  I just booked a return trip from Seattle to Quito in early  April for my wife & I for a total  of $1,400  all taxes etc. included.

This reader had a great insight about Quito airfares. Hi Gary, Much of the high airfare problem with USA to Quito flights may be attributed to the altitude of the airport – about 9400 feet – and the runway length and location. I live just outside Houston so IAH is my airport of choice/necessity to fly RT to Quito. The UIO-IAH run by Continental is also the longest non-stop flight out of Quito. (Yes, KLM flies to Amsterdam, but it stops to take on the needed fuel for the Atlantic crossing in the Caribbean island of Bonaire.) Because of Quito’s altitude, Continental holds back (doesn’t advance sell) 20 seats on their B-737. I suspect the amount of cargo carried is also reduced. Only at the last minute, if wind, temperature, and runway conditions can be expected to be ideal, does Continental release those seats. Obviously most remain unfilled, or are taken by non-rev fliers like myself and my wife. Inbound to Quito also poses problems if landing conditions aren’t just right. Panama City is Continental’s alternate – not exactly a short hop like DFW or SAT if they couldn’t land at IAH.  Those extra costs that Continental must anticipate seem to be the primary reason for the high price. I’m sure it’s much the same for Delta out of ATL. American chooses to avoid them altogether by not flying there non-stop from DFW. Hopefully, things will improve with the opening of the new airport.

BTW, Lima is a good connecting point, has more non-stops to the US, and is probably one of the nicer and more comfortable airports for a layover in SA. Being over 65, I was also able to purchase tickets from LIM to Guayaquil at 50% off!

#4: Ecuador Medicine Questions: Hello Gary,  Do you folks have any availability for rentals in Cotacachi for 3 months or so beginning April 1 this year? I need to make reservations fairly quickly at this point.

Also, I am wondering if a medication called ‘Lamictal’ is readily available in the Cotacachi area pharmacies.. I do not have the names or numbers of any pharmacies in Cotacachi. I was looking for pricing on ‘Lamictal’ for the 100mg tablets. They come 30 tablets to the box here in Panama..  Any help would be appreciated..

I replied: Thanks for asking about Ecuador.  All our rentals are full at this time. I have asked Merri to check and see if something is free by April.  I have never heard of a common medicine not being available but have copied Franklin on our ATeam Ecuador and asked if he could stop by one of the several Farmacias near our hotel to see if they have Lamictal.


I wrote: The translation is that the local farmacia has 100 30 mc tablets for $30.

The reader replied: Thanks! much better price than here in Panama!

Send me Your medication and i’ll find the price.

#5: Learning Spanish With Frequency Modulation: Reader Comment: Gary, Ecuador has now moved to the top of our list. Thanks to the wonderful info provided by your Ecuador Report. I come w 2 challenges. First, you will never teach me Spanish in 4 days. I fell from a running horse, landing on my neck and head a couple of years ago. Learning new things has become more difficult. I am lucky. Most docs say I should be in a wheelchair, so I feel blessed.

My Reply: I understand your problem well.  I had a blow to the head also (walked into a swinging baseball bat) and had incredible memory problems. I could not look at a number and remember it long enough to type it in the computer.  I could barely drive because I would forget what was on my left when I simply looked to my right. This created terrible anxiety and anger problems for me.  So I understand.

I gained incredible help from a special eye doctor who helped me retrain my brain.  The doctor I used has passed but another who is carrying on his work is Dr. Norman Elliott in Chatanooga. Dr. Elliott’s website ishttp://www.drnormanelliott.com His email is normanelliott@comcast.net

However the way we teach avoids memorization so you might be surprised and for sure… the way we offer you to learn Spanish… will help your learning ability in many other ways.  Learn more about Frequency Modulation here.

#6: Ecuador Export Question:  A Reader asked: I have been keeping up somewhat the last couple of years with happenings in Ecuador. My wife and I have retired. We have very few skills, not a lot of money, and speak absolutely no Spanish. But we have a desire to learn and would like to find out how to import and sell Ecudorian goods. Is this even an attainable goal for such newbies? How much help would your seminars be for us? We are not wanting to get rich,  just travel to Ecuador often, and make enough money to pay for all this fun! Thanks.

My Reply: This is exactly where Bonnie Keough who conducts the tours started and what she does now!  I believe she can be of great help and have asked here to be in touch with you. Her email is bonnie@ateamecuador.com

Bonnie wrote to them: As Gary said, that’s exactly where I started in 2006.  I wanted to travel, but had to find a way to pay for it and wanted to escape a job I hated.  For me, selling Ecuadorian goodies has been the answer.

Gary’s generous offer of the three e-courses, the hands on experience you will get on the import tour and your ideas, will prepare you to start your own business.

The courses will supply you with the nuts and bolts of how to run a business along with some ideas for businesses.  The tour will introduce you the types of products available in the northern highlands of Ecuador and visiting many of the folks who make them.  They are eager to work with you, if you have your own designs, they can make products for you but many folks buy and sell products as is.

You will need to add your own input, such as the type of business you want, a marketing plan, full time or part time, wholesale or retail.  This is not a franchise, we don’t do your thinking for you, but we do make it easy to find products, resources, inspiration and knowledge.  You will gain the benefit of our years of experience which will shortcut your learning curve.  My business centers on Ecuador, but the skills you will learn can be used anywhere in the world.

It is possible to buy well made, high quality, unique items in Ecuador for very reasonable prices.  The folks are friendly and appreciate your business.  I appreciate and respect their skills and talents.

And, unlike working for someone else, the time and effort you put into your business rewards you.  You can keep your business part time or expand it, depending on your lifestyle.  You are in control.

I can’t say that I’ve gotten rich doing this, but wealth isn’t always measured in dollars. I have paid for my travels, I enjoy what I’m doing, I’m helping many Ecuadorian families and I no longer have to go to a job I hate every day, hard to put a price on all of that.  Best regards, Bonnie

#7: Ecuador Rental news. A reader who advertised in our article 13 Ecuador rentals sent this note. Hi Gary, How are you?  Thank you for running the advertisement of our beach front home in Ecuador.  This time I received three contacts by email.  One reserved the house for February.  Even just one customer reservation pays off your fee.  Thank you very much.  Regards.

Meanwhile, we hope to meet you in Mt. Dora!


Rosy Ecuador Options

We do not need rose colored glasses when we have real rose colored options.

This series is looking at the importance of following your dreams in Ecuador or wherever instead of running from your fears in Canada the USA or wherever you live.


Here is our manager, Derek Hylands, in our Florida orange grove checking on our Bio Wash experiments.

Let me share how our dreams led us into agriculture and Bio Wash.

The last message in this series outlined why we began selling everything we had in Florida in 200o (through 2007) and invested  in Ecuador.  Then in 2008 we began taking profits in Ecuador and buying again in Florida.  See this message at Orange Tinted Rose Colored Glass.

This message looked at how we followed our dreams into agriculture.

Simply put… Florida real estate prices were way down… food prices were rising and due to developers who bought orange groves and turned them into housing  shut down more and more agriculture  coming to market…and this presented a special opportunity.

This site had promoted the idea of investing in agriculture for more than a decade.  When Merri and I started investing back in Florida we looked at Lake County, which is surrounded  by fast growing, strong farming communities.

Why did we choose Lake County?  This is where following the leads that work for you began.  We centered our search around our daughter and grandson’s home.   This was our epicenter…    not opportunity… not farming… certainly not citrus.

When we found the home we loved near our family…. an orange grove was attached… so logic was not involved at all.

What does “Following the lead” have to do with this… we allowed ourselves to be open to such a foolish idea as buying a farm.

The second lead came in the form of Bio Wash.  We have written about the merits of this formula for more than a decade.

We immediately ran into grove problems.   About a third of the trees in the grove we purchased had root rot that everyone happened to mention before the purchase. They needed to be replaced.

We had to hire these machines…


to yank out about a third of our trees so our grove that looked like this…


ended up looking like this.


That’s farming for you!

We started spraying the trees that were left with Bio Wash.   Some of the results included super sized oranges.


Golden orange from our grove.  Better than gold in many ways.

There was more.   We just sprayed the remaining trees with Bio Wash.

After a year our grove manager wrote: “Last year we used your Bio Wash and we are prepared to use it for you again. The trees do look much better this year.”

By following that lead the grove’s yield increased despite losing a third of the trees.

The year before we bought the grove all the trees produced 1801 boxes of oranges.

We removed one third of the lower producing trees in a grove management plan. We sprayed the remaining 2/3rd with Bio Wash.

With 1/3rd fewer trees, the grove produced 2,484 boxes of oranges in our first year.

In other words, last year the average yield 2.4 boxes a tree… doubled compared from the year before.  This increased the income of the grove 37% with 33% less trees.

Our  grove  manager  is one of the largest in Florida.  Farmers are conservative so our dinky grove will have to do more than this to make them look at this seriously.

So we asked them to spray with Bio Wash twice in 2011-2012. We did and the harvest came in with 3,394 boxes though we still only have 2/3rds as many producing trees as 2009-2010.  Production is up from one box a tree in 2009-2010 to 2.83 boxes this year.  With strong citrus prices, we tripled the grove’s income while making it more environmentally friendly and perhaps letting the big boys in this business at least take a glance.

However I am continuing to follow the lead that has been presented to me combining low Florida real estate, rising food prices and Bio Wash.

When we remained open to new ideas, then two or more ideas started coming together to boost profits.

Ted Tidwell who makes Bio Wash wrote:  The owner of this farm bought a distressed grove, BioWashed it and I am told sold for substantial profit in 18 months.

bio wash

This is what we are doing now…looking for distressed groves in Florida or agricultural land in Ecuador to buy… then bring back to quality production and resell.

Imagine this.    Some farmers who use Bio Wash have been able to get higher prices for their food because it is “pesticide free” and has reduced fertilization.


I believe enough in these observations to start some testing in our orange grove.   Recently my grandson, Garren, and I loaded up the Cub Cadet with flagging ribbon… went out into our orange grove and set up four test zones… each at an opposite extreme from one another.


Garren helping me set up our tests.

In each zone we selected sick, healthy and new trees.


A sick tree in our grove flagged yellow.


A healthy tree and…


the newly planted orange trees.

In just two weeks we began to see results.  Our manager, Derek Hylands,  looks after the grove and sent these photos of the sick trees.

Everyone is pretty surprised that in such a…


short time they can see results.  This is new growth on one of the sick trees!


I have asked the grove manager to confirm what…


we think we are seeing… recovery of the sick trees and accelerated growth of the healthy and new trees.

Follow the lead?

We could be onto something big, exciting and good for the environment.  Where did it all start?  With a vague idea that Florida real estate prices were low and that we wanted a home near our daughter and grandson.  That’s the lead we followed. How satisfying!

Your lead to follow should be satisfying for you as well.  Our nature is to seek the sweet aromas not run from the bad smells.

What is even more amazing is that when one follows the lead…and looks back it makes so much sense that one says… “Why didn’t I think of that before”?

The future only reveals itself  in the present and the past, but there is a rose colored future meant for each of us… that comes when we  follow the leads presented.

Learn how to see agricultural opportunity in Ecuador this September.

Learn how to follow the lead to your own micro business.

One More Thought

The propelling drive behind the leads that will present themselves when you are open is Your Purpose.

Seeking proximity to family was one lead that led us to unite Bio Wash and oranges.  Our big picture, rose colored purpose was the driving force as you’ll see in tomorrow’s message.