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Ecuador News

Here is Ecuador news (plus an Ecuador visa update) composed from notes sent by the Ateam Ecuador ready to help you across the country.

Lin Neal In Cotacachi passed on an August 21 security note  from the US Embassy about the recent volcanic activity in Ecuador.


Photo from Reuters video on the recent volcanic eruption (see link below).

Here is an excerpt: Security Message for U.S. Citizens – U.S. Embassy, Quito, Ecuador – Volcano Tungurahua Erupts, Caution Advised when Traveling in the Area

The U.S. Embassy in Quito advises U.S. citizens living or traveling in Ecuador that the Tungurahua volcano, located near the tourist community of Baños in central Ecuador, began to show an increase in seismic activity last week and remains in a state of heightened activity.  Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute reports that the volcano continues to discharge ash and vapor up to 1.5 kilometers in altitude.  Authorities have closed the Baños-to-Penipe road as a precaution and have advised people living in the vicinity of the volcano to be ready for a possible evacuation.

If you travel to the area around Tungurahua and the town of Baños, familiarize yourself with evacuation plans, monitor news outlets, use good judgment, and take all appropriate safety measures as volcanic conditions can change rapidly.

Past eruptions have affected air travel in Ecuador.  U.S. citizens planning to fly to, from, or within Ecuador should monitor news outlets and have a plan in the event of flight cancellations.

Stephen Milden in Cuenca sent a link to a Washington Post article entitled “Ecuador’s president offers subsidized fuel for regular flights to US, Europe”.   An excerpt says: QUITO, Ecuador — Ecuador’s president is offering a temptation for airlines that schedule routes to his country: cheap fuel.

Rafael Correa says the government will offer a 40 percent reduction in fuel prices for direct routes to and from cities such as Los Angeles, Vancouver, Frankfurt or He said in a regular weekly broadcast Saturday the benefit would last for five years and airline would have to promise to fly at least three times a week, but did not go into details.

Correa says the aim is to improve connections, productivity, tourism and education in the country.

This could put some powerful upward pressure on the price of some Ecuador real estate when combined with the benefits of the new Quito Airport.  See huge Ecuador real estate shift.

Jean Marie Butterlin, head of the Ateam Ecuador in Bahia, sent this note: Gary, Here is an  Ecuador safety brochure that came from the local authorities in Bahia who shared it with the residents there.

On the subject of safety a reader recently sent this note which makes such good sense that I am passing it on.

Gary, I’m a subscriber to your newsletter, and find it quite informative.

While I don’t consider myself an “expert” on security by any means, I am perhaps a little more knowledgeable in such matters than the average person, thanks to the Army which spent more than a few dollars on my education and training over the years. As to personal security and things you can do to ensure your personal safety, let me offer a few suggestions.

Regardless of where you go, ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings and people.

As you meet people or are walking along the street, look them directly in the eye. That tends to show people that you can take care of yourself.

Don’t wear flashy or expensive jewelry.

Don’t flash money or throw money around. Take only enough money with you to cover your anticipated expenses for the day. Secure your valuables, to include credit/debit/check cards, etc in the hotel safe. If you do take a credit/debit/check card, only take one.

If you need to use an ATM, go to a bank and use an ATM inside the bank, or to a teller. There are some very sophisticated thieves and scams in the most unlikely places, so don’t think for an instance that they can’t get your pin number and other personal information. Thieves have been known to use video cameras to record customers key strokes at ATMs, pickpocket wallets for cards which they will replace with a fake card, and be off to the races. The customer would have no idea of what happened until they tried using their card again.

Never give your credit/debit/check card to a waiter or clerk to pay a bill. Swipe the card yourself. You may even want to consider getting a separate card, such as a debit card, under a second or sub-account where you can transfer only an amount that you may feel you need to begin, and transfer funds periodically to meet your needs. That way, you limit your exposure to the loss of only a relatively small amount in case your card is lost or stolen.  

Don’t carry handbags, cameras, computer cases and other bags casually slung over the shoulder. That’s an open invitation to thieves. And on the matter of computers, tablets and smart phones, its a good idea to password protect them to prevent use in case they may be stolen or lost. Protecting them with a password won’t stop them from being stolen, but can cause the thief a lot of aggravation to try to use them. Just don’t leave your password written down with your device…always keep passwords separate.

Guys usually carry their wallets in a back pocket. Bad move. Carry the thinnest wallet you can, in a front pocket. As an added precaution, wrap a large rubber band around it. It may look tacky, but the rubber band can make it a little more difficult for a pickpocket to slip it out of your pocket without your feeling it.

Don’t wear inappropriate clothing. In countries with large Muslim populations, wearing shorts, tight fitting or otherwise revealing clothing would be offensive, while in other countries, particularly Latin, women wearing short shorts or other revealing clothing may bring unwanted attention (yep, machismo is alive and well in many areas of the world). On the other hand, guys wearing shorts in public may raise questions as to their masculinity.

If you take prescription medications, or use OTC medications, check with the respective embassy as to what is and is not permitted. For prescription medications, get a letter from your doctor on their letterhead listing all the medications you take, dosages, quantity, etc. And never mix medications together thinking that you can save room in your suitcase. Leave each in their original bottle or packaging with label intact. In most countries, Customs are extremely tight on importation and export of ALL drugs. You can get a complete list of medications and OTC meds from the embassy that are permitted, or they will provide contact information for their respective Ministry that handles such matters.

Trust me, foreign jails are no fun, and I can guarantee that you wouldn’t like them.

Never walk in unlighted areas, especially in areas new to you, and always travel in pairs or groups.

In many countries, taxis may have both licensed and unlicensed operators. Even licensed taxis seem to have a little game they play with tourists, especially at night. Those with meters will try to tell the tourist that they aren’t required to use meters at night, the meter is broken, etc. Don’t accept it. To help avoid problems, have your hotel call a metered taxi for you, and even then, find out the price before you even get into the taxi.

Regardless of whether you’re just visiting, or will be working or retiring in a country, NEVER allow yourself to become involved in local or national politics. And never openly criticize the country, people or customs, or be openly critical of your own country. Things like that can often come back to haunt you.

Always remember that you are a guest, and are subject to the laws of the host country. Never talk down to people, and treat them and their customs with respect. You’ll find that they will treat you the same way in return.  

These are just a few points that come immediately to mind regarding personal security. Be sure that there are many, many more areas of concern. But if you follow them, you can have a happy and safe visit or retirement regardless of where you’re at. Just think security. Always.

This article contains good sense for travel anywhere.

As Ecuador moves into Phase II, it is important to recognize that crime is likely to become more serious.  An article in Latin News shows how this is affecting transportation.

According to ElComercio.com police have identified at least five groups of robbers who are committing crimes on the transport systems of the Trolley, Ecovia and Metrovia in Quito. Police have termed the gangs, ‘decuideros’ since the members take advantage of users’ neglect and the tightly packed spaces on these transportation systems. Officials say that the metropolitan and judicial police are creating a plan to improve the safety of about 500,000 daily passengers. Officials add that the gangs surround their victim and take objects from pockets, and slash backpacks or purses. The most crime-ridden areas of transport are the stations of Rio Coca, El Ejido, La Marin, Plaza Grande, Santo Domingo, Cumanda and El Recreo, report government officials, warning passengers to be careful at rush hour.

Increased crime could also have an impact on visas.

An article at Insightcrime.org entitled “Ecuador Criminal Gangs Show Military-Style Training Police Share” by  Ronan Graham says:  Quito’s police chief has warned that the Ecuadorian security forces may be involved in organized crime, noting that the professionalism of some attacks carried out in the city suggest that criminal gangs have had military-style training.

The commander of Quito’s Metropolitan Police, Colonel Juan Carlos Rueda, made the comments during a debate organized by El Comercio newspaper on “Insecurity in Quito – Strategies for 2012.”

The secretary of homeland security, Lourdes Rodriguez, said that the city faced “serious” security problems, but stressed that the homicide rate in Quito is below the national average.

Ecuador has shown signs of becoming a new hotspot for transnational organized crime in recent years. Transnational criminal gangs from Colombia and Mexico are thought to be increasing their presence in the country, prompting a U.S. drug official to refer to country as the “UN of organized crime” in July.

As InSight Crime has previously reported, political instability, lax visa policies, the country’s proximity to Colombian drug cultivation areas and the adoption of the U.S. dollar as official currency (facilitating money laundering) have all played a part in the increasing presence of these gangs in Ecuador.

How Crime affects Visas

The Ecuador government is making the procedure for resident visas tougher as well as changing the laws regarding the Censo.

Ateam Ecuador attorney, Andres Cordova wrote:  Gary, all applicants for resident visas will need to bring a birth certificate (apostilled or legalized at the nearest Ecuadorian Consulate).  This is now needed for the issuance of the Ecuadorian ID card (the censo).

Andres has helped many of our readers get visas and published an excellent free report on the new Ecuador visa regulations.

See Ecuador Visa Update

The rapid changes taking place in Ecuador is why we have a team of contacts (A Team Ecuador) including numerous Ecuador attorneys across the country developed over a decade and a half of traveling, business and living in Ecuador so there can be help if you have problems in Ecuador.

See how to become an Ecuador Living Club member here.


2013-2014 Super Thinking + Spanish – Writing to Sell – Business & Investing Course Schedule

Schedule 2013-2014  Super Thinking + Spanish  – Writing to Sell – Investing & Business Courses.

Here are photos I took of Mt. Dora…

mt-dora-images tags:


mt-dora-images tags:

its annual arts festival. 


June 21-22-23  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

July 5-6-7  Super Thinking + Spanish  Sarasota, Florida  Single $699  /  Couple $899  (Teacher Mark Frakes)

July 12-13-14 Super Thinking + Spanish Kelowna, BC, Canada  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teachers Shawn & Suzanne Bandick)

August 16-17-18  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

August 31-September 1-2  Super Thinking Writer’s Camp  West Jefferson, NC  (Gary & Merri Scott)

September 27-28-29  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

October 4-5-6  Super Thinking International Investing & Business Seminar  West Jefferson, NC  

Enroll here $799.   Couple $999 (Gary & Merri Scott)

November 15-16-17   Super Thinking + Writer’s Camp  Mt. Dora, Florida  (Gary & Merri Scott) 

November 21-22-23  Super Thinking +Spanish  Puerto Aventuras, Mexico Single $699/Couple $899 (Teachers Suzanne & Shawn Bandick)


January 10-11-12   Super Thinking + Spanish  Mt. Dora, Florida  (Gary & Merri Scott)

February 14-15-16  Super Thinking International Investing & Business Seminar  Mt. Dora, Florida  

Enroll here $799.   Couple $999  (Gary & Merri Scott)

For information more contact Cheri Hall at cheri@garyascott.com

Attend all seminars and courses and more FREE or at a discount as an International club member.  See details here.



Video on recent Ecuador volcanic activity

Washington Post article on subsidized jet fuel

El Comercio travel crime article

Insigtecrime.org article