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This post has an article about long term Cotacachi, Ecuador resident, Steve Marchant.

First, a note about reader savings.  Yesterday’s post reviewed the 10% July Aromatherapy Essential Oil sale.

What I failed to point out is that Gary Scott readers have a coupon code “garyscott” that gives an additional 10% discount.  When you enter the code you get a 20% discount.  See this post here.

Here is Steve Marchant’s article about Cotacachi.

I first visited Cotacachi in 2002. I’d wanted to get out of Quito and being new to the country I still let my guide book do the guiding and I liked what I read about Otavalo and Cotacachi – markets and beautiful scenery seemed to be the gist of it.
As I remember, Cotacachi was very quiet and I was struck by the fact that I was the only foreigner walking the streets. Sure, there were always dribs and drabs of foreigners arriving to visit the leather stores at the weekends but I didn’t see one that day.


Cotacachi circa 2006 – less common sight these days but the slow pace of life still prevails.

In fact if you do a custom search of Google for the year 2004 plus results in English this is a sample of what you see:-

cotacachi ecuador

Checking through the results there is not one mention of retirement or property in Cotacachi – it was all to do with sightseeing tours. Do the same search in 2014 and the search results lead to a myriad of pages about properties for sale, retirement and social interaction among expats. In short there has been a transformation. Fast forward to 2014 and Cotacachi is an established retirement destination for the baby-boomer generation. More retirees arrive every month – the word is most definitely out.

I’m reminded of Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point in which he talks about the moment of significant mass leading to a sociological change. I lived in Cotacachi between 2006 and 2009 and somewhere in those years, or shortly after, Cotacachi experienced a tipping point and went from being a sleepy unknown bucolic paradise with close to zero expat residents to an expat retirement bucolic paradise with 400-500 (and increasing) expats living there in 2014.

cotacachi ecuador

2008 Easter parade – timeless traditions continue in Cotacachi

So, if Cotacachi was a bucolic paradise then and now, why has it recently become a favored destination for expat retirees? Well a lot of it has to do with a tipping point and human behavior. The majority of us are social folk and we like to mix with similar folks. You can see this today in Cotacachi. As the word got out about Cotacachi, principally on this site in the earlier years, and especially news of early-adopter expats ironing out the creases, more and more expats looking to retire overseas decided that Ecuador and specifically Cotacachi, would be a good retirement location for them because they would find a welcoming community of like-minded folk.

cotacachi ecuador

Cotacachi 2014 – Same folk different bench – Outside a new store partly focused on expat market.

Recently I was forwarded a social connect email which is broadcast out to people already living in Cotacachi. The messages below are typical and handily demonstrate how  new societies flourish when a number of expats put down roots in the same place:-

Good morning and happy Friday to all,
Reminder:  Rummage sale at Solid Rock Plaza on Sunday, April 13 (second Sunday of the month).
Vendors $5.00/buyers free.
So, stop at La Fontana for ‘ Principessa’ Donna’s rich fare any time for dinner Thursday thru Sunday evenings and lunch on Saturday and Sunday.
To get on mailing list: (email removed)
Sushi at Serendipity
Serendipity will be serving sushi and tempura on Saturday, April 5th from 2:00 pm until closing.
California Rolls and vegetarian sushi with wasabi or Chicken, shrimp or vegetable Tempura available for $5.75
Please call for reservation to speed up service time and ensure there will be plenty for all!
You Are Invited to a Jewelry Party!
On Wednesday, April 9 from 1:00 – 3:00pm, Cotacachi ex-pats are invited to attend a fabulous JEWELRY PARTY!
Grand opening of the Kokopelmana Seed Sanctuary and Organic Gourmet Market
You are cordially invited to Kokopelmana Organic Gourmet Market in Cotacachi
Grand Opening on Saturday April 5th from 9 to 1 pm
Solid Rock Bible Fellowship
We are a non-denominational bible study fellowship.
Meditation Sundays – Silent Sit
2:45 pm – just a simple gathering of folks …………….

The changes have been transformative for this small bucolic village; I personally couldn’t have envisaged all this ten years ago. That’s the kind of change that can occur when a Tipping Point is triggered. Tomorrow an insightful and revealing interview with one of the first expats to move to Cotacachi.

Steve Marchant