Once I moved, figuring out how to use my U.S. phone abroad was of the highest importance—since my sisters in the U.S. are likely to call the Ecuadorian embassy if they haven't heard from me about four times a day!
Of course, I worry about what would happen if I fall down and can't get up. Who is going to take care of me? This is a question that has loomed into view. So, I began researching options on in-home care—and found a lot of good ways to be prepared, "just in case."
Ecuador's towns are each unique, and usually offer their own specific local speciality. For example, Cotacachi is known for its leather goods, Ibarra for its ice cream, Cayambe for its biscochos, Otavalo for its huge artisanal market, and Illumán for its hand-made sombreros, just to name a few. Less-well-known finds are also plentiful—and make exploring this country even more fun.
In the major cities like Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca, you can enjoy all of the Western conveniences you are accustomed to. New cars abound, including several brands made in Ecuadorian factories. Everyone has cell phones, and internet connections are just as common.
I am so happy I made my move to Ecuador in 2014. I wanted to get out of the rat race. To trade in my 50-hour work weeks and unhealthy lifestyle for days that had fun and joy in them. Retiring in Ecuador helped me do this.
Most of us would likely not put tattoos or cosmetic procedures on our list of vital requirements… If we thought about them at all, we would probably put them in the category of "fun to contemplate." I didn't have these sorts of things on my checklist for moving overseas at all…but all kinds of possibilities can open up when you're abroad.
When I lived in Florida, growing a vegetable garden was like flying too close to the sun. Everything got burned to a crisp. But in Cuenca, where the warmth of the equator meets the high elevation of the Andes, the climate provides near-perfect spring/fall weather year round. The average temperature is low 50s to mid-70s most of the year, with frequent rains, so my plants have a fighting chance at life.
Being younger expats is an interesting experience. Expat communities are often made up of older retired folks, including here in Cotacachi. But being young expats had its unique perks. We soon became a valuable entity in the expat community.
Ayangue is a gem among the treasures of the coast, and provides a great diversion on a sunny day. You should definitely keep this place on your "to do" list for when you come down to coastal Ecuador.
If you want long hikes and overnight adventures, head to El Cajas National Park, located about 18 miles west from Cuenca. The area is 70,500+ acres between 10,000 and 14,600 feet above sea level, with tundra vegetation winding through hills and valleys and spectacular views.