Peaks recede to the horizon in all directions. Some are topped by clusters of village buildings, but more often the mountaintops are unadorned green angles fading into a bluish haze. Roads are few, and those that there are snake tortuously up and down steep switchbacks.
A friend suggested Kathy and Tim book a private jet. They balked at this at first. They feared it would cost them an arm and a leg (maybe two legs). But then they crunched the numbers...
Would you think I was crazy if on New Year's Eve I joined a group of revelers carrying an effigy…and I later burned that effigy to a crisp, while wearing red underwear, and walking in circles around the fire with my suitcase, eating a bunch of grapes?
Cuenca expat and photographer Jane Hiltbrand was captivated by the colorful Art Nouveau style façade, as well as its mysterious man on the balcony, and did more than just wonder. She went inside the China House and started photographing the polychrome brass designs on the ceilings and walls and climbed the wooden staircase to the second floor, where the mystery unraveled.
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!
During the six years I’ve spent living in Ecuador, one of the key trends I’ve noticed is the rise in the number of digital nomads from North America and Europe. Some of these remote workers relocated when their careers migrated online. Others arrived here in retirement and built new incomes in blogging, freelance writing, photography, or one of dozens of other online professions.
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.
Manta, my home for the past two years, is one of the fastest growing cities in the country… It's developing quicker than any other Ecuadorian city on the shores of the Pacific. This is thanks in part to Manta having one of the youngest and most progressive mayors of any large city nationwide. He and his staff have been pushing Manta to the front of every line.