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.
Recently, I took a trip along the coast between Manta and Salinas. The object of the trip wasn’t to focus my attention on the big cities—but to take a good look at what lies between them.
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.
I’ve learned a lot since I got here. It’s almost all been good. Getting to Ecuador and having a good look around led me to a discovery I’m very happy about. Before I arrived, I had no idea there were decent golf courses here.
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.
If you’re someone who is looking for the conveniences of a good-sized city close to the beach and the mountains, I may have found the sweet spot for you. Especially if you are a trailblazer—someone who would enjoy the experience of immersing yourself in a new language and culture.
With the advent of more American-like grocery stores, expats started changing the way they shop. Expats often skip trips to the local mercados, where veggies and fruits are a fraction of the cost, and instead shop at the upscale supermarkets, which offer more conveniences.
Originally from Connecticut, Joy is among the increasing number of North Americans finding opportunity and adventure in Ecuador. She’s been living there for the past seven years, following stints in the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Argentina.