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.
The Symphony Orchestra of Cuenca was created in 1972, its goal "to promote the musical culture at the level of the largest orchestras in the world." Their vision was to make symphonic musical art a part of every Cuencano's life, offering free concerts to be enjoyed by all strata of society.
Less than two hours on the ground in my new "home," I started to get panicky. I had sold almost everything I owned and cared about and packed the rest of my belongings into two suitcases and a shoulder bag. And now I couldn't even breathe!
Mark, 62, and Bonnie, 60, recently filled their outdoor pool and Jacuzzi for the first time, and although there are still a few small touches to be made to the paving and planting, it’s already a luxurious place to lounge away an afternoon in the Ecuadorian sunshine.
Renovation and renewal are words that often come up when writing about Ecuador—the country seems to have that effect on expats—but in the case of Dona and Larry Dees, it’s a definite theme. First, their adopted hometown of Ballenita on the ocean-scoured sands of the Pacific has recently put the finishing touches on an ambitious redesign and renovation project.
Americans often confuse Ecuadorians with our unusual habits and customs. During a leisurely lunch with my long-suffering Spanish teacher, Lucia, we contemplated the influence of expats and tourism, and how our foreign ways don't make sense to many locals—we're all learning about each other.
I am riding along the streets of the quaint and cozy northern Ecuadorian town of Cotacachi. With me, real estate maven Jim Keyser cracks a joke that focuses on one of the key elements of appeal that draws expats seeking a comfortable place to settle into a new life. “You know what we call a person who makes a ridiculously low offer on a home here?” Jim asks. “Property owner.”
Christine went on to mentor me on the meaning of the five. "You have to have a community of friends you can count on; a Cuenca family. People you can share your deepest secrets with. Someone you can call if you've fallen on the sidewalk and hurt yourself. People who will show."
Josh Beedham first visited Ecuador on a work placement program. “I went to Quito, took Spanish classes and helped in an orphanage. On the weekends I traveled around the country,” he says.