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Fielding Your Questions: New Members Want to Know

Oh boy, another crime question... Different folks have very different takes on crime and safety in Ecuador. In my opinion Ecuador is very safe. There is theft but relatively little violent crime when compared to most US cities. That said, there are a few very dangerous areas. If you walk around looking like a tourist in a bad neighborhood in NY, or Chicago, or Rome, or almost and big city, sooner or later you'll get robbed. Ecuador is no different. Ecuadorians tend to be non-confrontational, but there is a lot of poverty, so the temptation to steal exists. Culturally, most of Latin America obsesses over crime and safety and over reacts to the risk of crime, while totally ignoring the real dangers, such as bad driving on dangerous roads.

equinimity :

it is a mystery to me why anyone would want to live there permanently, other than the cost of living....

the cultural offerings are different than what can be found in the U.S. and would miss that very much.

The crime is of concern to me.... my husband is on high alert when we are traveling, and all members of his family live in gated houses/condominiums.  They have had multiple personal attacks.  I would not feel safe walking without my husband or someone else to accompany me which hampers my freedom.

Wow, you come across as someone who is not at all ready to move fulltime to Salinas, Ecuador.

Salinas is possibly the EC Coast's most honky-tonk touristy town .. and it has good infrastructure by coast standards.  With much of the coast attracting plentiful Expats anyway these days, these factors mean more Gringos -- and those who would mess with a Gringo -- are attracted there.

This doesn't mean that Salinas is crime ridden, just some things to consider.

Also to consider....

Your post didn't mention any timetable for coming to Ecuador.  This is the off-season in Salinas, approximately June to November.  The packed beaches of high season may be vacant, some businesses may be closed seasonally, and the result is a place that may appear to some to have lost its energy.

What about high season, starting in December?

That's a big concern this year -- an El Niño year.  Read up on the past effects of El Niño weather, and think about whether you want to be exposed to it in Salinas or anywhere on the coast when El Niño peaks this year (December 2015).  You can use the searchbox function atop this page to see what Ecuador forum posters have been saying on this topic.

cccmedia in Quito

Hello everyone! I'm new to this site. I have read lots of forums about living in Ecuador and it's fascinating all the information given here, thank you!
Please point me in the right direction. My family and I are moving to Ecuador in a couple of months and I'd like to know how easy or popular is to use Paypal and if Goods can be shipped to Ecuador from anywhere in the world.

Sophia J :

Hello everyone! I'm new to this site. I have read lots of forums about living in Ecuador and it's fascinating all the information given here, thank you!
Please point me in the right direction. My family and I are moving to Ecuador in a couple of months and I'd like to know how easy or popular is to use Paypal and if Goods can be shipped to Ecuador from anywhere in the world.

Greetings Most bring their electronics with them, as shipping items can be expensive, taxed, and time consuming.  It is basically a cash economy, so banking should be established accordingly.  Perhaps you could tell us more about yourself, what visa you intend to get, if you ever have been to Ecuador before, where you intend to explore/live. Etc.

mugtech :

Most bring their electronics with them, as shipping items can be expensive, taxed, and time consuming.

Welcome to the Expat.com Ecuador forum, Sophia.

Shipping stuff in is a big can of worms these days. 

The EC postal service's program to expedite shipments, Club Correos, crashed and burned this year after a $42 tariff was imposed.  Since then, many Expats here simply try to do without shipping, and bring stuff in from the U.S. returning from visits there.

Amazon does not ship directly to Ecuadorian addresses.

Bottom line...  I agree completely with mugtech that arriving Expats should bring in whatever they can in their luggage.  Pay the excess baggage fee, and be done with the process.

Just make what you're bringing appear to be for personal use only so the dogs of SENAE can nap undisturbed.

cccmedia in Quito

Hello, my name is Randy, I'm a 55 year old, single guy living in the US.

I will be visiting Quito next week and would like to meet up with some people to find out about purchasing a vacation home for a future move. I am also curious about the cost of living, the good, bad, and ugly of it all. Would love to make new friends, my email is xxx if anyone has time next week to talk and possibly meet for coffee or dinner.

Thank you

Moderated by Bhavna last year
Reason : Please exchange your contact details via private messaging
We invite you to read the forum code of conduct

Welcome to the Ecuador forum, Randy.

If you're new to Ecuador, you would do well to consider renting that vacation home before buying anything.

You don't really want to worry about property-management issues when you're back in Washington, D.C., do you....

You do want to make sure Ecuador agrees with you before buying property here, don't you....

Are you aware that it's unpredictable as to whether you are one of the folks who may have trouble dealing with the altitude, at 9,350 feet above sea level in Quito....

cccmedia from the other 'nation's capital' .. Quito, Ecuador

Sound Advice.  Thank you

Hello,  I am new to the forum.  My husband and I will be visiting Quito and traveling to other parts of Ecuador over the next 2+ months.  Can you tell me if there are expat groups who meet?  When + where?

Also, I have heard that we should not take smart phones out in public, as it will make us targets - is it really that bad?  Do we need to figure out exactly where we are going before we leave the apartment, and use paper maps?

What should it cost from south Quito to the airport by taxi?  Any specific advice on taxis other than only use yellow taxis? 

What should the cost be of a taxi around Quito (so I know when I ask the price)?

Should we really avoid taking buses?  If it is safe to take buses, what precautions do you recommend?

What other advice would you have for gringos visiting Quito?

wendy-adventurousretirement :

My husband and I will be visiting Quito and traveling to other parts of Ecuador over the next 2+ months.  Can you tell me if there are expat groups who meet?  When + where?

Welcome to the Ecuador forum, Wendy.

I have just sent you the Internet contact information for two groups that have meet-ups and field trips out of Quito.

For Cuenca events, visit the Gringo Tree website, www.cuencahighlife.com and www.gringopost.com

cccmedia in Quito

wendy-adventurousretirement :

I have heard that we should not take smart phones out in public, as it will make us targets - is it really that bad?...

Should we really avoid taking buses?  ... what precautions do you recommend?

Electronics including smart phones are expensive in Ecuador, so don't take them out unless you can do it discreetly or if you are lost.  You are most vulnerable to theft in crowded places and on buses, so don't flash anything of value there.

Avoid the trole line -- Avenida 10 de Agosto to El Centro -- as it gets super-crowded, especially during lunchtime and rush hours....Divide your money and cards into maximum two pockets, preferably one front pocket and a shirt pocket or inside pocket.

Avoid wearing outer jewelry on buses .. remain vigilant .. and protect your money pockets at key moments such as when being jostled or boarding/exiting the bus.

cccmedia in Quito

Thanks,  I quickly  viewed the sites.  I was hoping there might be happy hours or coffee shops where expats get together.  Or meet-ups.  We will be in Quito this time , so not Cuenca.  I know there was a few such get togetters in Cuenca that we enjoyed. Hoping someone might know about them in Quito.

Thank you! Good to know which bus not to take.

wendy-adventurousretirement :

What should it cost from south Quito to the airport by taxi?  Any specific advice on taxis other than only use yellow taxis? 

What should the cost be of a taxi around Quito?...

What other advice would you have for gringos visiting Quito?

South Quito to Airport:  usually $25 to $30 depending on your starting point.

Taxi advice:  When leaving a restaurant, a Maxi supermarket or tourist-class venue, ask if they offer Easy Taxi service.  This provides pre-vetted, registered taxi drivers on trackable routes.  The taxis are called via the venue's computer app.

The cost of a taxi around Quito:  The daytime taxis are metered and almost all taxistas are using them in daylight hours, so you shouldn't have to worry.  The minimum charge is $1.45. 

Dealing with nighttime taxis is an art you shouldn't expect to master right away.  They are supposed to use the meters as well, but 'good luck' finding many who do that after 9 p.m. or so.  Keep it simple if the taximetro is not in use.  Ask the fare, offer a dollar or so less if you wish, and then decide whether to get in. 

Other advice for Gringos:  don't encourage begging or scams by allowing yourself to be stopped by strangers on the street ... If you get jostled in the street or on a bus, it's likely there's a scam or attempted theft in progress .. Plan ahead so you look like you know where you're going and thus are less likely to become a target.

cccmedia in Quito

cccmedia

As I have said in an earlier message, I am a gringo and have traveled extensively all over Ecuador, including the Galapagos, with my husband, an Ecuadorian.  It is a wonderful place to visit!  Also, your comments are really helpful and honest.

What do you or anyone reading know about Pedernales, for example quality of life for a (not too) spoiled, middle class gringo like me?  My husband owns property on the Pacific and wants to build a house and retire there.

Thanks again. All good info.  Will it stay on the forum for a period of time so I can refer back?

equinimity :

cccmedia...What do you or anyone reading know about Pedernales, for example quality of life for a (not too) spoiled, middle class gringo like me?  My husband owns property on the Pacific and wants to build a house and retire there.

We rarely if ever hear reports about Pedernales, a Manabí-province coastal community of 50-some thousand people.

You might post on a coastal-specific thread for better exposure to coastal readers.  Type Coastal into the search box atop this page and then click on the search icon to the right of the box.

Building on coastal property in Ecuador is tricky business, regardless of the fact that your husband was born in Ecuador.  Best to investigate some things before committing to the project:  available infrastructure .. availability of building materials -- ain't no Loew's or Home Depots around as a rule .. how to use a maestro for a promising result .. and the effects of salt air on construction materials.

If he's not comfortable building a house, consider holding or selling the land and buying an existing house after living in coastal Ecuador for at least a year.

In April of this year, an enthusiastic Canadian woman showed up on the EC coast .. put money down on a fixer-upper near the ocean during her first week in Ecuador .. later reported to us that there were problems getting started with the project .. and we haven't heard from her in months.

cccmedia in Quito

wendy-adventurousretirement :

Thanks again. All good info.  Will it stay on the forum for a period of time so I can refer back?

Yes, it will stay on the site for a period of time, years...you can use the search box at the top of any page, put in search terms, and find a lot of info on many things, going back to when the topic was first posted in most cases.

Posting from an undisclosed U.S. city, Diversity7 posed some questions...

I am interested in an extended stay visa for my family?  How do you do that?  What are the requirements?

As U.S. citizens, you will receive passport stamps upon arrival in Ecuador at no charge, permitting 90 days in this country.  You may extend an additional 180 days through a visa extension, which typically is granted to all law-abiding U.S. citizens who seek it, for a modest fee.  You may use an attorney or visa facilitator to assist you .. or do it yourself.  For the latter path, visit www.cancilleria.gob.ec -- the EC Foreign Ministry's website.

Longer stays are possible through a variety of visa paths involving permanent residency visas.  The primary applicant, for instance, may seek a pensioner visa if he/she has a reliable monthly income of $800 or more, plus $100 for each dependent.  A certificate of deposit in an EC bank worth 25K is another route. 

cccmedia in Quito

More questions from Diversity7....

How much is the rent on a 3-bedroom, 2-bath apartment that is safe and decent?

Anywhere from about $375 to $1,400-plus, depending on a variety of factors, including...

Where in Ecuador, age of apartment/building, building amenities, neighborhood, access to transportation, whether you do it over the Internet (more expensive), ability to negotiate, Spanish-language skills.


How much for family medical insurance or medical costs?

A couple who enroll in government IESS coverage pay about $85 a month.  The exact amount for a family depends on the size of the family.  A residency visa and national ID are requirements.

Private insurance costs vary depending on such factors as....

Ages of covered persons, pre-existing conditions, deductibles chosen, company chosen, level of hospital care included and other factors.

cccmedia in Quito

New member ThreeWest is doing things differently than before.

For one thing, he's sailing to Guayaquil in a cargo ship in May.

For another, he's leaving the IT industry after two decades and doing freelance "Rails" development, whatever that is.

He plans to go after a residency visa and live in the Big G until he gets it .. "or not."

He told us all this on a New Members thread that is reserved for introductions only, so I am responding to him here on this Fielding thread.

--------

Welcome to the Ecuador forum, ThreeWest.

As mentioned, I don't know what your freelance deal is all about.  But if you can do it from some place other than Guayaquil -- for instance Cuenca, Quito or the Pacific Coast -- that might be worth considering.

Guayaquil is hot, humid and the most dangerous large city in Ecuador -- adding up to the fact that the percentage of Expats there is small.

Another thing -- what is your residency-visa strategy?  If you don't have an Ecuador-based employer or a pension-type income, you may have to deposit $25,000 in an Ecuadorian bank or savings co-op in the form of a certificate of deposit in order to submit a visa application.

cccmedia in Quito

cccmedia :

Welcome to the Ecuador forum, ThreeWest.

As mentioned, I don't know what your freelance deal is all about.  But if you can do it from some place other than Guayaquil -- for instance Cuenca, Quito or the Pacific Coast -- that might be worth considering.

Guayaquil is hot, humid and the most dangerous large city in Ecuador -- adding up to the fact that the percentage of Expats there is small.

Another thing -- what is your residency-visa strategy?  If you don't have an Ecuador-based employer or a pension-type income, you may have to deposit $25,000 in an Ecuadorian bank or savings co-op in the form of a certificate of deposit in order to submit a visa application.

cccmedia in Quito

Thank you for the welcome. :)

On an obscure Las Olas thread, new member Greggy61 had some questions that are valid and worthwhile although not necessarily specific to the Las Olas coastal community.   So I am addressing them here at the Fielding thread.

1.  What about satellite TV in Ecuador?

DirecTV is available in Ecuador.  I’m quite satisfied with the HDTV picture quality and the (optional) digital-recording box that allows you to watch favorite programs on demand.

My pet peeve is that the audio for the Super Bowl has been available in Spanish-only the last two years.  All the Sunday Ticket games are audible in the original English.  Ditto for the Sunday and Monday night games too.

2.  How about Internet?

High-quality fiber optic service is now available in Quito and Cuenca, but not in all parts of those cities.

At my condo complex in Centro Histórico, Quito, I don’t have reliable video streaming with MoviStar Internet (fiber optic not available here).  So I canceled Netflix during the free trial period and I subscribe to the NFL and NBA packages only via DirecTV.

cccmedia

Greggy’s other question had to do with personal safety.

----------

Here are five observations....

1.  Pickpocketing and theft -- non-violent crimes of opportunity -- are the most common problem.  Violent crimes against Gringos are rare in Quito and most other places in Ecuador.

2.   I was victimized more than half a dozen times as a visitor before moving to Quito permanently in 2013 .. and have been pickpocketed twice since moving to the capital.  But not recently.  I believe that’s because I have developed greater awareness, and thus am less of a target.  Also I don’t carry my laptop or a fancy watch around town.

3.  Be especially vigilant on public transportation.  The transfer-station on the Ecovía line called Galo Plaza is a particular problem and that was where I was pickpocketed twice since moving to Quito.

4.  Most bus lines in the capital stop running after 7 or 8 p.m.  Taxis are cheap and a good idea if you need to navigate through empty and poorly lit streets later at night.   Use easytaxi.com or have your restaurant/hotel contact Easy Taxi for you whenever possible to make sure you are getting a registered taxi.

5.  Avoid the following places and situations....

  -- Guayaquil

  -- South side of Quito

  -- Colombian border areas

  -- The Lago Agrio area

  -- Intercity buses at night

cccmedia

Hi
Curious, how is the satalite for TV and Internet quality?
As someone that will be new to Ecuador what things would you recommend to be careful about?  It will just be me...I'm single!

Thanks
Greg

Greggy61 :

Curious, how is the satalite for TV and Internet quality?
As someone that will be new to Ecuador what things would you recommend to be careful about?  It will just be me...I'm single!

Thanks
Greg

I’m not clear how it happened, but this post apparently got shifted over here from a Las Olas thread .. and was already addressed in Reports 103 and 104 of this thread, further above.

Naturally, others may have more to add to that information.

cccmedia

Exactly what I think and tell people

I don't recall seeing that in your previous email 103 and 104

It’s on this thread, above.

Hello Everyone,

I'm am a 36 year old American traveling alone, looking to permently relocate.  I lived in Costa Rica all of 2014, and went back to the U.S. for all of 2015, and now I've been in Colombia since mid January of this year.  I am about to leave for Ecuador on Monday.

I have several ailments and I'm tired of western medicine not working.  I have been treating myself with holistic healing and plant medicines for the past couple of years...this is another reason I'm coming to South America.  Holistic healing and plant medicines are uncommon, illegal, and/or expensive in imy country of origin.

I have very basic conversatinal Spanish, especially if I can lead the conversation.   I have a background in sales especially in the financial arena, but I no longer what to sell things at a commission and manipulate money anymore...but I will need to find work soon, so beggars can't be choosers...but if they could...they would like to teach English or do charity or NGO work.

I'm also going to be looking for a place to move.  I'm going land in Quito, but I am not crazy about extremely large cities.  My father is going to be looking to buy a house and or farm in Ecudor soon and he wanted me to check out places with high concentratin of Expats....I prefer high altitude plesent climate to hot sandy beaches. 

I've been checking out this forum for a couple days now I'm excited to see how active it is and helpful everyone is.

Hope To Hear From You,
Neal Allen Catlett

I am asking the Home Office to move Dixieman's preceding post to the Fielding Your Questions thread at the following URL.  I think it might get a better response there as folks are aware that this New Members thread is supposed to be for introductions only....

www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=477389

  -- cccmedia

Thank you again😃!

@ Dixieman55 > Your post has been moved to the thread Fielding your Questions: New Members Want to Know. :)

Have a nice day,

Priscilla

dixieman55 :

I am about to leave for Ecuador on Monday (and) looking for a place to move.  I'm going land in Quito, but I am not crazy about extremely large cities.  My father is going to be looking to buy a house and or farm in Ecudor soon and he wanted me to check out places with high concentratin of Expats....I prefer high altitude pleasant climate to hot sandy beaches.

You and Dad appear to be on a fast track -- maybe too fast.

A priority for you appears to be obtaining the ADD meds you couldn’t find in Colombia and mentally/physically stabilizing.  That’s presuming these meds are available here.

Rule #1 for arriving Expats -- in this case, Dad --  Don’t buy or build on any property in Ecuador until you have spent at least a year in the target area.  This may require making more than one visit to Ecuador.

cccmedia in Quito

Hello All, My spouse and I will be moving to Salinas Ecuador  within the next 6 months, and was wondering is anyone knows about any of the following things I should bring to Salinas, I have been making a list of all the electronics that I have in mind to bring, but want to know if they are all necessary:
MagicJack - GO
Cheap phone
Roku - 3 Streaming Player
FlashRouters
Streaming Wi-Fi Built-In Blu-ray Player
2 new laptops

Richard Hyatt :

MagicJack - GO
Cheap phone
Roku - 3 Streaming Player
FlashRouters
Streaming Wi-Fi Built-In Blu-ray Player
2 new laptops

Dear Richard,

Welcome to the Ecuador forum.

There are plenty of cheap, functional cellphones available in Ecuador.  I bought a $35 unit here in Quito last year.

Laptops:  Each of you -- carry in one laptop to avoid any appearance of bringing in such for resale.

If you haven’t purchased both laptops yet, keep this in mind:  it will not be logistically- nor cost-effective to have warranty repairs done on laptops covered by warranties in the U.S. due to the security / shipping issues.

Any other small electronics should be fine to bring for personal use, one per type per person.

cccmedia in Quito

In case you haven’t purchased both laptops yet....

Apple MacBooks were available at QuiCentro Mall in Quito last year for $1,500 or less.  I bought one -- the one I’m typing on right now -- and it has been terrific.

Can’t say the same about the HP laptop that I had bought at the same mall several months earlier.  It had so many deficiencies that I replaced it with the MacBook after three months.  That was $505 pretty much wasted on the HP.

The Apple was an improvement on the HP in about 20 ways.

I don’t know for sure where the HP was manufactured.  The Apple salesman told me the MacBook was made in the U.S.

As I recall, the name of the store where I bought the MacBook is MundoMac.

cccmedia in Quito

Thank you for the information, I will be bringing 1 laptop and my spouse will be bringing 1 laptop, do you know if they have fiber optic in Salinas?

Richard Hyatt :

Thank you for the information, I will be bringing 1 laptop and my spouse will be bringing 1 laptop, do you know if they have fiber optic in Salinas?

Check with the folks at the coast via mantaexpatsonline.com ....  That site is a good resource for the coastally inclined -- it’s not just about Manta.  If the particular information you need is not posted, there is an email contact at the Mantaexpatsonline Facebook Page.

cccmedia in the highlands

Expat Carlo A. has lived in several inland cities around Ecuador.  As he told us on the New Members intro thread this month, he is now targeting some cities on the EC coast to buy a new home .. then to return up North to wrap up some things.

Is he moving too fast ?

Usually, it’s recommended that Expat arrivals to the coast not buy or build on property until they’ve rented in the target area for at least a year.  In Carlo’s case, that goes at least double.

Adjusting to the warm weather and a new environment are enough of a challenge.  Throw in the fact that the coast has been disrupted by multiple earthquakes dating back to the massively-destructive 7.8-magnitude quake in April, and the coast is a prime target for a rental, not an immediate purchase. 

Carlo decided to leave each of three cities around Ecuador where he previously lived.  It’s conceivable that the coast would not be a long-term fit.  If that turned out to be the case, he probably would not want to be saddled with having to attempt a re-sale of property in a region so recently damaged by earthquakes.

Good luck with your move, Carlo.  Don’t rush into anything with less than certainty.  Given the crash in the coast’s tourism and real estate industries, you have all the financial incentive in the world not to rush into anything. Rent first.

cccmedia

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