Vilcabamba -- Can the Locals and the Expats Co-Exist Successfully?

Vilcabamba, the Valley-of-Longevity town at 5,000-feet altitude in southern Ecuador, has attracted many Expats in recent years due to its climate, its reputation for healthy living and the growing Expat community.  It probably has the highest percentage of Expats in its population of any town or city in La República.

From time to time, however, there are reports of trouble in Paradise with indications that the growing Expat population is not welcomed in Vilca. 

That perception has somewhat crystallized with a new and anecdotal report of a couple’s experience in the town -- as just published online at the Cuenca Highlife website -- in which the wife explains why they decided to leave Vilcabamba and return home to California.  They returned in April after spending several years in Ecuador, mostly in Vilca.

She explains that their trust and goodwill were not rewarded -- not by the condo worker who allegedly stole their video equipment (in Cotacachi), not by the government which apparently did not follow through on its promises to their Expat media project.  The couple also moved various times due to security concerns, water leaks, pests and noise.

Her key conclusion is that Ecuadorians do not generally like extranjeros.

While I disagree with that conclusion for the entire country -- and various posters responding to the article from Cuenca also disagree -- I acknowledge that the article brings up important issues for Expats and would-be Ecuador arrivals.  Both the write-up and the ensuing lively discussion -- posted at or google:  cuencahighlife  expat explains pulled stakes vilcabamba returned to u-s -- are compelling reading.

  -- cccmedia in Quito

The Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja? thread has been noticebably dormant for some time.  Not even a peep from Susan.  What do you make of that?

Yes, I have noticed it has been dormant.  However, I haven’t drawn a conclusion, except for this.... Folks come into and out of the forum over time as their needs and interests change.

cccmedia in Quito


i have been living just outside Vilcabamba for 7 months now.  I have to admit that I have been avoiding the "gringo block" for quite some time, as I have no burning desire to know all the folks at the Juice Factory restaurant, local hub of extranjero life.  I have friends in both the Ecuadorian and the extranjero populations.  Yes, there are difficulties at times in terms of cultural differences.  As my friend says, Ecuadorians are opportunists.  He can say that because he is Ecuadorian.  They are also litigious.  That said, there are lovely people around here.  There are also crazy extranjeros, and hippies of many colours .and nations lugging their barefoot babies.  There are westerners so crazy that they literally die rather than take antibiotics.  There is a lot of healthy food.  Find your own little slice of paradise and settle in, is my philosophy.

I was in Cuenca recently and it is a lovely city, but not for a person with asthma, due to the diesel air pollution.  Great place to visit the museums, etc.

There are going to be difficulties everywhere you live, no matter in which country you live.  Keeping a positive attitude, and having a deep interest or two, are good ideas.  Enough said.


HelenPivoine :

Yes, there are difficulties at times in terms of cultural differences.  As my friend says, Ecuadorians are opportunists.  He can say that because he is Ecuadorian.  They are also litigious....

Helen Pivoine

"If a person is litigious, that means they tend to sue people.”

I have neither seen nor heard evidence that Ecuadorians are litigious .. and, in fact, I believe they are not .. that they find other ways to settle disputes or get what they want besides instigating lawsuits.

Opportunistic, yes.  But what evidence do you have to support your contention that Ecuadorians are litigious?  Or is this just something you heard from a friend?

cccmedia in Quito

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