Close

Is Ecuador clean? About Water quality? Anyone from Cotacachi?

Buenos Dias, my husband and I are considering moving to Ecuador but are really up in the air about any particular destination. I have some questions and am hoping that those of you who have already made the move might be willing to help me out. We have friends in both Cuenca and Catamayo, and friends that are moving to Ambato. We are considering Cotacachi, Loja, Cuenca, or possibly Catamayo. We do need to be somewhat near good medical facilities, as my husband has had some health issues in the past.

I'm concerned about things like water quality, and (please pardon me if this is TMI) the reputed dog poop everywhere.

Is it true that people never clean up after their dogs? Is that the case everywhere in Ecuador?

Are there any places with clean sidewalks? I'm confident that I can adapt to the beauracracy and the noise, but I'm honestly not sure if I can get used to the sight of dog piles everywhere.

Can someone please enlighten me. I've read that Cotacachi prides itself on being a very clean town.

Is anyone on this forum from there?

Thank you so much in advance for your help! 😊

KLC56 wrote:

Buenos Dias, my husband and I are considering moving to Ecuador but are really up in the air about any particular destination. I have some questions and am hoping that those of you who have already made the move might be willing to help me out. We have friends in both Cuenca and Catamayo, and friends that are moving to Ambato. We are considering Cotacachi, Loja, Cuenca, or possibly Catamayo. We do need to be somewhat near good medical facilities, as my husband has had some health issues in the past. I'm concerned about things like water quality, and (please pardon me if this is TMI) the reputed dog poop everywhere. Is it true that people never clean up after their dogs? Is that the case everywhere in Ecuador? Are there any places with clean sidewalks? I'm confident that I can adapt to the beauracracy and the noise, but I'm honestly not sure if I can get used to the sight of dog piles everywhere. Can someone please enlighten me. I've read that Cotacachi prides itself on being a very clean town. Is anyone on this forum from there? Thank you so much in advance for your help! 😊

If there’s a possibility that the medical condition requires urgent high quality medical care, then a major metropolitan area is best for you. Ecuador outside of pockets within major cities is noticeably under developed, and this is true for comprehensive medical facilities. If you haven’t stayed here for a few months to try it out you should do so. Everyone with health issues reacts differently to the altitude and I’ve read where folks had to pack up and leave because of complications. I can’t over emphasis the point that everyone is different. Personally I’ve suffered from asthma the past 10 years or so, but with each passing month here my symptoms are lessening to almost non-existent the past couple of months. This is contrary to stories I’ve read about people who suffered from asthma and who stated living in the Andes is a bad move. So for your sake, try living here on a trial basis and see how everything goes.

As for the dog poop, the freshly dropped is what I have an aversion to. However, I’m noticing more people cleaning after their dogs in my neighborhood and in Carolina Park. I think with regards to the park, there is a social awareness initiative that is having an impact. This isn’t Switzerland so lessen your expectations and you won’t be disappointed. There’s pros and cons for any destination, if poop is high on your list, remain where you are or look elsewhere.

Thank you for your response. I'm glad that your asthma is getting better! Health care here in the States is outrageously expensive which is one reason we are considering Ecuador. We would like to come for a few months but are wondering how to make the logistics work out. Cuenca or Loja are pretty high on our list due to medical access. The thing about dog poop is that I have a very overactive gag reflex which I can do nothing about. My dentist even has "Gagger" written in red at the top of my chart, lol! We are just trying to be very honest with ourselves as to whether we would be able to handle certain aspects there that we (sadly) take for granted here. Safe food is very high on our list, too, as that is how I keep my husbands health issues at bay. We definitely need to come and check it out for ourselves. Thanks again. :-)

KLC56 wrote:

Cuenca or Loja are pretty high on our list due to medical access.

Not sure Loja would be a fit if medical access is high on your list. Hopefully someone from that area can chime in, and correct me if I'm wrong. Can't find the link/topic, but it was from Josephk, who is a member on this site (though haven't seen anything from him in quite awhile). If memory serves, and again anyone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but if memory serves josephk had a pretty good analysis of the health care in Loja, and other than for the basic necessities it wasn't very advanced. Believe josephk had several health issues which required more attention than probably many expats need, but is something to take into consideration based on what your medical needs, and expectations are.

Thanks, j600rr. That's helpful. :)

Hello,
I'm living in Cuenca for almost 9 months, I really love this city. Water quality is the best of the country, I'm not assuring this by myself. This fact is assured by some specialists from Ecuador. The medical facilities are better than in Loja due is is a bigger city, there are great doctors here. Regarding to dogs' poop, it's no as bad as you think. The Municipality has people who takes care of cleaning the public areas of the city, there are also campaigns to face this situation and people is been educated about cleaning the dogs' poop.

Sincerely,

James

PS
I leave this information here, just in case you need assistance for your residency visas, contact Helping Expats Group. They have great experience with these matters.
Email: helping-expats-group[at]hotmail.com

Thank you so much! That's very encouraging!!

KLC56 wrote:

Thank you for your response. I'm glad that your asthma is getting better! Health care here in the States is outrageously expensive which is one reason we are considering Ecuador. We would like to come for a few months but are wondering how to make the logistics work out. Cuenca or Loja are pretty high on our list due to medical access. The thing about dog poop is that I have a very overactive gag reflex which I can do nothing about. My dentist even has "Gagger" written in red at the top of my chart, lol! We are just trying to be very honest with ourselves as to whether we would be able to handle certain aspects there that we (sadly) take for granted here. Safe food is very high on our list, too, as that is how I keep my husbands health issues at bay. We definitely need to come and check it out for ourselves. Thanks again. :-)

Thanks. With regards to the dog problem, you don’t have to explain, I understand. It annoys me too, and it can happen anywhere. My neighborhood doesn’t have a stray dog problem, the dog poop is from irresponsible dog owners, and again it can happen anywhere, my neighborhood is affluent but from time to time, and in broad daylight, a dog owner will take their dog to relieve itself right on the sidewalk or the greenery.

My husband and I want to find a place in the countryside or mountain side with a home that is not a major fixit-upper.  Some work is ok. We like the Malacotos/Vilcabamba area.  The weather and mountains and people, etc. is just what we like.  We just got back from Ecuador after a couple of weeks.  We worked with a realtor but did not find what we wanted.  How do we find a home in the country area at a higher altitude - 5,500 feet approximately? We know most places for sale are word of mouth and some postings.
Medical is a consideration - we may have to go to Cuenca once in a while but that is OK.
Any help is appreciated.
Thanks.
Robin and Joel

As you have probably already found out it's not like the United States where the housing market is well-organized and oriented to efficiently get buyers and sellers together with literally hundreds of thousands, even millions of professionals making their livings doing nothing but that, not just realtors but home inspectors, home repair services, moving companies, mortgage loan & deed & title companies, office help, etc. etc..

Most people advise to live there renting for at least a year before considering buying.  This can give you time to explore and find what you're looking for, and to consider all the other factors of various locations like altitude, weather, crime, road conditions and transportation, isolation, friendly people or unfriendly, shopping amenities, medical care, and on and on that you cannot possibly find out in just several weeks and not speaking the language well enough to go around on your own.

The defining issue is healthcare and since that is the case, my recommendation is definitely Cuenca.
I can walk a short distance to the clinic or the hospital and my healthcare is provided free of charge as a permanent resident. In an emergency I can call 911 and I will be treated at no charge as provided by law.

You mention two very crucial issues:

Pollution and Health Care

I am going to address the second first... HEALTH CARE
As someone pointed out, if you have any health concern that requires regular visits to a medical facility (chemo therapy, transfusion therapy, cardiology care)  and/or the need for emergency services, you must limit yourself to areas that are less than 90 minutes by car from the three major metropolitan areas: Quito, Guayaquil or Cuenca.

In addition, do not assume that high altitudes just cause altitude sickness.  High altitides affect hydration (consder this if the issue is one related to kidney health), increase metabolism (which should be considered in situations of cancer growth), increased heart rate and blood pressure (consider this if your loved one has cardiac issues) and "thin" air ese drugs,  (consider this in situations of COPD, asthma, bronchial issues)

On the coast, an issue rarely discussed in terms of health and wellness:  are you or a loved one on blood thinning medication: anticoagulants due to stroke, clots, cardiac surgery, valve replacement surgery, arthritis?  If so, be aware that the use of any anticoagulant is contraindicated during those months when the rains come.  Why?  Becase with rain comes mosquitoes and with mosquitoes, the viruses of dengue, chikungunya and zika.  Dengue is the most serious consideration as it can quickly turn hemmoraghic when an ill individual is on these medications, dengue hemoriaghic fever can quickly occur, turning what would be synonymous to the flu into a fatal illness.

and now ...POLLUTION

Let´s say that dog poop on the street is the least of your worries.  You haven´t even mentioned urination in the street, by humans.  That occurs just as frequently.

Pollution is a major problem all over Ecuador.  If you cannot stand to see garbage in the streets, this may not be the place for you.

Yes, things are changing, and yes there are small enclaves of success in places like Cuenca, but overall...it is a very dirty country.

If this is a major negotiating point for you then, Ecuador may not be your place to move to.

In conclusion...everyone´s needs and acceptable levels are different..come for a visit... be sure to visit the areas you want to possibly live in.

If you have an illness that requires regular medication, bring your medication with you and do visit local pharmacies at every location you plan to possibly live and find out IF your medication is available and what the price would be if you need to self pay.

And should you choose to stay... you have the opportunity to visit for 3 months on a tourist visa, 6 months on an extended tourist visa... and then if you really want to stay, give yourself three months in the USA to gather your Visa requirements and come back down to apply.

Do NOT buy a property here until you are absolutely sure you want to live here for more than 5 years...but that...is another topic entirely.

Hope that helps!

And oh yes, I have been living in Ecuador for over 8 years... so I know a thing or two and am happy to pass it along...

Susan

I have lived in Cotacachi for over a year. Yes, the people do clean the sidewalks, but you do have to watch where you step because there are lots of dogs.
As nature lovers, we have missed access to clean and safe natural spots. The streams and "rivers" around Cotacachi are polluted and smell. People do litter and if you want nature nearby you will have to go to Peguche or Lake Cuicocha, both beautiful spots. Also, remember that when you do walk in the countryside around Cotacachi, you will be enjoying someone else´s "community" to which you do not belong; they are not unfriendly but you will be an obvious outsider.
We have seen very few birds or wildlife here, just lots of hummers at our feeders. It's also quite cold, can go down to the low 40's or even high 30's at night, lots of cloudy days this year.
There are excellent sources of drinking water, Tesalia and Splendor are volcanic mineral water brands. The filters they sell are not that great; we don't drink the water from the faucet.
As to the "dog piles", about a month ago I came across a dead dog on Leather St that was much worse than anything I have seen. A reminder that this is still another world, different from the one we come from.
Hope this helps!
Suerte!
Mari

Do not depend solely on the local realtor.  He will not be taking you to places that are not listed with him, e.g., I have posted several properties for sale on the internet, with no relationship to a realtor.  It is best to be present, i.e. here on the ground.  You can always start by a search of the internet with words such as VILCABAMBA FOR SALE, OR VILCABAMBA PROPERTY or the same for Malacatos or another area.

HelenPivoine

Just two points that I would like to address re what Susan said:

My asthma is improved since living in the mountains in southern Ecuador. Asthma reaction is different for individuals.
Ecuador is a lot cleaner than countries such as , say, Nicaragua.

HP

HelenPivoine wrote:

My asthma is improved since living in the mountains in southern Ecuador. Asthma reaction is different for individuals.

Me too, I think where we lived previously adversely affected our asthma.

New topic

Questions and answers about Ecuador

Ask your question
vsimple
Quito Vs. Cuenca
By vsimple
Salbell Ecopromoters
About Ecuadorians and the country of the mega diversity
By Salbell Ecopromoters
cccmedia
español for Gringos
By cccmedia
amerexpatteacher
Wow! Quito in expensive. And know Spanish.
By amerexpatteacher
Abbas maki
Before my rent agreement finish chnage my house
By Abbas maki
cccmedia
News Headlines in English and Spanish
By cccmedia

Expatriate health insurance in Ecuador

Free advice and quotation service to choose an expat health insurance in Ecuador

Moving to Ecuador

Find tips from professionals about moving to Ecuador

Travel insurance in Ecuador

Enjoy a stress-free travel across Ecuador

Flights to Ecuador

Find the best prices for your flight tickets to Ecuador