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Ready for a change, but need some advice.

Hello,

I have been considering a move to South America for quite some time now, but haven't worked up the nerve to actually make it happen.  This is mainly due to the fact, that I am a solo traveler and a bit unsure of what to expect.  I would like to gain some insight into my options from the group please.  So anyone with any advice, feedback, or just some information, let me know what you think.

I am ready to get out of the US and live a more relaxing, carefree lifestyle.  So I would greatly appreciate any/all the assistance you can provide.

Thank you,

Dante

Welcome to the Ecuador forum, Dante. :)

1.  Cuenca and Vilcabamba, Ecuador

2.  Juan Valdez Coffee Zone, Colombia

3.  Metro Montevideo, Uruguay (somewhat more expensive)

4.  Bariloche, Argentina (also more expensive than Colombia and Ecuador)

Ecuador:  Cuenca has the most-developed Expat community of the above.  Vilcabamba has the highest percentage of Expat residents and visitors.

Colombia:  The Coffee Zone has a relaxed vibe in an area filled with coffee farms, resorts and parklands.  Not many Gringos around here.

Uruguay:  Montevideo is quite safe for a large capital city, especially if you choose your neighborhood wisely.  Beautiful, well-kept parks.  Ocean sunsets over the Pacific.  Long beachfront.  Few Gringos.

Argentina:  Bariloche is a world-class resort-area with skiing in the South American winter (which includes July and August) and an outdoor wonderland throughout the year.

All of the above areas have moderate climates.  Montevideo gets hot during the summer months (which include December, January and February).

cccmedia in the Coffee Zone

Just do it, Dante. I'm a single traveler who moved to Panama by myself, without knowing anyone there. I lived in Panama City for 8 years, then, four years ago moved to Cuenca, Ecuador, again, by myself and knowing almost no-one here. Prior to moving, I visited Cuenca for a month to see if I could live here--and decided it definitely was for me. Cuenca offers so many activities--cultural, athletic, exploring--that I can't really imagine living elsewhere...at least for the next four years.

I found a fabulous apartment in Cuenca for much less than I paid in Panama (I sublet it from June through Oct., when I'm traveling), and have a large and wonderful group of friends. Being an expat, you make friends quickly and easily--much more so than in the US. But do take an exploratory trip--several months is best--to see if an area is for you.

bobettejane :

I have a large and wonderful group of friends. Being an expat, you make friends quickly and easily--much more so than in the US.

Yes, Bobette Jane, this is an infrequently-discussed benefit of Expatting .. provided one chooses a community with an organized and sufficiently large group of Expats. :)  :)  Cuenca fits that bill to a T.

I agree totally with your take on staying for at least several months before deciding on a move to a new country. :top: Folks who make a brief first-time visit to Ecuador .. and put down a deposit on a fixer-upper in San Clemente, EC, in Week 1 .. are IMO out to lunch.

cccmedia

I am a single traveler and moved to Quito, Ecuador after about four years of planning.  Don't let anyone fool you; it is a challenge. Allow time for planing i.e. obtaining your cedula, sorting your possessions and arranging for shipping of those you want to bring with you, and finding a place livable for you.  You are adjusting to a new culture and really must have your values sorted out and in order.  Prepare for the unexpected, be adaptable, know how to deal with home sickness (your not normal if you don't experience it) and ensure you will have no regrets.
When contemplating retirement I made the decision that I did not want to become stagnant and wanted to continue to challenge myself.  This move has certainly fulfilled that desire.  But I love Quito, I love Ecuador and I love South America.  For those loves I have willingly made sacrifices and have absolutely no regrets, but I suggest it is purely a personal thing.  I have many friends in the US that I know at this point would be headed back to the US.  It is not for everybody no matter what others would have you believe. Message me if you have any questions. I'd be happy to help.

Great advice.  I visited Ecuador three times for a minimum of two weeks each time before I made my move.  First to explore the country to decide where I might want to live. Deciding on Quito the second visit was to explore Quito, and the third to explore real estate in Quito.  I learned more about all each time.

I have been to Cuenca several times and love the city.  It is beautiful and rich in history.  However I wanted to immerse myself in the beautiful people and culture of Ecuador rather find a miniature US with a cheap cost of living.  it really depends on your values.  The poster said "looking for a change".   I would suggest if you want real change do not insulate yourself from the culture..

I keep hearing how difficult moving abroad is, about homesickness, about all the planning necessary. I may be unusual, but I didn't plan, I've never been homesick, and I've never found moving abroad to be very difficult. Being flexible, not having pre-conceptions, and maintaining a sense of humour all are essential to successfully making the transition. I've also found that keeping life as simple as possible really helps.  I live in abroad for 7 months each year, spend 3 months at my cabin in Ontario, Canada, and travel for 2 months, which means I never get tired of any one place. I'm a perennial tourist--I've never had a cedula in Panama or Ecuador--so I haven't had to deal with the governments very much, a big benefit.

My friends here and in Panama are my "real" friends. My old friends back in the States--and my sisters--still are there and I visit them occasionally...but  they're no longer an active part of my life. I don't miss them; life here is too busy, too much fun, and way to active to leave me time to "regret" anything in my past. I wouldn't go back to my "old life" for anything!

As I said, it is a personal thing.  You are very fortunate.  If DanteNSX has the same benefits/situation as you I am sure he/she will not face the challenges I mentioned.  But I din't get that from her/his message posted.  I would love a cabin in Wisconsin where I grew up.

Relaxing, carefree lifestyle... Well if you like the beach, come give Montañita a try. Plan on spending a week. I did. That was about a year ago...

I have been to Montanita twice; once before moving from the states to Quito and again more recently for a couple days while staying in Puerto Lopez.  It was amazing and wonderful.  I have never seen anything like it.  The people were so diverse and happy, the music was great, both discotheque and live, and the beaches were great.  Loved it.  I don't think I could live there though, but would not totally rule it out.  If I ever decided to move the coast, which is a good possibility, Montanita would be on my list of places to check out for a place that would suit me.

Susan, do you ever get to Quito?  I would love to meet up for coffee sometime.  I like your disposition
.

JadeRiver :

Montanita... It was amazing and wonderful.  I have never seen anything like it.  The people were so diverse and happy, the music was great, both discotheque and live, and the beaches were great.  Loved it.

Signed,
The Mayor of Montañita

JadeRiver :

amazing and wonderful.  I have never seen anything like it.  The people were so diverse and happy, the music (and) the beaches were great.  Loved it.... I don't think I could live there, though.

Jade River obviously knows how to find a good time :D  .. but tempers that party-spirit with the concept that living in a raucous beach town might not be a long-term solution. :unsure

For those who tend to get carried away (and might put a deposit down on a beach fixer-upper or condo in Week 1 of a visit), let's remember that the one-year anniversary of The Big One is coming up in several weeks.

Don't get carried away and buy a condo on the oceanfront.  Consider the poor Expats who discovered post-earthquake cracks in their high-rise condos, putting into question the viability of ever living in their condo building again.  Has a fat insurance check arrived in their mailbox?  Maybe not.

Rent that condo, don't buy.

cccmedia

DanteNXS :

Hello,

I have been considering a move to South America for quite some time now, but haven't worked up the nerve to actually make it happen.  This is mainly due to the fact, that I am a solo traveler and a bit unsure of what to expect.  I would like to gain some insight into my options from the group please.  So anyone with any advice, feedback, or just some information, let me know what you think.

I am ready to get out of the US and live a more relaxing, carefree lifestyle.  So I would greatly appreciate any/all the assistance you can provide.

Thank you,

Dante

If you have time on your hands learn Spanish this will help you reach your goal. It will probably make the biggest difference for you. Take your time in the area you intend to call home, initially it can be a little overwhelming with paperwork, settling in a residence, knowing the area and so on.

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