Moving to Ecuador? Read This Book

Posted on April 21, 2014 • Filed under: Ecuador, TRAVEL


This book is not going to tell you about the “paradise” that promoters of books, magazines, and websites touting Ecuador as a retirement destination would have you believe exists there. Rather, it is a book prepared to provide you with a deeper knowledge about life and the intricacies of a very complicated country and culture. It is designed to present the myriad of issues, scenarios, and challenges an expatriate may face in Ecuador. If you have not moved to Ecuador yet, this book will help you make a more informed decision about whether or not you want to move there. If you are already living in Ecuador, it will provide you with substantial information about the culture of the country and assist you in your interactions with Ecuadorians.

Ecuador is not always what it appears to be on the surface. Culture often resembles an iceberg: you can see twenty percent of it protruding above the water’s surface, but eighty percent lies below the surface, unseen by the human eye. In Ecuador, the inner workings of the culture exist in the eighty percent that lies below the surface. If you are going to have a successful move to and life in Ecuador, it is imperative that you have some understanding of those inner workings.

There are many instances in Ecuador where the cultural patterns that existed hundreds of years ago continue today, despite the superficial appearance of change. Ecuador takes time to adapt to; it takes time to gain an understanding of the intricacies of its social fabric.

My purpose is to present 100-plus thoughts about what you may experience when moving to and/or retiring in what I refer to as the “Jewel of the Andes” in my book Culture Shock! Ecuador. These100-plus points will provide you with another point of view to consider when making your decision to move to Ecuador or not. Believe me, there will be plenty of stress along the way, as well as plenty of adventure. I’m not here to make the decision for you, but to provide you with information – information from someone with many years of experience with Ecuador and Ecuadorians. Additionally, if you do decide to move to Ecuador, it is my hope that the information provided in this book will assist you in adjusting to and settling into your new life there.

Hopefully, the information in this book, which I have attempted to present in a nonpartisan manner, will augment your research in other sources, increasing your knowledge of the realities of living in Ecuador. Should you move there, you will go through the phases of culture shock to one degree or another. The information in this book will help you know what to expect; it will prepare you to address challenges you may face by providing you with a deeper insight into the culture that exists below the surface. A close source of mine calls many of the challenges in Ecuador “Ecuatrocities.” Those who do not prepare for these “Ecuatrocities” adequately will likely be “short-timers.” The book also contains significant information on health, safety, and security matters in Ecuador.

There may be errors in this book; I take responsibility for them. It is written in numbered format and the information is not presented in any particular order. All information presented has some level of importance in helping you to gain a better understanding of Ecuador and preparing you to live there – its relevance to you will vary depending on your personal situation.

A note about stereotypes: First, we all stereotype. It is how we look at, judge, adapt to, and survive in the world around us. Ecuadorians also stereotype foreigners. Some readers may criticize my work here as stereotyping. I accept that criticism. However, I believe my long-developed skills as an observer of Ecuador is accurate overall.

I have interviewed and interacted with thousands of Ecuadorians over the years. Many of them have shared with candor a significant amount of information about their culture, private life, and how they operate. Additionally, being married to someone from the culture for a significant amount of time has provided me with a rare insight an average traveler or expatriate is not readily exposed to.

In this book you will also discover numerous “culture cues:” a list of do’s and don’ts for interacting in the Ecuadorian culture. These cues will allow you to more easily gauge and understand what is going on around you and how to interact successfully. Best of all are some secrets about living in Ecuador revealed by my good friend “Don Nadie,” who is a Montubio from Salitre, Ecuador.

Some readers may interpret some of my comments as being critical of Ecuador’s culture. They are not meant to be. They relate my observations of a foreign culture over a long period of time. Sometimes in life we are most critical of the people or things that we love. In my case, that is probably true about Ecuador. Ever since I was first exposed to this intriguing country, I have held a very deep love and passion for it as one of the most unique places on earth. Because of this deep love and respect, I request that I be afforded some latitude in being somewhat critical about a country and culture that I love with a deep passion.



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