Starting A Business In Ecuador

Most Important Thing To Know About Starting An Import-Export Business In Ecuador (And Much, Much More)Retire to Ecuador

“Perhaps the most appealing thing for me about retiring in Ecuador is the variety of lifestyles on offer. I think of it as a country of mega-diversity in all ways–from the flora and fauna to the retirement lifestyles and the cost of living…”

–Lee Harrison, on why he and his wife chose to retire to Ecuador 12 years ago

“Most common means of transportation in Cuenca is walking. You likely will find that you walk a lot more in Cuenca than you did back home, wherever that was, and I can tell you that you’ll probably lose some weight as a result. I know I did…”

–David Morrill, on the benefits of living in Cuenca

“Ecuador is unique in that foreign retirees living here with a pensionado visa are allowed to get a job if they want to. In most other countries, pensionado visa holders are prohibited from working…”

–Attorney Bruce Horowitz, on options for acquiring residency in Ecuador

“One big plus for us living in Ecuador is the medical care. It’s so much more personal than in the United States. We have two young children. We can speak with their pediatrician anytime we want to, and he’ll spend an hour or more at a time answering our questions. Of course, it’s nice that health care is also so much cheaper here than in the States…”

–American expat-entrepreneur Jeff Stern, on why he and his wife have chosen to raise their family in Ecuador

“One thing I still appreciate very much about Ecuador is that it is a genuinely non-intrusive government. Nobody’s reading your e-mails here…”

–Lee Harrison, on why Ecuador

“Americans are very trusting. This is partially a cultural thing, but it’s also because Americans count on recourse. We come from a place where there’s a functioning judicial system…and where the Better Business Bureau is always on our side. You need to recognize that Ecuadoreans don’t come from the same background and don’t approach life or business from this point of view…”

–American expat-entrepreneur Jeff Stern, owner of Gianduja Chocolate,, on doing business in Ecuador

“One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday in Ecuador is drive to Ayanque beach, about 30 minutes north of Salinas, where I live, and have a lobster lunch. Tables and chairs are right on the beach. I take off my shoes and dig my toes into the sand while I crack open my lobster and watch the surf. I order a couple of beers and make an afternoon of it. Great day…for all of about US$8…”

–American expat Mike Sager, on the beach life in Ecuador

“If you buy a US$40-a-square-foot house, you’re getting a US$40-a-square-foot house…remember that as you compare real estate prices and values…”

–American expat and property developer Mike Cobb, on investing in real estate in Latin America

“You learn that you have to pick your battles. Things work the way they work here. You’ll run out of time and energy before you’ll change anything. You need to accept that…”

–American expat-entrepreneur Jeff Stern, owner of Gianduja Chocolate, on doing business in Ecuador

“Historically, the United States has taken a self-assessing approach to taxation. This has made the country unique in the world. We Americans report our own income and figure our own tax due. No more. FATCA is the end of this. Now the IRS is going to take the tax itself, pro-actively, at the border…”

–U.S. tax attorney Chris Braun, on preparing for the implications of FATCA legislation

“At first I loved the lack of regulation in this country. Then I realized that this is a double-edged sword. I could make a U-turn or go the wrong way down a one-way street without worrying about getting a ticket, for example. But I didn’t appreciate it when I encountered another guy coming at me the wrong way down a one-way street…”

–Lee Harrison, on the pluses and the minuses of living in Ecuador

“My best advice for anyone going into the import-export business in Ecuador is to start small. Focus on a few specific products of really good quality. Avoid commodity items. You want a better margin than that…”

–Exporter Roberto Ribadeneira, owner of Ecuador Shop (aka Latin America Shop),

“One big selling point for products from Ecuador is that they are handmade. This isn’t China. We don’t mass-produce things here. Everything is special and therefore more sellable…more competitive…”

–Exporter Roberto Ribadeneira, owner of Ecuador Shop (aka Latin America Shop),

“Don’t use the public health care…avoid the long-distance buses (because they have horrible safety records and crash regularly)…”

–American expat Jeff Stern, on things not to do in Ecuador

“Ecuador is definitely a ‘pay-as-you-go’ choice when it comes to health care. That is, I’d say that the cost of care is definitely so low you don’t need to worry about investing in health insurance…”

–Lee Harrison, on considering your options for health care in Ecuador

Kathleen Peddicord


Continue Reading: Best Places For A Single Woman To Retire Overseas

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