A Cost Of Living So Low That It Opens Many Doors—Live From The Scene In Ecuador, Day 1
Kathleen’s daughter is providing live coverage from our Ecuador Conference. Find out why life in Ecuador is something to fall in love with…if you like hammocks, an anxiety-free life, a low cost of living, and the surf right at your doorstep, this is for you.
I couldn’t be in Ecuador to participate firsthand in this week’s Live and Invest in Ecuador Conference…so I dispatched my daughter, Kat, to cover the event in my stead.
Kat’s first live-from-the-scene report from Guayaquil follows. A grand time, she assures me, is being had by all…
Ecuador expat Mike Sager took the stage this morning with a splash. He came into the room singing “Takin’ Care of Business—No More!”
“I grew up in Orange County,” Mike explained after he’d finished serenading us with spirit.
“My friends were little Mexican kids. I ate at their houses. We had beans and rice every day, and I loved it. By the time I was 20, I realized that I identified more with Latin America than North.
“I have lived in Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador,” Mike continued. “I never made a lot of friends in the first two countries, frankly, but, as soon as my feet hit the ground in Ecuador, I was making friends—real friends. I intend this with the most love, but I’ve gotta’ say, if I had a Tico friend, he wanted something from me. Not so here in Ecuador…”
Mike went on to give the group a glimpse of his new life on the Ecuadorean coast.
“I live in San Jose, near Salinas,” he explained. “And I’m telling you, for real, you can live in this part of this country on US$500 to US$750 a month. If you like the outdoors, you’ve got everything you could possibly want on your doorstep, beach and mountains…and all for free—watersports, surfing, hiking…
“I wake up every day on my little beach, in my little beach house, with my wife and my new family, and I have to pinch myself. We have about 300 sunny days a year, at least. I’m living now for the day-to-day. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve already realized every dream I’ve ever had about what life should be. That’s what Ecuador has meant for me.
“Business is good, but, if it’s not, I’m not too worried. I have my guitar, my hammock, my beach, my beer, and my family. I haven’t a care.
“I should tell you about my hammock,” Mike continued. “It’s the ultimate stress reliever. You don’t need therapy. You don’t need massages. You just need a hammock. You can pick one up here for US$10 or less. Add another US$1 for a cold beer, make sure to have your hammock strung up by sunset, and I guarantee you’ll never feel anxiety again.
“And that’s the real point I’d like to leave with you today. Give up on anxiety. Just walk away from it. It’s time to enjoy your life. We’ve all, all of us in this room, paid our dues. It’s time to do what makes you happy. If that’s in Ecuador, then you should just jump in with both feet. Don’t let anything hold you back or keep you from realizing the life you deserve.”
Mike took a survey of those in the room. “Who here is into motorcycles?” he asked. A flurry of hands went up.
“Any musicians?” Another show of hands.
“Awesome!” Mike said. “That’s what I need. I need motorcycle enthusiasts for friends and people to play with me in my band. I’m trying to do less of this,” he said, waving his arms to indicate the conference room, “and more of that,” he concluded, pointing to photos on the screen of his motorcycle and his band.
“I’m in love with my life here,” Mike went on. “You’ve figured that out by now. I have to say, though, that probably what I love most is the cost of living. It’s so low that it opens many doors.
“My family and I take three to five amazing vacations a year, usually to Europe, sometimes to Disney World, Argentina, wherever. I could never have spent thousands of dollars on a vacation before moving here, but now we’re always planning the next trip.
“And, really, even when we’re at home, it’s like being on vacation. This country has many great hidden treasures, some very simple and unassuming. One of my favorites is a restaurant, a shack, right on the beach. For US$3 you get a whole, grilled, fresh-caught fish, rice, beer,patacones, and a grilled banana dessert. And you eat it all right on the beach, with the surf a few feet away.”
Mike filled his time describing the lifestyle he’s enjoying living on Ecuador’s coast. Attendees, though, wanted to know about real estate and investment opportunities, too. When the time came for questions, one attendee asked, specifically, “Where are the hot spots for beachfront property investment? Where should I be looking not as much for a new life at the beach as for a chance to make money in beachfront property?”
“Playas,” Mike replied. “This is the hottest coastal real estate market right now,” he added. “It’s the nearest beach to Guayaquil, and lots of money is flowing from Guayaquil to Playas.
“Salinas is where I’d shop for a rental investment,” Mike continued.
“Also interesting is Olon,” he added. “This is the most desirable beach in Ecuador among the locals. I call Olon the Malibu beach of Ecuador. There are five different fishing villages along this coast, no high-rises, and it’s next-door to a party and surfing capital. Many different lifestyle and recreation options all rolled into one…”
P.S. “Real friendships start at events like this one,” Mike reminded the group this morning before leaving the stage. “Take advantage,” he advised.
For me, that has been the best part of the experience this week—all the people I’ve met. I’ve attended many conferences in the past, and I have to say that the group here is especially friendly and fun. There are many repeat attendees here—readers who I’ve met at previous events in past years.
“Your parents do an excellent job of getting information together in one easy place,” a couple of these frequent conference-goers told me when we spoke.
“We’re not the typical expats,” the husband continued. “I left the United States in 1990 for Brazil, and my wife is Brazilian. We tried to go back in 1999 for our son’s education, but I couldn’t do it, and we left again. We are adventurers.
“We take your mom’s advice as inspiration, then we go and explore for ourselves to draw our own conclusions. We’ve been to the Medellin conference and the Panama conference and now we’re here in Ecuador, and we have loved every one of these events as a starting point for information and ideas.
“By the way, you need to tell your mom about indigenous town Saraguro, in Loja, southern Ecuador. It may not be a place to relocate to, but boy what a place to visit!”
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