Sunday, March 30, 2014

We Bought our Tickets!

Well we bought tickets! I found a nonstop flight from Atlanta to Quito, we will drive to Atlanta in a rental and then be in Ecuador in 5.5 hours. Booked a hotel in Quito for three nights, then we have a 50 minute plane tide to Manta, where the beach house caregiver will pick us up and take us to the beach!

We decided to poke around Quito for a couple days, and see as much as possible. Our flight doesn't get in til late that first night, so it'll be nice yo have some leisure time. I guess really it'll be starting "island time" the minute we hit ground. Ecuador isn't an island, but our new relaxed lifestyle will surely qualify.

I'm not sure where this picture is, but it looks like the beach we are going to be for June and July. Crucita is where we will start, it's known for fishing and paragliding, this may be Montanita known for surfing. But it certainly qualifies for "island time", note the hammocks for siesta.

This picture is Salinas, south of Manta and Crucita. Near the mouth of the Guyaquil harbor, we will look for rental houses down here someday for sure. Bigger beach city than what Crucita is, as you can see. So much possibility! 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Health care and insurance costs

We have gotten a lot of questions about health care and insurance, so I thought I'd fill you in on what I've learned. Large numbers of medical staff in Ecuador have trained in the US or the UK and are highly skilled. The local embassy can help you find medical professionals who are English speaking so that if you do not speak fluent Spanish you can have peace of mind that your illnesses are not getting distorted in translation. Since 2008 Ecuador has upgraded most hospitals and clinics, In the bigger cities, such as Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil, you will find that the hospitals are equipped with the latest innovations in medical technology and are staffed by fully trained and qualified doctors and nurses in all fields. The cost of the average visit to a doctor's office is $20 with a visit to a specialist costing a little more at around $25. This price is considered to be reasonable as Ecuadorian doctors spend on average between 30 and 45 minutes with each patient, and often give you their cell phone # when you leave.

As a tourist, with a Visa medical care is free. After you apply for residency you can buy in to the Social Security system and get health insurance for $60-95/ month or you can buy private insurance (Cigna etc) for $124/ month that was for $750 deductible. As a self employed person, with ObamaCare, to get coverage I would have had to spend $400/month, with a deductible of $3000. While I was covered under Mikes insurance with Whole Foods I paid $154 every two weeks, and it didn't even cover my birth control. Bottom line, insurance was only beneficial if we needed to be hospitalized. I recently had to have an MRI, with insurance the cost was $700... Without insurance $ is this helpful?

I read a blog post of a couple who live on the Ecuador coast who spent $80 a day for a stay at the clinic. That included private room (with 2beds, so the wife could stay) all meals, and round the clock doctor/nurse care, including tests. The doctor gave the wife a list of medicines, that she then took to the pharmacy and bought with NO markup! I've heard that most expats don't even bother with insurance, because the health care is so inexpensive.

Another story is of a woman who needed dental work,  she was able to fly from the States, stay in a hotel for 14 days, AND get the work done for less than HALF what it would cost in US. I think it was the Cigna Ecuador website that listed organ transplants as little as $20,000. You can't even have a bunion removed for that here... So there you go, what we can look forward to in our new adventure, affordable health care. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Traveler or tourist?

I recently happened across a blog written by a couple from Texas, whose story is eerily similar to ours, they decided to "retire" in CostaRica, and it has been fun to read adventures of those not in Ecuador. http// The topic came up of "tourist vs traveler" and by traveler, I don't mean Pikeys or seems that a tourist is one who goes to exotic places, but is always comparing them to "home" and actually can't wait to get back to their life, where a traveler is one who thrives in those exotic places, and calls wherever they are "home".

A traveler really wants to live the authentic life of the culture they are visiting, whether the visit is short or long term, immersion is part of the experience. A traveler is not content with just getting pretty pictures, they seek adventure, something entirely different than what they perhaps grew up with. As we continue to prepare, we are realizing so much of this journey simply can't be prepared for...I can only control so much via internet, some of the next steps just can't happen til we land on Ecuadorean soil. We are trying not to "fear the unknown" but have faith that it will all come together in the end, it has before! We knew very little about North Carolina when we made the trek across country from Idaho back in 2006, sure we knew the language...actually scratch that, turns out we really didn't know the language lol! But we learned, we adapted, we grew and we experienced. In short, we immersed ourselves in the new environment and thrived. We KNOW we can do it again!

We are so excited for our next big adventure, dreaming of the vacation possibilities while living on the coast of Ecuador. Peru and Machu Pichu? Brazil for Carnivale? Costa Rica to visit fellow bloggers? If you have the desire, the possibilities are endless, the first thing you have to do is figure out

Are you a Tourist or are you a Traveler?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Holy Tomatoes Batman!

Here is a picture from a blog I follow, showing a San Clemente, Ecuador tomato farm. He says these plants are 6 feet tall, and almost ready to MARCH!!! You can find his Blog Here >>>

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Here is a fun Google map shot of North and South America. You can see why our timezone doesn't change. It will be nice to be on the left Coast because we've always been WEST Coast! Mike

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Here is a picture of some items we are gathering before our move.

Head Flashlights, Battery Charger and Batteries and Electronic Fly Swatter (Mike says it hurts so don't touch it) In my research for the move, I've followed three couples on the coast, and two couples in the larger cities who have written blogs about their adventures. When I saw these fly zappers at Harbor Freight I told Mike we had to get them, and in remembering what I had read about them, it was funny to realize it was always the men that were writing about how great they are! After the picture, he promptly unwrapped it and starting hunting for flying insects ( which he didn't find) but did get his finger thru the safety frame, and thus knows first hand THEY WORK! He wants to buy more next time we are at Harbor Freight. We will continue to purchase rechargeable batteries and things I've read about being scarce. We bought them for $3.99, where in Ecuador they are $10.

I have come to realize that when one person says some item is scarce, it may be that they just haven't looked in the right place yet. One blog said there weren't any good thread count sheets, but then 6 months later were introduced to another store, and Voila! Turns out you may just have to hunt around. So I want to have some things on hand ( like batteries) until I find where they are.

We went to the Outlet Mall the other day, and I spent way too much on some ugly sandals ( if you know me, you know about my shoes) but they will be perfect for cobble stone streets and rocky beach hikes, so ugly sandals it is. We will stock up on sunscreen, sunglasses and whatever else we can think of. It's strange, stocking up for a move, usually it's a mad dash to get rid of stuff...oh yeah, that's next month! Yard sale scheduled in April! Urgh!! So much to do! Til next time, Adios!

Monday, March 10, 2014


Well it looks like we're going FCL, for those of you who don't know that's Full Container Load.
It'll take anywhere from 24 days to a month and a half for our container to hit Ecuador.

Yep one of those huge 20' metal containers, we were looking at sharing a container, getting 7'x4'x7' wooden crates (2) but for a mere $1000 more we can have the whole container and not have to cut so drastically. We did that when we moved from  Boise, and it was fine, we knew we could go to Walmart and replace everything we left behind, but moving to South America is MUCH different. Electronics are expensive, so we knew we had to ship the tvs and computers, and clothing, bedding, towels and such aren't the same quality, (according to the blogs) so we want to take our sheets and towels. We have to take clothes in multiple sizes because when we start walking on the beach everyday and eating fresh we will loose weight ;) I also read that Christmas decorations are expensive so we will want to ship those. Maybe sell the snowman collection, and pare down.
Things are moving along. The weather is finally turning to spring, and we will start the process of sorting things. Will talk to the neighbors about advertising " multi-family" yard sale, and will shoot for mid April, then another in May if needed. Off to get new passport photos, so we can have those renewed, they don't expire for a year, but better to have them fresh. We look so different anyway, an updated photo is probably a good thing. Lunch, and a walk through the Botanical garden, good day. Hope you're having a good one too, stay tuned loved ones...the adventure continues!