Tag Archive | "Ecuador Export Tour"

Miss Ecuador 2010


The Miss Ecuador pageant had an event at our Tierra del Sol Inn (formerly Meson de las Flores) hotel again.

miss-ecuador

A Miss Ecuador contestant at our Tierra del Sol Inn.

Merri and I do not seek this type of event, but we love romantic places and each year it seems that some romantic place we are involved with attracts the Miss Ecuadors!

In 2008 Miss Ecuador had an event with us at our inn in Cotacachi.

Last year Miss Ecuador was with us at our Palmazul property on Ecuador’s coast.

I received a nice email thanking us with a few photos from the organizers of Miss Ecuador.

Miss Ecuador

This was a star studded night with many Miss Ecuador contestants in Cotacachi.

Merri and I slept through it.

When it comes to crowds and events at night, we are the ultimate in dull and boring!

Plus I have a message to share with you each morning.  Late nights and early mornings are not compatible.

But we loaned our camera and had our tour guide, Alberto Verdesoto, attend on our behalf.

miss-ecuador

We also organized some…

miss Ecuador

Indigenous…

miss Ecuador

dancers to entertain the potential Miss Ecuador.

The palate of the evening was painted with…

miss Ecuador

swirling colors and…

Miss Ecuador

laughter and brightness.  A delight.

Miss Ecuador

The Miss Ecuador…

miss-ecuador

contestants were served by our sweet staff and I believe…

miss-ecuador

they enjoyed the night as well.

However if I were to get a vote… it would be for our…

miss-ecuador

wonderful people in Cotacachi. Here is Consuelo serving.  She and the rest of our staff hope they can serve you sometime as well.

Gary

Last year Miss Ecuador was with us at our Palmazul property on Ecuador’s coast.  See them here.

Join Merri and me March 11-14  for Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Fl.

March 15    Travel to Quito

March 16 Travel Quito Cotacachi

March 17-18  North Andes, Imbabura & Cotacachi Real Estate Tour

March 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic Tour

March 21  Travel Cotacachi to Manta

March 22-23   Manta & Mid Coast Real Estate Tour

March 24 Travel Manta to Cuenca

March 25-26 Cuenca Real Estate Tour

March 27  Travel Cuenca to Salinas

Mar. 28-29   Salinas & South Coast Real Estate Tour

The Ecuador airfare war makes it cheaper to get to Ecuador than ever before… and there is still time to enjoy great Ecuador tour savings.You enjoy discounts by attending multiple seminars and tours. Here are our multi tour adventure discounts.Two Pack… 2 seminar courses & tours $998 Couple  $1,349 Save $149 on coupleThree Pack… 3 seminar courses & tours   $1399 Couple  $1,899 Save $98 single or $348 on a couple or more

Four Pack… 4 seminar courses & tours   $1,699 Couple $2,299 Save $98 single or $697 on a couple or more

Five Pack… 5 seminar courses & tours  $1,999 Couple $2,699 Save $496 single or $1,046 on a couple or more

Six Pack… 6 seminars courses & tours  $2,199 Couple $3,099 Save $795 single or $1,395 on a couple or more

Even Better.  Greater Savings. Our 2010 International Club membership allows you and a guest to attend as many of the 51 courses and tours we’ll sponsor and conduct in 2010  (fees would be $40,947 for all these courses individually) is only $3,500.

If you join the International Club, the entrance fee for 2010 is $3,500.  Your attendance fees at all courses will be waived. You and a guest of you choice can attend courses worth $40,947.You can calculate the savings as our schedule of all 2010 courses here.
International Club 2010 Membership $3,500 Enroll here

International Club Three Monthly Payments of $1,190

Our Spring 2010 schedule starts:

Apr. 12-15   Ecuador Export Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 17-18   Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 20-21  Coastal Mid Coast Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 23-24  Quito & Mindo Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

The multi tour discounts remain effective for the April tours.

Miss Ecuador

You can see a video of the Miss Ecuador contestants  in action here

Internet Opportunity in Authenticity


Yesterday’s message Quantum Shifts reviewed how humanity’s growing understanding of the body, mind and universal consciousness has helped Merri and me expand the effectiveness of our investing.

Merri and I are in Ecuador.  Here are delegates on our Imbabura real estate tour.  Learn more about this Ecuador house (in the $90s) and why delegates needed to see it below.

ecuador-real-estate

First remember three points made at our Quantum Wealth course last week and yesterday’s message:

#1: There are Always Things you Cannot See.  This is the nature of existence.

#2: Do Not Invest More than You Can Afford to Lose!  Because of point number one.

#3:  Look for belief in fundamental ideas.  Each of us in connected to the universe and our belief is an important part of our investing process.  There are always things we do not know… but belief has enormous power at incredibly deep levels of investing and the universe.

These facts always keep me looking for new ideas in which to believe and upgrades in the human productivity has always been one area that keeps me focused.

In an earlier article Magnificent Seven we saw how these shifts create new opportunities for investment and internet business in seven areas.

Truth & Cohesion

Ecuador

Currency Distortions

Value Markets

Emerging Markets

Wellness,
Water and Alternate Energy

Truth & Cohesion

Ecuador

Smalltown USA Real Estate

I believe that there is opportunity in these seven ideas.

My belief in the profitability of investing in truth & cohesion was enhanced by an Time’s article entitled “Dead Tree Alert All the News That’s Fit to Mint”  by James Poniewozik.

Here are excerpts: My column in this week’s print TIME is about the New York Times’ plan to begin charging (some people, something) to read it on the Web starting next year. Seemingly by design, it doesn’t look like the plan would raise too much money at first. It’s more important symbolically: the country’s most authoritative (and argued-about) newspaper is more or less declaring that, if old media don’t figure out a way to get paid  online, it’s game over. What would the blogosphere do without the New York Times to kick around?

There are a few things you can count on: the sun will rise in the east, winter will turn to spring, and the New York Times will come out every day. Of the three, the disappearance of the Times might be the most shocking to a reader’s sense of a rational universe.

But that’s exactly the scenario that was implied — and, Times bosses hope, staved off — by the recent announcement that next year the paper will begin charging for online access. The Times is possibly the most authoritative paper in the world and the most influential online, with 17 million monthly readers. It’s done well in most media — except the print medium that’s green and is issued by the U.S. Mint.

The Times is in the same fix as most other old-media outlets, including this magazine. Online ads don’t bring in enough to support the massive news operation that attracts those 17 million people. Last year, the Times won five Pulitzer Prizes — and borrowed $250 million from a Mexican billionaire to keep the lights on.

No Big Media institution is indispensable: not the Times, not the evening news, not TIME magazine. People don’t owe us their money; we owe it to them to be worth paying for.  If we go, people will find other sources to trust; in some cases, they already have.

One of those is The Daily Show, which commands Times-like faith among its fans. Last year, it did a segment on the Times’s woes, in which Jason Jones mocked the paper’s dead-tree format and landline phones. “Look at me,” he laughed, picking one up. “I’m a reporter from the ’80s, makin’ sure everything’s factual.”

It was searing, but bittersweet too. The Daily Show, for all its jokes, cares deeply about facts. If the Times’s pay wall doesn’t work — if nothing works — something else will replace today’s media. Something great, I hope. But I wonder if the new media would be a little bereft without a Times to react to, rebel against and define themselves against, like a dog that finally caught the car. Or in this case, the rolled-up newspaper.

When the media that we trusted are gone, who can we trust?

Fortunes are in the correct answer to that question… both for those who provide trustworthy data and for those who invest in truth and cohesion.

This is why we have doubled our Ecuador real estate tours in 2010.  Many Americans and Canadians have lost their trust in the truth of the North American establishment.  They are looking for a smaller place to be where it might be easier to spot the truth. Ecuador is one such spot… but how can you develop trust here.

Our belief is you need to look and see for yourself from someone who has nothing to gain… hence real estate tours from someone who is not earning real estate commissions.

Our staff are cntinually looking for property to show on our tours and Bonnie Keogh sent me this note about a new project near Cotacachi Ecuador.

Hi Gary,  Don’t know if Merri got a chance to tell you about the new houses going up in Cotacachi.  They are being built by Miguel Mora who built the condos on the Pan Am in Otavalo that we’ve been taking the tours to (all sold out except one).  Very smart guy, he’s been building for 12 years in this area and his architect has about 20+ years experience.

They bought a beautiful piece of land near Hostal Paradisimo in Cotacachi and will be starting the infrastructure in February.  He is very anxious to work with us and will give delegates a discount.

He’s very aware that you will not recommend anything that you do not feel is of the highest value and quality.

He speaks perfect english, as does his architect Patricio, and is very proud of his houses.  Peg and I had a meeting with him yesterday and then he wanted to show us a project he did in Otavalo more than 8 years ago.  The houses are on the grounds of a centuries old monastery, they built the new homes to blend with the old and did an excellent job.  The grounds reminded me a La Mirage, wonderful garden like feel.  Lots of room and privacy.  The houses showed no wear and tear, no moisture problems and were very inviting and comfortable.  One feature that is great, a rooftop terrace to enjoy the views and also a rooftop tower!  Folks have been asking for this and this land has the best views ever, both Imbabura and Cotacachi.

They are very open to modifying designs to accommodate folks wishes, bigger, smaller ,etc.

Building costs will be about $65-$70 sq. ft. with land, depending on lot size.  There will city water, private water for irrigation, private sewer, a swimming pool and hot tub for the community.  Also, full time caretaker and gardener.

His standard fixtures are very good, but upgrades are available at slightly higher costs.  They also take into consideration the seismic activity of the area and build their houses accordingly.

No building is earthquake proof, but their buildings will withstand limited movement and in the event of a major quake, will give their occupants plenty of time to get out.

I think this development is a winner and will sell out quickly.  It will have an incredible view, high quality construction, great facilities and beautiful gardens.  Bonnie.

These are the types of properties we look for so we can help you gain trust in Ecuador.

Here is another picture of house built by this developer.

ecuador-real-estate

See another house picture below.

Gary

Join Merri and me or Ecuador Living’s staff in Ecuador in March 2010.

March 11-14     Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Fl.

March 15    Travel to Quito

March 16 Travel Quito Cotacachi

March 17-18  North Andes, Imbabura & Cotacachi Real Estate Tour

March 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic Tour

March 21  Travel Cotacachi to Manta

March 22-23   Manta & Mid Coast Real Estate Tour

March 24 Travel Manta to Cuenca

March 25-26 Cuenca Real Estate Tour

March 27  Travel Cuenca to Salinas

Mar. 28-29   Salinas & South Coast Real Estate Tour

ecuador-real-estate

The Ecuador airfare war makes it cheaper to get to Ecuador than ever before… and there is still time to enjoy great Ecuador tour savings.

You enjoy discounts by attending multiple seminars and tours. Here are our multi tour adventure discounts.

Two Pack… 2 seminar courses & tours $998 Couple  $1,349 Save $149 on couple

Three Pack… 3 seminar courses & tours   $1399 Couple  $1,899 Save $98 single or $348 on a couple or more

Four Pack… 4 seminar courses & tours   $1,699 Couple $2,299 Save $98 single or $697 on a couple or more

Five Pack… 5 seminar courses & tours  $1,999 Couple $2,699 Save $496 single or $1,046 on a couple or more

Six Pack… 6 seminars courses & tours  $2,199 Couple $3,099 Save $795 single or $1,395 on a couple or more

Even Better.  Greater Savings. Our 2010 International Club membership allows you and a guest to attend as many of the 51 courses and tours we’ll sponsor and conduct in 2010  (fees would be $40,947 for all these courses individually) is only $3,500.

If you join the International Club, the entrance fee for 2010 is $3,500.  Your attendance fees at all courses will be waived. You and a guest of you choice can attend courses worth $40,947.You can calculate the savings as our schedule of all 2010 courses here.
International Club 2010 Membership $3,500 Enroll here

International Club Three Monthly Payments of $1,190

Our Spring 2010 schedule starts:

Apr. 12-15   Ecuador Export Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 17-18   Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 20-21  Coastal Mid Coast Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 23-24  Quito & Mindo Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

Dead Tree Alert All the News That’s Fit to Mint

Ecuador & The Importance of Place


When choosing a new home, full or part time… the last few miles… even the last few yards and feet can be hugely significant.

A reader sent this comment about the importance of place in Ecuador… or anywhere actually.

Hi Gary, I read your newsletters every day.  Thank you.   Having read your article regarding the FARC in Ecuador it boils my blood to read about people making false judgment about a part of the world they know nothing about.

The same can be said for the trouble in Northern Ireland. Since the early 60’s this was said about the safety of tourists etc visiting the Ireland.   I lived 50 miles south of the border between the Northern Ireland & the Republic south.  There was never any trouble south of that  border.  In fact even for that matter 50 miles inside the border. The problems were  almost (not entirely) centered around the Belfast area.   Living at or south of the border there was never anything to worry about.   That’s not to say there were not incidents, but it never affected daily life or business in anyway.

Just like the Colombian & Ecuadorian border.  One incident makes headlines the whole world thinks the entire area is a bad place to visit.

This far from the truth.  Both places Ecuador and Northern Ireland are beautiful places to visit and  live.  I know this to be true. I’ve done both in both places and I cant wait for the day I retire to live in Ecuador south from Ontario Canada.

This reader is so correct. The reality as far as daily life is concerned… the FARC in Ecuador are a non event. I am reminded of a similar situation in Thailand in the late 1960s and early 1970s… the years I lived and worked all over Asia.  Everyone knew that there was a war going on and that it was not safe around the border because the Viet Cong used to cross it freely. The solution was… we avoided the border.  Heck it took a real effort to get to the border anyway. Forget it!  Life went on… busy… happy…. safe… except the crazy Bangkok traffic created enormous risks.

Another reader wrote:

Hello Gary, These houses look very interesting, but isn’t Ibarra near the border with Colombia, where there have been a number of violent incidents?

We do not recommend that readers visit as far north as Carchi which is right on the border, but Ibarra is quite far south of Colombia and does not have border risk.  This map shows why. The white line, starting at San Lorenzo, is the Ecuador Colombia border.

Ibarra-Ecuador

Ibarra, as the map above shows is south of  Carchi Province.  The main towns in Carchi Province, Tulcan, Espejo, Mira and Montufar are shown by the arrows.  Warnings to not to go into Carchi Province are already a stretch.  There are really very few problems there, but the US state departments says:

The US State department says: SAFETY AND SECURITY: The U.S. Embassy in Quito advises caution when traveling to the northern border region of Ecuador, to include areas in the provinces of Sucumbios, Orellana and Carchi, northern Esmeraldas, and southern Esmeraldas, south of Atacames.  U.S. government personnel are under limitations with respect to traveling alone and over-nighting in these areas due to the spread of organized crime, drug trafficking, small arms trafficking, and incursions by various Colombian terrorist organizations.

I personally would not feel uncomfortable in Carchi and have been to Esmeraldas many times… but why go to places that might be a bit riskier when there are so many alternatives.

Our world has increased risk, but…

ecuador-risk

the quiet Ecuador streets like this Cotacachi avenue have never seemed at risk to me.

ecuador-risk

The young Ecuadorian children who go to school early, alone don’t seem to feel much risk.

ecuador-risk

Even young children play alone in the Cotacachi Ecuador streets without much risk

Yet we must always take care… anywhere.

ecuador-risk

Parents in Cotacachi Ecuador do not feel much risk when they let their children play in the parks.

Yet there are places in every town where we should not be… so always be aware.

Mostly, places are not the cause of risk.  The causes of risk  are within,  our awareness, our actions, our  patterns and habits.

ecuador-risk

Young lovers in Ecuador can meet safely in out of the way places.

ecuador-risk

Ecuador people are by nature, caring, friendly and warm.

Sometimes I get letters like the one below from readers who have been victims of crime in Ecuador.  This reader lost her computer and camera when she forgot them in the business lounge at the Radisson hotel in Quito.

Dear Gary,  Can you believe, the Quito police, working with the Radisson hotel, found my  briefcase with the computer and other small items and had them sent by Federal Express to me.  I had provided them with the receipts of all the items stolen, for the items they were not able to send me  (camera and cellular phone) I was reimbursed via bank transfer. I still can’t believe it.  This was a good ending and so unexpected.  send you all love, and good thoughts. Laura

Place is important… wherever you are… almost as important… or at least related to fate. So werever you are… I hope its the right time and the right place… for you.

Gary

Join us at our place for our next Quantum Wealth Seminar June 24 to June 27, 2010 in West Jefferson North Carolina See more here

Or Join Merri and me or Ecuador Living’s staff in Ecuador in March 2010.

March 11-14     Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Fl.

March 15    Travel to Quito

March 16 Travel Quito Cotacachi

March 17-18  North Andes, Imbabura & Cotacachi Real Estate Tour

March 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic Tour

March 21  Travel Cotacachi to Manta

March 22-23   Manta & Mid Coast Real Estate Tour

March 24 Travel Manta to Cuenca

March 25-26 Cuenca Real Estate Tour

March 27  Travel Cuenca to Salinas

Mar. 28-29   Salinas & South Coast Real Estate Tour

The Ecuador airfare war makes it cheaper to get to Ecuador than ever before… and there is still time to enjoy great Ecuador tour savings.

You enjoy discounts by attending multiple seminars and tours. Here are our multi tour adventure discounts.

Two Pack… 2 seminar courses & tours $998 Couple  $1,349 Save $149 on couple

Three Pack… 3 seminar courses & tours   $1399 Couple  $1,899 Save $98 single or $348 on a couple or more

Four Pack… 4 seminar courses & tours   $1,699 Couple $2,299 Save $98 single or $697 on a couple or more

Five Pack… 5 seminar courses & tours  $1,999 Couple $2,699 Save $496 single or $1,046 on a couple or more

Six Pack… 6 seminars courses & tours  $2,199 Couple $3,099 Save $795 single or $1,395 on a couple or more

Even Better.  Greater Savings. Our 2010 International Club membership allows you and a guest to attend as many of the 51 courses and tours we’ll sponsor and conduct in 2010  (fees would be $40,947 for all these courses individually) is only $3,500.

If you join the International Club, the entrance fee for 2010 is $3,500.  Your attendance fees at all courses will be waived. You and a guest of you choice can attend courses worth $40,947.You can calculate the savings as our schedule of all 2010 courses here.
International Club 2010 Membership $3,500 Enroll here

International Club Three Monthly Payments of $1,190

Our Spring 2010 schedule starts:

Apr. 12-15   Ecuador Export Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 17-18   Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 20-21  Coastal Mid Coast Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 23-24  Quito & Mindo Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

The multi tour discounts remain effective for the April tours.

The Magnificant Seven – Internet Business Opportunities


This is a time to check out internet business opportunities such as the seven business ideas below.

Merri and I enjoy having an international internet business.

internet-success

This recent ranking from Alexa.com shows how our site is in the top 16,000 web sites in America, top 8,000 in Canada and top 500 in Ecuador.  There is more… as you’ll see in pictures below how the recent recession has caused our internet business to grow.  So you can do the same… earn more as others seem to earn less.

Our sales have doubled since the recession began and our list of readers has increased over 100% also.

Knowing the philosophies that we follow to prosper from change can help you invest better and can help you create an internet success if you desire.

The Western economy has changed… probably forever.  The old ways are gone and those who held jobs… or still have work in the private sector have lost the most.

The economy will recover… in numbers yes… but the way people earn and work… and how the money is distributed and to whom especially… has been profoundly altered.  This is especially true in value added countries like Canada… the USA and most of Europe.

Excerpts from a recent New York Times article entitled “After Escaping Jobless Rolls, Trauma May Linger” by Michael Luo helps explain why:

RALEIGH, N.C. — Antje Newby went back to work in September, but she has still not escaped the burden imposed by nine months of unemployment.

Antje Newby, working again, said, “We’ve got financial impact we’re going to deal with forever.”

Tom Newby stays home in part to help his children adjust to their move from in the Detroit area.

Mrs. Newby and her husband were forced to walk away from their home in suburban Detroit and are now living here in a rented house with their three children. They are bracing for a huge tax bill in the spring because of early withdrawals they made on her 401(k) and taxes they still owe on unemployment benefits. Their credit is in tatters, and their 16-year marriage showed cracks they are still trying to repair.

The wound of unemployment, as her family has learned, is not cauterized so quickly, and lives do not simply go back to the way they were.

Interviews with more than a dozen people who were out of work at least a half-year during the recession and have now landed jobs found many adjusting to new realities. Some of the changes are self-imposed; others forced upon them. They include grappling with newfound insecurities and scaled-back budgets; reshaped priorities and broken relationships. In some ways, it is equivalent to the lingering symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

One person interviewed said, “If the rug is pulled out again, I’m not going to survive”.

Another said “We’ve got financial impact we’re going to deal with forever.”

Many of the old rules of employment have been turned upside down. For example in the past people worked for the government for job security but expected lower pay. Now, according to the Cato Institute this has completely flipped and the reversal is growing:

The Bureau of Economic Analysis has released its annual data on compensation levels by industry (Tables 6.2D, 6.3D, and 6.6D here). The data show that the pay advantage enjoyed by federal civilian workers over private-sector workers continues to expand.

The George W. Bush years were very lucrative for federal workers. In 2000, the average compensation (wages and benefits) of federal workers was 66 percent higher than the average compensation in the U.S. private sector. The new data show that average federal compensation is now more than double the average in the private sector.

See the full Cato article below.

Yet at the same time there has never been a better time… with greater opportunity, for an internet business… if… you are choose a  business that flourishes with change.

We are in an era of global structural change… in economics… in society and in the way we work because technology brings us low cost administration, low cost access to data, low cost communication, and low cost travel, plus…
the opening of markets beyond logic that rely more on passion and experience than on efficiency and cost.

We looked at these economic and structural changes, and what to do about them in the international investing and business portion of our Quantum Wealth Seminar we conducted in Mt. Dora, Florida last week.

We saw how markets are shifting from materialistic needs to emotional needs.

Love-friendship-control-freedom-tradition-change-big answers-recognition and care are emotional needs that create expanding demand and business opportunity

The next generation is having more involvement in every step of the buying process.

Uniting the body and mind is an emerging market.

Natural physical health, fitness will expand but botox and insulin sales will also grow.

Mental health, retreats and spas prosper.

The health of the planet is becoming a more important business.

There is a shift of emphasis from GDP to GWB  (General Wellness Barometer Happiness Factor)
Business will operate with more passion.

We saw how these shifts create new opportunities for investment and internet business in seven areas.

Currency Distortions
Value Markets
Emerging Markets
Wellness
Water and Alternate Energy
Truth & Cohesion
Ecuador and Smalltown USA Real Estate

I call these seven areas the Magnificent Seven… these are the places where I am looking for opportunity and focusing our efforts now.

This focus has paid off.

This chart from Alexa shows our…

internet-success

traffic rank.  At times we are nearly ranked among the top 40,000 websites in the entire world.

There is another picture about this below.

Over the month of March, we’ll look at each of these magnificent seven opportunities to see how they can help you.

Learn more about international investing in the magnificent seven at Jyske Global Asset Managers forex seminar in Laguna Beach this April . See details here.

Or join us for our next Quantum Wealth Seminar June 24 to June 27, 2010.  See more here

Gary

Or Join Merri and me or Ecuador Living’s staff in Ecuador in March 2010.

internet-success

This Alexa.com chart shows our that website’s reach at times is 4/100s of a percent of all websites.  That is a lot of reach for a tiny two person business.  More important… the trend of our ranking and our reach over 2007, 2008 and 2009 has been up and up.

Join us so we can help you enjoy prosperity from change as well.

Here is what one delegate at our Quantum Wealth seminar last week wrote:

Thanks mucho for everything.  Just so you know, we are in brain overload right now, thanks to you! Your course was awesome! So much to do! I am overwhelmed and going in a hundred directions!

March 11-14     Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Fl.

March 15    Travel to Quito

March 16 Travel Quito Cotacachi

March 17-18  North Andes, Imbabura & Cotacachi Real Estate Tour

March 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic Tour

March 21  Travel Cotacachi to Manta

March 22-23   Manta & Mid Coast Real Estate Tour

March 24 Travel Manta to Cuenca

March 25-26 Cuenca Real Estate Tour

March 27  Travel Cuenca to Salinas

Mar. 28-29   Salinas & South Coast Real Estate Tour

The Ecuador airfare war makes it cheaper to get to Ecuador than ever before… and there is still time to enjoy great Ecuador tour savings.

You enjoy discounts by attending multiple seminars and tours. Here are our multi tour adventure discounts.

Two Pack… 2 seminar courses & tours $998 Couple  $1,349 Save $149 on couple

Three Pack… 3 seminar courses & tours   $1399 Couple  $1,899 Save $98 single or $348 on a couple or more

Four Pack… 4 seminar courses & tours   $1,699 Couple $2,299 Save $98 single or $697 on a couple or more

Five Pack… 5 seminar courses & tours  $1,999 Couple $2,699 Save $496 single or $1,046 on a couple or more

Six Pack… 6 seminars courses & tours  $2,199 Couple $3,099 Save $795 single or $1,395 on a couple or more

Even Better.  Greater Savings. Our 2010 International Club membership allows you and a guest to attend as many of the 51 courses and tours we’ll sponsor and conduct in 2010  (fees would be $40,947 for all these courses individually) is only $3,500.

If you join the International Club, the entrance fee for 2010 is $3,500.  Your attendance fees at all courses will be waived. You and a guest of you choice can attend courses worth $40,947.You can calculate the savings as our schedule of all 2010 courses here.
International Club 2010 Membership $3,500 Enroll here

International Club Three Monthly Payments of $1,190

Our Spring 2010 schedule starts:

Apr. 12-15   Ecuador Export Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 17-18   Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 20-21  Coastal Mid Coast Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 23-24  Quito & Mindo Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

The multi tour discounts remain effective for the April tours.

See After Escaping Jobless Rolls, Trauma May Linger

Federal Pay Continues Rapid Ascent

Cotacachi Music


Music and surprises are two things we love about Cotacachi Ecuador. Cotacachi has things happen that North American minds can never imagine.

See our weekly review of messages here.

Ecuador Music

Cotacachians love music and…

Ecuador Music

dance at …

Ecuador Music

all ages, young…

Ecuador Music

teens…

Ecuador Music

adults and…

Ecuador Music

old.

Plus you never know what will happen next.

Take this Cotacachi musical treat as an example.

Merri and I were working in Meson’s office, when a messenger dropped a small white envelope on our desk. Dr. Ramiro Ruiz, former Mayor of Cotacachi and director of the Cotacachi Cultural Museum had sent an invitation to a little concert at the San Francisco Temple, the second, smaller Cathedral in the village.

San Francisco Temple.

So we accepted both and enjoyed the real estate inauguration and wondered how the evening concert would be.

A group was with us and we asked if they could come along for the music. Obtaining a green light, we, with 18 gringos in hand, headed across the village early to enjoy the evening Mass at the temple.

We were wondering what type of concert this would be; a local group perhaps, a children’s affair…maybe a good string quartet.

I was hoping for this last option.

Merri and I love good classical music and have heard some of the best in the world. Our offices at one time, when we lived in London, were on Wigmore Street right next door to Wigmore Hall which was the national concert hall for chamber music and song. There were regular performances of song recitals, chamber, piano, early music and jazz concerts. Then it had been easy to pop in and hear a grand pianist, flutist or other famous artist. The London Philharmonic was also within easy reach easy.

We also had years in Vienna and frequented the Vienna Konzerthaus where there were regular concerts of Mozart, Strauss and performances by the Vienna State Opera. We also often stopped at the Vienna Kursalon which was built in 1865 and served as the Ballroom of Vienna. The Strauss family celebrated their greatest triumphs there and any night one could sip coffee and listen to wonderful live performances.

Then in Naples we enjoyed the Naples Philharmonic which the wealthy Neapolitans used to spend their money, by filling it with only top performers and stars.

These musical opportunities all offered us only the best. Even in my Hong Kong days, my flute instructor was a flutist for the Hong Kong Philharmonic. They were not the best orchestra in the late 60s, but I was allowed to practice in the musician’s practice rooms at the HK philharmonic Hall. When they performed, I was often there.

Plus we visit Copenhagen every couple years to speak at Jyske Bank’s courses which include performances by the Royal Danish Opera. They perform at all of Jyske’s seminars and Merri and I have spent evenings enjoying dinner with some of their stars before being entertaining grandly.

Music has always been an important part of my life. I began playing the trumpet at 11, switched to the double bass at 13 (was a metro league honor band performer at 16) and then took up the flute when I began to travel. (Double BB Flat Sousaphones are cumbersome instruments to lug around the world!)

I am certainly no aficionado nor expert but I do enjoy music and from these experiences understand it a bit. So I was not getting my hopes up here, in Cotacachi, a tiny village of 6,000 people, deep in the Andes in a very small, but acoustically sound, as it turned out, temple.

What kind of music could they perform here, really?

With Mass over, attendants arrived and began removing pews. I wondered. “What?” Then they began flowing in…the entire Orquesta Sonfonica Nacional del Ecuador…THE NATIONAL SYMPHONY OF ECUADOR, 72 performers, two bassoons, a double bassoon, timpani and all, celebrating their 50th year. They gathered, went through those comforting warm-up rituals and then, just seven pews in front of us, the conductor, Medardo Caisabanda, arrived, turned to face the orchestra, raised his baton and nearly brought the ceiling down!

They began with Obertura Caballeria Ligera and moved into Brahms’ Hungarian Dance #5. Crisp, perfectly timed and when they put their musical peddle to the metal in Forte the effect is hard to describe.

My spine shivered, heart fluttered and tears to the eyes, even now just remembering.

Words can’t say it.

The music grabbed our bodies….and our souls.

Ecuadorian performers are much more physically enthusiastic than their Northern brethren. Unlike the no move, stone faced performances often given by great stars in the US, Canada or Europe, these musicians move, smile, sway. You see, as well as hear. When the orchestra erupted in this tiny hall, you literally felt their enthusiasm.

Ecuador Music

Ecuadorians play their music with gusto!

Later, as our group strolled down the lamp lined streets toward El Meson, the cool, star studded evening was dessert after this exquisitely performed musical meal.

This will be a time always remembered, I suspect for the entire 150 people or so in attendance. The National Symphony of Ecuador was in our lap. And for everyone it was free! This was one of those rare, unexpected peak moments that grabbed us, carried us and it will stick, a wonderful memory.

This was a thrill beyond explanation that I hope sharing will express the joys that can come from visiting our tiny village in Land of the Sun!

Again see our weekly review here.

Gary

Join Merri and me or our Ecuador Living staff in March 2010

March 11-14     Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Fl.

March 15    Travel to Quito

March 16 Travel Quito Cotacachi

March 17-18  North Andes, Imbabura & Cotacachi Real Estate Tour

March 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic Tour

March 21  Travel Cotacachi to Manta

March 22-23   Manta & Mid Coast Real Estate Tour

March 24 Travel Manta to Cuenca

March 25-26 Cuenca Real Estate Tour

March 27  Travel Cuenca to Salinas

Mar. 28-29   Salinas & South Coast Real Estate Tour

The Ecuador airfare war makes it cheaper to get to Ecuador than ever before… and there is still time to enjoy great Ecuador tour savings.

You enjoy discounts by attending multiple seminars and tours. Here are our multi tour adventure discounts.

Two Pack… 2 seminar courses & tours $998 Couple  $1,349 Save $149 on couple

Three Pack… 3 seminar courses & tours   $1399 Couple  $1,899 Save $98 single or $348 on a couple or more

Four Pack… 4 seminar courses & tours   $1,699 Couple $2,299 Save $98 single or $697 on a couple or more

Five Pack… 5 seminar courses & tours  $1,999 Couple $2,699 Save $496 single or $1,046 on a couple or more

Six Pack… 6 seminars courses & tours  $2,199 Couple $3,099 Save $795 single or $1,395 on a couple or more

Even Better.  Greater Savings. Our 2010 International Club membership allows you and a guest to attend as many of the 51 courses and tours we’ll sponsor and conduct in 2010  (fees would be $40,947 for all these courses individually) is only $3,500.

If you join the International Club, the entrance fee for 2010 is $3,500.  Your attendance fees at all courses will be waived. You and a guest of you choice can attend courses worth $40,947.You can calculate the savings as our schedule of all 2010 courses here.
International Club 2010 Membership $3,500 Enroll here

International Club Three Monthly Payments of $1,190

Our Spring 2010 schedule starts:

Apr. 12-15   Ecuador Export Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 17-18   Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 20-21  Coastal Mid Coast Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 23-24  Quito & Mindo Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

Apr. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

The multi tour discounts remain effective for the April tours.

Ecuador Penthouse


Here is a paid advertisement for an Ecuador penthouse in one of the top condo projects in Quito.

Penthouse Apartment for Sale—Quito Tenis

Fully Furnished
US $350,000

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View from Great Room of Quito and Cotopaxi Volcano
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The Building

The building was constructed in 2005 in the popular, quiet and secure Quito Tenis neighborhood on Quito’s northwest side.  It consists of 6 floors—the 6th being a penthouse apartment—plus a rooftop terrace with garden, approximately 80% of which is private, belonging to the penthouse.

The Quito Penthouse Apartment

The apartment is approximately 258 square meters (2,777 square feet) + a rooftop terrace of 150 square meters (approximately 1,614 square feet) + a full-length balcony off the great room + a small balcony off the master bath.

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Living Room Seating

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Dining Area

The social area of the apartment has a contemporary, open, “American style” great room including the kitchen, dining area and living room.  Three of the walls of the large room are glass, with the east wall overlooking the city of Quito and the snow-capped volcanoes to the north, south and east.  The views are striking both by day and by night.  An ample balcony runs the entire length of the room.  An attractive wood-burning fireplace is on the west wall.

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View of Quito from Great Room

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View from Great Room at Night

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Kitchen

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Hallway

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Master Bedroom

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Master Bathroom

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Master Bathroom

The apartment was purchased by the current owner and remodeled in mid-to-late 2008.  Originally consisting of 4 bedrooms, each with private bath, one bathroom was eliminated and a hallway created between the two former bedrooms—one now being used as a den (with three-quarters bath) and the other, an office.  The remaining designed bedrooms are the master, with private three-quarters bathroom and a second bedroom, with private three-quarters bath.  For a buyer needing more permanent bedrooms the office and den can be quickly and easily re-converted.

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Bedroom

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Den

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Den

There is also a visitors’ half bathroom as well as a three-quarters service bathroom.  There are 2 (owned) parking spaces in the garage as well as a storage room.  There is a multi-line telephone system with currently 2 (owned) lines.  The parking spaces, storage room and telephone system with 2 active lines are all included in the sales prices.

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Visitors’ Bathroom

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Stairway to Rooftop Terrace & Garden

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View from Terrace towards Southeast

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View from Terrace towards Southwest

Furnishings

The apartment is being offered fully-furnished (excluding artwork and few personal items).  With few exceptions all of the furniture was custom made in Ecuador in October/November of 2008.  Having no small children or pets, the furniture remains in excellent condition.  Most of the furnishings can be seen in the photos.  The major additions are: GE refrigerator and Electrolux stacking washer/dryer.

Location

The location is convenient to most popular areas of Quito.  The El Bosque Shopping Center is 5 minutes by car, 15 on foot.  The Quicentro and El Jardin Shopping Centers are 10 minutes by car.  The World Heritage Centro Historico is 15 minutes by car.  Many excellent restaurants are with 10-15 minutes drive.  [Google Map with pin in address]
Contact

Please contact the owner:
K. Michael Million
Tel. (593) 02-331-8658
Cel. (593) 09-042-9771
Mail. kmmillion@seanet.com
Skype. Million1000

Join Merri and me  in March 2010

March 11-14     Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Fl.

March 15    Travel to Quito

March 16 Travel Quito Cotacachi

March 17-18  North Andes, Imbabura & Cotacachi Real Estate Tour

March 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic Tour

March 21  Travel Cotacachi to Manta

March 22-23   Manta & Mid Coast Real Estate Tour

March 24 Travel Manta to Cuenca

March 25-26 Cuenca Real Estate Tour

March 27  Travel Cuenca to Salinas

Mar. 28-29   Salinas & South Coast Real Estate Tour

The Ecuador airfare war makes it cheaper to get to Ecuador than ever before… and there is still time to enjoy great Ecuador tour savings.

You enjoy discounts by attending multiple seminars and tours. Here are our multi tour adventure discounts.

Two Pack… 2 seminar courses & tours $998 Couple  $1,349 Save $149 on couple

Three Pack… 3 seminar courses & tours   $1399 Couple  $1,899 Save $98 single or $348 on a couple or more

Four Pack… 4 seminar courses & tours   $1,699 Couple $2,299 Save $98 single or $697 on a couple or more

Five Pack… 5 seminar courses & tours  $1,999 Couple $2,699 Save $496 single or $1,046 on a couple or more

Six Pack… 6 seminars courses & tours  $2,199 Couple $3,099 Save $795 single or $1,395 on a couple or more

Even Better.  Greater Savings. Our 2010 International Club membership allows you and a guest to attend as many of the 51 courses and tours we’ll sponsor and conduct in 2010  (fees would be $40,947 for all these courses individually) is only $3,500.

If you join the International Club, the entrance fee for 2010 is $3,500.  Your attendance fees at all courses will be waived. You and a guest of you choice can attend courses worth $40,947.You can calculate the savings as our schedule of all 2010 courses here.
International Club 2010 Membership $3,500 Enroll here

International Club Three Monthly Payments of $1,190

Our Spring 2010 schedule starts:

Apr. 12-15   Ecuador Export Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 17-18   Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 20-21  Coastal Mid Coast Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 23-24  Quito & Mindo Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

Apr. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

The multi tour discounts remain effective for the April tours.

Ecuador Investments


The excerpt below is from a recent password protected multi currency message that shares ideas about Ecuador investments.

Beginning of excerpt.

A reader asked:  Gary—Does the fact that Ecuador real estate is also dollar based have anything to do with your current sales of your Ecuador real estate?

And what would be the prospects or recommendations for an individual to buy Ecuador real estate in the future if their portfolio is already “heavy” in
USA real estate?

Reply.

My taking profits on Ecuador real estate has nothing to do with the fact that Ecuador real estate is denominated in US dollars.

I view real estate as a currency and look beyond the currency. I expect real estate to  strengthen against any currency with inflation… so the denomination of the currency is not all that important.

There are times when a currency’s purchasing power drops so fast that real estate does not keep up. This is rare… and during the lag, there is a really good time to buy real estate.

An example was the melt down of Ecuador’s currency in 2000. The sucre fell from 12,000 sucre per US dollar to 25,000 in just a couple of weeks.  Real estate prices did not double anywhere as fast.

I was buying Ecuador real estate heavily then, which is one reason I am selling now as you will see below.

Normally real estate to me is just a view of another currency.

I am heavily weighted in real estate in Ecuador, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina right now for three reasons.

First, I see real estate as a better bet than most currencies at this time. The economic downturn of 2007 and 2008 lowered real estate prices… creating good value.  The stock market recovered and has not been such a good value… though it may be correcting now.   The real estate market has not recovered to such an extent.

An excerpt from the January 23 article in the Economist entitled  “Still in the Cellar Small signs of recovery cannot shift the general gloom” confirms this fact when it says:

WHEN American house prices finally started rising in June last year, ending a three-year decline, homeowners and economists rejoiced. The steep plunge in values, about 33% nationally from peak to trough, caused widespread damage in the American economy and abroad. The stabilisation of prices turned out to be a precursor to broader economic recovery.

Since bottoming out between May and June, prices have ticked upwards every month, while sales have risen from their recession lows. And yet gloom persists. The pace of foreclosures has not abated, and there has been no improvement in employment in residential construction.

Worse still, the momentum now seems to be ebbing.  Mortgage applications for purchases fell sharply in November, to their lowest level since 1997. Confidence among home-builders declined in November for a second consecutive month. And figures released on January 20th showed that new housing construction, which recovered from the record lows of early 2009 to plateau late last year, fell by 4% between November and December. The fear is that prices will soon start to fall again, touching off another round of pain for homeowners, workers and banks.

Read the entire article at The Housing Market

Second,  Merri and I have a lot of experience in buying and fixing up real estate and use this experience and our imagination to enhance the value of what we buy.   We truly enjoy that process and often don’t enjoy holding, using and/or renting.

I have written about our buying and selling on numerous occasions.  See more about this at Ecuador Real Estate & Imagination.

I buy and sell real estate in areas that enhance our lifestyle and where we see a bargain. We are continually churning our real estate portfolio.  Three years ago I sold seven condos I bought in Cotacachi while I was buying other condos on the Ecuador beach.

That did not mean I did not like the condos in Cotacachi or did not like Cotacachi any more.  In fact the next year and I bought an office building in Cotacachi and converted that to condos.

We do not keep real estate that we are not using for long.  We buy special properties with a problem… fix the problem… keep the property long enough to have a capital gain instead of income and take a profit.

In 2005, while I was buying real estate in Ecuador I was also buying condos in Naples, Florida.  We lived in the condos part time and sold them in early 2007 (luckily at the top of the market)…  and as the Florida market tumbled we began waiting and watching for more Florida bargains.

Third, this last year we have had special reasons (our grandson and the Florida RE crash being two of them) to focus on real estate in Florida… but we remain well diversified at the same time.   We are especially putting extensive capital into building our Ecuadorian publishing and tour organization.  We doubled the number of tours we conducted in 2009 and this year we have doubled them again.

Two years ago we did 12 Ecuador tours. This year we’ll do nearly 50.

Now Merri is researching Oregon coastal real estate… looking for bargains… not because the Oregon Coast is better than Florida, North Carolina or Ecuador… but because our next two grandchildren are three and one years old.   Thoughts of spending time with them in a few years is enough to draw our attention there now.  Also, my sister and her husband have craved a property on the Oregon coast and it looks as if we will have to find it for them.

Diversifying currencies is important and being concerned about the fate of the US dollar vital… but there is more than to a bottom line than percentage points and statistics.

End of Multi Currency excerpt.

You can read this entire article with a multi currency subscription.

Sadly at this time when American investors need more multi currency investments and a better global view, overseas banks are increasingly restricted from helping US investors.  This increase in regulations has created so many more regulations on banks that numbers of overseas banks who have the ability to help honest Americans have stopped accepting all US investors.

Yet at this crucial time when the US dollar has great fundamental weakness, US banks have little experience in helping any of us invest in other currencies.

This means there will be an increase in the number of Americans who develop multi currency portfolios and global businesses.

Jyske Bank has stayed with us Yanks and formed Jyske Global Asset Management. They spent millions creating a system that can give US investors a full currency and global investment service in the US, Ecuador or wherever they live.  This is why I will  be speaking at Jyske Global Asset Managers forex seminar in Laguna Beach this April . See details here.

Real estate, if you like investing in it, can be one of your hard currencies along with your own business and gold.  Real estate is a commodity always needed that will fight inflation and can add other forms of richness to our lives as well.

Gary

Join Merri and me or our Ecuador Living staff in March 2010

March 11-14     Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Fl.

March 15    Travel to Quito

March 16 Travel Quito Cotacachi

March 17-18  North Andes, Imbabura & Cotacachi Real Estate Tour

March 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic Tour

March 21  Travel Cotacachi to Manta

March 22-23   Manta & Mid Coast Real Estate Tour

March 24 Travel Manta to Cuenca

March 25-26 Cuenca Real Estate Tour

March 27  Travel Cuenca to Salinas

Mar. 28-29   Salinas & South Coast Real Estate Tour

The Ecuador airfare war makes it cheaper to get to Ecuador than ever before… and there is still time to enjoy great Ecuador tour savings.

You enjoy discounts by attending multiple seminars and tours. Here are our multi tour adventure discounts.

Two Pack… 2 seminar courses & tours $998 Couple  $1,349 Save $149 on couple

Three Pack… 3 seminar courses & tours   $1399 Couple  $1,899 Save $98 single or $348 on a couple or more

Four Pack… 4 seminar courses & tours   $1,699 Couple $2,299 Save $98 single or $697 on a couple or more

Five Pack… 5 seminar courses & tours  $1,999 Couple $2,699 Save $496 single or $1,046 on a couple or more

Six Pack… 6 seminars courses & tours  $2,199 Couple $3,099 Save $795 single or $1,395 on a couple or more

Even Better.  Greater Savings. Our 2010 International Club membership allows you and a guest to attend as many of the 51 courses and tours we’ll sponsor and conduct in 2010  (fees would be $40,947 for all these courses individually) is only $3,500.

If you join the International Club, the entrance fee for 2010 is $3,500.  Your attendance fees at all courses will be waived. You and a guest of you choice can attend courses worth $40,947.You can calculate the savings as our schedule of all 2010 courses here.
International Club 2010 Membership $3,500 Enroll here

International Club Three Monthly Payments of $1,190

Our Spring 2010 schedule starts:

Apr. 12-15   Ecuador Export Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 17-18   Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 20-21  Coastal Mid Coast Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 23-24  Quito & Mindo Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

Apr. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

The multi tour discounts remain effective for the April tours.

Ecuador Farc Comments


Yesterday’s message Ecuador FARC Thoughts inspired many comments I would like to share.

Plus after the comments, I hope… is a provoking thought on why…

Ecuador-farc

bears get rich… sometimes. Bulls get rich sometimes. Pigs always get slaughtered.

First, the comments on Ecuador FARC & drugs.

Ecuador FARC & Drugs Comment #1: Hi Gary and Merri,  Of course Ecuador like most other countries had a ‘drug problem’ simply because drugs are in evidence all over the world. I found less evidence of drug-related stuff in Ecuador than here in inner-city Sydney where drug sales have been prevalent for the the last 30 to 40 years – mixed with a lot of alcoholism at the same time so this makes for a hight crime rate plus the odd racism riot from time to time which in turn makes for interesting anthropological studies as well. The Kooris here “explode” from time to time – thus venting their frustrations – but to their credit – don’t  import/export hard drugs to exploit countries like the US. Most Kooris are soft drug users (eg Marijuana etc) and only a few are hard core users/dealers to which quite a few blind eyes are being turned by some in the know. Sad really – many suffer from the activities of a few…  Ecuador is lot better than other countries – especially first world countries……

Ecuador FARC & Drugs Comment #2: Gary,  Relentless good news, when discussing any area in the world, is misleading and dishonest to those trying to learn about an area in which they may wish to visit or invest and eventually live.  Too many promoters would have us believe it’s just a rose garden paradise, but as so many U.S. Country singers have covered, “Along with the sunshine, there’s gotta be a little rain sometime”.  Thank you for respecting the need to “keep it balanced”.

I did want to offer a comment to a statement in your recent article regarding “Ecuador drugs, military and FARC”.  Your statement was: “Yet my opinion is that this problem with the Farc is minor and strictly limited to remote parts of the Ecuador Colombia Amazon border.”  (I underlined the word “strictly” myself for emphasis).

I was in Ecuador in Jan. 09 and focused most of my visit on the central coast (an amazing place for many reasons and I will be back).  I based myself in Bahia and explored north and south from there.  While sitting out front of my accommodation one perfect evening, enjoying a cervesa with a couple of expats, I was told a story about a recent incident in San Vicente, just a few minutes ferry ride north of Bahia.  It seems that two FARC rebels made it this far south and attempted to do the business they do.  San Vicente residents identified these two for who they were and, publicly, beat them to death.  This is a violent story and I couldn’t imagine standing there and watching it happen; however, it does seem to say a lot about the attitudes in Ecuador (in San Vicente anyway) toward FARC.  They were hoping this would send a clear message to FARC that their business is not welcome there.

As we all know, it seems every rule has its exceptions.  I thought this was a good opportunity to remind your readers to expect the unexpected and remain aware of your surroundings (without trembling in paranoia) wherever we go in life.

Ecuador FARC & Drugs Comment #3:

Hi Gary, Congratulations! I couldn’t imagine a more thorough debunking of the article. You really pummeled it. Of course there are always those who will keep their noses down in the dirt believing to have sniffed out a conspiracy. But there is nothing you can do about them. I happen to own pigs as you know and though I hear they are quite intelligent, mine, I’m afraid, also just keep rooting around in the garbage, never convinced that somewhere underneath  a conspiracy is lurking. The analogy is purely intentional.

Ecuador FARC & Drugs Comment #4:

Hello Gary, You can go to www.snopes.com and locate these rumors or request they be checked out. Good site for debunking stuff like this.

This is a good suggestion I use www.snopes.com a lot.  Another site for quick accuracy checks similar to www.snopes.com is www.factcheck.org

Ecuador FARC & Drugs Comment #5:

Hi – I KNEW you would be the guy to cover ALL the bases!  Thx for a great report!  Hope all is well and NC is getting thru this crazy weather OK!

Ecuador FARC & Drugs Comment #6:

Gary, Here’s my 2 cents worth to the discussion about Ecuador and the FARC:

1)  When we were there in 2007, we planned to visit Tulcan to see a famous topiary garden, but were stopped north of Ibarra by the federal police, who strongly suggested we not go because of the danger of guerrilla activity. There had also been a recent kidnapping of foreigners in the area.

2)  My workers, who come from Suzcal, not from anywhere near the border, insist that narcotraficantes are either taking over Ecuadorian farms near the border for coca production or chasing out the owners off them if they resist.  This, of course, is hearsay.

3)  A more interesting (at least to me) issue than the FARC is the rise of criminal armies who are replacing the 37 right-wing militias that Uribe managed to get rid of. Apart from the uncertainty of running for a third term, he has his hands full with the dilemma of either moving to control them (and having to admit his demobilization program has failed despite $5 billion of US anti-narcotic aid) and the hold that the US Congress has put on signing the treaty granting Columbia favored trading status until Uribe demonstrates a successful policy against drug gangs both right and left.

You may remember that the original purpose of the right-wing militias was to protect landowner interests against both peasants and the FARC. Over time, they morphed into drug trafficing and competition with the FARC.

My personal belief is that Uribe is unable to move against the criminal armies because too many members of his government, prominent businesses, and leading families are involved. If so, then Colombia is on its way to becoming Mexico 2.0. There’s so much money to be made that it becomes impossible to trust either the police, the army, the politicians or anyone else.

If you have access to today’s NYT, there an article on the above in the first section.

Personally, I doubt Correa is involved with the FARC: They have little legitimacy left as a populist, left-wing movement. I don’t doubt there are members in his government that support either or both sets of drug traffickers in Colombia. But as for specific fears about the FARC, I would be more worried about groups with deep connections in the political establishment.

Certainly Correa’s politics have led him to some dumb things like his deals with China. (You may remember the 2007 scandal where a chief minister was selling work visas and residency permits to Chinese employees of a company with a major contract in Ecuador). If he was awake, he would know that all over the world, China promises jobs, training, technology and support for local economies, then brings its own staff and stuff. If he imagines that China will be a better environmental steward in the Amazonian oil fields than Phillips and Texaco were, he’s in for a rude awakening.

I agree with this reader that the border areas of Ecuador should be avoided. We recommend that delegates do not visit Tulcan north of Ibarra nor Esmeraldas.

Ecuador FARC & Drugs Comment #7:

I follow your site with interest, having my own love affair with Cuenca while still living retired in New Mexico. Thought you should see this from today’s Los Angeles Times…gives quite a lot of detail on recent drug-related issues in Ecuador.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-ecuador-drugs4-2010feb04,0,3107970.story

Perhaps someday we will cross paths down there.

Best regards

That article in the LA Times is worth a read and begins:

Cocaine trafficking keeps Ecuador anti-drug authorities busy

Seizures set a record last year for the country, which is growing in importance as a hub for shipments to the U.S. and Europe.

An Ecuadorean police officer guards containers of cocaine-laced molasses at a news conference in Guayaquil last May.   Reporting from Guayaquil, Ecuador – The beat cop quickly discovered why the three men at the entrance to the storage yard had bolted as he pulled up in his patrol car.

Inside the walled enclosure he saw 3 tons of cocaine and a large-scale processing lab, evidence of Ecuador’s growing importance as a trafficking hub for illegal drugs.

The mid-December raid in this port city’s Bastion Popular industrial zone capped a record year for Ecuador’s counter-narcotics police. They seized 63 tons of cocaine, twice as much as in 2008, and destroyed seven drug-processing laboratories, up from two.

Thank you readers for your comments.

Now, here… I hope… is a provoking thought about pigs.

The comments above about the intelligence of pigs reminded me of the aphorism  Bears get rich… some times. Bulls get rich sometimes. Pigs always get slaughtered.

I began thinking about La Selva Jungle Lodge which has been owned and operated by Eric and Maggie Schwartz for 25 years. Imagine what vision it took that long ago to invest heavily in a lodge deep in the Amazon… hours from anything.   Ecuador was very primitive 25 years ago compared to now.

Yet despite plenty of turmoil… including a war with Peru in the Amazon… they have built an incredible business. La Selva Lodge is an inspirational place and…

Ecuador-farc

beautiful.

Ecuador-farc

This thought conjured up two ideas… the first about the pig farm at La Selva Lodge.

Eric and Maggie have not only stuck with this project through thick and thin, and profited… they have come up with some aware winning ideas… like their pig farm.

Here is an excerpt from the La Selva Lodge website.

The Pig Farm – La Selva Jungle Lodge

Our indigenous neighbors from the community of Pilche raise no animals which is very good for La Selva for it means no forest needs to be cut for grazing or to plant crops for fodder.

Occasionally they have taken to hunting over the years as it is both instinctual and satisfies a need for protein. We wanted to come up with a viable solution to this pressure, however slight on our ecosystem and so devised the following proposal that you will find below as it was presented and won the 2007 Ecotourism Award.

Goal

To use food that would be wasted ; table scraps left uneaten by the tourists, parings not used in cooking, fruits and vegetables past their prime for usage as food to guests as fodder for a pig farm.

The pigs when grown from this ample diet are given to our indigenous neighbors.

Pigs

Objectives

1. In return for the pigs (protein) we eliminate hunting in the area since their dietary needs for protein have been satisfied and the agreement under which the pigs are given to the natives has been settled by contract.

2. Fertilizer is created from the pigs from which a tropical fruit will eventually be grown in an area of land on our property that was cleared many years ago and serves no use and is not big enough for a reforestation effort.

Project Description 

For over 20 years La Selva Jungle Lodge has made agreements with incentives to our indigenous neighbors to dissuade them from hunting and also from having domesticated animals larger than chickens (so as not to destroy the forest for grazing land.)  But as their population has grown and their taste for wild meat has not abated- while we have had much success in this area- the problem is far from solved.

Tourists come to eat three times a day, as does a staff of about thirty. This provides enough food waste per day to fill three 55 gallon drums which all these years has been composted with the byproduct only occasionally used; especially in the butterfly farm. This amount of food waste will feed a large amount of pigs, bought in ascending size and to be grown and gifted to our indigenous neighbors at regular intervals. We built a pig farm, use tourist food scraps for pig feed, gift the pigs to the natives and by so doing save more rainforest animals and plants.

The Pig Farm is a simple well-drained cement floor located near the same spot as the former compost heap with ample space, an attendant, and a water hose as needed. It is covered with a kind of rebar cage to ward off jaguars.

What a great idea and this exemplifies the fact that international investments can be enhanced by value… because pigs want perfect.

Eric and Maggie instead recognized problems… took risks… worked hard and created a paradise within a paradise and continue to keep the area a paradise.

You can reach Eric Schwartz with questions about La Selva Lodge at lscentral1@cs.com

Click here for La Selva Lodge’s website

Perfect rarely exists and the reality is that fear creates value.

Many readers write to me with their fears and seem to be looking for a perfect, easy to attain, low cost… totally safe… place where there is unlimited opportunity and where they will not have a worry in the world.

I have found and lived in some great places… Gresham Oregon, Petaluma, California, Hong Kong, London, Nailsworth Gloucestershire, Geneva Switzerland, Naples Florida, Cabarete Dominican Republic, Douglas Isle of Man, Lansing and Murphy North Carolina, Quito, Latacunga, Calacali, San Clemente, and Cotacachi Ecuador, Mt. Dora Florida.

These are all wonderful places…  but I have not yet found Shangri-La.

Sometime back, a sharp reader noted that Merri and I stepped up our international investments in Ecuador real estate investing exactly at the same time the new left sounding President Correa was elected.

He missed the fact that I had stepped up real estate tours when the country crashed in 2000 as well.

This reader sent me an article about Venezuela.

Here are excerpts from this article about international investments entitled “Rich Venezuelans heading to Florida.”

“They call it ‘Plan B’. As Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez further tightens control of the South American country’s economy, wealthy Venezuelans who once thought they could live with his socialist edicts are turning to their backup plan — flight to the United States, particularly Florida.

“First the people who come are the businessmen in the highest circles, then the losing politicians, then the military and then the professionals,” said Miami-based immigration attorney Oscar Levin. “You’re beginning to see the (Venezuelan) professionals.”

“This latest and largest potential group of emigrants say they fear the effect Chavez’s socialist policies will have on the economy and on proposed educational reforms that could mirror the ideologically imbued education of Chavez ally and mentor, Cuba’s Fidel Castro.

I share this story for several reasons. First, I want anyone considering international investments or residence in Ecuador to understand what could happen if things go wrong.

Second, I want the same readers who are interested in international investments to note what is happening to Chavez and the Venezuelan currency.

Third, I want readers making international investments to understand the value of fear.

To understand fear generated value better… remember that my career started selling mutual funds and living in places where terror was taken for granted. I quickly learned that fear creates value. This simple fact should seem obvious, but is easy to forget. Arriving in Hong Kong for my first time in 1968 there were communist riots and bombs being set off in the streets. The first day I arrived a motorcycle policeman had his leg blown off by a terrorist bomb. The Chinese army was massed on the border and there were continual talks about an invasion. Hong Kong businessmen were fleeing. Real estate was literally being given away.

Life went on. We all figured out the fastest route to the British and American war ships in the harbor for a quick exit in case the Chinese decided to invade.  We watched out for boxes in the street that could be bombs. Then we just got busy with life. I rented a huge apartment on Shouson Hill Road overlooking the ocean and the village of Aberdeen. The owner wanted to sell this block of apartments but I had no money or experience then. He was so desperate that he made a deal. Instead of paying him $250 a month rent I invested $250 into mutual funds for him.

So how much value did that fear create? I decided to look see and checked out equivalent apartments for rent on the same Shouson Hill Road in Hong Kong now. Here is what I found that apartments which ran $250 a month to rent then cost now:  The ad said Features:

Sea views
Central Air-Conditioning
Size: 3000 – 3600 square feet
Bedrooms: 4
Rental Costs (approx. per month): HK$ 130,000 – 140,000 (US $16,667 – $17,949)

So rent jumped from $250 to $17,949 a month. Not bad if you are the owner. I was too young then to understand the value of fear and missed that opportunity.  Now I know better.

Not all the profits in Hong Kong were caused by fear.  Much of it was.

Those who made heavy investments in Hong Kong during that time of fear made huge fortunes. Had I understood the value of fear in the late 60s and early 70s, I could have made tens, even hundreds of millions of extra dollars.

In Hong Kong’s case there was fear that politics would go wrong. They did not and this pushed the value of HK international investments through the roof! Yet even when politics do go wrong investors can do well.

Take international investments in Chile as an example. This country went through one of the worst imaginable political scenarios beginning in 1973 when Pinochet led a coup d’état deposing democracy and using military power declared himself president and remained in power 17 years. The global press did not write as much negative news then because this dictatorship was against communism and this had the support of the United States. Hundreds, maybe thousands of dissidents were killed. Even more tortured. Yet those who invested there made fortunes.

In the early 80s, a really nice house in Santiago’s fashionable suburbs was worth about $25,000. Now the same house will be worth well over $1,000,000. Real estate throughout Chile has appreciated enormously over these years.

No one likes uncertainty. But there is uncertainty everywhere. As populations grow, as the rich and the poor become more divided, it becomes impossible to have real control anywhere.

If we are faced with change everywhere, there is a logic to investing in places where there is enough fear to at least create a nice risk premium.

Ecuador offers special value in my opinion. There is fear internally, but as an outsider I see this as a nation of sweet, pacific people. This country was formed by a combining of many cultures and has always been adept at forming a consensus. Democracy is strong. The military has refused on numerous occasions to become involved in political affairs and the population has shown itself to be adverse to violence.

Chances here are that whatever political change takes place, it will be calm. If I am wrong, that’s why we get extra profit potential to take the risk.

Here are a few of the properties we’ll see in our February and March 2010 Imbabura real estate tour.

Studio condo.  Huge balcony. Some of the best views in town.  $49,000.
Ecuador-farc
Yellow townhouse. Recently completed.  Just off leather street behind San Francisco park.  3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, great rooftop terrace, all very
good materials and finishing, $55,000.
Ecuador-farc
Three bedroom condo. 2.5 bathrooms…hardwood cabinets and closets… furnished. $59,000.

San Miguel house.  3 bedrooms, 2 full baths, office, inside and outside fireplace, fountain, flowers.  Great condition.  Owner has the lot next door
and is building another place.  $104,000.

Ecuador-farc

We hope to serve you on our 2010 tours.

Gary

Join Merri and me plus nine other speakers and contacts this February  at a seminar that shares ways to invest, do business and live in Ecuador or globally February 11-14  at Quantum Wealth -International Investing & Business Made EZ, Mt. Dora, Fl.

You can also come on with us to Ecuador.

February 15-16 Travel to Quito and tour Quito

February 17     Travel Quito to Manta

February 18-19  Manta & Mid Coast Real Estate Tour

February 20 Travel Manta to Cotacachi

February 21-22 North Andes, Imbabura & Cotacachi Real Estate Tour

February 23-24  Quito & Mindo Real Estate Tour

February 25 Travel Quito Cuenca

February 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour

Or join us in March 2010

March 11-14     Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Fl.

March 15    Travel to Quito

March 16 Travel Quito Cotacachi

March 17-18  North Andes, Imbabura & Cotacachi Real Estate Tour

March 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic Tour

March 21  Travel Cotacachi to Manta

March 22-23   Manta & Mid Coast Real Estate Tour

March 24 Travel Manta to Cuenca

March 25-26 Cuenca Real Estate Tour

March 27  Travel Cuenca to Salinas

Mar. 28-29   Salinas & South Coast Real Estate Tour

The Ecuador airfare war makes it cheaper to get to Ecuador than ever before… and there is still time to enjoy great Ecuador tour savings.

You enjoy discounts by attending multiple seminars and tours. Here are our multi tour adventure discounts.

Two Pack… 2 seminar courses & tours $998 Couple  $1,349 Save $149 on couple

Three Pack… 3 seminar courses & tours   $1399 Couple  $1,899 Save $98 single or $348 on a couple or more

Four Pack… 4 seminar courses & tours   $1,699 Couple $2,299 Save $98 single or $697 on a couple or more

Five Pack… 5 seminar courses & tours  $1,999 Couple $2,699 Save $496 single or $1,046 on a couple or more

Six Pack… 6 seminars courses & tours  $2,199 Couple $3,099 Save $795 single or $1,395 on a couple or more

Even Better.  Greater Savings. Our 2010 International Club membership allows you and a guest to attend as many of the 51 courses and tours we’ll sponsor and conduct in 2010  (fees would be $40,947 for all these courses individually) is only $3,500.

If you join the International Club, the entrance fee for 2010 is $3,500.  Your attendance fees at all courses will be waived. You and a guest of you choice can attend courses worth $40,947.You can calculate the savings as our schedule of all 2010 courses here.
International Club 2010 Membership $3,500 Enroll here

International Club Three Monthly Payments of $1,190

Our Spring 2010 schedule starts:

Apr. 12-15   Ecuador Export Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 17-18   Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 20-21  Coastal Mid Coast Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 23-24  Quito & Mindo Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

The multi tour discounts remain effective for the April tours.


Ecuador FARC Thoughts


Numerous readers have forwarded a spammed email they have read about the FARC, drugs and Iran in Ecuador.

The email leads to a report entitled  “Ecuador at Risk: Drugs, Thugs, Guerrillas and the Citizens Revolution”

I won’t comment much on the email or the report itself since it seems quite slanted, aimed more at alarming than informing and…  lacking in balance… completeness and fact.  However, I have added the url for the report at the end of this message if you wish to read it.

But readers have concerns so let’s take a look and start with the FARC.

I am perhaps more familiar with the impact of the FARC in the Amazon… than most, because the FARC directly affected us.

A number of  years ago Merri and  I invested in opening an Amazon Jungle Lodge  at the request of a small group of Amazonians.

We built the lodge to help a small community of Amazonians who wanted tourism rather than oil revenues to support them.  I managed to take just one group to the lodge.   Then we lost our entire investment when it was rumored that the FARC was in that area.   Learn more about that journey at Amazon trips.

Yet my opinion is that this problem with the Farc is minor and strictly limited to remote parts of the Ecuador Colombia Amazon border.

My opinions on the FARC and Iran are below, but since I am no expert on military and security affairs I asked over a dozen of my friends and contacts across Ecuador for their opinions and any facts they could garner on this subject.

I have replies from Cuenca, the coast, the Amazon, Cotacachi, and Guayaquil that we’ll share.

The first reply was from a US expat who lives in Cuenca. He wrote:

Hi Gary – I haven’t been able to find anything locally about the veracity of this article. Have you found anything through your contacts down here?

The fact that this friend could not find anything is telling in itself.  The reality as far as daily life is concerned… the FARC in Ecuador are a non event. I am reminded of a similar situation in Thailand in the late 1960s and early 1970s… the years I lived and worked all over Asia.  Everyone knew that there was a war going on and that it was not safe around the border because the Viet Cong used to cross it freely. The solution was… we avoided the border.  Heck it took a real effort to get to the border anyway. Forget it!  Life went on… busy… happy…. safe… except the crazy Bangkok traffic created enormous risks.

Plus this article about Ecuador and the FARC seemed especially badly timing since the FARC have been so seriously weakened as a force.  There are even realistic hopes they will soon disband as evidenced in a Reuters article “Catholic Church seeks talks with Colombia rebels”.

Here is an excerpt: BOGOTA (Reuters) – A Roman Catholic Church official on Friday proposed a meeting in Europe with Colombia’s main guerrilla leader to discuss handover of hostages and possible negotiations to end Latin America’s oldest insurgency.  Previous attempts to bring the FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, to the table have failed over conditions for the release of the captives it holds in jungle camps and demands that the rebels end hostilities before talks begin.  Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon said the plan to seek talks with the FARC was approved by President Alvaro Uribe, whose U.S.-backed army offensive has battered the guerrilla group to its weakest level in decades.

This site has also shared information in the past about the Colombian bombing of the FARC inside Ecuador territory at Ecuador Border Tensions

Plus we have looked at potential benefits of Iran Ecuador relations at  Ecuador Iran.

Drugs?  Drugs are everywhere… globally. My experience has been that there are far more drugs being created near our homes in North Carolina and Florida than anywhere expats live in Ecuador.

Shortly after arriving at our new home near Mt. Dora, Florida… a police officer explained that another small town in central Florida is named the meth capital of Florida.

A December 2009 WFTV.com article entitled “Lake County Deputies Busting More Meth Labs” outlines the problem.

This story says: LAKE COUNTY, Fla — The number of meth labs busted in Lake County nearly doubled this year because deputies say they are cracking down on the problem.  In 2009, Lake County’s drug unit dismantled 54 methamphetamine labs compared to just 24 in 2008.  Investigators say the higher number of busts is a good sign their efforts are working.  “In Lake County, the sheriff’s office has devised a team that does nothing but concentrate its efforts on the meth labs,” said Sgt. Glen Hall with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.  Investigators believe the poor economy and easy access to meth ingredients cause meth labs to pop up across the country.”

The area around our home in North Carolina may be even worse.

A 2004 map from North Carolina’s  State Bureau of Investigation shows that the counties around our house were among the  worst (Ashe county yellow and Wautauga County red) in the state.

ecuador-crime

A 2004 article in the Mountain Times “Four Meth Labs Found Over The Last Month In Ashe” confirms this problem when it says:  Several meth labs have been found over the past few weeks bringing the total for Ashe County up to approximately 10 labs, compared to only two labs found last year at this time, according to Detective Chris Miller of the Ashe County Sheriff’s Department.

News in the area suggests that  the problem had not disappeared by 2008. Here’s an excerpt from a July 2008 article in the Jefferson Post:  Sheriff James Williams believes he started making good on his promise to clean up drugs in Ashe County when his office conducted an investigation that nabbed 15 suspects who were charged with possession of various illicit drugs including marijuana, opium, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine.

At the conclusion of the day, investigators believed that the operation was a success as it conveyed a clear message to drug users and distributors that they better sleep with one eye open because the sheriff’s office would be looking for them.

The year of 2008 proved to be an especially busy year for deputies and Sheriff Williams. Earlier in March, an investigation led by the sheriff’s offices in Ashe and Wilkes counties resulted in the region’s largest methamphetamine seizure and bust.

Ashe and Wautauga Counties are not the only ones with this problem.   A July 2009 article at Methlabhomes.com entitled “North Carolina Meth Labs are rising” says:  Meth labs in North Carolina are increasing. In fact, drug enforcement agents have already made 102 meth lab busts statewide so far this year. That is a 52% increase over this same time last year.

What should we expect… these wonderful mountains in North Carolina have a wild streak and have always been famous for the creation of illicit substances. Before drugs the big problem was moonshine.

The story of Thunder Road came from moonshining as a way of life in the Blue Ridge and Appalachians. Moonshiners turned corn mash into “mountain dew”. They built cars to outrun the revenuers that influenced the rural south and were the roots of stock car racing and NASCAR.

This problem by the way has not disappeared either.  Last October, an hour and half away from us in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, State Alcohol Law Enforcement agents (the revenuers) seized 929 gallons of moonshine in a still bust… the biggest haul in memory.  Wow that’s a lot of ethanol!

So to say Ecuador has a drug problem would normally stifle a yawn. In this case the reaction is more because Ecuador is tough on drugs.  They do not execute drug dealers as they do in Singapore, but Ecuador is the only country I know that checks you for drugs when you enter AND exit the country.

I am sure there is a drug problem… like everywhere, but I have never seen anyone using drugs in Ecuador.

As you will see below…others who live in Ecuador agree.

Here is reply to my question about this article from an Ecuadorian  businessman in Quito.

Gary here are a few of my thoughts on these problems:

The FARC has indeed increased its presence in the Colombian-Ecuadorian border, but you can’t really claim that Ecuador is allowing that to happen (if they freely cross the border it means that Colombia is responsible as well). The border is pretty much in the Amazon, meaning that anyone could easily cross between the trees. The Ecuadorian government received criticism that it was allowing the FARC to come in and out with no resistance so the military presence in the region has increased. Now Ecuadorian military units patrol the border at day and night.

There is no exact number on how many drug labs there are in the Amazon, but the Ecuadorian government has destroyed many of them in the past years, and they burned thousands of tons of drugs.

The government also created a special commission to go over the drug related accusations that it was facing after Raul Reyes was killed by a Colombian bombing in Ecuadorian territory. The commission found that there were ties between some government former employees and members of irregular groups, but found that the government was not in direct contact neither with the FARC or any other “irregular group” (they don’t call them terrorists).

The conclusion was that few bad apples actually were talking to the FARC, but they claimed that it was for humanitarian reasons. Non of the implicated former employees are in jail right now and the commission is just that, so whatever they found is just for common knowledge.

The Ecuadorian police has confiscated and arrested hundreds of people this past years fighting drug traffic. It seems at times that the Ecuadorian government on the other hand is not that committed to that, but then again there is no proof or at least, not proof that will be legally strong enough to arrest any government employee or former employee.

So people can claim that the Ecuadorian government is suspicious of  being permissive toward the FARC, but since many arrests have been made and also we still collaborate with the US in fighting drug related issues, Ecuador had it’ s ATPDA renew for one more year, meaning that the US government still believes that Ecuador is fighting along it’ s side.

However there are issues out there that are not conclusive and lead to believe that some connection may be between government employees and the FARC. Things are even more complicated since the FARC also said that they had nothing to do with the Ecuadorian government, and the computes seized in several occasions by Colombia have no conclusive information either.

Bottom line, there is a feeling that something fishy is going on mainly because the FARC is a leftist movement and this is a leftist government, so ideology plays a big role, linking several government ex-funtionaries to FARC related issues. But there is also a big military presence in the border taking over the security and occasional fights that ended up in FARC members being killed by the ecuadorian military. Also the police captures hundreds of drug related people and thousands of tones of drugs each year.

My personal thought is that the government is not collaborating with the FARC but some people that it has relations with are. And it seems not to be that upfront in going after it’ s former members on trials leaving that sour taste that is somehow involve, which I don’t think it is.

The hard thing is to prove that this is actually happening, and it particularly hard because our judiciary system is deficient, so yes we are suspicious but there is nothing conclusive and the commission that I told you about found no friendly government policies toward the FARC, it found few people that had ties, but then again unless the Ecuadorian judicial system indicts any of them, it is just talk, it won’t be true unless someone proofs it in court.

So I think that unless the US government issues a statement accusing Ecuador of wrongdoing, we will still enjoy the ATPDA and we will still be considered to be a friend of the USA as well.

About the ties with the Iranian Central Bank I think it may be more out of desperation since Correa talked nasty about the IMF and other international financial institutions and renegotiated our foreign debt as illegal, taking a big chunk in discounts. This means that no one will lend money to Ecuador.

My opinion is that Ecuador is a wonderful country. It has some political problems yes. It has some drug problems yes. It has some economic problems yes.  What country does not?   On the plus side, the wonderful weather, excellent soil and agricultural background of the culture means there is always plenty of food.  The strong indigenous roots allows for a more natural lifestyle and the friendly nature of the people of Ecuador means that any turmoil is likely to remain peaceful.

Read more thoughts from readers about Ecuador, drugs and the FARC here

and at FARC in Ecuador

Gary

Join Merri and me plus nine other speakers and contacts this February  at a seminar that shares ways to invest, do business and live in Ecuador or globally February 11-14  at Quantum Wealth -International Investing & Business Made EZ, Mt. Dora, Fl.

You can also come on with us to Ecuador.

February 15-16 Travel to Quito and tour Quito

February 17     Travel Quito to Manta

February 18-19  Manta & Mid Coast Real Estate Tour

February 20 Travel Manta to Cotacachi

February 21-22 North Andes, Imbabura & Cotacachi Real Estate Tour

February 23-24  Quito & Mindo Real Estate Tour

February 25 Travel Quito Cuenca

February 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour

Or join us in March 2010

March 11-14     Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Fl.

March 15    Travel to Quito

March 16 Travel Quito Cotacachi

March 17-18  North Andes, Imbabura & Cotacachi Real Estate Tour

March 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic Tour

March 21  Travel Cotacachi to Manta

March 22-23   Manta & Mid Coast Real Estate Tour

March 24 Travel Manta to Cuenca

March 25-26 Cuenca Real Estate Tour

March 27  Travel Cuenca to Salinas

Mar. 28-29   Salinas & South Coast Real Estate Tour

The Ecuador airfare war makes it cheaper to get to Ecuador than ever before… and there is still time to enjoy great Ecuador tour savings.

You enjoy discounts by attending multiple seminars and tours. Here are our multi tour adventure discounts.

Two Pack… 2 seminar courses & tours $998 Couple  $1,349 Save $149 on couple

Three Pack… 3 seminar courses & tours   $1399 Couple  $1,899 Save $98 single or $348 on a couple or more

Four Pack… 4 seminar courses & tours   $1,699 Couple $2,299 Save $98 single or $697 on a couple or more

Five Pack… 5 seminar courses & tours  $1,999 Couple $2,699 Save $496 single or $1,046 on a couple or more

Six Pack… 6 seminars courses & tours  $2,199 Couple $3,099 Save $795 single or $1,395 on a couple or more

Even Better.  Greater Savings. Our 2010 International Club membership allows you and a guest to attend as many of the 51 courses and tours we’ll sponsor and conduct in 2010  (fees would be $40,947 for all these courses individually) is only $3,500.

If you join the International Club, the entrance fee for 2010 is $3,500.  Your attendance fees at all courses will be waived. You and a guest of you choice can attend courses worth $40,947.You can calculate the savings as our schedule of all 2010 courses here.
International Club 2010 Membership $3,500 Enroll here

International Club Three Monthly Payments of $1,190

Our Spring 2010 schedule starts:

Apr. 12-15   Ecuador Export Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 17-18   Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 20-21  Coastal Mid Coast Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 23-24  Quito & Mindo Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

The multi tour discounts remain effective for the April tours.

Read Catholic Church seeks talks with Colombia rebels

The email report entitled  “Ecuador at Risk: Drugs, Thugs, Guerrillas and the Citizens Revolution” is at http://www.strategycenter.net/research/pubID.221/pub_detail.asp

Ecuador Real Estate Prices


Ecuador real estate prices can be low yet…

I try to restrain from pushing low end Ecuador real estate like these town houses that
start at US$29,999 for an 861 square foot 3 bedroom unit.

quito-condos

Here is what Bonnie Keough, who accompanied our group on the Quito Mindo tour wrote about these condos.

“Gary, this is the complex of townhouses still being built near Mitad del Mundo that we viewed on the Quito-Mindo real estate tour.  The group felt it was too far out of the city (about 35 min.) even though it is a growing area and good investment.  The units rent for about $100-135/month. The unit with basic finishes is about $30,000, upgraded finishes increases the price to $40,000.  They are 2 or 3 bedrooms.”

You can see from a few shots of the interior of these properties (the furniture is that of the model home but is not included in the sales price) that these units are a pretty good buy.

Living room

.quito-real-estate-for-sale

The dining room leading to the kitchen area.

quito-real-estate-for-sale

Bed room.

quito-real-estate-for-sale

On the coast our mid coast real estate tours look at three bedroom units offered for as low as $23,000.

euador-real-estate-tour

Originally when we began viewing these condos above were offered at only $18,000.

Ecuador-beach-condos

They are well…

Ecuador-beach-condos

laid out

ecuador-condos

nice units, located near a good…

Ecuador-beach-condos

Beach.  Here are…

Ecuador-beach-condos

real estate tour delegates…

ecuador-condos

looking at these units.

There are three important reasons why we do not focus on this low end.

First, Ecuador is no longer a place just to chase low prices. Delegates on our tours in 2000 found the incredible bargains.  A decade has passed and messages at this site have often mentioned… Ecuador real estate prices are not what they used to be.  Recently while reviewing real estate listing in Florida, I saw a two bedroom house near a golf course for $10,900.   No zeros are missing here.  This may be a modular house, but how can you beat that for price?

This is one reason I have recently been investing in Florida and selling some of the real estate I have accumulated in Ecuador.

Second, it is important to buy quality. This is true anywhere… get good quality from trustworthy people to begin.  This is especially true in Ecuador right now.  There has been such a huge demand for Ecuador real estate that many dishonest, unethical, uncaring, even dishonest or simply incapable people have started building and selling real estate in Ecuador.  Many are seemingly friendly expats who have just moved down in the last several years.

Correcting problems on real estate near to home is hard enough. Doing this at a distance is even worse.  Distance complicates on a exponential basis.  When you buy a property where the language, customs and law may not be understood, getting problems fixed, even with honest builders can be daunting.  Throw in a bit of larceny and you have disaster.

Stick to quality projects built by trustworthy people.  This is why I have been featuring the Falconi project in Cotacahci.  So many new gringo built projects have been budding in Cotacachi that we are seeing problems with the community.  These problems were reviewed at Cotacachi real estate progress.

My predictions are that some of these gringo built real estate projects will fail leaving the few buyers in a mess.  The Proanos who are developing the Falconi project are the bedrock of the community.  Their development is next door to their home.  They will not be going away.  This is the type of situation buyers need to find.

Third, we have seen from experience that delegates do not buy the low end. We always show a bit of the lower end places because our job is to educate and help readers and delegates learn about all of the Ecuador real estate market.  However to the best of my knowledge… not one reader has purchased either of the projects shown above.

This does not seem to be because there is anything wrong with the projects… they just are not right for North Americans used to larger rooms.  Plus when one moves up from the $25,000 range to the $50,000 range… value accelerates a lot.

Ecuador is a place where “what you have always dreamed of” is still affordable.

There are more important reasons to look at Ecuador real estate than initial price.

One benefit of Ecuador real estate is the cost of living.

We recently bought a house on the outskirts of Mt. Dora.  We obtained good value… but taxes are almost $5,000 a year and this is only because the house is rated as an agricultural property.   Otherwise we would pay double that or maybe even more.

Compare this to six condos I purchased on the beach at the Vistazul project.  Last week our attorney Floridalva Zambrano sent me this note.

Hi Gary,  Today we paid the 2010 taxes for the six units that you and your daughters own at Vistazul in San Clemente.  We have also paid the taxes for your Palmazul apartment.  We  paid in total $233.26.  I will e mail you scanned copies of the receipts tomorrow.

This is correct… six, 1,200 square foot, two bathroom, two and a half bedroom condos with beach views, plus this penthouse. The taxes for all seven units are $233.26 for a year!

This includes six of these condos and

galapagos-discount-tour

a penthouse atop Palmazul.

Ecuador-beach-property-facts

See more on these condos at Ecuador Beach Condo Update

In Florida,  the electricity our first month there was $310. Propane was $420. Insurance is over $5,000 a year etc.  In Ecuador the same propane would have been about $25… electricity maybe $15 and as you have seen above really low taxes.

See more about Ecuador’s low cost of living at Ecuador Cost of Living is Low

A second benefit is the great weather.

Yesterday’s report at www.weather.com for the North was:

“A cold front crosses the upper reaches of the region Monday keeping northern areas in the deep freeze.”

Here is how I dress, in shorts, on Ecuador’s beach in February.

Ecuador-bed-&-breakfasts

What more can I say… except… this shot epitomizes another benefit of living full or part time in Ecuador.  This country has a much lower stress level… an easy going… friendly people where you can relax and smell the roses… and the salt air… or mountain mists… whichever you prefer. Ecuador has it all… relaxed low cost living in the mountains or on the sea.

Ecuador real estate can be really inexpensive… yet chances are you will not buy the low end.  In the middle… starting at $50,000 and rising into the $100,000s range you gain greater value for a property that most North Americans will really love and enjoy.

Gary

Join Merri and me plus nine other speakers and contacts this February  at a seminar that shares ways to invest, do business and live n Ecuador or gloabally February 11-14  at Quantum Wealth -International Investing & Business Made EZ, Mt. Dora, Fl.

You can also come on with us to Ecuador.

February 15-16 Travel to Quito and tour Quito

February 17     Travel Quito to Manta

February 18-19  Manta & Mid Coast Real Estate Tour

February 20 Travel Manta to Cotacachi

February 21-22 North Andes, Imbabura & Cotacachi Real Estate Tour

February 23-24  Quito & Mindo Real Estate Tour

February 25 Travel Quito Cuenca

February 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour

Or join us in March 2010

March 11-14     Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Fl.

March 15    Travel to Quito

March 16 Travel Quito Cotacachi

March 17-18  North Andes, Imbabura & Cotacachi Real Estate Tour

March 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic Tour

March 21  Travel Cotacachi to Manta

March 22-23   Manta & Mid Coast Real Estate Tour

March 24 Travel Manta to Cuenca

March 25-26 Cuenca Real Estate Tour

March 27  Travel Cuenca to Salinas

Mar. 28-29   Salinas & South Coast Real Estate Tour

The Ecuador airfare war makes it cheaper to get to Ecuador than ever before… and there is still time to enjoy great Ecuador tour savings.

You enjoy discounts by attending multiple seminars and tours. Here are our multi tour adventure discounts.

Two Pack… 2 seminar courses & tours $998 Couple  $1,349 Save $149 on couple

Three Pack… 3 seminar courses & tours   $1399 Couple  $1,899 Save $98 single or $348 on a couple or more

Four Pack… 4 seminar courses & tours   $1,699 Couple $2,299 Save $98 single or $697 on a couple or more

Five Pack… 5 seminar courses & tours  $1,999 Couple $2,699 Save $496 single or $1,046 on a couple or more

Six Pack… 6 seminars courses & tours  $2,199 Couple $3,099 Save $795 single or $1,395 on a couple or more

Even Better.  Greater Savings. Our 2010 International Club membership allows you and a guest to attend as many of the 51 courses and tours we’ll sponsor and conduct in 2010  (fees would be $40,947 for all these courses individually) is only $3,500.

If you join the International Club, the entrance fee for 2010 is $3,500.  Your attendance fees at all courses will be waived. You and a guest of you choice can attend courses worth $40,947.You can calculate the savings as our schedule of all 2010 courses here.
International Club 2010 Membership $3,500 Enroll here

International Club Three Monthly Payments of $1,190

Our Spring 2010 schedule starts:

Apr. 12-15   Ecuador Export Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 17-18   Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 20-21  Coastal Mid Coast Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 23-24  Quito & Mindo Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

The multi tour discounts remain effective for the April tours.