Tag Archive | "Kjetil Haugan"

Capital Ecuador Income

Here is a capital idea to gain some extra capitals gains as income.

Kjetil Haugan, owner of the Vistazul project, where I have purchased condos, recently sent me the note below that sparked some capital income ideas.


Mid coast Ecuador tour delegates visiting Palmazul condos.

Kjetil wrote: Gary, I am getting more and more requests for the time-share units and think I can do quite well with a bit more marketing here in Ecuador. I already have a company interested in working with me to sell the weeks..they sold out Casablanca, a project in the north of Ecuador and another time share development in Esmeraldas and they need more inventory.

If your readers buy a unit I would still sell at $ 89,000 but offer them a quite good return if they offered their unit as time share. If I helped out to sell the high season weeks (let’s say 20 weeks + @ $ 4000 each) they would recover most of their investment and still have 30 weeks for themselves.

This is a speculative capital idea that can create some tax free (in Ecuador) capital gains.

Let me share a few of the reasons why Merri and I are enthusiastic about the Vistazul Ecuador beach condo project.

First, it’s the water.


Most parts of Ecuador’s coast are without a central water supply and water is delivered in trucks like this.  That system works okay, is inexpensive  and the water is good.. yet to have your own water supply is even better.  Vistazul has its own water wells.  The water is a bit saline but Kjetil also developed a company that owns several Galapagos cruise ships so has experience with desalination.  As you’ll see below these beach condos have their own water… generator and  desalination.

Second, we love the warm water and waves.


Merri and I lived on the Gulf of Mexico for many years and love to frolic in the waves… but in the Pacific?  Where I grew up in Oregon… the water is just too cold to stay in long.   Yet on Ecuador’s Pacific the water is almost as warm as the Gulf of Mexico… yet the waves are good.  We can play in the water for hours without getting to cold.  We never worry about hurricanes because they do not have them on the Ecuador coast.

Plus the weather is best in the winter when its coldest up north.

Third… the empty beaches and protection from excessive  development. You can walk for about 30 miles at low tide. Here is a shot from Crucita.  You can walk all the way to the point in the distance (this is where Vistazul is located).


Then once around the point you can walk many miles more… often never seeing another person. Here are Merri and me with our friend Steve Hankins enjoying this broad beach with our hound, Ma.


Fourth, peace & quiet. San Clemente is a small fishing village and Vistazul is on a secluded dead end road… with little traffic and hills behind the condos.  The town is quiet and the community concerned with developing tourism… but without destroying the environment.  Kjetil spent many hours with community leaders obtaining a consensus on how what and how much to build.


This is the center of San Clemente, very quiet, yet only 45 minutes to central Manta… and all the resources of a major port city.

Local transportation into San Clemente is on foot (Merri and I enjoy ambling on the beach), or in these quaint taxis.


Fifth, fresh seafood… really fresh…  really cheap. The fishermen bring in their catch each day and you can buy right from the boat.


Sixth, safety in the fact that your are buying real property… not just a promise. The club house exists… the pool… the tennis courts… the spa, the condos.You are buying completed or nearly completed condos with a title and US title insurance.


Palmazul Spa is Vistazul’s clubhouse.  Pool, Tennis, spa and gourmet dining on the beach.


or parties poolside.


Merri and I purchased at the beginning when the project looked like…


this… but now most of the condos are complete and some residents have moved in.

Here is a group of delegates inspecting one of my Ecuador beach condos at Vistazul.


Finally, Merri and I love the sunsets. When we lived in Naples, everyone gathered to watch the sunsets and I thought they could never be better. At the Equator they are!

Here is a group enjoying a roof garden party as…

ecuador beach real estate

they enjoy a warm, sea breeze and a sun that sinks gently into the sea.


Vistazul is a great place.  So too is the profit potential. Here is how Kjetil explained this capital gains opportunity of buying whole and selling in pieces.

Gary, Here is a quick update on the project.  Business has been slow as the government is rebuilding the roads from Manta to this area so we currently have to take a much longer back way to get here from Manta.

This means I get complaints about all the driving time but in the long run the improved road will dramatically enhance value.

I have received a private loan from one of the buyers at Vistazul and should have enough money to complete all the units..I still need a couple of sales to be able to complete all the infrastructure but I am negotiating credits, etc. so I may be able to make it with what I have.

Block 5 is ready..block 4 is painted and with tile and block 2 is almost ready to be painted and for tile to be installed. Block 6 will have the second floor put in next week. I have already contracted a swimming pool and a desalination system that will produce enough portable water for Vistazul and the hotel. We also have a group of 13 carpenters working 14 hours per day to complete all woodwork on all the units so things are going well.  In total there are approx. 40 people working at Vistazul right now.

We had a group of Ecuadorians at Vistazul yesterday and they committed to buy 12 weeks for time share..I am making a brochure and planning on a marketing campaign starting in January so I believe the time share idea could work well over time. The downturn is that you will have families with kids times of the year but mainly in July/August when most of the current owners will be back home.

I have mentioned the option to sell weeks to several of the condo owners and they seemed to be interested in the idea.  If they pay $ 89,000 and sell the premium weeks + some high season weeks they should be able to recover their investment and still have 30 weeks for themselves. They could even try to sell the 30 weeks over time and make good money if it was only for investment.

We are promoting premium weeks (Christmas, New Year, Carnival and Easter) at $ 6,995, High season (February, March, July, August) at  $3,995 and the rest of the weeks at $ 1,995.  We charge 10% to sell the weeks and I believe we should be able to sell most of the weeks over time (2 to 3 years). We have already received about 200 inquiries for the New Year weekend at the hotel and we sold out months ago for this date so San Clemente is getting more and more popular with Ecuadorians.

You can see our first offer at our Spanish website for these time shares at www.lacostaecuador.com

Regards,  Kjetil.

There you have it. beauty… charm and opportunity.  There are some risks involved. Once you start selling the time share units… you lose the opportunity to sell as a whole unit… plus you have to manage, maintain and care for this type of ownership.  Plus there is no guarantee you can resell enough units this way to recover your whole investment.

On the other hand if you recover your investment selling half the units, this means you end up with half a year of use for yourself free.

There are other ways to profit from an Ecuador beach property like this… such as advance rentals.

A New York Times article entitled “Making Her Dream House Pay for Itself”  by Amy Silverman tells how  Julie Hampton bought a villa in Tuscany, raising the purchase price by selling three-week stays for $1,000 each.

Here are excerpts from that article:  WHEN Julie Hampton was a graduate student, she decided that she wanted to buy a small house in a remote Italian village about a 90-minute drive northwest of Florence. But she didn’t have the more than $80,000 she needed, so she came up with a plan.

She went to the local office of the Small Business Administration and told a volunteer adviser that she wanted to finance the purchase largely by persuading 60 people to pay $1,000 each in exchange for three weeks at the villa. The adviser laughed.

Then he bent over and began searching around her feet. Ms. Hampton didn’t understand why he was doing that, she recalled nearly six years later, sitting in her apartment in downtown Phoenix. So she asked him a question — did he drop his pen?

“And he said, ‘No, I’m looking around for my bucket of cold water.’ ”

But Ms. Hampton was unfazed: “I said, ‘I’m provin’ you wrong, pal.’ ”

So prove him wrong she did. The meeting took place in early 2001. That same year, Ms. Hampton, after coming up with all the money, in exactly the way she planned, bought a 2,500-square-foot house in the medieval village of Vitiana.

She e-mailed the owners and went off to Los Angeles for New Year’s 2001. When she came back, an e-mail response was waiting: “If you can come before Jan. 15, we’ll show you the house.”  Ms. Hampton bought a plane ticket and left for Italy within a week. A friend of a friend arranged a place for her to stay in Florence and left a key with a neighbor.

Several days later, she drove to Vitiana with the two owners.

She felt she had to have the house. But she kept reminding herself that she didn’t have the money. Nonetheless, she agreed to buy it, putting down, as a binder, $2,300 — college-fund money that was left after she had paid tuition.

Back in the United States, she found a lawyer willing to help her create a limited-liability company and draw up simple legal arrangements for the transactions that would implement her plan. With only a few weeks to go until a $28,000 down payment was due, Ms. Hampton made a color brochure and offered three weeks at the villa to anyone willing to pay her $1,000. (Not all of the weeks needed to be taken at one time, and if the money was sent before the down-payment deadline, the buyer would get a bonus week.) She also put a six-line classified ad in The New York Times Travel section for four weeks at $270 a week.

She met the deadline — getting all the money from subscribers.

Long before New Year’s 2002, the house was Ms. Hampton’s. She wound up paying $82,000 — including $12,000 from a retirement account, a $6,000 loan from her parents and $8,000 in loans from her credit union. About half the 60 subscribers came from the Phoenix area, and half from responses to the ad.

An Ecuador beach rental would seem to be much easier to rent than an Italian villa in the current depressed economy… closer and far… far less expensive.

If you are looking for a speculation that could bring good capital gains or the use of an Ecuador beach condo for half the year… consider buying whole and selling some of the pieces.

Save even $10,000 more. We have several units reserved for Ecuador Living subscribers at $79,000, $10,000 off the retail price of these Ecuador beach condos.  See more details on how to become an Ecuador Living subscriber here.


Join us on Ecuador’s coast this winter.   Attend our seminars and tours in Florida and Ecuador. See the best Ecuador property for you.  Find the best real estate offers.  Know more of Ecuador. To help you experience a bigger adventure in this wonderful nation, to broaden your horizons, to expand your awareness of all Ecuador offers, we are providing deep discounts in 2010 for those who sign up for multiple tours.

Jan.   8-11     Ecuador Export Tour

Jan. 13-14     Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Jan. 15-18     Coastal Real Estate Tour
Jan. 19-20    Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour
Jan. 21-23    Cuenca Real Estate Tour

Join us in February or March.

Feb. 11-14   Quantum Wealth Florida -International Investing & Internet Business, Mt. Dora, Fl.

Feb. 15-16   Travel to and visit Quito
Feb  17         Travel to Manta
Feb. 18-19   Coastal Real Estate Tour
Feb. 20        Travel to Cotacachi
Feb. 21-22   Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Feb. 23-24  Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour
Feb. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour

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

Mar. 15-16    Travel to Quito and Andes

Mar. 17-18     Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Mar. 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic tour

Mar. 22-23    Coastal Real Estate Tour

Mar. 25-26    Cuenca Real Estate Tour

Enjoy extra savings with a multi tour pack.

2 seminar courses & tours $998 Couple  $1,499

3 seminar courses & tours   $1399 Couple  $1,899

4 seminar courses & tours   $1,699 Couple $2,299

5 seminar courses & tours  $1,999 Couple $2,699

6 seminars courses & tours  $2,199 Couple $3,099

(Be sure to show in the comments section which courses and tours you are attending)

International Club attend up to 52 courses and tours in 2010 free.

See our entire 2010 seminar and tour schedule here

Read the entire article: Making Her Dream House Pay for Itself  here

Ecuador Tickets

See how to save up to $658 on Ecuador tickets to the Galapagos Island tours plus one of the most important international investing thoughts you may see this year.


First, here is an international investing thought we reviewed at our  recent International Investment and Business Course. Then we’ll look more at Ecuador tickets and how to get Galapagos cruise savings.

Yesterday’s message International Investment Gains looked at the fact that the Dow has moved in 15 to 17 year up and down cycles.  We saw that the Dow is into the twelfth year of a down cycle that started in 1998.  When we compared the Dow’s movements for the last two years to the equivalent time in the previous (1968 to 1982) down cycle, we saw that these two years had an amazing 93% correlation.

This led us to the question…What is next?  See below in blue what the Dow did between 1980 and 1982.

The chart below from Moore Research compares the Dow from 1978 through 1980 to the Dow of the last 18 months. The Blue line is what happened in the equivalent period in the 1970s for the next two years.  Ignore the black line (this is how the Dow has just moved). There should not be and is little correlation.

What is important is understanding the blue line. This what the Dow did during in the equivalent period (1978 to 1980) in the 1968 to 1982 downturn. The black line represent the Dow’s recent activity and should not matter.

This is a really important international investment thought. If history repeats,  if the Dow’s movement from now to mid 2011 has as strong a correlation as 2007 to 2009 had to 1978 to 1980, then the current uptick in the US market is simply bait leading most investors to slaughter!

This chart suggests that soon we will see a sharp correction in the market followed by a period of  very volatile sideways movement.


Jyske Global Asset Management is suspicious of markets as as well.  Thomas Fischer, Senior VP JGAM, spoke at our July 2009 International Investment Course about the fact that the current upwards trend in the market is not supported by economic fundamentals.

He reconfirmed this when he shared market comments yesterday that said:

Another week with positive trends in global markets. The MSCI World Index is up 1.37% this week but uncertainty about the direction of the market is beginning to show. On Tuesday the Chinese stocks plunged 5% as investors became nervous about the fast share price gains in the Shanghai Composite Index of almost 80% in 2009. The banking industry has seen some very good second quarter reports, but many banks have dramatically increased their provisions against bad loans due to continued pressure on the credit environment. On Tuesday the share price for Deutsche Bank tumbled 11% even though it reported a net income of USD $1.4 billion in the second quarter as bad loan provisions of USD $1.4 billion spooked investors. Consumers are still “maxed out” and with rising unemployment and none existing wage pressures. It will probably take some time before consumers return to the shopping malls in droves as indicated in the consumer confidence number for July showing a fall from 49.3 to 46.6. The big $64,000 question is whether we will have inflation or deflation and at the moment it certainly does not look like inflation. The Fed’s latest survey (Beige Book) shows an economy that is still very weak and the so called  “green shoots” will take a long time to grow.

Jyske Bank and JGAM are one of the few truly international banks that still provides a service for Americans. Learn more about JGAM from Thomas Fischer at fischer@jgam.com

In other words… be very cautious about speculating in the equity market.

See an entire report on this as a Multi Currency Portfolios Course subscriber.

Or join us to update what is happening at at our October 9, 10,  11 IBEZ North Carolina Seminar

Here is what a delegate shared about our July seminar:

Merri, My wife and I would like to thank you and Gary for a wonderful course. We thoroughly enjoyed all the information presented by Gary, Thomas and David. And we thank you for your hospitality with having us to your lovely “piece of paradise” in Lansing. The lunch was delicious and your presentation of import/export items was quite interesting.  We look forward to visiting Ecuador in September of 2010. And we look forward to visiting and staying at your hotel in Cotocatchi. Thank you again for a truly life changing and life enhancing weekend. Best regards,

Now let’s look at how a  $119 Ecuador Living subscription can help you save up to $658 on Ecuador Galapagos tickets on one of the most luxurious Galapagos cruises on this catamaran the M/S Nina with this excerpt from the Ecuador Living article Ecuador Galapagos Tickets.

Our friend Kjetil Haugan, the largest Galapagos Ecuador cruise operator just sent us this note.

Dear Friends!  Greetings from Haugan Cruises!

I would like to remind you of the promotions on our fleet for July until December 2009. Please find our special deals below.

The M/C Nina.


The Nina is also a 16 passenger luxury catamaran, with four main deck double or twin cabins, two single cabins and four upper deck  double cabins, with a king size bed.


Nina King

All the cabins have a private balcony and the windows can be opened, except for the single cabins that have sealed windows, but still have a little balcony.

The Nina offers eight day cruises only and the normal cruise fee is $4,390 per person in a double cabin.


Nina Deck

We are offering 2 x 1 deals August 25 – September 1 and Nov 24th to Dec 1st.

We are offering a $1,000 discount  + a flight ticket (Quito to the Galapagos) for August 18 – 25th and September  8 – 15th September 15th – 22nd, Oct 13th – 20th, Oct 20th – 27th and Oct 27th – Nov 03.

For additional information and added discounts see Ecuador Galapagos Tickets.

This is the ticket to the Galapagos, Ecuador!

Haugan tours pays tour operators commissions on these tours but as publishers we do not accept commissions so pass this on to our subscribers in the form of savings that amount to as much as $658.

If you are an Ecuador Living subscriber, contact us to calculate your 15% discount for your Ecuador Galapagos tour.

If you are not an Ecuador Living subscriber and want to go to the Galapagos, you can save money AND have your subscription free!  Learn how to subscribe here.


Join Merri me and Thomas Fischer of JGAM and our webmaster David Cross in North Carolina this October.

Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business and early retirement in Ecuador at the course.

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Or join us in Ecuador and learn more about living and retiring in Ecuador.

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador
Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two.

See other Ecuador tickets to Galapagos cruises here.

Ecuador Patience

There is extra opportunity in Ecuador for those with patience.

This chess set started me thinking about patience.


This is a time of great opportunity…  perhaps the greatest in 40 years…yet not without the bravery to accept risk… and several other qualities…. patience…  flexibility… resilience… tenacity… acceptance and a bird’s eye view to see the big picture.

In a moment… we’ll look at some Ecuador real estate and see how patience works there.   First a true and recent story… about patience and chess.

Having lived a wandering life… I have not accumulated a lot of stuff in the years I was moving around.   In fact only one material thing survived  my decades in Hong Kong and Europe… this ivory chess set.


I am not even sure why I lugged the wooden, silk lined box through so many countries.  For years I did not even play… but I kept the set and now it’s a treasure to me.

The set is a little battered.  Our five children each had a go at it one time or another.   A couple of the rooks are minus their ears.

Overall however this is a lovely set…  4 inch, pure ivory… no longer possible to import.  I love its feel.

Our friend and farm manager, Richard Goebel, and I have a continual, running game.  The board sits in our hallway and as Richard or I pass through we stop for a moment… study and make a move.

Sometimes when Merri and I are traveling we are weeks between moves… but a game is always on the board.   Richard and I are pretty evenly matched.  Usually there is no  winner… just a loser… the one who made the most current stupid error.

Recently it was my turn at stupidity, (aghhhh).  Early in the game, I gave up my queen.

Carelessness… pure and simple. I can offer nothing more.

I was instantly discouraged.  We both had nearly a full board but I was already missing my queen!  “How can I possibly win” I thought, “with such a disadvantage?”

I was about to give up when some quiet voice said, “No, keep playing.”

A few days later Richard stupidly gave up his queen as well.  That game dragged on for days but in the end the match was mine because of… patience.

This started me thinking about these seven qualities that can unlock enormous business and investing opportunity now:

#1: Bravery to accept risk

#2: Flexibility

#3: Resilience

#4: Tenacity

#5: Acceptance

#6: Bird’s eye view

#7: Patience

Thinking about patience reminded me of  John Milton’s poem  “On His Blindness.”

Milton is acclaimed to be one of the greatest English poets and I am not sure he was always patient.   Resilient yes… he was kicked out of university, lost wives and was imprisoned for his political views and went blind… yet managed to keep creating his incredible prose.

However  I believe that Milton understood patience… perhaps from his blindness because he ended his poem “On His Blindness”  (see the entire poem below) with this powerful reminder, “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

The Chinese have an even more ancient saying:  “Sit on the river bank long enough and you see the bodies of all your enemies float by”.

Patience is important when buying real estate in Ecuador or anywhere.

Merri and I spent seven years tromping up and down mountains to buy our first hacienda (Rosaspamba) in Ecuador.


Here Merri and I are building our first hut at our Ecuador hacienda… Rosaspamba.

We negotiated nearly a year to buy this building… that was a mess.

Cotacachi condos

fixed it looks like this…


and is getting better because we are patiently fixing one floor at a time.

If a person spends time in Ecuador  and stays alert, he’ll see many incredible fixer upper bargains.

Just over a year ago, Merri and I bought the four story office building shown above.   We began cleaning it up and converting two floors into condos.

If one is not in a hurry, construction costs are low.

This was the third floor kitchen… another mess.

Here is the third floor now.


This if fully furnished with…


one bedroom and …


office/den (or second bedroom)  and…


balcony.   The kitchen now…


looks great.  The hardwood cabinets had not been installed when I took this shot but are in place now.

We did not start fixing this floor until we dealt with the 4th floor… an even worse mess.  Patience, patience!




This is a loft studio with…


great light and an open feel with…


full dining area and…




These floors are among the highest points in the village and views from both units are the best around.  Mornings give…

the sunrise over Mt. Imbabura.


Evenings offer sunset in the east on Mt. Cotacachi.


Views are great at night with the village alight.


and you can see the entire village…


and both mountains during the day.

Where we had huge walls we said…”How about windows with a view instead?”   The builder  figured out what height was needed to see Mt. Cotacachi and simply knocked the window openings in the walls. Then he built hardwood window surrounds that frame this view.


The bathroom includes a full tiled bathtub and spa shower like this.


The king size sleeping nook has this view also and is fully curtained…


with full hardwood closets.


These units are available for rental on a three, six or 12 month lease, by the way. Send me a note at gary@garyascott.com

Anyone can have a nice place like this but to get one with great value requires patience.

Patiently fixing up this  property will provide us with some nice extra profit with good value because we were patient… in buying… in fixing.

We  did all this slowly… from cash flow… patiently so we developed value.

I have been using patience to look for real estate in Florida as well.  After months of scouring the state… looking at hundreds of listings we made our first offer… at about half the already reduced asking price.

This is where patience and the never ending quest for value comes into play.

Value is really hard to understand in the real estate and equity market now because the bubble of 2007 created many false illusions.

The values of a house are twofold… the value of a roof overhead and the value of whatever price it can be resold.

These are unpredictable times.   Basing a potential resale on previous inflated bubble prices can be a great error.

Tomorrow we’ll see how,  after months of searching Merri and I are using patience to make our first offer for property in Florida.

Join us at a course our tour in 2009 in Ecuador or North Carolina. Here is our future 2009 courses

June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour


June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 3-6 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two

These are great reminders that at times, patience is a most important quality in investing, business and all of life.

On His Blindness
John Milton

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,—
Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?
I fondly ask:—But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: God doth not need
Either man’s work, or His own gifts, who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at His bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:—
They also serve who only stand and wait.

Ecuador Tickets to Galapagos

Ecuador Tickets to Galapagos

The ticket to a good Galapagos Ecuador tour is to select a premium boat for the cruise.


The ticket to a good Galapagos cruise in Galapagos Ecuador is a first class yacht like the Galapagos Yacht Galaxy above.


Dining on the Galapagos Galaxy.


Galapagos Galaxy Accommodations.

See the special Ecuador tickets to the Galapagos that save up to $658 here.

I have heard amazing stories from readers about Galapagos tours… good and bad.

Most stories are really positive…  but one point is clear.  There are some bad boats that cruise the Galapagos.  Tickets on these cheaper Galapagos boats are not bargains at all!

You can look for good deals on Galapagos tickets… but look for them on first class yachts…  not second or lower tier cruises.

This is why I always send readers to Haugan Cruises, a company run by our friend, Kjetil Haugan.

The ticket to finding a low cost Galapagos cruise, if your schedule is not rigid, is to look for cruises that are not fully booked. If you can book your ticket on short notice, you can sometimes save thousands.

For example, Fernanda Borja the head of Haugan Cruises Galapagos ticket desk just sent me this note.

Dear Mr Scott,  I wanted to let you know our specials for Galapagos tickets and cruises now:

We have chartered the MY Galaxy, is a First class yacht and at the moment we
have some specials:

June 06-13 (8 days)
Special rate per person $1895.00
June 06-09 (4 days)
Special rate per person
This is a very special deal we have right now for all of your clients

June 23-30 (8 days)
Special rate per person $2195.00
June 23-27 (5 days)
Special rate per person $1345.00
June 27-30 (4 days)
Special rate per person $1060.00

You can see more on the MY Galaxy here.

Galaxy Yacht
Category: First Class
Departures: Saturday and Tuesday
Capacity: 16 passenger

Facilities and Accommodation.  The Galaxy Yacht gives a great option to visit the Galapagos Islands.  The yacht offers  4, 5 and 8 days cruises with quality service, excellence and security.

Guest accommodations on this Galapagos yacht include  9 luxurious and comfortable double cabins with lower beds and outside views; 3 on the lower deck, 3 on the main deck and 3 on the upper deck, private bathrooms cold-hot water, air conditioned.

Facilities include a dining room, bar and lounge, TV and DVD, library and sundeck.

As you’ll see below for upcoming offers these special Galapagos cruise deals above are about half price. Few will be able to get Ecuador tickets to go on a Galapagos tour as soon as June 6, but Maybe June 23rd?   We’ll add discount Galapagos tickets on first class cruises as a regular feature to give you as much advance warning as we can.

These prices do not include airfare to Ecuador or the ticket to Galapagos.

Learn how to save on Ecuador air tickets here.

Air tickets, hotel rooms and cruises all have one factor in common.  If not sold they are worthless the moment the flight, night or cruise begins.   As the event nears… the price of the ticket falls if the room, cruise or flight is not filled.

Here are special deals that Haugan Cruises has for all clients who want a Galapagos cruise at more normal fares.

First Class Yacht Athala
September 01-08 / 26-03 October
Rate for the cabin $4190.00

Note that there is an even better savings because there is an added special 10% discount for Ecuador Living subscribers.  A $119 membership allows subscribers to save as much as $400 on this one benefit alone.  See how to subscribe here.

There are also special deals with flight ticket included.

September 08-15 / 15-22 / 22-29 (8 days)
December 08-15 / 12-19 (8 days)
Special rate per person $3190.00

Again the 10% special discount applies for Ecuador Living subscribers.

June 27-04 July (8 days)
Special rate per person $3190.00

Ecuador Living subscribers knock 10% from the above rate

July 04-11 / 07-14 / 21-28 (8 days)
August 22-29 / 25-01 September
Special rate per person $3690.00
Family departures, children up to 16 years, pay $2095.00

August 22-29 / 25-01 September
Special rate per person $3690.00

July 04-07 / 11-14 / 25-28 (4 days)
August 08-11 / 15-18 / 22-25 / 29-01 September (4 days)
December 12-15 (4 days)
Special rate per person $1930.00

July 07-11 / 21-25 (5 days)
August 11-15 / 18-22 / 25-29 (5 days)
December 01-05 / 08-12 / 15-19 (5 days)
Special rate per person $2290.00

Ecuador Living subscribers knock 10% from the rates above and below.

First Class Yacht Nina


Galapagos cruise yacht Nina.

September 01-08 (8 days)
Rate for the cabin $4390.00

September 08-15 / 15-22 / 22-29 (8 days)
December 01-08 / 08-15 (8 days)
Special rate per person $3390.00
Special discount for Gary Scott clients 10% from this above rate

July 07-14 / 14-21 / 21-28 / 28-04 August (8 days)
Special rate per person $3890.00
Family departures, children up to 16 years, pay $2195.00

August 11-18 / 18-25 / 25-01 September (8 days)
Special rate per person USD 3890.00ate

October 13-20 / 20-27 / 27-03 November (8 days)
Special rate per person $3490.00

For more information or further assistance on Galapagos Ecuador tickets and cruises contact  Fernanda Borja at fernanda@haugancruises.com

Haugan Cruises-Columbus Travel
Phone: (593-2) 223 5095 / 255 4080/254 7587 / 252 3223 ext 110 or 111
1-877 436 7512 / 213-8144567
Fax: (593-2) 254 0427
Mobile emergency phone: 593 8 44 89 593
SKYPE: columbus-fernanda

Free Galapagos Cruise Tickets

Kjetil Haugan not only runs Haugan cruises and the Athala and Nina but is also the developer of Vistazul condos.

Here is the Athala.


One of the most luxurious Galapagos cruises.


Buyers of a Vistazul condo can have a Galapagos cruise free.


You can get details on the condos here.


This free Galapagos cruise can be on Kjetil’s newest boat the Nina as well.

For more details contact Kjetil Haugan at kjetil@haugancruises.com


July 4-8  Ecuador Export Tour

July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two.

Ecuador Beach Condo Party

An Ecuador beach condo party could create a free Galapagos tour for you.

There has been a lot of bad economic news the last year.

A New York Times headline last week announced:

U.S. Economy Contracted at 3.8% Annual Pace in Fourth Quarter

Though the Commerce Department’s preliminary figure for gross domestic product in the fourth quarter of 2008 showed the greatest decline in more than 26 years, economists had forecast much worse.

The bad news is not for everyone. Life is good down here on the Equator.  A recent message Ecuador Business Passion explained why our Ecuador business is growing by leaps and bounds almost every month.

So it is not a great surprise that I can now announce that the Vistaazul Ecuador beach condo project is sold out…almost.

Originally the project was planned for 62 units at three price levels.

We announced this a year ago and as of yesterday all, but two of the low priced units were sold… and the two had been sold… but the economic correction has caused some buyers to back out.

This calls for a celebration and in fact Vistazul owners get to participate in an almost unbelievable celebration. I’ll explain in a moment. First let me share one more opportunity.

Merri and I have have spent the last week relaxing at Vistazul.  While there, I spent considerable time with the developer and owner of the project Kjetil Haugan.

When Kjetil began this development a year ago, our advice was that readers would be especially interested, if he could keep the price for a 1,200 square foot unit with beach views below $80,000.

He followed that recommendation and we were right. The entire project was purchased almost entirely by our readers.

So while on this trip, Kjetil listened to two more recommendations we made which were:

#1: Hold off on the higher elevation higher priced units…for now.
Building costs are higher on the upper units and I believe the success at Vistaazul has come from keeping prices affordable.

#2: Build more of the lower priced $79,000 units. Prices, due to inflation, have risen and recent units were offered at $84,900.  However there was space for five more units at a lower level (but nearer the beach).

He agreed.  Keeping with the plan of spacious and lush gardens did not give Kjetil much additional room…but he has added five more condos….and dropped the price to $79,000.

Here is the site plan.  Please excuse the rough sketch but I wanted you to understand what is happening.   This sketch is all I have.


This leaves seven units for sale..the two not sold and the five new Kjetil has added which will be block six.

Let me walk you around the project so you can tie the units and progress to the sketch above.

Here is a shot from the Palmazul hotel which is also the condo development’s clubhouse which sits right on the beach.


The first building you see on the left is block one… seven units in all. Merri and I have units in each block.   Unit 102 is ours.   Units 103 and 104 belong to our daughters, Fran and Ele.  This block is 133 steps to the beach…just a bit over the distance of a football field.  I counted the steps myself to see.

Here is a close up of block one from the front.


from the back.


Block one is finished, waiting only for final trim and landscaping.

The block you see behind and slightly to the right  is Block 5.

Here is block five in more detail…about 75% complete.


Merri and I have block 503.

Block three, like block one, is mostly done. Here is block three.


Merri and I have unit 303 and 305. We are getting ready to furnish these for rental along with units 102-103 and 104.

Block four is in the rear of the project and is about 25% complete. Here it is. Merri and I have block 403.


Block two (we have unit 207) and the new block six  are about to begin.  Kjetil has a crew coming in to finish and the balance of the project will take nine months.  Two units in block two are unsold and now there will be the five new units in block six.  This will create a project of  38 units in total.

There is also a re sale available… but this is priced a bit higher…as you can see below.

Now for the celebration… and the condo owners have quite a bit to celebrate…   an entire project started, sold out in a year and targeted for completion nine months from now. A success in the worst economic times in decades.

Kjetil and his wife not only own the Vistaazul project and the Palmazul Hotel (which is also the Vistazul clubhouse)… they also are the largest Galapagos tour agents and own two amazing Galapagos cruise boats. See Haugan Cruises to see their vessels.

An eight day tour on these luxury Catamarans costs as much as $4,390 and a four day cruise $2,230.

Condos owners are lucky because to celebrate the success at Vistaazul Kjetil is giving a four day party… on his boat… in the Galapagos… FREE to condo owners.

We are not sure of the date yet.   The normal price of such a tour is  $2,230.   Yet Kjetil has set aside his  yacht Athala for four days and is inviting condo owners (one person per condo owned) to enjoy the this Galapagos cruise.   This is a $2,230  savings.


Buyers of the last six units can also join the party.

There are no tricks either. These cruises include all meals, all guided trips, soft drinks, coffee, etc.

There is even more.  Kjetll knows that not every owner can come on the dates that will be set… Those who cannot will not have to miss the party either.   Kjetil will provide them… on a space available basis… with a free four day Galapagos cruise as well.

That is value… a condo just yards (I stepped this off.  Unit one is 133 steps to the beach) from the beach… $79,000.  Club membership in Palmazul… normally $5,000… waived… plus a free Galapagos cruise.

Kjetil can be reached at kjetil@haugancruises.com

I have mentioned before…but want to add once more that I have no financial interest in Palmazul or Vistazul other than as property owner myself.  I am not paid a commission  nor any financial remuneration for the sale of these units.  I am an condo owner myself and gain as the project becomes more popular.  Otherwise I gain no compensation whatsoever when these units are sold.

Units available are:

Unit #     Details     Price         Club          Total price

201          Resale  $84,500     $5,000      $89,500

205         New     $79,000     Waived       $79,000

206        New     $79,000      Waived       $79,000

601        New     $79,000      Waived       $79,000

602       New     $79,000      Waived       $79,000

603       New    $79,000      Waived       $79,000

604       New   $79,000       Waived      $79,000

605       New   $79,000      Waived       $79,000


Join us in Cotacachi and on Ecuador Coast in March.

Merri, our webmaster and I have created a new course on how to build a web business with a webmaster.  Here is a special offer on this new course.

You can enroll in this special course for $299. However if you sign up for our three courses in March 2009, I will send it to you free. You save $299.

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 10-15 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

March 16-19 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Bob Shane will be at our March courses and will be available to provide health balancing.

Get our web based course FREE if you join us in Ecuador this February or March.

Attend any two Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two

Future 2009 courses

May 29-31  JGAM Global Asset Strategy Seminar

June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour
June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 3-6     Ecuador Import Export Expedition
July 8-9    Imbabura Real Estate Tour
July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 9-11     IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

Nov. 6-8    IBEZ Ecuador
Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Ecuador Beach Condo Surprise

Here is an Ecuador beach condo development where a number of single women expats call home.

One of the best ways to beat inflation is to live in low costs areas like the coast around Bahia Ecuador.

Here’s an update on this area beginning south of Bahia starting at San Clemente.

Ecuador Beach-Apartment

Beach at San Clemente.

The map below shows why San Clemente (marked with A), which is just a bit south of Bahia, was the first place on the coast where I bought Ecuador beach real estate.

ecuador map

San Clemente is a small village almost equidistant to the two airport access points on Ecuador’s coast, Manta and Bahia, plus it is on the coastal highway just before it veers inland behind a strip of low lying hills.

Bahia Hotel

These hills run along the coast from San Clemente to Bahia and further north separating the highway from the beach, discouraging over development and encouraging quiet hidden beach opportunities.

In addition San Clemente is almost equidistant to Quito and Guayaquil, the two largest population centers, and is accessed by major roads also shown on this map.  This creates holiday opportunity for the big city folk.

San Clemente is itself a tiny… dusty village so the attraction here is peace and quiet.  This is what Merri and I love.

However, those who want to live in a lively town will do better living just a bit further north in or closer to Bahia.


Our Ecuador beach penthouse is at Vistazul. This community is nicely protected by those hills.


Vistazul is right on the beach and protected by these low lying Manabi hills behind.

Here is the view from our penthouse so you can see…

coastal view

why we love it there.

Now Vistazul is about to get even better.

The developer of this project, Kjetil Haugan, recently sent me this note.

Gary,   This email is to inform you that we will close the hotel from next week on and until late June for renovation.   We will change the location of the kitchen, increase the capacity of the restaurant, redo the swimming pool (partly infinity pool), put A/C in all rooms, put in new beds and mosquito nets, fix all the sliding doors/windows, put in concrete walls around the hotel, fix the gardens, make more family suites, paint the hotel and change and redo everything from the dining tables, to the outdoor furniture.  Most of this will be done during these 6 to 7 weeks but the rooms will be done throughout the year.

We will also start to sell club memberships to local people with a point system plus offer this to the ex pats living in Cuenca.

We are adding new administrators at the hotel; Edwin and his Canadian wife, Cris. They used to run our yacht operation in the Galapagos. She will also help out at Vistazul being the contact person for the residents and helping out with decoration, purchase of furniture and rental management.

So hopefully you will have time to come down to San Clemente later this year to discover the new Palmazul!

Vistazul is also doing well right now. The electricity work, water plant and gardening should all be ready by the end of May. Then I will help the residents start to form the HOA. I have also contracted all the doors/windows so the remaining units will be completed within 4 to 6 months depending on the workers.

I had a lot of interest in the one level units and we continue to offer finance. Regards, Kjetil


See more details on these condos here

For answers to specific questions contact, Kjetil Haugan, at kjetil@haugancruises.com

This is an exciting evolution for the small community and remains a great bargain… the $79,000 price includes club membership which includes use of all the improved facilities.

Back in 2007, my friend, Kjetil Haugan, sent me a note that he was building this hotel and would have his the new year celebration there.

When I saw the construction pictures… I wondered.  A lot of work seemed undone.

This was the hotel in November 2007.


and the pool at the hotel.


Yet Kjetil did have the hotel open for the 2008 New Year celebration.

When we visited in early January 2008,  the hotel looked like this.


Kjetil then told me that the hotel was also designed as the clubhouse for 60 + condos he would build on this land behind the hotel.


I knew the land..  I knew Kjetil.  I was impressed and bought the first five condos myself.  Kjetil said that he would have the first units finished by the end of the year.

True to his word, Kjetil kept to his timing and despite the recession of 2008 has completed and sold out this development.

Ecuador beach real estate is still inexpensive but prices have been rising. Those condos began at $79,000 but prices have risen over the last year to:

I personally have a unit here  in the Vistazul complex so this is my front yard.


Here are the first condos which originally went on sale at $79,000.


They are 1,200 square feet, two and a half bathroom, two bedroom units, on two floors and a roof terrace.


Here is a group of our delegates inspecting the roof terrace.


Here is the sunset view from the beach in front of these units.


They are one minute’s amble to the club house restaurant, where you can dine.


The seafood comes fresh from these fishermen who leave from the beach in front of the clubhouse each day.


Kjetil Haugan, a Norwegian who moved to Ecuador after being the administrator of Atlanta’s Olympic Village, became a prominent businessman, owning the largest Spanish school in the country along with several Galapagos cruise ships.

Kjetil and his wife Jessica built Palmazul Hotel which is also the clubhouse for these condos.

The owners of the condos  enjoy Palmazul as their community center…all the hotel facilities are available to home owners.  This provides living on the beach with tennis court, pool, beach, fine dining, exercise room and all.


Here is a shot taken from one of the Vistazul condo rooftops.


Until next message, good Ecuador living!

I always recommend that you look and then rent before you buy.


Ecuador Beach Hotel Savings

Ecuador beach hotel savings just improved at Palmazul Coastal Hotel Spa, one of the newest Ecuador beach hotels.

Palmazul sits directly on Ecuador’s beach and is offering an Ecuador coastal Hometel program so you can have a home away from home on Ecuador’s beach…live in luxury on the Ecuador sea at very low cost for a week, month…or longer at a time.

Palmazul becomes your home for an Ecuadorian coastal adventure on the Pacific.


This is your Ecuador coastal swimming pool and tennis court…really on the beach…overlooking the Ecuadorian sea.

ecuador-beach-condo-tennnis court view

This empty Ecuador beach, is your front yard at this Ecuadorian coastal hotel.

Here are some snapshots of the Palmazul Coastal Hotel and Spa.  We are working with owners Kjetil and Jessica Haugan so you can stay in this new modern spa hotel at an extra low rate of monthly rate of $1,499 (less than half the normal daily rate). ($1,599 for a couple)

Why is this Ecuador beach hotel savings now better?

Merri and I, plus friends, each purchased a large, two room suite with kitchenette on the third floor of the hotel. These units have huge balconies and are so new that the pictures below were taken before the units were furnished.  You can stay in these units (when available) so you have more space then in a normal hotel room.

The sunset is wonderful from these units.


The kitchenette allows you to prepare your own meals.


These are large, two room units with extra balconies off both the living room and king size bedrooms.


The very low, monthly or weekly rent includes a wonderful served breakfast from this dining room overlooking Ecuador’s wonderful Pacific coast.

Dinner here is special too. You visit this Ecuadorian fisherman when he brings in his fresh Pacific catch each day back to the hotel….where you can choose your meal. Few Ecuadorian coastal hotels offer this service.

Wonderful Pacific fish, crabs and shrimp that are huge…like this….cooked at the hotel minutes after they are brought off the boat.

Or stroll into nearby Ecuadorian coastal town of San Clemente where the hotel is located for dinner or lunch as we often do. The many Ecuadorian coastal seafood cafes on or near the beach. like this one…

serve seafood… a full meal, Ceviche, fried, or grilled for $3.50 to $5.50.

A short walk back to Palmazul Coastal Hotel & Spa gives you miles of empty beach.

San Clemente is a charming rustic, coastal village, 45 minutes north of the port city of Manta, almost exactly in the middle of Ecuador ’s coast.  Bahia, Ecuador’s nicest coastal town is 30 minutes north.  Palmazul is perfectly located on a dead end road..enjoying proximity to town yet it is quiet as there is no through traffic. Transportation is also easy and fun…small motorcycles with a seat!

San Clemente is a perfect starting point for exploring Ecuador ’s coast…in the middle so you can reach the north or south of the coast in a day.

Yet in San Clemente, the days are full.  Fish from the jetties, stroll the beach, travel the coast, hike, horse ride, play tennis or just relax around the pool or on the beach.

Of course you can also work. Palmazul offers free wireless broadband for your laptop. Enjoy the peace and quiet of Ecuador ’s coast, but always stay in touch electronically with the rest of the world.

The spa also has a treatment room where you can enjoy a massage.

Your room will have a view and private balcony so your comfort does not end when the sun sets.

As dusk arrives so does the seas breeze…fresh into your room.

Cozy in your bed…

The surf serenades you in a soft night’s sleep…so you’ll be ready for the gentle surf and Pacific waters warmed by Ecuador ’s never ending sun.

To make your reservation, simply choose the order form below.


Ecuador Coastal Hotels Savings

Reserve here monthly $1,499, Single $1,599 Double

Reserve here weekly  $599 Single $649 Double

See El Meson’s Hometel Cotacachi program at https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-hotel-savings

See how to stay at low rates in the mountains and on the sea

Enjoy Ecuador Christmas Roses until December 18.

Join us at a course in Cotacachi or on Ecuador’s coast this winter.

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

See condos like this in Cotacachi for $46,500.


Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

See Manta condos like this one. Delegates are inspecting the 1,000+ square foot patio.


The patio has this view.

manta-condo tags

Feb. 9-11 Beyond Logic-Shamanic Mingo

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ

Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 10-15 Ecuador Export Expedition

March 16-19 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one$1,799 for two

Here is our Ecuador tour schedule for the balance of 2009.

Date                    Course                      Couples Fee

May 21-26  Ecuador Spanish Course         ($999)
May 27-28  Imbabura Real Estate Tour      ($749)

June 12-15  Shamanic Mingo Tour             ($999)
June 16-17  Imbabura Real Estate Tour      ($749)
June 18-21  Coastal Real Estate Tour         ($749)

July 2-7       Ecuador Import Export Expedition ($1,499)
July 8-9       Imbabura Real Estate Tour     ($749)
July 10-13   Coastal Real Estate Tour        ($749)

Sept. 17-22  Ecuador Spanish Course        ($999)
Sept. 23-24  Imbabura Real Estate Tour     ($749)
Sept. 25-28  Coastal Real Estate Tour        ($749)

Oct. 21-26   Ecuador Import Export Expedition ($1,499)

Nov. 6-8       International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador ($999)
Nov. 9-10     Imbabura Real Estate Tour          ($749)
Nov. 11-14   Coastal Real Estate Tour            ($749)

Attend any two Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one$1,349 for two

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one$1,799 for two

Better still join us all year in Ecuador! See our entire schedule of 26 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions we’ll conduct in 2009.

The course fee includes meeting at Quito airport (day before the
course)…transportation (by group bus) to Cotacachi and back to Quito.
Course fee does not include air are. accommodations, food or individual

Ecuador Beach Real Estate Pictures

Ecuador beach real estate still offers great sun and sea values. Here are several delegates on one of our Ecuador beach tours looking at beach view lots for $12,500

See pictures of property we view on our tours.


How is this for an Ecuador “on – the – beach” front yard?


Would you like this type of sunset view on Ecuador ’s coast from your front room?


Would a one minute amble, if this were your local Ecuador beach property restaurant, do good for your heart…and soul?


What if the food came fresh from these fishermen who set out to sea?


to bring back seafood like these shrimp so large that two make a meal…for just a dollar?


Is this close enough to the beach? Remember that tides and high waves diminish as they grow closer to the equator and this beach is on the equator…in Ecuador . There are no hurricanes on the equator and much less worry about coastal erosion.

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you’ll want to attend one of our 2009 Ecuador Coastal real estate tours. All of these pictures were taken from Palmazul Spa in San Clemente, the central departure point of our Ecuador Coastal Property Tours.

Merri and I have scoured Ecuador for 13 years and have driven its coast, top to bottom, again and again. We have taken thousands of people on real estate tours here. We finally settled in the high Andes …but have not forgotten the beautiful Pacific. We have a house in the mountains and our apartment here in the sea.

Our apartment is top floor, left side, here at Palmazul Spa.


The Spa is also the clubhouse for the Vistazul condos. Merri and I purchased some of these condos as well.  Immense value in my opinion. Here is a picture taken from Palmazul Spa at one of our real estate tours. Delegates are visiting the first Vistazul condos as they were being finished.


These are 1,200 square feet, two bedroom, two bathroom condos selling at $84,000 including clubhouse membership for tour delegates.


Here is one of our groups taking a closer look. These are just one of many properties we’ll view on our tours.

We’ll see some more of the Ecuador beach real estate our previous tours have seen in a moment.

The builder, Kjetil Haugan is a Norwegian who moved to Ecuador after being the administrator of Atlanta’s Olympic Village. He has become a prominent businessman, owning the largest Spanish school in the country along with several Galapagos cruise ships.

Kjetil and Jessica have taken good care of our groups many times and we have always been pleased.

The owners of the houses here will enjoy the spa as their community center…all the spa facilities will be available to home owners. Nice…living in a spa on a beach, Palmazul. Tennis court, pool, beach, fine dining, exercise room and all.


Here is a shot taken from one of the Vistazul condo rooftops.


and a picture taken from the top of the condos at sunset. Imagine this view!


We look at all types of property for sale in this area.

We cram in as many properties as we can without neglecting time for fun. Many of us hit the surf in front of Palmazul each morn. Here I am. Come on in. The water is warm!


We also take walks on the empty San Clemente beach.

Ecuador-coastal-tour-beach tags

or a dip in the pool.


What specific properties will we see? I do not know. We research the tour just before we start, inspecting land and buildings that are for sale at that moment so we can maximize the efficiency of your trip. Our goal will be to find a cross section of property…land like this lot we saw on a previous tour.

In the end you enjoy are three days of travel with like minded souls led by experienced travelers and real estate buyers (Merri, me and/or trained staff), who know the area…who can provide you with all the important reliable contacts you need…attorneys…property inspectors…architects and brokers who can work with you…in English.

I cannot guarantee you will find a property you will love. Even if you do, I’ll probably try to talk you out of rushing in. What I can guarantee is a savings of time…trouble and many miles and many properties to see on wonderful surf and sand.

The tour fee includes the course, all bus travel, plus pickup and return to Quito airport if required.

The fee does not cover internal travel or round trip air fare from Quito to Manta, accommodations or food. Quito Manta round trip fares are $98 at time of this writing. Palmazul is $90 per night (plus 22% service and tax) including a full breakfast and dinner). A typical lunch is $5.


Join us and our hound Ma on the beach…

Jan 24-27 $499 Reserve here $749 For two

March 16-19 $499 Reserve here $749 For two

See dates for all our 2009 Ecuador Real Estate Tours here.

Economic Safety in Troubled Times

Learn about economic safety in Ecuador, the Blue Ridge and North Dakota.

These troubled economic times create wonderful, investment opportunity. The corrections in the stock market and depressed real estate prices combined with global inflationary pressures are developing a lush field of investing values.

Yet investors looking for economic safety need to exercise care in how they harvest this financial crop.

Troubled times create distortions. Distortions create problems. Problems create opportunity. Opportunity creates economic safety and financial profit, if you look carefully for value and make sure your liquidity remains safe during the search.

This is one reason why Merri and I love Ecuador. The people are peace loving. The people are independant. Ecuador’s population have a history of caring for themselves. They know how to farm. The food supply is abundant. Ecuador is oil rich. Ecuadorians do not have the expectation that the government should supply their every want, need and desire. There is less likely to be violent civil unrest in troubled times.

Here in the Blue Ridge there is also a history and connection to independence. Heating and food is plentiful. People know how to survive tough times.

One great pleasure in our International Investment and Business Courses are the people we meet and friends made. People always enjoy each other. Merri and I do as well. Some delegates have been coming to our courses for decades, so we were delighted at our course last weekend when one delegate and good friend from North Dakota who has attended many times over the past 20 years was with us.

He told me a some things about North Dakota that started me quickly searching.

First, the Bank of North Dakota, located in Bismarck, ND, is the only state-owned bank in the nation. The bank has over $160 million in capital and is in partnership with over 100 other North Dakota financial institutions. More important because the bank is owned by the state, it has a credit rating of AA.

The main deposit base of the bank is the state itself. Sate law requires all state funds and funds of state institutions to be deposited there. However deposits are accepted from any source, including private citizens.

The bank is not a member of the Federal Depository Insurance Corporation. The State of North Dakota guarantees all deposits regardless of amount (over $100,0000) in the bank. So this is quite a safe place to hold liquid funds.

Do not expect free irons, dinner plates or special incentives to open accounts. Though individuals can open accounts at the bank, this is not the main business so it offers fewer retail services than most commercial banks. The bank only has one office and does not try to compete in consumer banking.

So, how good is the guarantee of the State of North Dakota?

According to an October 7 2008 article at KXMCTV in Minot, North Dakota, the
state has a pile of money. North Dakota is one of the few states with a budget surplus, estimated at a billion dollars.

The state also has some good economic fundamentals. First it is rich in agriculture, beef cattle, milk, hogs and honey producers rank North Dakota among the leading producers.

Wheat is the leading farm product in North Dakota, ranking second in production only behind Kansas. North Dakota grows more durum wheat (used for pasta) than any other state.

North Dakota also leads all other states in the production of barley and sunflower seeds and is a leader in the production of flaxseed (linseed oil).

North Dakota is among the leading states in the production of canola seed, honey, navy beans, oats, pinto beans, rye, soybeans and sugar beets.

Hay is important, grown for livestock feed.

That bodes well for the state in inflationary times…but there is more…energy.

Just beneath its surface North Dakota has a 1,000-year supply of coal. The third largest gasification plant in the world is here. This is the only commercial-scale coal gasification plant in the United States. North Dakota power plants have 4.5 gigawatts of electric generating capacity and are some of the most efficient and reliable in the nation. Energy, real estate costs and taxes are some of the lowest in the country.

Then there is oil. North Dakota has a lot of it. Brigham Exploration Company alone says discoveries suggest 42 million to 71 million barrels of oil.

Brigham shares sell on Nasdaq under the code BEXP.

North Dakota could become one of America’s leaders in energy production. The state has near limitless supply of coal, incredible potential for wind, ethanol and biodiesel production, and increasingly productive oil fields.

Congress has extended several renewable energy tax credits for wind and biodiesel projects, small ethanol and biodiesel producers that will help North Dakota’s economy.

North Dakota is the sixth-largest energy producing and exporting state and has more potential for renewable energy growth.

According to North Dakota’s Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Program, “North Dakota has the potential to supply 36% of the electricity of the lower 48 states through its wind supply alone.” Wind development in North Dakota is taking off, over the past year throughout the state.

North Dakota’s Senator Kent Conrad recently met with T. Boone Pickens as he has developed a New Energy Reform Act, which includes some of Picken’s ideas. The Pickens plan aims to reduce dependence on oil by increasing the amount of clean energy like wind power and solar power.

An ABC news article entitled, “The Backyard Economy: North Dakota
A Look at the Peace Garden State’s Economic Issues” by Christine Byun says:

“Surging commodity prices and a weaker dollar have enhanced North Dakota’s economic strength, leading to stronger growth and continued investment throughout the state.

‘The chances of a state recession are incredibly low,’ said David Flynn, an economist at the University of North Dakota. ‘The most likely scenario would be for North Dakota to continue to grow.’ State Fiscal Management Director Sheila Peterson said state revenues are 13 percent ahead of forecasts, which she partially attributes to ‘solid growth’ in the tourism, energy and agriculture sectors. The state’s bountiful crops play a big part of its exports; agricultural products pulled about $170 million into North Dakota in 2006. Last year, the state’s fertile farmlands produced the most wheat and barley in the nation, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

North Dakota is not solely dependent on agriculture. It also exports machinery and crude oil products. The energy industry — both oil and alternative sources — is expanding, according to state labor market analyst Kevin Iverson. The natural resources and mining sector added 4,000 jobs to their payrolls since last March.

“Oil is an absolutely booming industry in the state,” Iverson said, noting that the western portion of the state has benefited as companies direct their attention to the Bakken rock formation as a potential oil reservoir.

“The dollar’s declining value to foreign currencies has is also spurring economic activity in North Dakota. While the state sells almost half its exports to Canada, savvy shoppers from north of the border are crossing in to Grand Forks and Minot to take advantage of what are essentially reduced prices for them and in the process, driving up retail trade.

“A potential weak spot for North Dakota is the state’s lower than average unemployment rate. Economists worry with fewer people looking for work, companies interested in doing business in North Dakota could potentially bypass the state because of the tight labor market and lack of available workers.”

Bank of North Dakota’s website is www.banknd.com

There you have it…places that may be safer than most…places that may offer more opportunity and economic safety in troubled times.


Learn more about economic safety this November.  Join Merri, me, Steve, Kjetil Haugan and Peter Conradsen of Jyske Global Asset Management in Cotacachi Ecuador. We’ll review economic conditions, Ecuador real estate, my entire portfolio and investing and business ideas for the months ahead.

Nov 7-9 2008 International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador

See the wonderful balconies in the Primavera condos at for sale at $46,000 in Cotacachi.


Nov 10-11 Imbabura Real Estate tour

Then travel to the coast. Enjoy the Vistazul swimming pool on Ecuador’s Pacific.

Picture 9

November 12-15, 2008 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour; Quito Real Estate Tour

See discounts for two or more of these courses and tours

Vilcabamba Ecuador Real Estate

Merri and I first visited Vilcabamba, Ecuador while looking for business and investing opportunities in Ecuador.

This tiny South American country contains such diversity that its Pacific coast to Andean peaks terrain has the same bio-diversity as all the territory ranging from the equator to the Arctic Circle. This and its equatorial location also means it is the closest source to North America of maximum daily direct sunlight.

Vilcabamba has been attracting many residents since we visited. They are moving to communities like CLUB HACIENDA EL ATILLO, RESORT & SPA.


Vilcabamba has great beauty. This is a view from the Club Hacienda El Atillo gated community in Vilcabamba.


This photo was taken from the LA MOLIENDA DE EL ATILLO lodge which has three apartments that can be rented (two to four people) on a daily or monthly basis.

Here is a house in the community.


and plaza.


Merri and I visited Vilcabamba over a decade ago because during our initial research the Ecuadorian consul told of Vilcabamba’s great beauty and he explained that the residents had great longevity.

After our first two journeys to Ecuador, I became increasingly fascinated with the fact that some of the valleys including Vilcabamba have special qualities, which enhance longevity. Residents in these valleys had a history of reaching extreme ages.

Imagine sitting round this pool in your back yard as you view the mountains of Vilcabamba Ecuador.


Further research brought me to an article written in the January 1973 National Geographic entitled, “Every Day Over 100 is a Gift” written by Dr. Alexander Leaf. This article was written about the three valleys-one in Georgia (then USSR), one in Pakistan (Hunza) and the valley of Vilcabamba, where 1,080 people per 100,000 lived on average to be 100. The article compared this to three per 100,000 in the United States. More important those who reached a ripe age (even over 100) remained vital, sexually active, still work and participate regularly in the community.

This National Geographic article shows pictures of some of the world’s oldest people. For example, a picture featured one of Vilcabamba’s patriarchs, Miguel Carpio, getting a haircut. Carpio was aged 123 and Said, “I would not like to be young again, but if I could take 15 years from my age (be 108 again)- wonderful!” Another picture showed Hermelinda Leon, aged 94, who labors at the Vilcabamba bakery. The cover picture was a trim Jose Roa who at 87 years slogs daily through Ecuadorian ooze to make adobe.

There are plenty of ways to enjoy healthy exercise at the Club Hacienda El Atillo gated community in Vilcabamba.


Tennis courts at LA MOLIENDA DE EL ATILLO lodge.

These valleys offered not only ideal living conditions, but also special waters acclaimed in many global scientific journals.

This greatly peaked our curiosity and we started looking for ways to visit this valley. We found one reason these people lived so long was because they were isolated from the rest of society. Everyone in Ecuador knew of Vilcabamba but few knew how to get there.

Finally we drove the spine of the Andes and visited this special place and enjoyed its exquisite beauty. Due to its remoteness we never returned, but times have changed and I know that many readers now visit their and love it. You can see why in the pictures below…the wonderful views…the amazing landscapes like this at LA MOLIENDA DE EL ATILLO lodge.


Because of this, when Manuel Vivanco Riofrio asked me to place an advertisement for the Club Hacienda El Atillo gated community in Vilcabamba, after just a little checking, I agreed to do so.

Here is what Manuel originally wrote about Vilcabamba.

“I am the developer of a project in Vilcabamba Loja Ecuador Which we feel is an excellent place for those who wish to enjoy the magic of this valley but also wish convenience. Our project is only two blocks from the center of the village.

We have great experience in this area as our family has owned the farm “EL ATILLO” for 200 years. We now wish to share this experience with those who wish to live in our longevity valley. We offer land parcels, houses and suites. we have developed 36 lots and 25 have been sold, ten to Americans, four Europeans and eleven to Ecuadorians.

Club Hacienda El Atillo is in an advanced state of construction, Our condominiums are almost finished, our club area is 65% complete and we feel that the project is very special.”

Here are some more photos taken at Club Hacienda El Atillo in Vilcabamba Ecuador.

Wonderful flowers.


Great landscaping.


Scenic views.


CLUB HACIENDA EL ATILLO, RESORT & SPA has 24/7 Security, Swimming Pool, Tennis Court, Library, Restaurant, Bar, Chapel, Spa., Gym, Equestrian Club, Gallery, Gardens, Cascades, Walking paths, sidewalks and Roadways,club house, Plaza, 360 degree panoramic and breath taking view of the Valley and more.

You can get more information, prices, a full brochure and site plan of Club Hacienda El Atillo Resort & Spa in Vilcabamba Ecuador from Manuel Coriofrio by email  at elatilloclubhacienda@hotmail.com or manuelvivancoriofrio@hotmail.com

Or call his mobile phones at: 092.772546 or 099.444495

Until next message, may every nook and valley of yours have such beauty as well.


Learn more about Vilcabamba and Ecuador this November. Join Merri, me, Steve, Kjetil Haugan and Peter Conradsen of Jyske Global Asset Management in Cotacachi Ecuador. We’ll review economic conditions, Ecuador real estate, my entire portfolio and investing and business ideas for the months ahead.

Nov 7-9 2008 International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador

Stay on for our Imbabura real estate extension. See wonderful condos for sale at $46,000 in Cotacachi with beautiful hardwood kitchens like this.

multi-currency-Ecuador-condo kitchen

Nov 10-11 Imbabura Real Estate tour

Then travel to the coast. Enjoy Ecuador’s coast and see condos for $89,000 on Ecuador’s Pacific with views like this.

Ecuador-beach-condo-sunset view

November 12-15, 2008 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour;

The coastal tour includes a free one day Quito Real Estate Tour November 16, 2008.

See discounts for two or more of these courses and tours

We can also arrange Ecuador real estate guided tours to Vilcabamba.


Enjoy Vilcabamba Ecuador.


Here is the brochure for Club Hacienda El Atillo Resrot & Spa


and site plan


You can get full size brochures and site plans emailed by emailing Manuel Coriofrio at elatilloclubhacienda@hotmail.com or manuelvivancoriofrio@hotmail.com