Tag Archive | "London"

Cotacachi Travel Fares

We are very lucky that a current global airfare war has pushed Ecuador airfares down to ridiculous levels.  This makes it very inexpensive getting to our winter 2009 conferences and tours….plus gets all of us out of the winter doldrums!

Cotacachi travel fares can be reduced if you understand how to get to Quito and then how to travel to Cotacachi from Quito.

First airfares to Quito.  We often get requests about how to find the lowest air fares to Ecuador and Cotacachi from Africa, Canada,Europe, and the US.  See some incredible rates from all these destinations

We use www.Kayak.com to check fares and regularly find really low Ecuador air fares as you’ll see below.

For example, the round trip Ecuador airfare, Los Angeles to Quito Ecuador, is $480 including taxes. Lacsa is a Costa Rican airline and that Ecuador air fare is available today.  There are 40 flight Ecuador air fare combinations at that price right now.

Here are other US and Canadian fares form kayak.com.  All are round trip and include all taxes and coordinate with our January classes!

Toronto – Quito Ecuador – $660.  American Airlines

Vancouver BC – Quito Ecuador – $799.  Alaskan Air/Continental

Chicago – Quito Ecuador – $662.  United/Copa

New York – Quito Ecuador – $481. Lacsa

Houston – Quito Ecuador – $774. Lacsa

Dallas – Quito Ecuador – $670. Delta

Miami – Quito Ecuador – $496. LAN

Atlanta – Quito Ecuador – $653. American Airlines

One trick is to look for low fares to gateway airports such as Houston, New York, Atlanta and Miami…then look for a low fare from the gateway.  If you are looking for fares from Europe, Africa or UK, look for the cheap fares in the Sunday newspapers and then double check Kayak.

This does not always work though.  As we saw above, it is less expensive to fly to Quito via Dallas than Houston right now.

Sometimes the Ecuador air fare savings, especially from Africa and Europe can be enormous.

Take Johannesburg, South Africa to Quito as an example.  American Airlines offers the lowest direct fare of about $1800…however, if you take Egypt Air to London then you can save an extra $450 each.

If you know a cheap fare from Johan Airport to Amsterdam, Madrid, or London then go for that…and then continue on direct to Quito.  Fiddling around like this can save thousands!

Or get this one…go non stop on Egypt Air to Madrid…then Madrid AA to Quito. This approach brings the fare down to $925 per person round trip from Africa to Ecuador!  If you can find a cheap flight to Madrid from anywhere in Africa or Europe, then you may be able to save big time!

Keep in mind, there are always more than one way to skin a cat.  Think Creatively!!!

Check local European newpapers for air fare bargains to Madrid, Amsterdam and London from wherever you are.  Then check the fares from these three gateways to Quito.  Compile the fares and as above you can sometimes save in the above cases over  $1,500.

We are not travel agents of course, but we help Ecuador Living subscribers and our course and tour delegates find low cost air fares to Ecuador. We provide subscribers and delegates with an email code so we can sort their request amidst the hundreds of emails that arrive here each day.

As an Ecuador Living subscriber, you can also learn how to travel to Cotacachi from Quito at Cotacachi by Train, Plane and Automobile

And don’t forget we can arrange to meet your flight in Quito!

You can subscribe to Ecuador Living Service here.

Until next message, may every fare in your life be fair!


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

Here is a long shot of Cotacachi.


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)

All Cotacachi Tours and Courses are condcuted at our colonial inn, meson de las Flores were we enjoy Breakfast “al fresco”.

Cotacachi hotel El Meson de las Flores

All Coastal tours are conducted on the beach from our coastal home at Hotel Palmazul.

manta real estate in Ecuador tags

You should normally plan to arrive in Quito two days before the course.  We will pick you up at the airport, help you to your hotel in Quito and bring the group to Cotacachi by coach.

For coastal tours we travel as a group from Quito to Manta by air, then tour the coast for two and a half days returning to Quito on the evening of the third day.

Here I am with Merri and Ma at Palmazul’s beach.

Ecuador real estate for sale

Here I am hiking with Ma above Cotacachi.

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

Cotacachi Cathedral at night.

Cotacachi hotel El Meson de las Flores

Shamanic ceremony on mingo tour.

2008-04-13 Ecuador shamans

Enjoying the surf at Palmazul.

Ecuador real estate for sale

Cotacachi plaza.

Cotacachi hotel El Meson de las Flores

Palmazul beach.

Ecuador real estate for sale

Merri, me and Ma above Cotacachi

Gary Scott

Sunset at Palmazul.

Ecuador real estate for sale

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 transportation.

Ecuador Travel Tips

Here are three Ecuador travel tips.

Lan airlines just announced special low cost round trip, Miami-Quito winter 2009 fares, as low as $496…including tax.

American Airlines immediately dropped their fare to match this.

Ecuador travel tip #1 is watch for this fare war to continue. On December 7th 2008, Aerogal starts a new Miami-Guayaquil service.  Previously when a new flight was added by Aerogal, American Airlines really slashed fares.  Keep your eyes peeled for some super Ecuador air fare deals.

Ecuador travel tip #2 is to drink Canella (cinnamon) panella (unrefined cane sugar) tea when in Quito and at other high Andean altitudes. This is a shamanic tip we share with all our visitors who visit us.  This tea helps combat altitude problems.

Ecuador travel tip #3 on another way to fight high altitudes comes from Candace Newman. Merri and I have traveled in Ecuador with Candace and shamans. She always traveled with Frankincense and even taught the shamans a few lessons about ways to use essential oils during Ecuador travel.

Normally Candace shares a story about Ecuador and essential oils in the later part of the month.  I asked her to contribute early this month.  We always give our children essential oils at Christmas so I wanted readers you who feel the same way to have a chance to order essential oils as Christmas gifts.

Here we are with Candace at our North Carolina farm where we brought an Ecuador shaman, Indian pundit and Native North American healer together for a purification ceremony.


One other reason for this message is that many of you are traveling to Ecuador for or after the holidays.  Some will find the toilets in Ecuador below standards they are used to.  Part of Candace’s note below is worth reading when she writes:

When traveling from town to town in Ecuador and Peru, using the “bathrooms” along the way are always part of the adventure. One of my favorite things to do was to put a drop of Frankincense in my palm and rub my hands together as a wash. Then cup my nose and breathe deeply.

Essential oils are anti fungal…anti bacterial…and anti viral so this makes great sanitary sense.

Here I am with our son Jake practicing an Andean purification rite…yes the white stuff is snow…though there are easier ways.


Here Merri and I hike in the winter sun into a sacred valley near Cotacachi.


For a purification ceremony here.


We’ll have ceremonies in this valley on our Beyond Logic Course February 9-10-11, 2009

and our Ecuador Shamanic Mingo June 13-14-15 2009

Merri and I finish a purification ceremony with this yatchak in Latacunga.


Here is one of our groups at a shamanic ceremony at Inkapirka outside of Cuenca.


Read how Frankincense can also help with the high altitudes you’ll encounter in the Andes in Candace’s entire message below.

Traveling with Frankincense

by Candace Newman

Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) is known as one of the most important religious and spiritual oils and aromatic incenses in history. It also has historical medicinal value. Franc is from the medieval French meaning pure and fine. Incensium is Latin for to smoke.  Some of the medicinal uses include skin care and repair, respiratory, rheumatism, digestive and nervous issues. In Aromatherapy it is noted for skin care, relaxation, exhaustion and nervous tension. It is a small tree native to the Middle East, North Africa, and South Arabia. The oleo gum resin is collected by making incisions in the bark. The liquid solidifies into orange-brown resin. The resin is collected and steam distilled to produce the essential oil. In many countries, it is an inherited right to farm the trees. Few plants have such a rich history with deep meaning through centuries and civilizations.

The main reason I travel with Frankincense is because its role of protection and strength really resonate with my soul … to the point of feeling like every trip is a pilgrimage. We come home a little different than when we left…. since there is always at least one gem of wisdom to acquire and apply to our life. Historically, it was known and used to protect from disease, and guard the spirit. When I’m tired and feeling weak….I feel the strength is has for me.

Madame Micheline Arcier of London, my most prized teacher of essential oils (who passed away in 2006 on the day we closed our shop in Naples, Florida to move to Colorado) told me she always traveled with Frankincense.

When traveling from town to town in Ecuador and Peru, using the “bathrooms” along the way are always part of the adventure. One of my favorite things to do was to put a drop of Frankincense in my palm and rub my hands together as a wash. Then cup my nose and breathe deeply.

In the hotel after the train ride from Cusco to the high mountain town below Machu Picchu in Peru, I put a drop of Frankincense on the four corners of my bed. This felt like good protection and strength for the high altitude and the climb. It was also an act of gratitude for the whole process.

In several places on these trips, I put 1-2 drops on a cotton ball for my night stand as a personal diffuser.

My husband, John, and I spent a year in Saudi Arabia, and the ancient sense and scents of Frankincense was very evident there. The knowledge that is was precious cargo carried along the secret trade routes, and its connection to the sacred gifts of “Frankincense, Myrrh, and Gold” was quite mystical. It feels good to travel with Frankincense as one of your companions.

Four Simple Ways to Honor and Enhance your Traveling Adventures with Frankincense:

# 1.  To create a sanctuary-environment in your room, put several drops of pure essential oil in a room diffuser, or put 1-2 drops on a cotton ball for the corner of your bed.

#2.    During a quiet time of reflection, put 1-2 drops of oil in the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together, cup your nose, close your eyes and breathe deeply. This is excellent to do before a session of Yoga, Tai Chi, or prayer. If you are outside, add a drop to the sacred ground you are standing on and give thanks.

#3.    If you want to rub some on your temples or heart…make a Palm Blend by putting a little base oil (like olive oil, jojoba, or the local indigenous oil) in the palm of your hand and add 1-2 drops of this soulful essential oil.

#4.    You can make a mist with this if you add 2 drops to an ounce of purified water and shake well. Mist your space, pillow, bed, or head and face when needed.

If you don’t have Lavender with you, you can use pure Frankincense to dab on a cut. If you don’t have Eucalyptus with you for respiratory issues, use Frankincense. It is also a good choice to use in a room diffuser.

In the spiritual arena, Frankincense is known to deepen the breath, promote a peaceful balanced state, and help us slow down, as well as assisting the body in prayer and meditation. It’s known to heal the physical body from disease and wounds. One of the reasons to use Frankincense is for strength and protection and setting the spirit free.

You may purchase a bottle of Frankincense pure essential oil (Boswellia carteri from Somalia) at this link to Candace’s website.


Order Frankincense 10ml here $43.45

Here I am at a shamanic ceremony in the Amazon.


Here we are with Dr. Jay Glaser and Dr. Joe Spano at a shamanic ceremony at the Rumicucho Inca pyramids outside Quito.


Until next message, may all your travels be good!


Join us in Ecuador this winter.

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

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 transportation.

Cotacachi Crime

Cotacachi crime appears to be rising.

Let’s put some perspective on this and see why a friendly village like Cotacachi might have increased crime.

I love the dawn….the perspective it brings in its glowing magnificence. The sun always shines. We get another day. So I always try to live in places where I can see the sun rise. There is no better time to reflect…be grateful for the abundance we get from just living…and to prepare for whatever adventure the day may bring. Here is the sunrise from my North Carolina office.


Of course our apartment on the beach doesn’t have an eastern view. The sunsets compensate for this. Here is a shot we see almost daily when at Vistazul.


Whatever…sunrise…sunset. These are the universal daily statements about reality, abundance and the cycles of life.

So after watching this daybreak from my North Carolina office this morning, I was ready to grab life and the day at its fullest.

Reality check! Our hound and I discovered as we headed to the mail box…


that it was cold! 11 degrees F.

I was getting a sunburn last week in Ecuador last week and now am fighting frost bite!

When the leaves of the rhododendron along the creek curl…one knows that it is just plan freezing cold.


We are heading back as soon as we can where we can enjoy warm, sunny Cotacachi sunrises instead.

These are the sunrise views we see from our apartment in Cotacachi Ecuador. There is no crime in this!

Looking south past the Cathedral.


Looking east over Mt. Imbaura.


Every morning Merri and I take a sunrise stroll though the village beginning here.


We love it. The people are so friendly….


and happy.


We stop on our morning strolls and chat with everyone from the street cleaners who clean up after the frequent festivals….to the Mayor the Priests and the Nuns if they happen to pass by.

Cotacachians are earnest,..






and colorful.


All of these scenes were taken in the streets of Cotacachi and we feel safe here. Even the children walk freely early morning and in the dark of night.


Now this confidence has been blemished by Cotacachi crime.

I am keeping this in perspective….but Steve just sent me this note.

Gary, There was a robbery at a farm in an outlying area that is owned by one of our readers. This was a pretty chastening experience for another reader who is renting there. About 10.45pm yesterday he was in his bedroom. His window crashed and four men smashed climbed in. Three more came through the kitchen. One of those three had a pistol and one had a knife. Seeing resistance was futile Shawn let go his club. The dogs outside didn’t bark and were probably drugged.

The renter was tied by wrists and legs and had a curtain thrown over him. The robbers, all masked except one, ransacked the house. They seemed to think he would have a large amount of money there and kept asking for that. He had a knife point put to his throat on various occasions. They took the fridge, freezer, cooker, clothes, shoes, laptop, two cameras, two cell phones, other electrical items, and found $500 cash he had hidden away.

Finally they left except three. Those three conversed with the renter asking him about his family. Told him not to go to police or they would kill him. Told him he should have company on the farm (that’s rich coming from robbers). Finally they untied him. He came to El Meson, shook up by the death threats. We asked some village elders for advice and were told to go to the Fiscalia and police.

We went together and were there for most of the morning. While there the fiscal agent commented that foreigners were being targeted and it could well be the same bandits. I asked about a robbery at a resort in adjoining area where apparently the owner lost $40,000.

I looked at the lists of reported crimes in a lined page book – many crimes since last April – 180 to be precise and many robberies. 2 or 3 cadavers, one murder yesterday (inside an indigenous community).

I am told that quite a few foreigners in town are afraid of what’s happening in the USA and are coming to Cotacachi with large amounts of cash (life savings) and gold ingots. This can create crime in Cotacachi.

I agree with the village elders that it is really the mayor’s duty to obtain more police etc. Two builders nearby at San Miguel are considering putting in private roads with guard(s) in a kiosk(s) to patrol against possible intruders.

We have put in a call to the vice mayor as well.

Mayor Auki has decided to run again and according to close sources he proposes running on a ‘control crime ‘ ticket and will implement many anti crime measures in his 4th term should he be re-elected. Steve”

I hate to see crime like this near Cotacachi….but let’s look at the overall picture.

Crime will grow everywhere in these tougher economic times.

Here in North Carolina we used to always leave all seven of our doors unlocked…even when we left for months at a time.

About this time last year, three of our neighbors, who ran a thriving Christmas tree farm and were known to keep large amounts of cash in their safe at home, were murdered.

In January 2008 a man was indicted on three counts of capital murder for the shooting deaths of our neighbors. Police say the three were shot at their residence when the indicted man was attempting to steal the safe from their garage.

We now lock our doors here in North Carolina, even during the day.

Now we will also take added precautions in Cotacachi to protect against crime there.

Our hotel is pretty safe at night…huge wooden doors are closed and we have a night watchman. We are adding a night time armed guard for a while to make this statement…”its dangerous to be a criminal at our hotel”.

Plus we will stick, on our walks, to the village. These Cotacachi crimes mentioned above took place outside the village of Cotacachi. This current robbery and the other mentioned, occurred in outlying areas that we know to be more dangerous. We warn our readers about going or buying there.

Ecuadorians are by nature not violent people.  Even so a recent Overseas Security Advisory Organization report says:

“Police reports show that in more and more cases, criminals are using some sort of weapon in the commission of their crime.”

Yet like in the US where victims can lose their lives, the report adds:

“Fortunately in the majority of these cases, the weapon is used for intimidation purposes only, with the result being that cooperative victims are seldom injured. Gratuitous violence is generally rare throughout the country, but is becoming more common in the larger cities, especially in Guayaquil.”

This reader who was robbed acted correctly…did not resist and ended up with a talking…not being shot like here in North Carolina.

One huge benefit in using our Ecuador Living service is that we are not brokers or travel agents. We are not trying to earn commissions by selling real estate or locations. For our modest subscription you get our honest opinion based on 40 years of international business and 13 years residence in Ecuador. We have an active Ecuador business and have personally purchased a 962 acre hacienda, condos in the mountains, a house, a hotel plus condos and apartments on the beach. Our Ecuador Living service shares our continual research and experiences in global business, living and investing in Ecuador. You gain access to our extensive contacts plus you get to share the input from over 15,000 subscribers who continually let us know what they see hear and experience good and bad.

Learn more at Ecuador Living.

We warn our readers about areas that we consider less safe, but if you do not subscribe, be sure to check if the area is friendly or not before you buy real estate there.

I hate to see crime in sweet Cotacachi. I hate to see it up here in friendly Ashe County North Carolina…especially when the rich are targeted.

Merri and I stick out in Cotacachi but we stick out here in the Blue Ridge as well. Yet we are used to being in the minority. We have learned how to blend in.

See more on this at The Benefits of Trading a Rolls Royce for a Beat Up 87 Ford.

For example when we built our modern seminar hall out here in the North Carolina wild…anyone passing by…who did not know…would see a familiar scene…an old Blue Ridge barn. We even used a special aging substance on the exterior to make it look old. Here is our Blue Ridge seminar hall…new but purposely looking old.


We have learned to look, as much as we can, like the locals…wherever we are.

For example our seminar delegate accommodations at our farm entrance are made to look like an old barn as well. Here is that apartment.


The rest of our delegate accommodations look old (and cold right now) from the outside…though some are brand new. Here are some more of our cabins.


I suspect that when those who are not our neighbors drive by and see dozens of cars parked in our meadow they think “rooster fight”…not …”a seminar on international investing”.

When I lived in Hong Kong…I was never going to be mistaken for an oriental. Yet I learn what areas and districts to avoid and how to avoid looking like a tourist. Instead I dressed and acted like a British businessman. Hong Kong was a colony then. That worked. Ditto for my decade in London.

Even though Americans of European decent look more English than Chinese, the robbers can spot tourists anywhere! London is the only place I was ever robbed…and just down the street from my home! See The Gift is in the Giving. A Gift from a Thief.

Economic downturns create crime in Cotacachi and everywhere. Disparity between the rich and the poor create crime. Be prepared.

Cotacachi is still a great place as far as I am concerned but Cotacachi crime may be growing with the larger Western population. I would be remiss not to say so.

Wherever you go, Cotacachi or anywhere take the following advice.

Remain alert! Be aware of your surroundings.

Vary your routines. Predictability makes you a more likely target.

Lock up your home, car and office.

Make your home a tough target. Use security systems.

Stay informed. Learn about crime trends in your area and stay away from dangerous areas. The crimes in Cotacachi just mentioned took place in outlying, isolated country areas.

Get Involved. Crime can be reduced with action.

Until next message may your partners never be crime.


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

Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

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 transportation.

Ecuador Bond Failure

Ecuador bond failure may create profits in two ways.

See below how an Ecuador bond failure might make properties like this hotel (for sale right now) worth more.


Many readers have sent me a link to the Bloomberg which says: “Ecuador May Default on $30 Million Interest Payment (Update2)” by Lester Pimentel and Daniel Cancel.

There are two important points we can spot by studying this article…one about global investing…the other about living abroad.

First, let me make one other point, the most important point of all. However you invest…wherever you live, do something you love.

For example, here I am working hard leading our latest Ecuador real estate tour. We are looking at a “hotel” for sale by the sea.


Do you think I am worried about how I am going to retire?

Work hard but enjoy the process! We love looking at places like this Ecuador “hotel” for sale.

The asking price?

You won’t believe it when you see it below.


The key is to invest in stuff you find interesting…and fun. Find a way to earn and smell the roses at the same time. In this case we are, as we inspect the hotel we smell the bougainvillea and hibiscus.

More on the hotel and price in a moment. Here is point one…about global investing.

The Bloomberg article about Ecuador bond defaults says:

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) — Ecuador said it may default on a $30 million interest payment as a tumble in oil erodes export receipts, putting President Rafael Correa on the verge of fulfilling a two-year-old threat to repudiate the country’s debt.

Correa will use the 30-day grace period on the bond payment, which is due tomorrow, to analyze legal opinions, Finance Minister Maria Elsa Viteri said at a news conference in Quito.

Ecuador’s finances have come under strain as oil, which accounts for 60 percent of the country’s exports, has plunged 61 percent from a record high in July to $57.23 a barrel.

Ecuador, which last defaulted in 1999, needs an oil price of $95 to cover all the spending in its budget and a price of $76 to avoid depleting its $6.3 billion of foreign reserves, according to Barclays Capital Inc.

“They are burning reserves,” said Eduardo Levy-Yeyati, an emerging-markets analyst at Barclays. “The question is whether they will keep paying if oil prices don’t recover.”

Ecuador’s foreign debt totaled $10 billion as of September, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. That’s equal to less than 25 percent of its $44 billion annual gross domestic product.

Correa, who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, won a landslide victory in November 2006 after promising to rewrite the constitution and boost spending on the poor. He said in September that he’d suspend debt payments before trimming spending on education and health care.

Correa has done this once before in February 2007. He said he would miss a $135 million bond interest payment but then made it.

Before that payment was made, on February 12, I wrote about buying these bonds:

The point is this speculation may be a good value because the premium you are paid to take the risk is higher than need be.

Readers who read this and bought this bond then (before the payment was made) earned 20% over night.

This time the risk premium is even more! I believe there are two reasons for the current higher potential return.

First, Ecuador is more likely to default this time than last. Correa is under more pressure to fulfill promises he has made now than he was two years ago. He had just started office then. Now he is mid term and people expect him to deliver. He may decide to spend the money on education, etc. instead.

Second, bond markets and especially emerging bond markets have been hit by a huge dose of panic. All bonds are priced lower than normal.

The bond issue in question is a $510 million bond maturing in 2012. Prices for this bond have plunged as low as 14 cents on the dollar. At this price, the bond yields over 100%.

Imagine this. If you were to buy this bond now and Ecuador does not default, each year for over three years, you double your original investment. A $50,000 investment might earn over $150,000 of income during the three years. Then you get your $50,000 back.

ON THE DOWN SIDE though Standard & Poor’s has cut the country’s rating three levels today to CCC-. This translates to basket case. If Ecuador does default, you could end up making no profit and perhaps losing part of your original investment…though it is unlikely you would lose it all.

Point #2:

A reader sent this note “Gary–with Ecuador defaulting on its debt–why would one want to invest in Ecuador?”

This reader has probably never lived abroad and does not understand that living conditions can get better when you live in a country where economic conditions are down. Prices are lower. Labor is easier to find. Everyone is more willing to serve and work hard…if you have money.

Merri and I were living in Ecuador when the sucre collapsed falling from 3,000 sucres per dollar to 24,000 sucres per dollar. Ecuador did default on its bonds then.

So what? All this meant was that food, clothing, shelter, staff, everything local cost about 1/8th as much as it had. Wages were down. Bargains were everywhere!

Merri and I were loved because we stayed. We spent. We provided jobs.

Life can actually be better in hard times…

…especially if you have your income and investments OUT of the depressed country.

There is a caveat. If conditions deteriorate too far, law and order can break down.

Ecuadorians are basically friendly, non violent people so I do not have any great concern about this. This is based on experience. I have lived in places where people were not quite as easy going.

I have lived through law and order breakdowns before, first time…when living in Hong Kong. Poverty created riots and bombs in the streets there in the late 1960s.

That was not fun.

Mind you, Hong Kong real estate prices went on to rise higher than almost anywhere in the world. Those troubled times were among the best for buying real estate…ever.

I saw problems with bombs in public places when I lived in London as well. In February 1991 the provisional IRA managed to actually launch mortars from a van 250 yards from the Prime Minister’s home at Number 10 Downing Street. One shell landed behind the residence and blew out the windows of the war office.

Closer to home, the bathroom door of Merri’s and my London house was jarred off its hinges when an explosive device was used to start a raid on the Iranian Embassy in 1980 after it had been taken over by Iranian Arab separatists. The embassy in South Kensington was near our house .

Did this ruin London?  London real estate prices have since risen to be among the highest in the world and Londoner’s standards of living have skyrocketed.

Problems create opportunity! Economic trouble in a country can create opportunity for those who have money to spend and invest.

Another worry that people have is that the Ecuadorian government will nationalize or confiscate property. There is little history to support this and such a seizure would make little sense.

Such concerns ignore the fact that there are all types of confiscation taking place everywhere…at every level…even in the good old USA.

One family at my last course told me how, for decades, they had been buying property to build low cost housing. They have prepared many of the properties so they followed the zoning ordinances so they could build. Now the municipality has changed rules so they can no longer build.

Taxes are increased. New rules are added and fines levied for non compliance of new zoning ordinances. Costs and problems have risen so dramatically that these developers have had to abandon some of their property to the municipality. After foreclosure the municipality has built the same low cost housing…but obviously less efficiently.

The argument here is not that Ecuador is better than the USA or England or Hong Kong, etc.

The argument here is not that Ecuador has no risk.

The two points are that the perception of risk may be overblown and the premium for taking the risk is high as well.

Plus Ecuador is a great place to be…especially in the winter.

Risk is everywhere.

Ask not, “Where is there no risk?”

Ask instead. “How much is the real risk and how much am I paid to take it?”

Find interesting (for yourself) investments that pay high risk premiums.

Find delightful places where YOU want to be where the cost of living is too low.

Until next message, good global investing and Ecuador living.


This brings us back to where we started working hard…looking at this hotel for sale. Nine bathrooms, about 15 bedroms.


Here is our latest group inspecting the hotel,which is one block from the Ecuador’s Pacific.


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
Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

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

We’ll view this hotel if it has not sold. It has a huge front porch.


Large second floor veranda with ocean views.


Beautiful flowered front yard.


The building is really rough and needs work…but over 8,000 square feet of building. The asking price is $60,000.

We have sent our Ecuador Living paid subscribers more details on this building on this Ecuador hotel for sale. If you subscribe, you can have this report. See how to subscribe to Ecuador Living here.

Join us for our next Spanish course ad real estate tours.

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
Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

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

Multi Currency Banks

Multi currency banks are important because the current global financial bailout creates predictable profit opportunities created by multi currency inflation.

Multi currency diversification and investing is needed to take advantage of this opportunity. Investors need multi currency banks or multi currency investment advisers to attain this type of multi currency position.

Yet getting good advisers at a price we can afford has become increasingly difficult. The same governments that create the need for multi currency diversification also hinder our ability to spread wealth beyond their control.

There are numerous reasons why governments do this. Suffice it to say here…this is fact.

Governments in the past used foreign exchange control. Globalization stopped that. Too much money flows across borders that governments cannot control.

Instead governments control their citizen’s wealth in another way now…by regulating banks abroad.

A Swiss bank for example has to comply with US, British, German, Canadian Australian laws, etc. if they accept business from citizens of these countries.

The US is perhaps the most aggressive at imposing this extra territorial jurisdiction…but by know means the only government.

This has been a creeping encroachment on ownership of wealth that has evolved over decades.

One message at this site said:

“Some years ago I wrote about the insidious tactics that the US and other governments have used to erode financial privacy and personal liberty and pointed out that the problem is that the government does not attack the individual but puts the pressure on the overseas financial institutions. The current additional move by the US government to collect tax is just one more small step.”

That message was posted in July 2000. I have been writing about these losses of our financial liberty for decades. This creeping loss of financial freedom is nothing new!

Recently US legal intervention abroad has become so intense, that many good banks will no longer accept US clients. See recent news about this here.

However, smart multi currency investors can still invest abroad if they know what to do. Since I write from experience, as much as I can, rather than research, let’s share what I do.

I mostly use Jyske Bank and London brokers, Smith Williamson, so let’s see what they can do for US and other investors. Then we will look at some other options as well.

Years ago I used 14 banks and brokers spread around the world. This created a lot of confusion, hassle and cost me in banking fees. I began to study the fees and service of each of those banks to whittle the numbers down.

Eventually I eliminated all but these two firms. They gave me the best service I required at what I considered the most reasonable fees.

We’ll look at Smith Williamson and the other options in upcoming messages.

Here we focus on Jyske. I have the bulk of my portfolio there.

First, let’s address the issue of safety. Normally this is a pretty moot point. Right now everyone is concerned. Is a bank safe or not? I like Jyske from a bank safety point of view because there are four bank safety points, from the top down.

Bank Safety Point #1: A recent Yahoo Canada article shows a survey by the World Economic Forum listed five safest countries in which to bank.


So Denmark is a safe place to bank. Now let’s look at Jyske Bank’s safety rating.

Bank Safety Point #2: Jyske Bank is Denmark’s second largest bank.

On October 10 2008, Moody’s affirmed Jyske Bank’s long-term Aa2 rating stable rating. This decision came despite the deteriorated economic prospects in Denmark, particularly in respect of the property market.

Bank Safety Point #3: Also on Friday 10 October 2008, the Danish Parliament passed a bill that secured all deposits and unsecured claims against losses in Danish financial institutions. The rating of the Kingdom of Denmark is Aaa/AAA with Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s respectively.

Bank Safety Point #4: Finally when you invest abroad, most assets you hold are yours, kept in a depository account. These assets would not be lost even if a bank failed.

So what can Jyske Bank do for you?

Here we must divide services…just a bit…between US residents and citizens versus the rest of the world.

Overseas banks,who are not registered with the SEC cannot provide investment advice or buy certain investments for US clients without potentially incurring the wrath of a number of US regulatory agencies.

Jyske overcame this concern by creating a wholly owned, but independent, subsidiary, Jyske Global Asset Management (JGAM) that is registered with the SEC.

Essentially JGAM can do almost the same for US investors that  Jyske Bank Private Bank (JBPB) can do for non US clients. There are a couple of quirks in this which we will view in a moment.

First, overall, here is what both JGAM and JBPB  can do for non US investors.

They can:

#1: Offer savings and current accounts in dozens of currencies.
#2: Buy and sell seasoned bonds in dozens of currencies.
#3: Buys and sell shares in dozens of exchanges around the world.
#4: Buy and sell commodities around the world.
#5: Trade in numerous guaranteed investments.
#6: Lend in dozens of currencies to hedge or leverage investments.
#7: Provide managed or advisory only accounts.

There are some differences between the US and overseas service.

Here is what Jyske Bank Private Banking (JBPB) provides to non US investors.

Non US Clients can open accounts with U$75,000 or more.

Clients with portfolios of less than $150,000 are serviced by the (JBPB) Investment Service Team and are mainly invested in currency accounts and mutual funds.  Clients are assigned a personal investment adviser, who tailors the mutual fund portfolio to match the clients wishes, needs and requirements.

JBPB works with six profiles:

Income profile. A low-risk profile, invested in currency accounts (cash) and/or traditional bonds

Stable profile. A low-risk profile, invested in bonds (incl.high-yielding bonds), a smal equity part

Balanced profile. A medium-risk profile, invested in equities and bonds (main emphasis on bonds)

Dynamic profile. A medium-risk profile, invested in equities and bonds (main emphasis on equities)

Growth profile. A high-risk profile, invested mainly in equities and a lesser share in bonds

Aggressive profile. A high-risk profile, invested almost exclusively in equities.

There are six managed strategy funds for investors who want managed services with US$75,000 to US$350,000. These six funds are based on the principles of asset allocation and match the investment profiles above so all investors can attain risk diversification, risk management with even a limited investment.

There is a full Discretionary Portfolio Management service for investors who want managed services with US$350,000 and above. This service is also based on the six strategies above.   These strategies are offered in EUR, USD, GBP, DKK and SEK.

Investors, who do not want managed services, and have accounts of US$150,000 or more, can wish to engage in an active have an active dialogue with their adviser and be very involved in the decision-making process. based on the clients investment profile.   They can invest in currency accounts in a large number of currencies, all tradeable equities and bonds, mutual funds and commodities.

Here is what JGAM can do for US investors.

JGAM offers its Managed Accounts (Discretionary Portfolio Management) services to U.S. citizens for as little as $50,000. Each investor has a personal portfolio manager who reviews the personal needs, goals, and risk tolerances and helps create an investment strategy.

Then the portfolio manager writes an agreement outlining how you would like your investments managed. After that, the manager fully manages the portfolio and can act independently within the terms established with the investor.

Once again this managed service is not available for non US investors.

Some investors (like me) want to make their own investment decisions. They can choose an advisory account.

Here is a quirk though. Due to investment regulations, JGAM can buy US advisory clients currencies, commodities, seasoned bonds and US registered securities. They cannot buy overseas non US registered shares.

This imposes a small limitation for advisory investors who want to buy overseas shares that are not traded on a US exchange.

However, since there are thousands of ADRs traded on the New York and American stock exchanges as well as NASDAQ this is not a great limitation.

For example, in the Green Portfolio we track there are five shares. Three of them, Vestas Wind Systems, Kurita Water purification and Seche Environment can be purchased as ADRS.

The codes are: Vestas: VWDRTY
Seche: SECVY
Kurita: KTWTY

There are thousands of these ADRS so the universe is not small.

We just sent out Multi Currency courses subscribers three BUY NOW ADRs to consider now. You can learn about these ADRs when you subscribe to our multi currency course.

Subscribe here.

Here are the quirks.

Jyske managers can buy overseas shares for US investors who have a managed account. If a US investor has an advisory account then ADRs must be used.

Non US investors can buy overseas shares but cannot have a managed account unless they have $250,000 minimum (versus $50,000 minimum for US investors).

Weird? Why?

Jyske has spent years and millions in legal fees to comply with the various regulations. Whoever thought government regulations would turn out to be anything but weird? This is how the rules work and keep in mind there are dual government regulations involved. Jyske has to comply with both US, Danish and in some cases a third set of requirements.


Inflation creates a problem for banks…a higher cost of providing good staff. This has forced many banks to raise minimum accounts. Jyske has taken a clever approach and set up graduated levels of service so they can still afford to serve even small investors.

This means that US investors can start an advisory account for as little as $25,000.  Non US investors require $75,000.

Few, if any, overseas investment banks have minimums lower than this. Recently one banker was explaining that due diligence regulations now require five hours of account manager time just to open a simple account.

Managed accounts for US investors requires  a $50,000 minimum. ($250,000 minimum for non US investors). ($75,000 for non US investors).

Investors who want riskier borrow low – deposit high leverage to create multi currency sandwiches need a minimum of $100,000 invested in an accounts so they can get sufficient diversification.

US accounts of $200,000 receive a premium-level service and accounts exceeding $1 million, receive the highest level of personalized service with the added ability to include hedge funds if desired.

For more details on how to buy multi currency investments at Jyske Bank and Jyske Global Asset Management contact:

US investors contact Thomas Fischer at fischer@jgam.com

Non US investors contact Rene Mathys at mathys@jbpb.dk

Protecting purchasing power from inflation will be the concern of most investors in the immediate years ahead. Multi currency diversification will be required. Multi currency banks are important because the global financial bailout creates predictable profit opportunities through multi currency diversification.


Merri and I love our farm in North Carolina…the rich green bursting in spring.


Lush ripeness in the summer.

Fwd: multi-currency-summer

And colors that burst forth in fall.


But yesterday the winds whispered in this snow this to me…


“Go South”…”Go South”…so soon…

These are the places I’ll be.


In Ecuador in the mountains…in the sun and on the sea.


Join us in the sun at one of our courses in Cotacachi Ecuador or on the beach this winter.

Learn more about economic safety this November. Join Merri, me, Steve, Kjetil Haugan or Thor Anderson of Vistazul and Peter Vestbirk Laub 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

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ

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


Nov 10-11 Imbabura Real Estate tour

Feb. 16-17 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

Enjoy Ecuador’s music.


Enjoy flowers and beauty.


Enjoy the friendly staff at our hotel.


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

Multi Currency Ideas

Multi currency solutions to inflation are needed.

Inflation will certainly come from the current global economic bailout.

Every multi currency investor needs to mold a personal multi currency solution to meet their specific needs. Whatever individual tactic is used, it will normally work better if it includes multi currency diversification based on a search for multi currency value.

Yesterday’s message Multi Currency Warning looked at seven economic fundamentals that we can relay on during this downwards correction and stated:

The current rush to the US dollar and yen create a monumental opportunity! There will be a time to invest in the very currencies that are tumbling now.

Why am I sure of inflation?

One of the seven multi currency fundamentals (#2) is that: Government involvement in global economics and business may dampen the sharper acceleration of the natural financial rhythm but eventually makes the corrections worse.

A recent article in USA Today covering Alan Greenspan’s testimony to the US Congress said: that the “Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan told angry lawmakers” about his shock.

I wonder? We these angry OR frightened lawmakers? I suspect that a few weeks from election day the better word would have been SCARED.

Fear destroys reason if one is not trained to deal with it. Most of Western society is not trained to deal with fear. William James aptly put it this way.

“In civilized life it has at last become possible for large numbers of people to pass from the cradle to the grave without ever having had a pang of genuine fear. Many of us need an attack of mental disease to teach us the meaning of the word.”

Since politicians are also human beings they too lose reason when they give way to fear. They seem to definitely get a mental disease!

For example what is the cause of today’s economic crisis? Too much debt.

Yet yesterday’s BBC article entitled “Brown defending higher borrowing” says:

“Gordon Brown is defending his plans to increase government borrowing in order to tackle the economic downturn in a speech in London.

The prime minister is telling business leaders it is the right time to boost demand with government spending.

Opposition parties have attacked the current levels of debt, saying Britain is inadequately prepared for recession.

Leading economists have also criticised the government over its spending plans and called for tax cuts instead.

In a letter to a Sunday newspaper, a number of economists warned against an expansion of government spending as a way of stimulating the economy.

They described a focus on public works projects and higher spending as “misguided and discredited”.

The latest quarterly public debt figures hit a record £37.6 billion – higher than the whole of the previous year. Yet Brown said: The responsible course is to borrow now to maintain growth and output.”

I have little doubt that England’s debt will grow…as will America’s, and Europe’s and Japan’s because of…fear.

The borrowed money will be spent by government’s to, as Brown says, “kick start the economy”. The economy will recover but if the fundamental about government inefficiency remans true, it will not recover as it could and should.

The price of this borrowing will be inflation…the loss of purchasing power.

Now here is where frightened politics and politicians get involved.

The same BBC article also said:

“Over the weekend, Mr Brown paid a brief visit to Glenrothes in Scotland as part of a by-election campaign and made predictions food and fuel bills would begin to come down next year.

He also hinted falling oil prices could lead to further co-ordinated interest rate cuts.

“Now inflation is actually coming down over the next few months and that will mean that it gives scope to all the monetary authorities, including the Bank of England, round the world to make a decision about interest rates,” he told the BBC.”

Brown is probably wrong. Inflation will not come down…which is okay for those who know what to do.

Do not be misled. Chances are that Western governments will borrow more than they should. Inflation will follow.

If this belief is correct then the best investments will be shares, commodities and real estate in a diversified basket of strong currencies.

What will make a currency strong?

Fundamentals of currency value (purchasing power potential) include:

A: Interest rate.
B: Inflation rate a three levels – labor – wholesale and consumer prices.
C: Trade balance.
D: Current account.
E: Debt as % of GDP.
F: Debt as % of government income and spending.
G: Amount and velocity of direction in government deficit.

Ideally we want to invest in currencies of countries that offer an interest rate above the local inflation rate, that have a positive trade balance, current account, falling government debt and deficit versus government income.

This combination of qualities in a currency are as rare as hen’s teeth and will become even harder to find during and after this downturn.

As the Western economies stall, their imports will slow. This will slow growth in emerging economies. Governments everywhere will be pressed. Fear will grow. Reason will diminish and government borrowing will increase everywhere.

Inflation will grow. Multi currency investing will become increasingly a relative process….looking for the currencies that are least bad.

I hope to help you fight this inflation with multi currency investing!


We are studying three multi currency solutions to inflation in our multi currency course. You can subscribe to gain access to these ideas here.

Join us at one of our next to International investing courses in Cotacachi Ecuador this winter.

Learn more about economic safety this November. Join Merri, me, Steve, Kjetil Haugan or Thor Anderson of Vistazul 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

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ

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


Nov 10-11 Imbabura Real Estate tour

Feb. 16-17 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

Enjoy Ecuador’s music.


Enjoy flowers and beauty.


Enjoy the friendly staff at our hotel.


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

Bahia Ecuador Real Estate

Bahia Ecuador is Ecuador’s best kept secret.

A message entitled Manta Real Estate in Ecuador looked at why Manta makes investing north of this port city a good investment.

Manta may be a great place to invest…but Bahia is a great place to be!

This picture at tripadvisor.com shows one reason why. Here is Bahia, Ecuador.


The full name of the city is Bahia de Caraquez. This is a town that makes living on this part of Ecuador’s coast a great place to be.

Wonderful Ecuador sunsets are here.


Yet as you will see below, there is much much more…here in Bahia, Ecuador.

Merri and I have for the last 25 years (since we left London) always lived in an out of the way place, two hours or so from an international airport and a half hour to a nice city.

When we moved to Naples, Florida 25 years ago it was a sleepy village…no WalMart…no Office or Home Depot etc. We were two hours from Miami International Airport and half an hour to Ft Myers. We would drive to Ft. Myers once ever two weeks or so to get supplies and then scoot back to the quiet life.

Now we are in the Blue Ridge…nothing is here but fields and forests! We drive a half hour to West Jefferson once a week to get groceries, the Farmer’s Market and if we have to go for office supplies that’s another 45 minutes. Then we zip back into the hills. Greensboro or Charlotte airports are a bit over two hours away.

Our home in Cotacachi, Ecuador is two hours from Quito International Airport and half an hour to the City of Ibarra.

So it was no surprise when I started calculating travel times from our new home in San Clemente in Manabi Province on Ecuador’s Pacific Coast.

We are 45 minutes to Manta. Add a check in and a 30 minute flight. This gobbles up two hours and gets us to Quito International Airport.

A half hour north of San Clemente is the town of Bahia de Caraquez one of Ecuador’s sleepers! It is one of Ecuador’s nicest cities that very few people know.

Bahia, first of all is clean. It became Ecuador’s first Ecocity in the late 1990s as a positive response to two disasters that hit this city of about 25,000 residents.

Two natural disasters fell upon Bahia right in a row. First, in 1997 the “El Niño” phenomenon caused torrents of rain, flooding and washed out miles of road in to and from Bahia. Then a year later in August 1998, a strong earthquake (magnitude of seven) created a huge amount of destruction,

In a kindness that evolution brings, Bahía had to completely reconstruct itself.

With Japanese help and funding, plus many wealthy Ecuadorians (one of Ecuador’s more successful presidents came from Bahia so it is well known in wealthy circles) Bahía rebuilt as an ecological area. The governing authorities made an official declaration of this fact. Since this time, the city has planned its development within the sustainable principals of an Ecocity.

Bahía is a Pacific coastal city located on a peninsula about an hour and 15 minutes north of Manta and is bordered by the Chone River.

Here is a shot taken on one of our coastal real etsate tours over the Chone Estuary.


Over the last decade Bahia has become one of the country’s most attractive resort areas due to its beauty, cleanliness and access to the major cities of Quito (five hours by car) and Guayaquil (four hours by car).

Bahia’s year round population is estimated at 25,000 with a substantial increase during the summer,

There are also two very important reasons why Bahia real estate values may now rise fast.

First, a new highway is being built between Quito and the coast. This construction is taking much longer than it should and costing way more than budget..but eventually it will be complete and one more concrete freeway will be able to whisk from Quito to Bahia.

Second, some day there will be a bridge across the Chone. Bahia sits on an isthmus between the Pacific Ocean and the huge estuary of the Chone River. If you are traveling from the south up the coast in a northwards direction, you are stopped at the Chone. The drive onwards moves down the Chone for a couple of hours just to get back to the coast north of the estuary north. Here is a group of our real estate tour delegates looking across the Chone.

This map shows it all.


The only way to cross the Chone at this time is via ferry. There are usually two car ferries. This is the Pacific Coast Highway running from Columbia all the way down to Peru and Chile so cars, buses and trucks use them.

Big trucks are loaded, first followed by the cars. These ferries also take foot passengers and are free.


There are also passenger ferries that continually go back and forth costing about 30 cents for the trip.

However, at times it can take up to two hours to get on a car ferry.

So a bridge across the Chone would be invaluable and is in the process.

John Papski, our man on the coast, recently visited Bahia and President Correa there.


Here is President Correa in Bahia.

John helped me complete a two part Bahia report that is now available to our Ecuador Living subscribers.

You can learn how to subscribe here

Until next message may all your secrets be as good as Bahia!


Our September 17-20 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour; Quito Real Estate Tour is sold out.

Our September 28-29 Imbabura Real Estate Tour has two spaces left

Oct 14-18 Ecuador Import Export Course

We still have space in November.

Nov 7-9 International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador

Nov 10-11 Imbabura Real Estate tour

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

Small Business Starts

Small business starts are important because your own small business is one of the best ways to fight inflation and hard economic times. Yet the most frequent question I hear about starting small business is “where and how should I start my small business.

The answer to this begins with two questions:

Small business starting question #1: How much time do you have to start a small business.

Small business starting question #2: How much money do you have to start a small business.

The answers are often related but in the end most people are in one of five

Small business start up position #1: Plenty of time and enough money to live on and start a business.

Small business start up position #2: Plenty of time and enough money to live on but not enough to start a business.

Small business start up position #3: Plenty of time but not enough money to live on (or start a business).

Small business start up position #4: Enough money to live on and start a business but no time.

Small business start up position #5: No time and no money.

Interestingly enough position #5 is safest (not much to lose) and position #1 has the greatest risk for small business start ups. Small business start up position #1 suggests some previous success and or inherited money. Either position can make one over confident and encourage, “full steam ahead!”

Full steam is not often the best way to begin a small business. I always recommend that people start small…limited steam in a very directed way. Open the small business stopcocks nice and slow.

Small beginnings are nature’s way. Most businesses start with a learning curve. During the beginning and in the initial learning period, it is essential to remain small as you err. Once lessons have been learned, the business can grow using business evolutionary cycle.

The small business evolutionary cycle is

#1: Get an idea

#2; The idea leads to enthusiasm.

#3: The enthusiasm leads to education.

#4: The education leads to action.

#5: The action leads to profit or loss but also more ideas.

The cycle repeats and this is the way that businesses should grow.

My businesses never really started in a full steam ahead mode. In a way I have always had one business, but it has morphed again and again, each new development being financed by the old. Each new development has always been (to Merri, me and we hope our clients) better.

I began as a Prudential Insurance agent selling door to door in Portland Oregon.

That beginning was financed by working in a gas station while I learned and trained to sell.

Selling insurance in Portland led to selling American investments door to door in Hong Kong. This was really the only full time jump I made. I nearly starved! And I learned. Yet even then I was still selling door to door…with the same tactics just for a different product in a different place.

I learned (as I starved) that the different product and place required different tactics.

This started the evolution and due to traffic congestion in HK, I began putting on seminars to sell US investments more efficiently. Then I created a small newsletter to keep in touch with the investment salesmen I hired.


These were the salesmen i motivated with my first newsletter. That was a good idea and both part time efforts (the newsletter and seminars) were financed originally by my door to door selling of US investments!

But this approach was flawed. In the early 1970s, I was living in Hong Kong selling US mutual funds. This was when the Hong Kong stock market first began to emerge. Share prices in Hong Kong rose and rose. This was also the first time the U.S. stock market had collapsed in twenty years.

To be frank U.S. investments then, sucked. Hong Kong investments were good.

That idea changed my business. I began writing newsletters and reports about Hong Kong investments for Americans and how US investors could make more money abroad.

This was a good idea but ahead of its time so I did this part time and financed the new effort with my existing business…selling US investments in Hong Kong.

As my income grew from the new activity (selling HK investment ideas to Americans) I saw investment opportunity beyond Hong Kong. I moved to London. There was more international investing knowledge and information available there. I began selling reports about investing in gold, silver, Swiss francs, Australia, England and Germany.

I tried many business ideas in London. Here is a shot that was in a London daily, part of a PR  program to help sell square inches of Graceland after Elvis died. That was a really bad idea.   I am very glad  I started that one small!


This move to London was financed by selling HK investments to Americans.

Then I saw other Asian countries beginning to have great potential. I began researching there and as phone rates dropped and the fax came along, I saw that I could get out of the big city and moved to Naples, Florida, then a sleepy fishing village… closer to my North American clients. My seminar business boomed financed by my London business.

Then in the early 1990s saw potential in Latin America and in Smalltown USA.

I began researching and traveling in these places part time…financed by my existing efforts in Florida.

Finally as Naples became crowded, because of the Internet, we were able to move to isolated farms both in The Blue Ridge and in Ecuador and still have access to any international investment business information and stay in touch with my clients.

My internet business began in a small way as well…as a supplement to my print business…not earning much…until gradually it became the only way we do business.

Each step in our business growth has been a gradual evolution financed by the last.

Each time we began the new part of our business in a small way, crept along and learned until it grew and took over to become our core.

Today our business on the farm and in Ecuador create the largest part of our income.

What’s next?

I do not know. You’ll find out as I do and my business evolves once more.

What I do know is that whatever ideas emerge the ones that enthuse me will be the ones I follow…in a small way. I will test them…in some small way…not expecting to make enough to live on. Some will survive ad grow. Others will be discarded.

Whatever your time and money position, you can begin your own business by looking for ideas that create enthusiasm in you. When you feel excited in a field start to educate yourself. Learn about the idea and then test small business ideas. Use a little time and or capital. Try…read…ask…learn. Tkae small risks.

After that if you still feel good…go for it in a larger way and let your small business evolve from there.

If you have little money start a business that uses your time and energy (as i did as a salesman) as your capital.

The is the era when small is beautiful so until next message may your success to begin be fulfilling but small!


We offer two emailed courses to help you start a small business.

International Business Made EZ

Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher

Readers are proving again and again that having a small business is smart! One reader just shared this note:

Gary: This is Randy. I have been a subscriber of your newsletter for a long, long, time and I LOVE it. I just thought that I would chip in a comment about your comments about Labor as we are approaching Labor Day. I thought for years that Manuel Labor was a Latino and then I got involved in creating my company and found out differently. That is supposed to be a joke. Seriously, we started FFI November 2, 2005 and we have grown to over $200,000,000. And are shipping our products to over 200 Countries and territories and we are primarily an Internet company doing eCommerce. I agree with you that if one is doing something they truly love, it is not considered work, but a labor of love. My wife (Wendy) and I have traveled to over 81 countries during the last couple of years speaking to people about our products, and expressing our passion for what we do, and today we have over 200,000+ people selling our products face-to-face and the rest of our sales are on the Internet. Anyone that has a determination to succeed and have enough knowledge of Internet marketing can distribute their products.Keep up the good work of delivering your message with no hype, but telling the truth. Your Friend, Randy”

We offer seminar courses to help you start your own small business as well .

International Investing and Business Made EZ North Carolina October 3-5

Ecuador Ecuador Import Export Course October 14-18

This export course has been working well. One reader just wrote:

“Good Evening Gary/Merri/Steve, Speaking of a small business, we have opened All American Enterprises, LLC (AAE) which includes selling products from Ecuador at a trade days operation about 200 miles East of Dallas. I don’t know if we are off to a “bang” but we are sure having fun. See attached pictures to include our model, Consuella.


Please tell Mary we have made profit on our inventory and the big sellers are alpaca silver jewelry and Octovalo alpaca ponchos. We will visit with Steve at the end of September and would like to restock to include blankets/ponchos/throws from Hilana. Does Mary have the contact for wholesale Hilana products? Say hi to Ma and the cats, too. Bob and Dot”


International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador
November 7-9, 2008

See discounts for couples attending more than one course.

Here is another comment from delagtes who attended the import export course

“Hi Gary & Merri. Our business of selling Ecuador products is still going well. We are now appointing Agents across Australia and should have the whole country covered by mid-August. Our initial shops continue to re-order on a regular basis. The best shops seem to re-order every two weeks.We have also received inquiry to provide buying services for people in a few other countries. So we will be seriously thinking about starting our own brand name to market globally. If successful, it should help many Ecuadorians.We have appointed a national distributor for our Andes Artisans products (www.andes-artisans.com) so we will be leaving Australia to live in Ecuador soon. Thank you again John & Dixie.”

Ecuador Ecuador Import Export Course October 14-18

Multi Currency Paths of Opportunity

Multi currency paths of opportunity come in totally unique ways.

For example I have been looking for multi currency investments in Asian currencies.

The path that has led me to a Malaysian share has included a combination of experience, alertness, intuition, our own specific knowledge and contacts and good luck.

A circuitous multi currency route led me to shares in PureCircle a Malaysian company traded on the London Stock Exchange.

Pure Circle sells Stevia to Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola.

Let’s look at how I came to see potential in these shares in the hopes that studying my approach will help yu understand the process better so you can adapt the process to better fit your individual circumstances.

First, this path (to PureCircle) began because I have known about for Stevia for quite some time.

I wrote about it at this site in an article entitled Three Foundations of Health in the Fall in September 2002.

Second I know that blood sugar problems and diabetes are huge Western problems. Problems create opportunity. This is why we looked at the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk that specializes in insulin in June (2008). Plus again in another June article Multi Currency Equity Investments.

I also know that the natural health industry is growing. I wrote about this as early as July 2003 at Healthy Investing=Wealth #7

That is the past me…some ideas I believe in. Ideas that create convictions…that could help me invest

Then there is chance…in this case an article I wrote two weeks ago that mentions stevia. The article is entitled Protein Blackberry Pie Recipe

Plus there are my unique contacts…in this case my friend and London stock broker Barrie Martin. He wrote:

“Gary, Your cobbler recipe prompts me to send you details of a new war in the soft drinks industry over Stevia. Kind Regards Barrie”

Barrie included an August 6, 2008 article by Sarah Hills entitled “PureCircle could be winner in Pepsi v Coca-Cola stevia wars”

The article says:

“As both PepsiCo and Coca-Cola gear up to launch beverages sweetened with stevia, it could be that their common supplier, PureCircle, is the real winner in the race to be first to market.

PureCircle, a Malaysian company has just signed long-term contracts to supply PepsiCo and its partner the Whole Earth Sweetener Company with its all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener, Reb-A, under the PureVia brand. In addition, it has been granted an exclusive license to market Reb-A as PureVia as long as there is no conflict of interest, according to Peter Milsted, sales and marketing director at PureCircle.

This is on top of PureCircle’s contract to supply Cargill, which teamed up with Coca-Cola to develop their own stevia-derived product called Truvia in response to strong consumer demand for low-calorie products.
The beverage giants are preparing to launch drinks sweetened with stevia, which is permitted for sale in the US as a dietary supplement on the basis of its low glycemic index, but is yet to be generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in beverages.

However, Milsted told FoodNavigator-USA.com: “We are absolutely assuming that this product will be free to use in the USA from here on in.

“We supply high purity Reb-A both to Cargill and to PepsiCo. We started off with an exclusive contact with Cargill. That ended a few weeks ago. We have extended the contract for a further length of time on a non-exclusive basis.

He explained that it had been the company’s strategy initial to be a “market maker as oppose to being part of somebody’s supply chain”.

Milsted said that Cargill was happy to accept the change in contract as long as it was assured of continued supply, which reflected PureCircle’s ability to “supply consistently and at serious volumes”.

Likewise, he claimed that PepsiCo was happy for PureVia to be exploited as widely as it can, as long as it wasn’t used in areas of competition, such as similar drinks.

And he predicts that other companies will follow their lead and use Reb-A as a sweetener.

Milsted said: “We aim to carry on and make the investments that we have made already in our supply chain and are continuing to make, and that they lead to large contracts with large suppliers.

“We are talking pretty much with every food and beverage manufacturer that anybody has every heard of and the interest is strong and genuine.”

Supply volumes

In November PureCircle said it would float on London’s AIM in a bid to raise $50m to expand Reb-A (Rebaudioside-A) sweetener production and secure an advantage in anticipation of an explosion in demand.
The company said at the time that global annual consumption of sugar and all other sweeteners was an estimated 150m tonnes. PureCircle’s Reb-A accounted for just 0.2 per cent of this volume (0.3m tonnes).

The company owned a 55 per cent stake in a subsidiary called Ganzhou Julong, which is involved in large-scale stevia plantation and production of crude extracts. PureCircle believed its capacity for crude stevia extraction was the largest in the world at 1000 tonnes of crude extract are produced per annum.

By the end of this year it predicted that it would increase this to 3000 tonnes per annum.

Stevia market

Reb-A is the sweetest, purest part of the leaf from the South American stevia plant, which is approximately 200 times as sweet as sugar.

The US market for stevia is estimated to be worth about $60m, a figure analysts say could triple if FDA GRAS is granted. Currently the biggest markets for stevia are Japan and Korea.

Whole Earth, a subsidiary of Merisant Company, has submitted a notification and supporting scientific data to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that PureVia is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in beverages, foods and tabletop sweeteners.

The US’s largest supplier of stevia, Wisdom Natural Brands, announced in June that it is launching the natural sweetener beyond the dietary supplements aisle for the first time, after having self-affirmed its version of stevia – Sweet Leaf – as GRAS. It said at the time that the ingredient will be available in a soda or food products by the year’s end.

Coca-Cola and Cargill also recently published science backing their ingredient, Truvia.

Last week PepsiCo told FoodNavigator-USA.com that it would prefer to wait for FDA approval before bringing PureVia to consumers in the United States. But it will debut in a new nutritionally enhanced PepsiCo beverage called SoBe Life, to be launched in Latin America, starting with Peru next month. It will then be rolled out globally.

There you have it…ideas about health…ideas about the future of health and natural health…a friend who is a stock broker and an article about blackberry pie. These ideas are all magnified by the marketing powers of Coke and Pepsi.

The entire natural health industry has failed to mae stevia a public name. These two soft drink manufacturers can.

This is not a formula you will find in any book on investing.

This is a unique path that has led me to consider a share.

We will all have unique paths that lead us to investments we can consider.

We cannot and should not buy them all. So at this stage we have the good value test to conduct.

Remember what we look for are shares of:

#1: Well managed companies.

#2: In growth industries.

#3: Available at a good value.

#4: With rising earnings.

#5: That have captured the attention of the market (ie price is already on the rise).

You can gain a good value evaluation of the PureCircle shares as a Multi Currency Portfolios Course subscriber.


Join me with Jyske Global Asset Management to learn more about value investing.

International Investing and Business Made EZ North Carolina

International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador

More Multi Currency Terror

A recent message was about perceptions and terror and how understanding perceptions could help us be better multi currency investors.

You can read this message at Ecuador Perceptions.

Many readers enjoyed the thought.

One reader wrote:

“Good Morning, Gary, Good thoughts clearly stated, couldn’t agree more. Thanks. Steve”

Another said:

“In reference to your newsletter I cannot agree more about investing in what is perceived by the masses as ‘risky places’. Especially with this market turmoil everyone is scared about credit crises, bank failure, socialist and communist philosophy, and whatever is the problem of the day. Problems are big today, therefore you can buy a home in California (San Diego Area) for $400,000 when the same home was sold in 2005 for $750,000. Average Detroit homes are going for $20,000, yes twenty thousand dollars! Buy low sell high. Dario”

Yet another reader proved the point of the message when he wrote:

“Take me off your mailing list, These emails have become a comfortable reminder of a world I once knew and I actually was planning on attending one of your functions. I have listening with some patience to your gnashing of teeth at the Bush government’s actions and various defenses of left-wing – yes, leftwing – causes, and I’ve had enough. I’m a PhD in the field of International relations, so I know a little of the subject at hand, and I simply can’t stomach any longer your false moralizing over the actions and resultant systemic structures that allow you to be who you are – a capitalist. You have made your fortune precisely because of a system held in place by the actions of a US hegemon, and I shudder to think how you would be treated in Equador or anywhere else if you did not have the most benign imperium the world has ever seen virtually next door to you. I don’t know how this escaped you over the years of your life, but international relations based on flower power and smiles don’t work and never have, mythologies about Ghandi notwithstanding. Scott”

This is exactly the proof of the pudding. The message was not defending left wing policies at all. In fact the message was about looking for good capitalistic fundamentals in places that could be perceived as left wing…such as London under red Ken and Hong Kong under a communist treat.

The reader above shows us how the majority are so caught in their perceptions, like deer in a spotlight, that they cannot even move. This reader did even worse than shoot the messenger. He shot the messenger that was essentially bringing him good news because his perceptions so clouded his view.

So I repeat the message: Look beyond perceptions at the realities. Ignore the noise in the daily media and do not trust the manipulation of information by governments.

Look at underlying economic realities. These,not headline stories designed to sell newspapers, are the forces that move what move the world!


join us October 3-5 for the Blue Ridge leaf change.

International Investing and Business Made EZ North Carolina


Ride around the farm with us.

Or enjoy one of our courses or tours in Ecuador

Ecuador Coastal-Quito Real Estate Tour


See $79,000 condos at this clubhouse.

Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course


Let our wonderful staff in Cotacachi take care of you.
Ecuador Imbabura Real Estate Tour


See this 150 acre property with two houses for sale at $50,000.

Ecuador Import Export Course


Learn how to import roses, textiles and much more.

International Investing and Business Made
EZ Ecuador

See discounts for attending more than
one course.