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Life of an Expat in Cotacachi, Ecuador

By Gary Kesinger

Cigna International Health Insurance

Summary: Cotacachi, Ecuador is a wonderful place to retire. Former teacher, Gary Kesinger, describes life in Cotacachi.

Expat Life - Cotacachi, Ecuador

Imagine life in the slow lane, days spent savoring each moment without the heavy burden of stress that so many in the contemporary world experience. That can best describe what expat life is like in Cotacachi, Ecuador, a small but growing town in the Andes Mountains. My wife and I moved to South America in May, 2009 to begin a new life and have not looked back.

A typical day for us consists of waking to the sun as opposed to an alarm clock. No day can begin without a cup of hot, fresh Colombian coffee and a check of the Internet to see what is happening in the world. After our bodies are satisfactorily awake, it is time for a walk or a jog. Mornings in Cotacachi are sunny, crisp, peaceful, and beautiful, and a morning jaunt is just what the doctor ordered for a dose of fresh air in the lungs. During the course of our morning outing, we often run into and visit with friends who are also enjoying the mountain scenery. Once we have returned home and showered, it is time for an early lunch.

Cotacachi is blessed with a year round growing season and has an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables at the local market. Avocados are our favorite, and an every other day trip to the market keeps us well stocked with carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, oranges, bananas, grapes, and virtually any other produce you can think of. Very few expats own a car here. It's simply not necessary. We always walk home from the market with our bag full or take a $1.00 taxi ride.

Eating healthy in Ecuador is quite easy. For lunch we often make a salad with lettuce, onion, beans, tuna, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and avocados. After lunch, it is time to break out the Kindle to read a book and allow our food to settle. We are able to choose from a library of thousands of titles, so we are never without something interesting to read. All that mental exertion often leads to a mid-afternoon nap. When hunger sets in by late afternoon, we are off to one of the many good restaurants in Cotacachi for a meatloaf sandwich, pizza, trout, or the local specialty, carne colorado.

The length of the days stay the same year round and darkness falls around 6:30. Evenings are usually reserved for expat get-togethers or possibly watching a movie. Satellite TV with HBO, Cinemax, and many other English channels are available, and DVD's cost a dollar at any video store.

Typical days as described above are interspersed with frequent day trips. The city of Otavalo, 10 minutes away, is the scene of one of the world's largest craft markets. Ibarra, 40 minutes away, has a shopping area with a well stocked supermarket, restaurants, and stores for home furnishings, hardware and clothing. Not far from Ibarra, the town of Chachimbiro has warm mineral springs ideal for relaxation and soaking tired muscles. There are also several lakes in the area with great restaurants, fishing, and water sports. South of Cotacachi is the Guayabamba zoo with Speckled Bears, Galapagos turtles, and Andean condors.

Becoming an expat in Cotacachi, Ecuador brings with it many rewards for those searching for an alternative to the high stress modern lifestyle. An opportunity to slow the pace of life and stop and smell the roses awaits those who make the move.

About the Author

Gary Kesinger Gary Kesinger is a former teacher who has lived in or visited more than 35 countries before settling in Cotacachi, Ecuador in early 2009. More information on living in Cotacachi can found on his web page at www.cotacachiliving.com.

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Comments about this Article

guest
Dec 21, 2010 10:25

I am traveling in the next couple of weeks to Catacachi,Ecuador to scout out the land.im looking forward to meeting the locals and also some of the expats already there.How do you get included in an expat gathering.Tired in Texas.Julie Guebara

guest
Dec 21, 2010 10:27

How do you become part of the expat gathering? Tired in Texas Julie G.

dth0126
Jan 13, 2011 11:21

Nice introduction to Cotacachi, Greg. I'll have my first opportunity to visit your beautiful town in early February for a stay of 10 days before I depart for Cuenca to volunteer teaching English to school kids. It would be nice to meet with an expat for a chat. Any hangouts or gatherings that are routine I can check out and get acquainted? Hope to see you next month. --s/David from football weary OH...IO

dth0126
Feb 2, 2011 14:08

Thanks, Gary for your insights and info on Cotacachi. I'll be arriving in Cotacachi this Saturday for a couple of weeks before departing to Cuenca to help teach some kids English in nearby Turi. Hope to bump into you in the marketplace. Dave @

guest
Sep 7, 2011 12:19

My husband and I are having a house built between Cotacachi and Otavalo, in Tierra Firme. It should be finished in December, so we plan to go to Ecuador in January. We haven't firmed up our plans yet as to how much time we will spend there or whether we will apply for a sedula or not. The slow pace that you described here in this page really appeals to us. We hope to meet you and your wife in January. Mike & Gretchen Donahue

guest
Sep 24, 2011 23:34

Hi Gary.. very nice article.. I was just there.. 3 times.. just a beautiful place... I will return in the fall.. Hope to see you there... Saludos Michael...

guest
Oct 7, 2011 15:00

Hi, Gary, What a great article and lifestyle!!!!!! Just what I'm looking for. I, too, am a happily retired teacher turned educational writer. I need a quiet place like Cotacachi to settle down. Will be there in 4 weeks after a seminar in Quito. Do you by chance know another teacher who left US and eventually started a series of language schools there? I'd like to get in touch with him. Mary Ellen

First Published: Oct 24, 2010

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