El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana

El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana
The Conquistador who put the Amazaon baisn "on the map"....Francisco Orellana

Friday, September 19, 2014

"Deres gold n dem hills....black gold...Texas Tea"

Eni makes major oil find in Ecuador

Work done with environmental stewardship in mind, company says.
By Daniel J. Graeber   |   Sept. 18, 2014 at 6:38 AM   |   0 Comments (Leave a comment)

MILAN, Italy, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Italian energy company Eni said Thursday it made an oil discovery in Ecuador that could hold as much as 300 million barrels in place.
Eni announced the discovery at the Olgan-2 exploration well. Drilling encountered a 236-foot column of crude oil and initial production tests yielded a flow rate of 1,100 barrels of oil per day.
"Early estimates suggest that the Oglan discovery potentially contains about 300 million barrels of oil in place," the company said in a statement.
Ecuador has the third largest oil reserves in South America after Venezuela and Brazil. A member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, it exports an average 388,000 bpd and produces around 526,000 bpd.
Eni said the discovery was made less than 10 miles away from processing facilities already producing about 12,500 bpd.
The Italian company stressed its work in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador was conducted in what it said was a pioneering way that minimized the impact on the environment to the greatest extent possible.

Follow @dan_graeber and @UPI on Twitter.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Ecuador fends off more American culture...we do not want KFC and McDs!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ecuador to target unhealthy diets with 'junk food tax'

Ecuador plans to impose a "junk food tax" on fast food restaurants, and will use the revenues to address the negative health effects on its citizens of diets laden with salt and fat.
QUITO: Ecuador plans to impose a "junk food tax" on fast food restaurants, and will use the revenues to address the negative health effects on its citizens of diets laden with salt and fat.
"We are moving past poverty-related problems since the country is progressing a lot, and moving on to problems of affluence," President Rafael Correa said Thursday (Sep 4). The chief of state, who holds a majority in parliament, said the tax would mainly target international fast-food chains, but did not set a deadline for any legislation or outline its exact content.
"We're talking about these big chains where meat is cooked in pans of oil used over and over, which is a threat to public health," Correa said. In power since 2007, the socialist leader has remained popular thanks in part to social programs financed by the country's vast oil sector. In Ecuador, two-third of adults and one-third of children suffer from obesity, according to Health Ministry figures.

These Minnesota retirees moved way south - to Ecuador

By Molly Guthrey
Posted:   09/14/2014 12:01:00 AM CDT | Updated:   about 8 hours ago

Minnesota retirees Bob and Diane Hall decided to move to Ecuador after disliking the heat of Nevada and Arizona. (Photo courtesy of Bob and Diane Hall)
Minnesota retirees Bob and Diane Hall decided to move to Ecuador after disliking the heat of Nevada and Arizona. (Photo courtesy of Bob and Diane Hall)
After Bob and Diane Hall of St. Paul retired in 2008, they, like so many other Minnesotans, moved to the Southwest.
"We decided to get out of the cold and go warm," Diane says.
But the warmth in Nevada and then Arizona was too warm.
"We hated the heat," Diane says. "So we needed a new adventure."
Surprisingly, the Economist magazine provided one.
"Bob read an article in the Economist, a little blurb about Ecuador and how so many ex-pats were moving there," Diane says. "He was reading it to me, and I said, 'Oh, yeah!' I sent him there to do an exploratory trip. He absolutely loved it. I knew if he liked it, I'd like it."
That was about two years ago. Since then, the couple studied up on this South American country.
"The country is about the size of the state of Nevada, so it's pretty small," Diane says. "Part of it is on the Pacific Ocean, and it borders Peru and Colombia."
It also took some time to reassure the kids.
"They all thought we were crazy at first," Diane says. "But they haven't stayed around, either. I have one son in Vegas and one daughter in the Netherlands."
So, after fulfilling some teaching obligations, undergoing orthopedic surgery, selling their house and paring down their belongings, the couple moved to Cuenca, Ecuador, on June 1.
So far, so good -- especially the weather.
"We're just coming out of winter time right now," Diane says. "I think it's going to be 69 degrees today. In December, it gets up to 75 or 78."


It's also affordable: The couple rents a three-bedroom, furnished apartment in an upscale building for $650 a month.
"Our water and telephone bill totaled $12," Bob says. "Electricity was $10.50."
Bob, 76, a retired researcher and professor, and Diane, 69, a retired respiratory therapist, also find they get a lot of respect in their adopted country.
"People here, they really revere the elderly," Diane says. "Being over 65, almost everything is half price for us. The bus fare, typically a quarter, is 12.5 cents for those older than 65. Even airfare is half price, if the flight originates in Ecuador."
Converting to a different economy has been easy for these Americans.
"Ecuador switched to American currency after problems with their own currency," Bob says.
The people, though, are what make this place feel like home.
"Strangers will greet you," Bob says. "I was at an open-air market that sells fresh fruit and vegetables -- so fresh and no pesticides used -- when a lady came up to me and said, 'Thank you for coming down here.' I thought she was mistaking me for someone else. But she wasn't. She just meant, 'Thank you for coming down and seeing what it's like to live in our country.' "
Spanish is required, though.
"Very few people speak English," Bob says.
"We're taking Spanish lessons," says Diane.
The couple plan to stay in Ecuador indefinitely.
"Do we miss Minnesota?" asks Diane.
Long pause.
"I miss Cossetta's pizza," she said, finally.
Bob sees it differently.
"Down here," he says, "there are no mosquitos!"
To follow Diane and Bob Hall's Ecuadorian adventures, go to ecuadorfinally.blogspot.com.
Molly Guthrey can be reached at 651-228-5505.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Ecuador Announces World's First Digital Currency

By Paul Tullis | Takepart.com

Last month I flew six and a half hours from Los Angeles, changed planes, flew another two hours, went through customs, and kept using the dollars I’d brought with me. Had I landed in Guam? Was I participating in some underground economy overseas?
No, I’d gone to Ecuador.
Like Panama, El Salvador, and a handful of tiny nations in the Caribbean and South Pacific, Ecuador adopted the U.S. dollar as its official currency back in 2000. As of December, the government just announced, the dollar will have a companion in the South American country: An as-yet-unnamed currency that will exist purely in digital form, stored largely on users’ cell phones. Quito is trumpeting its move as enabling safe storage and transaction of money for people locked out of the bank-based economy, increasing opportunity for the poor. But some economists say the new currency could be the beginning of the end of a decade of stability and wealth expansion in Ecuador that dollarization ushered in.
The switch from the old currency occurred following a period of financial chaos that included a widely fluctuating value for the sucre. That made it difficult for individuals and businesses to plan and invest for the future, said Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University, who was chief advisor to Ecuador’s minister of finance during the transition. It was “like having a yardstick that’s changing length all the time,” he said.
Since the switch, per capita income in Ecuador has nearly quadrupled, to $5,720—despite government policies that Hanke characterized as “anti-growth.” He said that’s because with the United States’ currency, Ecuador also got the dollar’s inflation rate and its exchange rate to other currencies. The three Latin American countries using dollars today have the lowest “misery index”—that’s the sum of the inflation, unemployment, and bank lending rates less the GDP growth—in the region.
Now Ecuador is breaking new ground in finance: If all goes according to plan, in December it will become the first country in the world with a national digital currency, existing for the foreseeable future alongside the dollar. No bills, no coins, no ATMs, no losing money in the dryer—this money will exist only virtually, mainly on users’ cell phones.
The new currency will be significantly different from the M-Pesa mobile payment system, which has been hugely popular in East Africa and most places where it’s available. There, local citizens are storing local currency on their phones and moving it around electronically. The effect, according to economists at MIT and Georgetown who studied it, has been to increase users’ savings and reduce barriers to commerce by facilitating transactions. Users love M-Pesa, and it’s demonstrably making the poor less so: Those with accounts have higher savings rates than non-users, and report less savings lost.
Apparently seeking to hitch the new digital currency to M-Pesa’s wagon, Ecuador’s National Assembly cited increased participation and economic growth, in a statement, as reasons it OK’d the currency. But some economists said the government might have other motives.
While people will be able to exchange the new currency one-to-one for dollars, according to the government, the e-money will be issued by the Ecuadorean Central Bank. That may not seem like much of a difference compared to M-Pesa’s electronic storing of local currency, but the importance for Ecuador’s government is huge. Marc Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research said that Ecuador’s exclusive use of the dollar “eliminates the ability to use the exchange rate as a tool of policy, and it severely restricts monetary policy as well.” That makes the government less flexible in its ability to manipulate the economy—which, Hanke said, was a good thing given the corruption, incompetence and political gamesmanship that existed in Ecuador in the 1990’s.
But if millions or billions of dollars’ worth of the new currency are circulating, the government can use it instead of U.S. dollars to pay its bills. And once the money is out there, the government can change the exchange rate against the dollar—the same kind of shenanigans that led to the chaos Ecuador was trying to escape when it adopted the dollar in 2000.
“The fear,” said Hanke, “is that [the new currency] will undermine the dollarized system—it will contaminate it and confuse things. The government might be able to force suppliers to take this stuff at par [with the dollar], but it'll sell on a secondary market at a big discount.” That would effectively lower its value against the dollar, wiping out some of the benefit to the users the government says it’s trying to help.
“My guess,” Hanke continued, “is it'll end up failing and cause a lot of chaos and trouble in a system that's doing well.”
He’ll need to keep such ideas to himself; in August Pres. Rafael Corea’s government passed a law making it a crime to "publish, broadcast or spread" any information it deems as having the potential to cause “economic panic.”

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ecuador: $11 Billion in external debt

Is this the Big One? Central Bankers from the World Over Warn of Impending ‘Perfect Storm’

John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, international speaker, and author.
His writings have appeared worldwide including in The Wall Street Journal as well as other publications and websites.
For more than two decades he has been researching and writing about the socio-economic crisis inside the United States that has culminated in the ground-breaking release of his new book Return to Order.
There is a major financial storm brewing on the horizon.
Such dramatic statements have long been the staple of naysayers for decades. Usually these warnings are dismissed by the financial establishment as the ravings of fringe analysts. Yes, crashes do happen, but the naysayers are never seen as prophets, but just opportunists who happened to be right much the way a broken clock is right twice a day.
But maybe this storm is different.
There are still plenty of naysayers weighing in on the major problems with the traction-less, hobbling “recovery.” However, they are now joined by important players in the financial establishment who fear something big might be coming down the line. Indeed, this one might prove to be the big one.
There is a major financial storm brewing on the horizon.
The concerns come from the latest annual report issued by the Bank of International Settlements(BIS) that meets in Basel, Switzerland. The exclusive, invitation-only group is composed of bankers from all the world’s main central banks. If anyone knows what’s going on in the economy, it should be these bankers. And their findings are hardly guarded behind closed doors. If anyone wants to see the report, it is readily available to the public.
What these bankers now see are turbulent times ahead.
The language in the 2014 edition of the annual report is unusually direct with warnings that the world could be hurtling itself toward a new crisis. With a note of déjà vu, it claims the climate is now more fragile and volatile than the buildup to the Lehman Brothers crisis in 2007.
The same old signs are there. Not much has changed. Debt levels remain high everywhere, encouraged by low interest rates. Dangerous new asset bubbles are forming.
What makes this storm different is that it is not only the developed countries that are out of balance but emerging nations have joined the party. Debt ratios in the developed countries have now risen to as much as 275 percent of gross national product, while the emerging economies of China, Brazil, Turkey and others are gorging themselves on private credit booms of their own, increasing their debt ratio significantly.
Michael Peoples walks into the bank vault in the basement of The Morton, a 90-year-old hotel building where SiTE:LAB will exhibit site-specific installations during ArtPrize 2014 in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/The Grand Rapids Press, Chris Clark)
If banks and government don’t pay attention to warnings, bank vaults might go empty and the entire world could face another economic disaster.  (AP Photo/The Grand Rapids Press, Chris Clark)
It would be wrong to put the blame on abstract economic indicators, financial instruments or debt ratios. The real blame falls upon the actual people engaged in the markets. So many players in the game have thrown caution to the wind and participate in what might rightfully be called the “frenetic intemperance” of the times.
Investors are ignoring the risks of monetary tightening and are engaged in the voracious hunt for yields. Assuming low interest rates, the constant search for higher returns is compelling investors to snap up ever more risky junk bonds and stocks. Equity markets have been termed “euphoric,” calling to mind the “irrational exuberance” of the Greenspan era.
Not only are investors operating at full throttle, but they are not taking the right measures to avoid collisions.
Banks should be raising more capital as a cushion against risk. Large firms should be looking for ways to add productive capacity but are buying back shares or engaging in mergers and acquisitions instead.
Of particular concern is China’s unbridled and frenzied credit growth over the last five years. Many fear that the state-controlled banking system lacks the flexibility to avoid a hard landing that will lead to a financial day of reckoning for China with worldwide repercussions.
Asian Stock Market
Credit: AFP/Getty Images
“The temptation to postpone adjustment can prove irresistible, especially when times are good and financial booms sprinkle the fairy dust of illusory riches,” the BIS report warns. “The consequence is a growth model that relies too much on debt, both private and public, and which over time sows the seeds of its own demise.”
The message from the central bankers is that the world has forgotten the lessons of recent years. Unfortunately, those who forget the lessons of history are often condemned to repeat them.
Thus, there is a major financial storm brewing on the horizon.
This is the conclusion not of fringe economists, but of world-class bankers. The result may well be not just an ordinary storm but a perfect storm with all major indicators converging.
Indeed, this might be the big one.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

You should have invested in a farm that produces Cacao......

  1. Chocolate Supplies Buoyed as Ecuador Cocoa Beats El Nino

  2.   Aug 27, 2014 8:47 AM GMT-0500  
  3. 0 Comments  Print
  4. Ecuador , already the world’s biggest grower of flavored beans used in fine chocolate, is poised to extend its lead over Brazil as the top cocoa producer in the Americas as exporters forecast a record harvest.
  5. Cocoa output probably will rise about 9 percent to 240,000 metric tons in 2014 on government assistance programs, new plantings and as concern eases that the El Nino weather phenomenon would curb yields, according to Ivan Ontaneda, president of Ecuador’s National Cocoa Exporters Association, known as Anecacao. That’s 14 percent more than the International Cocoa Organization’s 210,000-ton forecast and 20 percent higher than its estimate for Brazil, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, based on information from the group.
  6. The South American nation, where the fatty beans used to make chocolate have been grown since pre-Columbian times, is taking advantage of increased demand for fine chocolate in emerging markets as economic growth boosts salaries and makes luxury items more accessible, Ontaneda said. A new trade agreement reached last month with the European Union, the world’s biggest consumer of fine chocolate, will also help spur investment in and production of Ecuadorean cocoa, he said in an interview at his office in Guayaquil.
  7. “Weather conditions in the fields have been good so far,” Ontaneda, who’s also chief executive officer of cocoa exporter Eco-Kakao SA, said Aug. 25. “There’s not a single cocoa bean that goes unsold.”
  8. Arriba Beans
  9. An outbreak of the witches’ broom fungal disease in Brazil reduced the nation’s crop last year. Repeated outbreaks of the disease since the 1980s displaced Brazil from the position of top producer and have since discouraged planting, while West African countries took the lead. TheIvory Coast is the world’s top producer, followed by Ghana.
  10. Calls to Brazil’s Cocoa Chamber in the Agriculture Ministry went unanswered. Officials at Brazil’s National Agriculture Confederation weren’t immediately available to comment.
  11. While Ecuador’s Arriba varietal is used in fine chocolate, ordinary or bulk beans are used for mass production. Chocolate makers like Nestle SA (NESN), the world’s biggest food company, operate in the Andean nation.
  12. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said yesterday it remains on El Nino watch even as the onset of the weather event that brings drought to the Asia-Pacific region and heavier-than-usual rains toSouth America may be delayed to the end of the year.
  13. “Risks from El Nino have decreased and if it’s going to occur, it will be light to moderate,” Ontaneda said. “If rains start in November or December, it’ll be considered a normal rainy season.”
  14. Credit Lines
  15. Growers are working with the government to double yields to an average 20 quintals per hectare (2.47 acres), Ontaneda said. A quintal in Ecuador equals 45.36 kilograms (100 pounds).
  16. The nation’s Agriculture Ministry is working to develop credit lines for growers and already provides fertilizers and training on how to prune and improve post-harvest fermentation that gives the cocoa its distinctive flavors, Ontaneda said.
  17. The government is also creating incentives for banana growers, the country’s biggest agricultural export, to switch to cocoa because it pay workers more and requires fewer environmentally-damaging chemicals, he said.
  18. Price Surge
  19. Cocoa has jumped 19 percent to $3,216 a ton on the ICE Futures U.S. in New York so far this year. Prices will fall to an average $2,992 a ton in 2015, according to the median forecast of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Cocoa for December delivery was little changed at $3,217 at 9:45 a.m. in New York after touching $3,300, the highest since May 2011.
  20. Prices may rise to as high as $3,400 by the end of the year and won’t fall below $2,800 as growing demand for fine chocolate in China benefits global producers, according to Ontaneda. He forecasts a 100,000-ton supply deficit this year and a shortage of about 800,000 tons by 2020. That should translate into long-term prices of $3,000 to $4,000, he said.
  21. “We’re going to have sustained prices for a long time,” Ontaneda said.
  22. Exporters are also working to improve the traceability of beans to improve Ecuador’s reputation as a high-quality producer. Consumers increasingly want to know where their chocolate comes from as well as what labor and environmental conditions are in the country of origin, Ontaneda said.
  23. “We don’t want to only increase production, we want that production to be very high quality,” he said. “In this, Ecuador is a global benchmark.”
  24. To contact the reporter on this story: Nathan Gill in Quito at ngill4@bloomberg.net
  25. To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.netSteven Frank

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What Ever Happened to the Liberty Promised in 1789?

JULY 14, 2014
Pierre Gaxotte
Pierre Gaxotte
In his classic work on the French Revolution, Pierre Gaxotte shows the abysmal difference that exists between the respect shows by the Ancien Regime for the legitimate liberties of the individual and the family and the strong inclination of the modern State to meddle in the intimate lives of its citizens, a tendency which appeared with the advent of liberalism.
Before the nineteenth century, men lived freely in the intimacy of their homes and family circles; a man was investigated only if he was seriously suspected of committing a crime, professing a heresy, or fomenting a conspiracy. A citizen of the liberal State, however, is always treated as a suspect, even before doing something dangerous.
French Revolution
He is measured, weighed, and cataloged by the agents of the State. File cards are kept on him by the most different agencies, as personal data on him and his family are filed, compared, and cross-examined. The State wants to know what his ideas and habits are, how much he earns and where he invests his money, whether he has a car or owns real estate, and so on.
Having written his book a few decades ago, Pierre Gaxotte could not cover the most sophisticated devices for investigating people’s private lives. Such devices now permit not only the State but just about any person or organization to record what people discuss with their friends and relatives; whether it be on the telephone, in their offices, or in their bedrooms.
A microphone masquerading as a smoke detector.
A microphone masquerading as a smoke detector.
Gaxotte referred only to the liberal State. But out of liberalism came its offspring, the totalitarian State. Whether it be of the fascist or communist variety, totalitarianism always has the goal of implanting socialism. Since socialism is contrary to human nature, it makes its habitat only in an atmosphere of police oppression, in which the needs of the individual and the family are sacrificed in behalf of the interests of the Party.
In countries where totalitarian regimes were not installed, the consequences of the French Revolution led to the implantation, to a greater or lesser degree, of societies having a totalitarian tendency, a set of conditions either imposed by a Messianic party or determined by the idolatry of technology.
Storming of the Bastile
Storming of the Bastile
When technology replaces morality and society “emancipates” itself from the maternal tutelage of the Church, there is a withering of legitimate individual and family freedoms. Whether it is imposed by the State of by technology, totalitarian society is the stepmother of the “emancipated” man of the twentieth century.
Mental Pollution
Idolatry of technology has made life unbearable for men. In the 50’s and 60’s, TFP leaders wrote a number of articles characterizing what people are presently calling environmental pollution. Now it has become a fad to talk against smoke, noise of motors, devastation of forests, and congested traffic.
A 1952 Ad of the  False Face of Communism in the Saturday Evening Post Magazine.
A 1952 Ad of the False Face of Communism in the Saturday Evening Post Magazine.
In Lenin and Stalin’s time, international Communism promoted the development of super workmen to function more or less as robots serving the dictatorship of the proletariat. Now Communism preaches against the environmental pollution caused by the industry when this helps to explain the economic decadence of the socialist countries or to weaken the economic and military strength of the West.
Environmental pollution is obviously an evil, but we must keep a sharp eye on those who are fighting against it. Above all, it is necessary to struggle against another, much more pernicious pollution, one that the leftist intelligentsia hardly mentions if at all. We refer to the mental and moral pollution created by a mass media that wants to form people’s thoughts and habits and to break down their families by aggressive provocations to immorality, as well as that produced by the continuous barrage of advertising and propaganda and by the modern art that is deforming people’s mentalities.
A 2005 Banner at the 18th Congress of Communist Party of India (Marxist). Photo by Soman.
A 2005 Banner at the 18th Congress of Communist Party of India (Marxist). Photo by Soman.
In the midst of this noisy traffic assaulting the mind, who can find the calm to think about the pell-mell of events with discernment? Isn’t it true that contemporary man feels dazed under the daily load of disconcerting and illogical reports on international affairs?
The "Insectothopter", an micro unmanned aerial vehicle developed by the CIA for espionage purposes in the 1970s.
The “Insectothopter”, an micro unmanned aerial vehicle developed by the CIA for espionage purposes in the 1970s.
Consider just one of the thousand frauds imposed on people every day: for many years now, the media have painted any anti-communist government as dictatorial and corrupt. Why is so little said about the crimes of communist governments such as those of Russia, China, Cuba, Yugoslavia, and so on? Why is there such an outcry for free elections in every part of the non-communist world but no uproar demanding free elections in the communist countries?
The Technological “All Seeing Eye”
Separated from morality, technology makes life intolerable for man even in what was formerly his most intimate privacy. Today, recorders and listening devices have become so developed that no one can be certain that his conversation is not being monitored.
A 2013 photo by Dator66 taken in Kungsgatanm, Stockholm showing a warning sign on the left about the presence of surveillance cameras which are suspended above the streets. There are four cameras; one of each side of the street.
It has always been relatively easy to intercept telephone communications. But now the science of bugging telephones has reached the point where conversations on a multiple wire cable can be picked by electronic means and recorded without any physical contact with the wire. Private conversations can be monitored from a distance even through walls of solidly constructed houses. Pages of a confidential report being typed by a secretary can easily be photographed from another building over 100 yards away. Our technology in this field is so advanced that the Soviet Chamber of Commerce invited several American companies to Russia to exhibit their most modern anti-crime technology, such as machines that identify people by their voices, lie detectors, etc. No doubt the KGB will find many uses for these machines…
So then, the unlimited liberty that was promised as a pretext for overthrowing the Ancien Regime and “emancipating” society from the tutelage of the Church has proven to be a baseless chimera. Never has the human race has a tyranny so oppressive and detailed as that imposed in the name of liberty by the French Revolution.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Top 5 Reasons to Retire in Ecuador

What’s your definition of “riding off into the sunset?”
For many retirees, post-employment bliss is more about getting the most out of a dollar and less about lying on the beach beneath palm trees. That's why those with limited budgets are discovering Ecuador just might be the perfect destination for life after work.
Here are five reasons the South American nation is luring retirees.

1. Stretch Your Nest Egg

By moving to Ecuador, some retirees say they can double or even triple their disposable income and live comfortably for around $2,000 a month or less. A furnished three-bedroom apartment with a view of the Andes rents for $600.
"It's a nation where, in the right communities, you really can 'upgrade' your lifestyle," said Jennifer Stevens, executive editor of International Living Magazine. "Because day-to-day living costs a fraction of what it does up north, a nest egg stretches much further."
A three-course lunch at a sit-down restaurant can cost as little as $2.50 -- and you can add a beer for just 85 cents. Plus, seniors receive discounts on public transportation and cultural events. And because Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar as its official currency, it eliminates the hassle of money conversions, so you can focus on bargaining at the market instead.
Many of the restaurants in Cuenca cater to English-speaking visitors

2. Low-Cost Medical Care

Ecuador reportedly offers high-quality health care at a fraction of the cost in the U.S. Patients frequently receive personal attention directly from doctors, instead of nurses or physicians assistants. Medications are significantly cheaper, in some cases 60 to 70 percent less.
Retirees Ernie and Jorie Kinnard, formerly of Cumming, Ga., described a trip to the emergency room in Ecuador that ran them $37. The bill included $12 for the emergency room visit and $25 to see a specialist.
A recent surgery with a seven-day hospital stay that would have cost them $15,000 in the U.S. was just $2,200 in Cuenca. Some expats opt for private medical insurance, but residents are eligible for the government's medical insurance, which is similar to Medicare but is restricted to one hospital.

3. Lots of Flight Options

There are eight nonstop flights daily between the U.S. and Ecuador's main airport in Quito, and daily in-country flights between the three major cities: Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca.
A new $680 million airport opened just outside Quito with additional customs points, improved cargo capacity, and the longest runway of any international airport in Latin America. And some airlines give seniors half-off airfare for round-trip tickets purchased for flights originating within the country.

More Americans Opting to Retire Abroad


4. It Really Is Paradise

Ecuador hosts a variety of climates, divided by the Andes mountain range: there are broad beaches on the Pacific Coast, snow-capped volcanoes, geothermal hot springs, and the dense Amazon rain forest.
Ecuador is a land of diverse experiences. In just one trip, you can see the Pacific Coast, the Andes, the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands.
Just off the coast, the Galapagos Islands are perhaps the most famous wildlife reserve in the world, with its blue-footed boobies and gigantic tortoises. Charles Darwin formed his theory of evolution at this volcanic archipelago, located 600 miles west of the mainland.
There's no need for air conditioning, especially if you live in the Southern Sierra. Cuenca is two degrees south of the Equator, set in the Andes Mountain Range about 8,400 feet above sea level.
Winters are mild, at about 52 degrees, and the summer tops out at about 75 degrees.
Cuenca actually means “river basin,” or “bowl,” in Spanish.
"The lower air pressure doesn't hold heat the way it does at lower elevations, so in Cuenca, everyday has all four seasons," explained retiree Frances Hogg, from Michigan. "It is spring in the morning, summer at noon, fall in the evening and winter at night."

5. Cuenca Is for Lovers

Retirees Judy and Bill Collins from Houston, Texas, said moving overseas together has sparked their sense of adventure. And despite its challenges, the overall experience has strengthened their marriage.
"The city itself has a certain charm," said Judy Collins. "Cuenca is the 'Paris of Ecuador' because here people hold hands and they kiss and love each other and they're not afraid to show it."
An American couple sits on a park bench in Ecuador. AMBER PAYNE / NBC NEWS
Bill and Judy Collins, an American couple from Houston, enjoy a quiet moment in the center of Cuenca.