Sometimes I Wish I Were An Attendee…
“How was Ecuador?”
I got this question more than once on my return to my desk in Panama this morning.
I’ll get the same question from family and friends, too, over the next few days—as I do after every work trip.
And, every time, I can’t help but think of those internet memes—what my friends think I do/what my mom thinks I do/what my colleagues think I do/what I actually do. (Really, it’s time somebody made one of those for conference directors.)
My response is usually, “I wish I’d had more time.”
Because there’s so much to handle on-site over the days of an event, I have limited time to see beyond the hotel. But, at the very least, my work allows me to get a taste of a place… and whether I need to add it to my list of places to return to on vacation. As you can imagine, that list has been growing fast these past three years. And it now includes Quito…
Most of us Panama City residents need regular breaks from the heat and humidity of the city. I’ve always welcomed the chance to go to Medellín, Colombia (just over an hour’s flight out of Panama City) for the cooler air… and the European vibe that makes me feel more at home. I detected a European flair about Quito, too—with its French- and Spanish-style architecture and many outdoor cafés and restaurants—and will be recommending it to my colleagues for an easy and attractive weekend hop.
But I truly envied our attendees last week who were free to extend their stay beyond the conference… to travel out beyond Quito to the coast… to the smaller towns of Otavalo and Cotacachi in the north… to see the famous “Valley of Longevity” that is Vilcabamba… and, especially, those who were planning a tour to the Galápagos Islands.
If you weren’t among our audience in Quito, you can catch up on all that went on in our private meeting rooms last week with our Live and Invest in Ecuador Home Conference Kit.
To give you a sneak preview, here are some of the insights shared as we got warmed up during the first morning of the event:
** Infrastructure has come a long way—and continues on the up. Emcee Lief Simon explained how much easier it is to get things done now than when he first visited 20 years ago. A new train service in Quito is near completion (some of it underground)… and a new tramline is currently being tested in Cuenca (meaning free rides for passengers at the moment).
** Ecuador remains one of the most affordable countries in Latin America. Yes, cost of living and real estate prices are higher than in pre-dollarization days. But, as Lief pointed out, with the improved infrastructure, you’re getting much better value today—with better roads to travel, reliable power supply, and the availability of fast internet.
** Ecuador is safe. It has the second-lowest crime rate in South America (after Chile). It is also politically stable—without the unrest you may experience in other parts of Latin America.
** Eternal spring. If you’re after cool temperatures, cities like Quito and Cuenca offer springlike temperatures year-round—i.e. daytime temperatures remain in the 60s.
** Health care is affordable and—as long as you’re in or near the city—of a good standard. Many expats here choose to forgo the cost of insurance and pay as they go for medical treatment.
** Expats have many lifestyle choices—from UNESCO-protected Quito with its impressive European-style architecture (and modern city beyond)… to the northern towns of Cotacachi and Otavalo, famous for their textiles and indigenous crafts (the ideal place to base yourself if you’d like to run an export business)… to the Pacific coast where more expats are finding affordable real estate opportunities right now… to the expat hot spot of Cuenca (traditionally a favorite with North American expats and attracting more European settlers today)… and lots more in between.
Over the two and a half days of this event, we heard from expats living in a variety of Ecuadorian havens. They described their day-to-day lives—both the pleasures and the pitfalls… and presented sample budgets based on their own experience on the ground.
Our team of Ecuador experts covered the important big issues, including your options for visas and residency… the best way to approach learning Spanish… how to ship your household (and your pets)… opportunities for buying and renting your home… opportunities to invest for cash flow (and fund your dream retirement)… an introduction to health care and health insurance… opportunities for volunteering… and much more.
It’s all coming in our 2019 Live and Invest in Ecuador Home Conference Kit…