Why Do Ecuadorians Play Their Music So Deafeningly Loud?

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Below was a question posted on an Ecuador Focused Facebook Site. If you wish to be a “fly on the wall” to the many expats who are living in Ecuador, this conversation is a great opportunity to hear their thoughts on living in Ecuador:

I am not trying to start a war or ruffle feathers, but I honest to goodness want to know: Why do Ecuadorians play their music at deafening levels? There is no regard for neighbors or even the people attending. The party last night started at 8:30 and blasted till 6 this morning. Not all the pillows and ear plugs in town could drown it out. 

(Please Note: I have taken out the names to protect the privacy of the individuals who replied:)


*** Welcome to Ecuador..

*** One thing a loud music culture, the other is insulation is not needed on southamerican homes, therefore with the same party in the states there wont be as much loudness scaping to the neighbour

*** My husband and I are country people. We need quiet. Therefore, we cannot live in towns. We live out in a finca area. About once every six months they have a big party. Fortunately it is far away and we have ways of muting the sound.

*** Some people love city life and the noise that comes with it. We don’t. So we found we will never do well in town.

*** Fyi..talk with the police. There are ordanence in ecuador. There was in galapagos and in guayaquil. I sent a letter to a city hall office. The neighboor was horrible.. dogs too. They have the same laws in ecuador. It is a $200 fine if you dont comply to the complaints.

*** They enjoy noise and a party atmosphere. So do many young people world wide. People and cultures have different preferences.

***Don’t tolerate this. First time, they get a polite request. Second time, they get a less-happy request. Third time, they got a policemen brought to their door. No policemen around? Bang on their door at 7am… or just start hootin’ and hollerin’ like you’re part of the party.

***You want to be in their country you should be more tolerant. You are the guest.

*** Isn’t life too short for BS like this??????

*** That how it is in Vilcabamba downtown. Lots of parties on weekends!

***  This is a Latin thing and found in all Latin based countries even the Philippines. I think they subscribe to the idea that MORE and BIGGER is better grin emoticon

*** Partying, drinking, cockfights, and loud music.. I have found thiem in every Latin country I have visited LOL

*** I think they enjoy being with friends and family and this is one way they celebrate it. I love to see them happy and far be it for me to try to put a stop to it!

***  In my example, the guy was sitting just inside his front door, all alone, with his giant speaker just outside the front door. At 630am.

*** I try to make everyone leave by breakfast.

*** The parties are so interactive, dancing, eating, men telling ‘cachos’, dancing some more….drinking and hungry again.

*** So, who cares about all the many neighbors trying to sleep? Who cares about them? Some may say that is selfish. It is possible to have fun without that crazy high noise level.

*** I tell my neighbors and invite them and I am cognizant of the noise level. I care, I cannot answer for others. I am sorry that you jumped into conclusions that I was okay with being disruptive with the noise….rather, I was explaining as to why the parties last so long.

We have had the exact same problem. I just went to a wedding of friends and there two competing parties with loudspeakers full blast. I finally got it after 5 years. They really enjoy it so now I know I have to leave every major holiday or suffer the consequences.

*** sounds like Thailand too.

*** Es es muy malo ,pero cuando eso suceda llamar a la policía y ellos tendrá que resolverlo las fiestas están permitidas máximo asta las 3:00 de la madrugada no más

*** Wait until one of your neighbors decide to have a Karaoke party. Is even worst they would sing songs out of tune for hours.

*** Shoot me, please. I would go crazy.

*** Had this start blasting one night at 300 am … Sad drunk love songs … Was kinda funny … Luckily I went right back to sleep … The crazy disco lights were actually worse than the music coming thru the window … Musta been laser lights … Doesn’t happen often so I can live with it as luckily I am retired and have no pressing engagements to worry about … Ever smile emoticon

*** Summers here in Rosarito, Mexico, exactamente. And year round there are many restaurants I don’t frequent because I can’t have a conversation of any sort due to the shear volume of the music, forget the noise from the patrons. Think it’s those Latin genes.

*** Isn’t it wonderful that the problem is music? At least you aren’t in the USA where people are being beaten up for the color of their skin.

*** Is it really necessary to interject USA racial issues into a discussion about loud music? Wanna talk about the bad water in Flint as long as you have totally changed the subject from loud music in Ecuador? I lived in St Louis, is there police brutality in America, yes. But more than 50% of the citizens of St Louis are black, and 99.9% can walk down the streets without police brutality.

*** And at least it’s not gun shots … I’ll take party over violence noise every day !!! And night !! We are so uptight in the north Americas we really have lost the ability to live and let live and I hope we don’t ruin Ecuador with our Norms and appreciate and assimilate into the culture or leave to seek more familiar surroundings

*** Sorry to hear that, that doesn’t happened ever here where i live , and this is Ecuador too.. ooops… lol …. have you tried and talk to the police if that happens too often ? .. if it is once a year.. well…

*** I think their hearing is so damaged from previous parties that they need to turn it up! Think about it! These people have been taking their INFANTS to these noisy parties from birth! There has to be some repercussions, hearing damage!!!

*** Because it’s a different culture…

*** Occasionally there are the loud all night parties with the same ol reggie tone booming out. There is some great latin dance music, but seldom hear that, just the same ol crap. What I don’t understand, I have driven down to where the parties are at 4AM or so and NO ONE is there, but the music is still blasting. Why?

*** They are all dead drunk

*** When this happens in Pto Lopez, we presume that the party givers paid for the DJ and the DJ will always give them their monies worth.

***  Its not “Ecuadorians”. Its some Ecuadorians, not all. And it is quite burdensom. Also Colombians, Peruvians, Brasilians, and other Latinamericans do this, with utter disregard towards their neighbours. Its the culture I guess. And often, not much you can do about it. Unfortunately.

*** I am with you on this issue. I live in a noisy neighborhood and am a light sleeper. Loud music through the night! Ugh! I strongly dislike Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:30-8:30 when the Zumba music is played at the highest level possible right outside my window. My Windows shake! I have to make myself not go out and turn down the volume.

*** I mean I love music I listen it to it all day As I don’t have a TV! However I would never inflict it at all times on my neighbours. I don’t mind a bit of music daytime even if a bit loud (can be hard when I work at home) but all day everyday all night etc. it is tiresome. I feel manners go along way. I notice sometimes here can be lacking like when driving say in UK we put our hand up to say thanks etc when someone gives way. Or when my kids or me walk across a road and a car stops To give way i have taught them to raise their hands as a thank you etc etc I haven’t seen anyone return the same courtesy not once. However I accept that lots of people here will say good morning when standing in a crowd waiting and that def doesn’t happen in UK! So it’s yin and yang I suppose with all things. I will persist with my UK style of manners too ingrained and automatic for me maybe it will catch on?!

*** I don’t get comments like these ones. With all due respect, we’re here in Ecuador as foreign guests. No one is forcing us to be specifically here. If there are things we don’t like about Ecuador, we can move.

Not only that, but as others had mentioned it’s a massively huge (and in my opinion inappropriately racist) generalization to say that “Ecuadorians” play their music loudly. My girlfriend’s mother certainly doesn’t, nor does her grandma, her brother, her brother’s wife, her uncles, her aunts, etc., etc., etc….

*** I do not think anyone said everyone!! I certainly did not as I am married into an Ecuadorian family who do not do this. Also I think we are allowed to have our opinions and little moans just because we live here we shouldn’t have to say “Hey everything is great, all ok, and I accept it all whether I like it or not”. This really is simplistic. This thing of saying “well if you don’t like it then leave” that is racist. I hear that all the time to migrants in the UK!

*** I doubt anyone expects a whole culture to change!!! As I said when I can I will move to a quieter area. I think it is perfectly ok to let off steam here in the expats group.

*** I think expecting an entire country’s culture to be changed in order to accommodate people coming here for a low cost of living is quite absurd.

*** Exactly correct. It’s only some, not all.

*** I am with you on this issue. I live in a noisy neighborhood and am a light sleeper. Loud music through the night! Ugh! I strongly dislike Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:30-8:30 when the Zumba music is played at the highest level possible right outside my window. My Windows shake! I have to make myself not go out and turn down the volume.

*** I mean I love music I listen it to it all day As I don’t have a TV! However I would never inflict it at all times on my neighbours. I don’t mind a bit of music daytime even if a bit loud (can be hard when I work at home) but all day everyday all night …

*** I don’t get comments like these ones. With all due respect, we’re here in Ecuador as foreign guests. No one is forcing us to be specifically here. If there are things we don’t like about Ecuador, we can move

*** I do not think anyone said everyone!! I certainly did not as I am married into an Ecuadorian family who do not do this. Also I think we are allowed to have our opinions and little moans just because we live here we shouldn’t have to say “Hey everything is cool…

*** My comment was a reply to the person making the post, who did use the term “Ecuadorians” as a generalization. The difference is, migrants in the UK are probably in the UK for much, much different reasons than most of the people making and commenting

*** I doubt anyone expects a whole culture to change!!! As I said when I can I will move to a quieter area. I think it is perfectly ok to let off steam here in the expats group.

*** After a few nights in Cotacachi with the roosters, musical garbage trucks, early morning blaring loudspeakers and the music it was a no brainer that ¨city¨ life was not for me. So we bought a short distance from town.

*** When you say, “Ecuadorians”, you generalize. Not all “Ecuadorians” are created equal. I could say the same thing about people, here in the States, but that would be like putting everyone in a certain category. Signed, an Ecuadorian.

*** Estoy totalmente de acuerdo con usted.

*** Yes I suppose reading the op the poster could of used a better choice of words. I am sure it was not meant in an offensive way. Come on people we all generalize as some point in our lives no one is perfect – look I just did i just said all us Brits are moaners….please UK expats I don’t mean it honest its just a joke!

*** And another generalisation from another Brit……we fell in live with Ecuador and Ecuadorians. Does NOT mean we cannot voice our opinions or little moans. We think the main issue with living in Ecuador is the expats who seem either to be delightful, warm and friendly, or little arses.

*** I reckon I am somewhere in between Frankie, delightful, warm and friendly ass? smile emoticon !

*** it’s OK! I had the gall to complain about a corporate grocery chain, TIA, cause they do not sell kitty litter and rarely sell Diet Coke. OMG did the spears fly! I was told to get the f*ck back to America.

*** Before we bought our land and built our home in Puerto Lopez, an Ecuadorian friend gave us great advice. He said neighbors are everything here…get to know them BEFORE you buy anything. We did. I think we have the best neighbors in town.

*** I agree with most of you..not all Ecuadorian used to do this ..

***I think some of you are bing nit picky about the choice of words, especially referring to Ecuadorians. Maybe it would have been more PC.

What do you think?

In  my  new book, Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador. I talk more specifically about All. Things. Ecuador. Feel free to purchase my new bookWords To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuadoravailable both on Kindle and Paperback formats. Personally, I prefer the kindle version as all my photos are in color in that version. However if you like a traditional paperback in your hands where you can make your own notes, feel free to purchase that version where the photos are in black and white.

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador


Let. It. Go.


No matter where we live in the world, this is good wisdom to keep in mind every day, no matter what we may have done, said, feel or perhaps, even regret:

“Finish each day and be done with it.

You have done what you could.

Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can.

Tomorrow is a new day.

You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you came here to this blog really only wanting to know more about Ecuador, feel free to buy my new bookWords To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador. My book is available both on Kindle and Paperback formats, though I prefer the kindle as all my photos are in color in that version.
Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

*Photo Credit: Mary Anne Dorward, “Sunset In Chile”


Essential Items To Bring If You’re Moving To Ecuador

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Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

A Woman posted this question on the Ecuador Expat Facebook page today:

“What items of clothing are most important to bring? What did you regret not packing?”

I thought her question and all the replies from people who actually live in Ecuador were so good, I decided to reprint them here on my blog. The many helpful answers people on the Ecuador Expat FB page really stand on their own for anyone wanting to know what essential clothes and other items to bring to Ecuador that you cannot get there.
(Note: It’s a closed group that I belong to so in order to protect everyone’s privacy, I’ve removed all names except ones who could be good references. Here is the link for your reference if you wish to request to include yourself in the Ecuador Expats FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EcuadorExpats


Quick question. We are moving to Ecuador in March what items of clothing are most important to bring? What did you regret not packing. Thanks all. Countdown is killing me 57 days and counting lol
A. Long pants and running shoes. We brought mostly shorts… big mistake!

 (Thanks so much…trying to reduce my wardrobe to two suitcases is my trauma for the month)


A. Look up “capsule collections” on Pinterest. It is a whole new world of women who know how to get 30 days out of 14 pieces. I’m sure someone has done your trip. You will be shocked. I’m looking for “professional teaching summer” and the options are unbelievable. I’m a terrible shopper and this is really helping me. Here’s “capsule collection vacation” so you can see it. https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/…

A. Where will you be living?
(We are not sure at this stage , we fly into quito then to Cuenca to lodge residency and have a look. we have met on facebook some amazing people from Cotacachi so that is pretty high on the list. Coming from Australia everything looks good.)

A. We wear one type of top when we get up in the morning; change around 10:30 because it gets quite warm and then about 4:30 go back to our cool weather clothes. Bring clothes that can be layered and changed into and out of.

You might bring a raincoat or umbrella if you plan to be out and about in the predictable rainy weather. Decent shoes. Either sturdy walking shoes or strong sneakers.


A.  I moved to Cuenca and regret not bringing enough warmer clothes. It can get quite cool at night.


 A. Saltine crackers frown emoticon ….LOL
A. We live in cotacachi. Why are you doing your immigration work in Cuenca. Why not Quito.
(Because I am so dumb that I asked for recommendations and went with a lady recommended and did not find out until I had paid deposit that she was in Cuenca not known for the brilliance of my intellect)
A. Have you met Jeanne Martin yet? She is also from cotacachi and from Australia.
(Jeanne and I have messaged a lot She is fantastic with so much good advice)
A. Hi! I regret not bringing more sneakers, blankets and raincoats. I’m in Quito. I did not regret my umbrella, my make-up, sunscreen, socks..  Also, bring your own cellphone, laptop or desktop, kindle if you have one…
A. Cuenca will be a nice look around. Enjoy your time there.
A. When you visit cotacachi you will already have friends.

A. Jeanne stayed with me a week in Cuenca. She’s great.


A. Clothes are expensive and not very good quality. I would take a maximum of clothes if possible. And i would defintely bring good quality towels!


A.  it is now 6,50pm, I am still in a tshirt in the Cotopaxi province, inside, doors shut with no extra heating, but yes, some evenng can be cool, I disagree with the expensive clothes, they are dirt cheap here. you just need to know where to go.


A.  I agree whole heartedly about the price of clothes


A. Bring whatever you normally wear, and bring good quality. If you normally wear jeans, blouses and flats, bring those and make sure they’re good quality. People here do dress up to go out for dinner or other things, so if you just bring heavy-duty travel-type clothes, you’ll stick out.


A.  Very long extension cord

A. really, we have loads of 10 metre extension cords, how long do you recommend, if we want longer we join them up. or just buy a 100 metre cable put the plugs on each end. we also have those for building

A.  Extension cords are everywhere in Cuenca. Heavy duty, light duty, short, long, indoor, outdoor, 2-prong and 3-prong.


A. For the Sierra: Lightweight cotton sweaters, medium-weight shawls & scarves, warm socks & slippers, extra pairs of walking shoes. Umbrella and sun hat with chinstrap. Rain slicker. No shorts. And a clip-on fan. If you go to the coast or the oriente, it’s a whole different story!

A.  I also want to add that the different regions of Ecuador treat clothing very differently….Not as many folks dress up here in Cotacachi as I suspect dress up in Quito, Cuenca or Guayaquil. Where you settle will determine fashion modes.

A. It depends on the city and even your group of friends, for sure. Here in Ambato it’s definitely the norm to dress nice-casual when going out for lunch or to run errands across town, and business casual and up is not unusual for dinner or going to a friend’s house. However it’s perfectly acceptable to go to your local tienda in your PJs


A.  Clothes depends on size of person. I’m near 6′ and Ecuador people smaller so clothes to small. But if leather goods they can make it. Bring size smaller in jeans. And extra walking shoes


A.  But they have really amazing tailors and seamstresses who can make just about anything you can point at in a magazine!


A.  Flannel pj’s!


A.  a smaller size pair of jeans….could sure use them right about now….

A.  “Pelileo,” near Banos and Ambato is full of jean shops. I bought a pair and love them! There is such a huge variety you may need to try a few stores.

A.  If you are comming to Quitó, from Australia.. Bring your normal clothing but in layereable combinations.


A.  Rain coat and down jacket and down vest. rubber boots,Sheets, Pillows. No one ever wears tank tops, shorts or summer ware in Cuenca or surrounding area.


A. Bring undergarments if you are larger than a size medium. Also,all the shoes if you are bigger than size 8. And slippers.


A. I see people in tank tops and summerware such as shortsand I am in.Cuenca, not many but a few do wear them…not the tourist either…lol


A.  Bring good sheets. They sheet cheaply made ones and they cost alot. They do not sell flannel sheets . Good pillows cost a lot as well.


A. Really good walking shoes. Comfortable pants with front pockets that close. Cotton T-shirts. Hat to protect you from the sun but you can get that here. Socks!!!


A.  I noticed no one has mentioned bras, everything else can be bought even bras, but they are all small sized, they dont fit the properly here.


A.  ta heck with bras—I like the sport tops that afford support. Smiles.


A.  Aquasocks if you plan to be in the ocean.

A. Dress for the climate you are moving to. I bought some long sleeved blouses for Cuenca as it is quite chilly there. And all my summer clothes for Vilcabamba. You didn’t ask about food but I did before I came and came with a lot of peanut butter and h

A.  Onion soup mix……… can’t get it here…..


A. outer wear, under garments are a waste of packing space!!  wink emoticon


A.  One of my favorite clothing items that I have here is a ultralight rain jacket. Because it is so lightweight and folds down into a tiny square, I can easily take it everywhere on those days where rain may come out of nowhere and last 20 minutes (which happens almost daily during certain parts of the year in Cuenca)

A. My friend recently moved there… things I’ve sent or she wishes she had…
Good sheets! Towels, baking soda, witchazel, sewing needles and pins, shoes, tea, hair conditioner. Hope this helps


A.  Not clothing but I see your from brissy so bring lots of tim tams, Milo, vegimite, butter menthols, iced vovos and eucalyptus!


A.  Walking shoes or sneakers, socks, bras and undies, towels and linens, tea if that’s your thing, and electronics.


A.  I’m from Australia too, but live on the coast in Manabi. Climate aside, I really wish I had bought way more underwear and bras. Unless your fine with plain cotton. Also wish I’d bought more shoes. Size 9 can be found, but with wide feet, it’s difficult. Also, anything ‘fancy’ or ‘dressy’ is rather expensive here. So if you like to dress up for special occasions, and have some favourites, bring them.


A. GOOD walking shoes (and if you wear over a womens 8/5 or a mens 10.5 bring EXTRA!!), my daughter and I live in T shirts and jeans much of the year…bring jeans/etc in a couple sizes smaller….most people lose weight when they move here! Larger sizes (Tall / XL etc) hard to find as well…bring sunscreen and a few months supply of any meds you take regularly. We each brought one basic black dress and a pair of dress slacks …LOL


A. Of course, by now you have figured out the answers ‘depend’….on where the respondant lives, their size, their ‘thermostat.’ I am really cool if not cold much of the time in Cuenca. Right now, others are complaining of the heat and I’m perfect! From 8200 feet in Cuenca to sea level on the coast … good luck bringing all the right clothes in two suitcases!


A. LOL…yup…if you are a person who “runs hotter” you’ll be good in tshirts, if you run cold, you’ll want a few sweaters, etc…The weather can change many times in the course of 24 hours, so I usually have on my Tshirt, carry a light shawl/scarf/and a hat (plus the standby sunscreen and umbrella)


A.  If you have larger size feet, shoes!


A. Fleece is too hot here for me. I’d bring only one if feel need to. 3/4 length tee shirts are a must


A. I get very hot in Cuenca . Wish I had brought more 100% cotton tops.


A.  Clothes are easy…. but if you have quality cookware…. bring it. VitaMix, and some food things like spices are very weak here….. Clinton’s onion soup mix… MAPLE SYRUP. If you wear sports bras… you can’t get them here at all.


A. Great to have the pants from Lands End where the legs zip off to make shorts or zip on to make long pants.


A.  I like Liptons soup for when we have a cold. Comfort food


A.  For meat balls, meat loaf, dips. It’s the only packaged food I use, and you can’t duplicate it.


A.  I buy my shoes and clothing in the US. I just bring more with me every trip. Horshradish, pickles, saurkraut, good sheets, down pillows are hard to come by…….why are down pillows hard to get? I don’t know.


A.  I put my clothes in space bags. It took up less space in the luggage


A.  I brought about 80 pairs of shoes, but the only footwear that I wear is 2 pairs of sneakers. Bring sneakers, they are expensive here.

A. Bring socks and under ware. You will not shrink out of them. Don’t buy extrs pants, you will lose 20 lbs. here in the first six months. Three or four jackets. Especially to repel rain. It is not cold enough for a winter coat. Good walking shoes (three pair). Hats to protect your skin from the sun.
A. Sleep ware (PJ’s), it is cool at night. House shoes. A backpack.


A.  I wish I’d brought more comfy raggedy sweats and lazyclothes.


A. I figured I would lose weight so I brought the next size down jeans. Now I’m one size down from that.


A.  Anything you may need assistance with please keep my contact information I will be very happy to help you on anything , Monica Gonzaga I’m a Facilitator monicagonzaga.facilitator@gmail.com

(Great info from all
Now excuse me while I go and repack for the third time.)


 A. Definitely bring sneakers since brand name shoes cost ~3 times as much because of import taxes, same thing with good quality jeans since you can’t really get levis here without breaking the bank. Socks and underwear are never a bad investment either. Also, bring extra chargers for all your tech because you could easily end up paying $25 for a phone charger you could get for $3 on ebay in the states

A. Wish you the best! Hope to visit soon.

A. Things that are hard to find or expensive in Ecuador:

Good sneakers / sandals

Good jeans
Quality cotton linens
Electronics of all kinds and their chargers
Good cookware (stainless steel very expensive)
Sonicare type toothbrushes
Electric blankets (for mountain living)
Baking soda
Good quality underwear
But really, how many of these items do we really need? Even in Las Vegas I wear only a few items most of the time. Most of us gringos are just well trained to overconsume. Unless you have some specific hobby or business needs, you really don’t need to bring that much stuff. Bring the basics and learn to get the rest locally.

It will be challenging to find or replace things you are accustomed to, but if you’re committed to life in Ecuador you will figure it out….

Also I wouldn’t bother bringing too many clothes. You will almost surely lose weight. I would bring a few good basics and use the rest of luggage space for the other items which are expensive like good walking/hiking shoes, a few linens, maybe your fave pillow, electronics, electric blanket, fave cookware etc.


A. Bring all of the clothing you can because buying clothing in Ecuador is super expensive. You may lose weight, but the clothes have high resale value, due to the import taxes.

Unless something has changed in the last 9 months since I lived there.


A. Light weight jackets or sweater cardigans that you can tie around your waist. Cross body (long shoulder strap) purse.


A. I live in el Centro in Cuenca. If you think you might end up there-or in any noisy area-bring a sound masking machine. You’ll be glad you did.

A.  Bring a hat with a wide brim.

A.  In Cuenca – Think & Bring Layers. + a small day pack, a light rain jacket/windbreaker that you can stuff in your day pack, a compact umbrella, pants with zipable or snap closure pockets, and extra pairs of your favorite walking shoes or light hiking shoes and favorite socks. & Like Gerard Trettonsays, bring a favorite wide-brimmed sun hat & your favorite sunscreen.

A.  Yeah, a baseball cap doesn’t cut it for protection of all of face, the neck and the ears.

A. You can buy hats here in Cuenca. They are bulky to pack. You can buy umbrellas here too, all sizes. If you buy the wind-resistant umbrellas and bring them, you may “forget” them in a taxi anyway. Over four years of living here, I’ve forgotten about ten umbrellas in taxis. Bring underwear and shoes! check out for free: www.goldengirlincuenca.com for recommendations from various women. Don’t forget your Kindle or Nook!!! Enjoy the anticipation!

For Golden Girls, learn vital info about retiring to Cuenca, Ecuador, before you leave the U.S. Filled with…

A. Oh, yes…. DON’T forget your kindle!!!!

A.  If you wear a shoes larger than 8.5, bring shoes. Don’t bother bringing a winter coat. Cuenca is a hat-making center to don’t bring one. Life is very casual here–people don’t expect you to show up wearing a brand-new ensemble every day. Folks don’t wear shorts in Cuenca. An electric heating pad (for aching muscles, etc.) is very expensive here. I’d bring one.
A.  Gee! I wish I had asked the question before I came–could have been smarter–like –don’t bring one pair of comfortable walking shoes—bring lots more–geesh!
(Wow thanks everyone I definitely need a bigger suitcase… maybe my own plane lol)

would rather just know a bit more about Ecuador, feel free to consider my new book: Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador.  I know that you absolutely and totally WILL be grateful for all the helpful tidbits and stories about Ecuador that I share in my book. I’ve lived it. I know it. And in my book I show it. So you can totally trust it!

New Years Traditions: Ecuador vs Chile

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Now that I have celebrated New Years in both Ecuador and Chile, I thought it might be interesting to give you some idea of the New Years traditions celebrated in each country.


Ecuadorians and Chilean share the custom of people running the block around their homes lugging an empty suitcase at a few minutes before midnight. People who perform this yearly New Years tradition routine are all hoping to travel in the year to come.


Last year, when I was living in Ecuador,  I wrote a blog titled, New Years In Ecuador: Burn Up Your Troubles. (To read that blog go here: http://wp.me/p47vLx-8N) I explained the Ecuadorian Monigote tradition of creating papermache figures of all sizes, called Monigotes.

Ecuadorians  fill these Monigotes with pieces of paper on which they have written down all the things from their life in the past year that they wish to leave behind. Monigote’s can be a family affair, with every member of the family contributing their papers to a single Monigote or each member of the family can have their very own Monigote figure.

Then at midnight, everyone and their family set fire to their collective or personal Monigote, thus burning up all the troubles  and starting the new year truly with a clean slate.

Chileans I spoke to this past New Years had never heard of anything like the Ecuadorian Monoigote Tradition. When I explained it to the Chileans I know, in general they found Monigotes rather a “quaint” custom and preferred their parties and champaign and pineapple sherbet tradition.


However Chileans did have a few interesting traditions in common with the Ecuadorians, such as wearing different color underwear to bring an abundance of a certain quality into your life, though the colors linked with the desired objectives differed.

Ecuadorians wear red underwear for love and yellow underwear for money, while Chileans wear yellow underwear to attract both love and money abundance in the new year to come.


Grape sales boost during New Year’s Eve in Chile as it is considered lucky to eat 12 per person — apparently increasing the chances of affluence during the year. We went to the grocery store early in the morning on the day before New Years Eve in Chile to buy some grapes and they were already totally sold out.


While the English-speaking world sing a few verses “Auld Lang Syne” come midnight, I don’t remember any special song sung by Ecuadorians. However,  Chileans sing “Un Año Más” on the hour, and loudly. We were up 25 floors and you could hear them singing both above and below us in our condo and also in the streets below.

Chlieans drink a variety of drinks thorughout the evening of New Years Eve, such as cola de mono (coffee, cinnamon, milk and aguardiente) and poncha la romana (champagne with piña colada ice cream). Both of these are guaranteed to give you a completely filthy hangovers. (We decided to stick with white wine.)

Hangout spots:

When we lived in Ecuador, we celebrated New Years at the beach each year. When deciding where to spend New Year’s Eve in Chile, Valparaíso is usually the first place that springs to mind for most people in Chile. However,  I did some research and, though we watched the fireworks from above Vina del Mar and Valparaiso, there are many other places worth considering that offer something different if you plan to come to Chile on New Years Eve at the end of this year 2016. Fair warning: get your reservations made NOW as there are very few places available the closer it gets to New Years.

Torre Entel fireworks

I am not sure what the fireworks are like in Quito, Ecuador as I never spent a New Years Eve there. However, Santiago Chile’s Torre Entel — the 418-foot-tall Television and communications tower — lights up as the yearly firework erupts from the structure’s peak. Due to its tremendous height by Chilean standards, it’s hard not to notice the fireworks display spouting high into the night sky, wherever you may be in the city. The show kicks off at midnight and it’s advised to find a decent vantage point early as people flock from far and wide to guarantee the best views.


Like Ecuadorians, more often than not Chileans get together at a friend or family’s house and fire up the coals for an asado — creating a huge feast to welcome in the new year. In both countries, all sorts of meats get the flame-grilled treatment, especially choripan.

Ecuadorians most often drink a toast with beer or whatever alcohol is on hand. In Chile, people traditionally celebrate the actual striking of midnight with their families, with a toast of champagne with pineapple ice cream.

In Ecuador, people stay where they are for a fiesta and it can last well into the next morning. After dining and the New Years fireworks are over, people in Chile tend to go out in search of a dancing joint or move on to another different location for another house party….or two. Chileans do love to party.

Castillo Hidalgo

In Chile, for those looking for something a little more lively, the yearly bash within Castillo Hidalgo is sure to entertain. There are three rooms blasting out various types of music including electro, indie and 90s disco. It may not be the cheapest option at $30,000 pesos a ticket — $45,000 pesos for VIP — but you should get a lot of bang for your buck.

This past New Years, DJ Full, Roland Murga and VJ Juan entertained the crowds. Located atop of Santa Lucía the castle was built in 1816. Due to its elevation the site also boasts brilliant views of the Torre Entel fireworks. Check out the website for further details.



We had a very different experience of “New Years At The Beach” this year. In Ecuador, local folks pop some fireworks and it’s over in a few minutes.

This year we were in Vina del Mar, Chile and this is one of the largest fireworks displays in South America. The place was jammed. Thousands of Chileans gravitate towards Valparaíso and neighboring Viña del Mar for New Year’s Eve. With so many great vantage points in the city people gather on the hills, kicking off impromptu parties. The power is cut in many part of the city so that the spectacle can be better appreciated.

However, the fireworks only make up a small part of the evening, most people travel to Valparaiso to party hard.

A stage is set up in Plaza Sotomayor where live bands play. The streets are choked with confetti and spilled champagne. People are awake all night long partying.

Escape to the country

Ecuador has many beautiful locations to ring in the new year besides the beach. This is also true of Chile.

Spending New Year’s Eve surrounded by mountains, lakes and incredible landscapes, all the while escaping the noise and partying of Santiago is a great alternative.

The Los Lagos Region, south of the Río Bío Bío and more or less reaching Puerto Montt, is a region packed tight with forests, snow capped volcanoes, hundreds of lakes and lagoons and hot springs.

Parque Nacional Vicente Pérez Rosales not far from Puerto Varas is highly recommended — it is the perfect destination to go hiking and camping under the stars with friends. Just be prepared for a long bus or car journey to reach the region.


You might think that for New Year’s Eve, the place to be in Chile would be Santiago. While there are (not insubstantial) fireworks (fuegos artificiales ) in Santiago, the biggest New Years Eve party people say takes place in Valparaiso, out on the coast, just seventy miles away.

Even if you watch the fireworks from up above and away from the crowds like we did from our condo, Valparaíso’s fireworks display on New Year’s Eve is truly stunning.

Valparaíso is a protected UNESCO site and is often called “the Pearl of the Pacific.” It’s a port city, though no longer the most important port of the country (San Antonio now has that distinction). Still, commerce comes through here, as do some 50 cruise ships, often either on their way from or to Cape Horn and Antarctica. Valparaíso is famous for its picturesque colorful houses on steep hillsides, and the historic ascensores and funiculares (elevators and funiculars) that ferry people up them.

The fireworks celebration is actually the culmination of three days of celebration in the port city, which though expansive, is not that populous, as there are few large buildings in the city. There are great views from every hilltop, along the water front, from a selection of piers, and you can even buy a ticket for one of a couple of public boats that float alongside the exploding fireworks.

In a country of just 17 million people, as many as a million people flock to Valparaíso for the New Year’s celebration, which is the largest in Latin America.

As I mentioned above, if you’re going to go, book as early as possible, and get to the city early as well. Revelers find moving between Valparaíso and neighboring Viña del Mar on New Year’s Eve tricky, at best.

The Viña del Mar fireworks have never disappointed its spectators, and the reason for that is the permanent job and production capable of supporting a show that is worth millions. Since the year 2007, they explode in the garden city, Valparaiso and Concon, covering more than 27 kilometers of the Pacific coast, overwhelming all its spectators.

To achieve this, the city hall invests around 600,000 US dollars, which generates 23 minutes of explosions and admiration. With this event the alliance of the three municipalities applied for the Guinness Records, showing a worldwide quality.

To enjoy New Year in Viña del Mar, people from different cities and regions get up early and travel to get a place or parking spot in some nearby resort. The key launching points of the fireworks this New Year were: Recreo, Caleta Abarca, Peru Avenue, Los Marineros beach, Vergara pier and Reñaca, whereas in Valparaiso there were nine launching points and three in Concon.

With detonations from these places, for us in Viña it was possible to enjoy the view of the fireworks from different angles of the commune, this thanks to that the Illustrious Municipality of Viña del Mar is in charge of installing different viewpoints, especially in the highest and furthest places of the city, meaning that, this show is dedicated to the whole community.

The companies which provide the firework equipment deliver the best quality. It is the same one used in Spain and Italy. Viña del Mar, and its alliance, got a total of 24 tons of fireworks, being this the best event of all time. This shows that New Year in this city is always better than the last, not only in quantity but in quality. That is why this plan is the favorite of the majority of Chileans and many foreigners who come only to enjoy it.

No matter where you celebrate New Year’s Eve in either Ecuador or Chile, enjoy the celebration!

If you came here to this blog really only wanting to know more about Ecuador, feel free to buy my new bookWords To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador. My book is available both on Kindle and Paperback formats, though I prefer the kindle as all my photos are in color in that version.
Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

COLOMBIA: A New Perspective from The International Woman Mary Anne Dorward

For those of you considering moving or visiting South America, here is some helpful information on Colombia.

Colombia has been given a very bad rap over the last 30 years, mostly due to Hollywood movies and the government of the world not updating people about how Colombia actually is now.

Everyone I meet here or around the world when I travel these days who is from Colombia goes on and on and on about how beautiful and safe a country it is and encourages us to visit.

Since I haven’t spent a great deal of time in Colombia, I don’t feel I have a comprehensive enough experience to truly comment personally. However, I thought readers looking around at various South American countries might enjoy this article from Nick Giambruno today for further perspectives on opportunities currently available in Colombia. Nick is a wonderful writer and writes regularly for the newsletter, International Man.

To Thriving Travels For All,

Mary Anne Dorward, The International Woman

Author of Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador


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How to Profit from the End of the Longest Running War in the Americas

by Nick Giambruno | December 02, 2015
Drug cartels. Kidnappings. Assassinations. A war for billions in cocaine profits. Leftist guerrillas looking for a piece of the action.

If you’ve seen a movie with this stuff in it, there’s a good chance it was set in Colombia.

Popular culture has depicted Colombia this way for decades. The media has pounded this image into the public’s consciousness. So it’s no surprise most people think of the country as a scary, dangerous place.

There were plenty of facts to support this image 30 years ago…but not today. Today, a violent Colombia is just a Hollywood fiction.

The real Colombia has one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America. Some remote areas are still no man’s land. But the drug wars and civil conflict that started in the 1960s and tormented much of the country have wound down. I’d feel much safer walking down a street in Medellín tonight than I would in many parts of New York City, Chicago, or Washington, D.C. Plus, unlike most Latin American countries, Colombia welcomes and respects foreign investment.

It’s clear to anyone who has been there recently that Colombia has turned a page to a better future. The country has immense charm and plenty of opportunity for investors. That was certainly my impression after visiting earlier this year.

Yet the average person still thinks it’s the 1980s. He’s still holding onto ill-founded fears, thanks to all the negative but out-of-date images in the media. These images have created gross misperceptions about Colombia. That’s not a bad thing for us. It’s an opportunity.

The perception gap about Colombia has pushed the price of most things down to bargain levels. This is a blessing to anyone who can see beyond it.

This is exactly why I visited Colombia earlier this year. I found the opportunities there so compelling that I purchased a beautiful penthouse apartment in the nicest part of Medellín. I signed the papers and closed in early September.

Colombia, and Medellín in particular, has been on my radar for many years. My old college roommate was originally from Medellín. So I’ve known what the place was really like for some time.

I’ll share more on the investment opportunities in Colombia in a bit. But first, some important background information…

Peace Brings Prosperity

In the 1960s, friction between leftist guerrillas (generally allied with drug lords), right-wing militias (in some cases dabblers in the drug trade), and the Colombian central government developed into widespread civil conflict. This is the main reason Colombia has had a “red alert” travel advisory next to its name for decades.

The leftist guerrilla armies, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) and the much smaller Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), were the most notorious source of violence. Farming families started militias to fight back against FARC and ELN. They needed protection and, for many years, they were skeptical about the central government’s ability to provide it.

At one point, the leftist guerrillas controlled nearly half the country. But over the years, FARC lost territory, membership, and military strength.

The success of the Colombian military is one reason FARC’s power has shriveled. The military has pushed FARC out of most of the country.

Another reason is that FARC lost its foreign patrons. Cuba had been one of FARC’s biggest sources of financial and military support. But with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Cuban government lost its ability to finance mischief in Colombia, or elsewhere.

Cuba’s reconciliation with the U.S. has recently changed the geopolitical equation even more.

Add it up, and it’s no surprise FARC thinks more armed conflict is a losing bet. The remaining FARC forces have reached a tentative peace agreement with the Colombian government. They plan to finalize the agreement by March 2016.

In the coming months, I think there’s a good chance the Western Hemisphere’s longest-running conflict will come to a clean finish.

Below is a picture of Cuban president Raúl Castro bringing together Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, better known by the nom de guerre Timochenko.

A Contrarian Investor’s Dream

Colombia has the right mix of ingredients to make any contrarian salivate. Most people think it’s a country in crisis. In reality, that crisis is only a memory.

The world’s attachment to an outdated Hollywood stereotype of a country overrun by battling drug lords is handing us an opportunity. This stereotype, which is just beginning to fade, has kept prices of Colombian land and Colombian stocks low. And the recent strength of the U.S. dollar has pushed prices even lower.

It’s clear to me – and should be clear to anyone who has visited recently – that Colombia has turned a page to a better future. The country’s middle class is vibrant and growing. It has more than doubled in the past 13 years and now includes more than 30% of the population.

Massive, intelligently planned infrastructure projects are underway. An ambitious four-lane highway will cut through the Andes with tunnels and bridges to connect Medellín to ports on the Pacific and the Caribbean. It will also open up vast tracts of rich farmland for development.

Walk anywhere in Medellín and you will feel a dynamic energy in the air that tells you this place is on an upswing.

Put it all together, and you have a perfect crisis market…a place where the crisis is a fiction.

These opportunities won’t last forever. The word is starting to get out. But, for the time being, Colombia hasn’t hit the radar of most foreign and institutional investors. However, that could change soon, especially if the government and FARC reach a permanent peace agreement in the months ahead, as I expect they will


GRATITUDE DAY 9: On Taking Advice- If They Don’t SHOW it, They Don’t KNOW It

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Several years ago I had a profound insight on taking advice from others.

I stopped taking financial advice from people that were broke. I stopped getting health tips from unhealthy people. I stopped taking relationship advice from people with toxic or boring relationships and I stopped looking for spiritual guidance from people who couldn’t demonstrate the manifestation of Universal Principles in their life.

This choice to stop getting “bad advice” totally changed my entire life.

I now follow the rule that “if they don’t SHOW it, they don’t KNOW it” and I stay away from these people like they had the plague.

Instead, I find people who have manifested what I desire and ask them for help. Without exception they have been more than happy to assist me.

And the best part of the “Words To Thrive By Advice” I am giving you right now is that you can prove this to yourself!

Here’s how: Today will bring you a new awareness, a lesson or a manifestation that you are making progress – IF YOU LOOK FOR IT! This daily practice of focusing your attention on receiving new awareness of your progress in life will AUTOMATICALLY put you in The Flow.

Along the same lines, giving thanks at all times, attracts more things to be grateful for! Try it in your own life today and see!

Thank You

                       Thank You


And if you don’t want to take my advice on taking advice in life and would rather just know a bit more about Ecuador, feel free to consider downloading my new book: Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador.  I know that you absolutely and totally WILL be grateful for all the helpful tidbits and stories about Ecuador that I share in my book. I’ve lived it. I know it. And in my book I show it. So you can totally trust it!

Ecuador: President Declares State of Emergency Due To Presence of El Niño

Important *NEW* Information About Ecuador:

Ecuador: President Declares State of Emergency due to presence of El Niño

Posted on November 18, 2015 • Filed under: Ecuador, Ecuador Travel

eltelegrafo.com.ec reported that a state of emergency has been declared declared today in 17 provinces of the country because of the presence of El Niño. President Correa issued the emergency decree to last last 60 days. According to Ecuador’s Constitution, the state of emergency allows the President to suspend or limit freedom of movement, freedom of association and assembly, and freedom of information. Border crossings may be instituted and the Armed Forces and National Police may be used as necessary. The only provinces not included in the decree are Tungurahua, Sucumbíos, Orellana, Napo, Pastaza, Morona Santiago and Zamora Chinchipe. Tthe Secretariat for Risk Management declared a yellow alert in 17 provinces because of El Niño last week. PDF format file

For more information go to: http://latinamericacurrentevents.com/ecuador-president-declares-state-of-emergency-due-to-presence-of-el-nino/34912/

Want additional information on Ecuador? Download my book, “Words To Thrive By® for World Travellers: Footprints in Ecuador”http://amzn.to/1KWKVs2