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First Apartment

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Since arriving in Cotacachi 15 months ago, Angela and I have lived in four different places. Our first apartment at Primavera II is about 1,100 square feet and has 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a terrace. It is difficult to imagine how long it takes to fully furnish and decorate a new apartment here. In the States, it is possible to go to two or three different stores and have everything that you need delivered right to your door. Not so in Ecuador. Everything is painstakingly slow and requires going to multiple stores to get everything that you need.

Maid Services

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One of the benefits of living in Ecuador is the ability to hire a housekeeper at low cost. In general, it is possible to hire a local woman to clean and do laundry for $10 per day or less. It is not always easy, however, to find a good maid who cleans well and is reliable. Showing up for work on time is not always their highest priority. Angela and I have been fortunate to have had two good housekeepers during the time we have lived here.

Crime

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Theft is a problem in many low income countries, and Ecuador is no exception. As is the case everywhere, it pays to use common sense especially in large crowds. In Cotacachi, I am aware of a couple of break-ins during the time that we have been here. However, I have never felt insecure in Cotacachi while out at any time of the day or night. It still has a small town feel here. In Ibarra, I do not have the same feeling. On a shopping trip a while back, my wife's friend's fanny pack was snatched on a busy street in broad daylight.

Internet

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Internet options in Cotacachi are available but somewhat limited. The most common way is by using a small device called a Porta stick that plugs into your computer and allows wireless Internet from anywhere in Ecuador. The cost if $55 per month but the speed slows if you use more than your monthly limit. That can be a problem if you do much downloading or streaming. At Primavera II, where we live, a high speed wireless connection with our apartment is available for $70.

Eating at Bocaditos

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There are an increasing number of restaurants in Cotacachi. Two establishments have opened in the last few months and are very popular among the expats. One called “Bocaditos no Tipicos,” is owned by a couple from New York named Danny and June.. Danny worked as a chef in New York and is able to make a wide variety of dishes. The menu changes from day to day, so you never know what surprises await you.

Flowers

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Ecuador is a flower lover's paradise. At the market, two dozen long stemmed red, pink, or white roses can be yours for $2.50. A small assortment of a variety of flowers costs $1.00. Ecuador exports many flowers to the United States where the mark up on them is substantial. For all you romantics out there who want to lavish your wives with flowers without breaking the bank, Cotacachi is the place to be.

Driver

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As we do not have a car, it is sometimes more convenient to call a taxi rather than walk or take a bus. In our time here, we have had many taxi drivers, but none better than Giovanni. In the many times that we have used him, he has been punctual, courteous, responsible, and friendly. Although he does not speak English, most of his business comes from expats who have recommended him to their friends. He recently bought a new car with more space because the foreigners that he picks up at the Quito airport to bring back to Cotacachi usually have a lot of suitcases.

Climate

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I am amazed at how great the climate is in Cotacachi. For those who like 70 degree spring-like temperatures, I doubt that there is another place on earth that is better. The mornings, especially, are spectacular. We love taking a walk in the early part of the day when the sun is out and the air is crisp and clean. No matter what is troubling you, everything seems better after a morning stroll in Cotacachi. It is a little too cool to wear shorts and a jacket is often needed in the evenings or on rainy days.

Having a Car

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Having a car in Cotacachi is a luxury that few people find necessary. Virtually everything in town is within easy walking distance and taxi's are readily available at low cost. The expat housing developments, which are mostly on the outskirts of town are also within easy reach. Buses leave from the station for Otavalo and Ibarra every few minutes making it easy to go to the surrounding towns for shopping and entertainment. If you prefer to take a taxi, it costs $5 to go to Otavalo and $10 to Ibarra.

Renting

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Often you will find websites touting fully furnished rentals in Cotacachi for as little as $250 - $300 per month. My wife and I were offered a job managing rental properties for a period of time after we arrived in Cotacachi and learned a great deal about the rental market. Our experience has been that those rentals in the lower price range lack the amenities that many people expect, including hot water, safe wiring, and comfortable furniture. Often, they are located on noisy residential streets with a chorus of barking dogs.

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