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Frequently Asked Questions

Cotacachi Living receives many emails with questions about living in Cotacachi. This page will be used to answer some of the more common questions that we receive. Although I can't promise I will be able to answer all of them, feel free to send an email to if you have a question you would like to have answered here.

How do you do laundry? Are major appliances available? Do you use propane? We have a washing machine and dryer for doing laundry.  All major appliances are available although they may be slightly more expensive than those in the U.S.  We do have gas tanks that we use for the stove, hot water heater, and dryer.  I call the gas company every 3 or 4 weeks to come and replace them with full tanks.  It only costs $3 per tank here, so it is very inexpensive. 

Are there many opportunities for socializing with other expats?

While the expat population is still small, they are quite a friendly group. There are frequent social gatherings and holiday parties. A Gringo Club was formed that meets regularly for dinner and socializing as well.

What is the scenery like there?

The scenery in the high Andes of Ecuador is spectacular. Cotacachi is sandwiched between two volcanoes and it is not uncommon to see snow on the peaks in the morning.

Are the amenities available to live a comfortable life?

With globalization and the technology that has developed over the past 10 – 15 years, it is possible to live in fairly remote places and still have most of the comforts of home. High speed Internet, satellite television, DVD's, imported food items, good roads, along with affordable housekeeping services help make Ecuador a comfortable place to live.

Do I need to speak Spanish?

As few locals speak English, it is very useful to have at least a basic knowledge of Spanish. Having said that, the majority of expats here speak only a few words of Spanish and manage to get by quite well. There are schools in Otavalo that offer intensive courses in Spanish as well as individuals in Cotacachi who will give private lessons.

What currency do they use in Ecuador?

Ecuador changed to the U.S. Dollar after the financial collapse that occurred in the late 90's. Therefore, Americans do not need to be concerned about currency fluctuations if their income is based in dollars. Also, not having to exchange currency or mentally convert prices into the dollar add to the convenience of living here.

What are the seasons like?

There is a rainy season and a dry season, but temperatures remain remarkably constant year round with highs in the 70's and lows in the 50's on most days. A light jacket is usually sufficient in the morning or late afternoon.

How much money do I need to live comfortably in Cotacachi?

While the amount varies from person to person, it is possible to live comfortably for around $1,000 - $1,500 per month including rent.


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