Property FAQs

1 hectare = 2.471 acres

1 square meter equals 10.7639104 square feet

1 meter = 3.821 feet

1 km = 0.621 mile

Do you build homes? Yes we do. We can build your home in as little as six months.
Clink here to see our model homes

Do you have professional architects and builders? Yes we do. We have professional licensed architects. We can do your design using AutoCAD and email it to you. Note: We only build high quality earth-quake resistant homes.

What is the going price for land in your area? $10,000 – $85,000 per hectare. Hectare = 2.5 acres. Near town prices are much higher; as high as $85,000 per hectare. Gated private community go as high as $75,000 per hectare. NOTE: Very large extensions of land can be as low as $400 per hectare in extremely remote areas.

How much does it cost to build a house? $200 / square meter for rustic low cost housing or apartment type. $300-400 / square meter for custom home. $450-650 square meter for luxury custom home. Note: These prices are for only the house COST, sale price are often $1,000 – $1,200 Plan on an additional 30-50% for outside work such are electricity, water, septic system, road, garden, gates, etc. Loja does have very good architects. We can build your home to your specification in 12 months or 6 months for an additional 30%.

In the $250 square meter ($23/sf) range you will find things like unfinished building side walls, lower quality tiles, only cold water faucets, plywood doors, only white paint, no insulation, less electrical outlets, etc… Click here so see sample pictures

In the $385 square meter ($36/sf) range you will find, larger selection of tiles and wood floor, larger tiles, full wall tile covering in bathrooms, tub, wood doors, higher quality tiles and wood floor, high-quality wood floor finishes, high-quality satin paints, top gypsum moldings, drops gypsum ceilings with color lighting, high-quality light fixtures, high-quality stair rails, wood floor railing, higher ceilings, texture ceilings, window covering, choice of color for bathroom sink and toilet, MDF cabinets, marble table top counters, higher quality roof tiles, wall and ceiling insulation, fan ventilation, insulated hot water pipes, central water heating system, etc… We also offer professional interior decorator consulting service to help you pick the best colors, tiles, wood flooring, appliances, furniture, etc.

Will I need building permits? Yes if building in town or in the city. No for all rural areas; though some community properties must have some municipal approvals.  Note: Laws are often changing, be sure to check with an attorney.

How far is Malacatos from Vilcabamba? Malacatos is 10 minute ride by car from Vilcabamba. Offers a little better climate and it is 20 minutes less driving distance to Loja.

Can foreigners own property? Yes, you do not need to be a resident to own property. All you need is your passport, and anyone can buy for you, you do not need to be here to buy.

Is buying a complicated process? Roughly speaking, how does it work? It is a simple and very secure process. In Ecuador there is a minimum two lawyer requirement by law to do any real estate transaction. One makes a written request to a notary (notaries are all lawyers) and the notary keeps a copy for life, later on it is also registered with the county public property register. The lawyer will do property title search, lean search, tax searches all prior to sending it to the notary. The seller may also use an attorney. Overall the process is simply an inexpensive.  Topography is now required by law to be added to the notary paperwork that goes to the Municipality and the Property Registry.  Though it is not required by law we recommend pictures added to the documentation signed by the seller.

Is financing available? If so, on what terms? For the most part financing is available at 70-90%, 10,12,15 and 20 years, at 9-12.95% interest rate. Here is an example: CACPE 10% interest rate, 10 year loan, up to 70% financing, $80,000 maximum loan.

What sort of tax burden can new owners expect? Property taxes are very low, most rural properties only pay a few dollars a year in real estate tax.

Do you expect prices to go up or down? We expect that prices will continue to go up since Loja has a shortage of 60,000 homes and many foreigners are moving to Loja each year. Commercial real estate investment is at its prime at this time, there is a huge demand for apartment and business offices in Loja.

How many foreigners living in the area? Approximately 2,000.

What about earthquakes? Though we are not expecting one nor had any in the past 30 years, Loja is known to be in an earthquake zone, same as most any other place in the world, buying or building an earthquake resistant property should be a top concern for you. WARNING: There are many constructions throughout Loja that will not withstand even a small earthquake.

What “lifestyle” can I expect? Semi-rural life with the comfort of in town restaurants, small stores, parks and occasional outdoor and indoor live entertainment. The city of Loja offers recreational parks, night-life, many outdoor events throughout the year such as indoor and outdoor fairs, indoor and outdoor concerts throughout the year, shopping for most items is available, several large food markets, two large universities, banks, even a large supermarket and modern new movie theater. Shopping here is mostly in small sidewalk stores throughout the city vs. large shopping malls. Keep in mind that with the Internet you can order most anything you want and have it here in a few days.

If you are an outdoor person and like the mountains, there is a lot to do. Horse riding is quite popular. There are plenty of parks.

Peru is only 6-8 hour drive from Loja and offers many good recreational coastal beach activities at very low prices. Traveling south to Peru and Bolivia can be fun for quite a while.

Cuenca is 2 hours by car from Loja.

Overall there is a lot to do south and north of Loja, and east and west.

Fell free to email us specific questions.

Currency value? To give you an idea, you can hire a none skilled worker for $15 USD a DAY. Maid for $300 per month. Taxi ride anywhere in the city of Loja just $1 – 2 USD. Taxi ride to Vilcabamba from Loja (45 minutes) $1.75 USD, Airport $5 USD in a shared vehicle, $25 private. Prices based on 2015. Private pickup trucks are available in Vilcabamba and Malacatos for $6-8 per trip.

What’s the cost of living? One of the most attractive reasons to live here is the low cost of living combined with the high quality of living in many areas such as plentiful fruits. 2-4 bedroom house or apartment rentals go for $200-500. Gasoline $1.48 Diesel $1 Propane gas refills $1.80 Electricity is 12-16 cents / Kw. But not used much. Keep in mind that you will NOT need air-conditioning not heating, stove use propane gas, one refill last a month for a family of 4. Lunch in Loja $3.50 – $6.00 per person. Dinner $3.50 – $8.00 Movie theaters $3.50; DirecTv for $32-55 / month. CD movie DVD movies $1-1.50 $1 Internet hour, $45 for wireless unlimited service.

What are some examples of prices for items you’d typically buy like milk and bread? Milk 90 cents / litter. Whole-wheat bread loaf $1, 7-grain bread loaf $1.50 Most small fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, plums, kiwi, etc. are 10-50 cents each. Local grapes 50 cents / lbs. Imported grapes $1 / lbs. Watermelon $1.50-3.00 Small melons 50 cents. Huge melons $1.50. Organically grown eggs 25-30 cents. Rice 20 – 50 cents / lbs. Coconut $1 Banana 1-5 cents. Limes 1 cent. Lettuce 40-50 cents. Mangoes $3 / box (20 cents each). The most expensive and top choice meat maximum $2 / lbs, though do not expect the awesome flavor of grain-feed beef meat. Chicken $1 / lbs. Chicken meat is quite good. Fresh fish is available weekly at the local markets in Loja for $2.50 / lbs. Shrimps $6-8 / lbs.

What does it cost to visit a doctor — and what’s the medical care like? Specialist $10-30 per visit. Surgeries cost up to 80% less than in most first-world countries. Dental work also cost up to 80% less. It is quite important to know how to pick a medical practitioner, because they vary from the absolute worse to some of the best. Ecuador does NOT have any control whatsoever in medical care, therefore it is buyers beware. There are many doctors that do pride themselves in the work they do and invest constantly in further education and equipment, but do NOT expect them to be 100% up to date, most doctor do NOT even know what the WWW is, in fact this is a simple test to know if they are up to date or not. For example there are several very good plastic surgeons that we DO recommend, if you need a nose job, this is the place to get it. There are also a few very good dentists. Most drugs cost less, for example female anti-conceptive pills or shot cost $3.50 – 5.00 for a month supply. Most drugs can be bought over the counter in single units without prescription. Ecuador has drug manufacturing labs; therefore many drugs are low in price. There is medical insurance available, but they do not make a habit of paying in time and one must pay in advance to get medical attention in a hospital. We recommend that you keep some savings at hand for an emergency. The main thing to keep in mind is that improving your quality of life here should be enough to keep the doctors away.

How can I get my things there? We have successfully shipped 20-40’ containers to Ecuador; you can also send 8x8x8 via plane. Note: There are lots!!! Of documents to file first in order to not pay import taxes, all this takes $$ and time. If is advisable to bring as much as you can with you by hand vs. shipping. You may get a one-time import permit for your entire household; there is a limitation of 6 month upon arrival and you must have applied for resident visa. It is advisable that you consult with an attorney ASAP if you are planning to import. Container cost $1,800 – 2,400 for shipping from Miami – Guayaquil. Expect to spend $5,000 – 8,000 per container. Some have spent up to $17,000

What if I need something overnight? DHL, Federal Express and several private couriers delivers in 2-3 days, though we highly discourage you from using FedEx and DHL in Loja. We recommend you use the Post Office or  You can get almost anything from anywhere in the world. It will usually cost you import taxes of 10-35% plus 12% VAT/IVA.

Can we rent vehicles and equipment for roadwork, and agriculture? Yes. Several small tractors are available for $25-50 / hour. Minimum 40 hours for the larger ones. Autos are also available for rent in Loja.

Do you have detailed information and tips on preparations necessary to be legal to travel and reside in Ecuador? To ship containers? The cost? No.  We recommend your search online and or contact an attorney.

The weather info in your area? Rainfall, seasons, weather problems etc. There are 2 seasons – some rain or no rain at all. The temperature only varies a few degrees throughout the year. Rainy season usually starts in late September and may go as far as early June. For the most part is does not rain much in Vilcabamba and Malacatos, the city of Loja gets much more rain, some areas in Loja it does not rain at all and in Zamora it rains a lot. It all depends on the valley you are in.

How far from nearest basic supplies outlets; market, hardware store, bank and communications? Big city? 45 minutes to the city of Loja. Airport? 1 hour. Ocean? 5-7 hours. Peru? 6-8 hours.

Modes of transportation; horses? 4 wheel drive? Though most major road are paved, we recommend 4X4. There are many roads where a 4×4 will make the difference.

Should I import my car or buy one there? You may import one NEW vehicle duty free. For the most part we do NOT recommend the importation of a vehicle, you can buy most models here, it is better to get service and parts for a popular model vs. an imported one. We do NOT recommend Chevrolet for Loja on the other hand we DO recommend Toyota. There are many brands available, including TATA a low cost rough terrain and city 4×4 made in India. Small 4-5 passenger car cost $14-17,000 A Toyota 4×4 two cabin small pickup $24-26,000 Small SUV $31,000 USD

What building materials are available nearby? Same as in any big city, just some delays in getting some items. It is best to hire a builder vs. buying materials yourself. Prices can vary considerably from one store to the next one and it is a lot of work finding who sells what. For large quantities it is best to buy in Guayaquil, Cuenca or Quito vs. Loja. We have established directly contact from the manufacturer for some materials such as paint for 30-50% less than in Loja. We also have a custom carpentry shop in Malacatos at your disposal for custom furniture such as kitchen cabinets, closets, dinning tables, chairs, stairs, etc. Custom fine wood carpentry cost as little as 20% of the prices in the USA.

Water locations, purity, water rights? WARNING most water systems DO have chlorine added, if this is a concern for you, be sure you ask and do tell us. There are very few properties that offer non-chlorinated water systems. The water is quite pure from contaminants at the source and known as one of the best water in the planet, but adding chlorine ruins it. You can buy drinking bottle water. For $15-25,000 you can have a well dug for you. Another option is to donate portion of the cost for a ultra-violet system for the area you want to live in; people here do understand the dangers of using chlorinated water but cannot afford the UV-system.

Government support or local intervention? Political environment? We have tremendous support from the local government, from helping us negotiate land to helping with tractors and materials. Political environment is neutral unless and until you pose some sort of a threat. Now that the country converted to US dollars, things are getting much better.

What grows around there? Potatoes, parsnips, peanuts, garlic, onions, parsley, pineapples, prickly pears, a few varieties of corn and beans, tomatoes, leeks, cilantro, cumin, thyme, basil, marjoram, carrots, lettuces, beets, lots of coffee, plantains, bananas, apples, grapes, peaches, pears, maracuya, granadilla, figs, soursop / guanabana, sunflowers, avocados, watermelons, cantaloupe and several types of squashes, salt-wort, date palms, custard apple, cherimoya, mamey, genip tree, papayas, babacos, sweet potato, coconuts, plums and many others that grow only in this part of the world; medicinal garden, ornamental plants, orchids and much more.

Available temporary accommodations during settling? There are many hotels in Vilcabamba and a few in Malacatos. Some as low as $7 per day include a good breakfast.

Where should I stay in Vilcabamba? We recomend the Hidden Garden, includes breakfast, pool. $12 day per person. If you need help with reservation do not hesitate to ask us.

How are we going to earn money over there? This is perhaps the most difficult thing you will have to face if you need to earn a living here. Pay rates here are quite low and there are plenty of professional available in all the fields. If you have a need to earn a living, plan on being creative, such as doing consulting work, some off-site over the internet work or own a business. Real estate investment is one way. Most professional earn $200 – 800 per month. On the other hand, your monthly expenses could be as low as $200 per person per month. Be sure to read our Business Opportunity pages.

How will we interface with the local people? We are interfacing with many of them at this time, from workers to government officials, and we been having an exceptionally pleasant experience.

Should we learn Spanish? Many people speak English, French, German and other languages in the nearby town of Vilcabamba, though we DO recommend that you make the effort of learning some Spanish. Part of the fun of living here is interacting with the local people, many of them will surprise you of their very high level of formal education, for example 60% of the city of Loja population has a minimum of 4-year university degree.

How will the local people view a bunch of foreigners with a lot more resources than they have coming in to live among them? For the most part, the local poor population welcomes all foreigners, especially since they do know that they bring money to spend. For example there are more English music radio stations than Spanish. People here love anything that comes from the USA. Also note: Ecuadorians are not racists, they do not care what race you are, you will be treated as equals.

What about Visas? Ecuador is one of the easiest countries to get a permanent visa. Most countries require an investment of $150-300,000USD for a resident visa, but NOT Ecuador. As a tourist you may visit up to 3 months, there are also sponsorship visas for 6 months. For more detailed information go to the Ecuador embassy web pages at: Immigration attorney fee for processing visa range from $2,500.00 to $3,000.00 USD

How do we get there? Take a flight to Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador. We recommend Quito. From Quito you may take a plane or bus to Loja.

By bus, there are buses leaving from the bus terminal all day; we recommend PANAMERICANA or you can catch a FLIGHT connection from QUITO, or GUAYAQUIL (which are the international airports, whichever is better for you) to LOJA. There are currently 3 airlines who offer this service: TAME, SAEREO and ICARO. Helicopter service coming soon…

From the LOJA airport in la TOMA (Catamayo) there are cars leaving for the LOJA BUS terminal all day. You share the ride and it is cheaper, $3-5 USD per person. $15-25 USD if you want to travel alone, they will take you to (TERMINAL DE BUS), bus terminal.

AT the Bus terminal there are vans leaving every half hour to Vilcabamba… the cost $1.25 per person.

Just say the word Vilcabamba. The window that sells it, the company is called Vilcaturis and you buy the ticket then pay 10 cents for the terminal transboard. You go through a passage and outside are the vans, all the rest are busses; the vans go to Vilcabamba.

When you are ready to come visit us, email us for more detailed directions and travel information.

Why so many armed guards and police? Though it may come as a surprise to you on your first visit to some countries, there are many establishments that have armed guards and police may carry large rifle type guns. This does not mean it is a high crime area whatsoever, it is just the way things are. It is hard to convince someone that has not experience this to be a fact, but it simply is the way it is, no more no less. For example, one would assume the USA is constantly at war, from the fact of so many nuclear bombs they have, but the fact remains they have only used them twice in fifty years. The same is here: many guns, but they have rarely been used.

What about the long-term political stability? Long term would be speculation, but we can assure you that we did our research, several of us, before choosing Ecuador to be the place for our projects, runners up were Costa Rica, Panama, a Caribbean or Pacific Island, and Ecuador given some limitations and constraints, was our choice.

According to our knowledge, experience and logic we chose Vilcabamba as number one choice and you know what? After 9 years we still consider it the number one choice.

With neighbors countries like Columbians, are there any movements seeking to overthrow the government? Not that we are aware of, nothing unusual, nothing worse than the US or most of the world for that matter. Ecuador has a democratic, elected by the people government, with the US currency. As a matter of fact, that is why we chose Ecuador, where due to the culture and the way people are they have no guerilla, no communism, no drug problems, etc.

Ecuador is far from being a perfect country; it has its series of downfalls, such as bureaucracy (red tape), corruption, lack of a good infrastructure and services, etc., but we have learned how to work within this system. Put in a comparison to most all other countries we think it is a good choice.

Note: Most if not all bad news you hear about Ecuador is local to Guayaquil and Quito. Guayaquil is in the coast, therefore epidemics, etc. and Quito is where the government is at; both are big cities with a few million people, Loja city only has 150,000 people and is quite far from Guayaquil and Quito.

Any guerilla or army groups? None whatsoever. It has not been in the history of the country and there is no reason to believe it would start now. You may hear in the news problems with congress and local indigenous groups up rising, it has been like this for many years, not much comes out of it.

What about government corruption? Yes there is lots of government corruption and theft of funds, but none of this we expect it will change the quality of life here much, if anything it is bound to get better. The big overall problem is that these thefts by the government official prevent part of the fund from getting to where they are supposed to be going, for example free hospital care which the poor demand, more outside investments, repayment of the national debt, better education, better medical care, better roads, better communication infrastructure, better/wiser utilization of all the natural resources, such as oil and many minerals, etc. All this leads to the low paying wages, which is the source of all the complaints. The fact is that Loja has improved a lot and continues to improve substantially every day, for example, though it is chlorinated water, Loja has put in more than 20 water systems for the rural areas and has plans to do approx. 20 more each year, the city of Loja has spent 30 million dollars in a new water and water disposal system in the last few years, the city of Loja has recently asphalted all the roads, a new 120 million dollar (30-50% stolen) irrigation canal is under construction for a portion of the province of Loja, there are plans for additional 100 mega-watt wind-power park,  there is a additional 30 mega-watt private hydroelectric in the construction stages. No matter where you go in Loja, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Quito, there is none stop improvement; though yes it could be many time more and better if the people in power would stop stealing and doing their work with morals and conscience.

Schools and Education? For small children ages 3-9, there are alternative school that provides a good education. There are a few good quality courses available in Loja for children of all ages, such as painting, dancing, ballet, music, etc. There are two main universities in Loja, UTPL and UNL and a few other smaller ones. There are plenty of mainstream private and public schools, comparable to most countries such as the USA, Keep in mind that quality education has moved from the schoolroom to the Internet… Expect to pay 10% of the going price in countries such as the USA.

What about crime in general? It is high in Guayaquil and Quito, just like in every big city in the world, though a minute percentage in comparison to the USA. Most crimes in Loja have been committed by Peruvians and Columbians not by the Lojanos.

By all means avoid some places in Guayaquil and Quito, especially at night, use common sense and intuition, especially at night you should not go alone.

Some of the reasons why crime is lower here than elsewhere are:

· There is not enough money in the economy, nor gun shops or weapons for people to have them, so very few in this country have guns. They are simply out of the reach for most people.

· Small country, around 10 Million + people so they know each other pretty well.

· Ecuadorians honestly lack initiative in many things, including crime. You can see it in the architecture, food, culture, business life, etc.

· It is ingrained with their beliefs, religion, ancestry, etc.

· In places where Natives live, they have their own very strict laws, and there is zero tolerance for crime.

When you say that Ecuador wants me to make an investment in the country, does that mean give them the money or can I buy land or buy something else? Buy into something or leave money in the bank and they hold the key to it. In order for you to get a permanent visa you must invest in the country.

I had heard that things are safer in Ecuador… Very much, but then again it is all relative. Out of everyone that has visited us, one person was robbed by force. He decided to go in the evening, alone, flashing a video camera in old downtown Quito right across the main prostitution street. He was unharmed. They just showed him a knife; he actually put up resistance but finally gave the camera away. It is and has been the only case we know of. May 2003. Once in a while we do hear of some lady who a gold chain is taken from; do not go wear flashy easy to take gold chains in the market area.

We were victims of petty theft when we first got here back in 1999, since then we have not had any more problems; that’s what we have the dogs for. Given the opportunity, I believe most poor people, who are the majority, would steal small items if left unattended and that, unfortunately, is much more common than it should be, but true. Again it was the legacy left by the Spaniard conquistadores when they came to steal, rape and kill in the new continent. So we have adapted to it and have learned our lessons.

As all over the world, the countryside is different, people are different. Small villages have old traditions; it is another ball game always in the countryside.

Rain season how serious it is (SHOULD I STAY INDOORS THE WHOOLE DAY)? Not at all, a few years ago we had a lot of rain, but now the weather has changed and there is little rain, even when it did rain a lot, it usually was only for a few hours at a time.

Do you have snakes, spiders, rats and etc. Very few snakes, you may see one or two a year, same with spiders and rats. If you keep your home clean you should not have a problem. Do expect to run into all sorts of bugs, insects etc. from time to time.

Are there any Spanish language school nearby (Vilcabamba or Loja) to study there one-two months? Yes there are. Also private teachers are available.

A few more items to consider when choosing a property to buy and live, especially if you are considering a very remote area:

Driving distance to the city. I for one have not been able to reduce it any further than at least once a week, usually twice a week. After a while long drives may wear you down. BTW: from 12pm to 3pm expect to accomplish nothing in the city. Businesses get going after 9am and close at 5-6pm. And do not forget about the FOG, it some areas it gets quite thick, adding hours to your trip.

Source of drinking water. When buying, take into account the cost of a filter system, pipes, pumps and long-term maintenance. And if concerned about bacteria, you will need Ozone and/or an UV system, which will require some electricity. Most places offer what is called here “tubed water (agua entubada)” which means it is full of dirt. At the very least you will need a filter to take out the chorine.

Electric service. How far are the power lines for electricity? This can add quite a bit to your overall cost. Do ask how much power is available; many places offer electricity for just a few light bulbs. Do not assume because you see a transformer that you can connect to it, often transformers are privately owned.

Do not assume solar energy will work for you, many places do not have enough sun light for it and it is quite expensive.

All EcoVenus Lots include 240V power.

Material transportation. Distance to transport materials, and road condition for a truck to drive.

Road conditions. Keep in mind that roads deteriorate very quickly in the rainy season. Who is going to pay for cleanups? And is there local equipment available to do it.

Weather. Keep in mind that many beautiful places have real poor weather condition, be sure to ask, how is the weather in the rainy season? Especially after 2 pm. And do not forget to ask about the temperature, many places like Quito, the temperature drops quite a bit. If you are accustomed to cold climates it will be just fine for you, if you are from a hot coastal area it will be cold for you.

Rivers do rise quite a bit every 5-10 years. Do ask… Do not assume you will not be flooded.

Workers. In some remote areas it is very hard to find local workers. You may need to house, transport and feed them, be sure to plan on having a separate house, kitchen, showers, bathrooms, etc. for them.

Irrigation. If you depend on an irrigation canal, be sure to at least meet the president of the canal. Be sure to ask plenty of questions… Best to attend one of the meetings, prior to buying. You may be surprised to find out that it does not run all the time. Be sure to walk it all the way to the source, you may be surprise to find it in poor conditions. Same with any water source you may depend on, do visit the source, check the pipes, tanks, filters, etc.

Drinking water. Potable water in most places has chorine added, do ask… And make sure to find out how much water is available. Many places only allow you to use a small amount for house use only, no washing cars or irrigating with it.

Internet and telephone service is now available in most areas. For the very remote areas you can have internet satellite service for approx. $250/month plus approx: $2,500 in equipment, satellite phone cost $1-1.50 per minute. Fortunately there is now cellular service in even remote areas.

Agriculture. If you plan on doing lots of agriculture, and this is not your forte, I recommend you contact an agricultural engineer before buying. Do not assume you will get good yields everywhere, nor that anything grows anywhere either.

Security. If you choose to live in a remote area, make sure you are prepared to carry a gun and are very proficient with the use of it, and have plenty of dogs, which by the way, you will need to feed… Just read our uevn-announcement yahoo forum, for a story of one fellow who went at it alone in a too remote of an area, it will make you think twice about moving into a remote place all on your own, do not assume the world is a paradise, it is not! Yes crime is very low throughout Loja, but only for those who do not spell out they have lots of $$$. Living remote and driving fancy expensive cars with all sorts of goodies in it, is asking for problems, be sure you know how to deal with it.

Entertainment. After a while you may get a bit bored and want a change of pace. Vilcabamba and Loja offer some entertainment, at least to break the daily routine. Live music, concerts, parades, restaurants, shopping, etc. If you go too far, you may miss these things…

Some of the properties in our area may seem expensive in comparison, but they do provide easy and quick access to the city, newly paved road from Vilcabamba to Loja, electricity, potable water system, irrigation canal, cellular phone service, fiber-optic wideband internet service, local workers, contact with others that speak English, like once in a while English live music, and do not forget the clear sky’s most of the year and great weather.

Do add up these seemly unimportant issues, when taking into account your total cost and expected quality of life.

Where do you recommend staying in Loja? We recommend Hostal Del Valle, it is a walking distance from the bus terminal. $25 per couple includes a nice breakfast. Private car airport pickup $25 this hostal is on the edge of the city, a bit more quite, good for a long-term stay, ideal for small business meetings. Tel: 593-7-2587-967 or 593-94-425-120 Address: Av. Salvador Bustamante Celi entre Santa Rosa y Oriental de Paso (bus terminal road) walk to Av. Salvador Bustamante or just take a taxi from any where in Loja for just $1 USD


What we will have to add to the house to make it comfortable to live in?

All furniture EXCEPT closets (furniture for clothing) NOTE: All rooms will have embedded closets with drawers. It is often standard for Ecuador to include embedded closets.

You can have furniture custom made here in town. In fact we have a woodshop in Malacatos with a local carpenter. Some items like chairs and sofas, are best to buy them in Cuenca, or from a store in Loja that has the shop in Cuenca. Cuenca has a lot of lower cost good furniture.

Electrical appliances (refrigerator, tv, stereo). Gas stove, washer, drier, dishwasher. Propane gas stove and water heater is the standard here. Electricity is very expensive and gas is very economic. Average house gas use per month is: $3-4.

Maybe some drapes. You may want to import wallpaper.

Small floor carpets.

House do NOT have air-conditioning nor heating, it is “NOT” necessary here. DO pay special attention to the insulation issue, worse case scenario, you may want to have a very small room heater; propane gas is the way to go. For example we have never used a heater, nor felt the need for one, air-conditioning even less. On the other hand we have often used a dehumidifier, pay special attention to the ventilation issue, so you will not need one.

Install a few small electrical ventilation fans vs. open windows. In our experience is the best way to do it. Some ceiling ventilation fans will do well. In any event they are just a small fraction of the cost of the house and a nice extra to have.

We recommend the importation of the following items:

Any item that is the very top brand model, such as large flat screen TV, high-end stereo equipment, high-end computers, large top model refrigerator, other lower end models have very good local prices. Any high-end kitchen appliance like Dishwasher. High-end washer and drier, like the top stack model from Frigidaire. Any high-end furniture, lamps, etc. All else you can get here, often at reasonable prices, just high-end product are prices often up to 3 times as much. Quito and Guayaquil often have much lower prices.

You are allowed what they call here “Menaje de Casa” Translates to one item of each, no tax whatsoever; for a period of up to 6 months, before or after you apply for your resident visa. Do check the exact number of days, and when do they exactly start counting. Estimate your total transport cost for a 40 foot container to be approx. $5-10,000

If you do bring a container, be sure to include lots of used old items, such as clothing, especially used clothing to give away. Email us for more details. Customs does check to see the truth behind your statement of relocating here. Be sure to have planed ahead of time where are you going to store your container. Otherwise you may need to buy the container vs. renting it.

NOTE: Items such as autos, must be new, with maximum of 1,000 km. check for latest updates on the immigration and importation laws. There are many good deals here on new autos from many different brands, KIA perhaps offers the best deals. Do check, before importing. Our advice is to get any auto that is 4×4, It is not a must, but it sure has helped us more than you can imagine. Antilock is a must have! You are allowed one auto per person or family, do check the details… Another option with the car is to share an auto with someone else in the country club. Or simply not even have one, there are plenty of taxis and pickup trucks just a phone call away. You can get a taxi ride from the country club to the city of Loja for $7-8 each way, or best simply car-pool with someone else. If you take the 10 minute walk to the street, you can take a taxi for only $1.25 each way.

You may coordinate with others moving at the same time and share a container. For example, we have a woman’s clothing boutique in Loja, we constantly need USA clothing. We also will need some items from the states for the restaurant and club area, for which we could help you cover the cost of shipping a container.

NOTE: This is a copy written material and no permission is given for reprint. If you wish to post to forums please simply make reference to our website for the complete FAQ about Vilcabamba, Malacatos and Loja, Ecuador. Thank you.