"If you can provide a quality product or good value for a service you can make a stress free living in Ecuador, have a comfortable house and a 4 wheel drive truck, make your own hours, surf every day, eat fresh seafood and drink a cold beer with friends whenever you feel like it and most importantly spend time with your family"
I suppose when I look back I started planning this move in 1999 when I first visited Costa Rica.
I was a junior in college at this time and for Spring Break I went with 10 friends to Tamarindo where we rented a brand new beachfront 5 bedroom house with a pool for what I believe was about $200 a night. I couldn't believe the luxury we were living in for what basically came out to $25 per night per person. I was also drawn to the simplicity of the town, dirt roads, a number of outdoor bamboo cafes and bars with book exchanges, a surf shop on every corner, a couple dial up internet cafes, tiendas selling ice cream, fruits and veges, and one chain hotel (The Best Western). I felt like I had everything I needed. It was also at this point where I caught the surf bug as well and knew no matter where I ended up after college surfing was going to play a big part.
In 2002 the consulting company I was working for had been clobbered by the tech bubble and I had literally been "on the beach" (consultant speak for between engagements but literal for me b/c I lived in LA and just surfed all day) for 6 months. I knew my days were numbered and wasn't ready for another desk job so my best friend and I got the crazy (likely inebriated) idea to drive to Chile. The next day we got out a map to start plotting our course when we saw Colombia in our path and decided we better just aim for Panama as Colombia hadn't turn the corner just yet.
Over the next 2 months while I waited for my pink slip and subsequent severane package that was going to fund our trip we looked for a car to drive and found it in Mr. Bernardy. Mr. Bernardy was a 1978 Green Volkswagon Van that we bought for $750 in the OC. We heard they were easy to fix and bought a dummies guide to repairing your VW bus and were on our way severance package in hand. The story of that trip is for another entry but we spent 6 months in every surf destination between LA and Panama. Our trip highlights were the East Cape of Cabo , Mainland Mexico Sayulita, Punta Mita, Troncones, Escondido, Barra (Huatulco), Nexpa, Ticla, the Ranch, El Salvador East and West, Nicaragua Popoyo, Colorados, San Juan Del Sur, Mahagua, Costa Rica Tamarindo, Santa Teresa, Dominical, Manuel Antonio, Pavones.
3 years later after a similiar corporate foray I spent 6 weeks between jobs in Peru and Ecuador surfing where I stumbled onto Montanita in 2006 and had a blast.
I suppose the point of this brief history is to show that I feel like I'm as close to an expert on surf towns in Central and South America as they come and have seen a number of these towns grow up over the last 14 years as I took every chance I had to visit over and over again my favorite spots.
So having finally had a couple successful years in Corporate America I was able to save enough money to make the leap I started planning my exit. My criteria were as follow:
In the end for me Montanita was the perfect balance of my criteria:
Whether you are buying a property or starting a restaurant the start up costs are low and the foot traffic in the right locations is high. If you can provide a quality product or good value for a service you can make a stress free living in Ecuador, have a comfortable house and a 4 wheel drive truck, make your own hours, surf every day, eat fresh seafood and drink a cold beer with friends whenever you feel like it and most importantly spend time with your family
That's what we are doing, whats your criteria?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.