Books to donate

I am moving and I have some books I want to get rid of. Is there someplace that I can donate them to? Back in the States, I would donate them to a thrift store. Is there such a thing here in Cuenca?

Ted Behr
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New visa regulations

What is the latest on the new visa regulations? Do the old visas go by the old rule or the two-year presence in the country applies to all the visas, old and new? I spoke to some experts and the embassy in the Ecuadorian DC. Everyone has their own interpretation of the law and each differ from the other.


City: Cuenca
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What is your favorite bank?

Not your favorite cooperative like JEP, but what is your favorite bank? Banco Pichincha? Banco del Austro? Banco del Pacifico? Banco de Guayaquil? Another? And please explain your answer. Easy to read bank statements? User-friendly on-line banking service? Excellent customer service? Numerous ATMs? Numerous office locations? Shorter lines? Ease in resolving disputes? Will accept US checks for deposit? Ease in wiring money to your account from the US? Will send replacement credit and debit cards to countries outside of Ecuador? Will email security codes, not just text them? Thanks for your input.

David Naccari
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Does anyone know if the restrictions would be waived on the number of electronics if you are bringing in laptops for remote schools use only and if you have a letter from the schools stating that they are receiving them for student use in school?

Phyllis Theodos
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Ride from GYE to Cuenca

Hi, I’m coming to Cuenca for a week later this month to scope it out as a place to spend the summer.

My flight gets into GYE around 11 PM – I assume I am best off spending the night in Guayaquil, and then getting a car to Cuenca the next day, but does anyone have other advice?

Also, can anyone recommend a really good driver who can take me from Guayaquil to Cuenca? I was considering renting a car, but since I really just want to explore Cuenca city this time, that probably is a bad idea as it will just be parked most of the time.

Thanks for any input,


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Can I enter the States as a tourist?

Hi there, it’s Amy. I am residing in Cuenca, and I am not a US citizen nor resident. My daughter is studying in Boston. I am planning to see her in early June. I have a US tourist visit visa which is valid. Does anybody know whether I can enter the States as a tourist from Ecuador? Any restrictions at the moment?


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Can I enter the states as a tourist?

Hi there it’s Amy. I am residing in Cuenca, and I am not a US citizen nor resident. My daughter is studying in Boston. I am planning to see her in early June. I have a US tourist visit visa which is valid. Does anybody know whether I can enter the states as a tourist from Ecuador? Any restrictions at the moment?

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USA Valet

Have they improved since the fiasco of last year? Thanks.

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COSEDE, list of Segment 1 institutions

I found a site where, given the name of an institution, you can see which Segment it is in. But I’m looking for a list of Segment 1 institutions. These would be the institutions that are insured for $32,000.

Mike L

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When are you being vaccinated, and where?

The reason I ask is because I’ll be offering translation assistance to the Ministry of Health and I want to gauge what days and where the assistance is most needed. Judging by the reaction of the staff set up at the Coliseum, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that’s where there’s a large concentration of expats, but I want to make triple sure that I’m volunteering at the right site.

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How to get money into a JEP savings account

Has anyone been successful wiring money from a US bank into a JEP account? Please describe your experience. Has JEP changed its policy and has started to accept US checks for deposit? Based upon my last inquiry, I think the answer is still “no.” Except for depositing cash, are there any other quick and easy methods to get money into a JEP account?

David Naccari
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What do you do to maintain optimal health?

In yet another one-way communication of an opinion piece published elsewhere on May 2 that this time wisely prohibited comments, once again I feel compelled to take a positive perspective and begin a productive discussion about what the world has been dealing with for too long. The rage the author had was aimed at those who are anti-vaxxers and anti-science, taking the safe and simplistic stance that if only every person receives the vaccine, we wouldn’t have lost so much. I believe rage toward those few is unproductive. No matter what the political bent of the US mainstream media, it appears nobody wants to discuss the elephant: sustaining an unhealthy lifestyle compromises the immune system, making one a perfect host for a virus. Chronic illness left unmanaged becomes acute illness in a pandemic, which results in a great burden on one’s family, community and the healthcare system.

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Need to send fax from Cuenca to Canada

Hello, Can someone please help us find a fax machine in Cuenca so we can send faxes from Cuenca to Canada? Thanks,

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Waterproofing supplies

I found to my disappointment on a recent walk through town that our water resistant jackets no longer resist. Has anyone come across products that can be used on a rain jacket to beef up the water resistance?

Timothy Osborne

City: Cuenca
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Clothing: What to bring to Cuenca vs. what can I get at reasonable prices?

Greetings, In another post I asked a question about kitchen items to bring and had such a positive reception, so now I ask about clothing. Hoping others will benefit as well. I welcome any observations about the ins and outs of clothing in Cuenca, but I do have some specific questions:

General question: how do clothing prices compare to US?
Are women’s business suits really costly?
Can I find a one-piece swimsuit?
What about hiking books with really good tread? Good walking shoes? Good arch support?


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La Cuadra area new police office

Yesterday morning while walking my dog, I saw an Ecuadorian friend of mine inside the mostly vacant building, which is in the small corner park above Common Grounds Restaurant and at the intersection of Jose Austudillo and Eduardo Crespo Malo. The small building is directly across the street from Edificio’s La Cuadra and Alameda. I stopped to speak with Jose as he and another man were painting the inside of this building. I had heard rumors that it was going to be a police office of some sort for several months now and have noticed a few workers repairing plumbing and walls and curious police officers peeking in the building’s windows every once in a while. So I assumed it would be happening some day…

My friend, Jose Pacheco, told me that the men from the Barrio were working on the building when they had spare time and donated materials to make the repairs necessary to accommodate the Officers. My hats off to all who are making this happen. Also during our conversation, Jose said that the men of the Barrio were asking for donations from people who live in this Barrio so they could also buy a couple of beds, a desk and chairs and other furnishings for the Officers.

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Correct website?

Would someone please provide the correct website to register for an appointment for a permanent Cedula? Have received my permanent visa. My cellular expires June 2nd.

Wade Hunter
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Better to bring these items, or will I find them in or near Cuenca…?

Hello. I’ll be moving to Ecuador to retire and live out my life. Certain items may seem extravagant– on another site I got a snarky remark. I don’t intend to move to Ecuador to live a life of luxury.
Cooking from scratch is really important to my lifestyle, and I finally found a good rhythm with my Vitamix and Insta-pot.

I understand that even if I can find these there, it would be quite a bit more costly. So, I’m looking for information that will help me to decide between my options:
1) bring these 2 items in my luggage,
2) have someone mail them to me at a hefty postage rate
3) purchase them there (Is there a place that would carry them? and for how much?)
4) hope that I can find them in Cuenca as used items (is this plausible?)

Any advice from those who have these items, or have looked into them would be much appreciated.

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2019 Novaestrat Ecuador data breach

This relates to an earlier post I had made about deleting data from the website

I found the following news while searching on the internet for a solution:

In 2019 there was a data breach on the Miami based server of an Ecuadorian company Novaestrat where the personal data, names, ID numbers, bank details, etc. of 20 million Ecuadorian citizens (perhaps16.6 million were citizens, and I guess the rest would be residents/ foreigners?) including children, was leaked online.

Vpnmentor and Zdnet who exposed this data leak, had to contact Ecuador’s CERT- Computer Emergency Response team- to notify them of this breach since the website Novaestrat could not be contacted.

Perhaps the website might have accessed personal data via this security breach incident? Can something be done about reporting this/ similar websites carrying leaked data and having one’s data deleted from such sites? Any advice or thoughts?


Expat Cuenca
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Cooperativa other than JEP

I am happy with JEP, but I want to spread the risk by using other cooperativa(s) also.

My desires are:
$32000 insurance (what is the website for insured amounts?)
1 year: 8.5% interest
online access for savings and CDP’s
joint savings
transfer to/from other banking
renew instructions by email

TIA for advice.

Mike L: 099 159 3533. Call after: 8 AM.

City: Cuenca

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2nd vaccine shot

I just had my second Pfizer jab. I didn’t get a text message with any info, but as I had heard, I just went to the Coliseum at the same time as the appointment for my first one, on the date they had told me during that first appointment to return.

After waiting in line for 10 minutes I was told that, yes, I was scheduled for my second injection today but it wasn’t here at the Coliseum. I had to go to the University of Azuay Bicentenario campus in Baños. Thank heavens Romolo (099 255 6416) was with me to help with translation and to ferry me out to Baños.

I’m not trying to give anyone specific instructions on what you should do, but only to say to be prepared for a possible change of venue. And be patient. We are just so glad that vaccinations are being provided here in Ecuador.

Larry Cochran: .

City: Cuenca
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Asking for good VPN for Ecuador

Looking for Internet versatility. VPN makes the IP invisible for email and websites to other countries. Now I can only login to American Airlines for example, or Young Living Essential Oils in the States, in Spanish. I see that Nord is a recommended VPN for Ecuador. I think I read something about this on a previous GringoPost.

Suzanne Cerny
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Best bank in Cuenca?

Good morning expats. Planning to retire next year around this time and would like to know which bank here in the States do you use to receive your social security check and withdraw money in Cuenca other than Charles Schwab? Thank you in advance for your advice.


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Hello community. After receiving a visa, is there a time limit to apply for a cedula? I’ll get the visa in the Consulate in the US in May and am planning to come to Cuenca in August. It won’t be late? Please any information or advice. Thank you,

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Covid testing?

Hi fellow Gringos. I know that many of you are tired of this question, but is the covid test required before getting on a plane to the US, the nasal swab, the blood test, or either?


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The myth of the special check out line at SuperMaxi on Las Americas

Twice this month, I have had to wait in line to check out because a person ahead of me was not of the third age, was not having difficulty walking, and was not pregnant. After the first occasion, in the first week of April, I wrote a letter to SuperMaxi headquarters in Quito. I have yet to receive a reply. The second incident occurred tonight. I took photos of the person in line ahead of me. I also took photos of my receipt, which shows the name of the cashier.
I sent my emails to “”. If you have experienced the same thing at any of the SuperMaxi stores, I urge you to write to the aforementioned address.

Richard Mateyko

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Update on COVID Vaccines

Our Expat Services Center has been helping individuals register for the COVID vaccines. Up until recently, the system has been working well as individuals have been receiving text messages giving instructions on the time and place of the appointments. However, over this past week, there seems to have been some changes in how they are contacting individuals.

At the outset, the Ministry of Health, said they would contact individuals with a phone call and followed up by a text message and email notification. However, this past week, some individuals have just received a robo call with no follow up confirmation. For those who have challenges understanding Spanish on the phone, this has created some confusion and misunderstandings.

It seems that they are making these robo calls about three days prior to your scheduled appointment. We encourage anyone who receives one of these calls, and you do not understand the instructions to drop into our Services Center and we will try to confirm the details, so you do not miss your scheduled appointment. If you are unable to drop in to visit us, you can email us with a copy of the front and back and we can see if we can find out when your scheduled appointment is.

The Expat Services Center is a service of Foundation Hogar de Esperanza (Home of Hope). We are located at Mariscal Sucre 12-84 and Juan Montalvo. We are open Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5:30 PM.

Garry Vatcher: .

City: Cuenca
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Cuenca Municipal Water

Anyone else notice the tap water heavily chlorinated lately?

I’m down in EV and there have been some water main breaks lately. This is usually followed by a heavier than usual chlorine dose for a day or so.

I like the tap water here normally, but it’s terrible the last week or so. The water bottle I carry around reeks like a swimming pool now.

Anyone else?

Water Dude
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My wife and I are planning on moving to Equador sometimes at the end of this year. My question is can I start the visa process now, here in Texas and can I do it through the Ecuadorian embassy here in Texas?

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Looking for recent reviews for ClickBox

I hear great things about these folks but every comment is old and I’m looking for current users. Even their FB page has nothing current. I need to get some things from the States. The USPS shipping some things for me with a tracking number 12/22/20. They got it to Miami and it might as well have falllen off the edge of the earth. They have no record of it. It has now been four months for the USPS. I’m about to write them off.

Rich Westcott
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Mover/moving recommendations — Coast to Cuenca

Would appreciate any recommendations or suggestions for movers/moving from north of Manta to Cuenca. Small household, but lots of plants. Might be on relatively short notice. Thanks.

Mims Mattair
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Weather in Cuenca?

Why is it always so cold in Cuenca these days? I have been here almost three months and have yet to see two days straight without cloudy skies and/or rain…and I am getting sick of it now.

I was told there’s few months of warm weather followed by winter/rainy season and also from what I remember from my first visit here in 2018, it used to be sunny most days, at least during the months I was here (January to May).

Is this due to climate change? Something else…? Just looking to understand what to expect over the next few months. Will it ever not be cold here?

Thank you.

Expat Cuenca
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Vaccinations for Amazon visit

Will be moving to Cuenca in July. Can we obtain our Yellow fever, Typhoid, tetanus vaccines in Cuenca before our Amazon trip? Or, should we get the vaccines in USA?

Manuela Vital

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Disability discount card?

I was recently informed that there is a disability discount card in Cuenca. I’d like to know how and where to apply for one.
Thank you.

Richard Mateyko: .

City: Cuenca
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Guayaquil Bank, arbitrary charges

Guayaquil Bank deducted me $2.71 (a kind of insurance but don´t know the name) every month without my permission. I already had more than $77 deducted when I found out. It didn’t continue to deduct the deductions after I complained last year, but the money deducted before has not been returned to me. I went to the bank several times and the staff said that it can be refunded, but so far there is no refund. Has anyone encountered such a situation before? And has any good suggestions to solve this irritating thing?

Thank you,

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Where can I get a balance refund of Tranvia card in Cuenca?

I am going to leave from Cuenca and I want to cancel my Tranvia card. There is still a balance in my card. My card is a regular card. Does anyone know where to get a refund except for the bus terminal next to the Feria Libre? Can the card fee be refunded also?

Thank you,

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It’s now been 5 weeks since I registered to get vaccinated. I am 73 years young. As of yet I haven’t been notified to get vaccinated. My question is does Ecuador even have any Covid 19 vaccines in the country? Seems strange that if they have the vaccine, that I haven’t received a date.
I guess my best bet is to return to the USA and get the vaccine there.

Joseph F Tana
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Best way to transfer funds from PayPal to Ecuador

Friends, I have a question. I know Ecuadorian PayPal can only link a US Bank, with local Ecuadorian banks it doesn’t work, but I need to transfer my funds from PayPal to Ecuadorian banks. Any recommendations?
Thank you in advance!


City: Cuenca

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Cuenca to Manta

Hola, todos!

Can anyone recommend the best way to get to Manta for just me and my 11kg dog? I don’t think she’d be allowed (or sit still enough) on a bus, and not sure what other services would be available, other than private driver. which I’m okay with that option, too.


Gerri: 0986898827. Call after: 8 AM.

City: Manta

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Users of NordVPN service

Today I received a NordVPN update to install on a Windows 10 laptop. It has caused numerous problems on the computer including rendering Nord VPN un-usable. I worked for more than two hours with their chat support and they did not solve the problem. I asked for a cancellation and refund which they refused since 30 days have passed. So my advice is, don’t install any updates from Nord VPN.


City: Cuenca
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Timing of COVID-19 vaccine shots?

Does anyone know “from experience” how long it takes to get an appointment after one has registered?

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US tax help?

Who can I contact to help me with my US tax paperwork?

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Visit Ecuador in ’21?

Hello, My wife and I live in Seattle, WA, USA and are both fully vaccinated. After staying home for more than year, we’re hopeful to begin some level of travel again and are very curious about Ecuador as a future live-abroad location possibility.

What I’m wondering for any expats in Ecuador today, is it a good time to visit Ecuador? (likely Cuenca and Quito) How does it feel there now? Understanding the health considerations are complex and don’t really expect easy answers on all of that. Really just curious for those already there, is it “come on down” or “better to wait longer” approach? Thinking may be July for a visit.

Welcome any input if you’re in Ecuador now. Gracias,


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Trip report

In my normal fashion, this will be long winded because that’s my nature…it’s one of those teaching old dogs new tricks problems. I also don’t have a lot of editing time to be brief and I apologize in advance for my verbosity. Please, feel free to stop reading at any moment but also, please, to those who want to criticize for the fun of it, maybe you could just stop reading instead?

So, we made another long trip from Cuenca to Guayaquil to Fort Lauderdale to Dallas and I thought some might be interested in how things are going in terms of airlines, covid test and vaccinations.

The way we do this trip it’s a bit over 24 hours from the moment we leave Cuenca on Saturday, March 27, to the time we land at DFW in Dallas. It begins when the van picks us up at 11 AM at the house. This time, we rented the entire van at a cost of $80. The last trip from Cuenca to Guayaquil we had used Opera Azuay and it wasn’t much fun riding with a full van, no AC and also, it seemed, no suspension. Sherry actually got sick about halfway thru the Cajas. So, no more full van rides for us.

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Booking an appointment for permanent residency

Hi Guys,
I am here on a professional visa/ temporary residency and it’s expiring soon. I would like to book an appointment for permanent residency. How long will it take to get a date for the appointment? I live in Quito.

Michael Chander
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When I left Ecuador, you could be out of the country up to five years with a permanent residency visa. Now I have read you are allowed three years. Please update me,


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New immigration law

In February, 2021, Ecuadorian government made some change to the immigration law. Some lawyer said from now on all classes of immigrants (investor, professional, etc.) will all have to be in Ecuador for a minimum of 21 months before one can apply for the permanent visa. I’ve been told by others, no that is not true, this stays the same as before.

Does anyone know what is the residency requirement for investor holding temporary visa applying for permanent visa in the new law?

It is at time like this, when professionals disagree with each other, I wish I can read (Spanish)…


City: Cuenca
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How to delete online personal data

My name, cedula number, etc. are on a website and I cannot find a way to have it deleted.

I have no idea how it got there, I am not a business owner and I have not registered for SRI, RUC etc. but early last year I may have accidentally registered on some government portal while in the process of applying for IESS, permanent residence visa etc.

I had written to that government website, requesting deletion of my data. And it was done. I got an email confirming this. Around the same time, another website had my personal data and I wrote here asking for advice–and I was asked to go through the contact/ delete form on the website and the data was removed. I then contacted google to remove the cache webpage. It was a long tedious process…

However, this time the website does not have a contact or delete form or any way to contact the website owners. Or at least I cannot seem to locate it.

Can anybody help me in having my online data scrubbed and even finding out if for some reason I am registered on SRI and that is where the information is leaking from? Although, I cannot understand how this would be legal here.

Any help or advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

Expat Cuenca
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Bus service to other cities

I am planning to come for my 4th visit to Cuenca at the end of May and am planning to take bus services from Cuenca to Banos de Agua Santa (near Ambato). Will stay in Banos for several days and then take bus to Quito before flying back to the States. Is Amazonas and other bus services still operating through the pandemic, etc.? Are there any special requirements or reservations needed, etc.? I tried to find info online, but am not able to find much.

Any information or bus company recommendations would be appreciated. Are there any websites with bus schedules etc.? P.S. I have taken the buses in Ecuador and have no problems with this method of transportation (for the price). Thanks,

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Paying IESS monthly premium via JEP online

Question for the community: JEP wants an email address when setting up an electronic payment online. I have looked everywhere on the IESS website and there are no email addresses anywhere.

I prefer to set it up from JEP’s end rather than fill out the form from IESS and have them take the money out each month.

Has anyone set this up from JEP’s end?


Ann Fourt

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Question about flying into and out of Ecuador

Does anyone know if it is necessary to have health insurance to fly out of Ecuador and back into Ecuador.

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Someone who knows how to get a driver’s license

Hello dear friends. I have a friend who doesn’t speak Spanish at all and wants to get his license but the test is in Spanish. Maybe someone has been through this and can help with information?

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Question about a shipping service

Hello to the expat community. Does someone use and can recommend the shipping service from US to Ecuador, provided by Luis Pareja?

These are his contacts:
WhatsApp number is 099 092 2662

Thank you.

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Pet shipping?

Can anyone give me information about getting my pets back to the USA with a good shipper that’s not too expensive?

Etta Grimes
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Female Spanish teacher for expat


I am looking for recommendations for a Spanish teacher, basic conversational Spanish. I am looking for someone who is patient and who can spend 4 hours/day, 4 days a week for 4 weeks and possibly longer. I am requesting responses from other expats who have done this type immersion.

Thank you for your time and response,


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Capital gains tax

If an Ecuadorian person opens a brokerage account in the US and bought US equities and has a capital gain for the year, Does he/she have to pay taxes in Ecuador?

Thanks in advance.

Michelle J

City: Cuenca
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Covid in Ecuador

Hi All

I am planning a trip to Ecuador and want to know what the Covid situation is in Ecuador. CDC says it is Level 4 High Risk. I have my 2 Moderna shots and want to hear from your perspective. Thank you all so much in advance.

Amy Ross

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Stabbed during robbery attempt

A good friend was stabbed twice in the abdomen and was taken by ambulance to the ER where she received an ultrasound and x-rays to determine the extent of her injuries, then stitched up and went home in a taxi in her bloody clothes. When: 7:25 Friday morning and the only other person on the sidewalk. Where: Her taxi had just driven away and she was about to enter a building in Caspicara y Mariscal Lamar. How: Her attacker had a bicycle and stopped to ask her the name of the street and then for a dollar, adding that he was from Peru. As she removed her purse from a larger bag to get out a dollar, he grabbed at the purse. She instinctively held on so he stabbed her twice. If she had not been wearing two coats, her wounds would have been much deeper than 5 cm.

Read more…
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