Part II: Our Favorite Things About Ecuador

Here is a continuation of “Our Favorite Things About Ecuador.”

(See 1-5 here)…

6.  No need for a car.  Public transportation is very good, so you don’t need a car!  The bus system is very reliable and there are taxis everywhere.  The cities and towns are also very walkable.  As a New Yorker, I looove that part so much.  ðŸ™‚

Many of the buses in Ecuador are all tricked out with colors and music…and fancy lights come on at night.  ðŸ™‚

One little downside:  the style of driving in Ecuador is very different from the U.S.  This picture was taken in a moment of relief after one particular 4 hour bus ride.  We were glad we made it alive on those mountain roads. 🙂 

7.  Learning Spanish.  I am soo excited to learn a new language.  I’ve always been a bit jealous of people that can speak a second or third language.  I hope I can pull it off!  They actually speak slower in Ecuador compared to many Spanish speaking countries, making Ecuador one of the best places to learn Spanish (yay! I’m soo happy about this detail.)  I was shocked that already I was able to make out a lot of what people were saying and I’ve only had junior high Spanish.  (Of course, Danny is basically fluent.  People kept complimenting him on his accent.  Oh my.  That man is so gifted with languages. Yes, his Portuguese is coming in handy. But also, for the last 3 years he’s been speaking monthly in many of the Mormon congregations in Brooklyn.  Many of them are Spanish speaking congregations and so he always tried to speak in Spanish instead of using a translator. He thinks that has helped him the most.)

8.  No GMOs.  And the food is local!  Get this – the country has banned GMOs!!  Love it.  And they’re all about local food and produce.  It’s kind of nice to know the fruits and vegetables don’t arrive  in a freezer via a semi from across the world.  Here, you actually see people trekking in produce on their backs – straight from their farms!  Organic produce is also readily available (and cheap.)

This is what $2.50 gets you in Ecuador.

Every town or neighborhood has a HUGE, HUGE outdoor produce market. I was in heaven.


Luckily there are many grains and flours I can eat in Ecuador such as quinoa flour, bean flours, yucca flour, corn flour, rice flour, and one I had never considered…banana flour!!

9.  Short flights to the U.S.  It’s only 7 hours from New York.  And the prices are possibly less than $500!  (Ours were $490, but we saw some others for $411.  I haven’t gotten a flight to Phoenix or Salt Lake that cheap in years.)  I love it that Ecuador is far enough away that it feels like a completely different cultural experience, but yet it’s still very inexpensive and easy to visit the states.

10.  USD, 120V, EST.  They actually use the U.S. dollar there!  The electricity is also the same as the U.S. and the time zone is the same as New York.  None of these are a huge deal, but just very, very nice conveniences.

Do you think we’d be crazy to move?  Or does it sound exciting? I know this is a very strange question-one that we ask ourselves a lot- but what would you do with your life if you didn’t have kids? 


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  1. Katy @ All Sorts of Pretty December 20, 2013 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    Do it, dooo it!! You sound SO happy! I think you guys would have such a fun adventure moving to Ecuador and if you can, why not? I say go for it! I love reading these posts, it's so fun to see what you guys have been up to. When will you know what your next step will be? How long are you back in the states for? xoxo!

  2. emilie s. d. p. December 20, 2013 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    I'm loving these posts! I don't know that it will ever happen for me but the idea of living abroad (& learning a second language, etc) sounds like such a wonderful dream come true. If nothing else I'm looking forward to living vicariously through you guys! If it feels right I really hope you try it.

  3. Kaelyn December 20, 2013 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    We have lived overseas for years and continue to move every few years. It is the best and we LOVE it! Even with 3 girls! You will find overtime time that it is the little things like USD & EST that become important things to help transition. Go for it!! Would you guys be working there? How easy is it to get a visa? Sometimes that is tricky!

  4. Joe and Joanne December 20, 2013 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    Living over seas (whether for the long haul or even for just a few years) is definitely worth it if you can do it, and it seems like Ecuador really suits you! Even people with children look in to and live abroad. 😉

  5. Tiffany December 20, 2013 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    100% do it. It is a dream of mine to live internationally. I am not married and don't have children, so why haven't I done it? There were a number of family obligations that prevented me for many years, I am now released from those obligations so I have been contemplating it more. The thing that is holding me back the most now is that I don't want to do it on my own. I am at a point in my life right now though that I am ready for a change and am trying to figure out the next step. Who knows maybe an opportunity, or the courage, to live internationally on my own will come. In the mean time I will encourage anyone who does have that opportunity to leap at it.

    I get that it may feel like a crazy thing to do but as you've pointed out in previous posts the basics are taken care of. You have an apartment you can rent out which will cover most of your living expenses. You have each other for support, companionship and encouragement. You can continue with this blog no matter where you live in the world (although places like China make blogging a bit more difficult). Danny has already taken, what for me would be the most challenging step, and quit his job. So why not do it? It will be hard to be so far from friends and family but people will visit you and you will make new friends. Adjusting to the cultural and economic* differences will probably be challenging at times but you will grow as people as a result. (*by economic I mean goods and services such as food items, cooking devices etc but couldn't think of better term to use).

    I am very excited for you and would be sad if you don't go.

    • Suz May 16, 2014 at 5:42 am - Reply

      Great Blog, maybe meet you someday in Ecuador! Tiffany, I'm a widow, and I don't know anyone in Ecuador, I'll be moving down by myself near the end of this year. I belong to many of these type of blogs and Face book pages, researching and getting to know people so I will feel a bit more comfortable moving down there alone. There are LOTS of single ladies living down there (in Cuenca), it sounds wonderful to me and I can't wait to get there!! Just start typing Ecuador into google and start researching…Its actually affordable to live and the food and culture, wow!!

  6. EM December 20, 2013 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Move. We do have kids and we've talked a lot about living abroad. I've never thought of Ecuador but you are making it seems pretty perfect.

  7. Amy December 21, 2013 at 3:06 am - Reply

    Do it. If we didn't have kids, we would definitely be traveling. I'm already telling my husband we need to find a way to live (and work… obviously) outside the US and see the world, if even for a few years. With three little boys, it would be a trial at first, but I think it would be a wonderful adventure. Go see the world!!

    • Amy December 21, 2013 at 3:07 am - Reply

      Oh, and those food markets- I'm dying. What a dream!!

  8. Mairi December 21, 2013 at 6:37 am - Reply

    Not crazy at all! You have each other and you have God. What is there to fear?

  9. Anonymous December 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    My husband said to be careful you're not running away due to your failed IVF's. He has read your blogs since you started. I agree. Just check your hearts. I'm not saying you are as there is no possible way I could know that… Just a friendly reminder to check that. If your goal was to have kids, then why are you giving up when you can have kids through adoption? Please no hate comments. Mara and Danny have started these conversations and I am not asking out of a heart of hatred but true love for them.

  10. Heather December 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    What fun, and such a great adventure! I don't think moving to another country, and having children are mutually exclusive (although the ability to pick up and travel at a moment's notice gets a little tricker and more expensive!). Also, if you sublet your apartment while you rented a place there, you could take your time with the decision w/o the pressure of having to make a long term commitment…but I'm sure you've thought about all this! And who knows…maybe some sort of a larger family is still in your future! Some people have mentioned that you might be running away, but the desire to travel and live in another place has come up in your blog before, and even if you WERE running away…so what? Everyone needs a change of scene every now and then! It's a great adventure, and I hope you enjoy every minute!

  11. Natalie December 21, 2013 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    Enjoying your journey…be well.

  12. Suzie Campbell December 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    I think if you don't do it, in ten years you'll be kicking yourself. Don't take counsel from your fears.

  13. Alexis December 21, 2013 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    I don't think it'd be crazy to move. If it is something you want and you have the means to make it a reality, why not!?

  14. KAM December 21, 2013 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    If the people and the land are calling for you to spend time there, if you and Danny both find fulfillment in being there, if you feel the wind blowing beneath your wings and leading you there, it seems to be a most delicious and obvious yes. Reading about the place, the food, the costs, all of it gives to me a pause, hmm, maybe when the grandkids are through school…I would like it there…Your words are inviting my spirit to take a look…It is a big yes from me.

  15. Jenny D. December 21, 2013 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    Go! Ecuador seems like a great fit for you both, it's an out of the box adventure with just enough comforts to make the transition easier. While it's not a struggling country, you'll have so many opportunities to serve the people and to be served in return in a way that's unique in their culture. Even though my grandpa was a Spanish teacher, my grandma didn't learn Spanish until her 60's when they moved to Ecuador. If she can do it, you can do it! Good luck with everything.

  16. Maz December 22, 2013 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    Do it 🙂 It's worth trying at least for a little while isn't? And what a grand adventure!

  17. Kristin December 30, 2013 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    You are not crazy to move. You are brave and smart and healthy. I have moved abroad (Europe) to live there several times. Each time, it was challenging and transcendent. I learned new things about the world, but most importantly, about myself. Build the life you want to live. The posterity will come. God bless you both. KB P.S. If you are looking for a cleansing yoga, check out Kundalini yoga. I am becoming a trainer, as it is mind-blowingly awesome. Just a tip. Love and Light!

  18. Amanda December 30, 2013 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    The two times I've been to Ecuador to do Humanitarian work I've asked myself if I could live there long term. Some areas, definitely yes. Cuenca is one of those areas, it was also my favorite. Otavalo is a close 2nd. Get down to the coast once in a while, warm up, enjoy the sea and sand. Eat a mango for me everyday. And I'll do my best to send you info on when I'll be down there doing another round of Humanitarian work. Usually the first two weeks in November. We start in Guayaquil and make our way to Quito in week two. Maybe you guys can come join us for a few days. 🙂 Enjoy,
    Also, you'll love the congregation in Cuenca, such sweet wonderful members.

  19. Agatha December 31, 2013 at 12:41 am - Reply

    I have moved backwards and forwards between 4 different countries in my adult life. Sometimes for work, sometimes not. Before children, then with 1 child, now with 3 children. Really really scary sometimes, and lonely and frustrating and you cant remember any of the reasons you decided to do this crazy thing.
    But so so so the right thing to do. There have been so many wonderful friends and experiences and opportunities to grow as a person. Take a deep breath and GO!

  20. Holly Olsen January 6, 2014 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    I'll say it again…the colors are SO vibrant. And no you're not crazy! It sounds so exciting and lovely and adventurous and romantic. Now you've got my brain going, too! 😉 Moving abroad sounds amazing.

  21. Paula Robertson February 24, 2014 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    Mara's mom is my best friend and when Mara found out my husband and I were moving to Ecuador, they came to visit us. We had been here two days when they arrived. I share their love for this country. We have been here about 3 months now and have enjoyed every day of this new life. What has surprised me is that several single men and women have made this change in their lives. I have read a few of these post and just want to add, don't let your status rule your life. Life is an adventure and meant to be enjoyed. This is something the Ecuadorians have figured out. That is why they are often late. This moment, is what they enjoy and they don't feel rushed to get to the next moment. "Tranquilo" is the watch word. So, don't put off your life! Jump in, the water is great!

  22. Bear Foster April 6, 2014 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    ya , we are researching Ecuador but can't make it for at least 3 yrs unless win the lottery lol, I guess things will have gone up by then

  23. Bear Foster April 6, 2014 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    Also can you bake with all those different flours

    • mara April 6, 2014 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      yes! you can bake with them! There are many recipes on line. I'll be experimenting.

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