So you made it to Vilcabamba or Malacatos or the city of Loja or some other place in the south of Ecuador. Congratulations and welcome!!

But what is it really to be LIVING here as opposed to visiting or spending time with other expats drinking beer and eating pizzas which in my view is not really the epitome of what I call "integration"?

In this section, we will focus on just that. Here you can read about many topics related to life in this part of the world.

If you like videos you can watch the Gringo al SUR TV series. Consult our BLOG for some interesting reading.

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Opinion from an expat who left

Not everything is rosy though. Recently I read a very well written and most interesting article from a couple of expats who after having lived in Cotocachi and then Vilcabamba (hence our decision to post it here) have finally decided to go back home. They explain why.

I did not have the opportunity to meet Viktoria in person but she looks like a person who tried to make it work. So, if not everyone agrees with everything she says, she makes some good points and deserves respect.

Below are two excerpts of her article. Click on the link button for the full article published in Cuenca High Life.

"Underlining our decision was the alarming escalation of violent crimes against gringos in Vilcabamba and a growing awareness that, although the money and job opportunities expats bring to the country are welcomed, extranjeros are generally not well liked in Ecuador. One can easily see why this is so after studying the continent’s history of the last five hundred years. As a North American living in South America, I felt the burden of that history. Upon reflection, I simply believed that if I came to Ecuador with goodwill and an open heart, I would be treated differently. This was a mistake...

I kind of agree with the next thing she says as it has been emy personal experience in the context of this web site todoloja.com when I tried to involve government representatives. However I must say that the matter is still in the air and that I haven't reached any definitive conclusion yet.

"As much as I had wanted to believe the government’s representatives — individuals to whom I had offered my friendship and personal assistance — their repeated non-performance spoke louder than any of their pleasing assurances. Such across-the-board disingenuousness was difficult for me to stomach. Although it was no consolation, I later learned that other expats, after presenting proposals to the government, had similarly found themselves being put off over and over again, until they ultimately gave up. It made no logical sense to me why the government would feign interest and waste precious time if it had no sincere intention of following through."



Daniel Powstania Lupinski from the Pink Violin Band has some strong words against her. He makes valid points that I print here below. I share his view regarding the numerous beautiful Ecuadorian people who I have met on my way. I live with one.

I think Victoria came to Ecuador and left with the SAME THINKING that caused her to write this article as the LOCALS can see through that even though she claims to be acting another way! This place strips you down to "your bare essence" and that's what the LOCALS SEE and probably explains the high divorce rate here for Gringos moving to Vilca! Regarding the intercultural events she started:......... the one event we were invited to perform at was not definitely not geared to the LOCALS!........... Yes we started the show playing "Mi Lindo Ecuador" and all the American songs that the locals seem to connect with(per our street experience) and we held ALL the people who came out of church that evening throughout our total performance but then when we were followed by another artist who got up and played at length nauseum most ALL of the locals LEFT! When I told Victoria that this woman lost the whole crowd as her performance was not geared to the audience but perhaps to just herself, my comments weren't acknowledged by her and I was pretty much ignored the rest of the evening .......and as it turned out it was the LAST "intercultural event" The Pink Violin Band was ever asked to participate in again! .........So do you see where I am going with this one "INDIVIDUAL" synopsis of Ecuador by this woman who should have never moved to Ecuador in the first place. If I was a local Ecuador...... she would have probably felt the same way towards me....... which I guess she did as like I said she was put off with me and we were never invited again to be part of ANY future events!........It's interested all the things she says she misses after leaving were about things serving her interest and of course none of them included the Ecuadorian people!........If I left THE LOCAL PEOPLE WOULD BE THE FIRST ON MY LIST that I would miss! ...........I would need many many more than two hands to count on my fingers all the wonderful gifts and sharing moments I have hand with the Ecuadorian people! My daughter countless times in the past week has been invited by locals to enter the Ninos talent contest in Loja next month!............. All the money the people here have contributed to our street performances is always ALL turned around and returned in the form to PAY for all violin and ballet and dance lessons for my girls!....... After personally being contacted by Aldo's children for something I had posted on a thread in Facebook to me it just seems very sad (they informed me!) that they only learned of their fathers death from a post on Facebook!......... So I will leave it at that as what was conveyed to me is not my business and surely is not something to be posted here on FB! I am sure I am not the only Gringo here who strongly disagrees with Victoria's synopsis but felt I should take the time to put LIGHT to her assessment for anyone thinking of moving here and more importantly to any local Ecuadorian that might have been so inclined to READ HER ARTICLE after being posted here!........... It is for them I express MY COMPLETE CONTRARY OPINION HERE!!.......... Mi Lindo Ecuador Y Ecuadorians!........... So very thankful that we are allowed the opportunity to share this beautiful land with these beautiful people! One thing I do agree with in this article (and I am not blind to) is that governments here and EVERYWHERE have a tendency to screw things up! Not just here in Ecuador! Human Rights issues are a problem in EVERY country including the US!!