Cotacachi Real Estate / Ecuador Education / Ecuador Tours / Ecuador Travel Information / View from the Roof

A View from the Roof: It’s Time . . .for a Change

– by Gary Phillips –


Change is in the air.  For several months, Linda and I have known that we need to change our lifestyle.  Frankly, we have been working way too hard.

If anyone tries to convince you that doing a website is the glory road to fame and easy money, tell them to take their illusions and stick ’em. Yes, you can make money on a website, but it takes an incredible amount of time and dedication.   And it won’t happen overnight.

After three and a half years of intensely long hours and a growing carpal tunnel syndrome problem from hours at the keyboard, I am pleased to say that is finally coming into its own.

We now have more than 3,100 subscribers to our newsletter and close to 1,000 hits per day. But with the good news comes the bad.  We are getting a much higher volume of emails than we can comfortably handle.  Therefore, we are exploring ways to continue the service we have been providing, yet reduce our work load.

We are not 100% sure about how that will look, but we have some ideas.  We also welcome any reader suggestions as to how we can accomplish this goal.

Linda has been working for weeks on a new e-book, “How You Can Create Health, Wealth and Happiness in Ecuador”, which will provide answers to many questions you have been asking in your emails about moving to and living in Ecuador.  Hopefully this will reduce the need for our readers to write seeking this kind of information.

Stan, our webmaster, is working diligently on a website makeover.  We are moving to a three-column design with a somewhat classier and more professional look.  The three-column design will allow us to place more notices and advertisements from companies we recommend in Ecuador, especially Quito and the northern Andes.

We get so many emails from people wanting hotel recommendations that we decided to solicit advertising from the hotels we’ve grown so fond of, especially the little-known gems, only allowing those to advertise whom we’ve checked out as clean, safe, and a good value.  We are also creating a reader feedback forum where our readers can write about their favorite hotels and resorts in Ecuador.

A major feature of the makeover will be much greater opportunity for reader participation.  Our web engine, Site Build It, has a program called Content 2.0.  This gives readers the opportunity to literally write stories about their Ecuador experiences that are turned into web pages on our site.

We purchased,  Site Build It, or SBI, when we first started our website.   It turned out to be a great decision on our part.  Site Build It is a program designed to allow people who have very little experience with web design and operation to create a functional and popular site all by themselves at a very low price, only $300 per year.

With this program, you save hundreds of dollars on the cost of additional sophisticated features if you had to purchase them separately.  They are included in SBI for one low yearly fee.

It’s an excellent program with a “10-day” action plan designed to walk you step-by-step through the creation of a website with high traffic even if you know very little about website construction.  And if you follow the program directions, it definitely fulfills that promise.

However, we found that the 10-day program actually took us about 6 months of full time work to get through the first 7 steps!  By that time, our business was taking up so much of our time that we never actually got around to the last 3 steps, which are about monetization.

You will begin to see more “Google Ads” on   I have resisted placing ads on our pages, perhaps due to some leftover ‘60’s complex about selling out to the system. But when a friend of ours, a Site Build It user, said that she was making enough money per month from Google ads and affiliate programs to pay for her living expenses, I changed my tune.  

Idealism doesn’t pay the bills!

SBI is an excellent program.   We highly recommend it, especially if you are computer-challenged, as we were.   If you purchase a program for $300, we will get a percentage of that fee as an affiliate.   Then you can do the same.  Click here to find out about SBI.

Pro-Ecuador Tour Program

We are also expanding our tour program. Linda and I have operated run tours off and on ever since we arrived in Ecuador four years ago.  They are great fun.  Actually, we did our first tours to Machu Picchu, Peru, about 8 years ago.

We’ve had several very successful tours and have made some wonderful friends.  But we found that the kind of tours we were running, up to 10 days covering the northern Andes, Cuenca and the Coast, were just to taxing.

Now, we are offering 3-day Introduction to Ecuador and Real Estate Tours. We have done three of them so far and we are very pleased with how they are being received.  They are priced low enough to offer great value and cover enough territory in the Cotacachi, Otavalo, and Ibarra area to give people an excellent taste of what it would be like to live here. We may expand these tours with associates in Cuenca in the near future.

Why should you consider going on a tour with us? Well, it’s quite simple.  Linda and I have lived in Cotacachi full-time for four years.   We have purchased property, set up two Ecuadorian Corporations, helped more than 60 people successfully purchase property in Cotacachi, and lived and worked directly with the locals and indigenous. Boy, do we have stories and adventures to share!

We know the Ecuador real estate market.  We know what you should pay, we know how to close deals, and we know, sometimes by trial and error, what NOT to do.

We have spend four years researching the ins and outs of living in Ecuador for our website.  On our  tours, we give you that first-hand, very valuable information.

We get lots of stories about people who have come here and have been shown property by people who don’t sell real estate and don’t really know the real estate market–stories of gross over-payment for properties. We won’t let that happen to you.

Another Nature/Eco Photography Course and Tour is also in the planning stages.  We are fortunate to have a highly experienced professional photographer living here in Cotacachi who may be the course instructor.

This is a personal thing since I really want to learn how to take higher quality digital photos. I can’t think of a better way to do it.   Pro-Ecuador offered a photo tour more than two years ago and it was a huge hit.  If  you want to read the itinerary of our last tour, click here.

If you are interested in this type of tour, let us know. The more response we get, the more likely we are to sponsor this event.  This tour will visit many of the most interesting and photogenic locations in Ecuador.   It will be limited to 14 people, so each person can expect personal attention and instruction.

We have also been asked to lead another tour to Machu Picchu, Peru, next spring, probably in April.  Since this is one of our favorite places on the planet, and we have visited 5 times, we are seriously considering it.  We think Machu Picchu should be on everybody’s list of places to see in your lifetime.     If you want to be put on a mailing list about this tour, no obligation, click here.

So as you can see, combined with my last column about our sustainable community venture here in Cotacachi, Linda and I have lots of things moving forward.  The key challenge in all of this is to decrease our work load and increase our play time.

We love the positive feedback we have been getting from our readers and the participation on our blog posts.   Above all, we enjoy giving you the best information we can about what life is like in Ecuador. We anticipate that the changes we are planning will make your experience of even better.

And that’s today’s View from the Roof.



  1. Joyce Delgado says:

    No answer required. Just keep me updated on your site. Sounds (like a dream) to good to be true. Thanks Joyce Here’s one for your readers. go to live–become clothing re-sizing, making, for americans. find someone else & share tours for incoming visitors, their spouse could b checking-out restraunts, sleep-overs, other type shops for visitors (recomendations). OR even other who are single (same sex) – sharing apts. -should meet on internet/ in person, if possible to share when there. Trustworthy places. someone who does not know language could b looking for bi-languals, or teach a few basics. Pamplets on local laws. Including what to do if get in trouble. Nearest religeous faculity. Best time of day to shop. Even places/areas not to go to. Last but not Least How the mail delivery etc.?

  2. Charles Defalque says:

    I’m just a poor Canadian, iving in El Salvador, and dearly love a skype pal. I lack spanish, miss books and the opportunity for discourse. But maybe no one has the time?
    I’ve been here 3 years now and have had much the same experiences, though it might be a bit more dangerous here.

  3. Hello and thank you!
    Is Lindas ebook available yet? I am very interested in moving to ecuador and starting some small business to sustain a healthy life style. No frills
    Are bed and breakfasts something there is a need for?

  4. Gary
    Do you do just condos and gated communities? I am interested in a 10 hectare agricultural farmland. I am in Quito until april 3rd and would love to see properties if you have what I am looking for.
    Ciao Carol

  5. Just saw the House Hunters Intl episode. That’s indeed what led me to your site. I’ll certainly take advantage of one of your tours in the future. Sounds like a wise way to go. Thanks.

  6. I feel your pain – been working at the same thing for about 4 years – my neck!, my back!, my hand and arm! This takes determination – and what I was looking for was a mobile income. It is very challenging.
    What I do know from my 4 years is that all of the big guys who are making money are not doing it alone – most have a large staff and staff that they outsource to another country (Philippines is the one most recommended now.)
    The ebook will do the trick – and having a large list is supposed to be THE THING – so keep going – you’re almost there.

  7. jim rickards says:

    I want to come down and spend around 3 weeks in Ecuador next Spring. I figure if I plan to live there I want to get a good look at as much of Ecuador as I can. I can stay longer if necessary. I your 3 day tour sounds great, but I also want to look at Cuenca plus other areas. Any suggestons?

  8. Mary and Ted Jones says:

    Hi Gary and Linda.
    I couldn’t get the “click here” link above to work, so thought I’d just send a reply. Please keep us advised about your plans for a trip to Machu Picchu. We haven’t been there yet, but want to see it before too long. Thanks. Mary

    • Thanks for the heads up, Mary. It works now. We will put you on the Machu Picchu mailing list. Everybody ought to see it at least once. Did you get the mailing about the expat group meeting at Lenador next Friday evening, Aug. 20th? I don’t recall seeing that email address. Starts at 6 p.m. The topic is going to be health insurance. Dinner is $6 for a 3 course meal.

  9. HGTV is airing the Cotacachi episode tonight on House Hunters International. No doubt your website will be getting alot of traffic after that.

    I would be interested in attending one of your tours but we do not have a date when we will be able to come down to Ecuador.