Ecuador / Ecuador Lifestyle / Living in Ecuador / Retirement in Ecuador

Retirement in Ecuador: Over the Ocean & Thru the Jungle to Grandmother’s House We Go

The second decade of the twenty-first century is proving to be a fertile one for me and Gary in terms of our family tree. Let me clarify that.

I mean our children are exhibiting fertility, not us.  I’ve gone from lamenting the fact that I had no grandchildren to spoil to wondering if I should start looking for a way to turn off our children’s fertility switches.

Perhaps there’s an Ecuadorian birth control elixir I can slip into their lattes.

Gary and I didn’t have children together but between the two of us we have four children from our first marriages.  Three of those children are now in the baby-making business.

During this current trip to the states we will celebrate grand-daughters Anabella and Sophia’s birthdays and the birth of our first grandson in January.  Only a few days ago we heard from one of Gary’s twin daughters that she will have her first child next May.  That will be grandchild number 4.

While I’m thrilled with the new additions to our family, I’m seeing the emergence of a new pattern in the way we enjoy our vacation time.  Days of diapers and drool have replaced daring jaunts to faraway countries.  However, crossing a raging river is nothing compared to the challenges of trying to cajole a new grand-daughter into a nap.

During the first ten years of our relationship Gary and I were blessed with being able to travel to many of the world’s most wonderful destinations, places we’d always wanted to visit.  Those years were exciting, rewarding and consciousness-raising for us.

We explored Machu Picchu from top to bottom, sitting in the stone seat on the apex of Wayna Picchu and braving the dizzying descent to the Temple of the Moon far below.  We’ve hiked 15,000 foot peaks in the Tibetan Himalayas, climbed the Face of God in Ollantaytambo, Peru, sat at the feet of a guru in Bombay and spent the 2000 millenium in silent meditation in a monastery in Thailand.

Lest we became complacent during our travels, life also gave us adrenaline-pumping experiences to contend with–Fascist riots in Katmandu, floods and kidnappings in Venezuela, a machete attack and drowning in Oaxaca and a near-catastrophe with two students in Mexico when tides almost swept them out to sea.

Now the particulars of our ages, culture, life choices and circumstance have culminated in a new plateau of life experience–the age of the grandparent. Gary and I are in the states for our annual family pilgrimage.

Instead of excursions to exotic places, we spend our vacation dollars traipsing from one end of the U.S. to the other visiting kids and grand-kids.  Our extended leisure time is planned around weddings and babies, babies and weddings.

I find a new concern cropping up now and again.  Will my grandchildren see me as a doddering old lady who has lost touch with current reality or a vibrant elder attuned to the changes now underway in our world?

I wonder if little Sophia will consider a visit to granny’s house “Life Among the Ruins,” or similar to “Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.”  At least living in Ecuador gives me an advantage in the chocolate department.

And whatever happened to the kids visiting grandma?  Am I the only one who remembers, “Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go?”

Having spent much of my childhood vacations visiting my grandparents, sticking to the hot back seat of our un-air-conditioned ’49 Pontiac on cross-country summer journeys and doing the same as an adult for Thanksgiving, Christmas and anniversaries, I’m wondering why there isn’t an annual pilgrimage to my house now that I’m a venerable matriarch.

I’ve had to concede that living in Ecuador isn’t the same as living in North America to my offspring.  Even though Ecuador is a few hours’ plane-ride away, it’s too far psychologically, culturally and hemispherically.  A world away.

We’ve only been able to entice one of our four children into visiting us in Ecuador.  So I am still the one making the long trip home, only these trips are from continent to continent, not state-to-state.

But I have a long-term plan in mind, one that will solve both the distance problem and the possibility of my being a boring old grandmother.  Even though the grand-kids are all under the age of 3 at this point, I am already plotting ways that I can entice them to visit us in Ecuador.

I’m saving pictures of baby alpacas and cute little cuyes to send them.  What kid will be able to resist a trip to the Galapagos to see blue-footed boobies? Or to Santo Domingo to see red-haired Colorado indios?

Or a trip to the jungle?  I’ll wow them with tales of pirates who once raided Guayaquil, donkey rides into the cloud forests and surfing in Mantenita.

I’m convinced that success is guaranteed.  All I’ll have to worry about is how to get them to go back home to their parents.  They’ll probably kick and scream and beg me for another helado de paila.

They’ll want to spend summers with us in Ecuador and I can stay at home.  Heck, paying for all the grand-kids to come to Ecuador will be less expensive and less hassle than one of our trips to the U.S.

If that doesn’t work, there’s always creative kidnapping. I didn’t spend all that time in Venezuela for nothing.



  1. Linda, loved your blog. In fact, love all you are writing about living in Ecuador. I am considering expatriating to Central or South America, but can’t tear myself away to travel that far because of two precious little grandsons, whom I see frequently and ‘help’ with.
    Thank you for your wonderful insights into life in a totally different culture.

  2. I plan to visit Ecuador with the idea of buying a property.
    I am surprised that nobody seems to worry about tropical diseases in Ecuador that are a real concern for someone who wants live there, and even more with a family.

    • Hi Andre’,

      Tropical diseases are not much of a problem in the areas that expats tend to settle. There are no tropical diseases in the Andes mountains,as it is not tropical. Occasionally dengue fever outbreaks happen on the coast.

  3. –Sweet Lady:
    Your name, other than “Gary’s wife”? —

    Didn’t it say – posted on October 15th by Linda?

  4. Sweet Lady:
    Your name, other than “Gary’s wife”? Perhaps, I missed that info. I am a grandmother, currently from Oregon. I am drawn to Equador, and will be visiting very soon. I plan on moving to Equador, and need to decide whether to rent or own. I will have only about $10,000 cash. Nan

  5. Linda, loved this piece! Currently I have 23 grandchildren, so no plans to have them all visit. I couldn’t afford the plane tickets! But one, about to graduate next year, is toying with the idea to come – especially since her mom was born in Ecuador. With the 6 or so great grandchildren, I think family get-to-gethers will have to be stateside. I do know exactly how you are feeling. I have spent the last summer ‘helping’ with the newest great grandchild, and GREAT she is! Keep up the great writing and Lisa and I will see you in May or June of next year – and we are coming to stay!!!
    Love to all,
    Joan and Lisa

    • Fantastic Joan! We’ll see you and Lisa in Ecuador next year and we can brag about our grandchildren. My congratulations on your 23 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. And I thought 4 was a lot to handle!