Retiring in Ecuador

Retiring in Ecuador

Why retiring in Ecuador?  Because when one thinks of the phrase “golden years” I believe it would be safe to assume that no one conjures up the image of being huddled under a thick blanket, shivering in the cold. Not that anyone spends the twilight years of their life intentionally staving off freezing temperatures but I think that the “golden years” of one’s life should be spent in a golden climate.

For those who agree with me, they should know about retiring in Ecuador and the many benefits it holds for senior Americans. Ecuador retirement living for Americans can be pretty cushy but there are some important things to keep in mind.  It is not all cheap living and sunshine.

Retiring in Ecuador Pros and Cons

Since I am the kind of person who prefers to be hit with bad news first and good news (if there is any) later to act as a salve, I will begin with a few of the cons that go a long with retiring in Ecuador.

First of all do not be fooled into thinking Ecuador is like Cancun where almost everybody speaks English and there are a lot of familiar sites to remind you of America.

If you are thinking of retiring or living in Ecuador, always bear in mind that you are moving to a truly South American country. English is not the first language and while it is a beautiful, culturally rich and fast developing country, there will be very little to see on a daily basis that reminds you of home.

Secondly, not everywhere in Ecuador is a great place to retire.  If you plan to retreat to Cuenca which many people do, diligently search out a place congenial to your lifestyle.  Some areas of Cuenca can be very congested with traffic, noisy and “urban-smelling.”

Retiring in Ecuador

Retiring in Ecuador

Now that we have the bad stuff out of the way here are a bunch of reasons to retire in Ecuador:

It’s cheap!  All of the rumors you have heard about living comfortably in Ecuador on a retiree’s budget is true.

It’s gorgeous.  Not far from Ecuador is the Amazon rainforest and the Galapagos islands which boasts some of the most breathtaking natural sceneries in the world.

It has a great culture.  It is easy for even an expat to get assimilated in Ecuador because the locals are friendly and there is much music, food and culture to immerse one’s self in.

The weather is great.  Did you know that the average temperature near inland Ecuador is about 77 degrees Fahrenheit?  We’re talking about year round too, not just the summer and spring months.

Cuenca Ecuador is bog but it’s not too big.  In other words, if you opt for Cuenca, Ecuador as your retirement destination you will not be bored in a year or two because there is enough to explore in a long-term sense.  On the other hand it is compact enough that you can see and do everything without much of a transportation hassle.

Stylish Retirement Living

Retiring in Ecuador has become such an attractive notion for Americans because almost every detail of it seems tailor-made for us.  They use the American dollar, there is an established expat community there and there are easy real-estate options available for retirees.

From the popular images of walking on the beach drenched in warm sunlight to the lesser considered aspects that the transition to Ecuador is easy, there are few foreign countries that present a better argument as a retirement destination.  For more info on South American countries and travel, check out the section of Travel to South America.

The Strange Tale of Oscar Zeta Acosta

The Strange Tale of Oscar Zeta Acosta

When I pose it to others, even Latinos, if they know the name Oscar Zeta Acosta, the answer is usually no. My next question is invariably “have you seen Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas?” to which many people say yes. Then I tell them that Oscar Zeta Acosta is the character portrayed by Benicio Del Toro known as Dr. Gonzo. This is usually more familiar to people but there is so much more to the man Oscar Zeta Acosta than how he was portrayed in that movie. Oscar Zeta Acosta was a self-made man. A proud Mexican American, author, lawyer and most importantly an activist.

Humble Beginnings

Oscar Acosta was born in El Paso, Texas a border town that doesn’t have a whole lot of prospects for young students. So Oscar went west to attend San Francisco State University and eventually earned his law degree at the San Francisco School of Law.

It was around the late 60’s and early 70’s when Los Angeles was a hotbed of political unrest and activism and soon Acosta found himself in L.A. in the thick of it all. He became heavily engaged in the Brown Pride and Chicano movement and fought tooth and nail in Los Angeles courtrooms to fight discrimination against Mexican Americans.

Hostility in the Streets

These were very tense times for everyone. African Americans were fighting for equality and Mexican Americans, who felt disenfranchised by the government, harassed by the LAPD and generally unheard in local politics, were fighting for a fair shake at the American dream. Oscar was a typical figure at many Chicano protests in Los Angeles and took the cases of many Chicano activists who could not afford legal counsel.

The Chicano contingent was galvanized and came to a head when in 1970 a Hispanic reporter named Ruben Salazar was sitting peacefully in a bar in the Whittier area when he was struck in the head by a tear gas can fired by an LAPD officer and killed immediately. The Chicano community was outraged and it was none other than the fiery Oscar Acosta who demanded persecution of the officer and even subpoenaed every single judge of the Los Angeles Supreme Court.

He was a leader and unifier of the Chicano movement and took the cases of other high profile Chicano figures such as Rudolfo Gonzales who founded the Denver based Chicano organization “Crusade for Justice.”

The Strange Tale of Oscar Zeta Acosta

The Strange Tale of Oscar Zeta Acosta

The Man Vs. the Myth

To say that Oscar Acosta was a man of conflicting interests would be an understatement. He was so zealous that he wouldn’t think twice about taking a ridiculously impossible case so long as it afforded him the chance to rail against the Anglo government system that he saw as the enemy. He fought vehemently and often too vehemently-taking cases of violent offenders who claimed to be Chicano. He was always in the barrio talking to and organizing the Mexican population in Los Angeles and this sometimes meant being in the company of unsavory characters.

He was a man of the people, even criminals. That fact coupled with the caricature based on Acosta known as Dr. Gonzo created by the author Hunter S. Thompson have overshadowed the accomplishments and noble endeavors of Oscar Zeta Acosta. It is kind of sad that I have to point out that he inspired the character of Dr. Gonzo in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for people to even begin to know who I am talking about but that is how much Acosta’s legend has outgrown his reality.

Acosta disappeared mysteriously off the coast of Mazatlan, Mexico in 1974 and has long since been presumed dead. People have suspected political assassination, a random argument spurred by politics that got to heated and resulted in his death and simply hanging out with the wrong people. At any rate, the fact that his death still remains a mystery seems fitting for a man who has since become more of a legend.

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