My wife and I have been reflecting on the decision that we made nearly 3 years ago to leave our teaching jobs and relocate to Cotacachi, Ecuador. During that time, we have seen many changes. In October of 2008, when we purchased our condo at Primavera II, there were very few expat housing developments and only a handful of full time foreigners living in Cotacachi. Now, there are housing developments going up all around town and the expat community is growing by leaps and bounds. New North American owned restaurants are opening regularly and community groups from card playing clubs to spiritual gatherings are forming.
As with anything in life, change is bringing both positives and negatives for the expat community. The increasing variety of things to do, places to eat, and people of different backgrounds adds to the richness of life in Cotacachi. On the other hand, the influx of money has brought about an increase in crime.
It has been interesting to watch this transformation over the past 3 years and makes us wonder what the coming years will bring. What was it like in Ajijic, Mexico, Boquete, Panama, and other places that transitioned from sleepy towns into major expat retirement destinations? We would love to hear from others who have experienced this and learn more about the how both the expats and locals dealt with the changes. Any thoughts or questions that you have are welcomed and can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.