Friday, April 20, 2012

Ecuador residency (CEDULA) - I just received my Residency Card after just 4 1/2 months!

I started reading Blogs from Expats living in Ecuador over a year ago and I read that many Expats had to wait up to 11 months to receive their Cedula's.

I started my Residency process a week after I arrived here in Cuenca with:

Nelson Idrova & Grace Velastegui, Specialize in Residency Visas
Office phone: 593-7-2842225

I wrote about the beginning process of getting my Residency in my first Blog after arriving in Ecuador.

I presented all the necessary paper work to Nelson & Grace on December 7. 2011 along with a deposit for their services.

Their service fee is $1300 for a single Residency Card.
The Government filing fee is $350.
Translation into Spanish and notarizing English paper work $145.

On my third month I received my Residency Visa stamp in my Passport and had to go to Quito within 30 days.

So here I go off to Quito!

I was met at the Quito Airport by Nelson & Grace's assistant Adrianna who just speaks Spanish, so I got lots of practice. She drove me directly to the Immigration Office and I provided her with $50 for filing fees. When we entered the building I noticed several people sitting in a waiting room, but we walked over to one of the Immigration Officers and she presented my paper work and within 20 minutes I received my Non-Censos Certificate  to present at the Registro Civil Office for my Residency Card.
At this time the Immigration Office is out of official paper for the Censos cards which is usually required before getting the Cedula Card.
I may still need to get a Censos Card when they have the paper but I can get this in Cuenca.

Next stop was:

Here we entered the new Registro  Civil Office building now complete with new computers.

There were many people waiting for their number to be called, but once again Adrianna walked over to one of the officers and presented my paper work. I sat down, signed some papers, had my photo and prints taken and within 30 minutes I was out of there. I have heard many stories from other Expats who say they waited up to 8 hours for their number to be called and some even had to return the next day. I guess it pays to have Great Attorneys!

The next day at 4 pm I returned to pick up my new Cedula Card which is good for ten years and then it can be easily renewed unless I decide to become a Citizen of Ecuador which I can do after three years.

There is a immigration office in Cuenca now with English speaking representatives who will help you get your cedula without an attorney.

Here are some Q & A's about Ecuador visas:

Now that there is a visa office in Cuenca there is no need to have to go to Quito for your visa and you can go to the visa office on your own or use a solicitor which can save you a lot of money rather than using an Attorney. 

I recommend CATSA travel agency:

For all your holiday needs contact CATSA in Cuenca, Ecuador 
  1. . Documents translated into Spanish and notarized
    . Assistance with acquiring cedula or any visa and Ecuadorian citizenship

  2. . Attorney available for all legal matters 

  3. Call Bryan Vidal: U.S. 305-897-0346 / Cuenca 074103952 / Cell 0994923033 - e-mail:

Now that the business is done it is time to go and have some fun!

I stayed two nights in the Mariscol District, which turned out to be the party area of Quito. I stayed at the Red Bean Hostel which was a Restaurant with a few rooms up-stairs. This was $60 for two nights and included breakfast.

The next morning Bryan's cousin Anna met me for breakfast.

After breakfast Anna had a friend  who picked us up in his car and for $6 an hour drove us around Quito. The traffic in Quito is unbelievable, and I thought it was bad in Cuenca!

We stopped at a market place to do some shopping:

And then we drove up the hill to El Teleferi de Quito to a gondola lift that took us up the Pichincha Mountains to Cruz Loma (4050 meters) 14,000 feet.

Up the mountain we went!

Quito is 9,300 feet with a population of 2.7 million people. There are a total of 15 million people living in Ecuador and about 12,000 Americans.

We finally reached the top.

                 And headed for the Restaurant to get warm!

Here I found Coca leaf tea, my first cup since 75'

What a great view of Quito.

We stopped at a local Mall for dinner and then headed back to my Hostell.

I decided to take a walk around the Mariscol District and being Friday night there were many people out having a good time. I met Jhover, a tour guide in Galapagos! It is a 2 1/2 hour flight from Quito to the Islands and cost $540 round trip, but with my Cedula I will get $150 off and entrance to the Park on Galapagos will be $10 instead of $100!

And off to the Del Bar Q Happy Hour Bar for a couple drinks to celebrate my new Ecuador Residency. A couple at 9300 feet is all it takes!

 I was surprised at how many of the bartenders spoke English and they were all very friendly. I will be back here again next time I am in Quito.
I could not believe how many different drinks they made with fresh fruits. They assured me there was a guy in the back squeezing fresh fruits into juice as we spoke! These bartenders were great and I recommend the Mariscol Bar Del Q Happy Hour Bar for anyone visiting Quito!
The next morning Anna picked me up with her friend Juan and drove me to the Airport, she even brought me a box of Coca tea!

Back to Cuenca, Bryan met me at the Airport. I have been very fortunate to meet Bryan and his family, they are all fine people. He has an Aunt from North Carolina who taught him English, who is a very nice Lady. I have met his Mother, brother, a few cousins and two other Aunts.
It is great to be around so many happy - fun Ecuadorian friends.
 I have befriended a couple of Expats, guess I need to attend more Expat parties and meet more gringos.

Great to be back in Cuenca!

Cuenca is a bit lower altitude then Quito at 8200 feet and I am finally adjusting to it. I even walk my 5 kilometers everyday and go to the gym a couple of days a week. Which I am off to now!
Until next time I wish everyone a great day! BIENVENIDOS!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My first time in Ecuador was my South American trip in 1975 from Leadville, Colorado!

  It was 1975 and I found myself living in Leadville, Colorado and working at Climax Mine! We just spent 6 weeks in Vancouver, Canada with girls we met in Puerto Vallarta a few months earlier and we were on our way to Colorado to ski for the winter. On our drive through Vail we ended up in Leadville, a small mining town of 5000 people at 10,500 feet and 20 below zero all winter. We stopped at a bar called the RAM (Raggedy Ass Miner), here we met several long haired people, common in the 70's! We discovered they all worked at the Climax Mine. Jobs were hard to find in 1975 so we ended up working at the Climax Mine! Climax was located at a 11,500 foot summit and required a 300 foot elevator ride down into the mine where we boarded a train for a mile ride to our working areas. The mine was heated to 0 degrees and the tunnels were lined with large icicles!
 I wondered everyday how of all places being from sunny warm California that I ended up drilling holes in solid rock and packing them with dynamite! But we did have ski passes for the season at Copper Mountain and drove down to ski after graveyard shifts.

 And my goal was to go to South America to See Machu Picchu!

Climax Mine 1975 - the Mountain is all gone now.

Downtown Leadville - buildings 1898

Leadville has always been a mining town and at one time had 500,000 inhabitants including the unsinkable Molly Brown who got rich with her Gold Mine.
It was going to be the State Capitol of Colorado until a fire burnt down most of the town.
I drove through Leadville in 2009, first time since 1975! The old town is the same except now with 2000 inhabitants it is a College Town and still cold!

Randy, me and David in our 125 year old house which is still standing.

Friends and roommates

July was the time for hiking up Mt Elbert - 14,421 feet.

Cold up there, even in July!

Me, Jim, Lisa, Susan and John.

Silver Dollar Saloon

Carl and me at the old bar

Good friends Sue and Jim Clark, Calamity Jane and her John at the 14,000 foot summit cabin.

Sue and I connected on face book after 33 years! She is living in Iowa and I was in Branson, MO so I drove up to see her and later she flew out to CA for a visit.

We had a great time! Guess I will see her again soon in Ecuador.

On to South America:

 After almost three years of living in Leadville and working in the very cold Climax Mine I was sitting at the Tabor Grand Hotel with my friends, Carlos and Hulio who are brothers from Puerto Rico. I was telling them how my plans after living in Leadville were to go to Machu Picchu in Peru, and they both said they also wanted to go! So the next week we packed up their Volkswagen Van and headed for Florida.
From Miami we boarded a flight to Cartahagna, Columbia where we stayed for a few days.

Market Place

Hotel Cartahagna on the ocean

Carlos with new Canadian friend

After a few days in Cartahagna enjoying the warm weather and beach we flew to Bogota for a few more days. The 70's in South America were not the best time for tourists, especially if you were American. There were armed military solders on every street corner in Bogota, one day we saw a guy who just robbed a store get shot right on the sidewalk! And then we saw some demonstrator's burning a dummy with a sign saying  Imperialist pig on it. Carlos hustled me around the corner and said with my blond hair I would be the dummy if we did not get out of that place! That night during dinner Carlos decided he did not feel safe and decided to go back to Florida.
 So Hulio and I headed out for the 1200 mile trip to Lima, Peru the next day by bus via Cali, Columbia.

After a 12 hour ride over muddy, bumpy dirt roads in four wheel drive vans to Cali we decided to take a flight on an old plane to the border of Ecuador.

We landed on a dirt air-strip on the border of Ecuador and boarded a bus for Quito.

More unpaved roads, we drove through muddy windy mountain roads.
And at every border crossing we were lead by armed Military guards to a shed for a strip search! It was a great thing that Hulio spoke Spanish or I would have thought we were being led out back to be shot! Ecuador was under Military rule in 1975.


From Quito we took another bus to Guayaquil and then on to Lima, Peru.

In Lima we boarded another bus for the long drive to Cuzco, a 28 hour, 800 mile bus ride up a windy muddy dirt road to Cuzco. Hulio bought some sleeping aids from the Pharmacy and we slept for a long time on the drive up the mountain. When we woke up the bus was crowded with more people. It seems another bus slid off the road and we picked up their passengers.

When the Spaniard's discovered Cuzco they built Church's on top of Inca buildings, but you can still see Inca built stone walls all through the city.

After a few days of discovering Cuzco we boarded a train for the short trip to the Inca city of Machu Picchu. Which was never discovered by the Spanish and what happened to the cities inhabitants is still a mystery. The city was not discovered until 1911 by an American Historian and was one third restored by 1976. In 2007 it was declared one of the 7th wonders of the world.

File:80 - Machu Picchu - Juin 2009 - edit.2.jpg

Upon our arrival to the city we were approached by a tour guide who showed us around the city and explained how it was built by the Incas in 1400. Of course Hulio had to translate everything he said but his version of how the city was built was out of this world!
It seems the Incas just vanished and left behind their slaves. All the perfectly cut stones in the city  came from another mountain top and were cut with laser guns and transported via flying machines?

Sun dial used to tell the time of day - carved from solid rock with laser guns of course!

On top of this mountain peak accessible by perfectly cut stone stairs was the temple of the moon! At one time the temple had a solid stone roof with a circle in the middle and during full moon's  the Incas could communicate with their planet!!

It was a long and adventurous trip but we achieved our goal and reached Machu Picchu!

And as for the long trip back to Bogota, Columbia: it was a long bumpy bus ride and we flew from there back to Miami!

Who knows what life has in store for us? Here I am 37 years later living in Ecuador!

Tomorrow I fly to Quito to finish up my paper work for Residency. I will blog about this trip next time. Meanwhile enjoy the film clip below and have a great day!