Things to Know
My name is Jim Keyser and along with my partner Joe Stock we own the largest property management business in Cotacachi. We specialize in representing premium properties; we represent homes decorated and equipped to North American standards. You can expect all the amenities you enjoy in your North American residence including internet, TV service and washer and dryer and in some instances dishwashers and of course fully equipped kitchens.
We are pleased to acknowledge your inquiry and potential reservation and we thank you for your interest. Once we have received your deposit, we guarantee your reservation. (You may have already done so). If you have booked through a booking service such as VRBO, FlipKey, Airb&b, etc. please bring the payment receipts you have received from those services. For those of you that have paid through PayPal please bring those receipts of payment. Please be advised that our management business does not accept credit cards and some charges and fees will need to paid in cash upon arrival unless other arrangements have been made.
There may be some services that are not included in your reservation booking. Such as phone, internet, TV services, cleaning and a refundable security fee. Therefore, these fees will be addressed independently in a separate communication.
Once your flight/travel arrangements have been finalized please forward those details to us so we can send one of our English speaking drivers to pick you up at the airport and deliver you directly to your accommodations. The charge for a taxi is $55/$60 and a more comfortable van is $65/$70. The duration of the trip is approximately ninety minutes. We highly recommend that you take advantage of this service. Our drivers know exactly where your accommodations are located. They will call us when they are ten minutes away from your destination. Please advise us if you’d like to take advantage of this service via return email.
We are NOT allowed to accept arrivals after 7pm or before 8am as the HOA rules and regulations are strict concerning late and early morning arrivals. If your flight is in conflict with this policy we can suggest overnight accommodations close to the airport and have you picked up at your leisure the next morning.
When you arrive we will meet you and familiarize you with your Cotacachi home. In addition, the location of grocery, restaurants, the fruit, flower and vegetable Mercado, ATM’s, tour offices, bus terminal and more. The orientation will take approximately twenty minutes. We will do our best to answer every question you may have or direct you to someone who can.
Joe and I are government licensed real estate brokers licensed by the government of Ecuador; a very prestigious designation in the real estate field. We work out of the largest real estate office in Cotacachi and would be honored to represent you and acquaint you with any real state needs you desire.
If you are contemplating purchasing real estate, we would be pleased to help you. We will send a client information sheet that you can fill out online. Then, when you arrive we will have a personalized folder of properties that meet your needs.
Jim Keyser: 239 228 2660 Toll Free From North America
Ecuador Cellular 095 989 9624
Joe Stock: 801 859 6913 Toll Free From North America
Ecuador Cellular 096 742 4683
The altitude in Cotacachi, Ecuador is approximately 7,800 feet, 2,500+ meters. Everyone’s reaction or symptoms to the change in altitude is dissimilar and the amount of time to acclimate to the change is different for everyone. The symptoms include: shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, upset stomach and weariness. Take it easy the first couple of days and hydrate frequently with water or a Gatorade type beverage and take an afternoon nap (siesta). Staying hydrated is extremely important.
A few of the best restaurants are: La Tourista, Serendipity, Solid Rock, Lafayette Cafe, El Lenadore and La Mirage. Also, the five star resort in Cotacachi and Sunday lunch/brunch at Senora Marta’s Cabinas del Lago. Cotacachi also features great places to socialize, such as Cafe Rio Intag and The Pastry Shop.
The Saturday, outdoor market in Otavalo, Ecuador is reputed to be the largest outdoor market in South America. It is a virtual Tsunami of artwork of all description, crafts, jewelry, spices and fruits and vegetables. Bargaining is the name of the game and twenty percent is the discount you should request and the more you buy from the vendor the more discount you should receive. Don’t be afraid to say no and walk away if you don’t receive the price you want there are more vendors selling the same item and you can always return.
The large market has many locally grown fruits, vegetables and flowers. Twenty-five roses are $2.50/$5.00. On Sunday morning visit the market and search the local indigenous selections as they hand carry their produce to the market, for Sunday only.
Lago Cuicocha, the volcanic lake, is a must-see feature of Ecuador’s natural beauty. Take the boat ride around the two island outcroppings and see the gas bubbles emanating from the volcano below. Don’t forget to partake in the complementary herbal, honey sweetened tea afterwards and a visit to the information center is quite illuminating. Luis tours on Leather Street across/adjacent from the bus terminal will enlighten you on the crafts of the surrounding villages, hammocks, jewelry and locally weaved cloth in the village La Clara.
Travel to another village and view furniture crafted from Papyrus; trivets, place mats and baskets at a village close to Lago San Pablo. It’s a four hour tour where you experience the time-honored crafts of the Indigenous people. The train to Salinas from Otavalo is a recreation of the trains of the 1800’s with stops to visit the Mills in Atuntaqui where 2,00 people worked raw cotton into fabric. This is an all day tour with many more stops and a wonderful lunch at “Blood Lake” (another story).
There is one main grocery store in Cotacachi, TIA, and a few specialty food shops. Tia is our main local supermarket. Monica’s or the Super Mercado on Leather Street carries many Expat groceries, Heinz, Hunts Campbell Soups and too many other North American favorites to mention. Prana located on Imbabura Street, has a wonderful selection of wines from Chile and Argentina and Xavier. You’re sure to find the perfect wine to fit your palate and your wallet. Prana also stocks locally made Ecuadorian cheese made to North American taste, local chocolate, essential oils, organic coconut oil, organic honey and a plethora of other items. Fresh organic vegetables are available on Tuesday mornings (arrive just after 10am) and specialty breads are couriered from Quito on Friday. One must place their order by Wednesday for the specialty breads. Please inquire with owner for more details.
Taxis and Vans
In and around the town of Cotacachi, a taxi fare is $1.25. The fare to Otavalo is $5-$6 and the fare to Ibarra is $10-$12. We have a list of taxis and vans, most speak English and are available to take you sightseeing or on longer trips, such as an over-night trip to Mindo. The cost per hour for a taxi is around $8/$9 and for a van it is around $10. Before you hire a driver, be sure to negotiate to avoid a higher charge than those listed.
This is the preferred mode of transportation for all of us. The fare to Otavalo is 35 cents, to Ibarra the fare is 55 cents and the fare to Quito is $2.50. The buses are safe and prompt; however, keep your backpack, bags, and personal items close and within sight and zip up all zippers to be safe. You do not have to worry about physical or confrontational crime, however people do “lose” items sometimes. Do not store any articles in the overhead racks or the storage compartments under the bus. Keep all your articles within view and at arm’s length.
There are three conveniently located ATMs on the perimeter of San Francisco Park at Banco de Guayaquil, Banco de Pichincha and Banco Austro, which is located on Calle 10 de Agosto, “Leather Street”.
Primavera II has numerous fruit trees, lemons, limes, mandarin oranges, tree tomato, peaches, mora berries and avocados. There is a communal vegetable garden within the condominium property that has a wide variety of vegetables for the pleasure of the Primavera community.
The caretakers tend to garbage collection for most rentals. Cotacachi has recycling and tenants MUST separate ALL refuse into organic and inorganic. Tenants MUST bag all organic (food) waste. NO EXCEPTIONS!!!
In Primavera II condos all the individual buildings have a common area alarms that protects the building doors including the propane storage area/courtyard. The alarm automatically engages at 10pm. The alarm DOES NOT shut off automatically. Please check the alarm panel before exiting the front door and the courtyard in the mornings. We will give you the alarm code when you check-in to Primavera II.
Other rentals and properties have alarm systems that are custom to the individual units. We will discuss the specifics of each property and the alarm system at check-in.
Your hot water supply is provided through a Califont. It is an on-demand heater and the fuel source is propane gas. To activate the Califont, turn the hot water on full until you receive hot water and adjust back to the desired temperature. If the water volume through the Califont is not sufficient, it will not activate the hot water unit. Please remember, be frugal with the hot water. Long showers and full tubs will empty the propane tank quickly. Consequently, if this happens on a weekend, we will be unable to replace the propane tank until Monday or Tuesday.
The electrical outlets in our homes and condos are the same as in the US and Canada; converters are not necessary, just plug in your charger, hair dryer etc. and you’re good to go.
The Cotacachi water system is the finest municipal water system in northern Ecuador and the water is perfectly safe to drink. From time-to-time the city may shut off the water to make repairs or to make connections, but they will reconnect it by 5pm.
Television service is provided through a Roku streaming device and if you have a Netflix, or VUDU account you can stream programming through their service. Hulu does not work in Ecuador. You can also receive U.S. TV service through www.ustvnow.com. It’s free to join and if your lap top has an HDMI plug-in, you can stream to our TV’s (don’t forget your HDMI cable). We no longer have Direct-TV as a service provider in our apartments.
Internet is provided by the local phone company, CNT, or through a number of providers such as, Mulitsolutiones, PuntoNet, Net Service and others. The best and most reliable service is through CNT. The service is interrupted on occasion, but within a short time it will be reconnected.