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Living in Cotacachi

Cotacachi is a wonderful little town of 8,000 friendly people nestled in a beautiful green valley between two extinct volcanoes – Volcan Imbabura and Volcan Cotacachi. The town is located in Northern Ecuador – approximately two hours north of Quito.

The town is known as the leather capital of Ecuador. Many towns in Ecuador have special skill designations and for Cotacachi – it is leather. The main street is filled with leather stores – where you can purchase just about anything made from leather – boots and shoes, purses and handbags, jackets, hats, belts and the list goes on and on.

The people are made up of two groups – the indigenous and the mestizos. The indigenous come from their Inca ancestors and have kept many of the traditions, religion and dress. The men wear white trousers and sandals and many times a small hat. The women wear floor length wrap-around skirts and sandals. They also wear a head covering and many strands of necklaces. These are the farming people of the community. The mestizos lean more towards modernization – wearing jeans and tennis shoes. They drive cars, own businesses, have cell phones and for the most part attend the Catholic Church.

Cotacachi is a wonderful place to live and retire. Being only 30 miles from the equator, the weather is spring-like year around. There is a wet season from about November through May and a dry season from June through October. Even though Cotacachi is only 30 miles from the Ecuador – the elevation is 7,800 feet which makes for a low humidity and a wonderful mild climate all year around. During the day, people run around in shirt sleeves and in the evening – a light jacket is usually required.

Also Ecuador’s currency is the good ole American Dollar. They have minted their own coins which are exactly the same and interchange with the American coins.

International Living has awarded Ecuador first place as a retirement destination in their ranking of countries looking at such items as security and safety, infrastructure, ease of getting around and many other measures.