Ecuador Expat Profile – Franziska & Daniel Pedersen, La Unión, Azuay, Ecuador
The Expats: Franziska & Daniel Pedersen
What is your blog url?
Where are you currently living?
Dan and I live in La Unión, Azuay, Ecuador (about 1 hour south of Cuenca).
What’s Your Story?
Dan is a US citizen and I am Swiss. We got married on February 8th, 2008 in Berne, Switzerland after meeting in Costa Rica in 2004.
This is one of those stories that only life can write – unexpected, exciting and to say the least – unusual.
Dan had spent most of his life in Marysville and Evans, Washington State. Franziska was more of a vagabond and started traveling at a very young age. She lived in Vancouver, Canada, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Chicago, USA and Montreux, Switzerland.
After working with a pleasure boat manufacturer Dan started his own wood furnace business in the late 80’s. Always on the lookout for new adventures and things to learn he designed and built his farmhouse and spent the next few years farming. He then signed up as a finish carpenter – traveling and working across the United States.
Franziska spent most of her career in the tourism industry. After her apprenticeship in a travel agency and subsequent travels she earned a degree in Hotel Management. She worked in different hotels and restaurants in the events/conference and banqueting area.
When and where did you get the idea of living in Ecuador?
Coming from rather cool climates with lots of rain moving to a southern country and start a little guesthouse/hotel was a life long dream for both of us. We believe that putting together Dan’s talent for anything manual (woodwork, pluming, electrical, design etc.) and my experience working in tourism we can create a very special and unique place.
We spent our first night in our new home on October 8th, 2010 and plan on staying for a long time to come. The creation of a business gave us access to our visas.
How’s your Spanish?
Coming from Europe – where (almost) everybody speaks at least 2 languages – I think speaking the local tongue helps tremendously! Speaking perfectly is not necessary but having the courage to make mistakes will help improve fast.
My mother tongue is German and Dan’s is English.
What do you do?
We are currently renovating our house and plan to open as a little hotel later this year.
How do you find the cost of living in Ecuador?
Coming from Switzerland I am probably not the right person to ask – most things seem soooo incredibly inexpensive! But also compared to the US live is more than affordable here!
Buying at local markets make your money go quite far – if you opt to shop at Supermaxi things change of course. Still – there meat is given away in the eyes of a Swiss…
I had mayor dental work done when we first came – my total bill here was about US $1000 – I would have paid about CHF 6’000 in Switzerland!
What do you love about Ecuador?
The abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables year round is incredible!
We both love the climate – I think I’ve seen more sunshine in the past year than I’ve seen the rest of my life in Switzerland!
Dan loves not having to get permits for everything he changes on the house and the land taxes are almost a joke.
We do feel safe here taking the necessary and normal precautions. During renovation/building the laid back life style seems sometimes a bit too relaxed and getting quality products and work can be a challenge…
We would recommend to anyone considering moving to Ecuador to consult with expat blogs and other resources that can be found on the internet! Visiting for a longer period of time will help you take a decision!
Our favorite place to hang out is – without a doubt – our patio! Dan makes this incredible “Hibiscus Cooler“!