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Ecuador Expat Profile: Jeff Stern, Quito Ecuador

Posted in: Expats in Ecuador, Living in Ecuador, Quito Ecuador

Ecuador Expat Profile: Jeff Stern, Quito Ecuador

The Expat: Jeff Stern


Where are you currently living?

Quito, Ecuador. 4 years.

What’s Your Story?

We are a family of four and own a chocolate business in Ecuador. I also do consulting in the cocoa industry.

We have lived in the US, Nicaragua and South Africa. I was born in Southern California.

When and where did you get the idea of living in Ecuador?

We wanted our kids to grow up here at least several years. We have been here four years and intend on staying indefinitely.

We are all residents – my wife is an Ecuadorian National.

How’s your Spanish?

I have spoken Spanish for over twenty years after being a high school exchange student in Chile in the 1980s. It is crucial to speak the language as knowing it well will open up a whole new universe for you.

You can learn it while you’re here; but study hard and learn it well – don’t learn just enough to “get by” because then that’s all you’ll be doing, just getting by. English is our first language.

What do you do?

We operate a chocolate business in Quito.

How do you find the cost of living in Ecuador?

Reasonable but higher than initially expected.


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Meet the Author

Dena Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. She is a travel blogger and content marketer. She is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Travel.

7 comments… add one
  • Tomi Pontynen Oct 15, 2016, 5:17 pm

    I have residencial status in Spain, but as my 6 month 12 IX EXT visa ends in January 2017, I am more and more interested to stay in Ecuador. For 3 weeks ago me and my Ecuadorian fiancee decided to move apart, but I have good friends here and also possibly my next relationship in Guayaquil is waiting my visit next weekend. We are both widows and to move together could excellent for both.

    As most expatriates live either in Quito or Cuenca, so the stories are mainly from the highlands. Currently I am living in Salinas, enjoying walks on very peaceful western beaches of the peninsular. Also I like to see the marine life and birds etc. there.

    This a why I need more stories in the coastal area. I like this climate here, never too cold and seldom hot with fresh ocean air. I like to go to Puerto de Pescadores in Anconcito, where I can by very fresh fish whenever I wish, with a price one third of that in supermarket or Mercado.

    Having experienced the climate of Andalucia in Southern Spain, with shivering cold winter nights, heaters on, spending very expensive Spanish electricity and equally in the 40 centigrades summer heat waves, also using power to AC. Here I do not need heater or AC and also power is cheap. I don’t have to buy warm clothes in Salinas.

    I have lived altogether half year in Guyayquil, and do not want any more to breathe that foul air . I have asthma and the sea air is the best medicine.

    Tomi Pontynen

  • Sarah Apr 3, 2016, 2:14 am

    Hi Jeff,

    I am an undergraduate working on a thesis project about expatriates in South American cities, including Quito, and I would love if you could answer a few quick questions for me. Or anyone out there really who has lived/lives in Quito, your help would be amazing!

    Answers to any or all of these questions would be greatly appreciated:
    What neighborhood do you live in?
    Why did you choose to live there?
    In your impression, what types of people live there?
    What areas do you feel like most expats live in?
    Do you interact with mainly other expatriates or do you have many Ecuadorian friends? Was it difficult to make friends outside the expatriate community?
    Do you speak Spanish?
    Do you work, and if so what do you do?

  • James Schuh Dec 27, 2015, 9:34 am

    Visiting Ecuador for a Festival on February 2nd. We are looking for advice on where to stay and things to see in Quito. I am also interested in evaluating medical mission opportunities. Please email or call 608.625.2525 thank you, Merry Christmas.

  • Miles Nov 19, 2014, 5:56 pm

    My teenage son is travelling to Quito to meet a girl he’s been chatting with online for the last 1 1/2 to 2 yrs. I’m concerned about him travelling alone to Ecuador and too a huge city such as Quito.
    Our closest “large” city is around 35,000 to 40,000 people. With Quito at a whopping 2 million plus people, I’m a bit overwhelmed by what my boy may be facing when he arrives. Am I right to be concerned and should I be fearing for his safety??

    • Bryan Haines Nov 25, 2014, 9:38 am

      There is crime in Quito – as in all large cities. As a parent, I would be more concerned about my child traveling to another continent to meet an online friend.

  • Michael & Betty Jones Sep 8, 2014, 3:16 pm

    My wife, Betty, and I are recent retirees from the healthcare industry in Texas. We are researching the various areas of Ecuador to see which area would best suit our needs as a permanent relocation destination. We are both active painters and photographers and have traveled extensively to broaden our artistic perspectives. We recently operated an art/travel school in France
    ( . We will be in Quito until September 14. If you have some time in your schedule, we would love to meet with you and have the benefit of your insight into living in Quito. Thank you. Michael & Betty Jones

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