With over 1.4 billion people using the 10 million groups on Facebook, it’s no surprise to see numerous Ecuadorian-based Facebook groups emerge over the past few years.
But, the low barrier to entry basically means anyone can create a group in less than 5 minutes & appoint themselves as moderator. Are they qualified to provide this mentorship? Who knows, but the main requirement for running a Facebook Group is time. Time to moderate and hopefully provide some direction & support for the group when things don’t go to plan.
There’s a surprisingly large number of Facebook groups in Ecuador that cater to the expat market. This guide provides an overview of some of the better Facebook groups for you to consider joining.
But, before getting to individual groups, there are some key points to discuss.
Facebook groups should focus on value to the community
The only core metric we’ve considered in this guide is how much value each group provides to their community. Each community is slightly different, so the value provided to their respective communities should also reflect this.
In practice, it’s clear that not all Ecuadorian Facebook Groups truly care about providing maximum value to their community. We can’t recommend these groups and they aren’t included in our guide.
It can be nearly impossible for new members to detect whether other group members, moderators or even the admins have hidden incentives in the recommendations they provide.
I see this all the time with people recommending their ‘favorite’ facilitator, visa provider, insurance company, restaurant, dog walker etc.
Many times these service providers aren’t the best, or even close to the best. They just recommend them because they’ve used them once or provided a nice kickback (money or free product/service).
But, commissions aren’t the only hidden incentives to watch out for. For example, perhaps the group has been created with the intention of launching their own book or for-profit magazine and they go out of their way to delete, block & ban anyone else that may have competing interests to their publication. These intentions become clear and obvious to group members over time. Sadly, newer group members are the most vulnerable and anyone that points this out will be swiftly silenced by the group moderators/admin.
We can’t recommend any groups where at least one of the admins has a hidden agenda and we’ve tried not to include these in our guide. But, that doesn’t mean that we can 100% say that all of the groups we’ve included are completely free from hidden agendas. It just means that to us, they aren’t yet obvious.
Ecuador’s Defamation Laws
If you’re coming from a country that values free speech as a core democratic right, we suggest taking a few minutes to understand that Ecuador has a very different process when it comes to defamation. If you criticize someone or their business online (including social media), you are at risk of them taking you to court for defamation. And, it does happen regularly.
As a publisher of content, I do wish we were able to openly provide reviews that included ‘improvement opportunities’, but we are forced to show restraint and suggest you do as well.
Well-meaning but ill-informed fellow members
The number of times I’ve seen outdated or just flat-out wrong advice provided in Ecuador’s Facebook Groups is something I find personally concerning. My suggestion is to use Facebook Groups as one source of information – but you should be personally verifying any advice provided to you. Relying on a random stranger for your visa information or financial advice is simply reckless.
But this is a complex issue for group moderators. As a moderator, you want the group to engage. But, you don’t want misinformation hurting group members. Reconciling these two are difficult as you don’t want to silence members from providing their opinion.
Our approach to solving this problem in our Cuenca Yapas & Friend’s Facebook Group is to include subject matter experts in the group so they can address questions related to their area of expertise. But, not all groups have this luxury. Without recognized experts in the group, it’s always going to be difficult to balance the accuracy of information with being heard.
Now, let’s get to the individual groups.
Ecuador Facebook Groups
These groups focus on Ecuador as a whole. Which is a great place to start your journey as these groups also tend to be the biggest.
The gold standard for Ecuadorian and expat FB groups, in general, has to be Ecuador Expats. This group is extremely well moderated, led by long-term resident David Sasaki. You’ll get a good mix of Ecuadorian culture, current events, news, and tasteful discussion. We suggest starting your journey with this group.
This started out as a Cuenca-focused group, but they expanded to cover all of Ecuador as they grew. Membership is now roughly 60% based in Cuenca and 40% rest of Ecuador. Expats Without Agendas – Ecuador is a down-to-earth group that has a clear purpose of trying to help newer expats navigate their new life to Ecuador without falling victim to some of the issues that plague other groups. They make good use of the “Guides” feature, which is a collation of threads relating to one topic that are grouped together for easy future reference.
As the name suggests, the Ecuador Digital Nomads Group caters more towards a predominantly younger crowd of professionals that are either passing through or work remotely from Ecuador. What started out as mainly a group that attracted foreigners, it’s also now attracting local Ecuadorians that work remotely. Disclaimer: I am an admin for this group.
This is the type of group you don’t really think about until you need it. The Ecuador Emergency group provides updates whenever a potentially dangerous event occurs in Ecuador. Sure, you’ll likely see some of these events in other posts (especially from newer expats when they experience their first earthquake), but it’s great to have a group just for this purpose that you can rely on in stressful times.
I’m including this group mainly because they tend to act as a counter-measure to all of the good things you’ll hear about Ecuador. You can argue that they perhaps focus too much on the negative, but having a contrary opinion can help raise your awareness of Ecuador’s less glamorous side.
Specialist Ecuador Groups
Groups that specialize in one core topic can be incredibly helpful for those difficult, specific problems that can be very hit and miss in the larger groups.
Trying to figure out baking at altitude or just want to share your latest tigrillo creation? The Food & Cooking in Ecuador group is for you. Full of helpful expats and all levels of cooking ability are welcome. They allowed me in so it must be beginner-friendly!
Gardening in Ecuador can sometimes seem super simple. Things just grow. But, then the bugs hit, you’ve got weird species to detect and what fertilizer to use? Turns out, there’s a lot to gardening here and the Ecuador Expat Gardening group can be a very helpful companion.
Many of us consider pets to be part of the family. But, they have very different needs and this group can help you figure out how to get them here and take care of them once they arrive. You can also find some pets for adoption that would love you to give them a forever home.
Construction standards are way different here from what you’re used to. This group can help provide you with practical building advice that can be hard to come by. It can also be useful to get an idea of general construction costs so you don’t get taken for a ride by your maestro.
These local groups can be incredibly helpful, especially when you’re new to town and trying to find practical information & grow your personal network.
I’m sure we haven’t covered all of the regions of Ecuador. So do feel free to reach out to us if you’d like your local group to be included in this round-up too. Note – we’ll only consider including it in this roundup once we’ve been members for at least 3 months. This roundup will be kept updated as groups come and go.
Our publication predominantly covers Cuenca, so our experience with local Facebook groups also centers on Cuenca.
We’ve described this group above. Including it here as they have a strong Cuenca presence.
The most active group for younger members of Cuenca’s expat community. YEES is very helpful when looking for language exchange events and other activities more geared towards non-retirees. The group was a little quiet during COVID, but it looks to be bouncing back as we open up again.
This closely moderated group can be great for those looking for school information, play dates & you may even find some cheap baby clothes & other goodies for sale. Expat Families in Cuenca (new) also organize occasional family-oriented get-togethers such as Halloween parties.
There are enough vegans & vegetarians to make this specialized group work without it feeling empty. Whilst nobody in our immediate family is vegan or vegetarian, we do enjoy cooking this style of food a lot and it’s been helpful for finding various restaurants & products that can be difficult to find.
This group is helpful when looking for a new place to rent in Cuenca. The concept is simple. Whenever the moderator finds what looks to be a reasonable Cuenca rental in Facebook Marketplace, they share it with the group. This collation can be very helpful because finding quality, affordable rentals in FB Marketplace can feel like you’re searching for a diamond in the rough.
This group isn’t for everyone, and I like that. Need to vent or just share your thoughts, the moderator would love to have you contribute. You’ll find a little bit of everything here. Probably not the group I’d go to for serious, practical matters, but definitely one for light-hearted fun and blowing off steam.
Run by idiomART, this group is open to all things creative. Professional and amateur artists from all walks of life are welcome to share their work & you’ll also find a good dose of local art events.
YapaTree does two things. We run a Cuenca-based publication that helps expats (& English speaking locals) to access quality information on living in Cuenca & we help businesses reach this market through our discount card program and advertising opportunities.
The Cuenca Yapas & Friends (Deals & Expat Info) group is really an extension of this. But, we’ve deliberately made it accessible to Cuenca’s entire business community, not just partners of our discount card program.
Need more convincing? We’ve started a competition that rewards group members for their contributions. I believe we are the only expat group in Ecuador that provides rewards based on your valuable contributions.
The biggest and most active Expat group in Quito is a quality resource. We got a lot of value from it when we lived in Quito. Quito is quite spread out and unless you go looking, it can feel like you don’t see an expat for weeks on end. This group can help you find them.
One of the largest expat groups in Manta, this group offers something for all living in or around the Manta area.
This group is more geared towards what’s going on in Manta. Setup by a co-owner of the Voyager Hotel, you’ll find yourself welcome here with a positive, fun vibe.
This newer group is mainly focused on organizing weekend activities for the young-at-heart. It can be a great way to meet others in what is becoming one of Ecuador’s fastest-growing expat hubs.
This page brings me a lot of joy and I’m not entirely sure why. I think it’s the intended seriousness of the photos clashing with some dated stereotypes that does it for me. In particular, some of the historical photos are pure gold.
This was intended to be a quick article. 7 hours later with many detours down various Facebook holes and it’s almost ready. But, that is why we love Facebook Groups right? Sometimes you don’t know exactly what you’re after until you see it.
There’s so much to explore in Ecuador. Hopefully, these groups will give you a head start for your rabbit-hole exploring. You may even find some helpful advice. Just be sure to verify it first before acting on a stranger’s good intentions to your detriment.