Las Palmas Hires Strategic Marketing Staffer

This media release was distributed today by Gary & April Scarborough, owners/developers of Las Palmas, Ecuador. Feel free to contact me for more information.

Las Palmas Ecuador

LAS PALMAS ADDS STRATEGIC MARKETING STAFFER

FOR RELEASE: October 8, 2012

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Gary Scarborough – gary@laspalmasecuador.com

PUERTO CAYO, MANABI, ECUADOR – Las Palmas developers Gary and April Scarborough formalized their targeted efforts to grow and expand Monday with the announcement of Steve Watkins as their new director of Marketing and Brand Development.

Watkins, 46, is a long-time communication and marketing veteran who specializes in brand development and new-media initiatives.

As a part of the Las Palmas team, Watkins will be responsible for brand development and consistency, social media and web management and all advertising initiatives in a campaign promoting the 38-lot Puerto Cayan community.

Gary said the decision to create a formalized structure for Las Palmas promotions is a strategic effort he expects to pay immediate returns. The timing is right to put the development before a global audience of interested expatriates, he said.

“April and I…

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New House Pics from Puerto Cayo

It’s been a while since we’ve received photo updates on our home in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador, so we were thrilled to get a few last night.

Fifty-seven days and counting…

Puerto Cayo, Ecuador

View of the facade from the southwest. Love the balcony.

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home of steve and dana watkins puerto cayo ecuador

Facade view from the northwest.

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home of steve and dana watkins, puerto cayo ecuador

View from the 3rd-floor rooftop looking southwest.

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ecuadorguidedtours.com

The back of the house and view from la Ruta del Sol.

A story about new friends and neighbors from Washington.

Las Palmas Ecuador

By Steve Watkins

steve@ecuadorguidedtours.com

It was pure happenstance nearly a year ago when Linda Beltz walked into a co-worker’s office to hear him telling a small group of colleagues about his recent adventures in Ecuador.

The enthusiasm he shared for what he’d experienced captivated the small group and they hung on every word as he shared as he shared his findings in a tale of adventure and exploration.

An abundance of beautiful and reasonably priced properties, low cost of living, a perfect climate and an emerging transportation and communication infrastructure were just a few of the things he’d found as facts about life along the Pacific coast.

As a result of it all, Linda’s colleague was now seriously contemplating the previously unthought dream of an expatriate life in Ecuador, and he encouraged his friends to check it out for themselves.

As much as she wanted to dismiss the contagious…

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House Hunters International – Behind the Scenes in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador

Expatriate living in ecuador

After 15 hours of travel, Dana and I reached our destination of Puerto Cayo, Ecuador, where we met Gary and April Scarborough. The moment we saw it, we knew it was a special place.

(Blogger’s Note: Dana and I met Gary and April Scarborough during a whimsical trip to Puerto Cayo, Ecuador earlier this year. We took on both a friendly and business relationship when Gary agreed to manage the construction of a home we’re building there now. In less than three weeks, the Scarboroughs will make headlines as their own expatriate adventure is featured on House Hunters International, Tuesday, October 23 at 10:30 p.m. EST. This is a behind-the-scenes look at their HHI experience, and the official link to the upcoming episode can be previewed here.)

Puerto Cayo Ecuador

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When an outfit like House Hunters International rolls into a small Ecuadorian fishing village, well, it’s safe enough to say it causes heads to turn.

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Over the last five years, the Scarborough family has made some critical life decisions, that in retrospect, couldn’t have been timed any better.

las palmas puerto cayo ecuador

Gary and April Scarborough will be featured on House Hunters International on October 23 at 10:30 p.m. EST.

Natives of suburban Atlanta, the Scarboroughs ran a thriving construction business that allowed Gary to pursue a special talent for home construction and design. But some time around 2008 the warning signs of a failing U.S. economy caused them to think through the potential ramifications on their business and how to make the most of their present and future circumstances.

“The possibilities and adventures of pursuing an expatriate lifestyle were something we’d always thought about,” Gary told me back in April. “We were fortunate to cash out everything we had just ahead of the recession. Just like anyone who seriously considers a move outside the states, we were anxious about the future, but excited about the possibilities of moving to a beautiful country that we thought had so much potential.”

Just a few months later, the Scarboroughs made the bold move to Cuenca, Ecuador and began exploring opportunities where Gary could practice his craft on foreign soil.

“As excited as we were, I remember the reality of packing our things up just before the move. We’re really going to do this, I thought, and it was a bag of mixed emotions.”

The Scarboroughs spent two years in the cosmopolitan city of Cuenca, located in the southern inland highlands of Ecuador. Cuenca had all the amenities allowing for a comfortable life – modern shops and malls, movie theaters, a solid communication and transportation infrastructure, not to mention, a delightful climate.

But Gary and April eventually found they made little use of the same comforts they were afforded back in Atlanta, and had a desire to become even more immersed in the lifestyle of the local culture.

“We almost never took advantage of the movie theaters, and there were just so many things we didn’t do,” April said. And so they began a new exploration that would lead them to the Ecuadorian Pacific coast and its miles of quaint fishing villages and uninhabited beach.

Las palmas ecuador

The facade of the Scarborough’s beachside home in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador featured on an upcoming episode of House Hunters International.

After weeks of exploring the southern and northern coast, they came upon Puerto Cayo, a village of about 3,000, where new roads, utilities and other improvements were just under way, and Gary immediately recognized a unique opportunity to use his gifts to create something special.

Fast Forward Two Years

The Scarboroughs have now become Puerto Cayo’s most prominent expatriate pioneers. For all practical purposes, they’ve discovered the New West – a beautiful and tranquil coastal locale that others are also now beginning to find.

Las Palmas in Ecuador

After two years of work to modernize and refurbish Los Suenos Del Mar, Puerto Cayo’s most beautiful resort hotel, the Scarboroughs have now moved on to the expatriate living puerto cayo ecuadordevelopment of a new coastal community called Las Palmas – a 38-lot beachside community on one of the most pristine sites of the South Pacific. Las Palmas is just a short trip from the famed Galapagos Islands.

On an almost-daily basis, Gary and April now work with clients from around the globe who are pursuing the very same dreams they envisioned five years ago.

House Hunters Comes Knocking

In January of this year, with a new project that consumed nearly every minute of every day, Gary got a surprise email from the producers of one of HGTV’s most popular feature shows.

The Scarborough’s work somehow popped on the radar screen of House Hunters International, and producers inquired as to the Scarborough’s interest in sharing their expatriate adventure with a world audience.

las palmas ecuador

A spectacular view of the coastal Ecuadorian cliffs from the bedroom balcony of the Scarborough’s home.

“At first we were excited and ready for the adventure of making a TV show.  But
then we became a little anxious. It was just stage fright, I guess. We always enjoy being around other people and getting to know new friends, and that’s a very big part of our business, but this was taking things to a whole new level,” Gary said.

“We actually thought about not accepting the offer. After a few days of watching as many HHI episodes as we could get our hands on we finally decided it would be a fun experience and that we would have something to talk about for years to come. After completing all of the forms and paperwork, we went through about three different interviews and evaluations. By the end of April , we knew June 1st would be our beginning film date.”

Back and forth from Puerto Cayo to Cuenca, the HHI filming totaled three days, each day packed with dozens of tapings and location setups. It didn’t come without its challenges.

“As anyone who’s been there knows, coastal Ecuador is a unique place with a unique culture. Our director was a little overwhelmed by the difficulties that Ecuador can throw at you.ecuador on equator

“We were all mic-ed up by 8:30 each morning, and we filmed four hours straight. Each entrance into a new room was shot multiple times to ensure the editors
had plenty to work with.  After a one-hour lunch we were back filming until 6:30
each day.

“Living in a small town like Puerto Cayo, we stood out quite a bit. Being followed around by a camera crew, being filmed eating lunch and dinner, we felt like celebrities – tired celebrities to say the least.”

Gary,  April, and their children, Peyton and Carson, said they were fascinated by the process of being involved in a hit television show, and learned a lot about acting and taking directions from producers and camera crews.After filming the details of their beach-side home purchase in Puerto Cayo, family and crew headed south to “back shoot” the beginning of the story in Cuenca.

“In Cuenca, we shot a one-day reel of our ” back-story” where we lived before moving to Puerto Cayo, and some of the things we enjoyed doing when we lived there.  We went to the central park, visited the flower market and did some shopping. The final shoot was an evening at the home of a wonderful family we befriended in Cuenca. We are so blessed to have the Salazar family as dear friends. We enjoyed  coffee and desserts while laughing and playing games. This truly was one of the highlights of the entire filming.”

The Scarboroughs said they don’t regret one minute of the time they took out of their schedules to work with HHI. It’s a memory they’ll treasure always, they said.

Carson (left) and Peyton Scarborough

“We hope this shows the beauty of Puerto Cayo to as many people as possible,” Gary said. “It truly is one of the most beautiful, undiscovered places in the world. We also hope everyone who watches this episode, and has ever had the most remote of thoughts to explore an expatriate lifestyle in the natural beauty of Latin America will consider the Ecuadorian coast. It’s a wonderful community that keeps getting better and better with time.”

(For more information about Puerto Cayo, Ecuador and the Las Palmas community, or to be in touch with the Scarborough family, visit this link for contact information.)

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The Difference in a Year

“Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.” ~ Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding from Shawshank Redemption

A year does make a difference.

These are some things that are different now, than from this time a year ago.

  • Just as the calendar year rolled around, it became obvious my dad’s illness was considerably more serious than any of us knew. A few weeks later, he died in a hospice bed. I’m the only son of an only son. When your dad goes missing from  your life, things change. You inherit new responsibilities. You wrestle with your own mortality. A few days ago, I found myself in one of his favorite stores, and for a fleeting moment, thought about what I’d get him for Christmas. Then I remembered he was gone. Every so often, I cry, but mostly, I think about the pure joy he now experiences, shake my head in wonderment and smile.
expatriates in ecuador

Dana and me with our newfound friends Caesar and Maggie. Caesar is a Peruvian lawyer and French-trained chef. I’ll never forget our first visit when Caesar said, “I am a citizen of the world.”

  • I’ve gained a greater appreciation for diversity. My years as a kid were spent growing up in a small, rural-American community. We were all white, low-to-middle-income products of the Mississippi delta. In an age absent of smart phones and iTunes, I passed the time reading encyclopedias, subscribed to National Geographic for Kids and corresponded with a pen pal in Venezuela. Today, I’m amazed by our divisiveness, and I find myself purposefully reaching out across racial and cultural lines. Those times are the most rewarding of experiences.
  • My view of what it means to be a Christian has radically changed. At 19, I decided “going to church” needed to be a part of my life, that it would make me a better person, and basically, that it would be a ticket to eternity. The endless three-point sermons through which I sat spoke much more to my performance than they did to my acceptance. The result was my focus on an endless string of failures and the notion that I never quite measured up. It produced guilt, shame, and an overall sense of failure. It took getting angry with “religion” to finally understand the God in whom I believe made the ultimate sacrifice because He knew I’d never meet the standards of the law. The freedom to fail, and knowing that God won’t ask for my resume has changed all I ever believed about the church.
  • I got my best friend back. From the time we were in the seventh grade, Brady Cornish and I were best friends. Together, we rode the country roads, played a lot of golf, and got into a lot of mischief. We became as close as brothers. In
    best friends and relationships

    Brady and I posing for a quick snapshot just before a match last weekend in Mountain View, Arkansas.

    1988, I allowed my own life circumstances to get in the way of our friendship, and even though we lived only 30 miles apart we went 22 years without as much as a phone call. The loss of the relationship was my fault, not his. But a day never passed when I didn’t think of him. In January, I needed my best friend, drove to his house in shame, and did my best to ask his forgiveness. He embraced me as if a day had never passed. Today, life is fuller and days are more complete because our friendship is stronger than ever. I’m blessed beyond measure by Brady’s trusted friendship, and have no shame in acknowledging just how much I love this great man.

  • I’m playing golf again. In our early years, Brady and I played golf every weekend. When our friendship was lost, golf was lost with it. It’s a minor thing in the grand scheme, but the time we now spend together on the links are among the best of times. After so many years, the slices are more frequent and the drives aren’t as long, but we’re working on our games together and making progress. Golfing days are good days.
  • Once again, writing is a big part of my life. Producing words from a keyboard is the place where I’ve always been most myself. I was a newspaper reporter for 10 years, a press secretary to a member of Congress for four years and operated a publishing business for a time, then let it all go. It was a huge void. Now I’m blogging regularly, working on two books, and with a little luck will publish my first work on Amazon this coming Black Friday.
expatriates in ecuador

This is a photo of our home under construction in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador. From where it sits, we can see miles of beach and south Pacific sunsets every night.

  • If you’d told me this time a year ago, that I’d be building a house in South America, I’d have laughed out loud. Last April, Dana and I took a whimsical trip to Ecuador. The first night I saw the sunset on the South Pacific I thought of my dad and just how short life is. What the heck? We bought a piece of land on the beach, started construction in June and will go back to our finished la pequena casa azul en la colina on December 21. We’re excited about what it all means.
  • And so I’ve become semi-fluent in Spanish. Dana and I want to immerse ourselves in the Ecuadorian culture. Those six hours of college spanish were 25 years ago. Rosetta Stone‘s getting me there, but there’s a long way to go.
  • I feel as though I have friends around the world now. Blogging on wordpress has allowed some wonderful new friendships and really closes the distance between like-minded writers and entrepreneurs. It’s so much fun to receive a compliment from someone thousands of miles away, and to return the favor almost every day.
  • More than ever, I believe in second chances. All those guilt-ridden failures a few hundred words back still carry their consequences, but they overwhelm me no more. Everyone wants to leave a legacy. I’m thankful to be on a journey where I know mine will be found.

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