Ecuador Real Estate Offers Opportunity

by | Dec 4, 2006 | Archives

Ecuador Real Estate Offers Opportunity Through Golf Greens – Yet How Green Is Golf? This message looks at some wonderful Ecuador real estate and ways to profit from real estate in Ecuador . Yet it also looks at Ecuador ’s social and environmental problems that mankind faces with real estate everywhere. We’ll see how this huge real estate problem can also create huge Ecuador real estate profits as it helps the environment and real estate around the world.

Cotacachi Ecuador sits in Imbabura Ecuador, the Ecuador real estate Lakes province. There are so many lakes around the Ecuador real estate here. The Lakes of Piñan, are at an altitude 12,000 feet and are a home for monster trout. Another popular group are the Mojanda Lakes : Caricocha, Huamicocha, and Yanacocha. These lie at over 10,000 feet and are just south of our hotel. For rowing and sailing, travelers typically visit Lake San Pablo (2,500 m) just 15 minutes away. Located next to the village of the same name, San Pablo is surrounded by indigenous villages, rushes, green fields, and haciendas. These traditional homesteads/hotels offer entertainment, relaxation, and delicious cuisine.

Another popular lake is the crimson-colored Lake Yahuarcocha . According to local legend, this highland lake turned red after a bloody battle fought between the Caranquis and the Incas. Nowadays, it is more well-known for the racetrack that surrounds it, where national and international rallies are held. Plus this is home of the nine hole golf course at Rancho Tortorol Lodge our messages reviewed last week where you can golf (booking through our hotel) for $40 a week.

However golfing brings up a problem (and opportunity) I started thinking about after a reader replied to recent comments about owning golf course properties on Lake Yahuarcocha.

The reader wrote: Gary, Health and Green shouldn't be in the same paragraph with golf courses. Golf courses are one of the most intensively sprayed [ pesticides and herbicides ] places in the world. In particular, they use enormous amounts of the cancer causing Round-up… in fact, greenkeepers have the highest incidences of non-Hodgkins lymphona cancer caused by Round-up. For health purposes, live away from the chemical drift from golf courses and just visit them occasionally for relaxation. Kind regards, Charles

This is true and highlights a problem that goes way beyond golf courses. Social habits pollute our environment in so many ways. Nowadays there are so many people and the population is growing (the real problem). This means that every aspect of materialism leaves a large anti-environmental foot print on the world’s finite resources of water, air and land.

I am not a golfer nor would I ever want to live near a golf course. Yet I recognize that golf is probably here to stay. In many ways golf is good, relieving stress, providing exercise, relaxation, entertainment and such.

This weekend, Dr Joe Culbertson, visited us at our farm and one of the thoughts we discussed is how at times things that are deemed bad are actually good for some. Thus as bad as Roundup or whatever chemical is used is, the overall benefits of golf on some may be much more than any negative effects. So health and golf may still be attached.

There are many negative environmental issues to be sure, but look at other ways we pollute that may be even worse.

Coming onto the Christmas season we can’t really be aware of this environmental problem up here in the Blue Ridge. Ashe County is the largest grower of Christmas trees in the state of North Carolina (the second largest grower in the US only after Oregon).

Christmas trees provide a lot of good, the rosy glow, pine smell and all the joy and warmth of the holiday spirit. Yet environmentally they may be more of a disaster even than golf courses.

Christmas tree farms can use some really bad stuff. Simazine, Atrazine, and Lindane are among the chemicals that some growers use for weed suppression. These are so toxic that there is a shift to Roundup because it is much safer!

The triazines, herbicides such as Atrazine and Simazine, have been found in ground water and surface water in Western North Carolina and throughout the county. For more than 10 years, high-risk wells (those close to Christmas tree farms) and public water samples have been screened for the triazines and lindane in Western North Carolina.

In 351 well screenings conducted in Ashe County by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service some 10% of the wells were found to have traces of this really horrible poison. Safe amounts so the governments say. Hah!

Treating Christmas tree fields each spring, Hispanic farm workers soak their skin with Roundup and these other toxic weed killers linked to cancer. They handle some of the deadliest pesticides allowed by law, potentially risking their health to help Americans celebrate Christmas.

This is a practical challenge as I doubt that golf courses or Christmas trees are going to go away any time soon.

What can we do? The way to most of our social problems are through creating demand for an improved environmentally correct version!

Golf and Christmas trees are here to stay. If we accept that and the fact that they are both bad for the environment then it is safe to conclude that there is opportunity in more environmentally correct golf courses and trees.

Perhaps bringing improvements one small step at a time is a good way to start. Recognizing the problems such as this pollution and finding ways to change them, without disrupting what many in society deem good, is the first small step.

For example, we have been able to influence Barro Viejo and Clayton Black, two of the most respected builders in Ecuador. When they approached us for marketing ideas about their new joint venture housing project outside Cotacachi we were able to say…”Hey make this more environmentally sensitive and we think it will sell better”. They did and will add energy efficiency and a waste plant that will return irrigation effluent to the river that will be cleaner than when it arrived. See

If it’s true that people will continue to golf then I have a hook. As mentioned people can golf here in Ecuador for a green’s fees of $40…. a week. So golfers on a budget will like this. Perhaps if we attract enough golfers, we’ll have enough influence to convince the Lake Yahuarcocha golf course to start something green. How’s that sound…. Ecuador ’s first organic golf course. I like the sound of that!

Green International Investments

We took a small step with Jyske Bank. For years they had thought about creating a green portfolio. Yet the numbers did not add up. Finally, enough of our readers became clients there so along with Thomas Fischer’s help we were able to nudge them to start a green multi currency portfolio. Their hearts were in the right place and they would have eventually developed this idea. Our nudge may have just quickened the pace.

If this first Green Portfolio does well, perhaps the idea will grow. And perhaps if we can get a green organic golf course going that idea will spread as well. That would be two or three even bigger steps…good ones too.

On this subject, Jyske Bank has applied its VAMOS system to the green investment idea and came up with a Multi- Currency Portfolio created from loans in Japanese yen that are invested in six global businesses we believe can help meet some of the challenges of population growth. Learn more above VAMOS at

The six firms in this portfolio are:

Kurita Water Industries Ltd. A Japanese firm that manufactures sells and maintains water treatment, water waste purification and soil remediation systems, chemicals and equipment.

Hyflux Water. A Singapore company with patented water purification membranes specializing in China and the Middle East .

Seche. A French firm involved in environmental waste management.

Vestas Wind Systems. A Danish company that builds windmills for energy.

Q Cells AG. A German company that manufactures solar cells.

Novozymes. A Danish biotechnology company that develops, produces and sells enzymes for industrial use.

Since we are looking at lakes, let’s look at opportunity in water purification and the Singapore listed company, Hyflux, which provides water purification mainly in China and the Middle East.

This company has great potential because scientists say that 40% of humanity, living in South Asia and China , could run out of drinking water within 50 years because Himalayan glaciers, the region's main water source, are melting.

One CNN article shows pictures of how the glaciers have been shrinking since the 1800s and points out that these glaciers supply 303.6 million cubic feet every year to Asian rivers, including the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers in China , the Ganges in India , the Indus in Pakistan , the Brahmaputra in Bangladesh and Burma 's Irrawaddy .

A quote in the article says that if the current scenario continues, there will be very little water left in the Ganges and its tributaries.

The article says that a World Wide Fund report published in March said a quarter of the world's glaciers could disappear by 2050 and half by 2100.

The situation is critical because, unlike in other parts of the world, the glaciers are the main source for drinking water. About 67% of the nearly 12,124 square miles of Himalayan glaciers are shrinking. The Gangotri glacier, the source of the Ganges River , is contracting 75 feet a year. The Khumbu Glacier in Nepal has shrunk more than 3 miles since the 1950s.

Singapore has been a leader in water purification. Over the past decades, as Singapore built its vast network of water pipelines and treatment plants, it imported expertise and these skills are now being applied to overseas projects.

Buoyed by easy access to capital, a rapidly growing regional market and a Government eager to try out new technologies, Singapore is fast becoming a centre for excellence in the water industry.

Hyflux makes and sells proprietary water treatment membranes to municipalities and businesses and nearly doubled sales in 2006 and said that net profits from core operations rose as well.

In the first half of 2006, industrial sales more than doubled to $46.6 million, from $20.5 million for the same period last year, though municipal sales remained flat at $23 million. Industrial sales made up 66% of Hyflux's revenues. A strong pipeline of municipal and industrial projects from China also helped revenues.

China accounted for 70 per cent of sales. Singapore 's share also increased significantly, as the SingSpring desalination plant in Tuas turned fully operational. But revenues from the Middle East dropped from more than half to just 14% of Hyflux's revenues after it sold out of a Dubai joint venture in March. Staff costs, however, more than doubled as the group builds its human capital. If this investment in people pays as Hyflux develops new markets in India , the Middle East and Africa the company faces a bright future. The company says that it has the only proven technology in the world. Competitors they say have only proven their techniques in laboratories, but Hyflux has demonstrated theirs in actual plants. The first phase of a processing plant in Singapore is on track and Hyflux expects profits next year.

The shares of Hyflux started at 50 cents have risen as high as $4 in 2006 and have settled down in the $2.50 range at this time.

These shares make sense in that they represent an investment in water, in China and in the strong Singapore dollar.

Learn more about borrow Singapore dollars to invest in Hyflux or other Singapore water share sin tomorrow’s message.

Until then, may all you investments be green for the environment and in the bank!


P.S. With so many factors working in the economy and on the environment we need to learn how to invest beyond logic! Join Merri and me for Blaine Watson’s course on Vedic Astrology entitled “Inspired Investing Beyond Logic.” Merri and I will celebrate the New Year at El Meson. Join us. Look at real estate perhaps after and stay on for the “Inspired Investing Beyond Logic course”. For details go to

We are sprucing up El Meson de las Flores for you! We now have six totally renovated rooms. Here is the staff painting the inn’s exterior this week so your entrance will be more beautiful in 2007.