Building our house in Vilcabamba – Loja – Ecuador for $15,000 or less

Part 1

By Pierre Wauters

Our house
Our house in San Pedro de Vilcabamba – Loja – Ecuador

A few months ago I gave myself the challenge to build a house in Vilcabamba in the Loja province of Ecuador in the Uchima green real estate development for USD 15,000. Not just a tin shed or a glorified garage but a *real* house with running water, bathroom and kitchen, everything you’d expect.

I did this because I am the happy owner of some beautiful land along a pristine river not far from the village of Vilcabamba in the province of Loja in Ecuador. I am currently paying rent each month to live in a house, a very nice one that is, in the village and many times I asked myself “why am I not living on my own land for Christ sake?”  Finally this is about to become a reality, a few more months and we’ll be all set.

Why 15,000? Because that is what I could afford at this point in time and also because I believed intuitively that it was possible. Many expats build for much more particularly when they deal with other expats to do the work and/or when they try to transpose here what they had in the 1st world The locals on the other hand build for much less than that but they seem happy with a toilet outside flushed with a bucket, no hot water, few windows, a low ceiling, unpainted brick walls on which they stick religious posters, dirt floors etc… I am not criticizing by any mean but these places give me the creep.  I like my comfort. I wanted a house with windows, cold and hot water in kitchen and bathroom, lots of light inside, an open kitchen with ample bench space to chop vegetables, a cosy atmosphere, something that looks good and feels good, something finished without rebars sticking up above the roof.  Also I wanted to try and set an example of what can be done for a fixed price, because many would be buyers in the Uchima project ask me how much it would cost to build and how long it takes etc… There is nothing like a real project and a real home to show to answer these questions.

The building is not finished yet, so I don’t have all the answers yet. This article is part one of a series and I will keep posting as the work progresses.

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