Living in Cuenca, Ecuador

by James
(Cuenca, Ecuador)

Retired from the fire service last year and moved to Ecuador with my family, currently living in Cuenca. I'm very interested in getting started in gold panning, metal detecting, ect. There are four rivers that run thru Cuenca that come from Las Cajas National Park just 1 hr. up the road from town. Any advice for the beginner?

Stan's response: Hi James, Gold is where you find it, so learning how to use a gold pan is your first step. Then start prospecting and see what you find.

You might consider purchasing my guide called Gold Secrets of Ecuador. It reveals gold bearing rivers all over the country. You can find a copy of the guide in my other web site:

One good place for you to start your search is on the Santa Barbara River that runs through Gualaeco and SigSig. That's pretty close to home from you. This area has a huge history of gold production.

Comments for Living in Cuenca, Ecuador

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Nov 09, 2014
Where to by gold bullion in Quito
by: Dan

I wish to purchase some 20k of gold and 20k of silver and store it in a safety deposit box in Quito as insurance against inflation, and all the QE, aka money printing.

However for the life of me I can not find any leads on the internet for a place to buy gold and silver, or sell for that matter, in Quito Ecuador.

Does anyone know of a reputable bullion dealing in Quito?

Thank you,

Apr 05, 2014
Selling Placer Gold in Ecuador
by: writerone

ok, so after we find our large stash of gold who and how dose sell it so we can live off the proceeds of our sweat.

Stan's response: You can sell alluvial gold in Ecuador to any one of hundreds of gold buyers. There are gold buyers in all of the larger cities and many of the small towns near where gold is regularly produced. Many gold buyers hang signs in their store windows that say, "Compro Oro".

I had a specific buyer in Quito who always gave me a very good price, no matter what form my gold was in. I also have a favorite buyer in Yansatza who pays nearly spot price on alluvial gold. Yansatza is a major gold buying center where millions of dollars are transacted in cash each month.

Nov 09, 2012
Gold Exploration
by: Anonymous

Hi Stan, we are looking to do some serious exploration to find a couple of placer claims. I have purchased the Gold secrets PDF already. I see that you had another PDF that includes maps and some more detailed areas. My question to you is that are the maps still relevent. Thanks, John

Stan's response: Hi John, Yes, the maps are still relevant. They will all be relevant for at least another 1,000 years.

Jun 27, 2012
Metal Detecting Beaches around Salinas, Ecuador
by: Jack


You have probably noticed I have posts under various categories on Stan's forum. I lived just outside Salinas for awhile, and did some metal detecting on several beaches in that area. I loaned detectors to a couple of friends one night, and we covered a good portion of the beach at Chipipe ( I think I spelled that right). I chose to detect at night to avoid the crowds. In a couple hours we found hundreds of beer bottle caps, and around $10 in modern coins.

There were powerful lights lighting up the beach, which helped. There were a small group of teenagers who watched us from a distance, and two police officers who walked by a few times, just being curious. No one bothered us at all. That beach is in front of large, expensive high rise condos, and I am fairly certain diligent searching could result in high quality jewelry being found in the deep, soft sand.

The beach along the Malecon in Salinas should hide some good stuff too. Just be ready to help clean up the beach by removing hundreds of bottle caps.

I also detected along part of the Bravo coastline
and only found a couple of dollars in modern coin.

There I let a small group of young kids dig for me, and gave them the coins. We all had fun.

The only time I might suggest caution, is if you are detecting beaches alone and remote. I have done so with no problems, but I had a red handled machete sticking up out of my day pack, and had my full grown Labrador Retriever, Riley with me. No one even came close to us, though a truck full of men went by slow giving us the once over.

I have traveled out of the places in a dozen countries, many times alone, and have never had a problem. Look and act like a victim, and you may become one. Look and act friendly and confident, healthy, and ready, and you can go pretty much anywhere. At least, that has been my own personal experience.

Good luck, have fun, and let us know what you find.

Jun 27, 2012
Metal Detecting in Salinas, Ecuador
by: James Drummondo

Hola Jesse, I would very much like to join you for a day or two in Salinas. I also have never seen anyone detecting on the beach but don't see a problem with it. I operate a transportation & tour co. here in Cuenca and we do fishing excursions in Salinas. Maybe we could give you a lift from Guayaquil. We also do private transportation. Give me a mail. &

Jun 23, 2012
Salinas Beach Metal Detecting in Ecuador
by: Jesse

Hi my wife and I will be in Salinas this Oct for about 10 days to look around and possibly move there middle of next yr.

I was thinking about doing some beach metal detecting with a Garrett Sea Shark working both the beach and 4-5 ft in the water. I have been talking back and forth with a lady named Connie that lives in Salinas and she said she has never seen anyone using a metal detector on the beach.

Are there any laws/regulations against it. Thanks in advance Jesse

Stan's response: Hey Jesse, Metal detectors are still very rare in Ecuador. In 25 years of detecting all over the place, I've never had a problem.

The only minor problem to watch out for is intense curiosity from the public. You may quickly gather a crowd of curious bystanders. I go to a great extent to avoid this.

Mar 24, 2012
Bringing my Gold Pan to Ecuador
by: Buster

I'm planning on coming there before the end of this year and I am bringing my gold pan and a folding sluice box. Anyone interested in getting together and doing some gold prospecting with me? It would be a lot of fun. I have been gold prospecting for a few years and if it is there, I can find it.

Jan 16, 2012
Brands of Gold Metal Detectors for Cuenca, Ecuador
by: James

I am living in Cuenca, Ecuador and would like to start searching for gold. I have never done anything beyond beginner's panning. I am planning on buying a gold detector in the States. I'm in need of some seasoned advice on which model to purchase. I would like a good quality detector in the range of $500. Any suggestions?

Stan's response: First off James, $500 is a very low budget for a high-quality gold detector to find gold nuggets in Ecuador. To make your money stretch, I would recommend looking at Kellyco's web site:

They have treated me right with gold detectors for 25 years and also have great, wholesale prices! Next, I suggest my e-book about how and where to find gold in Ecuador:

If you are armed with these 2 resources, you are very likely to find gold nuggets in Ecuador!

Please let me know if you have any questions... Stan

Jan 16, 2012
Gold Prospecting Around Cuenca, Ecuador
by: Anonymous

Any gold prospecting around Cuenca. Willing to invest in equipment. Thanks, Cesar

Stan's response: Hi Cesar, the Santa Barbara River is loaded with gold. It has been continuously being mined for at least 450 years. I was just there yesterday, near Gualeceo, and saw at least 10 different gold dredges at work. You should prospect your way upstream and discover where the gold is coming from!

Oct 25, 2011
Metal Detecting in Ecuador
by: Mary

Thanks for your responses, now I need to buy the metal detector. I don't want to spend a fortune since this will only be a hobby and another reason to spend a lot of time on the beaches.

I was considering the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV and, wow, there sure are a lot of different digging tools and sifters to choose from. I will welcome any and all suggestions.

Thanks Again.

Oct 25, 2011
Metal Detecting in Ecuadorian Gold Bearing Alluvium
by: Sterling

I would like to start gold nugget shooting outside of Cuenca, Ecuador using a metal detector. I would also be interested in gold prospecting and gold panning in general. Does anyone want to join me that has equipment?

Jul 05, 2011
metal detecting Ecuador on beaches
by: Jack

Hello Mary,

I have lived in Ecuador for a year and a half. I have used my metal detectors on beaches from Bahia to south of Salinas. I have never had a problem. Stan is right in saying people are curious, and sometimes want to watch. I once had a small group of young kids follow me. They wanted to help dig, and I let them. I gave them all the coins I found. They were happy, and I did not have to do any digging. If I were in an area where I felt I had a good chance of finding a Spanish gold coin or silver piece of eight, I might be a little more discrete. I have a Labrador retriever, and when I take him with me, people keep their distance. I hope you have fun, and I wish you luck.

Jul 04, 2011
Using Metal Detectors on Ecuadorian Beaches
by: Mary

Hi All, I am moving to the coast of Ecuador in November 2011. I was going to bring a metal detector with me but wanted to know if there are any laws forbidding the use of them on the beach. There's a lot of beaches here in the States that you're not allowed to use them.

Thanks, future Ecuadorian beach bumette,

Stan's response: I have had Ecuadorian police officers watch me metal detect on the beaches here several times. One of them even offered to dig my targets for me out of curiosity. The only real problem that I have had is that metal detectors are still so rare in Ecuador, crowds often accumulate to watch. When this happens, I pack up and move a few miles down the beach to where nobody is around.

May 10, 2011
Currently Living in Crucita, Ecuador
by: Bruce

Hello, my name is Bruce. I am 34. I have lived in Crucita for the past 10 months. My wife and 2 children have adapted well here. However, I have found myself with very few things to occupy my time. I have dreamt of prospecting for gold since I was a little boy. I recently ordered Stan's "How and Were to find gold in Ecuador". It has resparked a longing desire for some adventure. I have no experience in gold prospecting, and would like some advice on embarking in this new field. I would like to purchase some equipment such as metal detector, pans, and what ever else I may need to improve my chances of success. Stan, if you would like an apprentice, i would like to aply for the job.

If anyone has equipment for sale please contact me

Stan's response: Good to hear from you Bruce. Most prospecting and treasure hunting equipment is a bit difficult to come by in Ecuador. Everyone I know who has some gear, has brought it in from outside the country. However, sometimes people living here are willing to sell some of their used equipment. Let's see if someone responds to that request. Meanwhile, if you are ever in Quito, it would be great to have a chat. Always feel free to ask any specific questions here in our Forum. We have several knowledgeable people around who live in Ecuador and are willing to share their experience.

Mar 01, 2011
Living In Ecuador
by: Joe

My name is Joe, I live in Cuenca. I am retired with nothing to do. I have been researching upper-end metal detectors. Does anybody want to talk here? Let me know.

Jan 25, 2011
Price of Gold in Cuenca
by: Lobito

Hello, by any chance would anyone know what's the average price to buy gold in the streets of Cuenca or any other city of Ecuador per gram or ounce and karat. Thank you.

Jan 20, 2011
Gold in Ecuador
by: Greg

I will be moving to Ecuador in July of 2011. I am a retired fireman and will be working there teaching English. I would love to do some gold mining and have many questions, where to go, are dredges and highbankers available there, what are the legal issues, are there any dangers involved and can I hire someone to get me started.

Stan's response: Overall, things are pretty calm and tranquil here in Ecuador. You can move about the country while gold prospecting with relative freedom. There are really no new dredges or highbankers available for sale anywhere. You either have to buy some rare, used equipment of import it from outside the country.

You can file a government concession if you discover a good gold deposit. You can hire people to help you but you need to be very careful about who you can trust. You should definitely speak Spanish before ever even arriving in the country.

I look forward to meeting you!

Jan 17, 2011
Hello Jack
by: Ian

Hello Jack, Thank you for your reply to my message for a metal detector. I am new to detecting. I am planning to spend a year in South America and I am keen to prospect for gold and also lost jewelry and coins on tourist beaches.

I am currently staying close to Manta. I am keen to purchase a detector as soon as possible. Please, could you or anybody else wishing to sell their detector to me within Ecuador e-mail me the model for sale, location and price?
Kind regards, looking forward to your reply, Ian

Jan 08, 2011
Metal Detector in Ecuador
by: Jack

What type of detector are you looking for? What type of detecting are you planning on doing? I have quite a few detectors here in Ecuador. I might be tempted into selling one of them.

Let me know,

Jan 05, 2011
Sell Me Your Metal Detector within Ecuador Please
by: Anonymous

Hi. I would like to purchase a metal detector within Ecuador. Any sellers contact me ASAP.

Kind Regards, Ian

Dec 15, 2010
Bringing Metal Detectors into Ecuador
by: Jack

Carlos, Hello, I have brought 7 metal detectors into Ecuador with no problems. I do not think you would have a problem bringing a sluice as well. You can have small sluices made for you here. Show a photo to any metal working shop, and get a price quote. A friend had a small one built here for $60. There are no prospecting equipment. rentals here.

I still have my home in Salinas, but I am currently managing a claim for an investor in Southern Ecuador. Part of the El Dorado Alluvial Gold Mining Project. You may have read about it on one of Stan's other forums.

There are miles of beaches that have never had a metal detector on them, so when in the Olon area take one with you.

If you have any questions, fire away.
Take care, Jack

Dec 15, 2010
Jack in Salinas
by: Carlos


I am planning to spend some time near Olon and Cuenca. Any problems importing metal detectors and small sluice box? Is there a source for rentals? Should I worry about rules and regulations?


Sep 08, 2010
Gold in Ecuador
by: Jack


I am sorry I have not gotten back to you sooner. I have had guests visiting this summer. Did you purchase a metal detector? Have you had a chance to go prospecting yet? Let me know.


Jun 27, 2010
I'll Help You to Learn Gold Prospecting
by: Bill Lanphar

I was just in Cuenca and my wife and I loved it. I have a lot of background in finding gold and need to start doing something to make some money. I would be more than happy to show you how to find gold in rivers or near them with a dredge.

I'm going to buy Stan's book so I can learn some more areas need to do some research. I have some very good areas in the jungle but would rather work on higher ground. Jungles are not my cup of tea.

Jun 13, 2010
Jack in Salinas
by: james

Hi Jack, Thanks for the offer, I would like to take you up on that. Sometime in early or mid July work for you? Just so you know, I've never done this before but I'm up for the adventure and would really appreciate some seasoned training. I'll be purchasing a metal/gold detector in August on a return visit to the States. Do you have any suggestions on models for the beginner?

Jun 12, 2010
Finding Gold
by: Jack


I am an expat living in Salinas on the coast.
I have metal detectors, pans, and basic prospecting gear. If you are interested in someone joining you, i would be interested. Let me know through this forum. Stan knows me, and I believe he would vouch for me. Let me know.

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