Looking for a Change? 8 Reasons to Consider Living in Ecuador
Are you looking for a change? One that involves a healthier lifestyle, a more well-rounded cultural experience, and a fatter wallet?
If so, look no further than Ecuador.
With its beautiful surroundings, ever-improving infrastructure, and near-perfect weather, more and more would-be expats are ending their search by finding themselves living in Ecuador. It’s a great place for investors, young families, retirees, and just about anyone else we can think of.
Here are a few of the reasons that those looking for a better life often find it living in Ecuador.
1. Ecuador is consistently ranked one of the best places to retire abroad.
Each year International Living ranks destinations based on factors like climate, cost of living, and friendliness of the locals in its Annual Global Retirement Index. Ecuador has been performing well in most categories in recent years.
In fact, in 2014, it came in a close second (with a score of 91.2 to 91.1) to Panama as the #2 overall destination. The survey results cite a number of reasons that living in Ecuador in retirement is such a great choice, many of which appear later in this list. Two big ones were its affordability and its variety of lifestyle options.
It’s also an easy place to do business. Processes like buying property, investing in business, and getting a visa are all relatively simple in Ecuador.
2. Its various micro-climates offer a little something for everyone.
Not only is it blessed with immense natural beauty, Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It boasts close to 50 different ecosystems, in a country that’s roughly the size of Nevada.
Overall, most of the country enjoys spring-like weather year round (with merely a wet and dry season), due to its location along the equator. As in most Central American countries, adjusting the temperature or humidity while living in Ecuador is just a matter of moving up or down the mountain as both generally decrease as you ascend.
The Pacific Coast offers an array of picturesque beaches. There are also two chains of the Andes Mountains, which offer relief from the heat and a number of historic colonial cities.
There’s also the tropical and humid Amazon Rainforest which is largely unexplored, save a recent spike in adventure travel. And don’t forget about the breezy Galapagos Islands, a popular attraction among tourists and scientists for decades.
3. Your U.S. dollars stretch a lot further living in Ecuador.
One of the most appealing characteristics about Ecuador is its low cost of living. With the exception of some harder-to-find consumer goods, most everything is considerably cheaper than in North America. Also, we mentioned U.S. dollars, because that’s the currency the country uses, since 2000.
You can find a furnished property to rent for as little as $500 per month. Fresh fruits and veggies for the week (enough to feed two) are fresh, readily available, and will only set you back about $15-$20 per week. Fuel in Ecuador is subsidized and hovers right around $1.50 per gallon.
While real estate prices have been steadily climbing in recent years, it’s still extremely affordable compared to North American prices (although costs can vary greatly from one city to the next). You can also splurge on the services of a maid or domestic helper, which will run you about $10-$15 per day.
All in all, most couples find it possible to lead a satisfying lifestyle living in Ecuador on less than $1500 per month.
4. The country’s conditions are conducive to a healthy lifestyle.
The population of Ecuador is one of the healthiest in the region, particularly in cities like Vilcabamba, which is known as the “Valley of Longevity” as its residents reportedly live longer than in any other place on earth.
Much of their well-being is attributed to the clean air and clean water. There’s little pollution, and the rivers that flow down the mountains are fed by the overflow of glacial pools high in the mountains that are rich in minerals and nutrients.
This pure, healthy water nourishes the fruits and vegetables, most of which grow year-round due to the conducive weather conditions. There’s an abundance of organic oranges, bananas, avocados, almonds, papayas, and more.
Due to the fresh produce, as well as the topographical barriers that make importing unhealthy packaged foods rather difficult, most Ecuadorians eat very healthy diets. They’re also quite active, tending gardens on the slopes of the mountains and using their own two legs as their primary mode of transportation.
5. Ecuador is rich with culture of every kind.
Whether you’re looking for the arts and music offerings of a first-world country or the authentic cultural charm of a developing one, Ecuador is happy to oblige. It’s home to 13 indigenous populations, many of whom still adhere closely to their native traditions.
You can find groups of natives who still speak their own language and wear their native dress. Yet at the same time, Ecuador’s larger cities offer many of the luxurious amenities you’d expect from the most highly developed destinations.
Cities like Cuenca, Guayaquil, and Quito have the usual list of cultural happenings, such as symphonies, art exhibits, festivals, and museums. Cuenca and Quito are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which makes for the perfect blend of historic and modern culture.
The people of Ecuador are friendly and welcoming. They’re very receptive to foreigners and, as a result, Ecuador is home to people from all over the globe who’ve embraced the country as a fantastic place for enjoying a rich multi-cultural experience.
6. It’s well-connected, both physically and technologically.
Another thing that makes living in Ecuador so convenient is its easy access. It has two international airports, Quito and Guayaquil, and direct flights from the U.S. are less than four hours long.
You can fly straight to Quito from Miami, Houston, and New York, as well as from nearby Panama City, Panama, and Bogota, Colombia. Once in the country, local transportation is also widely available, reliable, and inexpensive.
The country also has a high rate of internet connectivity. Cell phones have relatively good reception, and there are internet cafes throughout most decent size cities. Many homes have high-speed internet, and the government is actively working to increase this percentage.
7. Ecuador offers excellent healthcare.
While you might have to sacrifice a few first-world conveniences when making the transition to living in Ecuador, quality health care isn’t one of them. Quite the contrary.
In most of Ecuador’s larger cities you’ll find world-class medical facilities with the latest technology. Many doctors speak English, and a large number of them trained in the U.S. They spend more one-on-one time with patients, often offering their personal cell phone numbers or calling patients at home to check on their progress.
Despite the impressive quality of the medical care in Ecuador, the prices are only a fraction of what you’d pay for the same services in North America. As a result, it’s become a popular destination for medical tourism.
Patients travel to Ecuador to receive services such as plastic surgery, dental procedures, orthopedics, and more. The country is also well known for its alternative medicine and natural healing options.
8. Ecuador is a great place to pursue the American (or any other) Dream.
Many North Americans these days would agree that the American Dream is broken. It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to realize success and have the things you want for your family, while still having enough spare time and money to enjoy them.
The reality is, though, that all of the things associated with that ideal quality of life we dream about are available in much greater abundance in Ecuador. It’s the South American Dream, if you will.
Living in Ecuador you can spend more time doing what you love (in some fantastic surroundings, we might add) and less time doing the bland, tedious, hurried things you wish you never had to do again.
That’s not to say you can’t pursue your passions and live the life you’ve always envisioned in North America. You can. It’s just that the ability to do so is now financially out of reach for most of its residents.
Who wants to expend every last drop of their time, energy, and money just to pay the bills and stay afloat in a merely nice suburb when you can work less, experience more, and enjoy the unsurpassed beauty of a place like Ecuador?
Give Living in Ecuador Some Thought
These and other reasons are why so many families are realizing their version of the American Dream, just a little further south of the border. Ecuador is a great place to live immersed in authentic culture, without giving up any of the modern conveniences you crave, and with still enough left over to explore everything else the region has to offer.
There’s a reason Ecuador continues to top the charts of best places to retire or even visit abroad. And it’s been further validated by the thousands of expats who now call it home. Living in Ecuador is more than just a bargain retirement. It’s a value proposition that’s definitely worth considering.