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11 Things You Need to Know about Moving to Ecuador

By in Ecuador

If you are one of the many people who are considering moving to Ecuador as a possible retirement destination then you’ve probably already read up on Ecuador and wondered if all the things you’ve learned are true. Is it really as great as they say? Or as inexpensive?

And what about all the things you haven’t yet learned about Ecuador? Is there any scary information out there that you have yet to discover?

To help you out with your preparation, we’ve rounded up 11 things you need to know before moving to Ecuador. These should give you a good start to getting a better understanding of this popular expat haven.

Malcolm Surgenor

Malcolm Surgenor

1. You will miss your family.

If you come from a close-knit family and you move to Ecuador, you better believe you will miss your kin. Yes, you can go visit but let’s be realistic. With flights back to the U.S. costing thousands of dollars, taking biannual or even annual trips to the States can add up fast.

2. There are still significant expenses in Ecuador.

Yes, you can save money living in Ecuador, and there are some great Ecuador real estate deals. But take a hard look at the numbers when deciding what you can afford, and always plan for the unexpected. Also remember that prices may vary from location to location, so choosing the right spot is key to making your budget for paradise go even farther.

3. Prepare for culture shock.

Get ready to move out of your comfort zone, immerse yourself in an entirely new culture, a different language, and a different way of looking at life. If you can do this, adjusting to Ecuador will be easier.

We recommend trying it out first. Spend some extended time there before making a final decision. If you can’t do that, then do something else to get in the habit of being out of your comfort zone, anything you can do to “try on” a new adventure.

4. Visit once, and then visit again.

It is a good idea to visit before making the move to Ecuador. As much as possible, in fact. It may sound absurd to think someone would make such a leap without ever setting foot in Ecuador, but trust us. People do it all the time.

Even within the same country there are huge varieties of climate, culture, and lifestyles in Ecuador.  So make a trip down and travel around. Find a place you love and stay for a few weeks to get a feel for the way of life.

Knight 725

Knight 725

5. Take a hard look at your stuff.

Should it stay or should it go? This is a heavily debated question among would-be expats. The government will help you out a little, as import taxes can be waived on household goods or work equipment brought into the country by those moving to Ecuador. But is it worth all the other associated expenses and hassle?

This depends on your level of attachment to your personal items. The truth is that most things that can be bought in the U.S. are also available in Ecuador. Will they be of the same quality? Probably not. The answer to whether or not you’re okay with that will help you as you select which items to pack or toss.

6. Get your finances in order.

Start now getting your financial life in order online. No matter where you move in Ecuador, the chances are good that you will still have credit cards or bank accounts or other financial concerns back home. The more of these you can manage electronically, the better.

7. Decide whether you can live without peanut butter.

Any way you slice it Ecuador is going to be different from where you came from. That includes everything from what you can buy at the store to the level of services and amenities you can get. Some people never think of this…until they can’t find their favorite brand of peanut butter or other cherished item from back home.

Take some time to sit down and make a list of everything you use, right down to the brand of crackers you buy, the medicines you take, the favorite foods you eat. Then go back down the list and imagine your life if you couldn’t get each of those items.



8. Determine what Ecuador visa you need before you move.

No matter where you move in Ecuador, you will need a residence visa. Planning for your visa before the move to Ecuador might mean a much better visa experience once you get there. Need help determining which visa is right? There are many resources that can help you determine exactly which one is best for you.

9. Yes, brush up on your Spanish.

It is a good idea to learn at least some Spanish before moving to Ecuador. You can get by with just speaking English, but what happens when you are in an emergency situation and cannot communicate? There will definitely be situations where knowing at least a little bit of Spanish could make a big difference.

Another fact you may not have considered is that learning Spanish will increase your self-esteem and help you better assimilate to the new culture when moving to Ecuador. Learning to communicate in Spanish might help you avoid feeling like an outsider in your new environment.

10. Fido and Fluffy can be expats too.

If you are taking your pets when you move to Ecuador, do yourself a favor and learn what will be required for them. They can only enter the country if they’ve received their appropriately timed vaccines, and you’ll need a health certificate signed by your pet’s veterinarian. It’s not exactly a piece of cake to bring your pet to a foreign country, but if you do your homework you’ll find it can be done.

11. Double-check, and then check again.

When preparing to make the move to Ecuador, double-check everything on your list. And then do it again. You’ll undoubtedly be running a bit ragged right before the move to Ecuador. But taking the time to proactively ensure things like your paperwork and finances are in order can save you a lot of headache on the back end.

These 11 tips may not apply to everyone who wants to move to Ecuador. But they’re a great start for anyone who’s considering such an important step. By thoroughly researching and carefully planning, you can take a lot of guesswork out of the process and head more confidently into the exciting new life that awaits you!

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