Escape To Ecuador

Escape To Ecuador

“I went from pill-popping stressed-out zombie—to healthy, happy and 20lbs lighter. This place showed me I could rebuild myself and be the person I’ve always wanted to be.”

What Would You Do with a Second Shot at Life?

Continue working…or enjoy morning walks and lunch with friends?

Watch housing payments go up…or own a villa outright for less
than $180,000?

Travel more? Write that novel? Go fishing?

In Ecuador it’s All Possible…

Dear Stressed Out, Overworked Fellow American,

“I went to work at 8 a.m., worked through lunch, leaving at 7 p.m., drove through Taco Bell, devouring tacos while driving home.

“On arrival, I’d pop open a bottle of wine, watch The Bachelor, take an Ambien to help me pass out, then wake up and do it over again.”

That was Donna back in 2014…

If your day looks anything like this, you’ll want to know about the havens we recommend in Ecuador…

Here Americans are rediscovering the freedom of their college days—and finding that life really can offer second chances.

Provencal country house surrounded by laurier trees

Stressed-out Donna back in 2014

 “I was overweight, stressed out, a bad eater, addicted to the news, overworked, mentally exhausted, and a physical blob.”

Despite having a high-paying job, Donna’s lifestyle wasn’t worth the price.

Work ruled her life. She was missing precious occasions with family and friends…had abandoned her former hobbies…and was constantly exhausted.

“I had no joy in life, and I was on the express lane to death.”

It was time for a change, as she tells it. Time to rediscover the person she was before she got lost in her career, material things, and dealing with a stressful life.

So Donna put together a list of criteria, if she could just start over, this is what she’d want…

  • A year-round spring climate was at the top of the list. After 40 years in Florida, she was fed up with the heat (and $300-a-month AC bills.)

    “In Florida, summer days were so hot I needed oven mitts for my steering wheel!”.

  • #2 on Donna’s list was friendly people. “I come from a large family and know the importance of community.”
  • Third on the list… A low cost of living. Donna was tired of the daily grind… the 50-hour weeks… the never-ending bills… If she could just go somewhere less expensive, she could afford to retire.

Through International Living, she discovered the warm, welcoming, life-changing havens of Ecuador…where—as she discovered in person—a couple can live well for $1,800 a month (or even less.)

 “I found a kind and tranquillo culture where religion and family come first, everyone knows each other, and where time slows down.

“I could rebuild myself. Find contentment. Restore my balance. Be healthier and happier. And I’m convinced that if it could do that for me, it can do it for you too.”

12 months after reading about Ecuador, Donna, her husband and their three dogs had settled in to their new hilltop hacienda. They would wake to the sound of the river running behind their home, and views of the European-style colonial city spread out below.

She was happier and healthier than she had ever been…and 20 pounds lighter thanks to the local, farm-fresh food, and naturally more active lifestyle.

Provencal country house surrounded by laurier trees

Donna and her German Shepherd Greta at the riverbank near her hilltop hacienda

It’s true… in the West you’re told this life is only possible with a gym membership, a diet, prescription drugs and a $100 per hour shrink.

But what if that’s all baloney?

What if the answer to living healthier and happier is to live in a place where many of America’s problems simply don’t exist?

Forget ugly politics…media-fuelled division…the ‘never-enough’ accumulation of ‘stuff’… There’s a different, better way to live—in a place that’s gentle on the soul. And it’s where Donna found her second shot—at happiness, youth and retirement.

 “I didn’t know how profoundly living in this more natural, spiritual, kinder place would rebuild me.” Donna says now.

Ecuador gave her a second chance to do the things she always wanted to do, without having to worry about watching every penny.

And it can do the same for you…

The Best of the U.S., Without the Ugliness

In Ecuador you’ll find a fun, cultured, warm-weather haven where folks like you are re-writing their futures. They’re discovering new passions, priorities and opportunities. And they’re doing it for less than half what it would cost them to stay home.

Donna’s average day looks a lot different now.

She spends her time walking her dogs along the river trails close to her home… playing pickleball with friends… wandering around town admiring the Spanish-colonial architecture… and meeting up regularly with her gal pals for long, leisurely lunches, followed by some shopping.

“The mornings of waking with a tight stomach started to give way” she says. “In short, I started to relax.”

Donna’s in good company…

Provencal country house surrounded by laurier trees

Jim and Diane in Ecuador

Jim and Diane had all the trappings of success in New York. They had good jobs and could afford to live comfortably.

But working so hard meant they never had the time to enjoy the things that matter. Life wasn’t much fun.

So they began to look abroad...for a more tranquil, less stressful place to live that was affordable enough to allow them to stop working.

They wanted someplace with warm weather, and plenty to keep them entertained. They wanted to inject some fun into their lives again.

They found all that and more in Ecuador.

While most New Yorkers are busy trying to make a living, Diane and Jim found a better way to live. Here they could enjoy the simple things… linger over a cappuccino at a sidewalk café... listen to a Symphony Orchestra (for free!)… or catch a movie at the international film festival in town.

Bob Doyle left Oregon for Ecuador in 2019 and hasn’t looked back…

“I can pursue my interests, enjoy music, go to funky restaurants, eat healthy food, and meet interesting people. I feel alive here”  he says.

What Does Your Second Shot at Life Look Like?

If you could quit work…escape the rat race… go back in time to the freedom of your college days… and not worry about money… What would your typical day look like?

Perhaps you’d spend your mornings walking your dogs along river banks like Donna… or enjoy a free afternoon symphony performance in a UNESCO World Heritage site like Jim and Diane…

…Enjoy a $2.95 craft beer at one of the local micro-breweries… Attend a gallery opening…

…Join friends for a game of pickleball…bowling…or writing class…

…Explore the fish market where you’d find fresh sea bass, swordfish, grouper, and more for $1.50-$3.50 per pound…

…Or maybe you’d volunteer in the local community teaching English—like Bob.

In Ecuador you can design your day however you like. In fact, it’s exactly what I did…

My name is Dan Prescher, Senior Editor at International Living.

I have dozens, if not hundreds, of stories from expats living in this tranquil Eden that I could share.

My wife and I spent 8 years in this warm-weather haven when we were in our forties. And during that time we hit the reset button on our lives.

We expanded our personal frontiers and found that we could design a life that fit our personalities better than the work-obsessed treadmill of North America.

My wife Suzan enjoying the view from our condo in Cotacachi…Ecuador beach sunset…Suzan and I in Baños

That was thanks to this stunningly beautiful country, where time slows down, community comes first…and you have the freedom to be yourself.

Suddenly we found ourselves caught up in a whirlwind of parties, day trips, and dinners like we had never experienced before.

After years of work, chores, and errands, focusing on simply having fun was delightful!
— Ed. S

Ecuador is so much more than just an incredibly cheap place for older retirees... Since the pandemic, it’s been attracting younger folks—early retirees…remote workers…retired military…even couples in their forties with school-aged kids in tow.

A small little country—about the size of Nevada—Ecuador punches way above its weight.

It’s won the top spot on our Global Retirement Index three times in the last decade. And with good reason…

From the snow-clad slopes of the Andes mountains down to the vast Pacific coast beaches…the Amazon jungle to the famous Galapagos islands… Ecuador packs in a range of landscapes and lifestyles.

Picturesque mountain towns…vibrant beach communities…European-style colonial gems packed with historic architecture…to bustling and sophisticated big cities.

(I’ll take you through the most popular ones in just a minute…)

From European-style colonial cities to vast Pacific beaches, Ecuador has
something for everyone

There really is something for everybody…and at a low, low price.

I call it “New Mayberry”, because for many expats, Ecuador’s calm, civilized culture now feels like….

 The Perfect Balm for Today’s Fractured World

It’s like the best of the U.S., without the ugliness. No more crazy politics, division or work-obsessed rat race.

In many ways, it’s like stepping back a few decades in the U.S. But that’s too simplistic.

Really, it’s as if the last few decades in the U.S. never happened here…

People greet you with a respectful ‘Good morning’ or ‘Good evening’ while you enjoy a daily stroll. Neighbors drop in on each other with home-cooked food. Folks of all stripes can have dinner together and get along…

It’s easy to describe Ecuadorians as “old-fashioned,” but that’s patronizing.

Ecuadorians are no less modern than people anywhere else. You’ll find malls, KFC franchises, iPhones, and Netflix in all the main towns.

It’s just that they’ve managed to absorb the influences of the post-internet world, without losing courtesy or human grace.

For both Jim & Diane, and for Donna, the physical and mental price of American “success” was in danger of breaking them. In Ecuador, they were able to rest, recover, and rediscover their true selves again. Here they found that yes, indeed, life does come with second chances.

Ecuador is still a safe, cheap place to retreat from the world. But if you’re an energetic, active type who wants to revitalize your life…the new Ecuador is perfect for you, too…

In Ecuador, You Can Have It All

As one of the world’s top retirement destinations, Ecuador has a lot going for it…

  • Year-round spring weather. In the many mountain towns of the Andes, temperatures hover around 75F during the day, and 55F at night—year-round. You’ll have no need for AC nor heating—which means low, low utility bills.

    Linger at outdoor cafes any time during the day, all year long. Or for the more active, enjoy hiking and exploring.

    If you like things a little hotter, you’ll find your sweet spot at one of Ecuador’s tropical Pacific coast beach towns, where the warmest sunny days sometimes hit the high-80s.

  • Warm and welcoming community of both locals and expats. You’ll quickly establish friendships with like-minded people.

    “Do you enjoy playing bridge? Friends meet for games in each other's homes weekly.

    Bowling? See you at the lanes in Mall del Rio.

    How about yoga or Crossfit? Knitting? Writing? Acting? Book clubs? Fishing? There are folks getting together to do all these and many more.” – Ed S., Cuenca expat.

  • Bargain real estate. Modern city-centre condos can be had for under $125,000. A mountain-view duplex close to downtown Cuenca recently listed for $124,900.

    Steps from the Pacific ocean, you’ll find homes for $100,000—or even less!

    Rentals are amazingly cheap. Even in the bigger cities, you’ll find rentals from as little as $250 a month. But figure around $490 for something really special…like restored colonial homes in the heart of historic Cuenca.

  • Accessible, affordable healthcare. Public health coverage is available to everyone for around $75 a month. With it, you’re covered for all medical, dental and eye care. Many expats choose private healthcare for a wider choice of hospitals and doctors. At just $120 a month on average, you’ll be saving a small fortune compared to healthcare back home.

  • The currency is the U.S. dollar, so no need to change your currency or do any math.

    Ecuador is not like the U.S., where inflation is at a 40-year high. In Ecuador, prices have increased somewhat in the past 10 years. But expats report being able to live on half, or even 1/3 what they did back home—for a similar lifestyle.

  • Delicious, healthy food. Pretty much anything grows here—and it’s not messed with. You’ll be eating fresh, organic, locally-grown fruit and vegetables. No GMO…no high-fructose corn syrup…nada.

    Ecuador is relatively self-sustained. If planes stop flying and gas stops flowing, farmers still come in from the countryside to the mercados with their produce.

  • Close to home—just 4 hours from Miami… 5 from Atlanta or Houston.

  • More personal freedom. There’s less government interference here than in the U.S. Let your dogs run free on the beach…paint your home whatever color you want… it’s about personal responsibility, rather than government regulation.

Here you can live life like it's meant to be lived…fresh air and a perfect climate, deliciously healthy food, and the warmest, kindest, most generous people as neighbors.

And no matter where you choose to visit, you’ll be in good company. You’ll find plenty of established expat communities where friendship comes fast.

By far the most popular area with expats is the mountainous spine of Ecuador. And with all the advantages I'm about to share (including an international airport,) it's not hard to understand why.

Colonial Cuenca: The World’s Top
Retirement Destination?

European-style architecture along one of Cuenca’s four rivers

For city-lovers who are looking for a large expat community and cultural events, Cuenca is where it's at.

Browse the galleries… drop in on the international film festival… or find a shady spot in one of the plazas to enjoy a free concert or symphony performance.

Ecuador's third-largest city feels more like a charming old-world town. The colonial-era buildings have been converted into swanky hotels… rooftop restaurants where you can indulge in fine dining (enjoy a dinner of grilled salmon, followed by dessert and a cocktail for just $35)… and boutiques crammed with artisan craft items, artworks and unique homewares.

And the downtown area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.

It’s the closest you’ll get to an Old-World European city in the Americas. Expat Connie P. says it…

“reminds me of Italy. We spent time in Europe as a young couple and planned to retire to Italy...until we discovered Ecuador. We fell in love with the cobblestone streets, terracotta-roofed brick buildings, colonial churches, plazas, outdoor cafés, and wrought-iron balconies draped in bougainvillea.”

You won’t need a car. Taxis rarely cost more than $3.50 across town. But the city is easily walkable. And the year-round Spring weather makes doing so enjoyable.

Cuenca’s slow pace of life and welcoming community is where Donna found her second shot at life. The low cost of living is the cherry on top…

“I live like a queen. I live off my social security, on $1,800 a month. That budget includes having a maid and gardener and going out to lunch or dinner once a week. I don’t need A/C or heat. When it’s hot, I open a window. When it’s cool, I shut the window.”

Looking for a more pastoral life? That's where wonderful little towns like Cotacachi or Vilcabamba come into play.

Cotacachi: “Indigenous Central”

Just 90 minutes from Quito airport, you’ll find the little artisan
town of Cotacachi

Ecuador’s indigenous peoples make up 40% of the population in or around this magical town—known for its leather shops. Cotacachi is a place where you walk down the street, see someone you know, and catch up at leisure in one of the family-owned cafés.

Thanks to its stunning location between two great volcanoes, some say it resembles Hawaii—without the high prices.

And it’s the perfect antidote to the hectic treadmill of U.S. living…

Joel K. moved here more than 10 years ago with his wife, daughter, granddaughter and 5 pets…

“We were in a rut. We were doing the American dream…big house, 2-3 cars, boat, house in Las Vegas.

We were working to pay for our 3-week vacation every year. And we were just pretty tired and thought there had to be something else.”

They found a better life in Cotacachi, where they live in a large hacienda with views of both mountains.

Joel’s 1.25 acre property in Ecuador’s Hawaii

Joel has a gardener take care of his 1.25 acre property, and a maid keep his home and two casitas in perfect order. He prefers to spend his time jamming with his musician friends. You can catch their band playing regularly in town.

His monthly budget? Just $1,857 a month…

That even includes private heathcare, dining out, and internet that he says is faster than his brother’s internet in Arizona.

Other mountain towns offer their own unique charm…

Vilcabamba earned its nickname “The Valley of Longevity”—thanks to rumors of locals living to over 100. It’s hippie-ish vibe attracts expats in search of a holistic way of life, where you can turn on, tune in and drop out.

But you won’t sacrifice on luxury here…

You’ll find high-end stores, a French bakery, Italian pizzeria, Belgian chocolatier, and more.

In the little town of Baños, practically every home has seedlings, houseplants, and garden greens in neat rows out front. And every slope is terraced with well-tended crops.

It's a hub for outdoor activities. You can mountain-bike, trek to magnificent waterfalls, or bungee-jump off a bridge above a river. If that sounds too hectic, simply relax in the thermal springs that the town is famous for.

Choose Your Spring-like Climate

In the mountain towns of Ecuador’s Andes, you really can choose your spring-like climate. Average temperatures fall with every increase in elevation.

For example, three hours south of Cuenca, the university town of Loja sits at a lower elevation and is noticeably warmer.

Whereas farther south again, in Vilcabamba, it’s warmer still. You’ll see lime trees growing next to coffee bushes and huge date palms in full fruit.

If you don’t like the climate in one town, just change your altitude!

Beach lovers won’t be disappointed in Ecuador either. The Pacific Coast offers sleepy fishing villages, surfing hotspots, resort towns, and more, including…

Salinas: the Miami Beach of Ecuador—with three wide, sandy beaches connected by a pleasant walkway. Expats report enjoying the resort vibe, without resort prices.

According to expat Denver G., “Many local spots have lunches for less than $5 per person, and you can usually have dinner for two, with drinks, for less than $20.”

Three beaches not enough?

Farther north, Manta has a dozen beaches within the city limits.

The mountains extend right down to the ocean, making for spectacular scenery. No matter your vantage point, the Pacific remains in view.

Just one of Manta’s 12 beaches

Plus you’ll find all the big-city services you could ever want—including two excellent private hospitals, and a brand-new public hospital operated by Ecuador’s national healthcare system, IESS.

It’s also where you’ll find Ecuador’s best golf.

If you're a beach lover and have a bohemian streak, you might check out Montañita. It’s a big-wave surf and party town that sways to a reggae beat.

Or take a $1.50 taxi to nearby Olón for a more mature, family-friendly vibe. Expats lounge around private pools at their villa or condo building, and eat at cheery outdoor terrace restaurants or one of the beachside cabañas.

And just like everywhere else here, it’s seriously affordable…

“We’re living in a really nice house, right on the ocean. It’s a three-bedroom house, new build, with a huge living room. It costs $750 a month.”
— Expat Pat P. in Olón

In just a moment, you'll learn how you can get a comprehensive look at all of these regions—and many more that I don’t have the space to cover here—to find the lifestyle that appeals most to you.

But first, I want to mention a remarkable phenomenon that pretty much every visitor experiences soon after arriving in Ecuador…

“Magically” Lose 20lbs—Without Even Trying

During his first five weeks in Ecuador, Jim S. lost 20 pounds weight “with no conscious attempt to exercise or diet.”

Kelly D. says both she and her husband lost 20 pounds. “Our health has improved substantially,” she adds.

Mark G. says he “lost 25 pounds in a year, without even trying.”

On average, expats in Ecuador report losing 20 pounds—without following a diet or exercise regimen.

The reason? Well first off, if you live here you tend to walk more.

Most people walk from store to store instead of hopping in a car to drive a few blocks. No snowy winters or sweltering summers means you can enjoy outdoor activities 12 months of the year.

You’ll likely eat better, thanks to the fresh, organic, non-GMO produce. And the stress-free lifestyle works wonders. Take it from Dave, another expat...

“My health’s really improved since I got here. That’s partly because I don’t have work stress anymore, but a lot of it’s down to the lifestyle here. I’ve lost lots of weight, even though I’m eating more than ever!”

But if you do need medical care, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the quality of care, and the low cost…

For a general idea of costs, a reasonably healthy person between 50 and 70 years old can expect to pay a monthly premium in the range of $50 to $150. This gives you good private coverage, with a modest annual deductible (often less than $500) and covers at least 75% of out-of-pocket costs.

“La Yapa” Culture

As she filled my glass from a jug, the waitress encouraged me to take a sip.

I thought she was asking me to taste it. In fact, she was explaining that if I made a space in the glass, she’d top it up. There was, after all, still some juice left in the jug, and I might as well have it.

I learned later that this concept is called la yapa in Ecuador and is an integral part of the culture.

It’s the little bit extra—whether it’s an additional mango added to your bag after you’ve paid at the market, or a spare set of laces thrown in with a new pair of shoes.

— Sean K

Public healthcare costs even less… Figure on around $75 a month. And that includes dental!

An MRI will set you back just $180—and you can expect your results that same day. One expat I know used to spend a $25 copay in the U.S. for her monthly prescription. In Ecuador, it’s just $3.50.

In another case, a month's supply of a general blood pressure medication, for example, costs about $45 in the U.S. and less than $10 in Ecuador.

Donna thankfully hasn’t had much cause to use the medical system. But she does take advantage of cosmetic treatments—for a fraction of the cost of back home.

She pays $200 for Botox, and $400 for fillers that cost double that in the U.S. Donna’s friend opted for a lower facelift for $750. The same procedure costs up to $10,000 in the U.S. But most importantly, she’s thrilled with the results!

In cities like Quito, Cuenca and Manta, you'll find hospitals with state-of-the-art equipment. You’ll have your choice of specialists in all fields and physicians with private clinics. 

But more than the cost of medical care, you'll notice a huge difference in your personal experience with the doctors.

Forget dealing with receptionists. It's common for you to have your doctor's cell phone number. And figure on $35 for an appointment.

You won’t wait an hour reading old issues of People magazine before being called in to see the doctor for five minutes. Instead, your doctors spend time with you: a half-hour, more—whatever it takes to answer all your questions and plan your treatment.

It's what healthcare used to be back in the U.S. But you can get it in Ecuador today.

There’s Just One Setting Here…
Tranquilo Mode. No Stress…

I keep mentioning the slow pace of life here. Things just tick along at a calmer pace. The stress of "keeping up with the Joneses" by buying the latest car or electronic gadget disappears.

You start lingering over lunches with friends because there’s no reason to rush. You realign your priorities, putting friends and family first and making time to make memories rather than deadlines.

Here you'll make easy friends thanks to a common bond. You've all come to Ecuador to free yourselves from the life that left you searching and unfulfilled.

It’s a recipe for fast friendships at the many restaurants, coffee shops, and expat gatherings.

Donna has experienced this firsthand… “that renewed interest in living is a hallmark of the expat movement. It’s a touchstone we all share.  Finding ourselves again.”

Friendships—both local and expat—come fast and you’ll find a ready-made support network

And don't forget all the local friends you'll make as well. People in Ecuador are friendly and eager for you to feel at home. You'll soon be introduced to neighbors, friends and extended family members—and you’ll find yourself part of local festivals and celebrations.

On a practical level, you'll have a built-in network to get the best plumbers and car mechanics, the inside track on real estate deals, and tips on where to get the best coffee, leather crafts, you name it...

Of course, a big advantage to Ecuador is that it’s one of the most affordable places in the world where you can enjoy a lifestyle you’re accustomed to.

Live Well on $1,800 a Month or Less

In Ecuador, nearly every cliché you’ve heard about living large on little money is true.

A couple can enjoy a great lifestyle with plenty of comforts, without scrimping, for around $1,800 a month. That covers housing and food—as well as luxuries like a maid and gardener, and visits to the spa.

You can live like royalty for $4,000 a month. But we know people who get by nicely on around $1,000 a month too.

Most expats, though, report they live happily and without sacrifices on a monthly budget of $1,500 to $2,000.

For example, we’ve heard from John W., in the Pacific coast town of Santa Marianita. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of typical costs for him and his adult daughter:

“We rent a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home with 650 square feet of deck off the main living and master bedroom areas, all under thatched roofs and accessed by walls of huge sliding doors facing an unobstructed view of the beach and the Pacific Ocean. The price is $800 a month, furnished.

“Vine-ripened fruits and vegetables cost about 20% of U.S. prices. Artichokes are 30 cents a pound, tomatoes are 24 cents for the same amount, a whole pineapple costs $1. Including four meals a week at restaurants, our total monthly food costs average $500.

“Our cellphone plans cost $10 a month each for plenty of 4G data, Our laundry is done by a service for $50 a month, and our maid service costs $120.

“And unlimited golf at my club is $136 per month. I play two or three times a week.”

Here's a sample monthly budget, based on John’s expenses...

Housing: $500 - 800
Electricity: $70
Water: $10
Gas: $6
Garbage (Typically included in rent): $0
Maid Service: $120
High-speed Internet: $50
Cell phones (2): $20
Laundry Service: $50
Healthcare (four $35 visits to a doctor per year + monthly IESS payment): $162
Transportation (taxis, buses): $50
Groceries: $400
Entertainment (two people dining out twice a week or other entertainment, such as movies): $150
Taxes (included in rental rate): $0
TOTAL: $1,588 - 1,888

Even in the leafy, upscale districts of the capital, Quito, rents are affordable.

Dorothy, who moved from Naples, Florida in 2017, shares a three-bedroom home with her adult daughter in the Metropolitano sector of the city. They pay just $575 a month.

But it's not just the cost savings you should consider…it's the overall improvement in your quality of life.

Dorothy fills her retirement with horseback riding, volunteering, and teaching informal English lessons to her students as they walk through the city’s parks. Melissa, her daughter, teaches music at an international school and fills her free time with alpine climbing and mountain biking excursions.

More time and more money to spend as you like…low (even no) taxes, no inflated prices, no more worries about outliving your retirement nest egg…

You could also use your monthly savings to travel.

Steve—a tax consultant in his old life—and his wife Kelly rent a two-bedroom condo in Cuenca for $500 a month.   Living on $1,500 a month frees up money for bucket-list adventures.

They’ve been to the Galápagos islands twice, where they snorkeled with barracudas, white-tipped sharks, and 500-pound greenback turtles.

They’ve cruised down to Patagonia, where Steve walked on the Perito Moreno Glacier. They’ve hiked to the edge of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, known for its huge granite mountains and clear lakes.

Bucket-list adventures await in Ecuador’s Galapagos islands

You've seen many examples of people like you… people who were working long hours to pay for SUVs and McMansions, with no time to enjoy life.

Donna, Jim & Diane, Joel, John, Dorothy and her daughter Melissa…

They’ve all come to Ecuador to recapture the adventurous spirit they had as kids, the journey of self-discovery they felt in college, and to find the person they were before they got lost in stress, bills, and the day-to-day minutia.

They’ve all found a second shot at life in Ecuador. They’re having a lot of fun…discovering more of the world—and themselves—without breaking the bank.

Still, no matter how perfect a fit for you Ecuador may seem—I'm sure you have lots of questions. And the good news is: I and my colleagues at International Living can answer them for you.

You don't have to "go it alone" as you plan your escape. We can help.

We'll make sure you have the confidence and insider intelligence you need to pinpoint the spot that's right for you and get there quickly, easily, seamlessly…

Your Guide to a New Life in Ecuador

We've been in-country for decades. We talk to the lawyers, the business community, and, of course, the long-time expats who know the score. Plus, like me, we have lived there ourselves.

In the brand-new 2022 edition of Escape to Ecuador: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life for Less, you'll get all the benefits of our many years of on-the-ground experience in Ecuador.

It's the essential guide to visiting, moving to and living in Ecuador, designed specifically to make your scouting trip or relocation as stress-free as possible.

You'll discover the top expat communities, whether you prefer the laid-back beach lifestyle…the culture of the colonial cities…the tranquil mountain towns of the Andes…and more. Anywhere you go you're sure to have a high quality of life.

It's the result of decades of boots-on-the-ground scouting and exploration by me and the rest of International Living's team of editors and correspondents.

We've gotten the low-down from expats all over the country…researched the medical system and residence programs…quizzed experts in real estate, financial matters, shipping household goods…

Just about any question you might have about expat life in Ecuador is covered in this detailed guide. And we've also been on the lookout for real estate deals…

You get all of this, and much more, in the brand-new 2022 edition of Escape to Ecuador—a complete resource that shows you how to take advantage of these opportunities while they last.

There's nothing else out there like Escape to Ecuador: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life for Less.

It’s designed to get the real story on how you can enjoy your ideal lifestyle…find the location that's perfect for you…and take advantage of all the world-class opportunities available to you—when you know where to find them.

It's truly a one-of-a-kind manual with timely, sound advice designed to save you time, trouble, money, and headaches... so you can get yourself to the spot in Ecuador that’s best for you—fast and easily

Your Dream Home for $100,000 or Less

It’s hard to believe how much bang you get for your buck with Ecuador real estate.

In the “Valley of Longevity” near Vilcabamba, for example, you can have a charming two-bed, two-bath house for just $65,000.  It features a unique octagonal design, with a huge wrap-around terrace, and is surrounded by lush gardens with a small pond.

Picture yourself relaxing on a lounger…a cool beverage in hand…watching the evening sky change from blue, through flaming red, to purple over the mountains.

For a mountain home, head to the wonderful craft town of Cotacachi, sandwiched between two volcanoes…

Within easy walking distance of the center, is a two-bed, two-bath bungalow with an outdoor seating and BBQ area. It’s brand new and comes fully-furnished—in turnkey condition!

Finishes include granite worktops, marble floors, his’n hers bathroom sinks… as well as a walk-in closet. The icing on the cake…mountain views. And it's just $95,000.

Beach lovers, meanwhile, are spoiled for choice in Ecuador. A three-bed home on the beach in Salinas will set you back in the region of $110,000. And that comes with yard space—front and back!

Or farther north, in Manabi, a three-bed home with a pool recently sold for $165,000. It’s true beachfront—with a large balcony area and parking for up to 4 cars.

Compare that to coastal southern California or Florida, where frontline beach properties go into the millions.

And if you don't want to buy right away—no problem. You’ll find affordable rentals everywhere.

From the cities…(a modern 3-bedroom condo with outdoor space in Cuenca for just $675 a month)…

To the beach (where you’ll find an airy 2-bedroom townhouse a block from the beach for just $600.)

If you really want to get away from it all, but still want to have every convenience close-by… you’ll find countryside villas outside Cuenca where you can enjoy a vast amount of garden space. Rent is a mere $380 a month.

Ecuador Wants to Welcome You

The government of Ecuador is rolling out the welcome mat for you.

When the flow of retirees to the country began to weaken in the middle of 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, the government took steps to encourage people to come and stay.

They cut the minimum monthly guaranteed income required for a retirement visa to just $425 a month. And they made the qualifying age just 40.

Provencal country house surrounded by laurier trees

Enjoy your morning latte at an outdoor café in Quito

Put simply, that makes Ecuador one of the most affordable destinations to retire to in the world. And you don’t have to be of “retirement age” to do it.

It’s a land of opportunity, with a growing middle class of consumers who have money to spend—so an ideal market for business start-ups. According to Donna, there’s been a rise in younger expats in the past couple of years—with many starting new business ventures.

But retirees aren’t being left behind. As a senior, you’re respected in Ecuador—it's ingrained in the culture.

You'll immediately be offered a seat on a bus or in a waiting room if it's packed. You get head-of-the-line privileges at banks and government offices. And the same courtesy will be extended at shops, restaurants, cultural events, or wherever you happen to be.

Some expats I've spoken with tell me that Ecuador is a lot like the small-town America they used to know when they grew up. As far as culture, they might be right. But that doesn't mean it's stuck in the past.

It's a Lot like Home—in Many Ways

There will be a learning curve when you arrive in Ecuador. This is a country with its own unique culture, customs, and ways of doing things. But in many ways it's also a lot like home, and your transition will likely be easier than you might think.

This is a modern country with many comforts and amenities you'll recognize. Grocery stores offer imported items—if you miss your Ben and Jerry's ice cream or bagels—you're covered. Your favorite brand-name cosmetics, clothing, and electronics are here too.

You can get high-speed internet and cable or satellite TV (cheaper than in the U.S., by the way).

A widespread cell phone network—with 4G and LTE—means you can bring your smartphone. And $10 a month will cover all the minutes and data you need.

Keeping in touch with loved ones back home is easy too. Online tools like Skype allow for free video conferencing. And with services like MagicJack you can have a U.S. phone number in Ecuador—and your regular home phone will ring just like it would back home.

As you can see, just because you are moving to a new country doesn't mean you have to leave all the comforts behind. In Ecuador, you can stay very connected with those who matter to you.

And whenever you want to go for a visit—or have someone visit you—it's not as if you're halfway around the world. Donna visits family in the U.S. at least a couple of times a year. With a flight time of just 4 hours, it’s no hardship.

Discover All that Makes Ecuador One of the World's Top Retirement Destinations…and Live the Dream Yourself Sooner than You Thought Possible

You've seen so many ways this remarkable country offers a second shot at life: no rat race, no stress, year-round spring climate, low cost of living, top-notch medical care, safety and stability, modern conveniences and comforts…

And, of course, the welcoming locals and friendly expats that make it easy to fit in and make genuine connections.

But so far you're just scratching the surface.

You can get all the details in the brand-new 2022 edition of the 212-page manual, Escape to Ecuador: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life for Less.

This is International Living's premier resource about Ecuador—frankly the best retire-in-Ecuador guide there is anywhere—and it’s a bestseller beloved by our members.

Inside, you'll learn…

  • How to secure your residence step by step. Learn which of the most popular visas is right for you…and how to get it.
  • What you should bring. Whether you're traveling for a week or six months, we've included our list of things you don't want to be without.
  • What it costs to hire a maid, employ a gardener, visit a doctor or dentist, hire a driver for the day…and much more.
  • Where to find the best medical and dental care and how much you can expect to pay to have tendon surgery or your teeth cleaned.
  • The essential Spanish phrases so you can ask directions …order dinner…and make new friends
  • The stress-free way to get your pets to Ecuador—it's easier than you think—when you know the rules
  • How to import your household goods to Ecuador and pay no duties…including on brand-new appliances.
  • How much it really costs to live here. We'll share with you monthly budgets for the most popular expat havens.
  • What you need to open a bank account
  • A complete rundown on taxes—those to pay and those you can throw out the window.
  • How to start a business—and the best spots for starting up your microbrewery, restaurant, sport fishing charter, or whatever you want
  • The best way to scout property for sale—and what you should never do when looking at a lot or a home

Plus, you'll also get our editors' insider travel tips: Luxury hotels at boarding house prices… a smart shopper's handbook… and more, including—

  • Leather handbags, shoes and jackets, ponchos, hats, mittens, blankets, silver jewelry with lapis and turquoise, painted balsa wood birds, handmade flutes, and more. You'll learn where the best markets are, the best days to go…and the smartest way to negotiate.
  • The best sights in Quito that cost less than $10. Plus, our editors share their favorite restaurants around Ecuador (including one Michelin-starred place where your appetizer is delivered in a music box).
  • The village where you should buy an original Panama hat. (That's right… authentic Panama hats actually come from Ecuador.) You can get them straight from the families who weave them in their homes.
  • Visit Ecuador's "poor man's Galapagos." This is an island that is physically and biologically similar to the Galapagos Islands but for one-tenth the price. Albatrosses, boobies, and other rare birds, and 11 species of whales come to court in the waters off these islands each year.
  • A review of social and business etiquette in Ecuador, including tipping, taxis, meeting protocols, business dress, personal titles, greetings, gifts, and much more.

And that's just a small taste…

We’ll also give you a Rolodex of contacts throughout Ecuador—all of whom speak English. In fact, many are from the U.S. or Canada. You'll have these resources on speed-dial:

  • Lawyers experienced in immigration
  • Trusted real estate agents
  • Shipping brokers who know how to deal with Customs
  • Expat groups from mountains to coast, from the American Legion to community theater
  • Insurance companies who will cover you in Ecuador
  • Phone numbers for the major public and private hospitals—including the emergency lines
  • And more...

Real-World, Expert Advice and Guidance

You may be used to a more "do it yourself" approach to matters like buying a house or car, signing up for insurance, or dealing with the government back home. But in Ecuador you'll benefit from someone who knows the rules and regulations—basically how things work.

These are the on-the-ground contacts well-versed in helping expats get settled in Ecuador. They know the right people. They know the little-used but perfectly legal exceptions to the rules.

In short, they make your move easy.

That's what Escape to Ecuador is all about. All the information you need to make informed decisions. No need to search high and low for information.

Of course, there's no substitute for an in-person visit. And that's why we've ensured that Escape to Ecuador is the ideal resource for planning those trips. You'll get a good idea of which regions you want to visit. And you'll know where to stay, who to talk to, and everything else as you explore.

Not Available Anywhere Else

Escape to Ecuador: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life for Less is not available in other bookstores, resource libraries, or anywhere else on the internet.

And it's available in an online downloadable form only. That's how we can keep the information as up-to-date and reliable as possible. It also allows us to get this information in your hands as quickly as possible.

Travel to Ecuador to obtain all this information yourself and you'd expect to pay $2,000 or more. (The time and efforts of attorneys and other experts who worked to compile this information is worth that much alone.)

But you can get your hands on Escape to Ecuador for just $129 today.

Order Escape to Ecuador Today

It would take a lifetime to see and experience all Ecuador has to offer.

But I assure you—whatever attracts you to Ecuador—the culture, the scenery, the affordable real estate or the laidback, low-stress lifestyle—you'll find all the information you need inside Escape to Ecuador.

We've removed the guesswork and hassle of finding the lifestyle you dream of…and we take you as close to living in Ecuador as you can get without our buying a ticket, flying you there, and hiring a private guide for you. Plus you'll get…

Our Good-Will, No-Hassles, Money-Back Guarantee

I’m so confident you'll realize your dreams in Ecuador that I’ll guarantee your money back if you’re not satisfied.

Try it today. Explore all Ecuador has to offer. And if after exploring her delights you decide that Ecuador is not the place for you, you have our 30-day money back guarantee. We’ll refund your $129—no hassles, no fuss.

Six Months from Now, You Could Be Living Your New Life in Ecuador on a Whole Lot Less than You Spend Now

The truth of the matter is: A second shot at life doesn’t have to be the stuff of fairytales. It's for anybody willing to take advantage of the best-value opportunities in welcoming communities—places where people like you have already found a better way to live.

Take it from Donna, who recently told me…

“The other night, the skies were clear so I sat outside. All of a sudden, a comet flew across the sky, its lighted tail streaming behind it. In my former life, I probably would have been inside watching television. But that night, I was honored by a shooting star.

I’m happy that this time in my life isn’t wasted. I find myself growing in ways I never expected. That alone was worth the move to Ecuador.”

And it's our mission at International Living to help you do the same!

Click Add to Cart now to order your brand-new 2022 edition of the 212-page manual, Escape to Ecuador: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life for Less.

Like I said, you have our no-hassle, money-back guarantee if, for any reason, you are not satisfied.


Dan Prescher
Senior Editor, International Living
October 2022

P.S. If you've ever wanted to turn your back on skyrocketing prices for everything from healthcare to real estate to public transportation and restaurant meals, now's your chance.

And if you've ever wanted to walk away from long, bitterly cold winters and brutally hot summers… then I've got a deal for you.

Order Escape to Ecuador now.

P.P.S. Here's what other expats say about life in Ecuador...

“Just driving around on the Pan American Highway, you see beautiful Andean Mountain scenery. Breath-taking. There are many close by scenic venues from waterfalls to hot springs to the beautiful Cotacachi crater lake.”—Michael W.

“As it happens, my home is just a short drive away from a wonderful golf club, and I’m now an enthusiastic member.”—John W.

“We got off the plane and almost immediately fell in love with the people here. Three months later we made the move, and 14 years on, we’re still here!”—Val K.

“What really attracted us to Vilcabamba, was the purity of the air and the temperate, year-round climate (temperatures are in the 70s and 80s year round). The natural beauty is also spectacular.”—Dek T.

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