Escape to Ecuador

Escape to Ecuador


The Ideal Paradise Where a Couple Can Live Comfortably On as Little as $1,670 a Month!

Sell your winter clothes…and get ready for the
adventure of a lifetime in Ecuador—the Land of Eternal Spring.

Dear Reader,

Every cliché you've heard about living large on little…about settling into the lap of luxury on even a retiree’s budget…is true in Ecuador.

Just a four-hour flight from the U.S. – less time than it takes to fly from New York to Los Angeles—Ecuador is one of the world's most affordable places to live. Take $400 out of the ATM Monday morning…and your expenses are covered for the week.

You can enjoy a four-course lunch (soup, fruit juice, meat, salad, rice, and dessert) for $3. A taxi ride in Quito or Cuenca typically costs no more than $5 anywhere in town. A hour-long massage: $30. You can stay in a very nice hotel...private room with cable TV and breakfast included for less than $40.

Plus, renting and owning property is easy, because in Ecuador you'll also find some of the world's great real estate bargains. How about renting a three-bedroom condo overlooking the blue Pacific...fully furnished...for $550 a month? Or buy one right on the beach, with access to a rooftop hot tub and BBQ, for $46,000? You can buy a large, three-bedroom hacienda-style home in the mountains for $130,000. Or rent a brand-new condo—with city views and completely furnished—for as little as $500 a month.

These aren't just the lowest prices...these are typical prices! So it should come as no surprise that a couple can enjoy a very good life for $1,670 a month or less.

(By the way, Ecuador's official currency is the U.S. dollar – so you needn't worry about complicated currency calculations or exchange risks.)

If you want to live life like it's meant to be lived... fresh air, deliciously healthy food, the warmest, kindest, most generous people, and no lifestyle sacrifices, you'll find what you're looking for in Ecuador.

It's a place where, in a single day's drive, you could go from a sophisticated city with true cultural appeal to a tranquil pine-studded mountain hideaway... or an alpine retreat where you can bask in warm thermal waters under a starlit sky... or lush rainforest jungles full of exotically colored birds and flowers... or pristine beaches where the only footprints are yours...

All this, and a near-perfect the mountains, you'll find temperatures averaging 75º during the day and 50º at night...

And that budget I mentioned for somewhere a couple can live comfortably on around $1,670 a month? That’s in Cuenca, long known for a rich intellectual, artistic, and philosophical tradition that matches its colonial architecture. It is famous for colorful festivals, distinctive food and breath-taking scenery.

Here's a sample monthly budget for a couple in Cuenca…

  US Dollars ($)
Rent (for a 3-bedroom / 3-bath apartment) : $500
Electricity: $40
Water: $5
Gas: (running costs): $10
Telephone: $10


Internet: $30
Groceries: $450 (includes alcohol)
Transportation: $40 (buses and taxis)
Entertainment/dining out: $200
Health plan: $150
Housekeeper: $75 (once a week)
Miscellaneous: $100
TOTAL: $1,670

* Your costs will vary depending on your lifestyle. If you don't need or want a car, your transportation costs for taxis and buses will be closer to $40 a month. And of course, you'll want to budget for your healthcare plan and any prescriptions you take. Keep reading to find out more about the affordable healthcare plans available to you in Ecuador

So what should you budget for rent? In small towns like Vilcabamba or coastal Crucita, small furnished rentals start at about $250 a month. Larger homes and apartments will cost more. In Cuenca and more populated coastal locations such as Salinas, most expats spend $400 and up for a long-term furnished rental with the average being about $450 to $500.

Why are costs so low in Ecuador? Good question. Maybe the answer is that in Ecuador, goods and services cost what they should cost—and they're overpriced elsewhere in the world.

Ecuador's mercados are filled with fresh produce—fill up your shopping bag for $10 or less.

Labor costs are low, too—the minimum wage in Ecuador for 2019 is $394 a month. That helps keeps all costs low, and it's why things like household help, lawn care, hair care and so on are so low.

And food in Ecuador commonly comes straight from the producer...except, of course, for fancy imported packaged items (which you can get in the country's modern supermarkets).

Gasoline and transportation costs are low, too. Vehicle gas is about $1.85 a gallon.

It's doubtful you'll need heat or air conditioning... the climate is that your utility costs should be very low. For now, the government subsidizes propane costs, and a 14-lb. tank to heat your stove and water costs just $3.50. (Most folks use about three tanks per month). The price of gasoline and propane are expected to slowly creep upwards in the coming years...but not by too much.

The simple truth is, the cost of living in Ecuador is modest—and that means you’ll have plenty leftover to "play" with, travel on, even save…

There's so much information to share with you about Ecuador. As you may know, for the last number of years, International Living's writers and editors have scoured the country to learn everything about the benefits, cost-savings, opportunities, advantages (and yes, challenges) this country has to offer.

I've asked them to share that information with you in our best-selling Escape to Ecuador: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life For Less. And I guarantee it will help you decide if Ecuador is right for you.

But don't just take my word for it. Keep reading to learn what some of your fellow International Living readers have found in Ecuador…

Beach Condos That Rent for $450 a Month or Less...and
Sell for $75,000 or Less...

Dave Michener and his wife, Doris, could feel their life in the U.S. spinning out of control and everything they had worked hard for slipping from their grasp.

If they stayed in the States, they knew they would have to keep working for years to come to afford a decent quality of life…so they decided to take a gamble on Ecuador…and found a coastal town that's given them their ideal retirement.

"When we got to San Vicente, Manabi province, we loved it," reports Dave. "In Ecuador, our stress and financial worries have melted away. Our initial Ecuador budget was established at $1,500 per month, an amount pretty tough to survive on in the States, at least with any sort of comfort. Here on the coast, we were able to move into a beautiful, furnished, two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo in a low-rise, gated complex. The complex boasts two pools, gorgeous landscaping and I can throw a rock and hit the Pacific surf. The monthly rent for this lovely place? $450."

It’s not just rents—real estate prices on Ecuador’s coast are very affordable, too. That means you can find some of the best bargains in the world. You can pay as little as $75,000 for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family home a short walk from the beach on the Pacific Coast.

Near Salinas, arguably Ecuador’s most popular coastal playground, you’ll find new condos selling for as little as $70,000. In one of the city’s finest buildings, you’ll find a furnished one-bedroom, two-bathroom condo—with spectacular ocean views—with a pool, steam room, sauna, and 24 hour security selling for just $90,000.

In Punta Blanca, a high-end enclave a short drive from Salinas,, you can pick up a three-bedroom, two-bathroom condo with wall-to-wall ocean and sunset views for just $180,000. You’ll find bargains like this all along the coast, including in communities like Olón, Crucita, Bahia de Caráquez, and Canoa…despite these places becoming increasingly popular with expats.

And there are lots of deals like this to be had on Ecuador's Pacific Coast. We tell you exactly where to find them in Escape to Ecuador.

City and Mountain Living Can Be Even More Affordable

If you're not a beach fan, no worries. Ecuador is more than beaches. In fact, it's far better known for its majestic mountains. The "Spine of the Andes" cuts through the middle of the country from north to south. But because Ecuador is right on the equator and most of these mountain towns are perched at a high elevation, they're never too hot and never too cold. You won't find a better, more agreeable climate than in this "Land of Eternal Spring."

There are so many cities and towns along Ecuador's "Spine of the Andes" that deserve your attention. Briefly…

  • Quito is the capital and its second-largest city. In its modern neighborhoods, you'll find trendy coffee shops, boutique hotels, modern shopping malls, high-rise office buildings, and state-of-the-art hospitals. And it's easy to find two- and three-bedroom condos that rent for $500 a month or sell for $90,000 or even less. Think about it…a condo in the heart of one of the world’s most exciting cities at one-eighth the cost of a comparable apartment in midtown Manhattan or Chicago (and without the weather extremes.)
  • "Old Town" Quito was the first-ever city to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, in 1978, and you won't find more traditional Spanish colonial-style architecture anywhere outside Spain itself…massively thick walls, high ceilings and romantic balconies. Huge wooden doors open from the street to reveal interior courtyards with cobblestone floors, tastefully decorated with lush greenery and bright flowers. Many of these have now been renovated into shops, restaurants, offices, and condos. A 2-bedroom condo near the famous Quito Basilica is selling for just $39,000. Or go upscale all the way... A luxury 2-bedroom/2-bath apartment in the best location in Old Town, with gorgeous tile and wood floors and a stunning modern kitchen, is selling now for just $220,000.
  • You may have heard of Vilcabamba...located in what's known as the "Valley of Longevity" because so many of the locals live to be 100 years old or more. Expats who've moved to this healthy valley report that they feel better than ever... and couldn't be happier. If you think you'd like to have a small garden property, or even a farm, Vilcabamba is a great place to do that. Right now, for instance, with majestic mountain and river valley views and on nearly 2.5 acres of land perfect for planting and cultivating, a four-bedroom home is selling for just $85,000. Near the center of Vilcabamba itself, a gorgeous newly renovated 3-bed/4-bath home is on offer for just $105,000.
  • In quiet Cotacachi, a leather artisan village about two hours north of Quito, for just $69,000, you can buy a three-bedroom two-and-a-half bath condo in the heart of town—fully furnished. A modern 2-bedroom/2-bath fully furnished home with a lovely yard is selling for $98,000. $139,900 gets you a gorgeous 1,300-sq.-ft. hacienda-style home with breathtaking views of the mountains.

(Prefer to rent? In Ecuador's smaller cities and towns, you can find furnished rentals from $300 a month and up...)

Important note: In Ecuador, foreigners are afforded all the rights of citizens when it comes to property ownership. Still, things are done a bit differently than they are at home. You need to understand the intricacies of property ownership in Ecuador and know who to turn to for legal help in order to safeguard your investments. See Chapter Four of Escape to Ecuador: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life For Less, "Buying Property in Ecuador" to learn more.

Cuenca: One of the World's Top Retirement Destinations

One of our favorite places within Ecuador is Cuenca. It's a favorite of many, in fact. It's the #1 expat destination in Ecuador.

Located about 275 miles south of Quito, Cuenca is Ecuador's third-largest city, but its central historic district feels more like a small, charming Old-World town, with tidy plazas, ancient churches, and cobblestone streets lined with tall colonial-era adobe-walled buildings transformed into small hotels, restaurants, and shops. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.

But this city offers more than just aesthetic beauty…

  • It shares Quito's year-round, spring-like weather, so the crisp mountain air is never too hot or too cold. (Also like Quito, Cuenca has no tornadoes or hurricanes.)
  • Its infrastructure can't be beat, with drinkable water, good phone service, and inexpensive high-speed internet. And culture? Restaurants and cafés are numerous and diverse, and orchestra performances in the colonial Teatro Sucre are free to all…and you'll find modern malls and supermarkets where you can buy just about anything that you can get back home.
  • Medical and dental care are excellent and inexpensive. At one hospital we know of, you'll pay just $40 or even less for an extended appointment with a specialist. Other hospitals offer their own private insurance plans that cost as little as $50 a month depending on your age and coverage level.
  • There's a small but thriving and energetic expat community...with about 6,000 to 8,000 full-time expats in Cuenca (in a total population of over 350,000), you can truly mix into and experience another culture.

And real estate prices? You'll be happy to know that even in Cuenca—the most desirable city in Ecuador and the top spot in the world for retirees—you can find bargain prices.

  • In the historic center, a gorgeous luxury penthouse condo with fabulous views from the huge terrace can be had for just $136,000. It has lots of natural light, upscale finishes featuring polished wood floors...and it's conveniently located next to the Tomebamba River.
  • Not far from the colonial center, in a newer area of the city popular with expats, you can pick up a brand-new 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo with stainless steel kitchen appliances and granite countertops, gorgeous wood floors, and more for just $82,000. A brand-new modern-style freestanding home offers 1,900 square feet of living space, with 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms...and It's listed for just $115,000.

We're so excited by the opportunities we see in Cuenca that we've prepared a Special Report, called Colonial Cuenca: The Historic Colonial City That's Ecuador's #1 Retirement Spot.

I'll tell you how to get your hands on it in just a moment…

But Would I Recommend Ecuador as a Retirement Destination to my Best Friend… or my Mother?

At International Living, the "best friend and mother question" is our litmus test. If we don't feel comfortable sending the people closest to us there, we won't recommend it to you.

What About Healthcare Costs?

In Ecuador's bigger cities, you'll find hospitals with state-of-the-art equipment, as well as specialists in all fields and physicians with private clinics. The average visit to the doctor's office costs just $25 to $35, with the fee to see a specialist costing anywhere from $30 - $80.

Name-brand medicines are much cheaper than in the U.S. Generics cost a fraction as much and availability is good.

Dental work performed by highly skilled doctors is also widely available and inexpensive. Partial plates cost $325, and a complete set of dentures costs $900—including office visits, fittings, impressions, and lab work. A cleaning is $40 while a filling costs $30.

And don't be afraid to have surgery here. Many specialists in Ecuador have trained in Europe or the U.S. and have top-notch skills. And costs are 1/5th to 1/10th what you'd pay in the U.S.

Health insurance, too, is a bargain in Ecuador–a tiny fraction of what you'd pay in the U.S.

Want to learn more? An entire chapter of Escape to Ecuador is devoted to the topic of health care: where the best doctors and hospitals are located, where to get health insurance, how much you can expect to pay, and more.

So would I recommend Ecuador as a retirement destination to my best friend… and my mother? Absolutely yes.

As I said, the only way to find out if Ecuador is right for you is to plan a visit and see for yourself. But before you spend that kind of money, I've a proposition for you.

Reserve your copy of Escape to Ecuador: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life For Less.

We've spent three decades researching Ecuador…and make no mistake, this isn't a travel guide. Our editors and correspondents live in Ecuador or have spent extensive amounts of time there. They've experienced all the benefits this country has to offer and have interviewed hundreds of expats who've done the same. They've been through the challenges, too—and they tell you all about these—there's no sugar-coating here.

With Escape to Ecuador: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life For Less, you'll benefit immediately:

  • SAVE TIME! Whether you're a city, country, mountain or beach person, there's a perfect place in Ecuador for you…more than one, I'd dare say. But no worries, we provide the pros and cons to help you narrow down the choices and save hours of painstaking research and expensive travel time. We'll help you pick the best locales in the country that best fit your lifestyle.
  • SAVE MONEY! We've done the scouting work for you and provide you with the names, phone numbers, and email addresses for our most trusted and helpful contacts. This information is worth its weight in gold (and can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars).
  • MAKE MONEY! We devote a full chapter to current business opportunities for the entrepreneur, outlining the sectors where you'll find the most promise. And we provide complete references and resources to help you launch your new business.

And Escape to Ecuador includes:

  • The steps to buying property in Ecuador. We've spelled out in plain English exactly what you can expect when you buy…with notes about each step that gives you the inside, "we did it, and here's what you need to watch out for" story.
  • Complete details of exactly how much you can expect to pay in fees when you buy property in Ecuador. Don't worry, it's seldom more than $1,000. And we'll explain how everything is calculated so there won't be any surprises.
  • A Rolodex of the best attorneys who can arrange everything from residence to your home purchase to setting up a business. We only include efficient and affordable lawyers you can be sure will take care of every detail and make navigating the bureaucracy a breeze.
  • Firsthand tales from the field—stories from people who have already done what you're thinking about doing. Their hard-won advice will save you time, money, and hours (maybe even weeks) of frustration…

And All the Practical Know–How You Need
to Live In Ecuador

  • Complete details about residence visas and citizenship. 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 best way (and place) to get full-coverage health insurance in Ecuador, including 100% hospitalization benefits, 60% paid prescriptions, and 80% of doctor's visits, among other benefits.
  • How to easily get your pet into the country. You'll need to start the paperwork a few weeks before you go. Learn what to do first, what documents you'll need, and more.
  • How to import your household goods to Ecuador and pay no duties…including on brand-new appliances. (And some firsthand advice about what to bring and what to leave at home.)
  • How much it really costs to live here. We'll share with you monthly budgets for living in Cotacachi and Vilcabamba, as well as Quito and Cuenca. We'll give you all the details, including for all those ‘extra' things—everything from anaesthesia to X-rays, from cable TV to cross-country flights.

In addition to all those things I've already mentioned, you'll get:

  • A review of Ecuador's history, customs, and culture so you'll know exactly what to expect when you get there.
  • A list of need-to-know Spanish terms for getting around (although many expats get along just fine with only English).
  • An overview of Ecuador's economy (hint: it's more than just bananas!).
  • A complete rundown of Ecuador's diverse climate and geography and a guide on choosing which area—beach, mountains, or forest—is right for you.
  • A review of social and business etiquette in Ecuador, including tipping, taxis, meeting protocols, business dress, personal titles, greetings, gifts, and much more.
  • An overview of tax considerations for expats living and doing business in Ecuador.
  • Extensive appendices full of invaluable Ecuador contacts and resources, including our comprehensive Rolodex of legal, personal, and professional services that will be your Ecuador bible for getting anything you want done in Ecuador.

Escape to Ecuador is a complete guide for everything you'll want to do, know about, and see in Ecuador.

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.
  • 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.

Everything You Need to Make an Informed Decision
About Ecuador…

We've gone through Escape to Ecuador page by page and sentence by sentence to ensure that all the information… all the resources and contact details, including websites, email addresses and telephone numbers… all the maps, statistics, dollar figures and prices quoted… are completely up-to-date.

We've left no stone unturned. And the best part is that we publish this manual electronically… so it's much more useful, colorful, and interactive than ever before. And you'll have access to it as soon as your order has processed.

But we're not stopping there… We think that Ecuador makes so much sense right now… from almost every economic and quality of life point of view that we're sending you a special updated Bonus Report too:

Bonus Report
Colonial Cuenca: Ecuador’s Most Attractive Retirement Town
(value $29)

As I already mentioned, it's yours absolutely free when you order Escape to Ecuador: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life For Less.

In this in-depth Special Report we take a look at a very special area of Ecuador—one of the top retirement destination in the world. And we reveal the need-to-know details about Ecuador's most popular expat destination:

  • What's the true appeal of Cuenca? Why are more expats choosing Cuenca than ever before? (Get the straight scoop from expats who are already living there. Find out what they pay for apartment rentals, meals, doctor's visits, Spanish classes, and more.)
  • Which neighborhoods are most popular with expats and where to find the biggest real estate bargains
  • How to qualify for Ecuador's Senior Citizen Discount Program. Never stand in line at the bank or utility company, save 50% on utility bills, sporting and entertainment events, and public transportation… including international airfares!
  • And much, much more...

You've Nothing to Lose, Because As Always,
Your Satisfaction is Guaranteed

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.

Reserve Escape to Ecuador now.

I'm so confident you'll be pleasantly surprised by all this manual includes and by all Ecuador has to offer, I'll give you a 30-day, no-hassle, money back guarantee. If for any reason you're not completely satisfied with the depth and breadth of information you find in Escape to Ecuador: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life For Less, contact us within 30 days and we'll refund your purchase, no questions asked.

This is your best guide to the best retirement haven in the world, and right now we're offering it for just $129.

With it, you'll get our Special Report, Colonial Cuenca: Ecuador’s Most Attractive Retirement Town (a $29 value).

Think about it. Escape to Ecuador: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life For Less and your free Special Report. All for just $129.

And a no-question money-back guarantee if you're not 100% satisfied.

That's a serious bargain for the amount of current, usable information you're about to receive…especially considering that it could launch you on your way to the most enjoyable…and affordable…life you've ever imagined.

Please note, this format is a downloadable PDF. If you would like to purchase a printed version, go here.



Jackie Flynn
Publisher, International Living

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