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.
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 climate...in 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|
|Gas: (running costs):||$10|
|Groceries:||$450 (includes alcohol)|
|Transportation:||$40 (buses and taxis)|
|Housekeeper:||$75 (once a week)|
* 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 temperate...so 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…
(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…
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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:
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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.
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Publisher, International Living