The Best of Living and Retiring in Ecuador
Most Frequently Asked Questions
Most Frequently Asked Questions
Will I be happy in Ecuador?
This is one I can't answer for you! You will have to come and experience Ecuador for yourself. Many couples come for a month or two, go to language school, and rent a place before making a definitive move. That is probably the best way to know if Ecuador is a good fit for you. There are three large cities: Quito, Guayquil and Cuenca. All three cities have pros and cons, but we love the weather in Cuenca and the tranquility of where we live. If you're a beach person and need to see a sunset every evening on the water...head for the coast of Ecuador.
Can I live on $3,000 a month?
That is a fairly common question. Many couples live on a lot less and many couples live on a lot more. It depends on if you're buying, renting or if you plan to eat out every night. Some things in Ecuador are a lot more expensive than the States because of the tariff that is imposed. Some things like: fruit, vegetables, eating out, and public transportation are very inexpensive compared to the States. Overall, you can live well on $1,400- $2.000 a month and that includes eating out and doing some traveling. Yes, prices are rising and eating out is slowly increasing if you eat in gringo restaurants. You can still find "almuerzos" for $2.00, but don't expect to pay those prices at a five-star restaurant!
Should I ship everything to Ecuador or should I sell everything?
We have done it both ways. In Italy we shipped everything over by container (and that was a good decision for us at the time). For our move to Ecuador, we sold everything, stored photo albums and precious memorabilia, and came with four suitcases. Many couples do that very thing and there are others that feel that they can't part with their wedding china. There is no right or wrong answer. We wanted to start a whole new life, so we chose to bring precious little. It takes time and some soul searching to find the right answer for you.
What about housing -- should we rent or buy?
That's a personal decision, but I would say that renting for the first few months is not a bad idea. You can decide what area you want to live in and give yourself time to explore the neighborhood. Many couples fall in love with the first place they see and want to buy it, only to regret it later on. Renting, especially if it is fairy inexpensive, is never a bad option.
Can I get an apartment for $200 a month like yours?
I wrote a blog post about our budget and had a flood of e-mails, stating: "We want to live where you live and pay what you pay!" I have to chuckle because that was 'pure luck." We were going to language school one morning and happened on our apartment. It was rented by an Ecuadorian. We had several Ecuadorian friends call on our behalf and we showed up to sign the rental agreement. We went through a rental agency first (which was a good decision for us), and then found an apartment on our own. As far as I know -- according to many Ecuadorians -- we got a good deal. I can't promise you the same exact apartment for the same price, but I'm sure there are a lot of deals to be had if you are patient and wait for the right opportunity. After three years of renting, we made the decision to buy in 2013.
Do we need a heater?
This one I can answer. If you come from Miami, Florida you may find that Cuenca is a little chilly at night. If you come from Minnesota or Canada, "no" you won't think it's chilly. There is no air-conditioning or heating in the houses or apartments in Ecuador, so if a space heater will make you more comfortable, then by all means -- buy one. Space heaters, down comforters and blankets can be found here,but at slightly higher prices (depending on where you shop).
Is Cuenca the New Costa Rica?
Many Americans settle in Cuenca (partly because of the climate and cost of living), but there are just as many Americans in other parts of Ecuador. I have seen prices rise on rent and food in the five years that we've been here, but I can't say for certain if it will continue. I'm sure the exposure that Cuenca has received is part of the reason (voted #1 place to retire by International Living). There are many beautiful and inexpensive places to live in all of Ecuador, so I say come and explore.
For more information on Ecuador, visit:
Visa and Immigration Information: www.ecuador.org/nuevosite/index_e.php