There are lots of reasons to live in Ecuador—the great weather, the amazing scenery, the friendly people. But one of the best reasons in today’s economy is the fact that you can live in Ecuador as cheaply as just about any place on earth and still enjoy a great lifestyle.
For a relatively small country, there are many great places to live in Ecuador… from the country’s dramatic Pacific coast beaches to mountain valleys high in the Andes to the steamy jungles of Ecuador’s east. It’s hard to pinpoint which cities and towns are the cheapest places to live in Ecuador, as all offer opportunities for affordable living.
Cuenca: The best choice for low-cost living as a retiree
The city of Cuenca in Ecuador’s south-central mountains earned top spot in International Living’s 2009 Retirement Index, so you know it must be one of the best places to live in Ecuador as well as one of the cheapest. In fact, the low cost of living in Cuenca had a lot to do with its high ranking. A couple can live well in Cuenca for $1,415 per month, including a maid and regular visits to the doctor.
Canoa: Live in Ecuador’s best beach location for less
On Ecuador’s northern Pacific coast, Ronan McMahon of Pathfinder found what he calls “the prettiest and most under-developed section of coast in Ecuador.”
“My favorite stretch is between Canoa and the area just north of Pedernales,” says Ronan. “Here virgin forest covers dramatic hills. The foliage is lush and green…almost luminous. The water is clear and blue when the sun shines. Major development hasn’t come here—yet. This has been Ecuador’s least accessible stretch of coast. That’s set to change with the construction of new highways and bridges. This area will become the closest beach area to Quito and its new international airport.”
Because Canoa has been inaccessible for so long, Canoa is still a quaint little town and prices in the area are still incredibly cheap. But as Ronan says, new infrastructure is about to change all that, so the time to try out this stretch of coast is now.
Live in Ecuador’s mountains on a Social Security check
Ecuador has some of the most dramatic Andean scenery in South America, and the many towns and villages that dot the mountain range make it possible to live in Ecuador and enjoy the cool, clear climate year around for very little money.
One example is Cotacachi, where modern condos can be found for $60,000 to $70,000 and a lunch in a local restaurant including soup, salad, meat, rice and a drink can be had for $1.50. Affordable rentals abound, and there are couples living well on $750 per month. It’s small-town living to be sure, but if you’re looking for a laid-back lifestyle, clear mountain air, and magnificent scenery, Ecuador’s mountain towns and villages fit the bill.
Quito: Ecuador’s most beautiful city
Ecuador’s capital, Quito, is one of the oldest and most beautiful colonial cities in Latin America, and one of the most affordable as well. Quito offers all the restaurants, cafés, shopping centers, parks and entertainment options you’d expect from a world-class capital, but at a fraction of the cost of comparable cities in the U.S. and Canada.
As International Living’s Latin America Editor, Suzan Haskins, says: “If you’re a city person on a quest for a world-class city to live in, Quito deserves a look. And if your goal is affordability, it will be tough to find better value. Taxi fares just about anywhere in the city costs $1 to $3, and a four-course executive lunch at a local restaurant costs $2 to $4.”
Suzan says that if you decide to purchase real estate in Quito, you’ll pay less than you will just about anywhere else…in the world! You can buy a modern apartment—in either Old Town or the newer part of the city—starting at about $50,000 and rentals can be had from $200 a month.
Live in Ecuador and pay less for the Good Life
Beach, mountains, urban, rural… you can find whatever you’re looking for when you live in Ecuador, and at prices that make it one of the most affordable places on earth to live the good life.