Ecuador: The Hidden Paradise Where A Couple Can Live Comfortably On $2,000 a Month or Less
Sell your winter clothes...and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in the Land of Eternal Spring. Every cliché you've heard about living large on little...on even a retiree's budget...is true in Ecuador.
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- Population: 15,439,429
- Capital City: Quito
- Climate: Tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands
- Time Zone: GMT-5
- Language: Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
- Country Code: 593
- Coastline: 2,237 km
David and Wendy DeChambeau had what many people considered an ideal life in northern Idaho…beautiful natural surroundings, two handsome and talented young boys, a nice home with all the trimmings that make up the American Dream. Yet, they were searching—seeking better economic opportunity, a lower cost of living, and a better climate.
I put down the phone, not for the first time that sunny Sunday morning, and gazed out of the wide lounge window that looked out over Quito’s skyline. The rugged eastern cordillera of the Andes shimmered in the distance under a tropical sun.
When most Baby Boomers start looking at life abroad, they are looking for quality of life, good financial value and a little mental activity to keep those brain cells engaged as they charge into an adventuresome phase of their life. I’ve traveled to Ecuador six times in the last four years and as I walk the streets in Quito, I’m always struck by the good mood I see on the peoples’ faces.
What if I could show you how (and where) to buy your dream home on an island like this one, with palm-tree rimmed. white-sand beaches washed clean by clear, warm Caribbean waters… or on a lush jungle cliff-top with a mega-mile view of the blue Pacific stretching out before you…
Even most Ecuadorians haven’t been to Loja, despite the fact that it’s one of the country’s oldest and most historic cities. Spanish conquistadors set out from here in their search for Andean gold and to explore the Amazon River basin. The great Simón Bolívar himself visited Loja in his campaign to unite Gran Colombia, and it was from Loja that Ecuador declared its independence in 1820.
Vilcabamba, Ecuador is a place that’s pristine and natural. It just makes you want to slow down and enjoy life as long as you can. Some scientists believe the clean, mineral-rich water that flows from mountain streams and springs is akin to the fountain of youth.
Long popular with vacationing Ecuadorians, Canoa, on Ecuador’s northern coast, is known as a hot-spot for all sorts of waterborne activities—and many expats fund their new lifestyles by catering to tourism. It means they get to live in one of the region’s most beautiful stretches of shore with plenty of time to spend between surﬁng and paragliding.
Congratulations to Americans Barry and Denise Luckenbach who are the lucky winners of International Living’s Win A Dream Retirement Overseas competition. The couple will spend a month “test driving” an early retirement in Cuenca, Ecuador, all expenses paid. The prize includes round-trip airfare for two, a 4-week stay in a furnished apartment and $1,500 spending money.
On the Cover This Month… Loja is one of Ecuador’s finest colonial cities. Its famous gates are modeled on the image portrayed on the city’s 16th century coat of arms. In the gatehouse are four galleries displaying contemporary art. Loja is known as “the Musical and Cultural Capital of Ecuador,” and the town is home […]
Every couple of months I fly down to Ecuador to spend time enjoying spectacular scenery, fresh, delicious food, the perfect climate, and one of my all-time favorite passions…shopping. These are actually business trips for me, although I’ve never had this much fun “working” before. Each day is spent visiting local artisans, collaborating on new designs, […]
The passenger bus in front of us slowed and shifted into low gear on the steeply winding mountain road. I got a good look at the slogan gaily tattooed in huge cursive lettering across its rear panel: Si Ud. nunca ha ido a Loja, no conoce mi pais. “If you’ve never gone to Loja, you don’t know my country.”
A round-up of the events you should be chalking down on your callendar. All of these events are expected to sell fast, so book your place early to avoid disappointment.
An affordable lifestyle was deﬁnitely one of the reasons why my wife, Suzan Haskins, and I became expats more than a decade ago. The opportunity to halve our cost of living and still get better weather, healthier food, lower-cost medical care, and a truly relaxed, “off the treadmill” pace of life was one we couldn’t pass up.
I asked for a room with a view and wow, did I get it. This is the sight that greeted me as I stepped out onto the terrace on my first morning in Vilcabamba, a small village in southern Ecuador. Come to think of it, this was the scene I awoke to every morning during my visit…a wake-up call I could definitely get used to…
The Pacific Coast towns of Montanita, Olon, Playas and Salinas in Ecuador are worth exploring. Continuing north along the coast, two other areas of note are Ayampe and Puerto Lopez. Both are of the picture postcard variety, where luxuriant green hills close in on the beach. Puerto Lopez has been one of my all-time favorite Ecuador beach towns since I first saw it in 2001.
Since our move to Ecuador a few years back, interest in this country has exploded. We get questions about how best to travel the country and what not to miss…we’re asked which is best: mountain or beach living…and how Ecuador compares to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama…
Everything is old in Loja. Of course, that’s not literally true…but stroll through the historic colonial heart of this city in southern Ecuador and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. If you wish away the cars and buses and try not to see the youngsters with their stylish hair-dos and piercings (this is a university town, after all), you can sense what this city must have been like, oh…nearly 500 years ago.
This place boasts the world’s best climate…averaging daytime temperatures in the mid-70s every day of the year. So where am I? In Loja, a manageable city of about 180,000 people in southern Ecuador. At 6,750 feet above sea level, Loja is at a lower elevation than many of the country’s other major cities perched along the spine of the Andes mountain range.
Rent overseas before you buy. That’s good advice for anyone looking to try a new country on for size. Despite its incredibly low real estate costs, Ecuador is no exception. Fortunately, rental costs in Ecuador are very affordable, too.
Ecuador is a retirement paradise. Yes, it is the winner of IL’s Global Retirement Index 2012. But you don’t need an index to tell you that the climate is incredible…and varied—lush mountains, dense Amazon jungle, sun-drenched Pacific beaches…
“We’re right on the beach and we love that,” says expat Cynthia Kelley. “We can hear the ocean at night and we love to watch the sunset over the water in the evenings.” It’s easy to get the feeling that you’re a million miles away from the rest of the world in Canoa, on Ecuador’s northern coast.
February 7-9, 2013 – Quito, Ecuador
On Ecuador’s “sunniest beach,” a brand-new 3-bedroom/2-bath home smack on the beach is selling for just $65,000. Ninety minutes away, in the country’s most upscale beach resort town, a brand-new 2-bed/2-bath condo overlooking the ocean and world-class yacht club is just $79,800! Discover some of the world’s best real estate investment opportunities this February in Quito atthe 2013 Fast-Track Ecuador: Lifestyle & Opportunity Conference. We’ll give you access to the best deals available now.
We’re right on the beach and we love that,” says expat Cynthia Kelley. “We can hear the ocean at night and we love to watch the sunset over the water in the evenings.” It’s easy to get the feeling that you’re a million miles away from the rest of the world in Canoa, on Ecuador’s northern coast.
Winner of the 2012 Global Retirement Index, Ecuador offers sophisticated historical cities…miles of unspoiled, sun-kissed beaches…fertile farmland…and temperate mountain hideaways…and all of it for pennies on the dollar. You can live well for a fraction of the cost of living back in the U.S.
Ecuador’s north coast is one of the finest stretches of Pacific coast you will find. Steep, bright green jungle-clad hills rise from the flat blue ocean. In places, rocky coves sculpt sandy beaches. Here would be a great place to have a beach home.
I knew the basics…importing means bringing items from one country in to another and exporting, conversely, involves sending products from one country back to another. Mostly I was just eager for an adventure, and I was taking a leap of faith. At the time, I had no idea how profitable it can be— and how much fun it is.
The Lochows plan to retire to Cuenca with their two cats, well before their Social Security kicks in. On a limited income, they’ll be looking at home rental and purchase options. Robert’s retirement plan is to finally read all his books, so they’ll be shipping their library, but they’ll shop for everything else: furniture, appliances, computer, television and phone services.
In pockets all across the planet, you’ll ﬁnd amazing opportunities to make money from real estate. I’m talking about beautiful places tucked into lush jungle-clad hills, on white sandy coves, in bustling cities, and in small colonial towns. These are markets on the upswing. The mainstream hasn’t heard of them yet. And in them today you’ll get excellent bang for your buck as well as great proﬁt potential.
The lush, green valley of Vilcabamba was where the royalty of the Inca Empire came for their rest and relaxation. You can still ﬁnd reminders of their ancient civilization. And people are still coming here to ﬁnd tranquility and live well. In the past three years, this magical place has experienced a tsunami of new arrivals.
Within a few hours of Ecuador’s capital, Quito, you can tour the jungles of the Amazon, relax on expansive, sandy beaches, or hike up snow-capped volcanoes. No wonder it’s a popular jumping-off point for adventures, or a great base from which to seek out the perfect retirement spot.
At home, prices are rising. It costs more to put gas in the car, buy groceries, and pay for health insurance. At the same time, retirement savings eroded in the market downturn. And with interest rates at near-zero today, it’s difﬁcult to rebuild.
Santa Fe in Panama…Vilcabamba in Ecuador…Penang in Malaysia…Granada in Nicaragua…Campeche in Mexico…you know these havens come with a rock-bottom price tag, but on what, exactly, do expats in these locations spend their money on? We’ve asked on-the-ground experts for a detailed breakdown of what a typical couple might spend each month. Here’s what they said.
Some of the best properties up for grabs in the countries that topped IL’s Global Real Estate Index 2012.
I’m often asked why my husband Dan and I chose to live in Ecuador. Why we made our home in the small, mountain town of Cotacachi, a two-hour drive from Quito, the capital city. Our response is always the same. We’re here because we love the people and culture. We feel fortunate to have a majestic pine- and eucalyptus-covered volcano right outside our window. The cool mountain climate suits us perfectly.
In this Global Real Estate Index, you’ll ﬁnd listed the 27 places in the world today that boast the most attractive, and potentially lucrative, real estate opportunities. Each of these places has something special to recommend it…some attribute you won’t ﬁnd elsewhere. Those that top the list hold the most proﬁt potential right now. Those at mid-table and below are ones to watch.
If I owned a beach house here, I don’t think I’d rent it to anyone. I’m not sure I’d want to share this place, here on the finest stretch of Ecuador’s coast. I’d want to be here…feet dangling in the lap pool, face in the bright sun and warm breezes…all the time. Well, maybe at sunset I’d amble down the steps to the beach for a dip in the mighty Pacific…
We started researching retirement property, making full use of the Internet, libraries, networking, country visits, and, of course, International Living. It was a part-time job for us…and in no particular hurry, we passed on properties that didn’t measure up; settle for less, and that’s exactly what you’ll get. In July 2006, after searching for five years, we found a property in Vilcabamba, Ecuador.
You’ll find Ecuador’s nicest stretch of coast in the north. It runs for 100 miles of sandy beaches, rocky coves and steep forested hills around the town of Jama. RETA members have bought beach homes here—at the Jama Campay project.
When I was in Cancun recently for International Living’s Ultimate Event, Francisco, the developer at Jama Campay, burst into the exhibit hall waving pieces of paper. “I have it…I have it…I got it yesterday…just before I got on the plane…” He was talking about permits—his condos are now permitted.
Fast-Track Ecuador: Lifestyle & Opportunity Conference
February 7-9, 2013 – Quito, Ecuador
Are you looking for a place with perfect weather year-round, a U.S.-dollar-based economy, top-notch medical care at one-fourth to one-tenth the costs of the U.S., affordable private health insurance plans and a new free government health plan, a retirement program that will save you thousands of dollars a year? If yes, join us in Ecuador this August for our Fast-Track Ecuador: Lifestyle & Opportunity Conference. Discover a place where you can live life like it’s meant to be lived.
Fast-Track Ecuador: Lifestyle & Opportunity Conference
February 7-9, 2013 – Quito, Ecuador
Are you looking for a place with perfect weather year-round, a U.S.-dollar-based economy, top-notch medical care at one-fourth to one-tenth the costs of the U.S., affordable private health insurance plans and a new free government health plan, a retirement program that will save you thousands of dollars a year? If yes, join us for the 2013 Fast-Track Ecuador: Lifestyle & Opportunity Conference. Discover a place where you can live life like it’s meant to be lived.