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 true in Ecuador.

Ecuador lies in the Northwestern corner of South America, bordered by Colombia to the north, Peru to the south and east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. At just 175,807 square miles (about the size of Nevada) Ecuador’s small size belies its incredible diversity.

The Andes Mountains form Ecuador’s backbone, and from the top of Mount Chimborazo at 20,600 feet (6,310 meters), the mountains descend on the east to dense tropical rainforests and on the west to balmy Pacific beaches. In between, you’ll find more climates, cultures, and natural wonders than almost any place on earth.

Envision your dream location—an unspoiled beach, a bustling city, university town, quiet mountain village—Ecuador has them all. Choose the place that’s right for you and start enjoying a better quality of life now.


The World’s Best Retirement Haven


In fact, Ecuador has been ranked as the best retirement destination in the world six times in the last seven years due to its exceptional quality of life and affordable cost of living in International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index.

Fresh fruits and vegetables—clean air and water—year-round temperate climate—no wonder so many expats living in Ecuador say they feel better than they have in years.

Medical care in metropolitan areas is top-notch with costs a fraction of what you would pay in North America. And now all residents of Ecuador are eligible to join the country’s Social Security healthcare system with premiums of less than $80 a month for a couple.

Ecuador offers special benefits to residents aged 65 and older. Public transportation is half price, airfare (even internationally) is significantly discounted, and seniors receive a monthly refund of sales tax paid. Plus you get to go to the front of the line at the bank and grocery store!

Whether you want to live, invest, vacation, retire, or simply relax in Ecuador, you’ll find the perfect combination of climate, culture, and affordability to make your dreams come true.

Book your flights and come take a look at all that Ecuador has to offer. The retirement life you’ve dreamed of is here waiting for you.


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Belize is a great place to explore nature.

5 Quick Questions Everyone Should Answer Before Moving Overseas

There are many benefits to moving overseas: the weather is better, your quality of life will improve and you will always have something to do. Here are a few quick questions that you should ask yourself before moving overseas. 1. What type of weather do you like? If you don’t like the snow then you should…


We Found Nirvana in Ecuador—For Less than $1,500 a Month

With the divisive and toxic nature of U.S. politics these days and the associated economic impact, I understand those who might wonder about our motivation for packing a few suitcases and moving to Ecuador’s coast nearly 18 months ago. While politics and the economy had definitely impacted our lives, our reasons for seeking a life outside the United States had nothing to do with political disagreement.

Wild Boar, Scotch And Puppets Ablaze

Wild Boar, Scotch and Puppets Ablaze

In the Kisama Heritage Village in Nagaland, northeast India, the Hornbill Festival is a huge celebration of the indigenous warrior tribes of the region. Taking place between December 1 and 7, the festival is named after the Indian Hornbill, a large and colorful forest bird. You’ll need a government permit to visit, but it’s worth it to experience the beauty contest, archery, wrestling, and lots of singing and dancing.

Wine Lovers In Paris…And More

Wine Lovers in Paris…And More

Tucked away in Ecuador’s imposing Andes mountains are hundreds of green valleys where tumbling rivers nourish fertile soils and temperatures are near perfect all year round. These are among the best places to live in the country, and expats are busily discovering them. You’ll meet couples in this mountainous region who report expenses of $1,440 a month including rent. Most do not own a car.

Healthier and Happier—The Appeal of Ecuador’s Sacred Valleys

Healthier and Happier—The Appeal of Ecuador’s Sacred Valleys

A patchwork quilt of blue-green grass stretches before you, complemented here and there with splashes of fuchsia, lavender, coral, bright yellow… The unmistakable aroma of eucalyptus hitches a ride on a fresh breeze, accented by wood smoke that you can just spy wisping its way out of a red-brick chimney poking from an adobe-walled casita, barely visible on the mountainside far across the way.

Living My Dream Life As An Author In Cuenca, Ecuador

Living My Dream Life as an Author in Cuenca, Ecuador

Three years ago I was working up to 60 hours a week as a public-school teacher in San Diego, California. The stress was killing me and depleting my joie de vivre. I didn’t want to work until the day I died, so I decided to escape the hectic and unaffordable U.S.

The World’s Best Retirement Spot

The World’s Best Retirement Spot

Winner of the 2013 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. And with Ecuador’s official currency the U.S. dollar, you needn’t worry about complicated currency calculations or exchange risks.


In Photos: Something for Everyone in Ecuador

In Ecuador, there’s something for everyone…from the die-hard adventurer who wants to follow the path of British mountaineer Edward Whymper up the slopes of 20,702-foot Mount Chimborazo to those who want to learn firsthand why Charles Darwin’s 1835 voyage to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands is called “the most famous few weeks in the history of science.”

The mestizo side of this Ecuadorian cemetery is more ornately decorated than the indigenous side, for the Day of the Dead celebration.

Five Great Traditional Festivals in Ecuador

Ecuador is famous for its colorful festivals and every town in the country has their own traditional celebrations and events throughout the year. Here are our five favorite festivals, taking place over the next couple of months, where Ecuadorians celebrate in style with fireworks, drinking, music and dancing.

Thinking outside the box led Connie and her husband Mark to their ideal retirement destination in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Living Comfortably on $1,317 a Month in Cuenca, Ecuador

When we told our closest friends that we were retiring to Cuenca, Ecuador their first words were, “Wow, that’s really thinking outside of the box!” When it came right down to it, we were trying to figure out how to survive on my husband’s pension from UPS and pay for our medical insurance premiums without both of us having to work full-time until we were in our mid-seventies.


Getting Started with a Micro-Business

For every substantial, bricks-and mortar business set up by an expat overseas, there are hundreds of small enterprises that people operate from their own homes with very little investment. Within a year of starting their micro-enterprise overseas, Jim and Mariellen Wiemann are making a profit and supplementing their retirement income. “The business allows us to purchase the things we might otherwise not have. We are planning some vacations abroad, and the business will support those adventures,” says Jim.


Setting Up Your Cottage Enterprise

When I asked my Facebook pals what they liked most about working for themselves I expected to get answers about no stressful commute, no office politics and other annoyances they had left behind. Instead the replies looked like this:• “Having customers from around the world; I never realized I could be a global entrepreneur.”


Is Ecuador the Right Place for You?

Ecuador has been at the top of so many international retirement indexes and lists in the past few years that folks are beginning to wonder if there isn’t some kind of conspiracy at work. After all, how can a single country meet every one of the requirements that retirees are looking for overseas? Simple answer—it can’t. No place can.


We’re Thriving on Ecuador’s Coast

On Tuesday, I will open my Ecuadorian bank account. No big deal; just a savings account with an ATM card. So, why am I so excited? When we arrived in San Vicente, Ecuador nearly 18 months ago, my wife Diane and I were as prepared as we were able to be, which is to say: we had a lot to learn! We had done our best to get ready for our transition, while attending to the myriad tasks necessary when making an international move.


7 Hobbies That Can Fund Your Retirement Overseas

It’s possible to pursue your hobby and bring in some cash before and during retirement. These hobbies can help you to fund your life as a retiree overseas. If you’re dreaming of an apartment in Paris…a beach house in Ecuador…a farmhouse in Italy…and the only thing holding you back is lack of capital…then read on. Your interests can turn into a career that you love…


Living in Cuenca, Ecuador, Has a Downside…

A lot of folks look forward to and truly enjoy the change of seasons. Spring blossoms…the warmth of summer…fall foliage…bundling up in winter. I would not be included in that group. I’ve never been a fan of cold weather. Whenever it snowed I enjoyed walking around and throwing snowballs for about an hour. Then I was ready for it to go away so I could put on a bathing suit.


Finding an Easier Rhythm of Life in Ecuador

I had a cute house with a backyard, a great job, a wonderful marriage, and two beautiful little boys. I was living the American dream, but it didn’t feel like it. The long hours at work meant I didn’t have time to enjoy gardening in the backyard. Our sons Diego and Dante spent more time in daycare than with us. My husband and I were once so stressed that we both forgot our wedding anniversary.


Short Hours, Good Pay, and a Place in the Sun

My fiancé and I headed out for a double date with friends in the States recently. We were visiting Florida, and our friends wanted to get our opinion on the authenticity of a new Peruvian restaurant. It was very good and very close to the real thing…right up until the check arrived! Our half of the evening came to $70—but in Cuenca, Ecuador, our home overseas, a similar meal would have been less than $50…for all four of us.


Beach Towns in Ecuador: Which is Best for You?

Where is the best beach town in Ecuador to hang your hat? Well, that depends entirely on the lifestyle, climate, and environment you’re after, of course. Because not every beach town is created equally. That’s especially true in Ecuador, where every journey along the country’s 530–mile long Ruta del Sol coast, from the border with Peru northward to Colombia, takes you through several diverse eco-systems.

Your adventure, in search of the perfect place to retire, can start somewhere like Belize.

This Is What “International Living” Looks Like…

Not so long ago, only sailors, soldiers and the super wealthy got to see the world. But today, globetrotting isn’t just a job for mariners or the preserve of the jet set. You can cruise to Europe for up to 70% off standard prices if you know how… you can use a host of websites to organize low-cost, luxurious accommodation for a few months—enough time to try a place on for size—before moving on to the next… you can sit on a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean sipping wine in April, and kick back on a beach in English-speaking Belize in May…

The Pensionado Program in Panama gives you discounts on everything from health care to entertainment, stretching your 401K further.

Living Overseas on Your 401K

According to Fidelity Investments in 2012, those aged 55 and older had an average balance of $143,300 in their 401k account. But is this enough to retire on? Maybe not in the U.S., but retiring overseas can be much more affordable than retiring in the U.S.


Find A Property Bargain in Ecuador

You’ve got the options of a cosmopolitan lifestyle in cities like Quito, Cuenca, and Salinas… or a more quiet existence in any number of smaller enclaves where you can garden with a view. And your choices extend to the kind of home you’d like as well—from the convenience of a modern high-rise condo…to the space afforded by a single-family home with a yard…to raw land on which you can build your dream escape.

Property is affordable in Ecuador compared to the U.S. and Europe.

The Top Three Best Places to Retire Overseas to Buy Real Estate

Buying real estate overseas is different in each country as they all have their own laws and rules to abide by. But once you have an in-country attorney the process should be straightforward. In International Living’s annual Global Retirement Index 2013 we took real estate into consideration when coming up with the best places to retire overseas.


How 15 Years – and a New Career – Changed My Life

My wife Suzan and I used to get dressed to go to work. No, really. Although we’re writers and have been for most of our professional lives now, there was a time when we’d have to put on the nylons and skirts and ties and slacks and sit in offices for hours on end. Flash back about 15 years. The clients we wrote for had Big Offices where they did Important Stuff that we would turn into brochures…


Thousands of Jobs That Pay You in Ecuador, Panama, Paris…

There is a tidal wave of opportunity coming your way… Opportunity that could pave the way quickly for your live-abroad move. In fact, whether you want to live in Cuenca, Panama City or Paris, that move could now be financially more comfortable…and you could make it with greater mental satisfaction than you might otherwise expect.


Medical Tourism Growing…And More

Sunsets over the Seine, croissants on the terrace, and lunch or dinner at the corner brasserie…life in Paris is as good as it sounds, and you can try it out for a lot less than you think. Just ask the folks living a “roving retirement,” many of whom make the City of Light a yearly stop.


Lend a Hand for Free Room and Board

Zero. Zilch. Nothing. Often that’s what I pay for accommodation when I travel. But I’m not roughing it. I’ve been in unique and unforgettable places around the world. I’ve made friends, met interesting people and learned new skills. Sometimes I feel as if I’ve cheated the system. But it’s entirely above board.


The World’s Best Retirement Spot

Winner of the 2013 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.


The Less Stuff…the More Room for Adventure

When my wife, Suzan Haskins, and I moved abroad 12 years ago, we had some decisions to make. We owned a large house and garage full of the usual collection of furniture, cookware, tools, books, rugs, electronics, knickknacks…all the flotsam and jetsam of American middle-class life.

Panama has the best special benefits for retirees in the world.

The Top Two Best Places to Retire Overseas and Claim Special Retiree Benefits

Many countries overseas provide retirees with special benefits, but the two that have taken the top spots in our Annual Global Retirement Index 2013 really take care of their retirees. For retiree benefits, Panama holds top place, as our Panama editor, Jessica Ramesch reports in this year’s Retirement Index.


Ecuador vs. United States

My wife and I just returned from a three-week trip to the States to visit our family. We babysat the grandchildren, ate some wonderful meals out, and purchased clothing and other provisions to bring back. We have lived in Cuenca, Ecuador for three-and-a-half years, and with each journey (there have probably been more than 10 by now) we come to appreciate more and more how fortunate we are to embrace the best of both worlds.


Work Less, Play More in Ecuador

For us, the daily grind in the States had begun to require too much work for too little reward. Expenses were rising and both my wife and I had reached a level of dissatisfaction with our careers. It was time for a major change. It was time to slow down, work less, and enjoy more of life! This would not happen by accident. We made a plan. After some months of research, Ecuador emerged as the location for our next chapter. Having spent many years in Alaska…

Some simple strategies could salvage your retirement to places like Vilcabamba, Ecuador.

Top Strategies for Retirement Abroad

Many who were on the fast track to retirement have now seen their retirement savings depleted and their plans sidetracked. Many wonder if they can retire at all, much less earlier than planned.
With a few simple strategies and ideas there are a couple of ways to salvage your retirement plans.

Real estate in Cuenca, Ecuador is a bargain.

Real Estate in Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca is known for its rich intellectual and artistic traditions that match its colonial architecture. It is famous for its colorful festivals and is one of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ecuador. Located on the southern edge of the mountains, Cuenca is Ecuador’s third largest city. Here foreigners have the same rights as citizens to own property…and real estate in Cuenca is a bargain.


“How We Opened Our Ecuadorian Tea Shop”

Location is a huge part of success in business…particularly when you’re dependent on foot traffic. When Cody Leigh Brown of Montana decided to set up a tea shop in Ecuador, she chose Cumbayá, a fashionable suburb of Quito, as her location. It just happens to be home to the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, where more than 5,000 students are enrolled.

A couple can live near San José, Costa Rica for just $1,700 a month.

Americans Living Off Their Retirement Savings Overseas

The average U.S. Social Security check is $1,230 a month for a retired worker. That may not seem like a lot–but when you retire overseas you can cut your cost of living. Below are stories from expats who did just that.

Cuenca, Ecuador is famous for its colorful festivals, food and beautiful scenery...and has a low cost of living.

Top Five Cities to Retire To

First-World cities packed with ultra-modern amenities, and ancient vineyard-shrouded hill towns close to tropical beaches and mountain valleys. Among the top retirement spots in the world this year, you’ll find great variety in the cultural offerings, climates and lifestyles. Each destination is desirable in its own way, but they all offer something increasingly hard to come by at home: A good quality of life for a reasonable price.

Ecuador enjoys a spring- like climate all year round.

The Top Three Best Places to Retire Overseas and Enjoy a Great Climate

Many places all over the world have great climates, but those that took the top three spots in our Annual Retirement Index 2013 are three of the best. The country taking the number one spot not just in the climate category but overall in the Retirement Index lies directly on the equator. It enjoys 12 hours of direct equatorial daylight 365 days a year.

A Confession: I Misjudged This Ecuadorian City...

A Confession: I Misjudged This Ecuadorian City…

When I first arrived in Ecuador in 2001, a local friend told me that “money is made in Guayaquil and spent in Quito”: Guayaquil being the commercial center of Ecuador and Quito the country’s governmental center.


Where to Vacation Like Incan Royalty

Brilliant yellow sunflowers, lush green ferns, banana, papaya and palm trees…the Vilcabamba valley is a nature lover’s retreat. You’ll see soaring vultures, vivid black and red tanagers, and small powder-blue finches that flit from tree to tree.

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Announcing: The Best Places in the World to Retire for 2016

For the 25th year in a row, we’ve ranked, rated, compared, and contrasted the best retirement havens in the world.

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With this special offer, you can get a copy of this brand-new Index immediately—FREE.

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Your Chance to Retire Overseas Now

Sign up for our free daily Postcard e-letter and we'll immediately send you a FREE RESEARCH REPORT on the most desirable —and cheapest— retirement havens available to you today.

Each day you'll learn about the best places to retire, travel, buy real estate and enjoy life overseas.

Enter your E-mail Address Below

We Value Your Privacy.