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
We’re looking for someone to spend a month in the world’s top retirement haven—on us. If you like the idea of relaxing in a spring-like climate, exploring a colonial University city, making new and interesting friends from all over the world, trying new things and maybe even reporting about your adventures…this could be for you.
Sell your winter clothes, and prepare for the adventure of your lifetime. In Ecuador, every cliché you’ve heard about living large on little money-about settling into the lap of luxury on even a pensioner’s budget-is true. Ecuador is gentle…safe…healthy…private…civil. As one friend of ours put it: “It’s like living in the 1950s in the U.S.” And from snow-capped volcanoes to dense Amazon jungle, from sun-drenched Pacific beaches to the famous Galapagos Islands, this is a place of astounding natural beauty. Ecuador: The Owner’s Manual will provide you with all the information you will need for moving or investing in this beautiful country.
When my wife, Suzan Haskins, and I moved overseas in 2001, we had no idea how much we didn’t know about living abroad. But we learned quickly. I still remember trying to figure out the nuts and bolts of Spanish hardware…literally.
When my wife, Suzan Haskins, and I visited the Ecuador coast recently, one of the nicest surprises was Bahia de Caraquez. It’s hard not to describe this little city of 20,000 people as a gem.
Ecuador’s nicest 100-mile stretch of coast used to be difficult to get to. That’s changed with the new highway. One strong opportunity I’ve told you about on this coast is Jama Campay.
This is where you can buy a 1,800-square-foot home perched above…yet only steps from…a white-sand beach. From your lap pool you have views past the beach and breaking waves to the Pacific Ocean.
Look at the right places beyond our borders today, and you’ll find you have more good choices than ever for a comfortable – even a pampered – retirement. In any one of our top 19 havens for 2012, a lifestyle well beyond your reach in the States could be yours for pennies on the dollar. In this, our annual Global Retirement Index, we bring you the top choices available on the planet today.
One of the key strengths that saw Ecuador surge to the top of the 2012 Retirement Index is its rock-bottom cost of living. However, prices vary from one part of the country to another. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular locations within Ecuador…and the budgets that come with them. First up is Ecuador resident and IL’s writer Suzan Haskins…
Ecuador stormed to the top of our list in the cost of living stakes. We’ve heard from couples who are living well on $800—and less. Everything from home rentals and health insurance cover to eating out and motoring costs come in significantly lower than in the U.S. There are also regional differences – small towns like Cotacachi are significantly cheaper than the bigger cities.
Panama has put together the most appealing program of special benefits for foreign residents and retirees you’ll find anywhere in the world today. Its pensionado, or pensioner visa program, is extremely generous. If you become a pensionado, you’ll also be entitled to a one-time exemption of duties on the importation of household goods (up to $10,000) and an exemption every two years of duties…
Whether your dream retreat is a graceful colonial home with lavish gardens, a simple beachfront bungalow where you can prop up your feet and watch the tide roll in, an expansive hacienda with enough acreage for horses to roam, or a cliff-side villa with sunset views and cool, steady breezes, you’ll find it in Mexico.
In the modern world, you live to work, but in Ecuador, you work to live,” says Jeff Stern of his new home in the country’s colonial capital. Becoming a successful chocolatier who creates artisanal chocolates is just the latest twist in Jeff’s journey. A San Diego native, Jeff ﬁrst visited Ecuador in 1994 when studying for a Master’s degree in community and regional planning. After a short career in foreign aid development, he changed course in 2001 and started down a culinary path. Jeff worked in restaurants, catering, and as a personal chef before a part-time job in a chocolate store opened his eyes to the world of chocolate.
This home is in a chic beach community called Punta Blanca around 15 minutes north of Salinas on Ecuador’s Paciﬁc Coast. Sitting right next to a long white-sand beach, the community feels private, with spacious architect-designed houses and an exclusive beach club.
I walked into Susana’s home on a Saturday night… a magnificent contemporary that overlooks the city of Cuenca, Ecuador, from a hillside high above. About half of her guests had already arrived and were seated around a conversation pit that faced a stunning glass wall through which we could see an ocean of sparkling city lights below…
Miles-deep canyons with clear fresh water rushing over car-sized boulders, and green-velvet mountainsides where women in native garb tend small herds of cows and goats. Welcome to Ecuador’s mountains. From the northern city of Ibarra and the artisan villages of Otavalo and Cotacachi through the popular weekender town of Baños to the glorious southern colonial city of Cuenca, if mountain living is your preference you’ll love it here.
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A couple of years ago a friend came to visit us in Ecuador. Once here, he realized that the biggest expense of his trip was his airfare. With nice hotel rooms priced at $30 a night (including breakfast); full meals, including beverage, for $2.50; and beers for $1 or a glass of wine for $2, he was hardly spending anything to kick around the country.
When my old boss asked us if we wanted to go to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, over Christmas week, we jumped at the chance. It was such an amazing experience we never looked back. A Christmas in Mexico with all its color, warmth and vibrancy became our new family tradition. We didn’t miss the snow. The gorgeous blue waters and the long, warm evenings saw to that.
As a member of our little group you will know that we have a strong opportunity to profit on Ecuador’s north coast. A new highway has reduced drive time from the capital, Quito, to the coast. What once took eight hours now takes three and a half hours.
We can buy a lot in Jama Campay, a “best in class” project, with a manageable down payment and monthly payments of $416.
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There may be no better place in the world right now to buy beachfront real estate than Ecuador. But don’t just take it from me. In its annual International Home Price Comparison Index, global real estate giant Coldwell Banker has named Ecuador as the lowest-priced real estate market in the world for the past several years.
As far as I’m concerned, Ecuador rocks. It may be a small country, but it has more to offer than you can imagine…great cities and quiet villages….the majestic snowcapped Andes mountains…impossibly beautiful beaches…and the glorious Amazon rainforest. Importantly, Ecuador has a low cost of living and some of the world’s lowest real estate prices.
Fourteen years ago, while on a Caribbean sailing trip, I decided that some day I would find my own place by the ocean. As time went on, that dream became ever-more important. I was sick and tired of corporate greed and useless politics in the U.S. It was time to make my dream a reality and check out moving overseas.
I am bullish on Ecuador’s north coast—and have been since 2009. It’s Ecuador’s nicest stretch of coast. And now a new highway joins the new coastal highway at Pedernales, opening up the seaside area around Jama—classic Path of Progress. It’s stunning here but real estate prices stayed low because it was difficult to get to. This coast is hotting up. An owner who got in two-and-a-half years ago has been able to resell his lot in a project I recommended. He sold for close to double what he paid. Not a bad return. Don’t worry. You haven’t missed out. This opportunity is only getting started.
A round-up of the weird and wonderful events taking place around the world over the coming months.
“A Good Base for a Single Woman” Name: Jan Hunsinger Age: 64 From: California Moved to: Cuenca, Ecuador When I told people I was moving to Ecuador, the reaction was always the same: “Why Ecuador?” I’d explain that only part of the country was “hot and steamy.” That Ecuador rises some 20,000 feet and you […]
If anyone needed a retirement rescue—it was Ron and Terresa Moore. But thanks to low-cost Ecuador, they’re enjoying a relaxing early retirement in a warm, sunny climate. They have quality health care for $133 a month. And today they “sleep like babies every night,” says Ron. Back in July 2007, Ron and Terresa were living easy. But fast forward to December 2008. After 30 years, they found themselves out of work.
I was at the International Living Live and Invest in Ecuador Seminar 2011 that wrapped up about a week ago. I wish you were there, too. We learned why Ecuador makes so much sense for anyone looking to find a way to stretch their modest savings and social security checks…and yet enjoy a high quality of life.
I’ve rarely seen such an explosion of interest and exploration in a country after one of our international events. The promise and potential of Ecuador has fired the imaginations of a huge percentage of our attendees here.
When Patrick Robinson lived in Hawaii, he made a snapshot list of what the perfect society might look like. The more research he did the more convinced he became that this place was Ecuador. One place in particular jumped out at him. But still, he wasn’t sure he should go off on this adventure. After all, he was more than 80 years old.
“In 2007, we had great jobs and were pulling down good money. Our retirement account was growing steadily,” says Ron Moore. “Then, it seemed like overnight, everything changed.” The car dealership where Ron and his wife, Terresa, were both part of the executive management team, went out of business. As the economy down-spiraled, so did the couple’s savings.
John and Sue live in Vilcabamba in southern Ecuador. Known as the Valley of Longevity because it’s such a healthy, stress-free place that residents commonly live to be 100 or more, you gotta figure it’s a very good thing that living there costs so little. John and Sue, who are right around 50 and have been retired for more than four years now, have a very long life ahead of them.
Over the last decade, we’ve explored much of Ecuador’s Pacific Coast—and one place we always enjoy revisiting is Puerto Lopez. It’s about halfway down the coast, midway between the larger cities of Salinas to the south and Manta to the north, right off the Ruta del Sol highway.