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.


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Fast Facts About Ecuador

  • 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


Finding Treasures in Otavalo, Ecuador

Finding Treasures in Otavalo, Ecuador

Some years back, while shopping in Ecuador, my friend and I visited the sprawling market in Otavalo. It’s home to a huge collection of indigenous South American crafts. Music pulsed and the enticing aromas from outdoor grills filled the air. The plaza and surrounding streets were filled with vendors offering everything imaginable. Handbags, antique bowls, jewelry…there was something for everyone.


Best Beach Condos on Ecuador’s Pacific Coast

On Friday I told you about the opportunity to buy a lot at the Jama Campay project on Ecuador’s North Coast. Members of our little group can buy a lot with a starting price of $32,256. With the special member-only finance terms, we can buy this lot with a down payment of $16,128 and monthly payments of $448. But maybe you are looking for something more turnkey?


Best Beach Deal on Ecuador’s Pacific Coast

Ecuador’s nicest 60-mile stretch of coast is now accessible. It’s here, on the best part of this stretch of Pacific Coast, in a “best in class” project, that we can buy a lot from $32,256. This is an “off market” deal—14 lots in this project are only available to members of Real Estate Trend Alert. With the special member-only finance terms, we can buy this lot with a down payment of $16,128 and monthly payments of $448.

The Next Best Thing to Being in Ecuador

The Next Best Thing to Being in Ecuador

If anyone needed a retirement rescue—it was Ron and Terresa Moore. “Our 401k turned into a 201k after the economy went sour in 2008,” Ron joked today. Their story is all too familiar. Back in July 2007, Ron and Terresa made six-figures managing a car dealership, they had real estate and $1.2 million in assets. But fast-forward to December 2008.

More Than 300 North Americans Come to Ecuador to Explore What This Country Has to Offer

More Than 300 North Americans Come to Ecuador to Explore What This Country Has to Offer

As the emcee for many of International Living’s seminars and conferences, I’m used to full attendance at our events, and this one was no exception. Getting more than 300 North Americans to come to Ecuador to explore all that this amazing little country has to offer doesn’t really surprise me anymore…nor do the record crowds we’ve been hosting all over the world at all our recent events.


Moving to Ecuador: What About the Grandchildren?

One of the major concerns for retirees considering relocation abroad is being separated from their grandchildren. My wife and I weren’t grandparents when we arrived in Cuenca, Ecuador over two years ago. Now we have a 1-year-old granddaughter and two more grandbabies on the way.


“Is Ecuador Everything You Hoped?”

Six years ago, Sue and I saw our home in Vilcabamba, Ecuador for the very first time. Even though it was our first day ever in South America and we hadn’t even seen the town of Vilcabamba yet, we agreed to buy the property five minutes after stepping through the blue steel gate that was the entrance to the property. And, as it turned out, to our new life.

Why Ecuador?

2012 Fast Track Ecuador Package

Fast Track Ecuador Package
Quito, Ecuador – August 2012
Ecuador has it all: sophisticated historical cities, miles of unspoiled beaches, temperate mountain hideaways…perfect weather year-round…top-notch, low-cost medical care…the lowest cost of living we’ve found yet (One expat couple reports monthly expenses as low as $800!)… and the world’s lowest real estate prices.


No Regrets Retiring to Ecuador

Many people dream of retiring to a foreign country and starting an exciting new life. But the uncertainty of such a bold transition…and the niggling questions it raises…sometimes prevents those dreams coming true. “What will my life really be like?” “What if I need medical attention?” “What if I miss my family too much?”

Copywriting More Than Covers my Cost of Living in Ecuador

“Copywriting More Than Covers my Cost of Living in Ecuador”

My friend Michael was in shock. It was understandable since he’d never seen me “work” in the traditional sense of the word. With all the time I spend eating out, going to concerts and exploring the downtown shops of Cuenca, Ecuador, he thought I was a member of the idle rich.


Long Life and Low Costs in Vilcabamba, Ecuador

In Vilcabamba, Ecuador, you feel like you could live forever. It’s no wonder that this boasts of being the “Valley of Longevity,” where long, healthy lives are common and many of the locals claim to be centenarians—living well into their 100s. Perhaps it’s the climate. Just shy of the equator in southern Ecuador and at an elevation of 5,000 feet, temperatures in Vilcabamba average between 65 F and 81 F.


“We Decided to Enjoy Our Lives so We Moved to Ecuador”

It was time to stop putting life on hold…and time to start living it. “We saw the value of our savings plunge as we were nearing retirement age,” says Edd. “Rather than continue to work for too many more years trying to correct this problem, we decided to retire, relocate, and enjoy the rest of our lives.”


“My Visit to a Doctor in Cuenca”

Imagine a country where a doctor personally greets you and takes you into his small office for a consultation. Where you have his personal cell number and most “appointments” are drop-by visits with no waiting around. A place where that doctor makes house calls and you won’t be charged for any follow-up visits to the office…


Long Life, Low Costs in Ecuador’s Sacred Valley

The morning mist burns away to reveal an expanse of velvety mountains and the green-carpeted valley in all its glory. Fresh air and blazing blue skies are to be expected here in the Andes. Here, you feel like you could live forever. It’s no wonder that this boasts of being the “Valley of Longevity,” where long, healthy lives are common and many of the locals claim to be centenarians—living well into their 100s.


Ecuador: The Most Affordable Place on Our Beat

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.

Properties that Earn their Keep

Properties that Earn their Keep

Every month we take a look at some of the properties available around the world. This time out, we’re highlighting properties that not only provide you with a roof over your head, but an income to boot. Escape to Ecuador’s Yunguilla Valley and surround yourself with blossoming fruit trees and fresh fish on your own tropical property.


Relocating to Cuenca, Ecuador

Exhaustive research turned up a city we’d never heard of called Cuenca in the highlands of Ecuador, a country we knew next to nothing about. But Cuenca appeared to meet all of our criteria, and a “look/see” trip confirmed this could be The Place, so we took the plunge… our standard of living exceeds the lifestyle we enjoyed in the States with two six-figure incomes.

An Honest Conversation About Ecuador

An Honest Conversation About Ecuador

When Jack sold his business in South Florida to take a few years off, and his wife retired from the bench, they could have lived almost anywhere… They chose a little mountain town in Ecuador. Jack was Dan Prescher’s guest on IL Radio recently, and they openly discussed what Ecuador has to offer North Americans.


Three Mountain Retreats in Ecuador

Friends in Ecuador couldn’t decide between the mountains and the beach. So they chose both. Because Ecuador may be the most affordable expat haven ever, you can do that here. For $114,000 total, our friends bought two condos—one beachfront and one with a mountain view. And their monthly expenses are less than $900.


A Better Climate and Lower Costs in Ecuador

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.


Teaching English in Quito, Ecuador (No Experience Necessary)

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.

Five Secrets to Paying for A Life Overseas

Five Secrets to Paying for A Life Overseas

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.

The Real Fantasy Island

The Real Fantasy Island

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…


Living in Loja, Ecuador: The Valley of Smiles

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.


How Much to Live in Vilcabamba, Ecuador?

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.

Making Money in Canoa, Ecuador

Making Money in Canoa, Ecuador

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.

Winners of IL's Win a Dream Retirement Overseas Contest

Winners of IL’s Win a Dream Retirement Overseas Contest

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.


News & Notes from Around the World

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 […]

“I Could Have Doubled my Money”

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, […]

Loja Off The Expat Trail In The Valley Of Smiles

Loja: Off the Expat Trail in the Valley of Smiles

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.”

Ecuador Best Retirement Haven In The World

Ecuador: Best Retirement Haven in the World

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.

A Rich Man’s Peace Of Mind On A Meager Budget

A Rich Man’s Peace of Mind on a Meager Budget

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.


Vilcabamba, Ecuador: The Valley of Longevity

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…


Beach Towns to Explore in Ecuador

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.


Where Should You Live in Coastal Ecuador?

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…


Life in Loja, Ecuador

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.

Loja, Ecuador: Where You'll Enjoy the Best Climate in the World

Loja, Ecuador: Where You’ll Enjoy the Best Climate in the World

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 for $100 a Month in Ecuador

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.


Your Best Chance to Visit Ecuador

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…


Beach Life in Ecuador

“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.

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