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.
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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Real estate prices in Ecuador are low—among the lowest anywhere. That means you can find some of the best bargains in the world. So if you choose this country, you may decide it makes sense to buy a residence.
No matter how affordable the destinations we talk about are, the simple fact is: You can’t live anywhere for free… But what if you had an income that went with you? An income that could give you the freedom you need to just pick up and go?
Our journey to Ecuador started a few years ago. First the bottom fell out of the U.S. economy…and the equity in our home vanished in a few months. Then I had my second heart attack and lost my job—just about the time that retirement was looming.
For the last three years, I’ve lived in Cuenca, Ecuador. During that period I’ve experienced a profound transformation in the way I approach life. This beautiful mid-sized colonial city has a special magic to it. Shy vendors in our open mercados…
Out of all the countries International Living writes about, one in particular shines. It’s topped our Global Retirement Index—our pick of the 22 best countries to retire in the world—five years in a row…has a temperate climate year-round…offers a higher quality of life at an affordable price (cost of living can be as low as $900 a month)…and has a city, town or village to suit every taste or budget.
It’s not necessarily about having specialist training or qualifications. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of thinking outside the box.
Oh boohoo! A lot of my family and friends back in Wisconsin were complaining on Facebook about the winter they had this past spring.
Sometimes a business idea appears as if by magic. Rich Westcott worked full time as a magician in the U.S. for 20 years, performing over 700 times a year at the peak of his career. As the economy took a downturn and his work began to wind down, he and his wife Patricia realized they were facing a dim future.
No matter how affordable the destinations we talk about are, the simple fact is: You can’t live anywhere for free…But what if you had an income that went with you?
Ecuador, “The Land of Eternal Spring”, has it all—low cost of living, great health care and one of the most perfect climates in this region.
There’s only one qualification for moving overseas: you must have an adventurous spirit. If you don’t, then save your time and money and stop reading right here. Certainly, it’s okay to have some misgivings and concerns… You may, in fact, be scared to death, especially if you are selling a home…
Watching kids play at running imaginary businesses has convinced me that the entrepreneurial spirit is more inherent than we have been led to believe. They are such naturals at trading. They want to buy and sell because that’s one of the first activities they witness their parents doing. It’s engaging and creative. You can set up your stall and then draw in other kids and willing adults to act as your customers.
Consumer trends in America have a very good chance of doing well in other countries. And if you can get in early enough, you can make a very successful business selling something that has already proved its worth back home. Food is a case in point. But rather than starting from scratch, how about working with someone who has more success than they can handle.
Sometimes the most successful ideas for setting up a business overseas are right under your nose. Sometimes they are so simple, you overlook them.The very easiest thing you could produce may well have a hungry market just waiting to snap up your output. And you could be well on your way to profits with the most basic product of all—American-style food.
Walking the world and taking other people with me has given me an amazing lifestyle and a good part of my livelihood. When you live—or travel extensively—in a foreign country you get to know the places to go, the people to meet, and you make connections
The Peace Corps advertises itself as the “toughest job you’ll ever love.” It’s true—I loved that experience enough to extend my two-year commitment for a third…but I never imagined just where that experience would lead me when I got off the plane in Quito, way back in August 1982. Fast forward 13 years and you would find me opening my own bagel business.
You know the story: Go to school, buy a car, find a job, get married, buy a house…Raise the kids, get a better car, get a better job to pay for the house..
Much has been written in International Living by me and others about the tangible benefits of living in Cuenca, Ecuador—the low cost of living, the temperate climate, the lovely colonial architecture, excellent medical care, and cultural amenities plus modern conveniences.
Shortly after my son graduated from college, I talked to him about life. I told him that life is like that first big hill on a rollercoaster. At his young age, he was slowly going up…up…up…and all he could see were blue skies ahead. I, on the other hand, had crested the top…
If you want to set up business overseas, you will most likely consider doing it by yourself. But if you don’t have the language and you’re not familiar with the country itself, this can be a daunting prospect. A solution could be partnering with a local.
When my wife and I were actively considering moving abroad we created a specific checklist of what we were looking for: a low cost of living…ideal climate…proximity to our family in the States…excellent medical care…cultural activities…and modern conveniences
Patty and Mike Grimm have been in Ecuador for nearly three years. During that time, “we have pretty much covered the gamut of medical care, including dentistry, eye exams and glasses, emergency rooms, colonoscopy, mammogram, gallbladder removal, treatment for ulcers (endoscopes), and serious back treatments,” says Mike.
Costa Rica is one country that may truly have it all: A year-round tropical climate, modern cities, Caribbean beaches, Pacific coastline, rainforests, lush valleys, and majestic mountains.
Sunday morning breakfasts, poker nights, backyard barbecues, book clubs, church groups, happy hours…expats all around the world know that a sense of community is what truly makes you feel at home.
It’s exciting to explore your options for better living (at lower prices) overseas. I know when my wife Cynthia and I were doing it, we read every article in International Living…lots of expat blogs…we “eavesdropped” on forums. We couldn’t wait to experience the expat world for ourselves.
Perhaps the happiest expat couple I’ve met in Ecuador came here with what fit in their suitcases and only two things that didn’t—a guitar and a fiddle.
If you are thinking about teaching English overseas, Cuenca in Ecuador has got to be one of the easiest places to start your career. Imagine sitting back, relaxing and sipping freshly ground Ecuadorian coffee in your favorite little haunt. The sun is shining—as it does every day. Smartly dressed locals are strolling around…
For many reasons, Cuenca, Ecuador earns top billing as one of the world’s top expat destinations. The cost of living is low—three-course lunches start at $2.50—the weather is great, usually around 65 to 70 F during the day, and it’s never too cold or hot.
Our new friends paused over their meatloaf and mashed potatoes (an expat favorite served by one of the enterprising restaurateurs in our little Ecuadorian town). They had invited my wife, Suzan, and me out to lunch to seek some advice now that they’d been in town for a while. “We found the perfect house,” they said. “We have the utilities and Internet hooked up… we opened a bank account…
Ecuador, Costa Rica and Belize are three of the Latin American countries in the “cocoa belt”—the 10 degrees either side of the equator where the cacao tree grows. Here you’ll find a burgeoning cottage industry devoted to this type of chocolate making.
One look at Cotacachi, Ecuador’s famous leather street, and I knew—“I’m going to need a bigger closet…” Turns out I wasn’t far off the mark! The gorgeous, buttery leather handbags, wallets, backpacks, briefcases, and jackets were as inexpensive are they were irresistible. Heck, I almost bought a saddle…and I don’t even own a horse!
You’ll find excellent, affordable care in many locations overseas. But where? For our 2013 Health Care Survey, we asked our experts to reveal what’s on offer in seven of the world’s best havens today. These are the most popular countries with expats: places that score high on quality of life in general. Where you’ll find affordable real estate or a lower cost of living…
Ecuador is justly famous for its markets. In the country’s guild towns you can buy handmade leather goods, high-quality instruments and silver jewelry. Each town has its farmer’s market, too, where you’ll pick up enough fresh produce to last a week for around $10.
For many reasons, Cuenca, Ecuador earns top billing as one of the world’s top expat destinations. The cost of living is low—three-course lunches start at $2.50—the weather is great, usually around 65 to 70 F during the day, and it’s never too cold or hot. When we want to travel back to the U.S., it takes us as little as six-and-a-half hours’ flight time to New York (plus you’ll get a major discount on your fare if you are a resident retiree).
Six months from now, you could be living in paradise… for much less than it costs you to stay home. In the best destinations overseas, your dollar just goes further…first-class healthcare is affordable… you can afford a housekeeper or gardener…and live better than you could back home for a fraction of what you pay now…
There’s no other view in the world like it. In a cliff-top home, there’s nothing between you and the beautiful vista but empty space. You never have to worry about a house going up in front of you or that your neighbor’s new satellite dish will block your line of sight. Badminton in the back yard may be out. But morning coffee and sunset drinks on the terrace are in. If you’re on the seaside, the rumbling waves pounding the rocks below will be your lullaby.
I’ll never forget the night I sat on my living room floor counting the proceeds from my very first day in business. $2,500. Not too shabby for my first attempt. It was downright exhilarating. A few weeks earlier I had made the last-minute decision to jump on a plane bound for Ecuador. Right from the moment I stepped off the plane, everything about the country appealed to me.
The Internet is a wonderful thing. From a small condo high in the Ecuadorian Andes Mountains, my wife, Suzan, and I can view properties for sale in Omaha, Nebraska. (Which, by the way, is the perfect way to see properties in Omaha at this time of year if you no longer own a parka and mukluks…)
My teenage daughter, Sarah, and I were enjoying an afternoon at a beautiful spa near Cuenca after a full morning of shopping. Sinking into the warm mud, I couldn’t help thinking, “I’m getting paid to do this.” Perhaps I should back up. I began importing gorgeous, unique goods from Ecuador five years ago with no experience.