Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

Today’s Quito is a world-class metropolis with happy surprises tucked in so many corners. You wouldn’t know that, of course, if you’ve only flown in and out of its international airport. If your only experience of Quito is spending time stalled in traffic on your way out of the city, your opinion may not be high. But spend even a few days getting to know her and you’ll find that Quito is a very special place.

 Often called the “most beautiful big city in South America” for its location in the palm of a valley cupped between towering Andean peaks, Quito has so many parks and plazas, it’s hard to pick a favorite.

The 14,000-acre Parque Metropolitano, bordering the city’s Bellavista neighborhood, is the largest urban park in South America. (For comparison, New York’s Central Park is just 834 acres.) Hiking here, in the maze of forested paths, is a nature lover’s delight—the air smells of eucalyptus and pine, and from atop the eastern ridge, the views of Quito to the west, and to the east, the valley and volcanoes beyond is something you’ll not soon forget.

On a clear summer day in Quito, in fact, you’ll see the snow-topped Antisana, Cotopaxi and Cayambe volcanoes looming over the city. (That’s the way it appears, but they’re actually some distance away.)

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IL’s Calender of Events: Live a Life of Luxury in Ecuador

This year’s winner of our Global Retirement Index has it all. Ecuador is fringed by miles and miles of Pacific beaches. You’ll find the high mountains of the Andes, vibrant cities and quaint colonial towns. Explore fertile lowlands and see the splendid rainforests of the Amazon. All this for a fraction of the cost of living in the U.S. With its year-round perfect weather and political stability, it’s not difficult to see why growing numbers of expats are discovering the retirement of their dreams in Ecuador.

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Festivals Around the World: Cherry-Pit Spitting, Lanterns and Piñatas

The enticing smell of bratwurst and gingerbread wafts through the city. Everywhere you’ll see stalls adorned with medieval regalia and in the old quarter you’ll find an old-fashioned carousel. Welcome to Nuremburg, home to Germany’s most famous Christmas market. It lasts until December 24. While northern Europe might be caked in snow throughout much of December, in the southern hemisphere summer is in full swing. Head Down Under to soak up some rays at Australia’s National Cherry Festival, which takes place from December 5 to 7 in the town of Young in New South Wales.

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IL’s Calendar of Events: Live a Life of Luxury in Ecuador

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 currency calculations or exchange risks. And real estate costs? They’re among the lowest we’ve found anywhere in the world.

The 5 Best Places to Retire in Ecuador

In Ecuador, you’ll not only be in the middle of the world, but you could be on top of it. That’s because thanks to its location on the equatorial “bulge,” the peak of the country’s 20,564-foot Mt. Chimborazo is the point on the Earth’s surface that’s the farthest from the Earth’s core and closest to the sun. There truly is something for everyone here. Mountains, beaches, rainforests, cities, and small towns…all with a price tag nearly anyone can afford. By the way, Ecuador’s currency is the U.S. dollar—no currency conversions necessary.

IL’s Calender of Events: Relocate and Earn Overseas

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? You could spend half the year in your own cottage on the beach…work in the mornings and snorkel and relax in the afternoons.

Vilcabamba, Ecuador

Which of Ecuador’s Highland Towns Is for You?

I’ve always loved to explore the areas in which I live. Whether I was bushwhacking through wild Alaskan terrain or driving down dusty country roads in Minnesota farm country, I relished the thrill of seeing what’s around the next bend. It could be a fantastic little family-owned apple orchard or a mama moose with newborn twins.

Loja, Ecuador: A City that will Surprise You

Until a few days ago my knowledge of coffee was as follows: buy a bag at the store once in a while and drink a couple of cups to get me going each day. I’ve just returned from an extremely interesting tour, organized by the owner of a local coffee shop here in Cuenca, Ecuador, with a new-found appreciation for my morning beverage.

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Retired and Bored: Panama May Not Meet Your Expectations

As International Living’s Panama Editor, I travel several times a year to speak at conferences. Often the image people have is of a country with pretty beaches, plenty of palm trees…and not much else. One of the questions I get most is: “Will I be bored there?” If you’re expecting to take it easy and have a quiet retirement, you may want to think again. Bluntly speaking, it’s nearly impossible to be bored or even inactive here.

Teaching English from Ecuador to Taiwan

When I quit my job to travel the world for a year‚ the last thing I wanted to do was work. Well, at least not in the capacity that I used to as an editor in Manhattan. In fact‚ part of the reason I left the country was to take a break from the New York corporate rat race. When I first moved to Quito, Ecuador in 2012‚ I worked at two language schools teaching English. But after several months‚ I wanted to explore another way to make money.

Baños, Ecuador: Hot Springs, Waterfalls, and Miracle Cures

For many visitors, Baños’s thermal baths are miracle enough. You’ll find several places to soak away to your heart’s content here, in pools of varying degrees of delicious heat. The most popular public baths are right in town at the base of the 260-foot waterfall called Cascada de la Virgen, where Nuestra Señora allegedly once appeared. A shrine there is dedicated to her and her healing waters.

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In Pictures: Six of the Best Mountain Towns in Ecuador

Recent years have seen the small South American country of Ecuador attract many foreigners to its borders. The low cost of living, diverse geography, and ease of immigration are just a few factors that make this equatorial nation appealing.

Fall in Love with Jungle Life in Tena, Ecuador

Toucans and macaws glide around the lush jungle canopy and scores of monkeys parade through the overhanging branches. Neon-green and electric-blue butterflies of preposterous sizes flit across gurgling streams, while waterfalls drop into deep pools. Welcome to one of my favorites among Ecuador’s secret spots…a place hidden in the east of the country, where indigenous shamans still perform timeless rituals and a small number of adventurous expats have found new lives surrounded by nature.

Become a South Pole Adventurer, England on Horseback, Brazil’s Vineyards…And Much More

Become a South Pole Adventurer, England on Horseback, Brazil’s Vineyards…And Much More

Imagine your own floating home, one that takes you from port to port as you island-hop the Caribbean or delve into the history and culture of the Mediterranean… A yachting retirement is surprisingly affordable and for an increasing number of adventuresome folks it’s more than just an idle dream. In fact, in the right places it often costs a lot less than “traditional” retirement back home.

Los Establos, Panama

2014 Fast-Track Panama Package

2014 Fast-Track Panama Package
Panama City – April 2014

You can live comfortably on the beach in Panama for just $1,500 a month with many foreign retirees are doing exactly that. Panama’s Pensionado program is widely recognized as the best retirement program in the world, you too can retire in paradise.

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No Experience? In Ecuador That’s No Problem

Let me tell you about three young college graduates from Oregon who landed in Ecuador early in 2012. They were eager to go into business. They didn’t have a lot of experience but they did come up with a terrific idea. Ryan, Nathan, and Daniel—all now aged 25—were used to the good craft beers of home. Could they make a microbrewery work in Ecuador?

Quito

Safety in Ecuador: How to Avoid the “Bull’s Eye” Effect

We are asked constantly about safety for expats living abroad, and in particular about safety in Ecuador, the country where we currently live. A lot of these questions start like this: “How safe is it in Ecuador? I heard a story about a couple who got robbed there.” This is a big issue for potential expats, and in today’s hyper-connected Internet environment, a morning blog post about robberies in Ecuador can be the topic of discussion over lunch in Portland or Charleston. But two major points need to be made.

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This is Why People are Moving to Ecuador

I can’t give you one good reason why Americans and Canadians are coming in droves to Ecuador…because there are dozens of very good reasons. There are so many that I can’t list them all here…but based on a recent trip there, I can tell you what some of the best reasons to live in Ecuador are.

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If You Never Want to Meet an Expat in Ecuador…

In our years abroad, my wife, Suzan, and I have met expats who told us clearly that it was their intention to live someplace where they never saw another expat again. Although I admire the spirit and determination of this kind of total immersion, I can’t help but recall what an expat in the real estate trade in Mexico told us many years ago.

Ecuador

This Ecuadorian “Eco-Valley” Won’t Stay Undiscovered for Long…

This thick cover acts as one of the few remaining intact habitats for elusive pumas, jaguars, and other smaller felines. The endangered spectacled bear also calls the Intag home along with hundreds of varieties of exotic birds. As the condor flies, this cloud forest valley is not far from the market town of Otavalo. In fact, it’s only 35 miles away by road. But for years now that one-and-only road has been a narrow, mountain-hugging dirt track accessible only from the towns of Otavalo or Cotacachi.

Quito

2014 Fast-Track Ecuador Package

2014 Fast-Track Ecuador Package
Quito, Ecuador – February 2014

Ecuador has it all: sophisticated historical cities, miles of unspoiled beaches, temperate mountain hideaways… perfect weather year-round… top-notch, low-cost medical care, low-cost health insurance… low-cost transportation (you won’t need a car)… overall, a very low cost of living.

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We’re Getting Complaints About Ecuador…

Another conference, another 400+ people who know more about Ecuador and living overseas than they’d ever imagined. And again, after this latest Fast-Track Ecuador Conference, more than a few attendees have come up to me with dazed looks in their eyes to say that they’re simply overwhelmed by the amount of information and networking they’ve […]

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Moving Our Family to Cotacachi Changed Everything

Two years ago, my husband David and I broke the news to our friends and family that we would be moving to Ecuador. We enjoyed much about our life in the States, but we didn’t like the high-pressure work environment and focus on consumerism. We longed to break out of the corporate rat race and have the chance to work for ourselves.

The southern and south-western parts of the South Island of New Zealand have a cooler and cloudier climate, while the northern and north-eastern parts of the South Island are the sunniest.

Best Place For Climate when Retiring Overseas

Tired of shoveling snow, braving the torrential rain or wrapping up against the bitter cold? If so, check out these top three places to retire for a better climate as ranked in International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2014. With a perfect score of 100 and for the second year in a row, Ecuador comes out top in the Climate category and is the overall runner up in this year’s Global Retirement Index. Lying directly on the equator, it enjoys 12 hours of direct equatorial daylight 365 days a year.

For the fifth year in a row, Ecuador has ranked number one for great value property.

The Best Places to Buy Real Estate When You Retire Overseas

Whether you are looking for a home on the coast, on an island or in a colonial city, these three countries have the best value real estate. If your dream home includes a pool, a big back yard in which to swing from a hammock in the sun, a place close to the beach where you can snorkel, relax with a good book or watch the sunset…rest assured, you can have it—because your real estate dollar stretches further overseas. You can buy a superior property in a better location for the same amount or less than you would spend on a home in the U.S.

Penang, a cultural melting pot, is a great place to move to with children. 
© mellsva - Fotolia.com

Best Places for Families to Retire Overseas

We all dream of giving up the rat race, packing our belongings, and moving some where warm and sunny, but why wait until you retire? Moving overseas can be a big decision, even bigger when you have children—but the benefits that make living abroad a good thing for adults are similar to those that make it a good thing for kids. A lower cost of living, healthier lifestyle, varied life and cultural experiences…they all benefit your child’s life in some way. Here are some of the best places to retire for families.

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Inside Track on Researching Your Franchise Options

One of the ways to reduce the uncertainty of moving overseas and setting up your own enterprise is to buy into a franchise—an already proven business model. The advantage of a franchise is that it has name recognition, provides you with the necessary “know how,” and much of the groundwork has already been done, which will increase your chances of success.

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“Beach Condo or City House in Ecuador? We Can Afford Both”

I’m typing this from the comfort of a lawn chair on the patio of my house in Quito. It’s early December and even though Quito is moving into winter, today is warm and sunny. Quito, Ecuador’s capital (a UNESCO World Heritage site), sits on the spine of the Andes nestled between two mountain ranges and several ice-capped volcanoes. The climate is mild, with high temperatures in the 70s and lows of around 50.

Large cities like Panama City, offer excellent and affordable health care.

Five Places to Get Affordable Health Care Overseas

In the following five countries you will pay less for health care than you do at home. And the quality is at least as good…in fact, many expats say it’s better. Affordable health care isn’t the only reason to move overseas—but it makes the move more attractive. You can get great quality health care for less abroad, lowering your monthly expenses. Panama offers excellent quality health care and modern hospitals in Panama City and other large towns or cities…

Salinas is one of the world's most inexpensive beach resorts.

Expats Reveal Their Five Favorite Restaurants in Ecuador

Ecuador has an abundance of restaurants offering cuisine from around the world. Here, our guys on the ground give you their friendly recommendations of five of the best places to eat in Ecuador.

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…

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.

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.

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.

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.

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Expats Reveal Why They Fell in Love with Ecuador

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.

How I Opened Quito's First Bagel Shop

How I Opened Quito’s First Bagel Shop

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.

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How I Opened Quito’s First Bagel Shop

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.

cuenca-spanish-speaker

Confessions of a “Taco Bell” Spanish Speaker

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

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Health Care in Ecuador: A Top Haven for Quality Care Overseas

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.

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