A Comfortable Life on $750 a Month in Cotacachi, Ecuador

Cynthia Collette moved to Ecuador in 2012 from Minneapolis, Minnesota with five duffle bags and $700. Her monthly income at that time was just $600 a month.Today, she says, “My base income has gone up a bit...to about $725 a month. In the U.S., there’s no way I know of to live on that amount, even extremely frugally.”

Explore the Craft Towns of Ecuador

If you're planning a trip to Ecuador, my advice is simple: Bring the biggest suitcase you can find...two if your airline will allow it. Get on the Andean Craft Trail in the Sierra region along the Avenue of the Volcanoes that cuts north to south through Ecuador. It is full of artisan treasures that you won't be able to resist. Cotacachi, the village where I live, has a main street lined with leather shops selling jackets, boots, and shoes as well as beautiful handbags and luggage. You can even have things custom-made in a few days. And everything is so much cheaper than you would pay for it in a high-end store—either in the U.S. or in Ecuador. You'll adore Cotacachi.