I've lived in Ecuador for five years now, and while I enjoy the slow pace of life, the surrealistic vistas, and the perfect weather every day of the year, I've also come to love the country's culture of celebration.
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.
I'm going to let you in on a secret. There exists a beautiful, small city full of friendly locals, lovely buildings, and interesting parks. Its climate is akin to the southern coast of California with comfortably warm summer days and only an occasional need for a sweatshirt in the winter.
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.
There's a small city in Ecuador that you might never have heard of. But if you're looking for a retirement destination, it's got a lot to offer. Called Ibarra, it's Ecuador's northernmost mountain city. You're not alone if it's unfamiliar to you. Though I, and several hundred other expats, live just 30 minutes away in the small town of Cotacachi, Ibarra gets too little attention considering how attractive it is as an expat destination. Why doesn't it get the recognition it deserves, you ask? Well, it's partly because Ibarra lost much of its original colonial architecture to an earthquake over 100 years ago. Not that you'd notice much—the buildings that replaced the wrecked ones are a pretty good replica of colonial style.
Ecuador is packed full of beauty, and it comes in many different forms. I've walked along golden beaches awash with turquoise waves. I've explored cloud forests under a lush canopy of broad-leaved trees.
By now it’s no secret that Ecuador is a very affordable place to live. In fact, my life in the little mountain town of Cotacachi is so inexpensive that I can support my family of four as a part-time freelancer.
Cuenca, Ecuador has caught the eye of many retirees. Thanks to coverage by outlets like NBC, Forbes, and USA Today, the city is gaining more international attention. And here at International Living, Cuenca gets frequent exposure due to our belief that it’s one of the world’s best destinations for living abroad.
Ecuador’s coast draws people from around the world who are looking to enjoy sun-drenched beaches, crystal-blue waters, and wildlife—including humpback whales during their seasonal migration.
“We have horses, pigs, geese, dogs, and one chicken,” says Deb Swansburg. Caring for so many animals may not sound like a relaxing retirement to everyone, but for Deb it’s the perfect life. Deb spent the last 20 years in New Mexico...