Bang for Your Buck: It’s Much More Than Just Low Costs

I’ve often said that Ecuador offers expats and retirees some of the best bang-for-buck affordability in the Americas. But it’s not simply low prices that earn it that title in my book.

“Bang for your buck” means getting top value, and Ecuador is simply an unparalleled value in so many ways.

Start with the weather. It’s an old story that Ecuador’s position on the earth’s equator gives it some of the best weather on the planet. But weather is a huge factor in quality of life, and Ecuador’s weather really is some of the best you’ll find anywhere…even if your taste in weather changes.

On the equator, you choose your weather by choosing your altitude…and the weather you choose is the weather you get the entire year. My wife, Suzan, and I have spent a lot of time at 8,000 feet above sea level in the stunningly beautiful Andes Mountains, which offers 70 F days and 55 F nights every day and night of every year.

Forget for a moment what the complete lack of any need for heating or air conditioning does for your monthly bottom line. Think what year-round perfect weather does for your attitude. On any day of any month of any year, my decisions about what to wear that day came down to my favorite jeans, a cotton shirt, and my hat. A look out the window would tell me if I needed an umbrella or not. Wardrobe decisions over. Daily weather preparation done. Forever.

Not everyone I know in Ecuador likes the same weather I like, so many of them live down on the coast at sea level, where they get pretty typical tropical weather. And I know expats who crave the warmth and lushness of Ecuador’s eastern rainforests, where the headwaters of the Amazon Basin start.

In Ecuador, whatever weather they choose is what they get year around. Sometimes it’s hard for North Americans to fully appreciate this…we’ve spent our lives with changing weather, and in my own experience, anticipating and dealing with seasonal weather extremes takes up a lot of unconscious brain space over the course of a year. In Ecuador, all that worry and unconscious processing is unnecessary. I personally found the amount of time and attention freed up for other more interesting things is pretty amazing.

In Ecuador, I found a thousand interesting ways to use that freed-up time and attention, mostly by experiencing Ecuador itself. Talk about bang for buck—from the Pacific beaches to the snow-capped Andes to the wide rivers of the Amazon Basin, Ecuador’s natural wonders are literally stacked up on top of each other. Getting to them with Ecuador’s outrageously inexpensive public transportation system is easy, and marveling at them and letting them soak into your eyes and ears and mind costs nothing.

Suzan and I have been traveling to and living in various places in Ecuador for 16 years, and one thing we’ve noticed over that time is the vast improvement in Ecuador’s infrastructure, which means that, as remarkably affordable as Ecuador is, we didn’t have to give up anything in quality healthcare, passable roads, internet connectivity, or air travel connections.

Ecuador’s new international airport is up and running smoothly. New roads are everywhere. World-class hospitals are common in major metropolitan areas. Supermarkets and big-box stores are there when and if you want them.

So for me, it’s not just the low cost for rent, property, transportation, prescriptions and medical care, and local products and produce that makes Ecuador one of the greatest-value destinations for expats and retirees in the Americas.

It’s what comes with that affordability that makes Ecuador a stunning value. Long story short, it’s Ecuador itself.

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