Better Health, Lower Costs, and Freedom to Explore in Ecuador

When Rita and I made the decision to move to the most popular beach resort in Ecuador, the number one reason was the climate. We traded cold, snowy winters and hot, blistering summers for a place where there are no extremes. We can choose to take a walk on the beach to enjoy the sunset, or get up before sunrise to get in some outdoor exercise, and never have to think about how we should dress. Our only wardrobe changes are changing from our indoor sandals to outside sandals, and deciding whether to wear sunglasses or a hat.

Here in Salinas over the past three years it has never been colder than 66 F, and rarely warmer than 98 F. Most of the time, our days are somewhere in the 80s F, our nights in the 70s F. So we are very pleased with the way things have turned out for us on that score.

But there have been many other benefits to our jump to expat life. Our health has improved due to the better lifestyle and abundance of fresh, unprocessed foods. We’ve learned about a new culture, and have made good progress in learning a new language. We’ve been able to bring most of our kids and grandkids to visit, and experience a foreign country for themselves. And, of course, we have found that our monthly expenses have dropped dramatically.

It has had a profound impact on our lives. First of all, I was able to retire from the computer/network field at the ripe old age of 57, and pursue a second career as a writer. But more importantly to us, it has made it easier for us to indulge in our favorite activity: travel.

Several of the benefits of living in Ecuador combine to make this possible for us. The lower cost of living is key, since it enables us to have more available cash for travel. The climate helps reduce the overhead of maintaining our “home base” while we are away. No need to worry about frozen pipes, for example. And, since we own our own home, the cost of maintaining that base is very low. We’ve calculated that we could lock and leave and spend less than $500 a month on things like homeowners association fees, leaving our internet service in place, and the minimal meter charges for utilities.

We have found that we can explore our new country very affordably. The regional bus systems cost about $2 per hour of the trip ($1 if you’re over 65), and if we want to rent a car, we can get one for about $45 a day. If we are in a hurry, flights to Guayaquil, Cuenca, and Quito run about $100 each, round trip.

Hotels too are not a big strain on the wallet. It is possible to stay in most hostals (hostels) for $12 to $15 per night—even as low as $4 per person in smaller beach towns like Montañita. We are at the age where comfort is more important to us than bargains, but even so, we consistently find nice rooms with WiFi and breakfast included in the $40 range. This has let us roam the coast, make trips to the southern and northern Andes, and visit cities as big as Quito and villages as small as Piñas.

And we are not finished with Ecuador yet. Next month we are going hiking, first in the Cotacachi area, then south of Quito at Lake Quilotoa. Then we are hiking to the summit of Mount Pichincha from the Teleferico cable car in Quito just before the International Living 2017 Fast Track Ecuador Conference—so if we look a little tired when you see us there, you’ll know why. We still need to visit Baños, the “Gateway to the Amazon,” and of course a trip to the Galapagos is definitely in our future.

We did not move to Ecuador just to walk along the beach and watch the waves—although we do that quite often. We moved here to enjoy good weather, and to start a new and exciting chapter of our lives. By giving us the financial freedom to afford it, and the better health to enjoy it, moving to Ecuador has expanded our horizons in ways we never thought possible.

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