If you’re 65 or older and looking for an incentive to retire overseas, take a look at what Ecuador can offer you. Unlike Panama’s pensionado program, which is aimed at foreign residents, Ecuador’s senior citizen discount program is intended to help its own citizens.
However, because the country’s constitution guarantees foreign residents the same rights as citizens, you can enjoy the same benefits as locals.
And the Ecuadorian Constitution actually guarantees those rights. Articles 36, 37, and 38 detail specific rights and protections for men and women 65 years and older—what Ecuadorians call tercer edad, or “third age.”
These articles spell out prioritized treatment and protections that include:
- Specialized healthcare free of charge and free access to medicines
- Tax exemptions on some municipal and utility taxes
- Exemption from notary and registration fees
- Preferential care in cases of disasters or emergencies
- Special care and assistance for those with chronic or degenerative diseases
…and much more. The Constitution also states that abandonment or mistreatment of the elderly by relatives or institutions is punishable by law.
Of course, what gets the most attention, and what expats are most likely to be taking advantage of, are the benefits covered in Article 37, Item 4—“Discounts in public services and private transportation services and entertainment”
Here are some of the items included in Ecuador’s over-65 discount program:
- 50% off public and private transportation within the country (including the Galapagos—by the way, just having a National Identity card gets you a 90% discount on the park entry fee).
- 50% off tickets for all cultural and sporting events, including movies.
- A discount on electric and water bills.
- Free domestic landline phone service (does not include long distance and other services).
- Reductions in a variety of taxes, including rebates of a portion of sales taxes (these vary according to goods or services purchased).
Although not officially part of the government’s program, one of the most popular discounts for foreign residents is the 50% airfare reduction (airfare only, no discount on airport fees, fuel surcharges, tax, etc.) for international travel offered by airlines such as Avianca, Copa Airlines, LATAM, and Ecuador’s Tame. All offer flights to the U.S. as well as other countries. The discount applies to round-trip tickets purchased in Ecuador for flights originating within the country. You also must purchase the tickets in person at one of their ticket counters or with a certified Ecuadorian Travel Agent, to present verification of age. The discount is available to all citizens and residents over the age of 65.
The cherry on top of retiring to Ecuador is that citizens and residents over 65 won’t waste a lot of time standing in line. If you’re a senior citizen, when you make a bank deposit or pay your utility bill, you will find there is a special line for “tercer edad.” Likewise in grocery stores, but even if there is not a special line, you may just go directly to the head of the line…so you’ll have more time to relax and enjoy your retirement in Ecuador.