Enjoy Ecuador’s Highlands for Less Than $1,050 a Month

“In Arizona, it was hot in the summer and in the winter we got snow,” says Beverley Scherberger. “I love the outdoors, but I never wanted to actually go out because of the weather.”

But in Ecuador’s temperate highlands Beverley has found her perfect climate. The average temperatures waver between evening lows in the 50s F and daytime highs of mid-70s F year round. It’s never uncomfortable, or too hot or cold to enjoy time out of the house.

Beverley spent 14 years in Sedona, Arizona making jewelry, writing non-fiction, and working in the tourism industry. “While Sedona is a beautiful spot, it’s also an expensive place to live,” says Beverley. “I never had enough money and would never be able to retire there.”

All of that changed when Beverley discovered Ecuador with its low cost of living and year-round, spring-like climate. She arrived in the northern, highland town of Cotacachi four years ago and hasn’t returned to the U.S. since. With an active expat community and a slow and relaxed pace of life, this idyllic mountain community preserves the friendly, small-town vibe that’s becoming rare in the States.

Here, Beverley enjoys a comfortable life surrounded by the natural splendor of the highlands, all for less than $1,050 a month. “I spend around $200 once a month for groceries, which isn’t bad. My water bill can run anywhere from $3 to $11, depending on if I’m watering my plants a lot. Electric generally runs around $28—it was well over $100 in Arizona. My total monthly expenses are less than $1,050 and that includes vet bills, taxis to and from town, eating out, and groceries.”

Beverley likes to spend time working with the flowers in her yard, but more often than not she’s with her horse, Socrates, who she bought in 2015.

“In the States, they’re so expensive with the price of the horse and then stabling and feed, so I couldn’t afford one,” she says. But in Ecuador, Beverley has found that horse ownership comes at a reasonable price. She boards Socrates with friends who have ample pastures for $60 a month, pays $30 for shoes every six to eight weeks, and says that a long-lasting bag of supplemental feed costs $30.

Just because the cost of living is low in Ecuador doesn’t mean that Beverly has given up on her passions. She still writes and has self-published several works of fiction. She sells her books in hard copy and as e-books through Amazon and with links from her website. She also edits books for other writers and when she has extra time she creates and repairs jewelry.

Beverley finds her work rewarding but she’s careful not to be sucked back into the non-stop work schedule like she maintained in Arizona. These days she rides Socrates at least three days per week, attends a writer’s club every Wednesday, and she’s planning a cross-country trip with friends.

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