Better weather and a low cost of living makes Ecuador a great option for retirement, and recent improvements to the immigration process now makes it even easier to gain residence in Ecuador.
Ecuadorian lawyer Santiago Andrade says: “President Correa’s administration has improved many of the bureaucratic processes, and business and immigration is not the exemption to this change. I have seen an improvement in the timing of the residence visa process. In the past a visa took around 30 to 45 days to be approved; now it takes two to three weeks.”
A recent report, compiled by four InternationalLiving.com expat writers who live in Ecuador, offers first-hand information on the five best places to retire in Ecuador today.
Arguably, Ecuador offers the world’s best climate choices in its four distinct regions. The country has only two seasons: dry, from June to September, and wet, from October to May. On the coast, daytime temperatures typically range in the mid-80s and only occasionally reach into the mid-90s. In the Sierras, daily temperatures hover near 75 F.
This near-perfect weather in the Sierras contributes to a low cost of living in Ecuador where expats don’t need heat or air conditioning, bringing their utility costs down.
“Our electric bills are rarely more than $24,” says International Living editor Suzan Haskins who lives in the Andean village of Cotacachi. “The only heat we need is for hot water. We can easily live on less than $1,500 a month, and that includes local transportation and evenings out.”
Haskins’ budget doesn’t include health insurance, but that’s affordable in Ecuador, too. Private insurance typically costs one-half to one-fourth of that in the U.S. for instance. Ecuador’s national social security health care system costs about $70 a month.
“If you are over 65 and have a resident visa, you can take advantage of Ecuador’s retirement- benefits program. You can get discounts on domestic airfares and international airfares that originate in and return to Ecuador. You’ll be eligible for a free landline telephone, 50% off public transportation, admission to sporting and cultural events, reduced utility bills, and more,” Haskins reports.
The five top havens in the report cover a range of choices for retirees…from small-town mountain-living to large cities and coastal areas.
“Choosing where to live in Ecuador was no easy venture for my family,” says Wendy DeChambeau, InternationalLiving.com’s Ecuador highlands editor. “After ruling out large cities, which my husband doesn’t care for, and areas that were too warm for my northern blood, we settled on giving the small mountain village of Cotacachi a whirl. It wasn’t long before Cotacachi had completely captured our hearts.”
The colonial city of Cuenca remains amazingly affordable. A couple renting an unfurnished three-bedroom condo can enjoy an extremely comfortable lifestyle for less than $1,700 a month.
“Our life in Cuenca exceeds all expectations,” reports Edd Staton, who moved to Cuenca with his wife, Cynthia, four-and-a-half years ago. “The reasons we originally moved here haven’t changed: The low cost of living, great weather, outstanding health care, and our family in the States is still close.”
For beach-living, Salinas tops the list as the best coastal town. “Life here can be as slow and relaxed as a walk on the beach, or you can amp it up a notch with your choice of many water sports, including spending time at one of the area’s two major yacht clubs. In the evening, you can spend time in a lively restaurant or nightclub or join in the growing number of expat activities,” says Denver Gray.
Gray and his wife moved to Salinas in March 2013 and not only enjoy better weather and a lower cost of living, but are also enjoying much healthier lifestyles there.
The full report on the best retirement havens in Ecuador can be read here: The Best Retirement Havens in Ecuador.
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