I can’t give you one good reason why Americans and Canadians are coming in droves to Ecuador…because there are dozens of very good reasons. There are so many that I can’t list them all here…but based on a recent trip there, I can tell you what some of the best reasons to live in Ecuador are.
lot of people know Ecuador only by what it costs. Sure, it’s a country that’s known for being affordable. I can vouch for the fact that you can still get a very good almuerzo there—a lunch with a starter, main course, and drink—for just $2.50…or fill a basket full of produce for less than $10 at the local markets.
A couple can definitely live comfortably on just $1,500 a month there—including rent. (By the way, the U.S. dollar is the official currency of Ecuador, so it’s easy to tell exactly how much you’re spending without tricky calculations.)
But Ecuador has so much more to offer than affordability as I discovered when I visited. It’s a country of contrasts and stunning natural beauty.
It’s a place that’s alive with color and culture: from the bright murals painted on walls across Ecuador to the traditional clothing worn by the indigenous people (there are 14 distinct groups of indigenous people, each with their own customs and style of dress)…to the fireworks that light up the sky regularly to the frequent, countrywide festivals and celebrations…to the colonial churches you’ll see in places like Quito and Cuenca.
It’s also home to some of the warmest, friendliest people I’ve met anywhere in the world, indigenous, Latino, and gringo alike. Make the tiniest bit of effort to get to know people here and you’ll be massively rewarded. That’s because Ecuadorians know what’s important in life: friends, family, and taking time to enjoy life.
And older people aren’t just tolerated here—they’re massively respected. It’s not uncommon to see kids and teenagers of all ages enjoying the company of their grandparents, even strolling arm-in-arm with them…and because of Ecuador’s retiree benefit program, once you hit 65, you get discounts on things like utility bills, entertainment, and air fare. What’s more, you get to go front of the line at the grocery store and the bank!
There are beautifully maintained parks everywhere in Ecuador, from the smallest villages to the biggest cities, where you can sit and read or just watch the world go by…free cultural events to go to…and affordable prices on airfare and buses to see Ecuador’s wildlife-filled jungles, Incan ruins, and famed Galapagos Islands.
Home to both the Andes Mountains and a long Pacific Coast, Ecuador also offers a variety of lifestyles for a range of tastes.
If you favor highland living—the majestic Andes mountains in the background, and a comfortably warm, and very temperate climate—you’ll find it in many places in Ecuador. Like small-town life? You have plenty of choices in the highlands, including the eco-tourist favorite, Mindo, lush-green Vilcabamba, or the bustling market towns of Cotacachi and Otavalo.
If you’d rather live by the ocean, you’re in luck. Though Ecuador is not somewhere many people think of when they think of beachside living, it has miles of beautiful—and often untouched—coastline. If you like the thought of living in a laid-back, mellow, beach town or villages, you’ll find a lot to choose from, like Canoa, Crucita, Montanita, and Olon.
Prefer to be surrounded by amenities and every convenience you could desire? Then check out the port city of Manta or Salinas, often referred to as “little Miami” due to the high-rose condo buildings that face onto the beach.
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