We Slashed Our Living Costs and Found a New Community in Ecuador

Six years ago, the consensus among my friends and family was that I had lost my mind. For them, trying to understand why my husband David and I, would move our two young sons from a rural spot in the Rocky Mountains to a small country in South America, was beyond their comprehension.

Their reaction was understandable of course. None of them had put in the hours of research and investigation that we had…they didn’t know about all that Ecuador offers…or why it was so appealing to my family. But, we knew that it was the right choice for us.

Our list of reasons why Ecuador was so desirable was long. The biggest draw for me at that time was Ecuador’s great weather. Even though the country sits smack dab on top of the equator it is not as oppressively hot as you might imagine. The coast is cooled by Pacific breezes and the high altitude cools the stretch of Andes Mountains that runs through the country. But that middle-of-the-earth location, also means no extreme temperature fluctuations, or snowy seasons. A nice consistently moderate climate sounded like paradise to me.

But there was the host of other great things that Ecuador offers too. Access to fresh local produce grown year-round, sounded pretty amazing. The low cost of living meant that we could work part-time and spend more time together as a family.

Ecuador also packs a lot of geographic diversity into a small space…and we were anxious to explore all that it had to offer. Add in the stunning scenery in every part of the nation—and we were sold on Ecuador as our new home.

We’ve been living in Ecuador for six years now, and even those initial naysayers…must admit that we weren’t so crazy after all. We are living a relaxing life in a peaceful location. We never complain about brutal heat…or having to de-ice our car’s windshield before driving. Our living expenses are a fourth of what they were back in the U.S. (given that we own our home and so don’t pay rent, we live on about $1,400 a month). Every day we’re treated to magnificent views of towering volcanoes…and rolling fields of corn, potatoes, and quinoa.

Those are the things that brought us to Ecuador…but they’re not the reason we’ve stayed for so long. What keeps us here, are the people.

Ecuadorians are well known for their friendliness and generosity, and we’ve experienced this firsthand. While I often found it difficult to make new friends in the U.S., I have the opposite problem here. Everyone is automatically your friend. We have more invitations to weddings… graduations…quinceañeras, and assorted other fiestas than we can keep up with. And if we ever need anything, we know we can count on our friends or neighbors to help.

The other expats are amazing too. Every one of us has a sense of adventure and a willingness to immerse ourselves in the unknown…which gives us all something in common. Because most of us are far away from family and our natural support network, we tend to build our own. We look out for each other when we struggle with homesickness or health issues arise. I have never experienced this kind of community before moving abroad.

So, while we realize it’s a big world and there’s much more that we haven’t explored, we’re reluctant to leave our friends and new honorary family. And in my experience—this is the best thing that Ecuador has to offer.

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