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Relocation Guide: Cost of living in Ecuador

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | February 12, 2015

Bird Watching in Ecuador
Cloud forest in Ecuador
View of Cuenca, Ecuador

A beautiful place to live, with its pristine beaches, interesting Spanish colonial history, attractive tropical climate and friendly locals, Ecuador has quickly become one of the world’s top destinations for retirees who are looking to do more while spending less. In fact, The Huffington Post even dubbed Cuenca, Ecuador’s cultural and economic epicenter, as “The World’s Most Fabulous Place to Retire on a Budget.”

Perhaps one of the most prominent reasons why Ecuador is the top choice among expats, particularly those from the United States, is the fact that the currency used is American dollars (no need to worry about exchange rates!), not to mention the fact that living in Ecuador offers great value for money.

Living comfortably in paradise – on a budget

You’ll hear many expats talking about how far their money goes when living here, considering the quality of life they get to enjoy. International Living magazine even confidently declared that a couple could comfortably live in Ecuador for $2,000 a month – that’s approximately $24,000 a year. You can even spend lesser than that by making a conscious effort to save more. You can opt to use a fuel-efficient car or use alternative sources of energy like solar power to cut on electricity bills. There are a lot of factors that come in play when it comes to how much you will be spending each month when you retire – it will all depend on your budget and lifestyle.

The cultural difference

One of the reasons why living in Ecuador is much cheaper than the U.S. is the fact that the culture is very different here. The South American lifestyle is much more laidback, as opposed to the Western consumer culture where people are encouraged to keep thinking about acquiring or purchasing things and they’re constantly bombarded with advertising in so many forms. Living in Ecuador is a breath of fresh air, which makes it even more perfect for those looking for a more relaxed and stress-free environment.

Ecuador offers a change of pace for retirees looking for an alternative lifestyle that is much different than what they are used to. Those who are now living in Ecuador rave about how moving here took so much pressure off from their daily lives – living in rural and semi-rural communities with a developing economy and a different culture, where being “busy” is not the norm allows people the chance to enjoy the simple things in life and value the things that matter the most, instead of worrying about paying off the things that, in the end, don’t matter as much.

The cost of real estate

Having a country home or beachfront home is much more affordable here, as they often come with very reasonable prices. If you choose to rent here, an apartment that features beautiful views of the Andes can rent out for as low as $600 a month, while a modest apartment in Cuenca can go as low as $250 a month. Properties that are further away from the city center and prime beach areas are even cheaper, so if you’re on a budget, it’s good to weigh your options and lifestyle first.

Due to the increasing attention Ecuador has been getting as a prime retiree destination, the value of real estate in the most in-demand areas is expected to increase. Over the past decade, real estate prices have risen at a steady rate of 10-12 percent each year, but remain affordable.