26 Ecuador Expats Talk About Living in Ecuador

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Thinking about a move to Ecuador? Meet 26 Ecuador expats and learn about what life is like in Ecuador as an expat.

Ecuador expats

Ecuador Expat Journeys

While every expat’s Ecuador relocation is unique, you can learn a lot from each experience. Each expat interview offers insight into what you can expect during your move and transition.

In this huge guide, you’ll meet 26 expats in Ecuador. While it’s great to read books about expat life, nothing replaces first hand experience.

The expats featured in this article come from many backgrounds and countries. While there are many retired expats, there are also business owners and young married couples.

These Ecuador expat interviews address the most common questions and concerns that future expats have. These include:

  • language learning
  • working abroad
  • getting settled
  • cost of living in Ecuador
  • what they love about living in Ecuador
While the majority of the Ecuador expats are still in the country, some have returned to their home country or moved on to another one. There are many reasons why some expats might decide not to live in Ecuador.

Are you an expat in Ecuador? Share your story here.

Ecuador Expats: Meet 26 Expats From Around the World


Damaris de Jimenez Living in Cuenca

exploring and living in ecuadorDamaris came to Ecuador in 2009 looking for a break from the typical American routine.

What she found is adventure (and her future husband).

Read her full story

Check out her blog: Cooking on the Equator It’s all about cooking with local ingredients in Ecuador: Creative and clean ideas for South American ingredients.


Rick and Dana Racinskas Living in Salinas

living in salinas rick dana racinskasRick and Dana are a married couple of 40 years. After checking out both Belize and Ecuador, they moved from Texas to the beach city of Salinas, Ecuador.

Read their full story

Since they arrived, they have opened Chipipe Villa – an assisted living retirement home for expats and Ecuadorians. Read more about their facility at SalinasLiving.com


Todd & Heidi Gorishek Living in Cuenca

our life in ecuador heidi todd gorishekTodd and Heidi moved to Bahia de Caraquez (on Ecuador’s coast) in January 2016. After the earthquake hit that town on April 16th, their family moved to Cuenca.

This is their first international move and they are loving their new life in Cuenca.

Read their full story

Todd writes a daily blog about life in Ecuador at Todd Talk in Ecuador.


Linn Vermilion Smith Living in Pakakuna Gardens, Chaca

Linn Vermilion Smith EcuadorLinn’s journey from the US to Cuenca, the coast and then back to the Andes (near Quito) is one that many expats can relate to.

After arriving in Cuenca in 2010, they decided to look for a warmer climate. (Some expats find it cold in Cuenca.) After a short period on the coast, they settled in Chaca – just outside of Quito – in a small community called Pakakuna Gardens.

Read her full story

Linn manages the site for the Pakakuna Gardens community. Check it out at ExpatsofPakakuna.com


Jacquie & Don Mackenzie Living in Vilcabamba Valley

ecuador expats Jacquie Don MackenzieJacquie and Don moved from Mexico (6 years in Guanajuato) to Salinas Ecuador in 2014.

In early 2016, they moved to Chaupi in the Vilcabamba Valley.

Read their full story

Connect with Jacquie on her blog.


Why I Decided to Move to Loja Ecuador: Jesse Bayer

jesse bayer ecuadorIn 2013, Jesse moved from New York to the province of Loja in Southern Ecuador.

Jesse was a real estate investor in New York City and offers a unique perspective on real estate in Ecuador.

Read his full story

Jesse is co-founder of Abundant Living Ecuador – a real estate and relocation services company based out of Loja.


Jessamyn Living in Tena, Ecuador

ecuador-expat-tenaJessamyn moved to Ecuador in 1997 and has lived in Tena off and on since.

She married an Ecuadorian and they have a 12-year-old son.

Read her full story

Jessmyn writes about Ecuador on her blog.


Susan Schenck Living in Cuenca Ecuador

susan-schenck-cuenca-ecuadorSusan moved to Cuenca in 2010. She is a health and travel writer.

Before moving to Ecuador, Susan also lived in Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.

Read her full story

Check out a few of Susan’s books: Expat’s in Cuenca, Ecuador: The Magic and the Madness, The Quilotoa Loop: Ecuador’s Hidden Treasure, and The Live Food Factor.


Melita Vega Living in Cuenca Ecuador

Melita Vega Ecuador expatMelita considers herself a hybrid-expat. She was born and raised in Toronto, Canada to Ecuadorian immigrant parents. At 12, her family returned to Ecuador.

After marrying an Ecuadorian-born husband, they returned to Toronto for 10 years before returning to Cuenca in 2011.

Read her full story

Connect with Melita on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Lisa Cho Living in Cuenca Ecuador

Ecuador expat Lisa ChoLisa moved from San Francisco, California to Cuenca in 2012.

She has background as a project manager (biotech and medical devices). After arriving in Cuenca, she did some travel blogging and wrote a travel guide book.

Read her full story


Mark Cowtan Living in Capaes, Salinas Ecuador

ecuador-expats-Cowtan-Family-CapaesIn December 2012, Mark and his family moved from Northern California to Salinas, Ecuador.

He is British and his wife is Peruvian. Mark runs a site dedicated to Ecuador’s beaches.

Read his full story

A couple of years ago, Mark’s family was featured in House Hunters International.


Why We Sold it All and Moved to Cuenca Ecuador (Haines Family)

dena-haines-expatBack in 2013, I (Bryan) wrote this overview of why we decided to sell everything and move to Cuenca, Ecuador.

Dena also wrote her expat profile about our life in Cuenca – after we had lived there for a year and a half.

A couple of years ago, Dena wrote What’s it Like to Live in Cuenca Ecuador? This has been one of our most read articles on the site.

And our daughter, Drew, also wrote about what it was like for her to move to Ecuador when she was 8-years-old: My Move to Ecuador: From the Eyes of an 8-Year-Old Canadian Girl

And finally, I wrote a piece for National Geographic about Cuenca: I Heart My City: Bryan’s Cuenca


David Day Living in Canoa, Manabi Ecuador

david-day-Canoa-Manabi-Ecuador-iconDavid lives in Canoa with his Ecuadorian wife and two children.

He has worked with a micro-brewery in Canoa and also as a tour guide.

Read his full story


Stewart Perez Living in Cumbaya, Ecuador

ecuador-expat-Stewart-Perez-iconStewart and his family moved from Florida to Cumbayá (Pichincha Province).

He works as a property and construction manager.

Read his full story

Connect with Stewart on LinkedIn


House Hunters International Ecuador: All 14 Episodes

house-hunters-international-ecuadorWith it’s popularity among expats, it’s little wonder that Ecuador has been in the sights of House Hunters International.

Back in 2012, our family was featured in a House Hunters International episode in Cuenca.

See all 14 Ecuador episodes

Curious about HHI? See behind the scenes in House Hunters International.


Gary Sisk Living in Cuenca, Ecuador

gary-sisk-cuenca-ecuadorGary moved from the States back in 2011.

Since then, he wrote a book about his move (Why Ecuador for Me) and a blog.

Read his full story

His story is one of our most highly commented of all of them.


Life After Retirement? Andre Hugo is Living Life’s Adventure in Quito

Andre-Hugo-Me-Before-DescentAndre moved from Ottawa to Quito just before turning 65.

Since then, he’s learned Spanish, saved two peoples lives, won writing awards and has been in two films (National Geographic and Discovery Channel).

Read his full story – it’s an inspiration for everyone who thinks they can’t become an expat as a senior.


Jamie Stambaugh Living in Cotacachi

jamie stambaugh cotacachi ecuador expatJamie is a young mother of two boys who lived in Cotachaci for just over a year.

In her story, you’ll read what it was like to school her two boys in the local school system.

Read her full story

Jamie gives this important tip: “I think being very honest with yourself about what you can and cannot handle about your living space will help a lot when budgeting for a place to live.”


Christina Ring Living in Otavalo

Ecuador-Expat-Profile-Christina-RingAfter visiting Ecuador on her honeymoon, Christina and Thomas decided to move two years later.

Christina is from Germany and now operates 4 Volcanoes Lodge. Christina wrote a piece about owning horses in Ecuador.

Read her full story

Learn more about her lodge 4volcanoes.com.


Franziska & Daniel Pedersen Living in Yunguilla Valley

Ecuador-Expat-Profile-Franziska-Daniel-PedersenDan is from Washington State and Fran is from Switzerland. They have lived in their Ecuador guest house since 2010.

They live in a little town called La Unión (Abdón Calderón) which is about an hour and fifteen minute drive from Cuenca. One of the nice things about the location is that it is in a subtropical valley so it’s warm and there are lots of flowers and fruit trees.

Read their full story

Interested to visit Yunguilla Valley? Check out Santuario Hibiscus. We’ve stayed with them (here’s our review).


Liliya Bykova Living in Quito

Liliya-Bykova-Ecuador-Expat-ProfileLiliya has been living in Ecuador with her husband since 2008. She was born in the USSR, Republic of Belarus. She met her husband Leo in 2007 and married in 2008 – the same year they moved to Quito.

They operate a tour company and short term rental apartment in Quito.

Read her full story

Check out their day trip blog and Quito apartment rental.


Other Ecuador Expat Stories

Expat Life in Ecuador

Do you have an expat story you would like to share? We would love to hear from you!

To be featured on Gringos Abroad, we are interested in the following:

  1. Future expats planning an Ecuador relocation
  2. Expats currently living in Ecuador
  3. Ex-expats who have recently returned home (or moved to another country) after living in Ecuador

Share your story here.

share your Ecuador expat story

Your Turn

Do you have a question you would like to ask an expat? Just visit their specific page and ask it in the comment section.

Have a question for Bryan and Dena? Ask it here – and it might just get covered in an upcoming post!

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