Complete Guide to Ecuador Travel & Relocation (GringosAbroad)

Why Some Expats Decide Not to Live in Ecuador

PassportThis is a guest post by an American expat living in Cuenca since 2007. 

Ecuador is a beautiful country full of interesting places to visit and beautiful mountain scenery. The people are friendly, the cost of living is reasonable and the weather is springlike most of the year. Of course anyone can learn those facts by reading a guide book or visiting a tourism web site. It would appear that Ecuador, especially Cuenca, is a paradise for retirees or anyone wishing to change their life style.

However, it is good to consider the other side of the coin. Not all guide books or expat blogs talk about the things that some may find unacceptable about living here. Now before anyone gets offended and tells me to “go home if I don’t like it here”, let me state that Ecuador is my home and that my family and I love living here, so please don’t accuse me of bashing Ecuador with this article. However, we have met some expats who, after being here for a while, have discovered what you might call “quality of life issues” that bother them so much that they decide to move on to greener pastures.

What did these folks find so unappealing about living in Ecuador?

First, consider the case of a 30-something married couple with a 10 year old son. We´ll call the couple Jack and Jill. We met them a couple of years ago at a gringo party and since we had something in common, we both had children about the same age, we invited them to our house for a meal. During the meal we discovered that Jill was apparently a germaphobe. She could not stand the idea of washing clothes in cold water, even with bleach. (Keep in mind that many houses here do not have a hot water connection for washing machines). Also, Jill was terrified that her son was going to pick up some dreaded disease just by being here and she therefore forbid him to touch anything. She freaked out if she saw him even think about picking up something he found on the ground. As you can imagine, the poor kid seemed to be really stressed out. Jack and Jill stayed cloistered in an apartment and did not get out much at all. They only lasted about 3 months in Ecuador before returning to the States.

Just for the record, we have never had any health problems living in Ecuador due to any real or imagined cleanliness issues and here in Cuenca we see very few disease carrying bugs such as mosquitoes and roaches. Before moving to Ecuador we lived in the State of Georgia where we had to protect our kids from mosquitoes who carry West Nile virus and encephalitis along with ticks who spread Lyme disease. We more than once encountered rattlesnakes on our property where our children ran barefoot through the grass. Tornadoes are very common where we lived in Georgia and we more than once had to huddle in the bathroom or a hall way while one passed nearby. The health dangers we faced when we lived in Georgia were not imagined, they were real, but we were used to the “dangers” of the country and did not give them a second thought. I don’t think that Jill would have survived very long living in Georgia either.

My point is this: there are diseases and dangers no matter where you live and you have to adjust to that fact. But, Jack and Jill were somehow convinced that Ecuador is an unclean and unsafe place to live and decided to move back to the States. They could not relax and settle down here due to their fears and phobias; they were not happy campers.

Next, consider the case of a retirement age couple whom we´ll call Ann and Andy. They wanted to see how life is here in Cuenca before moving down so they wisely came for a visit to check things out. We had the opportunity to chat with Ann and Andy during their visit to Cuenca and they were very candid with us regarding some things that they found unappealing about life here. good beef For example, Andy discovered that there are some food items that he really likes, such as pretzels and peanut butter, that are either unavailable or are much more expensive here. Andy also discovered that the beef here is expensive and of a poorer quality than what he can get in the States. Andy commented on the condition of the sidewalks in Cuenca which are often full of holes and other obstacles and noted that his well worn knees could not take the beating of walking on such uneven surfaces on a regular basis. Andy also had some trouble finding a particular prescription medication that he needs to take on a regular basis.

Andy admitted to us that for some people these issues, such as not being able to find a certain favorite food, may not seem that important, but for him and his wife they are what you might call quality of life issues that are important to them, especially at their age. Ann and Andy came to the conclusion that, in their case, they are better off living in the States, and that is OK. They were wise to come down to check things out before uprooting and making such a major move. The other couple in our story, Jack and Jill, moved down sight unseen and they discovered to their dismay that Ecuador is not the place for them.

The lesson for expats contemplating a move to another country is very clear: Do not move to a foreign country without doing a lot of research and visiting first. In our case, living in Ecuador is a perfect fit and we are glad we decided to live here. We recognize, however, that living here is not for everyone and we strongly suggest that anyone contemplating a move here do what our wise friends Ann and Andy did and come down first for a visit before making a decision. That way you can get acquainted with the country and be in a better position to know whether or not Ecuador is right for you.

Like Ann and Andy, you may realize after visiting for a while that there are certain things that you can’t or won’t live without, certain comforts that are important to you personally, and for that reason you may decide not to live in Ecuador. Or, like us, you may fall in love with the country and find that Ecuador is the perfect place to live.

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Bryan is a journalist, photographer, expat and dad. He writes for Gringos Abroad (Ecuador travel & living) and Blogger Abroad (run an online business abroad). He also enjoys living in Southern Ecuador (South America) with his wife and daughter. Connect with Bryan on LinkedIn. Work with Bryan & Dena

More about: Living in Ecuador

{ 164 comments… add one }

  • Lisa March 23, 2015, 3:43 pm

    We, my husband and 2 yr old son and I, are planning a trip to Cuenca this May or June for 2 weeks because we are very interested in moving there and want to check it out. Any suggestions on where to stay for those 2 weeks, where to go to get a good feel of life in Cuenca and if the altitude would be a big issue for us. We are from Ontario Canada. Thanks

  • Charline Franks March 8, 2015, 1:55 pm

    I am an African-American, female, and I am retired. My daughter (Ed.D. – Educational Technology and may have to find work) and I wish to experience life outside the U.S. Would we be welcome/comfortable in Ecuadorian communities/work places or would we be likely to encounter the same type of resistance that exists in numerous places in the U.S.?

    • Susan Maneck March 8, 2015, 2:47 pm

      I don’t know about racism in Ecuador specifically, but I do know that racism in general operates somewhat differently in Latin America than it does in the US. For instance, the ‘one drop’ rule of defining who is black makes absolutely no sense to a Latino. Racial categories in general tend to have more to do with class than actual color. The Indigenes or Indians are considered Indian to the extent to which they still live a traditional life style. If they are educated and integrated into urban life they are not likely to be seen as Indians. While there is a African diaspora community in Ecuador which suffers from poverty and discrimination, I’m not sure that you be put in the same category.

    • Bill March 8, 2015, 6:07 pm

      Hello Charline,
      I have live in Cuenca and plan to go back this year. I did not experience any racism or problems. The only thing you have to do is be respectful of he culture and you will be fine. If you have any question e-mail me.
      Bill (aka) Guillermo

    • si kendrick March 25, 2015, 10:55 pm

      I don’t think racism is an issue here really, but Ecuadorians are weary of Colombians as some stereotype them as criminals and not to be trusted,When i first came to Manabi being white, i got a lot of funny looks , but now people are used to me, even go out of their way to say hello, and mention the football as they all know i am a big Newcastle fan.
      I think you will be just fine, especially in the big cities like Quito ,as you will just blend in and know one is really bothered, and for the work side of things again there are more opportunities in a large city than there are in small towns and villages there are a few online sites you can register with if you search multi trabajos Ecuador it may give you some insight, but there are loads of other ways, hope this helps

  • Kevin March 4, 2015, 7:47 pm

    Hello everyone. I’m from Chicago and I’m married to an Ecuadorian woman. I lived in Quito for 3 years back in ’99 to ’02. I’m only 39 and we have 2 kids. We’re hoping to move back to Quito soon. Does anyone have any good ideas for starting a business in Quito which would earn a good living? (Of course that you’d like to share ;) I’m perfectly fluent in Spanish, etc., but I know most companies don’t pay too well, and I’d like to avoid the cut flower business this time around. Any ideas would be much appreciated!

    • si kendrick March 25, 2015, 11:06 pm

      Hey Kevin, i am also married to an Ecuadorian woman, there are many ideas that can work, but since you are fluent might i suggest food, restaurant fast food,something that interacts with the people,i see many people making more than the average doctor over here, even a simple thing like making burgers, but that doesn’t suit everyone, i have done a few things buy cheap t- shirts/vests and get them sublimated , yes it makes money, but for that to become successful you need a lot of time and effort, i have no idea of your current situation,money to invest etc, but if you have specialist skills then there will be a market for that,if not maybe invest in a bar cafe etc, contacts are also handy, you could find a distributor for medical supplies and go around the laboratories selling them equipment for a cheaper price, i know this can works,but like everything else it doesn’t work over night

  • Mr Lugard Omojeva January 10, 2015, 1:39 am

    I am a Nigeria planing to move Ecuador pls I need you help to move.sent me all need to move. Thanks God Bless.

  • Marie September 5, 2014, 11:12 am

    Hello, I would like to visit Ecuador. What cities would you recommend that are safe, affordable, not such high altitudes? I am also concerned about the recent volcanoe eruptions occuring. Will appreciate your input and hope to hear from you soon.

    • Fred singer January 9, 2015, 10:36 am

      Marie- Like the USA the big cities I advise to stay away from the big cities. I live in Catamayo, Loja There is always crime. Here some petty crimes in the eight years I’ve lived here there has been one murder and that was a wife and her boy friend killing her husband.
      I refer to the weather as Spring like all year here in Catamayo around 80 and night time mid 70.
      Cost of living about $800 per month and I hope you like cold water showers

  • David August 12, 2014, 3:03 pm

    I love your blog, been reading it for quite a while. My wife and I have been ready to move to Cuenca for months, we sold our house and practically everything we own in preparation for the move. I am 55 and my wife is 49 and we aren’t retiring anytime soon. I have a business that is U.S. based and we run online so we can live anywhere in the world that has a good fast internet connection.

    I’m a little confused now though regarding the visa’s that we would qualify for to become expats. We aren’t on a pensioners visa or retirement. Not on a missionary visa although we plan on helping in that area. The other visa I was told about is the investors visa, but I am not sure if this is what I want to do right away. Do you know of any other visa that would allow us to become permanent residents, renting a house or an apartment, buying a car and running my business which more than supports us here in the states? We really aren’t prepared for another northeastern winter. By the way, did I mention that we have a small dog?

    Looking forward to a slower pace and the Ecuadorian culture.
    Thank you!

    • Bryan Haines August 22, 2014, 8:17 am

      Hey David – I understand the confusion. We found it hard to sort out all the options at first. Here is a post / video that describes the six types of permanent visas. There are a number of short term visas that some friends have used – one is a student visa for one year. They went to university for an hour a day and studied Quechua, an indigenous language here in the Andes. I don’t know the specifics but it might be an option.

  • Norma August 12, 2014, 9:07 am

    Hi Bryan-We figure we’ll move a few times before locating our forever home in Ecuador. we both are limited somewhat in our ability to lift heavy items. Are there any companies you could you could that could assist us with the moving process i.e. packing loading trucking then finally unloading unloading? if so what is the going rate? We thank you and your family for your hard work in creating and maintaining your blogs. sincerely the Garcias

    • Bryan Haines August 12, 2014, 10:25 am

      I’ve heard that there are moving companies. We just used friends :). There will be no problem finding a guy with a large truck willing to help you move. Just like everywhere else, there are people eager to earn a little extra money on their day off. The cost will depend on how far you are moving and how long it takes.

  • norma August 11, 2014, 9:43 pm

    Hi we plan on moving from san francisco, ca to cuenca. we think we’ll rent, but none that we’ve looked at on-line have a laundry facility. we would prefer to wash our own laundry. Are there self-service locations? what kind of laundry detergent is available? Is it true that should we purchase our own washing.machine.that only cold.water is avaiable? Is it true that pur hasing a clthes dryer is futile because there are no hook-ups for the drier? This is a.big deal for us. thank you

    • Bryan Haines August 12, 2014, 7:38 am

      There are dozens of laundromats that will wash/dry your clothes for you. I haven’t heard of self-service in Cuenca. All the brands are local – I haven’t seen any imported detergents. There are no hookups for electric dryers – not yet anyway. They are all propane and work great.

      • Leigh August 13, 2014, 7:15 pm

        Hi…not to contradict you but I just moved to Guayaquil a month ago and we have an electric dryer with an air vent to the outside. :-)

        • Bryan Haines August 13, 2014, 8:03 pm

          Nice! I hadn’t heard of them in Ecuador. Is it 220 volts?

          • Leigh August 14, 2014, 9:42 am

            Yes…we are renting but my husband found the plug at a local hardware store and the landlord was nice enough to install it! We also have an electric stove…so no propane in the house!

          • Bryan Haines August 14, 2014, 5:04 pm

            Very nice – and convenient.

          • Fred singer January 9, 2015, 10:49 am

            David My advice is come and visit Cuenta cost of living is a lot higher than say Catamayo where I live. also the average yearly temperature varies. Example Catamayo day time temps average all year is the mid 80’s low humidity. Loja 18 miles away is 5 degrees cooler and night time is in the lower 70’s I consider Loja sweater weather with a lot more rain

        • Fred singer January 9, 2015, 10:47 am

          David My advice is come and visit Cuenta cost of living is a lot higher than say Catamayo where I live. also the average yearly temperature varies. Example Catamayo day time temps average all year is the mid 80’s low humidity. Loja 18 miles away is 5 degrees cooler and night time is in the lower 70’s I consider Loja sweater weather with a lot more rain

          • bill March 19, 2015, 12:03 pm

            Even if the cost of living is higher than stated; It is still less than the States.

      • Dean September 8, 2014, 9:58 am

        I live in Esmeraldas and have a Whirlpool washer and electric dryer. Works great. If you have 220 volt in your house or apartment the electric dryer will work just fine. I enjoyed my visits to Cuenca but its a little too cold for me. Cheers

        • Bryan Haines September 8, 2014, 10:08 am

          Nice – an electric dryer would be much simpler. I haven’t seen one in Cuenca yet – but by the sounds of it, they must exist.

          • denis cruickshank March 18, 2015, 11:44 pm

            not sure why electric is so cool. It is always more expensive than gas. the only downside that I have found in cuenca with running cooking, hot water and clothes drying on gas is that the bottle might run out at an inconvenient moment. I have 3 bottles that cost me $60 each (filled) … one is for the clothes dryer and it hasn’t emptied yet after 4 months ( $2.50 a fill) and the other two are used for the cooking and hot water and last about a month. I swap the tanks over and a vehicle comes passed 3 times a day to swap bottles. not fun running downstairs to switch the bottles over when one runs out halfway through a shower though … lol

  • Daniel August 5, 2014, 1:27 pm

    can Social Security checks be direct deposited in Ecuador Banks ? are they safe? will the S/S allow it? if i cancel my Medicare in favor of Ecuador Medical care for all our needs, will Obamacare fine us for not having a medical care insurance in the USA even though we don’t live in the USA anymore? Just for info. not a deterrant just have to rearrange things.

    • Bryan Haines August 5, 2014, 4:21 pm

      Good question. I’m not sure what Social Security will allow. I know many expats receive their payments but I don’t know if it direct deposit or if they transfer into Ecuador themselves.

    • Fred singer January 9, 2015, 10:59 am

      I don’t recommend using Ecuador banks ( I cost $20,000 when the the sucre went bust Banks ARE NOT Covered BY FDIC.
      I have my money in Wells Fargo Bank in Florida I have and use a Visa Debit card. A lot of banks in Ecuador at the ATM limit your withdraws to $300.00 at a cost of $2.50 per with draw. I use the ATM at Banko Pichincino where I can with draw $500 at a cost of $2.50

      • denis cruickshank March 18, 2015, 11:48 pm

        funds are insured up to $30,000+ in each institution. if you are worried split your funds amongst the banks. I get 8.50% interest on my my CD in JEP (insured) and only 5% in Banco Pichincha. Wish I had learnt about JEP earlier … lol … my investor visa is with my Pichincha CD.

  • Fabricerun July 28, 2014, 8:18 am

    I must say this article was really a lot of fun to read…. I am a French guy that moved to the US 18 years ago and I am maried to a ecuadorian lady. I love France Ecuador and the US however every countries are different and if you are not willing to apriciate and understand other people you should stay in your little comfort town. Moving can be very dufficult but if you are open minded this can be a lifetime experience…

  • Dante June 18, 2014, 5:50 pm

    I am very interested in (possibly) relocating to Cuenca. I have done a lot of research and reviewed 100s of blogs. My main concern is finding reasonably priced accommodations. I am on a fixed budget and really want to stay within it. All I need is a one bedroom apt (furnished + utilities) not too far from town. What is you advice on this matter? I’ve read of people getting nice places for $200 – $350 per month.

    Your feedback would be most appreciated.


    • Bryan Haines June 24, 2014, 12:10 pm

      It shouldn’t be a problem – especially if you speak some Spanish.

  • Susan March 12, 2014, 1:46 pm

    Do you know if Cotacachi has the same problems with muggings?

    • Bryan Haines March 12, 2014, 2:30 pm

      I haven’t heard anything. Maybe another can help…

  • Stacey March 12, 2014, 7:30 am

    The one thing that I had heard when I told my friend I wanted to move there is that the place is full of rich expats and mugging is common as a result.

    Is this a myth?

    • Bryan Haines March 12, 2014, 12:42 pm

      I think so. I haven’t heard of expats (or tourists) being targeted for crime in Cuenca. While some expats have been robbed, many Cuencanos have been as well. I don’t think expats have caused an increase in crime.

      • Stacey March 12, 2014, 10:36 pm

        Okay, good to know. I feel better about going there to learn Spanish now. There’s lots of people there for Spanish learning, isn’t there?

    • denis cruickshank March 18, 2015, 11:57 pm

      ha ha … I have been exposed to so much more crime in australia and the USA than I have seen here. Live in a gated community or have an electric fence and you won’t see anything untoward. Some areas have lots of expats. I live near park iberia and there is a good mix … and lots of respect either way. gringolandia is the high point point for expats but I have never been there.

  • Dennis A March 5, 2014, 12:29 pm

    To the “Ann and Andy” above. They’re not “in” the states so they will “have” bad sidewalks, different meat and (boo hoo) no pretzels (for crying out loud). Unless he is running every day like I do, he “is” just walking and potholes or no potholes, it would have no effect on his knees. For people like them, I would suggest Paris, London, Zermatt, Zurich but…oops…he won’t be able to get…”pretzels”…in most of these (or other) cities either. As to cost…if you have to ask the cost, you can’t afford it. ExPats (particularly Americans) are ruining Cuenca. I’m really bent that the one thing I was trying to get away from, Americans, are the ones that will cause me to move to a small pueblo where there are no we-speaky-English signs in the window.

    • Alan May 13, 2014, 5:59 pm


      Gualaceo or Sigsig might be a good bet!

    • Thomas Porter June 28, 2014, 9:57 pm

      Mr. Pretzel Mall del Rio . . .

    • denis cruickshank March 19, 2015, 12:01 am

      ha ha … great comment. there are new york pretzels here btw. I see the advert in gringopost all the time. I usually walk on the road as I do find the footpaths inconvenient at times. people have to watch out for the dog excrement in paris too … 10 times worse than here in cuenca … lol

  • Dennis A March 5, 2014, 12:22 pm

    As to one point above, I think the people who get sick here would have gotten sick in the US. Only there, now, they cannot afford the “change” on which they so whole-heartedly voted nor can they afford the healthcare of which most of “them” were proponents. Here “they” can afford it. Other point; having travelled extensively and living in and/or visiting 35 countries, I came here sight unseen. And I have yet to ask anyone to bring me Tabasco sauce, a piece for a razor, vitamins or other needless items just because I can’t get them here. Most are forced here out of necessity rather than “wanting” to be here. They troll Parque Calderone like the night of the walking dead with Everest expedition-sized back packs they wear on their fronts (I’ll “never” figure this one out) and don’t learn “any” of the language thus ensuring they’ll never survive. Good thing they’re not trying Bolivia. Thanks for posting.

    • John Bramledge August 12, 2014, 1:48 pm

      One thing I found funny in talking with American expats in Ecuador, was that one of the big reasons for moving to ec was that they couldn’t afford healthcare in the US when they retired early. They had only heard the political dogma about Obamacare and didn’t realize that Obamacare has changed healthcare costs in the US. It really helps early retirees in that if you are making less than 62K a year for two, you will get a subsidy on healthcare. It is now much more affordable. (It is only income based, not wealth based which again helps early retirees) It makes it much easier to retire young in the US, if that is your preference.

  • Angie February 10, 2014, 9:13 pm

    We have several families traveling to Manta Ecuador for three week this summer for missionary work. We are on a budget and while we want to also enjoy our time time there we don’t have as much interest or funds for the expensive beach-side condos and homes. We were hoping to find a clean efficient furnished place or two separate places that can accommodate 10-12 people including several children under 12. I have not been successful in finding anything online yet except the more expensive vacation condos. One family is considering moving here permanently. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • Guillermo December 10, 2013, 9:02 pm

    The best way to make a decision is to visit the country and live like a local. If you live like a tourist it might be the wrong decision.

  • Marie Dillinger December 10, 2013, 8:06 pm

    What a wonderful comment. My husband and i are both canadians. I am originally from the Philippines. like i do not want to bash the country i was born to. You are perfectly so right. We retired in the Philipines in 2005, i guess i figured i am because i was born there. But after 10 years seeing how way of living there is we came to conclusion we had enough of it. Our mistake was getting into business and buying a home intead of like you sid checking it out first considering i have been in Canada for 45 years. So now, i guess we would be able to handle any place where we decide to go. Lol we found your website because our plan now is visit place and rent a home for a month just to check it out.
    We are glad you are enjoying your new country and hopefully we will find a place we ill totally enjoy like you.
    We thank you for sharing your story.

    • Carl Marcois / Adelina June 8, 2014, 3:27 pm

      My Wife is from PI. , Keep in touch . We are looking at South America. Give us a clue Marie. We live in the deset of Nevada / Az.. Colorado river very hot , but nice. GOD BLESS
      Carl and Adelina.

  • Stephen November 25, 2013, 10:56 pm

    Hi there Bryan,
    I read your blog, plus subscribed to the newsletter. I’ve been receiving International Living magazine for almost 2 years only to realize that although they offer good info, they are selling something so they focus on the positive.

    Lately I’ve been focus on learning about Ecuador only because it sounds like if I have any hope of retiring, this maybe the place. I’m 51 wife 45 plus we have a son 14 and a 18 year old daughter who may or may not come with us. (Daughter) 1 year old Husky. She coming.

    Next year my son will be in grade 10 here in Canada.

    My plan is to come for 6 months to 1 year. I’m wondering and hoping someone can answer my questions.
    I’m thinking about putting our truck and camper in a container having it shipped their. Is Ecuador the kind of country we could travel around this way? Assuming there maybe camp sites or rest areas on the highways.

    My thoughts are possibly buying a plot of fertile land to be self sustaining. Parking the RV living on that land possibly building our retirement home.

    Is the school year the same there as it is here in Canada, Sept-June? Can I enroll my son or would we have no choice but to home school?

    Thanks for this great blog any information will be greatly appreciated.

    Be Well.

    • Bryan Haines November 26, 2013, 7:33 am

      Hey Stephen – thanks for your great comment. Imported vehicles must be new. If you are just “passing through” I think it’s okay. You should confirm this with an import agent or lawyer. I’ve seen a few RVs here but they are pretty uncommon.

      You could travel the country in a camper – the biggest concern would be safety at night. You would need a secure place to park it while you sleep. There aren’t really any campgrounds like we are used to.

      The school system in the sierra (Quito to Cuenca) is roughly the same. On the coast it runs April – January. Lots of expats enroll their kids in the local school system.

      All the best!

    • Susan June 29, 2014, 10:10 am

      As I understand it, Ecuador places huge taxes on any vehicle you bring into the country. Most people find that taxis and buses are so cheap they don’t need a vehicle.

    • Bill Baker July 17, 2014, 8:55 pm

      You will probably have difficulty staying a year. A 6 month tourist visa seems to be the max that is available.
      You can apply for residency and the process doesn’t take that long to complete but then you cannot be out of the country for more than 90 days per year for the first 2 years.
      You can bring a vehicle into the country temporarily but you need to basically get it its own visa and I do not know how long you can get them for. You will not be able to leave the vehicle here no matter what as Bryan said the vehicle needs to be practically new and the import of a vehicle seems to apply only to returning Ecuadorians. I guess if you wanted to park it and live in it and not drive it it could stay but you will not be able to register it here.
      Also the cost of rooms here is probably cheaper than you pay for a camp spot back in Canada so no real need to have a camper if you are looking at it to save money.
      As Bryan also said the school year varies as to where you are in the country.

  • chris November 7, 2013, 6:40 pm

    you have a great website … makes it easy for others and takes a lot of the hard work out of immigrating or just visiting …. we emigrated to australia in 1967 and your article brought a smile to my face, particularly when i remember australians calling english people “whinging poms” when they complained about what was better in their own country (not a good thing to do in any country) … ! …. thanks, chris

  • Marsha Clark September 29, 2013, 1:18 pm

    Do the people of these South American countries welcome Americans, or other just tolerate them? I am interested in retiring in Ecuador but I would not want to live where I am not welcome.

    • Bryan Haines October 14, 2013, 8:16 am

      In general, Ecuadorians are very welcoming. There are always some (in every country) who have had a bad experience or some wrong ideas. A lot of Ecuadorians have family living in the US so you’ll find something in common with many. I don’t know about other South American countries.

  • Lauren July 15, 2013, 5:22 pm

    Can you buy a decent house in a safe area in quito for $125,000?

  • Rob July 2, 2013, 12:16 pm

    Hello to all
    This is my first visit to this site and I found the comments to be quite helpful.
    I will be coming to Ecuador in last September of 2013 and hope to stay a minimum of three months and perhaps longer.
    I have traveled throughout Mexico, Central America, some south America and the Philippines. My last trip South was to Colombia SA last year.
    I would like to say that each and every country has it beauty and it negativity.
    Being raised in Chicago (a long time ago) I have never seen crime to compare with that city or Los Angeles or detroit.
    When I arrive in another country I leave my state and city behind. I do not expect the country I am visiting to be like the US or Canada. If that is what I was looking for I would have stayed there.
    I think if we visit another country with the attitude of learning and respecting that country we will enjoy ourselves to a much higher degree.
    Looking forward to visiting Ecuador and perhaps becoming a resident.

    • C. V. July 29, 2013, 8:05 pm

      Please send us a blog on your experience this coming September.

  • Tony June 27, 2013, 11:16 am

    The U.S. Dept. of State diplomatic site strongly warns about a high crime rate and low conviction rate in Ecuador:

    I’m weighing moving out of the U.S. after we retire, but I don’t know what to believe. I don’t imagine there is an conceal-carry law there?

    • Bryan Haines August 27, 2013, 2:58 pm

      Hi Tony, The US State Dept warns of problems in every country – and make it sound like it is unsafe everywhere except in the US (which we all know is untrue). If you do move to Ecuador don’t bring guns – there are already too many here.

    • Xam Takorian December 14, 2013, 6:56 pm

      US has the largest prison population in the world. The business of incarceration is HUGE in America.

      Not trying to bash America or anything…just that there are some alarming trends developing.

  • Dave S June 3, 2013, 7:28 pm

    Very interesting comments, about crime, about moving down without checking it out. I think that this totally depends upon how “adventurous” and “flexible” a person is. In 2005 I went down to Argentina, stayed for 1 month, checked it out, and then bought a condo on the beach. I had never been there and had been told, be careful, there’s crime, it’s different. D’uh, of course it’s different! It’s supposed to be. And anywhere I have been in the world, you have to be cautious. I went back to the condo at 2-3-4 a.m. from the restaurant or pub many times, and never had a problem. I walked all over the city, but just made sure to stay out of areas which I was told were bad. Did I like the power brownouts or the time the water treatment plant messed up and there was no water for a day? No but that’s life. I started spending up to 6 months per year there and met some wonderful people, some close friends, did I miss certain things from home? Sure I did. I made sure to take a supply of what I liked with me, but I didn’t go nuts if I couldn’t buy something. As long as I had a few boxes of Kraft Dinner, some Coffee Crisps and a bottle of Crown (for guests) I didn’t miss anything. (Bryan knows what I am talking about :-) You have to also work within the system. It took me a month to get my internet installed, no matter how often I called, or even went to the cable company to ask. The previous owner of the unit had left an unpaid cable bill of $100, which I had to pay also. Did I complain? Did it accomplish anything? Yes and No.
    Inspite of coming from somewhere with universal healthcare, medical and dental care were excellent down there, and I could have anything done for a fraction of what it would cost at home (if I had to pay for it). A CT Scan for $40.00, a trip to the ER for $75.00. Did I hear about some crimes in the city? Yup. A lady 2 blocks away had her apartment broken into and they stole her tv, stereo, money and she was there while they did it. A store 6 blocks away was broken into. At night I made sure the main entrance door was locked and so was my door. And sometimes at night I did see drunks arguing or fighting in town, but I walked the other way and minded my own business. When I bought the place, I took $5000 in cash which I had in my pocket to the real estate office, and no problems inspite of having a “gringo face” as they called me (cara de gringo). Was I totally blind? NO but I didn’t spent years researching. I picked the city, figured out how to get there, got a very good hotel for a great rate and started exploring. I gave myself 30 days and on day 28 I was walking in the rain and found the condo. I sold it a couple of years ago, but it was a great experience. I hope to have the same one in Ecuador. Not sure if I want to live in Cuenca, I like mountains but prefer beach, so any suggestions anyone can give me about the area from say Manta south, would be appreciated. Anybody know about Puerto Cayo? To be honest, I am very excited about checking Ecuador out.

    • Carly June 4, 2013, 7:18 pm

      Thanks Dave S. – There is always someone to warn us about crime. In 1974, I moved to Seattle. I was told not to move to Capital Hill because of the crime. Somebody did steal the wheel off of my car one night while I was at work, but I lived there for 20 years with no other problems. Now it is gentrified…that’s the way it goes! Just be street smart, keep your karma clean and be civilized!

    • Chad December 5, 2013, 2:16 pm

      Hi Dave,

      We went to visit Ecuador for two weeks in June, 2013. We stayed in Manta on the coast and took buses up and down the coast. My favorite beach town was Canoa lots of expats and lots of stuff to do. It was a bit of a surf and party town but awesome beach and wish I had spent more time there but we found it on the second to last day of our trip. If you like bigger city feel Salinas or Manta might be more your style. Or if you want more of the party beach town I would reccomend Montantinita or Canoa. Last two would be my choice. Bus rides are only a dollar an hour so you can travel up and down the coast for very cheap. It was a great time and they have many beautiful beaches there I am sure you will love it.

      • Susan December 10, 2013, 9:16 pm

        I always thought the coast of Ecuador was unbearably hot. Did you not find this was the case?

  • bill hampton May 27, 2013, 6:28 pm

    i am a old man and i like to staye there incuenca but i would to know is also iam 82 in 2month can i stay all year or do i need do go out every 6 mo to 6 more month can you tell me ok thank you

  • Carly May 7, 2013, 4:05 pm

    Thanks for all the input, it has been helpful. Jim, I agree, in the US I always hear about immigrants unable to speak the language, the same will be true if we become the immigrants, I highly recommend Rosetta Stone,I plan to communicate when I get there.

  • Thomas April 23, 2013, 1:51 pm

    I read that cost of living in Bolivia is lower than Ecquador.

    • Bryan Haines April 23, 2013, 2:32 pm

      I’ve read the same thing.

      • Jimmy May 6, 2013, 8:44 pm

        Hi all,

        Never done much, or not enough research into living in Cuenca before I went off to live there.That being said, I went.
        Having arrived I went about setting up house and wondering if this feeling of being dizzed out and breathlessness would somehow leave me. I thought it was some form of jetlag or travel malady that had caused me to be listless and tired.
        Turns out it was the altitude. My body was now living on less oxygen than it was used to, 40% less, and did not like it. I thought that time would do it’s things and I’d get over it quickly. Six weeks later, and no change I decided to leave.
        As soon as I returned to sea level things immediately got back to normal. So I can safely say Cuenca’s not for everyone.

        • Barbara March 5, 2014, 2:32 am

          I visited Quito long ago, 1972. People kept talking about the altitude & to take it easy. I didn’t have any problems. Now, at 62 I’m wondering if it will change. Thanks for your post. I think I will stay in a B & B while I check out the town AND the altitude. Again, thank you.

    • Susan April 23, 2013, 3:25 pm

      It is not simply a matter of the cost of living. Bolivia has a very poor health care system, but in Ecuador health care is good and affordable.

  • Antoinette Jackson April 22, 2013, 12:35 am

    Enjoy reading the posts. It’s different than some of the other Expat sites. Thank you All who posted here.

  • Nancy Bowles April 17, 2013, 8:26 pm

    I am considering moving to Ecuador in the near future based on what I have read about the country. Anyone have any opinion of where I should visit initially? I am thinking of beach area. I can stay as long as 3 months if needed. Suggestions are welcome. I am from New Jersey shore and recently lost my home due to “Sandy”. Thanks.

    • Erika May 6, 2013, 12:59 am

      You should visit Manabi, it’s in the coast of Ecuador, if you prefer the city living and water front homes go to MANTA-Manabi. If you like the country side, a more quite setting and fresh air living go to San Jacinto-Sucre-Manabi
      I love it there its my destination when I want to relax, its a very nice town with basically no crime, people are friendly and food is very inexpensive.

  • Susan April 16, 2013, 12:57 pm

    Bryan & Dena: I too am a Canadian who lives in Ontario and my husband and I are considering Ecuador as a place to retire. We are currently receiving the Canada Pension and Old Age Security. Do you know whether or not we can continue to collect these if we became permanent residents of Ecuador? I thought I had read somewhere that you can still can collect CPP but not OAS but don’t know where to go to verify that since everything seems to relate to US residents becoming expats. Also, I’m a little hesitant because of the fact that health care is free in Ontario and I have a private plan that I don’t have to pay for to cover the 7 prescription drugs I require. Are you able to manage with having to pay for health care in Cuenco?
    Any input as a Canadian expat would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Bryan Haines April 16, 2013, 7:13 pm

      It would be best to speak with the Canadian government about this. We are not receiving any of these benefits so I’m not sure. I believe that many expats are living on their pensions here – but you should speak with the government to confirm.

  • Frank April 12, 2013, 12:58 pm

    Susan, you should pay attention to what Vincent says about the crime in
    Ecuador and wise up – I don’t know of any kidnappings in Jackson, Mississippi where you live. And who would want to live in Mississippi anyway? There are far better cities in the U.S than Jackson.

    • Antoinette Jackson April 20, 2013, 5:25 pm

      Aloha Frank What comment were you referring to when you posted this note to Susan? What and where is what Vincent said about Crime in EC please? Thank you Antoinette

  • Cecilia April 10, 2013, 2:53 am

    How do you move household supplies to Ecuador? How expensive is renting a storage unit? I can move my stuff one time without duty being paid. Also, what about pets?

  • sara April 5, 2013, 6:38 am

    I need urgent help,
    some people refuse to give back my things,
    can anyone help,
    if anyone can help,
    plz reply urgently,

  • Frank March 10, 2013, 4:03 am

    No one has commented on the crime in these Ecuadorian Cities. I live in San Diego and the Marines and Navy guys are told not to go to Tijuana because of the crime. And there are many documented incidents that tourists get kidnapped, robbed an murdered as far down as Baja; or the police are so corrupt that they puul you over and solicit a bribe and if you don’t pay it’s off to jail. Pleas comment.

    • Susan March 10, 2013, 5:59 pm

      Why would you assume that because Tijuana has crime, Ecuador must be the same? Because both countries speak Spanish? Tijuana is one of the arm-pits of the world, largely because of the US crowds which it services.

      • Vincent A. Salgado March 11, 2013, 6:30 pm

        No assumptions required. High rates of violent crime in Ecuador is a matter of record. See for example Cuenca is the city most often cited as a haven for foreigners. It is a lovely town but violent crime is quite common. There are lots of youtube videos (in Spanish) that address this issue. Here’s a recent one that reports the intervention of the Ecuadorean military to combat alarming increases in crime. BTW: I have lived there many years and now live in DC. I have many family members there, several of whom have been kidnapped. Ecuador is a beautiful country. If you chose to go, go with your eye wide open.

        • Susan March 12, 2013, 11:01 am

          Kidnappings are rare in the US but as far as violent crime goes, our crime rate here in Jackson, Mississippi is much higher, with only a third of the population.

          • Vincent A Salgado April 15, 2013, 9:40 pm

            Susan: Here is more data. Check out this page:
   This is a comparative look at gun homicide rates in the US and comparing each state to a similarly situated country in Latin America. DC is rated worst homicide gun rate in the country. No surprise there. Guess was it compares to? Ecuador! Ecuador comes in only slightly better than DC in terms of gun-related homicides. Again…..if you choose to move there, please go in…..eyes open.

          • Vincent A Salgado April 15, 2013, 9:46 pm

            Oops….I misstated the data…..Ecuador has a HIGHER rate of gun-related homicides compared to Washington, DC. And that city has the unique distinction of having the highest incidence of gun-related murders in the entire USA.

        • Antoinette Jackson April 21, 2013, 1:13 am

          Just having come into this site for the first time I am wondering why “Vincent” is so hell bent on crime in EC and Cuenca? I have been reading the EE for 3 yrs. now and have had seen literally only 1 post of crime, and everyones attitude is totally different. Are ALL these people living in a bubble or in a state of denial or are THEY the ones to truly listen to? I wonder? I’m not very impressed by your negativity Victor at all! I went to the newspaper article you posted I translated it, and guess what? It is no different than what you read daily in ANY American city! Only in Am it is multiplied by literally thousands of cities across America. I wonder what your motive is behind your negativity in these posts.

          • Vincent A Salgado April 22, 2013, 9:30 am

            Antoinette: What you perceive as my negativity is actually my attempt to bring objectivity to this discussion. This website and ones like it are in the business of promoting an idea. The idea that you can benefit by choosing to retire abroad. And to a certain extent, this is true. In the case of Ecuador I have first hand knowledge because my parents are from there, the bulk of my family still lives there and I have lived there before and still travel there often. It is my observation, as well as the observation of my local relatives, that violent crime has accelerated remarkably over the past 15 years. And keep in mind that the vast majority of crime doesn’t get reported in Ecuador. Not the same here in the US. And the conventional wisdom is that narco-traffic has spread away from Columbia to other parts of Latin American, notably Ecuador and Honduras. Regardless of the source, the net result is significantly increase violent crime in Ecuador. I can give you anecdotal examples involving members of my extended family ranging from “sequestro express” (day long kidnapping) to one terrible example where my then 85 year old godmother was kidnapped from her home ( in a very exclusive area of Quito) and held for three days. She was drugged and beaten and lost sight in one eye as a result. Needless to say, her sense of security was shattered and she moved away shortly thereafter. To add insult to injury, her bank, Citibank, paid out a $9,000 forged check and later refused to reimburse her for having paid out on a forged signature. This was in 2003. I have another, more recent example where another relative, a married couple, returned home from work and encountered armed men in their garage. They were tied up and there young children were taken away while the crooks proceed to back up a big truck and haul away all the contents of their home. Thankfully, the children were returned unharmed that day but the trauma on the parents has had longlasting effects. So…why do I tell these stories. It is not to be a fear monger but rather to offer objective information that I would want to have if I were to be considering retiring in Ecuador. Ecuador is a beautiful country with wonderful, peaceful people. Unfortunately, it has become infiltrated with very nasty people who would not hesitate to use extreme violence to get what they want….be it cash or valuables, or in some cases, dominate a community thru fear. I hope things improve because I will be spending lots of time there. But those of you who are considering Ecuador as a landing zone, please go in with your eyes wide open and solicit objective advice.

          • Bryan Haines April 23, 2013, 11:21 am

            While I appreciate your “attempt to bring objectivity to this discussion”, you must recognize that stating two random examples is not helpful. It actually distorts the reality. I can state a few examples of violent crime from the small town we lived in (Nova Scotia, Canada) but this doesn’t give the real picture. There were a number of violent crimes, but generally it was super safe.

            We don’t have an “idea to promote” as you write. We wrote about dangerous areas in Cuenca. We write about how to be safe. Crime does exist here, but there is a need for balance. A few blogs and sites about Ecuador state random crimes as if they are the trend. Before we moved, these random stories made us worry about how safe it really was here.

            The fact is, we don’t know any expat or tourist that has been the victim of violent crime – except ourselves. Last year we were robbed at gunpoint on the street. The same thing could have happened in any North American city, if the circumstances had been the same. A rough part of town, talking on the street for almost an hour, at night. It was a stupid decision, and we got robbed because of it.

            I agree with your comment to arrive with your eyes wide open. There is an idea among some expats that Cuenca is some type of peaceful paradise. Some of them write that it is okay to walk around the city at any time – day or night. That is naive and dangerous – in any city of the world.

            Thanks for your comment!

          • lillis a werder February 23, 2015, 11:35 pm

            Wow Vincent. That story about your godmother was startling. How very sad. I always felt safe in your home in Quito. It was a lovely visit. A beautiful time. I will never forget.

        • Kelly June 25, 2013, 4:27 pm

          Seems like Victor is jealous that Ecuador is getting all the attention and not his home country. Because you are Hispanic, right Victor?

        • Kelly June 25, 2013, 4:32 pm

          Oops I meant to say Vicente..

          • Vincent A Salgado January 13, 2015, 2:34 pm

            @ Kelly….as you can read from my previous postings, my ancestral antecedents are in Ecuador.

    • Jerry Lowery June 13, 2013, 1:06 pm

      If you like San Diego you will love Cuenca. I’ve only been to San Diego one time (last year). I stayed at a hotel on Market Street.The next morning when I went out to get breakfast, you had to step over people sleeping on the street. You had to watch where you stepped as there was human waste all over the sidewalks. Cuenca is one of the cleanest cities I have ever been in and I have never seen anybody sleeping on the street.

      As far as crime, it amazes me the way people walk the streets, completely unafraid. You won’t find this in any city in the USA.

  • Matthew January 29, 2013, 11:58 am

    Me and my wife are 25 my wife is ecuadorian but we met in England when she was working over here! We got married in quito and have been over on holiday to see her mum and dad etc each year! She is desperate to get me to move from the uk to ecuador! The country is beatifull but I don’t speak fluent spanish and have no qualifications! My main skills are in sales and am currently in the bank atm! We didn’t bump into any tourists or anyone that spoke english in equador and don’t no where to find what jobs would be an option for me? I have to say the food is awesome out there!

  • Fred Collins January 29, 2013, 7:37 am

    If those are the worst examples of living in Ecuador it truly is paradise. We plan to move there in early 2014. Stayed in Quito, with visits to Otavalo and Mindo last year and loved every minute (although my wife was cold much of the time, she still loved it). Coming to Cuenca with a visit to the coast next month. I find the food and the people wonderful.
    I was surprised that the locals driving was not mentioned. But everyone sees with their own eyes.

    • Chad December 5, 2013, 2:26 pm

      Yeah the driving is totaly different from driving in the states. Its more aggressive an the rules of the road seem to be optional… That said didn’t see one accident despite wondering if we would die while in cabs a few times. Had one cab driver tailgate a police truck and start honking for them to move over!

  • Keith & Mary January 8, 2013, 7:04 pm

    rants..Nice site here…loads of info. Any info/references on honest legal help… for help with moving there legally and starting a business? What kind of entertainment is there? restaurants, music, arts….
    shopping? Is it better to move there and rent or buy property? Average age? Safe to walk around at nite for dinner?

  • Denise December 26, 2012, 2:14 pm

    Hey Doug! Thanks for the great article! My brother and his wife are heading down to Cuenca in March 2013, because they are seriously considering retiring there. Now, my sister and I are thinking about it as well. As young children, we were unceremoniously uprooted from a typical American family life, in small town Minnesota, and moved to Mexico City, where our Bostonian Grandmother had retired. While it was a bit of a struggle, we loved it! We learned Spanish fairly quickly, and found that being immersed in a totally new culture was wonderful! We returned to the states after years, but we all, always wanted to return to Mexico in our old age. Now it looks as if Ecuador may be the place. Like some of the previous posters, my concern is money and employment. I’m very near retirement age, and will get some pension in a few years, but I wonder if there are jobs in the area of wildlife, in the meantime. I was a zookeeper (San Diego Zoo – Hi to Jesse from Hillcrest!) for 24 years, with my specialty being hummingbirds (Ecuador would be heaven on earth for me!) and husbandry/handraising/rescue of many other exotic species of birds and mammals. I still do some hummer rescue. I would love to become involved with any rescue organizations although maybe that’s just a pipe dream. I also had a teaching cred in Science and Biology which has lapsed. Do you think there are any jobs for someone like me? Currently, I work in a library and am also an artist, and will be setting up an online ETSY site as my stuff is very popular. Is something like that feasible for existing in a place like Cuenca or elsewhere? Sorry to write so much, but it sounds like this is exactly what I’ve been dreaming of for so many years! – Thanks for any input or suggestions! – Denise

  • Guillermo Dread December 11, 2012, 1:18 am

    Is Ecuador socially liberal or conservative? It sounds like most of the expats are conservative.Ecuador seems not to be the ideal country considering it has a left leaning government. Can help with this I would this.

    • j_major December 25, 2012, 2:44 am

      IMHO, Ecuador is a conservative society, as in: most people prefer to follow traditional views regarding certain decissions, like whether a woman should not go out at night until the same hour as a man. or let’s say, it’s not very common to find a same-sex couple in any place (there are few gay friendly).
      This has nothing to do with having a leftist government. In fact, the current government has conservative politics when it comes to abortion or right to die or same-sex parenting (even though, same-sex civil unions were aproved under the same current government).
      In one sentence: The society being conservative has nothing to do with having (temporarily) a leftist government.

      • Guillermo Dread December 25, 2012, 11:08 am

        Why do you say temporarily. From what I have the current government is very popular. I personally support the governments positions.


  • Dave December 10, 2012, 11:21 am

    Sound to me like Jack and Jill are typical pie in the sky morons that paint a vision in their head without looking at the big picture… moving to a foreign country without even visiting first in insane, not to mention stupid! This is the benefit of wisdom from age as in Ann and Andy checking it out before moving. Albeit Andy sounds to be a bit of a whiner to me – I’d think you could order most anything that you want on the internet – barring laws and regulations.)
    As for us, we are getting close to retirement age and with the current political issues in America we have been looking at other countries to move to, I’ve traveled all over the world from first world to third world countries so I have an idea what to expect in another country, however my wife has not and I’ve been candied with her that few places are like America. Ecuador is on my short list, but when the times comes to put up or shut up I’d diffidently go for an extended visit of a month or so just so my wife would know what it’s like. To me that’s common sense.

    • Jim December 26, 2012, 11:07 am

      Dave, your arrogance and ignorance are oozing from your pores. We came here without visiting first. And no, it wasn’t stupid or insane. You assume everyone is like you, but they aren’t. Our circumstances worked perfectly for moving here without visiting first. And the reality is, it’s a little short sighted to assume that you know you want to stay here permanently after a 1 or 2 or 6 month visit. We’re working on two years in Ecuador and there are many things about this country I love, but I’m not entirely sold on staying permanently….yet. Everybody does things in their own time and according to their own circumstances. It would be a little more fair on your part to remember that when posting.

      • Dave December 26, 2012, 7:07 pm

        Thanks for your replay Jim … do you honestly think I care what you think with such a rude and ill informed reply? If you said “No” you’d be right – perhaps for the first time today.

        • Jim December 26, 2012, 10:05 pm

          Sorry Dave, I thought I was writing in your language. No real offense intended.

    • Antoinette Jackson April 20, 2013, 5:42 pm

      Dave I think you are very misguided on this. People are not “morons or stupid who do not visit there or anyplace before moving first.” I not only have moved to several countries never having visited before but also know of many people who have moved to Ecuador sight unseen and are currently living there very happily. When people use the comments you do they lump EVERYONE in one boat. People are INDIVIDUAL with INDIVIDUAL experiences. When I moved to Grand Cayman bought a condo (sight unseen) I also moved from Hawai’i. Ended up getting a GREAT job with the Caymanian Govt. as their only hospitals Medical Social Worker and had a WONDERFUL life! I also moved to Jamaica WI again sight unseen and lived a totally different lifestyle there married for the 1st time, and have my now 27 yr. old son. You seem extremely rigid in your thinking. One way is not always the only or “right” way! Have to say I agree with Jim’s comment below glad he said it too. Whow Dave be more civilized please. This is exactly what I have heard about certain expats who go down there and are really THE PROBLEM! Better you stay in AM. Again my experiences and opinions.

  • daniel December 9, 2012, 4:31 pm

    Brian and Dena,

    Do you know of any places in Cuenca that rent by the month (with no longer term commitment?

    • Bryan Haines December 10, 2012, 6:43 am

      There are many options, but I don’t know of any offhand. They can be a little hard to find. Either they are expensive because they are listed in English or you’ll have to search the Spanish classified sites.

  • Carly Finch December 9, 2012, 3:16 pm

    Thank you for this posting, I was wondering if there were negative experiences in Ecuador and I am delighted to find only those of one’s own creation!

    • Bryan Haines December 10, 2012, 6:50 am

      Of course, there are real negative experiences – no place is perfect. It is valuable to understand why some people can’t (or don’t want to) handle certain areas.

  • Jan Hunsinger November 29, 2012, 11:20 am

    Well…”Jill” needs THERAPY and her son will too There IS hot water in Ecuador for heaven’s sake although it’s not universal. I would say Jill is not only neurotic (OCD anyone?) she is also racist, believing people from other cultures are “dirty!” For the record, the US is fast-becoming one of the most UNHEALTHY environments on the planet! (chemicals, GMO’s etc!)

  • Walt November 28, 2012, 8:04 am

    I live in a small town in the Dominican Republic and the above stories make me laugh, I have been here 5 years ,married a dominican lady have 2 girls and many things here are exact copies of Ecuador. Both countries are beautiful ,the cultures are simalar. For an American ajusting has been may I say interesting ,and the common American products and items that we are use to simply are not here so I adjust, as an other American have told me you accept the Negatives that we see and you enjoy the climate and nature that abounds in both countries. Like Ecuador both countries have wonderful opportunties if you open your eyes and mind. In closing my next stop in life will probably Ecuador, Because all my freinds and family have told me many many times -Don’t come back to the states to live the country has changed for the negative. So I will learn more everyday about making the best of living in The Dominican Republic and Ecuador

  • Vincent Salgado November 8, 2012, 12:52 am

    What about crime? The major cities of Ecuador have lots of violent crime, most of which goes unreported because weak policing. Check out this article: I’d like to here more about the security issue in Ecuador.

    • Susan February 22, 2013, 11:57 pm

      It says they had about 270 assaults in one year. The city I live in (Jackson, MS) had about twice that number although it has only half of the population.

      • tearanew February 24, 2013, 4:40 pm

        Those are probably reported assaults, which many victims fail to report because there isn’t as much trust in the police as we have here in the States. Just the same, your point is well taken.

  • Carlos August 2, 2012, 7:46 pm

    Just one little thing:
    “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.”

    • Bryan Haines August 3, 2012, 6:49 am

      Well said!

      • Brian November 6, 2012, 7:47 pm

        I couldn’t agree more. We spend out winters in |Mexico and have for the 17 years I have been retired. When we pass through the US on the way south people say “you’re going to Mexico!, don’t you know how dangerous that is?”
        However when we get to whatever our destination is, that winter, we find many Americans and Canadians who think that the drive through Arizona, Texas, etc. etc. is the most dangertous part of that journey. The folks that think Mexico is dangerous aren’t here, thank God.

  • Esteban July 18, 2012, 2:20 am

    I was born in Cuenca, moved to Vancouver b.c when I was 9 , I’ve been here over 25 years, I have a family and two daughters, I travel back at least once every 2 years for business, I don’t think I would ever take my young family back to live, maybe one day I would consider retiring there, hard to say right now. The reasons people gave in your article for not liking Ecuador are so trivial that are almost laughable. Ecuador has many issues ,some social, some state, poverty, corruption, security, I love my country, I will always visit for many reasons, but it will always have its challenges like many countries in the world, that’s why I love Canada.

    • nordik September 11, 2012, 7:44 pm

      Hello Monsieur Esteban ,, I am from Montreal french speaking and well travelled . Was planning to go retiring after some readings this month . I would like it in Victoria , but pension benefits are not enough .
      I always had happy and interesting experiences in my travels China Thailand , Burma etc. . What could be the best interesting and not so expensive places in Equateur in 2012 ? Is banos or Cuenca are really good or over estimated ? Since you say , you are from around these places , would you have some addresses besides the consul and ambasssadeur thing for logding cost of life and transport ? merci , thank you Esteban .. mail to :

  • Carol June 6, 2012, 11:41 am

    LOved reading this article, I myself am born in the States but very proud of my Ecuadorian background and married to a Cuencano so yes we moved during the 08′ financial crisis to Ecuador and it was so tough. He was happy being again with his family and though we traveled every year there I was used to just staying for vacation but indeed the difference coming from NY is huge. Our daughter was happy being in Catholic all girl school, the education is very good and strict which I’m fine with I also here studied in Catholic Academies until High School so that was good but just finding a job that was difficult. I graduated with a Bachelors in Business Administration my major is International Marketing but they required so much and though I’m not a total gringa jaja because obviously I’m hispanic people are just rude and underestimate you, even when I had to obtain my Ecuadorian dual citizenship it was an awful experience my current cedula or ID says my level of education is only School I asked why showing them my College diploma well for them I have to get all my credits through the Department of Education over there, it’s just plain bureaucracy and it stinks. So I had to get a job just from acquaintances and though it was a work related job I was paid 400 dollars a month yes to be realistic that’s not enough my husband worked too but we didn’t make 800 a month with degree and all. The only way you’ll survive is really by having your own business or just knowing the right ppl maybe it wasn’t my luck. Anyhow we lasted a year just waiting for our daughter to finish school, returned to the States and are happily here working and Ecuador will only be for vacations or when I retire maybe that’s the only way we’ll live there. I mean everyone’s story is different plus we are a couple in our 20’s so we are just starting and that experience was ok to live it. I’ll always love Cuenca but just to visit :) good luck to the rest.

    • Amber November 29, 2012, 1:45 pm

      Hi Carol we have a VERY similar story and was wondering if we could chat, I am still in Ecuador and had a few questions! Thanks in advance…

  • Matthew May 19, 2012, 1:22 pm

    I am 24 my wife is ecuadorian we met when she came to England for a six month study.
    My wife would love us to move to Quito with her mum and dad or manta or salinas.
    I have been to Ecuador and some things I like others I don’t but my main concern is what jobs a gringo as we are called can get out here?
    I will be visiting again for 3 weeks for her sisters wedding next year inching she will pitch me again. I was wondering what advice or ideas any English or American do for work out there atm

    • Dino May 24, 2012, 4:03 pm

      Your question is too generic and some what way open out there. Finding a job it depends of different factors such as level of education, skills, training, vocation, field of expertise. Sorry, but there is no way that anyone can tell you what kind of job you could do without first stating or providing a more complete information about your area of expertise. I’ll stick my neck out and advise you to contact the local chamber of commerce, get a list of British, Canadian and US companies that operate in the country and match one with your and your wife level of expertise, but again all the pends on the you specific situation I have described above. I hope you find my comment useful. Good luck.

      Dino F.

      • Matthew May 24, 2012, 4:43 pm

        My level of expertise is in sales, I’ve done various telemarketing jobs business to consumer, business to business account manager! Currently am in finance working for the bank! Due to be studying to be a financial planner!

        I kind of assumed that to do any job I would need to have a good knowledge and pronunciation of Spanish.

        I know it’s a generic question, I was looking to see what other people can do out there before they spoke Spanish??

        • Dino May 24, 2012, 11:23 pm

          Matthew,the Spanish language is the main key to succeed in any work overseas that Spanish that is spoken. Not necessarily dominating it, but a good basic understanding it will start open doors. Also it’s important for you to understand the culture as well things are done different outside the US. You will need to immerse into a fast-track language course once you get in Ecuador and be patient, if you don’t then, frustration will take over. Wile you immerse into the Spanish language, start researching companies that need a English speaking person and get any job to help you start and understand the business culture and you will learn Spanish in the process. You are young and will get new friends that speak Spanish and that, will also help you with your Spanish. Contact the US Embassy in Quito, and get a list of international companies that do business in the country, but the real tool is the Internet, it will open the world to research. As I said in my previous email the local chamber of Commerce is a good source of information as well. Matthew, above all DO NOT GET DISCOURAGE! or frustrated, be patient and you will do fine.
          Good luck.

        • j_major December 25, 2012, 2:55 am

          If you did came here to Ecuador, you may have tried working with int’l companies, but also try public enterprises or national companies that export or do int’l commerce.

      • Jimmy December 11, 2012, 8:26 pm

        I spent 6 weeks in Cuenca waiting for something to happen.

        Nothing ever does.

        maybe i’m just one of those guys that just needs a little more input and for me Cuenca just doesn’t have it..If your looking to connect with the’ll have to do lots of homework….they won’t welcome you with smiles and open arms..

  • Jimmy May 17, 2012, 10:06 am

    The reason i’m leaving is because….it’s a bit boring socially for me…Cuenca’s a beautiful place but i find the people less than thrilled having a gringo in there city.
    Even if i made the effort to learn Spanish i’d still be ignored. I feel like a fish out of water most of the time and i’m sure it’s all about me and my expectations.

    • Jim May 7, 2013, 9:11 am

      Jimmy, culture shock takes awhile to get through. We lived in Cuenca for a year and despite arrogance from the locals with some money (yes, they will judge you based on your economic situation), most locals are simply a bit shy because of the language barrier. Some people under estimate the value of communication in Spanish, but it can change not only how you perceive you are being treated by locals but it will actually eliminate that fear that you and locals have in trying to communicate.

  • Dino April 7, 2012, 9:47 am

    Good article thank you, Doug. My wife and I just hit the big 60 and because life is changing here, in the US, as we knew it, we have decided that the time has come to pack our suit cases and move. Will becoming in July and part of August for a month and expect to find the good and the bad as it is anywhere else, but people and beauty as no other place.
    My recommendation to anyone that is considering Ecuador, or any other country for that matter, “learn at least basic Spanish and adopt to the culture,” You’ll be a much happier person.

  • Tom December 24, 2011, 8:53 pm

    Where is SuCase?

    • Bryan Haines January 1, 2012, 5:59 pm

      Hi Tom – Su Casa is on Avenida de las Americas and Gran Columbia – in the plaza with SuperMaxi (de las Americas).


  • Mark @ ramblecrunch December 22, 2011, 3:24 am

    After reading this post I realize the reasons these folks didn’t stay in Cuenca had more to do with themselves than Ecuador. For me, and my family, I am wondering about the climate. We have lived in the pacific northwest area for 12 years. I must say the overcast days got to us. Wikipedia says Cuenca gets even fewer sunshine hours than Vancouver. Have you ever heard anyone talk about this as a reason for leaving (or not coming to Cuenca)?

    • Bryan Haines December 22, 2011, 11:57 am

      You know, we’ve found the information online about the weather/climate in Cuenca to be quite lacking. Often the online reports say they are for Cuenca, but the maps actually show Guayaquil – a city on the coast. Its true that it is cloudy during certain times of the year, but not excessively. Of course, thats from my perspective – we come from Nova Scotia, a small coastal province in Canada…

    • Ron July 22, 2012, 10:02 pm

      I’m one of those people who are very sensitive to the sun and have had my share of skin cancer surgeries. I prefer cloudy days and have no problem with rain. Sounds like Cuenca might be the place for me. I know it’s at a high elevation, and am wondering if this mitigates the humidity?


  • Jesse August 12, 2011, 9:19 pm

    Hi, I live in Pasaje south of Guayaquil, I just returned from 30 days in the U.S., like many others I can say I really missed my place here. I moved from Hillcrest, San Diego, where everybody wants to live. But I can’t find the same easy life style as here.

    My friends all ask me, why do you live there, well for one thing I ate out tonight had a salad, 1/4 of chicken, beans and rice for $1.75

    My rent is less then $75.00 a month and I live in a nice apt, where I have the whole top floor.

    Being gay I was concerned about my life style, only once did anyone say anything about it, there are many gay guys down here, some are open and some as everywhere else still in the closet.

    While I read about so many people moving to Cuenca, I think you will get better deals, buying land, rent, etc., away from cities like Cuenca. There are so many great places to live here, from the coast to the mountains.

    My previous employment allowed me to travel to many countries and I had the opportunity to live with the local people, very seldom if at all seeing an America, I found that getting away from expats, you will get to meet the real people of any country, including Ecuador, and get the local pricing.

    To Patrick, living on SSDI I don’t know of a better place that your dollar will go farther, well maybe Haiti or Somalia.

    • joseph Paul December 21, 2014, 4:45 pm

      Hi Jesse,
      Hope to see you there;
      I am planning to visit Ecuador Feb 2015

    • JAMES SMITH December 24, 2014, 9:17 pm


  • Patrick April 18, 2011, 3:30 pm

    Hi, I'm disabled (but still walking) and I'm wondering if the spring-like weather would be good for bad knees and not too touch to get around in Ecuador. I'm living on SSDI and I want somewhere where my money goes a lot further. I'm thinking of visiting Central America or Ecuador this winter 2011/2012 and would appreciate any advice on making the trip to either location(s).

    I also like to fish and don't necessarily like extreme hot weather. I'm interested in "stable" year-round warm weather with no "daylight savings time" stresses, or just winter warm weather as I may return to the US during the summers here (May-October). Any help would be appreciated! Signed, "lived in the Seattle are too many years"!!!!

    • Bryan Haines April 26, 2011, 2:10 pm

      Hi Patrick,While the infrastructure here is very good, you would need to be careful of sidewalks – they have holes and pipes and random things sticking out of them. Its not like you are used to in Seattle. There is good fishing in the Sierra and the climate hardly changes all year long. Your money will certainly go further here.

      • Jim April 13, 2014, 7:45 pm

        Hi Bryan,

        You seem to be very knowledgeable about Ecuador. I appreciate your information. I am 53 years old and had a bad divorce and lost a lot. Welcome to being a man in the US. I know I can not afford to retire in the US and I am currently looking at Costa Rica and now Ecuador. Right now I am torn between the two. I see both locations the cost of living are about the same. Now I have been reading and learning about the crime which seems to be higher is Ecuador which I know is relative as crime in the US is bad but not where I live. I live in suburban NJ. Property taxes are ridiculous. 1/2 acre at 9K. Just nuts. Due to my divorce the money I have now is half of what I would have had but reading all I have I should be ok for 16 years what I have now. How long have you been in Ecuador? What do you dislike the most? And in your opinion how much do you really need to live there well? I truly appreciate your reply and if you could reply to my email address.


    • Dave December 10, 2012, 11:40 am

      Patrick, Just saying that if Daylight Saving Times stresses you out … you might want to stay put. Immersing yourself in another culture is far more stressful than “springing forward” or “falling back” a hour once a year.

  • Erikam March 25, 2011, 11:00 am

    hello, HHMM I am in a bit of a predicament. My husband and I are planning to move to ecuador(quevedo) due to his sick parents. I am born and rasied in new york and only visited quevedo for two weeks back in 2005. We have two kids now 3yrld and 17 months old. I am the one that is most hesitant since I have never lived there before. My husband was born there and left the country when he was 14.

    I am concerned that when over there I may be severly homesick and not find anything to do. I am used to working everyday and the task of being a stay at home now…let alone in a strange country is scary. Provided I do not have to worry about income or help but where would that leave my day to day life. Also as to the education of my children I want to make sure that they learn english.

    I am not sure about the whole thing but my husband is dead set on going. What advice can you give me to calm my worries.???

    • Doug March 26, 2011, 9:48 pm

      Since you have two small children, getting bored should not be a problem. You need to keep in mind that the pace of life here is much slower than in the States. You will have more time to appreciate the simpler things of life and that is not boring. Before coming to Ecuador, I had visions of having too much time on my hands and the opposite has proven to be true in our case. We stay very busy and are happy here as a family. To deal with homesickness, you can keep in touch with family and friends via Skype or Magic Jack internet phone calls. I really think that in time you will appreciate the privilege you will have to be together as a family and the chance to help take care of your husband's parents. My kids attend an internet school based in the U.S., so that may be an option for your kids as well.

      • Paul November 6, 2013, 12:17 am

        Hello Doug,
        Could you tell me a little bit more about the internet school ?

  • karen Miller March 18, 2011, 7:44 pm

    Hola, Our names are Karen and Mike Miller, we will be coming to cuenca for 2 weeks from sept 26th to oct8th, I too, have been having trouble finding a short term rental. Even offering to pay a months rent. Anyone have any luck finding a place? We wouldn't mind if it were in a surrounding village, such as cumbe or puate. We visited Olon last fall, we loved Ecuador. We want to visit inland. We are planning on reitring in Ecuador, and are spending our vacations in different areas before making a decision. We would apprecaite any comments..Thanks!

  • Pete Heck March 1, 2011, 8:19 am

    Well written post. I lived in Ecuador for close to 6 months, and loved it. Only reason I left, is that we are not ones who settle for too long and have moved on. There were definitely adjustments that were necessary. But aren't those expected? It annoys me people that move down to these countries and think that things will be all flowery and the same as in a first world country. One of the biggest challenges when I was living there was dealing with visas. The process is long and tedious, but if you have patience, then you will be fine. Oh yeah, and the beef comment from Andy I disagree with. Ecuadorian beef I found delicious in comparison with US beef and cheaper.

    • Doug March 1, 2011, 4:19 pm

      Thanks for your input. We still love living in Ecuador after almost 4 years and have no plans to go back to the so called "first" world. It is important to keep an open mind regardless of where one lives. If someone is prone to complain and constantly compare life here with how it was in their counrty of origin, they are probably not going to enjoy life here.

  • Doug February 24, 2011, 9:49 pm


    There are places in Ecuador where you can still "enjoy" the same life style you had as a child, but for the most part Cuenca is as advances as any city in the States. In some ways Cuenca is more advanced than some U.S. cities in terms of public transportation, internet availability and medical care.

  • Marcos February 24, 2011, 9:47 pm

    I'm Ecuadorian, you are all welcome in Ecuador, without an Ecuadorian made a hostile comment, please accept my apologies, you may have misinterpreted his comments, which details life in the country. Ecuador has its beautiful and ugly side , has good and bad, as anywhere in the world.

    • Bryan Haines February 27, 2011, 8:31 pm

      Hi Marcos – appreciate your comment. Thanks!

  • palmerphill February 24, 2011, 2:47 pm

    We are coming down to visit first December 2011 or January 2012 for 2 months. Does anyone know of any short term rental housing/apartments in Cuenca? Fully furnished with appliances and accessories seems to be hard to come by. If anyone has any advice let me know. Preferably within walking distance of markets etc.

    • Doug February 24, 2011, 9:43 pm

      Hello Phil,

      I do know of a couple of short term rentals in Cuenca that may fit your needs. You can check out my profile page and contact me with your email address and I will send you a private email with the details.


      • Tim March 6, 2011, 2:18 pm

        Hi Doug,
        Similar to the post by Phil, I am planning on travelling to Ecuador in January 2012. I would like to stay for 1 month and check out various regions, towns & cities in the country to see if Ecuador would be a place I'd like to move to.
        I'm thinking of staying in hostels while visiting different areas of the country. From what I've read the most appealing areas to me would likely be the coast (Salinas), Yunguilla Valley, or Cuenca. Do you know what the cost of staying in hostels in those areas would be? Can a person get a weekly rate at hostels instead of paying by the night? If you have recommendations of specific hostels and any travelling tips that would be great too.

      • al October 14, 2013, 11:30 am

        i also can use info on affordable furn apart. wkl- monthly in cueanca. im moving in dec ’14

    • wally March 8, 2011, 4:27 pm

      hola we are in cuenca now for a month. found a place called suites amobladas fully furnished apts right on the rio tomebamba river. we went over there booked for the next 2 months. Very nice and within walking distance to tel centro(THE CENTER OF CUENCA hope that helps.,com

      • Lucie Piché-Cantin December 22, 2011, 8:49 pm

        Check Big Ralphs Hostal and Restaurant in Salinas. They operate a first class hostal. He’s a former English chef and offers the best fish and chips out of England. I own a condo, but I’m fully rented until early April.

  • Lionel February 23, 2011, 6:58 pm

    I'm in my sixties. I can remember as a child growing up in a major city in the U.S. where for a short period of time we didn't have hot and cold running water. I can remember that for heat we had to burn oil in an oil stove. We didn't have a refrigerator, we had an icebox. We had an out door flushing toilet with no lights. We had to use a flashlight to see with. We almost froze our butts off going to the outdoor toilet. My mom used a scrub board to wash our clothes. If Cuenca is any better than that, I can live with it.

    • Diego August 25, 2013, 4:08 am

      I too am in my sixties. I was born and raised in Quito. We had cold and hot running water and a refrigerator. Indoor plumbing and a flushing toilet (accepted the paper as well as other wastes!) . We has electricity (although on some days, it would go out). We didn’t have a heater or air conditioner because we didn’t need one. And Ecuador is considered a 3rd world country!


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We are a Canadian family of 3 living in Ecuador since 2009. We blog about life and travel in Ecuador. If this is your first visit, start here. Interested to work with us? Read more about Bryan & Dena

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