Thinking about a move to Ecuador? Meet 32 Ecuador expats and learn about what life is like in Ecuador as an expat.
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 32 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. Curious about where to move? Here are 7 reasons that Ecuador is the best country for expats.
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
Are you an expat in Ecuador? Share your story here.
Ecuador Expats: Meet 32 Expats From Around the World
Inge Van den Herrewegen Living in Santa Marianita
Inge is from Oudenaarde, Belgium and decided to move to Ecuador after traveling through Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, French Polynesia, Chile, and Peru.
After hearing about the small coastal town of Santa Marianita, she headed north and decided to stay. She now has a family, including two sons. She runs Punta la Barca – a small hosteria on the coast, and gives kitesurfing lessons.
Dave and Robin Zinck Living in Loja, Giron, and San Jacinto
Dave and Robin moved to Ecuador in January 2016.
They explored much of the country and lived in three areas: San Jacinto (near Manta, on the coast), Giron (in Yunguilla Valley) and Loja, in southern Ecuador.
After 1.5 years in Ecuador, they decided to return to Canada.
Andra and Josh Carter Living in Otavalo Ecuador
In 2014, they worked with a group of local Ecuadorians to create a cafe in Otavalo – La Cosecha Ecuador. This collaboration has resulted in an incredible location that serves thousands of customers a year. It is a Lonely Planet’s Top Pick for Otavalo and rated on #1 on TripAdvisor in both the city and the province.
Cassie McClellan Living in Otavalo
In this interview, Cassie shares why they moved, what they love about life in Otavalo, and how they are learning Spanish.
Their experience has been different than many expats in Ecuador. They have run a small bed and breakfast – and also a microbrewery.
You’ll especially want to check out what they love about Ecuador at the end of the interview.
Deborah Hughes Living in Manta
In this post, they discuss why they chose to live on the coast – instead of in Cuenca, high in Ecuador’s Andes mountains.
Read why they chose the coast: What’s the best place to live in Ecuador? Mountains vs Coast
Read more about their journey on their blog: 4000 Miles
Gregory Diehl Living in Vilcabamba
He has lived and worked in more than 50 countries, chronicling the enlightening lessons he learned in the Amazon bestseller: Travel As Transformation.
After traveling the world, he chose to settle in Vilcabamba. Here’s why:
Damaris de Jimenez Living in Cuenca
What she found is adventure (and her future husband).
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
Rick 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.
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
Check out our complete guide to Ecuador beaches
Todd & Heidi Gorishek Living in Cuenca
This is their first international move and they are loving their new life in Cuenca.
Todd writes a daily blog about life in Ecuador at Todd Talk in Ecuador.
Linn Vermilion Smith Living in Pakakuna Gardens, Chaca
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.
Linn manages the site for the Pakakuna Gardens community. Check it out at ExpatsofPakakuna.com
Jacquie & Don Mackenzie Living in Vilcabamba Valley
In early 2016, they moved to Chaupi in the Vilcabamba Valley.
Connect with Jacquie on her blog.
Why I Decided to Move to Loja Ecuador: Jesse Bayer
Jesse was a real estate investor in New York City and offers a unique perspective on real estate in Ecuador.
Jesse is co-founder of Abundant Living Ecuador – a real estate and relocation services company based out of Loja.
Jessamyn Living in Tena, Ecuador
She married an Ecuadorian and they have a 12-year-old son.
Jessmyn writes about Ecuador on her blog.
Susan Schenck Living in Cuenca Ecuador
Before moving to Ecuador, Susan also lived in Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.
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
After marrying an Ecuadorian-born husband, they returned to Toronto for 10 years before returning to Cuenca in 2011.
Lisa Cho Living in Cuenca Ecuador
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.
Mark Cowtan Living in Capaes, Salinas Ecuador
He is British and his wife is Peruvian. Mark runs a site dedicated to Ecuador’s beaches.
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)
Back 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
He has worked with a micro-brewery in Canoa and also as a tour guide.
Stewart Perez Living in Cumbaya, Ecuador
He works as a property and construction manager.
Connect with Stewart on LinkedIn
House Hunters International Ecuador: All 14 Episodes
Back in 2012, our family was featured in a House Hunters International episode in Cuenca.
Curious about HHI? See behind the scenes in House Hunters International.
Gary Sisk Living in Cuenca, Ecuador
His story is one of our most highly commented of all of them.
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
In her story, you’ll read what it was like to school her two boys in the local school system.
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
Christina is from Germany and now operates 4 Volcanoes Lodge. Christina wrote a piece about owning horses in Ecuador.
Learn more about her lodge 4volcanoes.com.
Franziska & Daniel Pedersen Living in Yunguilla Valley
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.
Liliya Bykova Living in Quito
They operate a tour company and short term rental apartment in Quito.
Other Ecuador Expat Stories
- 2 Texas Gals (Cuenca)
- Jeff Stern (Quito)
- Jo Reason (Cotopaxi)
- Maureen Douglas (Cuenca)
- Matt Scherr (Cuenca)
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:
- Future expats planning an Ecuador relocation
- Expats currently living in Ecuador
- Ex-expats who have recently returned home (or moved to another country) after living in Ecuador
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!