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Why Some Expats Decide Not to Live in Ecuador (Bad Things?)

Posted in: Expats in Ecuador, Living in Ecuador

PassportEcuador 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.

contact bryan and denaDuring 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 beefFor 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.

Curious about where to move? Here are 7 reasons that Ecuador is the best country for expats.

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

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Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Travel.

315 comments… add one
  • George Vasquez Jun 19, 2020, 7:31 pm

    Born, raised and educated in Guayaquil, Ecuador! After finishing college I moved to US. Lived in New York, New Jersey and California. Out of my 50 years in America, I spent 45 in California and the last 10 in the beautiful Napa Valley. Now, Cuenca is my home town and my wife and I believe it is the best decision we have made. Culture, friendliness, cleanliness, weather, cost of living and the Andes range helped us to make the decision! Of course, being bilingual was a plus that allows us to communicate in both languages and share wonderful experiences from America and the ones we are getting in Cuenca, Ecuador. We are here to stay!

  • Elvis May 28, 2020, 9:57 am

    Good morning. I am 33 years old and I was born in Loja and moved to the US when I was 13 years old. I’m trying to find my true identity. My whole time here in New Jersey I have been thinking of living in Ecuador. I am single with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry. I know it will not be easy to move back. However, I do want to try it. My biggest fear is not been able to find a job there. Of course I will need to have a plan and if you have a similar case to mine, please let me know. I am here to learn from others. Ultimately, my decision is to move back and try. Elvis

  • Jack Henderson Dec 14, 2019, 8:03 am

    I agree with Mary wholeheartedly! I too will be returning to the states. Why? Because while I thought I had researched and researched everything before selling it all and moving here with 3 suitcases to Salinas, Ecuador, after 6 months, they have beat me down, taken over $20,000 in “government” expenses-visa, cedula, drivers license, health insurance, rent (double my Ecuadorian neighbors, OF COURSE) etc and I came here with that amount saved up. I go back to the states with nothing. However, I will have peace of mind that I don’t have a target on my back, and that target being $ sign. I am sick to death of the hands out because gringos are rich. I am sick to death of the heavy handed government whereby I must show a cedula to even buy my groceries. While I don’t have enough money to continue living here, I will return to the states, get a cheap RV and travel around where I “fit in” with other lower class, retired folks looking for a quiet, simple life. This is the exact opposite of what I am wanting for my retired life. I don’t see Ecuador changing and becoming more welcoming to expats, thus I will leave, they got my savings, but my life will go on like the average American with not even $400 for an emergency. So while I don’t write about snacks, kids, cleanliness, my sole reason for returning is the cost of living. Say what you will, but I can indeed live cheaper and more quietly in the states.

    • Elver Dec 9, 2020, 7:58 am

      The way you moved was not rational, at bare minimum you should have visited first and checked out different areas, you needed help settling down, finding the right place, learning the language and integrating into a community. Seeking out a move like you did just because it might seem like a low cost alternative is crazy. Ecuador can be very cheap or very expensive. This $ target on your back comment is quite ridiculous, I’m sure you felt this way, but this consequence has more to do with the fact that you were unprepared and looking like a deer in the headlights in every sense. The same thing would happen to you in many places, including cities in the US. People in Ecuador are very friendly, but nobody is there to comply with your low income retiree needs, behavior like yours is not of any economic benefit to the locals or how expat communities are received. You lost your savings because you made a dumb decision, you should have never left the US.

    • Joe Groomes Dec 22, 2020, 12:46 pm

      Thanks for the truth. You made your point that $ talks. Who wants to live their life looking over their back everyday. Believe me, if you don’t when your are there, you will regret it sooner or later.

  • Mary Jones Dec 1, 2019, 8:19 am

    There is basically one reason we are leaving Ecuador after 3 months. The hidden fees, costs, everyone having their hand out trying to dig you for more money and general living expenses. We moved here to enjoy a simple quiet life and it has been anything but that. We have our Visa and Cedula, yes it organized and went well, but it cost us $5000.00. While attaining those documents we got stuck in Cuenca during the riots, so the hotel at $30 a night, ended up being $300 until we could get our $800 each, plane ticket out of there, instead of course the $15 bus fare. I know, bad timing. My husband is trying for his driver’s license, so far we are in debt $700 for that and looking at another $250 for driving school. Yes, I know now that we should have had our college degrees but on our cedulas instead of Basico, but hey who knew? No one ever tells you anything unless you ask the exact right question. Our rental is a fair price, but considering it is unheard of to receive your “deposit” back when you leave I must factor that into the equation. While we are frugal shoppers, we are finding that between grocery stores and the mercado, we spend about $400 per month and in the U.S. it is closer to $300. We are also finding that our free medicare in the states cost $0 and our medical here, of course the private for one month was $300, then it is now $100 for IESS. So far, our 3 months has cost around $12,000 and we are trying to live simply. It is certainly our fault that we don’t know enough Spanish to discuss when there are problems, however in hiring 3 different translators/facilitators, all 3, yes every last one of them ripped us off in the end. How so? We ask the to translate for us a IESS problem, they do and afterwards say they followed up, without us asking and we now owe another $150. These translators make in one day what a typical Ecuadorian makes in 2 weeks. Again, our bad for not learning Spanish, but had the IESS, bank, private insurance, or cell phone places had someone at least prepared to understand broken Spanish or a computer, maybe we could done it ourselves. We are living on only social security and thought after much (but obviously not enough) research Ecuador offered a nice climate, cheaper living and a beautiful coast. The trash in Salinas in almost unreal, Guayaquil too and while Cuenca the gringo city is clean, we are not interested in cold mountain life. Yes, we have indeed traveled to other 3rd world countries, so we do have a basis for comparison. We are finding our expenses to be greater than the states and life in general harder and more complicated here than in the states, so we will return. It was not a fun experiment and it will go down as live and learn.

  • Ashel Nov 27, 2019, 4:36 pm

    I appreciate the perspective you wrote this from. Young couple with kids. Retirees with health concerns. I’ve lived in Ecuador 7 months and found it a challenge at times with the cleanliness but never did I get sick. It’s a nice article because everyone is different. I couldn’t find my snacks but hey, I discovered some Ecuadorian ones. Haha

  • Shreya bollock Mar 5, 2019, 4:44 pm

    Sigh…………….”first world problems”

  • Dave Richards Feb 26, 2019, 7:06 pm

    This will be the year that I come down to Ecuador and check it out. I am lucky enough to be fluent in Spanish from teaching it and living in 2 South American countries for 8 years total. The “latino” way of doing things does not bother me. Bureaucracy, red-tape, it’s a part of life down there. I have nothing that I’d miss so much that I’d want to come back north. My questions are… If you are not in say Guayaquil or Cuenca or Quito, can you find a decent hospital and doctors? I have some health issues (heart and stomach, and minor asthma) but they aren’t too serious, I just need certain meds (which I have seen are available there). I am wondering about good doctors and medical care? If I am living say in Esmeraldas or outside of the major cities, will I be stuck? How are the doctors in Cuenca and on the coast? I am also extremely sensitive to smog. What is the air quality like? I am sure that it’s better on the coast than far inland, but as there does not seem to be a lot of heavy industry…..I’d appreciate your comments.

    • Lino Feb 27, 2019, 1:07 pm

      New expats here, but we suggest you choose Cuenca and a house outside the city centre, closer to Mt Sinai Hospital, which had an excellent reputation. Regarding the smog, Cuenca is trying to do something about it. The tram will be running in less than 2 weeks and many of the old diesel buses are being replaced. Avoid the bus routes and you will not be bothered by the smog. We have read, on several sites, comments about medical care being sketchy in remoter areas. The coast is also notorious for earthquakes and poor building standards make it all the more precarious.

  • Tim Ruth Feb 11, 2019, 1:36 am

    Thanks for this, you make me feel a whole lot better when I think about expat in Ecuador. If these are the major problems I will have to deal with, I am all in. I am not decided on an area, but I will probably spend a year down there trying to figure out before I decide. Again thanks for the post.

  • Johan van Voorst Nov 13, 2018, 10:30 am

    When moving to Ecuador begin with remembering that Ecuador is a very diverse country, living in the mountains can be very taxing on your health when you get older. You arrive in Quito and think Wow, just like home, good shops, clean, beautiful parks, is this the 3rd world?
    Wait until you get out of the center into suburbs that look like East Berlin 1960, they prepare you for 80% of Ecuador, sure if you live in up scale cities like Quito center, Cuenca, Loja and Guyaquil, there you find all those things, but go to Salinas or manta or where I now live Esmeraldas, and it is a whole different world, a veterinarian, you can barely find a doctor for humans, much less pets!
    Also if you are retiring here on a low income, please think twice, Ecuador is NOT cheap at all, sure a few things are. Be prepared that getting away from the few cities I mentioned means very little selection in food and so on, in this too the difference is huge, I lived in Tumbaco (Quito) now in Atacames and thus speak from experience.
    We love it here, the people are great, but it is a struggle to find decent food, medical attention, even nice plants for your garden, etc.
    Moving to another country is a big step, so think carefully, good luck!

    • Yasi Apr 28, 2019, 3:50 pm

      Hello, thank you for sharing , so you tell the its a good coutry to immigrate or not ? Is living there good ?

  • Maria Munoz Oct 24, 2018, 6:55 pm

    I was born and raised in Guayaquil and moved to New York when I was 18. Throughout the years I’ve completed my college education at a liberal arts college and then at an Ivy League school and even lived and worked in Brazil. There is an opportunity to return to Ecuador but after living most of my adult life in the U.S., I am terrified of not feeling happy or fully at home. While I have a ton of high school friends who I see on a yearly basis, I worry that the way society functions there (bribery, corruption, etc) can bring me down. Do you know anyone else that has been in this position? Thank you!

    • Francisco Apr 15, 2019, 2:40 am

      Hi, I am Ecuadorian and now I am living in the United States. What part of Ecuador are you from? I want to come back to visit to eat the food that I miss so much. Certainly there are problems with minor crimes (theft) and corruption in the Police is frequent (I am from Guayaquil) but Ecuador is so diverse, little and big at the same that you can find many things in an area of 200,000 km2 (beaches, mountains, the Amazon). I’d say you can go back if you have a good job or savings. Life is pretty easy if you got those things. And as we use the American Dollar as our currency and the minimum wage in the country is like 360$ a month people from the States with even incomes of 1500$ can have a good life there (rent is like 300 or 400 a month). As an Ecuadorian living in the States, everything is cheaper there, but DO NOT buy technology in Ecuador. There are two things that are expensive in Ecuador: technology (cellphones, laptops, etc) and cars because of high taxes to imports. Apart from that and that you can robbed in poor neighborhoods, everything is nice. Good luck!

  • Shirley Jul 11, 2018, 3:59 pm

    Hi there! We have questions. The biggest and MOST important questions we have is about two things. First off and very important to us, is our two small dogs. They mean the world to us 🙂 How is the veterinarian care HONESTLY. Where would be the best place to go for that and can they speak english in any of these clinics? Also availability of high quality or holistic canned and dry dog food?
    Mext human health care. I am in early 50s very healthy and hubby is 60 has some stuff like mild asthma requiring ventolin rarely and daily use of inhaler for management. Also, high blood pressure medication. Do any doctors speak English there as explaining an issue if it comes up would be important. Thx!

    • Dave Oct 5, 2018, 9:32 pm

      Very interested in responses you may have gotten. As we are similar mid fifties with 2 dogs we can not go anywhere without. Do they quarantine them prior and if so. Do you know how long. Thanks in advance. Dave

      • Danielle lino Feb 7, 2019, 12:55 pm

        If you are still reading, no they don’t quarantine your dogs. Do, however, thoroughly investigate the airlines restrictions. Also, google vet cert requirements. There are immunizations that must have been done within certain time frames and there is a form that the vet must type. it’s in spanish. Do everything exactly as you should and they will be fine. If small enough, they can ride in the cabin with you. If they are bigger, they will go in the cargo hold and you better consider the time of year you are traveling. also, certain breeds can’t be transported, such as pugs.

    • Lisa Nov 9, 2018, 4:39 pm

      Hope your plans are going well, we have travelled back and forth to Ecuador for many years now and plan on moving permanently in the new year. Our plan is to bring our dog as well. Have you had many helpful replies?

      Lisa Australia

    • Pilar Aycart Feb 11, 2020, 5:20 pm

      Hello I lived in USA for 44 years, now I live in Guayaquil, my vet is a couple from Venezuela very nice and knowledgeable and you can also buy good quality dog food more expensive than in the USA but you , can find it,we have an apartment in Salinas right next to the park , is very nice there , please just be careful, there is a lot of corruption down here but there is also nice people . I have Parkinson and I have a therapist that charges $10 the hour She is great in the USA had therapy done but it was not good at all I hope that this has help you. Good luck

  • Juergen Loechner Jun 11, 2018, 1:38 am


    We have been living here for 3 years and love it here. Just a question, when there is a road accident, why do a swarm of people arrive to beat the living daylights out of one of the drivers?

  • BevieJean Feb 15, 2018, 6:55 am

    Thank you so much Bryan for allowing us to experience the pros and cons of living in Ecuador from this blog site. The comments were very helpful. Often quite colorful. I tuned in to this blog because I am also considering options for moving abroad. I am retired now for many years and have returned to the Bay Area of SF, California after living 13 years in Costa Rica. Back for 5 years now, I’m still not acclimated to the financial reality of making this my home again. I’ll keep reading the posts. Sounds like a great option for a comfortable place to live and to enjoy life.


    • Bryan Haines Feb 15, 2018, 7:52 am

      Very true about the colorful comments. There are many opinions about the same situations and customs.

      All the best on your plans!

      Thanks BevieJean

  • Lola Aug 31, 2017, 2:57 pm

    We are still looked upon as foreigners from a more prosperous country. Always watch you back, those teflon smiles can be deceiving. Fools think all is hunky dory.

    • Zelid Oct 16, 2017, 7:16 pm

      Bryan – Thank you for your kindness and for helping many understand the reality about living in a 3rd world country. I been lucky to have lived in several places in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. As well as I traveled all over Europe.
      I currently reside in Texas and planning to move to Cuenca sometime in March of 2018. My question to you is where are the most affluent places to live in Cuenca? Thank you, Zeli

  • Bern Smith Jul 10, 2017, 1:04 am

    Excellent post Bryan. Even handed, informative, fair, gracious – and wise.
    Well done.
    Bern Smith

  • Ceily Jun 3, 2017, 2:45 pm

    Hi! I will be visiting Ecuador in mid July to look around. My questions pertain to furniture and animals. Do people sell all of their belongs and buy new? And would my cats (2) be allowed to live there, do they need to be quarantined, etc? What type of electricity is used? A colleague of mine is also traveling with me and found a web site that will give us a 10 day crash course for living in Ecuador. How do we find out if this is a reputable business and not a scam? Or is their other places we need to check out about living in Ecuador. Thanks so much.

  • Patrick A Jun 1, 2017, 9:26 am

    I am really interesting moving to Ecuador soonest, But i will like to know what are the obstacle against established a business in Cuenca, I want to open a Thai massage and Spa with some activities, Please i need an advice…. Thanks

  • Dan Osterman May 25, 2017, 10:59 am

    any english language new or used bookstores in Ecuador?

    • Monica G Nov 15, 2018, 3:13 am

      Hi Dan,
      I hope it is not too late to answer your question. In Cuenca, there is 1 bookstore that has new and used books in English. Also, if you have a book, you can change it with another one of the same price or around. It is located near “Parque de la Madre” park and “Calle Larga” street.

  • Alois Mar 15, 2017, 6:29 pm

    I’ve lived in half a dozen countries on 3 continents since childhood, first following my parents, then chasing opportunities.
    I agree with most of what Bryan says and would like to add just a little ingredient to the food for thought. As in almost all countries, there are sizeable differences in living conditions depending on income level. Our household income is slightly higher than the average for my age and education in my native Austria and about 50% higher that the overall average household income in the US (I don’t have more detailed statistics as I do for Austria), so I’d be fairly well off in both countries. In Ecuador I am easily in the top 1% income so many of the worries mentioned here don’t apply to us.
    If you want to move on a budget or if precisely the budget is one of your main reasons for moving, I suggest a check on the quality of the goods and services this budget will get you. You might be able to eat out every day on $ 30,000/year income, plus buy or rent a 150 m2 (1600 ft2) flat, but, what kind of food and service will you get? Where will the flat be located? Hence, what will the education level of the people you meet on a daily basis be like? You might want to consider giving this a thought too.

  • Greg Mar 13, 2017, 11:15 pm

    I am interested learn more about ecuador and I would like to visit one day and what option would be to move

  • Andy Mar 8, 2017, 12:24 pm

    No one ever seems to mention that Cuenca is at 8,000 ft. I worry that I would have trouble breathing there. Right now I live in the Charleston, SC area. They call it the “low country”. I’m 73 yrs. old, but I do aerobic workouts 6 days a week and am fairly healthy. But sometimes when I go to Asheville, NC (in the mountains at about 3,000 ft., I get a little winded walking uphill. But 8,000 ft? And what about Rocky Mountain highs. Finally, springtime in Cuenca (mid 60’s seems a little chilly). I there something further down the mountain for an expat? Or am I just being too finniky?

    • Michael Baxter May 5, 2017, 1:02 pm

      I’m 62 and have concerns about acclimating to 8000 ft elevation as well. I’m thinking of Cotacatchi, which is also around 8000 ft. I’m told that it (transition) can be done easily over a period of a month or 6 weeks, but I don’t know. I imagine once one is acclimated, life in the flats would be a breeze, literally.

      • Jim May 5, 2017, 1:58 pm

        Michael, I don’t know about your health, but I personally am very overweight. I survived in Cuenca at 8200 feet, but I did not do well outside the city at 9200 feet. I lasted a few months there and had to move down to the city floor. I think you’d be OK at 8000 feet and you may not notice much of a transition unless you are athletic and push yourself physically.

      • paul May 14, 2017, 10:54 am

        Just to say about adjusting to the altitude. I lived in Saraguro for sever months, at the age of 40. The first 3 weeks i had regular headaches, and after 3 weeks, just being short of breath a bit after walking around or just feeling tired. However I found that it took about 3 months to adjust to a more reasonable level. Often i found myself waking up at night, short of breath, but, it was ok. If your older, i think if you take it easy, plan your walks etc, it should be ok. Remember there are many other people living at the same altitude or maybe more, also alot older. I think the main thing is not to feel too worried about it, expect a feel a bit off for first 3-5 months, but after that, don’t let the altitude rob you of the joy to living there. 🙂

    • Heidi Aug 27, 2017, 2:27 pm

      If you are you doing aerobics that much, then you are getting plenty of cardiovascular to be able to handle higher elevations. I’m from and now in the Rocky Mountains. It is dry here, but in NC it is humid and that makes a rise in elevation a bit harder. However, you can still get used to it. Getting used to it will be especially easier for you with your good health. Just remember to drink a lot of water and always stay hydrated so that you can avoid the headaches that come with being dehydrated at that elevation. Cuenca is not the only place to retire there. Further down south the elevation isn’t quite so high. I hear the mountains are beautiful and you can be closer to the ocean. It is less populated, according to blogs and what I’ve read, but that sounds good to me. I’m going to visit the area. You may want to also. Have fun exploring!

    • Maureen Sayre Feb 10, 2018, 11:51 am

      Hi Andy, Please do consider the altitude factor. My husband, Ray, & I are originally from the US. We moved from the Sacramento foothills in CA to Vilcabamba, Ecuador about 6 1/2 years ago. Ray has chronic bronchitis & when we moved here his condition was stable, but now that we’ve lived here for awhile, his respiratory problems are worsened (he’s 71 years old now). We really have to consider our options, especially since the local available healthcare is marginal, at best! I have a BS in Nursing & still maintain my nursing license in CA so I do know what I’m talking about. In many ways Ecuador is a lovely country, and there is much more here than Cuenca. REALLY shop & look hard & long when seeking a place for retirement…..And no, you are not being too particular. This is your life we’re talking about here! If I can be of further help, feel free to contact me. I don’t check my email every day, but eventually I’ll catch up with you….Andy, you are smart to question. Keep it up! Warm Regards, Maureen Sayre, BSN, RN

      • SERGIO May 10, 2018, 3:35 pm

        In Vilcabamba many live to over 100 years old and are healthy is it true? If yes why ?
        Thank-you and have a good day up there, I am in Safety Harbor Florida the summer is humid and hot !!

      • Ann Oct 17, 2018, 3:08 pm

        Hello Maureen,
        I was diagnosed with COPD but it is a mild case. I plan on visiting Cotacachi next year, Do you think I would have difficulty breathing there? I currently live in the midwest (1480 ft above sea level). I have lived in the Superstition Mts. 20 years ago(2000 ft elevation). I am now 71 in fairly good health.
        Thank you,

        • Maureen Sayre Oct 18, 2018, 3:54 pm

          Dear Ann, I received your email this AM. The altitude in Cotacachi is about 8,000 feet so if I were you, I’d definitely avoid this area! In my career, I was an RN. My husband of 17 years suffers from Chronic Bronchitis so I’ve really developed compassion for people with chronic lung disorders! We live at just over 5,000 feet. It would benefit Ray, my husband, to live at a lesser elevation; however, we really like living in Vilcabamba. We live on about 1 acre, Ray had fencing & a front gate installed. He also installed a really nice pet door on our side door. so our 2 dogs & 2 cats can come & go as they please. I try every day to thank God for all my blessings!…..I hope the elevation information is helpful to you, Ann. Please feel free to contact me if I can assist you further
          Warm Regards,
          Maureen Sayre BSN RN ET

          • Barbara Feb 24, 2019, 9:39 am

            Hello Maureen-
            I would love to corespondent with you about your retirement., thanks 😊

          • Lynnette Haines Oct 15, 2020, 6:57 am

            Thank you for your post it was very informative. I have COPD and am on oxygen at night I am 49 years young . I live in the mountains now at about 5200 ft and must use oxygen at night. My best friend and I are considering moving to Ecuador, within 2 years. I am from Montana and she from California. She wants to live on the beach and I want to stay in the mountains. Although I’m not sure we’ll be more than a house or to apart. My question is what are some of the negative aspects of living in Ecuador other than some that have already been named here ? What kind of problems have you encountered with healthcare ?

    • Karin Feb 11, 2018, 12:38 pm

      I would not move there. I’m also healthy and in my 50’s. I moved to higher elevation a year ago after being at sea level. There’s pressure on your heart and lungs that I’ve never experienced before. I went from 45 to 3,200 elevation (WA to AZ) and have struggle to breathe ever since. This elevation is extremely high.

      • Danielle lino Feb 7, 2019, 1:07 pm

        You know, there are a lot of us oldies thriving here in Cuenca. We are healthier than ever as we typically lose some body butter at altitude plus we walk everywhere.
        We are mid sixties and there are many of us. We sit less and eat healthier, less processed foods. Shoot, we even go up to El Cajas, which is 14k feet! Wouldn’t jog there, but haven’t felt sick yet. I would suggest you visit for about a month and you will know. If you are a smoker, have COPD or bronchitis, it’s absolutely not for you, though.

    • Johan Oct 27, 2018, 4:11 pm

      I moved from Quito to Tumbaco 2300m, much lower, nicer for you I was told, forget it besides daily blood-noses, disgusting gas all day, I was out of breath when at the end of our street, when going to the coast all this disappeared within hours, and reappeared too within hours once I was back in the mountains. This occurred various times again and again. Even older people born at those altitudes are advised to move to much lower regions to alleviate their problems, we moved to Esmeraldas where I can walk and live normally.
      Another problem is getting the right medication here, people in the drugstores are usually not very helpful, so you have to go from one to another hoping to find the right type of medicine, getting medical help is also not very easy as I have found out, I was used to Brazil and hoped to find a similar situation here in Ecuador. But no, Brazil is even in the under developed North East where I lived for many years, is not only much cheaper but also many times better organised than here. Nothing like this matters much if you are young but when you get older these things become much more important as I am finding out myself.

    • Misty May 15, 2020, 9:17 pm

      Breathing was difficult in Cuenca!

  • Marcos Neumann Feb 13, 2017, 12:21 pm

    I invite you to visit our place.


  • Gordon Crossman Jan 21, 2017, 2:04 pm

    I don’t know how many times I have written asking about info pertaining to an activity that is extremely important to me if I am going to relocate and that is the availability of golf courses especially in Quayquil, Quito and Cuenca. If you cannot accommodate my request at least let me know, thank you. GORDON in Canada.

    • Bryan Haines Jan 21, 2017, 2:12 pm

      Hey Gordon,

      There are lots of options for golf in Ecuador.

      • The Cuenca Tennis and Golf Club
      • The Los Chillos Club
      • Los Cerros Golf Club
      • The Casablanca Club
      • The Quito Tennis and Golf Club
      • The Los Arrayanes Country Club
      • The Guayaquil Country Club

      From the post: Why we chose Cuenca, Ecuador

      • Gordon Crossman Jan 21, 2017, 3:58 pm

        Thanks for the quick reply. Is their a Golf Club called La Costa Golf and Country Club in Guayaquil? The reason I asked I was approached about a position there as an Instructor a couple of years ago but had other commitments. Thanks, Gordon.

      • M. Donohue Jan 24, 2017, 2:34 pm

        I’ve got attacked by a gang of drug dealers and almost killed for protecting someone. My innate response would have been to fight back but feared the clowns had a gun and were waiting to justify murdering me. I later wished revenge but controlled myself fearing the police would finally do their job, which they refused to do before, and investigate and throw me in prison. The judicial system, the police, and culture, are all tied up with ‘politically correct’ laws. This country is very clean on the outside, and deadly for the poor on the inside. I’m describing today’s America. I prefer Ecuador.

  • Juandiego Jan 21, 2017, 1:53 pm

    Those comments about why some expats decide not too live in Ecuador I don’t think are helpful, because the complaints seem more personal than general and quite trivial and minuscule.

    • Bryan Haines Jan 21, 2017, 2:14 pm

      Hey Juan Diego – I agree that these complaints are trivial.

      But it’s important for future expats to know what they can handle – and what they expect from where ever they live.

    • Jim Jan 22, 2017, 12:57 pm

      Juandiego, from my talking with other expats who have left Ecuador I have concluded that it seems to be a combination of trivial issues that wears on a person or family. And if it’s a family things are even more complex. What bothers a mother may not bother a father or son, what bothers a daughter may not bother the rest of the family. So these issues like schooling, over charging by taxis, the famed “gringo tax”, lack of amenities, getting cheated out of your rent deposit, fear of getting robbed or pick pocketed are in themselves trivial, but add several together and it can overwhelm a person or a family. And these complaints that you perceive as ‘personal’, well of course they’re personal. That’s the heart of the issue. And because so many that have left Ecuador for similar reasons, these complaints are not only personal, they can be considered general. Personally after living in Mexico for a time, seeing things I never imagined I would ever see in my life, I am beginning to think I could embrace Ecuador again. It is a beautiful country whose pro’s outweigh the cons. I will never forget my many trips through the Andes by bus, nor our time on the relatively untouched beaches on the coast.

    • Amalia Garcia Jan 24, 2017, 1:24 am

      I made a true commitment “to live” (verb) there: I bought a home, a car and stayed for two years. To me, it was all about security. Ecuador is a dangerous place. I was express kidnapped twice, robbed at traffic lights in plain daylight twice (again) and afraid of reliving the experience the rest of the time. I’m glad I left.
      My comments are not complaints, personal or general, but solely a wish to convey my experience. Of course, Mexico, Haiti, Guatemala and Nigeria may be more dangerous, but I wouldn’t live there either.

      • Ann Oct 24, 2018, 12:32 pm

        Wow. I had moved to the US from the 3rd world country outside Americas 25 years ago; one of the main reasons was to escape crime, lawlessness and corruption. I’m extremely surprised to see Americans moving to dangerous countries (which is pretty much all of South and Central America), where their life won’t be worth much and where they can’t really defend themselves against criminals, including with a firearm. With the cost of real estate in South/Central America being pretty high now, close to the cheaper areas of the US , I fail to understand US expats who move south…I had lived and traveled all over the US, cities, small towns and rural locations, and US is extremely safe country, with exception of well-defined and well-known “bad areas”, which one can easily avoid. I’m used to not locking my windows, and even doors, sleeping in my backyard, not being behind the walls, barbwire or broken glass, camping alone all over the place….safety is a precious thing.

        • RKS Aug 25, 2019, 11:59 pm

          I just spent six weeks living in Cuenca, and I felt safer here than I do even in my own neighborhood in Brooklyn (and Brooklyn is safe!). Many things have changed in South America since 25 years ago, including crime rates, poverty rates, etc. Ecuador is quite safe overall, and Cuenca is the safest city in the country. I also spent two weeks in Quito and never had a problem, even though I was warned about how “dangerous” it is there.

  • Evan Jan 21, 2017, 10:23 am

    We ultimately decided not to move to Quito or Cuenca and settled in Boquete, Panama for a number a reasons most of which is related to the fact we are a family with children. There were virtually no options for Bi-lingual schooling in either place and I wanted to have options for either homeschooling or formal schooling. In the Boquete/David area we have English only schools (Oxford and Elevate Christian Academy), Bi-Lingual Schools (Cambridge, AIB and Guadolupano) that are private and run from $150 to $200 a month. They also have day care and pre-school here, we pay $40 a month for a three year old to go to preschool from 8am to 12noon. Even without the schooling challenges, it turns out my son suffered terribly from altitude sickness and was hospitalized while we were in Quito. We had to leave and go to Cuenca quickly where he still had challenges but was fine. The hospital in Quito was excellent and we were very impressed with the care there but he just couldn’t breathe. We loved Cuenca, and seriously considered staying but after a few months the logistics of being a family with children made us realize we had to continue our search. While I’m sure they are around now, when we went, there were no easy to find Internet Cafes. Our business is completely virtual and the anxiety of having no back up in case of an Internet outage was a problem. We will be going back to visit as we have fond memories of our time there but ultimately the need for childhood activities like Tae Kwon Do, piano lessons and summer camp sent us to Boquete. We have no regrets, the kids have friends go to the skating rink, birthday parties and the like and we get to choose between the trampoline park, the movies or the mall or exploring nature through the canyon trails or climbing the mountain to the healing springs. It doesn’t hurt that we have two private hospitals and several alternative healing options here either. I just went for acupuncture the other day for my back and it cost me $30. A doctor’s visit was $15. I am glad we stayed in Ecuador as long as we did so that we had a good frame of reference to figure out what was best for us.

    • Rick Feb 27, 2017, 1:49 am

      Hi Evan,
      thanks for sharing your experience. We are a family of 4, and we work online. I am an acupuncturist and clinical nutritionist (doing clinical nutrition online not acupuncture lol). We are currently in Asia but are debating if we should go to Panama (specifically Boquete) or Ecuador. The schooling issue and friends for the kids are big issues for us. Are you happy with the schooling in Boquete? many people and forums on the web have indicated that Boquete is just full of retired expats… have you found this to be the case? any tips on fitting in? again, thanks for sharing your experience, we found it very helpful.

  • ALEX Jan 4, 2017, 7:23 pm


    • Lourdes Alfonso Jan 23, 2017, 11:58 am

      Hi Alex,

      To answer your question. Yes there are two seasons all year in Ecuador. In Quito and Cuenca the weather is mostly Spring like, however, the days are warm and it gets cool as soon as the sunsets. The coast is where you will find the tropical weather day and night. There are many beautiful beaches and the warm Pacific Ocean. Hope this was helpful.

      • Linda May 6, 2017, 7:16 am

        What beach towns are in fact the warmest year round? How much rain and how much sun?

  • Linda Dec 31, 2016, 12:45 pm

    I’ve read reports by the OSAC that crime against americans in ecuador is very very high. robbery, armed robbery, sexual assaults, car jacking, breaking into houses, apts and hotel rooms. and it seems to be growing. and in northern ecuador spill over drug and cartel problems from columbia. why is it that no one who talks about moving to ecuador talks about this. they also mention twice as many people die in auto accidents due to road conditions and slow emergency help.

    • Jim Jan 1, 2017, 2:18 am

      Linda, people who have invested a lot in an international move or relocation don’t like to admit reality, that is why they don’t talk about it, they would have to admit error in their decision. BUT, there are many that have made the move to live abroad in places like Ecuador for example and have done it mostly right and have not had difficulties and do not regret their decision. I for my part, am still deciding whether I regret my decision to move me an my family to Ecuador for almost 2 1/2 years. Did I waste 2 1/2 years of their life? I still don’t know. But with regard to safety, cartels were not an issue in central or southern Ecuador for us, it was really quite an idyllic life. Where we live now in Mexico, cartels are an issue and I live my daily life in relative fear, but that is coming to an end. You need to look at the stats of violent crime in Ecuador from a per capita standpoint. The writer of this blog had a gun point robbery which throws all stats out the window. I’m not sure how I would deal with such an experience. As for auto accidents in Ecuador, I know they are high. Anticipation skills are very poor and many drivers simply aren’t qualified(by common sense standards) to drive. Prior to leaving southern Ecuador, our bus passed a car accident where one person died, he or she was still in the back seat of the car when we went by. I was also noted that the Toyota Tacoma in the middle of the road sideways, had its transmission completely separated from the engine and was sitting about 10 feet beside the truck. How hard did they hit. I was on one bus that decided to pass a car on an outside blind corner in the mountains. We made it. There are issues for sure and things to be concerned about. A lot of people will say, learn the language, embrace the culture, love the people etc. but that is all hype. It doesn’t change the fact that the lack of good education in a 3rd world country creates a basic risk factor that visitors should not ignore. With all that said, if could retire today, Olon, beside Montanita Ecuador might be on my list of destinations. I would know how to stay out of trouble there.

      • Rob Jan 21, 2017, 9:20 am

        I think you have to be careful what you read into these reports. In the details, it talks about violent crime in Quito and Guayaquil, with drug related crime along the northern border with Columbia. Quito and Guayaquil are cities of 2+ million people. There are areas of Toronto that I would not go into, day or night. I took a wrong turn in Tampa and was afraid. Chicago is an awesome city, as long as you stay in the right areas. Downtown L.A. after 5 p.m. is a scary place. Let’s not even talk about Detroit. Rome has one of the highest rates of crime against tourists in the world. All this to say, practice safe travel wherever you are and reduce your risks. For drug related crime, consider the U.S./Mexico border. Enough said. In Ecuador, we have visited Quito, Guayaquil, Otavalo, Cotacachi, Bahia, San Clemente, Portoviejo, Olon, Montanita, Ayampe, Ballenita, La Libertad, Salinas, Punta Carnero and San Vincente. We walked the markets, beaches, shopping centers, malecons and streets, day and night. In Quito and Guayaquil, we were more cautious at night. I have only felt scared once, on a cab ride looking for our hotel in Guayaquil. Nothing happened, but I was scared. And I would have been scared in a lost cab driving through run down neighbourhoods in any of those other cities too. So that is all I really have to say about that. Driving in Ecuador is another story: VERY scary at times. Lines on the road are merely a suggestion, as the virtual 3rd lane opens up in the middle for passing. Two lane roads in the city support 4 lanes of cars with still enough room for motorcycles to squeeze in between. Passing up hill and on blind curves. But I saw similar things in Italy, Greece and Egypt. Read up on driving customs before going and drive defensively. AND, learn to drive a manual transmission BEFORE going to Ecuador. Automatics are a rarety. Twisting and winding mountain roads in a foreign country are no place to learn that skill!

    • john Jan 21, 2017, 7:52 am

      I have lived in Bahia, going on ( 7 ) seven years now and I can tell you first hand I have met the most inconsiderate people I have ever known in my life, right here in Ecuador. They lie, they steal, they are the most thoughtless, selfish people. To your face they seem to be pleasant but behind your back, and this goes for everyone, even their family members,they cut you up into little pieces. They will make things up, just to have something to say. Ecuadorians have got to be one of the laziest, most shiftless, self serving peoples in the world. The government ,like the people are only concerned about themselves,which is obvious in the way things are done here. If you like chasing your tail, this is the place to be. I know people from all over Ecuador and this is not unique to Bahia. Lies, cheating, stealing laziness is a way a way of life here. To quote Ecuadorians its NORMAL. Don’t get me wrong their are some good people here, but they are far and few between. Like you Bryan I liked Ecuador, enough so to get married and build a home here, that’s what opened my eyes about Ecuador. My wife is a wonderful person, who always makes excuses for her people, but even she gets fed up with defending them. Quite frankly if not for her i would move from Ecuador.

      • Jim Jan 23, 2017, 4:18 pm

        Well that was refreshing John. Blatant honesty. You certainly can’t be accused of being delusional. I hope you can find a time when you can filter through the negative that you are experiencing. The happiness of both you and your wife depend on it I would think.

      • Rob Jan 24, 2017, 1:09 pm

        WOW! Very sorry for your experience! The Ecuadorian people that I have met have all been thoughtful and kind. They smile and say manana (pardon my English keyboard!) as they walk by. When we have been stopped at a corner looking at a map, we have had no end of locals stop and ask if they can help. I have expat friends living in the Salinas area who were in an accident on their motorcycle, and who were rushed to the hospital. Their belongings were strewn all over the street. Everything was returned to them in hospital: ALL cash, wallets, credit cards, purses, etc. Nothing was missing. I have another expat friend in San Clemente who was hit by a young driver while riding his bicycle. My friend needed complete facial reconstruction and was in the hospital for a while. When he came home from the hospital, the local community had fully rebuilt and restored his bicycle and brought it back to him. I can tell you that the fishermen in San Clemente and San Jacinto are not lazy. By the time I get up in the morning, they are a long way into bringing in their nets. They spend the afternoons tending to their equipment, to re-launch their nets in the evening. These are long, hard days. There are people who do bad things everywhere, but I think we have to be careful generalizing these characteristics to an entire country or race.

      • Kally Jun 5, 2017, 3:26 pm

        Have you been to Toronto? There are nasty people EVERYWHERE? When you find Eutopia, let me know!

    • Gerry Jan 21, 2017, 11:22 am

      My wife and I spent two months in Ecuador in 2015. We never felt any danger in all the time we were there. We did one month in the interior from North to South and one month on the ocean from North to South. Our favorite places were Cuenca inland and Puerto Lopez sea side.

      • Jim Jan 22, 2017, 12:45 am

        The short visits don’t teach you much about an area. We lived in 3 different area’s in Ecuador; Cuenca, Cucanama (near Vilcabamba) and finally Olon on the coast, just south of Puerto Lopez. We heard all the good stuff, but we lived there long enough to see the reality. We never felt unsafe in Cuenca except for the day we walked the area of the city that was dangerous. 3 groups of friendly locals kindly approached us and told us we shouldn’t be there. We had an experience in Puerto Lopez that made us feel very unsafe and an experience in Cucanama that enlightened us to how quickly thinks can go very bad, especially in the country areas. In the end, we left for a dozen reasons, 1/2 good reason and the other 1/2 weak excuses.

  • Dave Ward Dec 13, 2016, 2:05 am

    Excellent article and very informative blog. My partner Giselle and I are seriously considering retirement in Cotacachi, Ecuador within the next 5 or so years. We have visited twice and are returning for an extended stay this coming spring.

    I truly believe you have to become part of he country you want to live in if you are to be happy there. Learn the culture and the language, study the history, and eat what the locals eat! If you aren’t willing to do at least that, stay where you are, you won’t be happy anywhere else.

  • Kathy Hall Dec 2, 2016, 1:33 pm

    Great post! I’m a roving retiree at the moment but have had my eye on Cuenca for some time. As I’ve been traveling internationally for 15 months now I’ve faced all these issues and gotten over them. Can’t wait to actually get to Cuenca some in the next year. Thanks.

    • Maria Elena Ruiz Mar 26, 2017, 12:44 am

      Hi Kathy, I live in TX and was wondering if you could write my personal email for some Q/A . Thank you in advance.


    • Avin Joy Jul 5, 2017, 4:45 pm

      So you are going to enjoy the rest of your life Ecuador. Great. Happy to hear that. I am also coming with my wife.

  • Coach G. Nov 14, 2016, 2:01 am

    69 yr. old retired Baseball coach , and substitute teacher ( single ). Borderline fluent in Spanish ~ looking for a nice warm cozy spot to spend the silver years. Cuenca ? ~ I’ve heard Cotacachi is cheaper living. Only about 1300.00 per mth. income. Suggestions ?? rentals ?? Getting close to making the move , would love some help and advice. I’ve got a rescue dog also. Thanks in advance.

    • john Jan 21, 2017, 7:56 am

      Be very careful about your choice of countries to live in.

      • Michael Baxter May 5, 2017, 1:41 pm

        How so?

    • Francisco Apr 15, 2019, 3:16 am

      Go to Cuenca. It’s safe and it has good healthcare. Rentals can be 300 or 500 a month. Electricity, water services and gas are all cheap. (Aprox. 50 dollars in all three or even less). I am from Guayaquil, my city is bigger and provides far more services and entertainment (lots, LOTS of malls and parks) than Cuenca, but Cuenca is safer. As an Ecuadorian, when I was in Cuenca I felt like I was in Europe. I currently live in the US. Greetings!

  • Kim Lambert Oct 31, 2016, 4:20 pm

    We are thinking about buying some property here and possibly moving our family. We live in Texas we want to come visit soon to see if it would be a good fit!

    • Maria Elena Ruiz Mar 26, 2017, 12:52 am

      Hi Kim, this is Maria Elena. I also live in TX and am considering visiting the same place/area. I am widowed and Bilingual SPEng. If you guys have not left to date is it possible we can coordinate the trip together? I am a non smoker well educated and would like to travel and ck out the place prior to making any relocation decisions.

      I would like it if you would respond to



  • Bob Heess Sep 16, 2016, 4:11 pm

    My wife and I are contemplating spending 1-2 months visiting the Cuenca area in early 2017. We have traveled extensively and are comfortable in other countries. I am however concerned about crime in the Cuenca area. I have read everything from all tourists should expect to be held-up(non-violent)and apartment break-ins are commonplace to I’ve lived in Cuenca for years and never had a problem. Can someone set my mind at ease with a realistic view.

    • Jim Sep 18, 2016, 9:20 pm

      The one’s who never had a problem never didn’t anything in Cuenca and those that had break-ins ‘may’ not have been paying close enough attention. We lived in Cuenca, Vilcabamba and Olon(on the coast) for almost 2 1/2 years and we paid attention for the most part. Our daughter had a gold locket stolen off her neck(yes, she forgot she had it on) and we had a woman and her two children try to get into one of our backpacks in Cuenca with an interesting little scam. We saw near mob violence(machetes, rocks and sticks) in one community we lived in, the same community of 1500 where our realtor was brutally murdered, he was Canadian. And we basically felt unsafe living on the coast, but we did love it there. We always felt safe in Cuenca, except when one taxi driver got aggressive with me. It’s a nice place to live for awhile or visit. I don’t think there is much to be afraid of, especially if you are well travelled, just keep your wits about you. Our experience was over 2 years ago, I haven’t heard that it’s changed.

      • john Jan 21, 2017, 7:58 am

        It has changed, it’s worse!

        • GARY JONES Jan 21, 2017, 9:55 am

          Be careful who you trust. I was ripped off by people I knew, like my landlady, my so called facilitator and even my fiancee. Many of the locals are warm, friendly people but there’s more than your fair share of crooks.

    • Andre Sep 29, 2016, 6:07 am

      I been in Ecuador (single) for two years and I like it. Now in Cuenca where the medical and dental is good, the weather is wet and dry but never too hot or too cold for me, and it is cheap for me. Imported goods are expensive but there are always work-arounds, like traveling to Florida every 8-10 months and loading up. I don’t have a car, don’t need a car. I live near Parque de la Madre and usually stay in this area unless I am traveling to the Galapagos ( up to 3 months a year). My gym is not far from my apartment and I run the stairs 3 times a week. Some couples don’t like Ecuador but most single men my age (60) that I know like it and aren’t going anywhere. I have a brand new 2 bedroom ($350) a month and the only other guy in this building is a guy from Peru and he is mellow. We have a gate and an outside door and bolt locks. Where I live, there are no break-ins that I know of. I live in a somewhat upscale area and this where I will stay. No crime has effected me here. Traveling by bus between cities you need to be aware. But if you fly into Quito, take a plane to Cuenca, it is cheap. If you fly into Guayaquil and are not familiar, you can take a van from the airport, or look on gringopost to see who is coming and going there. I hired a guy with a SUV to pick me up in GYE last year when I brought 250 lbs of stuff on the airplane, and got it through customs without a hitch. I love Cuenca because I am saving 35k of my retirement every year and will buy an apartment here in about a year or so. I don’t plan on leaving unless it gets crazy, then I will go to Southeast Asia or China.

      • Michael Arnold Nov 3, 2016, 7:12 pm

        Andre, I would like to corespond with you about your experience there. I’m thinking of moving out of US.


      • Nicole Munguia Nov 6, 2016, 8:40 pm

        I really enjoyed your comments. I am interested in moving there with my one year old. I have some questions…do you have a cell phone service provider and how much does it run?

      • Kelly Feb 12, 2017, 2:49 am

        Reading that someone might pack in Ecuador and move to Southeast Asia begs me to ask:
        I’ve been living in Asia (mostly China, Indonesia, and Vietnam) since 1989. I’m considering Ecuador because of the residency requirements; plus, a couple I met travelling in the Philippines years ago said it was their favorite country. Has anyone gone from living in Asia long term to moving to Ecuador? I’d love to hear what you think. I wonder if the crime would do me in. I only felt a little unsafe once in Manila. In Indonesia, where I have a small place, I don’t even have to lock the door. Many thanks.

        • Michael Baxter May 5, 2017, 2:02 pm

          I lived in Singapore for a short while(18 months). I’m considering Ecuador to live. Southeast Asia and South America are about as different as one can imagine! Just by going to a local market one can feel the difference. One is frantic, one is not. One thinks frantic is normal, one does not. One locks ones doors wherever one is, just to be on the safe side. Trust everyone, but be careful.

      • Neyma Aug 13, 2017, 12:20 am

        What area of Cuenca you recommend ?

    • Leah Nov 10, 2016, 4:41 pm

      Bob, I’ve been living in Ecuador since 2013 and have spent a lot of time in Cuenca. Cuenca is very safe. I have never had any problems with people in Cuenca.

  • David Brito Jul 26, 2016, 6:13 pm

    I´m from Spain and came on holidays almost 10 years ago and decided to come here to live! Of course, it´s not easy because of cultural diferences but if with the time you start to understand people here, will be much easier. Ecuador is an amazing country to live 🙂

  • Chuck Wolf Jul 12, 2016, 2:46 pm

    Hello all,
    I’ve been reading the comments about living in Ecuador, primarily in Cuenca it seems. I’m flying down from Atlanta in a couple of weeks to Quito where I will be spending 6 days… 3 at a conference on Living in Ecuador, the rest just seeing what I can see of the city via bus tours, walking, etc. I’m in my 70’s and will be traveling alone. Couldn’t get my wife to join me… she says “Go check it out first, then maybe I’ll make a trip with you down there.” She’s convinced I’m going to be kidnapped, robbed, beaten, and other illogical things, none of which I expect to happen. This is the woman who unhesitatingly followed me to Saudi Arabia and Greece where we lived for two years 40 years ago and then to Spain 15 years ago.

    After my time in Quito, I’m flying down to Cuenca for 3 days to look around. Not sure exactly how that’s going to work yet since there’s no conference there, but I’ll likely manage. I’m giving serious thought to moving to Ecuador, maybe next year, and maybe only for 3 to 4 months at a time. I own my own Tax business Atlanta along with a partner who can manage without me for our usual 3 to 4 months of doldrums after tax season. I’m also starting to delve into free lance tax work which is easy enough with decent internet access. By chance, do the American expats in Cuenca have a tax service there? Hmmm, might be a business opportunity for a 15 year veteran of the annual tax wars and battles with IRS, not to mention being an IRS Enrolled Agent.
    I’m sort of hoping to run into some friendly expats who’ve lived in Cuenca for more than 3 months locked in an apartment and who can shed some light on what it’s like to live there. I know a modicum of Spanish and am brushing up on that via Rosetta Stone’s Spanish course. The idea of living in the high mountains is appealing to me, but then the coastal area might be as well, but that will have to wait until another visit.
    I’d be pleased to meet up with an expat or two (or three or a whole mob) while in Cuenca for an afternoon of information exchange… if any are willing. Please feel free to email me at *(removed at commenters request, Oct. 4, 2018) if your busy schedules allows for such. I’ll be there from July 31 (late afternoon) until Aug 3 (night flight back to Quito). If my hotel turns out to be a bummer, I can always blame it on Expedia.
    Buenas tardes un gracias!

  • Susan Maneck Apr 17, 2016, 7:38 pm

    Those of you currently in Ecuador, are you all safe? Our prayers are with you.

    • Dena Kanner Jan 21, 2017, 10:46 am

      I’ve been to Cuenca twice, the first time for 6 weeks and the second time for 4 months, to check it out. I felt totally safe. I’ll be moving this coming June (2017).

  • si kendrick Apr 14, 2016, 1:17 am

    I have lived here for 6 years now and have settled in Portoviejo, its not far from the beach and has everything i need, i am also married to an Ecuadorian so i get a birds eye view of what life is all about here, some comments on here i do agree with, but can´t stress enough do not make plans to live here unless you have previously visited Ecuador, it will be well out of your comfort zone at first, but like many you will over come that. if you are interested in more info about manabi Ecuador expats living in Manabi the truth! is my new book out on Amazon, there you will find many contacts and useful resources to use along with identifying all of the mistakes i made when i first came here, regards si kendrick

  • Antonio Castro Apr 11, 2016, 7:50 pm

    I am absolutely appalled by this self-important article. Why would anyone want to move to Ecuador to eat American beef and live like a hermit in their apartment? The comments are really absurd too. Americans: Ecuador does not want you there to increase their rates of obesity and bring YOUR gun crime, which is FAR higher than in Ecuador anyway!

    • Bryan Haines Apr 12, 2016, 9:16 am

      I’m sorry you misunderstood the article. It is about why some Americans decide not to live in Ecuador. Neither I nor the author support this attitude.

      I agree with your question: “Why would anyone want to move to Ecuador to eat American beef and live like a hermit in their apartment?” I don’t know why anyone would – but apparently some do. The majority of expats in Ecuador adapt to (and love) the way it’s done in their new country.

      I’m curious about one thing – you mentioned that North Americans will increase the obesity rate in Ecuador. What do you mean?

      • Joseph Somers Jan 21, 2017, 9:54 am

        I’m originally from P.E.I. but have lived most of my adult life in Ontario, then a couple of years in Florida and have travel in Europe and those countries though beautiful are NOW scary. Recently Have Visited Ecuador (Actually) in the past year and Like what I see about Latin America and the people”’Are you originally from Nova Scotia and if so where in that Province?????

        • Bryan Haines Jan 21, 2017, 2:15 pm

          We are from the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia.

          • Joseph Somers Jan 25, 2017, 1:36 pm

            Apple Blossom Time in Annapolis Valley…Chuckle…As a young boy I was in the RCN and did time in Cornwallis(Annapolis Royal)……..and Yes!!! I spent a few years in Nova Scotia…A lot of history has flowed like the tide Eh? We will be in Quito on April 4th (The Metropoli) a day trip to Ibarra then a tour and sight seeing in Quito before taking a bus to Riobamba where I have sponsored a child for years and finally on to Cuenca about April 10th (El Presidente Hotel)….. Again for days or so then to Loha and Vilcabamba before heading back to Quito and Canada

    • Chris Aug 9, 2016, 2:16 pm

      Wow, what’s up your butt Castro?
      Did you read the article correctly?
      Obesity? Gun crime??? What the heck are you talking about?

  • Louis Wong Feb 27, 2016, 6:17 pm

    Thanks for your insights in living in Ecuador,there’s always short comings no matter where you going to settle in.I hope one day we can meet.

  • Horst S. Jan 1, 2016, 5:33 pm

    Love the comments. In my 70’s and will think of moving to Equador

  • Jerry Lowery Dec 7, 2015, 10:55 am

    I am a retired man from Mobile Alabama. I now live in the suburbs of Guayaquil. I live in a guarded community named Villa Del Rey. There are many homes for rent in guarded communities around this area, They come in different rental prices depending on your taste and what you can afford. I live in a small 3 bedroom apartment that I pay $275 a month rental on. This includes everything but the water and and power. My power bill is about $100 a month but I am running 2 air conditioners. My water and sewage runs about $25 a month. The weather here is warm but not too humid. I don’t even run my air conditioners at night. I lived in Cuenca for a year and a half but being from the southern USA it was a bit too cool for me there. I love the weather in Guayaquil and I love the people here. I find them to be really more friendly than the people in the USA. I have two television sources.. I use TVcable for the internet and Fox News, I use DirecTV to watch all day Sunday NFL football. You need any more info from me you are free to email me at: Hoping to here from you, I am Jerry Lowery

    • Willaim Thompson Feb 21, 2016, 8:33 pm

      I’m retired from The Marine Corps and I’m single . How hard is it to get a place to love plus furnished . My spanish is bad also but I have had my eye on this country sense I found out On my retirement is in the poverty level in the US . Fought for my country on four tours and find out my retirement keeps me living bay check to pay check . How much money should I have to move to this beautiful country that has been on my mind for four years now

      • Jerry Lowery Feb 22, 2016, 10:49 am

        William I have lived in Ecuador for 3 years and love it. To get a retiree visa here you have to have a minimum income of $800 a month. I live in a small 3 bedroom home and the rent is $275 a month. The water/sewage is about $25 a month. My power was $25 a month before I added 2 Air conditioners. Now it runs about $100 month. I live in Guayaquil on the coast, if you live in any city in the mountains you don’t need air condition. I don’t care for the cooler climates. It’s easy to meet ladies here , I am 78 years old and have had 2 relationships with 35 year old ladies.

    • Luann Miniatis Jul 27, 2016, 12:20 pm

      Jerry, thanks for your post and info. I’m going to keep your email address for future reference. I am from Georgia, Atlanta. I’m going to Cuenca in November to check it out as a possible retirement location. I’ve done hundreds of hours of research online and there are good UTube videos about Ecuador. Can you get around without a car where you are in the suburbs? My attraction to Cuenca is that a car is not necessary. Thanks again for your post.

  • Will Hart Sep 11, 2015, 7:36 pm

    Being American and having lived in Sweden, Canada, Guatemala, and now Mexico over the span of 47 years, I say do not make MONEY your top priority. Also do not move anywhere unless you know the culture and really love the people. Next, learn the language. I do not consider anyone an expat in spite of their claim, unless they speak the native language. How deep can you be in if you don’t? I never call myself an expat even though I speak Swedish and Spanish. That is a fad nowadays like having a cell phone. You never kno when you might beat a hasty retreat back to the homeland…then what to you call yourself, a re-pat?

    • Ann Oct 30, 2018, 7:20 am

      Dear Maureen,
      Thank you so much for answering my questions and writing back to me! It is very useful information that I will share with my brother, too. Guess I will check out other areas and try to more thorough. Thank you so much! Ann

  • Dan Sep 3, 2015, 5:10 pm

    Great blog, good info, hope someone will respond since it’s been a dead blog for awhile….

    How is Ecuador for a guy mid 40’s thinking about making changes after divorce and being dissatisfied with the job/dating pool in the US. Not materialistic and tired of living next to the Jones’ trying to compete with everyone/rat race.

    The heat in some parts of Central/South America make it next to impossible for me to live there so thought about Ecuador since I saw a nice segment on HGTV and read about it.

    I have my own money but would be looking for something sales related as I am good at that but don’t have much interest in starting my own business…….maybe invest some of my money into investments once they are determined to be safe/financial guarantee like FDIC.

    • john Jan 21, 2017, 8:13 am

      If you are looking for work be ready to earn $ .82 per hour.

  • Mary Ferreira Jul 9, 2015, 9:01 am

    Hi, we are a family from New Zealand moving to Ecuador for 2 years (for work), we don’t know were we are going to live yet, might be Quito, not sure. I would like to know were can we go in internet to see houses for rent and to find a good college for my daughter, next year will be her last year of college here, don’t know how works in Ecuador, need to be belingue too, as she don’t speak much Spanish.
    Any information will be much appreciated.

    • Martha Luke Jul 11, 2015, 4:29 am

      Hi Mary! I am a devorced woman in her 50s hoping to make the move to Cuenca in 2.5 yrs when my son finishes college. I am new to this blog and relatively (last 6 month) new at this relocation/move to Cuenca Ecuador person I apear to be today.. I would like to offer you this: The practical things I have found have come from the expat comunity of Ecuador via the internet. The greengo Tree was a sorce of information, Real Estate, blogs, and all kinds of practical information. I am finding the expat comunity to be most helpfull to me. Doing a good job informing & writing on the day to day information. Other than reading some travel books, and cultural books on Ecuador. I wish I knew more to tell you. I am learning my self. So any information I am also happy to hear.
      . Good luck to you & your family on your new adventure. Martha

    • Sebastian Sep 9, 2015, 12:25 pm

      Hey Mary!
      That’s so cool you’re going to move to South America. There are many websites that provide these kind of information and also other where you can meet other fellow expats for networking and stuff. for example has lots of info about expat life in Ecuador and also gatherings and activities in which help me a lot when I moved to Germany. You can read a bunch of good bloggers and some of them are relocating specialists, tips, real state etc! I hope this info was useful and don’t be afraid you’ll get it on the way! 🙂

  • Steve Apr 28, 2015, 6:14 am

    I was thinking of coming to live in Ecuador on a Professional Visa. I have a degree in Social work and social policy from a recognised university in the UK and have experience of working in this field. If I get this tyoe of visa do I need to work as a social worker or can I just teach English instead. Also are there many jobs for Social worker in Ecuador and are the rates of pay at a professional level. i.e. Is Social work recognised as a profession in Ecuador

    • marie Dec 31, 2015, 3:07 am

      Hi! Did you get any answers for your questions?I’m also a social worker in Canada and am asking myself the same questions as you 🙂

  • Alex Apr 23, 2015, 2:38 pm

    I was looking at a rental property, on line, and noticed that this home had a wall around the property with an electric fence on top of that. That brought me to conclude that break and enters B&E’s are a concern or other crimes in the Cuenca area, (where we were looking to retire).
    Should I be concerned about the security of ex-pats in Ecuador?

    • Craig Mar 29, 2016, 7:55 pm

      I now live in manta via southwest Florida. Yes there are fences around the top of the fence around my apartment as well. Preventive medicine is the best kind. If you get my point. As safe as a baby lamb on first day of wolf season.

    • john Jan 21, 2017, 8:18 am

      positively !

  • Lisa Mar 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 Mar 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 Mar 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.

      • Luann Miniatis Jul 27, 2016, 12:27 pm

        Can someone please tell me the difference between being Hispanic an being Latino? I googled it and found Hispanic means ancestors from Spain but Latino means those who live in South or Central America. What’s the difference? I will be happy to be called a Gringo. I don’t know if it’s a derogatory term or not, I would be so happy to live in Central or South America.

        • Susan Maneck Jul 27, 2016, 4:06 pm

          In practice there is really no difference between the two terms.

          • Susan Maneck Jul 27, 2016, 4:07 pm

            Let me modify that. If you are from Brazil you would be Latino but not Hispanic because you speak Portuguese not Spanish.

    • Bill Mar 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 Mar 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

    • Daniel Apr 1, 2015, 12:18 pm

      Hey Charline. In my experience as ecuadorian I can assure you that you won`t find that kind of racial issues here. We have a couple of african-ecuadorian communities that have been excluded from the economic panorama but those things are progressively changing, and african-ecuadorians are present in our society without suffering fomr discrimination. Racials issues here do not have anything to do with open violence or frontal exclusion, but there are still dumb prejudices about black people, which are expressed through bad jokes or something like that. But people is mostly respectful and do not mind that much about races. You will be perfectly capable of develop in a work environment or a community without experiencing any trouble because of your ethnia.

    • Victor Jun 24, 2015, 9:44 am

      Charline, I am also an African American who is considering a move to Ecuador. I have a friend who spent a Summer hiking the backcountry of Ecuador and she assured me it’d be fine. They don’t view Race the same as most folk do in the US.

      I will be traveling to Ecuador to look for a place and then plan my move.

      Good luck to you!

    • Dave Hackett Apr 29, 2016, 4:22 pm

      I have spent a few months in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, and there is a significant number of Afro-Ecuadorans living there(Iwould say about 60% or more of the population). My wife and I arrived there about six years ago(on a Princess cruise), and I have returned there three times since. The people are very kind, leave a laid-back lifestyle, the real-estate is very reasonable(I would like to say cheap), and it is very easy to make friends. I am of french and middle eastern decent; however, everyone there seems to blend together nicely. I know there are comments on Esmeraldas that talk about it being dangerous; my experiences have proved otherwise. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me, should you have specific questions about this area.
      Dave Hackett

      • Shatha Jul 27, 2016, 1:18 am

        Hi there:
        I am a retired divorced woman from middleast , I am thinking to move to Ecuador , what I want to know is it safe for a woman to live alone there , and what is the crime rate ?
        Thank you

      • Alan Bollinger Sep 25, 2016, 1:20 pm

        Hi Dave, I am currently living in Chiriqui, Panama and have been here for 14 yrs, and prior to that 10 yrs in Costa rica (on and off). I have recently sold my finca/casa (in theory) and am considering a move to Ecuador, and specifically to your area…….I would probably be more focused on the Atacames to Mompiche area as I still love to surf……..I would very muchlike to open dialogue with somebody from this area to be able to glean as much information as possible……….Pls feel free to contact me at…….my skype is quantum747 or just under Al Bollinger………How did Esmeraldas and Atacames fare with the big quake? I hope not as badly as further south…..but the epicenter was up there pretty close wasnt it?

  • Kevin Mar 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 Mar 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 Jan 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.

    • Joseph Apr 13, 2015, 4:22 am

      I am from Ghana with a Ghanaian Passport but now working in Qatar-Doha. I want to spend my annual leave in Ecuador, so how do i go about the process to come to Ecuador.
      Hope to hear from you soon.
      Thank you

  • Marie Sep 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 Jan 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

      • Joe Gomez Jan 20, 2016, 11:58 am

        Hola, if you would be so kind to share some differences between living in Catamayo and city of Loja. Anything and everything would be of help. My wife and I are going to Loja on Feb 17 2016 if her mom health is steady. I know its warmer in Catamayo and thats a plus coming from South Florida haha. Our # 1 purpose is to help the community and local evangelical church if they have any. We are fully bi- lingual, look Spanish but born and raised in the USA makes my Spanish a little gringo at times. At 62yrs an early SS retirement will be penalized but i will meet the requierments of Ecuador Pensionado program. my email gracias!!

  • David Aug 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 Aug 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 Aug 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 Aug 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 Aug 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 Aug 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 Aug 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 Aug 13, 2014, 8:03 pm

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

          • Leigh Aug 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!

          • Fred singer Jan 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 Jan 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 Mar 19, 2015, 12:03 pm

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

          • Siru Dec 6, 2015, 11:55 pm

            Hi Fred, We are a Finnish-Ecuadorian couple interested in moving to Catamayo, because of my health issues the climate seems to be what we are looking for, warm and not so humid. How difficult is it to find a small house or apartment (2 bedrooms) to rent and how expensive would it be…can´t find hardly anything on line? Appreciate any suggestions, thanks so much!

      • Dean Sep 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 Sep 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 Mar 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

        • Alan Bollinger Sep 25, 2016, 1:26 pm

          Hi Dean,
          Im in Panama but thinking bout movin down to Ecuador specifically in your neighborhood……..I find the Ecuadorian culture much more relatable and attractive than the Pana culture…….Could you tell me a bit aobut your experience there? How long have you been there? do you speak fluent Spanish? Do you feel like youre living in an armed camp? How is the police presence? Are they intimidating at all, especially if youre driving? Any information will be greatly appreciated……………….

    • Mojca Mar 14, 2016, 4:29 am

      Every washing mashine has is own heater and its always connected only to cold thats an option.

      • Bryan Haines Mar 14, 2016, 3:30 pm

        That might be true with some machines, but I don’t think many have their own internal heater. We’ve had both direct hot water connection (propane heater) and cold water hookup. Most machines in Ecuador operate on cold water only – especially at the lower altitudes.

        • Sab May 25, 2016, 4:18 pm

          My 2 cents: Western European washers run on cold water and heat it up. They have 20°C (68°F), 30°C (86°F), 40° C (104°F), etc. cycles up to 90°C (194°F – yes that’s close to boiling). USA washers do not heat up the water but use the hot water from the water heater and cool it down somewhat, so that the hottest cycle is around 110°F (43°C) if your water heater is set at 120°F.
          So I guess if you really want a washer that heats up the water in Ecuador, you could try to find a used one from a European expat who would have brought their own appliances, or try to buy one, is that even possible? But ***DO*** think before you shop. It may run on 220 V rather than 110 V, so it would need a 220 V supply or a converter to 110 V. Then there’s the 50/60 Hz frequency issue. I don’t know what are voltages regulations in Ecuador, you’d want to consult with a local electrician before purchasing a European type washer.

  • Daniel Aug 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 Aug 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 Jan 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 Mar 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.

        • Dave Hackett Apr 29, 2016, 4:32 pm

          Hi Denis,

          Do you still get anywhere near 8.50% interest now? This rate is so wonderful-my wife & I are thinking about moving to Ecuador…

          Thank you.

          Dave Hackett

          • Denis Sep 26, 2016, 9:57 pm

            I am getting 9% now. Another good thing about JEP is the lack of fees. You can withdraw money at an ATM for nothing. Their certificates that they print out when you need to prove an account are $3. There is an english speaking lady called Karina at their Mariscal Sucre office who is extremely helpful. They also have ATM machines everywhere. I can’t recommend them highly enough. On the other hand Pichincha charges 51c to use the ATM and $5 for a certificate. There are very few ATMs for them too.

        • Alan Bollinger Sep 25, 2016, 1:29 pm

          Hi Denis, could you pls tell me more about JEP? Sounds like the way to go……Which bank would be the easiest bank in which to open up an acct when I first get down there and dont yet have residency? Thnx much……

          • Denis Sep 26, 2016, 10:01 pm

            JEP is not a bank … it is a cooperativa. Still insured for $31,000 I believe by a government agency. Love them. See Karina at Mariscal Sucre office in El Centro. She speaks english and is extremely helpful. She is recommended on Gringo Post. The recommendations on there are very helpful.
            I am getting 9% now. Another good thing about JEP is the lack of fees. You can withdraw money at an ATM for nothing. Their certificates that they print out when you need to prove an account are $3. They also have ATM machines everywhere. I can’t recommend them highly enough. On the other hand Pichincha charges 51c to use the ATM and $5 for a certificate. There are very few ATMs for them too.

      • Janet LeBlanc Jun 21, 2015, 2:39 pm

        If you do not have any pension or social security deposited to an Ecuadorian bank, how would you qualify for a pensionado visa? Just asking …

        • Eileen Jun 28, 2015, 11:16 am

          I assume you are living in the U.S. Request a benefits verification statement from Social Security. Take the form, along with other documents you will need (learn about required documents on your embassy’s website) to the embassy serving your region. For example, I was living in the state of Washington and my closest embassy was in LA. At the embassy you need to have most or all of your documents apostilled, a process somewhat like having a notary sign and stamp documents to prove to your new country that your documents are valid. You will be issued a short-term Visa (3 to 6 months.) After you are living in Ecuador you can apply for a Residency Visa. We hired a bilingual lawyer to help us with the process, but some people accomplish it on their own.

          • diego terneus Mar 27, 2016, 8:38 am

            Just to clear things up. You want to contact the CONSULATE, not the embassy. There is only one ecuadorian (or for that matter, any other country) embassy in Washington, D.C. It’s the consulates
            that deal with immigration and its requisites.

  • Fabricerun Jul 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 Jun 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 Jun 24, 2014, 12:10 pm

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

  • Susan Mar 12, 2014, 1:46 pm

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

  • Stacey Mar 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 Mar 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 Mar 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 Mar 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 Mar 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 Jun 28, 2014, 9:57 pm

      Mr. Pretzel Mall del Rio . . .

    • denis cruickshank Mar 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 Mar 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 Aug 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 Feb 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 Dec 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 Dec 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 Jun 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 Nov 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 Nov 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 Jun 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 Jul 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 Nov 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 Sep 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 Oct 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 Jul 15, 2013, 5:22 pm

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

  • Rob Jul 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. Jul 29, 2013, 8:05 pm

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

  • Tony Jun 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 Aug 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 Dec 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 Jun 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 Jun 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 Dec 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 Dec 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 Apr 23, 2013, 1:51 pm

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

    • Bryan Haines Apr 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 Mar 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 Apr 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 Apr 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 Apr 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 Apr 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 Apr 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 Apr 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 Apr 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 Apr 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 Apr 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 Mar 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 Mar 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 Mar 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 Mar 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 Apr 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 Apr 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 Apr 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 Apr 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 Apr 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!

            • Alan Bollinger Sep 25, 2016, 1:54 pm

              Hi Vincent, I for one appreciate your objectivity and realism. I currently live in Panama and have been in central america for over 20 yrs…….When I tell people of my experiences here they just think I am exaggerating and being negative………haha…….when its the stone cold truth…….I am thinking about moving to Ecuador cuz I like the culture there better than panama, but I have no illusions that the bad guys are out there lurking…….Cuz Ive had close encounters here and in Costa Rica………What do you think about the Esmeraldas and Atacames areas? Can I live peacefully and comfortably there with my semi fluent Spanish? I appreciate your seasoned experience……….So many people considering a retirement move just want to hear pie in the sky stories……..Dont bother them with the truth………they want to shoot the messenger who brings the real deal info…… can reach me at………

          • lillis a werder Feb 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 Jun 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 Jun 25, 2013, 4:32 pm

          Oops I meant to say Vicente..

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

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

            • Luz Apr 11, 2016, 3:12 pm

              weather your “ancestrals’ are from Ecuador or not, you will always be an ecuadorean, no?

    • Jerry Lowery Jun 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 Jan 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 Jan 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 Dec 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 Jan 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 Dec 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 Dec 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 Dec 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 Dec 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.


      • Daniel Apr 1, 2015, 12:59 pm

        He says temporarily because no government should be eternal. And in Ecuador a president lasts for four years in charge each time he/she is elected.

  • Dave Dec 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 Dec 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 Dec 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 Dec 26, 2012, 10:05 pm

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

      • Vincent A. Salgado Mar 7, 2019, 3:29 pm

        So….are you still living in Ecuador?

    • Antoinette Jackson Apr 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 Dec 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 Dec 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 Dec 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 Dec 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 Nov 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 Nov 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 Nov 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 Feb 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 Feb 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 Aug 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 Aug 3, 2012, 6:49 am

      Well said!

      • Brian Nov 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 Jul 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 Sep 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 Jun 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 Nov 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 Dec 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 Dec 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 Apr 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 Dec 24, 2011, 8:53 pm

    Where is SuCase?

    • Bryan Haines Jan 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 Dec 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 Dec 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 Jul 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 Aug 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 Dec 21, 2014, 4:45 pm

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

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


  • Patrick Apr 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 Apr 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 Apr 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 Dec 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 Mar 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 Mar 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 Nov 6, 2013, 12:17 am

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

  • karen Miller Mar 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 Mar 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 Mar 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 Feb 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 Feb 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.

  • palmerphill Feb 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 Feb 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 Mar 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 Oct 14, 2013, 11:30 am

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

    • wally Mar 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 Dec 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.

        • Maria Elena Ruiz Mar 26, 2017, 4:01 am

          Hola everyone and esp Lucie. Soy Mela or Elena Ruiz asi como dice en mi profil. Plz email me at I need to speak to you about Salinas. I was married to a Brit and really miss the fish and chips in Nottin and Burton on Trent. Plz reply if you have time. I realize you posted in 2011 and it is now 03/2017. If anyone knows where Lucie is plz have her give me a shout.

          Muchas gracias,


  • Lionel Feb 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 Aug 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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