Ecuador as a Retirement Destination - Pros & Cons
Apr 02, 2013
For the past decade, Ecuador has shown North American retirees many pros and cons. Escaping to this Latin American country is a good way to extend your dollars further then you could back home, and the pros extensively outweigh the cons. On one hand, Ecuador offers plenty of benefits to expats, including a stunning environment and a low cost of living. On the other hand, there are definitely some challenges that may make some folks think twice about relocating there.
The Pros of Moving to Ecuador
Affordability – For less then $1000 a month, an average North American can live comfortably in any area of Ecuador. Dinners out in world-class restaurants, weekend beach getaways with hotel accommodation, tours to the Galapagos Islands and a plethora of other activities are all at your disposal in Ecuador and easy to fit into your budget.
Climate – Ecuador is situated right on the equator (it’s name actually means equator!), making it a hot country. That being said, thanks to its diverse landscape, there are various microclimates, it just depends on what you prefer. Near-perfect spring like temperatures can be found in several areas such as Cuenca in the Andes mountains or Vilcabamba, Ecuador’s Blue Zone, located in the valley of a rainforest. Or, if you prefer the heat, head to Salinas, Manta or Jama along the Pacific coast.
Expat Friendly – As a foreigner, you don’t need to worry about being the only non-local. Thanks in part to a rising economy, affordable living and political stability; Ecuador is attracting more retirees every year. Dynamic expat communities can be found everywhere from Salinas, on the coast, to Cuenca and Vilcabamba in the mountains and many places in between. Interestingly, these diverse groups of retirees get along much better then they would if they were in a retirement community in North America. They all have a sense of adventure and have taken control of their lives in ways many people only dream of. In addition, there is a good mix of non-retirees; middle-aged couples with young families, entrepreneurs and travelers simply looking to live off the North American grid and have chose Ecuador as their second or primary home.
Welcoming Locals – Ecuadorians embrace foreigners coming into their country. They are a very friendly and hospitable society and welcome people choosing to live and visit their country, subsequently spending money and boosting their economy. It’s definitely worth making friends with locals when you choose to spend your life, or part of it, here.
The Cons of Moving to Ecuador
Owning is Better – It’s true, living in Ecuador is very affordable. However, you will have a much better handle on your average living costs if you purchase your home outright. Thankfully, modern homes or property are easy to find at low prices. Renting is certainly an option, and definitely recommended prior to committing to a move, but due to fluctuating prices and long-term cost increases, striving to own your real estate is paramount.
Language – You likely don’t need us to tell you that learning the native language – Spanish – is vital to enjoying your new life in Ecuador. If you plan to live comfortably and enjoy life at your own free will, it’s important that you understand what people, documents and signs are saying. Learning a new language isn’t a difficult task, but it does require a bit of planning. If Ecuador is in your plans, look into signing up for a Spanish class at your local college or taking a class online. And then, speak it! Don’t be shy… the locals will appreciate your attempts and you’ll learn that much quicker.
Safety – Just like anywhere else in the world, common sense prevails when it comes to your personal safety. Although the majority of Ecuador is safe, there is a chance of petty theft and crime in certain urban areas. As long as you avoid these areas at odd hours of the night and reside in a safe community, Ecuador is no more dangerous then the average North American or European country.
Overall, retiring in Ecuador has far more pros then cons. As more foreigners from North America and Europe realize the truth about this country, it’s quickly becoming one of the most popular retirement destinations in the world. If you’ve been considering a move – retirement or simply for a change of pace – and wish to do it in a place that your hard-earned money will stretch further, maybe Ecuador is for you!