Expat Guide to Living in Ecuador
Posted by Dannielle Noonan
Unspoilt beaches, lush rainforests and a town or city to suit every expat. There are many reasons so many people choose Ecuador for an international relocation. We took a look at some of the main benefits of moving to Ecuador and why it was named by Internations as the best destination for expats in their survey.
Known as the land of the eternal spring, Ecuador revels in warm weather thanks to its position on the equator. The mountainous landscape means most of the country exists at high altitudes, preventing the intense heat from being too stifling and making Ecuador the perfect climate for expats all year round.
Ecuador is located in Western South America and can be split up into four parts, geographically; the Costa (coast), the Sierra (highlands), and El Oriente (the east; which includes the Amazonic region). The Galápagos Islands also belong to Ecuador. The capital of Ecuador is Quito.
Cost of living
A typical couple will most likely spend somewhere between $1,600 and $2,400 a month to live in Ecuador according to this article, making Ecuador a popular choice for retirees. In fact, financial satisfaction was the main factor in establishing Ecuador as the best expat choice, according to Internations.
Residents over 65 (even if they aren’t Ecuadorian) get 50% off cultural and sporting events, electric and water bills, and international airfare, and they often don’t have to stand in line at places like the airport and bank!
The country uses the U.S. dollar as currency, cellphones and Wi-Fi access are plentiful, and there are a lot of retiree expat communities.
Ecuador doesn’t tax Americans’ Social Security income, and this is a real factor in attracting US expats. In addition to this, property taxes tend to be low.
Your cost of living in Ecuador could be less than $1,000 if you are a frugal single, as it’s possible to rent a nice apartment for $300 to $400). For very little money, expats in Ecuador can enjoy the best of everything: fine foods and spirits, gym membership, a private health insurance plan, local travel, and a trip back home to visit once a year.
As for food, fresh produce is inexpensive and easy to find.
Ecuadorian culture is multifaceted and colourful. The focus on family in Ecuador is evident, and daily life revolves around lunch rather than dinner. 95% of the population is Roman Catholic. There are over 14 indigenous groups in Ecuador but the majority of people are Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white), Amerindian, Spanish and Black. Men are generally the breadwinners while women are responsible for childrearing, although Ecuador’s gender constructions are starting to evolve.
It’s useful to learn at least basic Spanish if you’re looking to relocate to Ecuador.
As for business culture in Ecuador, it can be very formal. Handshakes should be loose and if someone doesn’t have an academic title, use Senor or Senora. You should always wait for the local to call you by your first name before you adopt the familiarity.
The locals dress to reflect the cultural diversities of their specific regions, and Indian influences are clear.
Healthcare in Ecuador
Expats living in Ecuador have access to excellent medical care in their host country. In the bigger cities like Quito, you’ll find hospitals with state-of-the-art equipment, as well as specialists in all fields and physicians with private clinics. Even in smaller cities, facilities are of a high standard.
In smaller communities, doctors often make home visits as they pride themselves on a personal service you won’t experience elsewhere.
Many specialists in Ecuador have trained in the U.S. or Europe and have top-notch skills. Pharmacists are also qualified to give medical advice for minor ailments such as rashes or ear infections and usually do this for free!
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