How Much Does It Cost to Live in Ecuador?
Strong Pacific currents move around the Galapagos Islands and into Ecuadorian coastal waters, washing up on white sand beaches below thick secondary jungles full of monkeys, sloths and tropical birds. And below the disappearing canopy live quiet tribes like the Colorados who battle assimilation among their newly deforested country and growing lowland cities. Out of the lower jungles, the ancient mountains climb slowly changing from cloud forests to arid tundra, eventually forming twenty thousand foot active volcanoes. The glaciated caps of volcanoes can be seen on clear days from the bell towers of the Basilica in Old Town Quito, amid the crazy hum of its streets and the colonial charm of the buildings.
It is no wonder so many ex-pats are abandoning crowded South Florida retirement communities for grander post-career dreams and that so many college grads spend a year teaching English in Quito. The big question remains. How much is this going to cost? Can you afford to retire in Ecuador?
It is a complex question. Ecuador can be cheap. According to the Lonely Planet, busses cost approximately one dollar an hour and the country is small, so a weekend trip to the coast from Quito would essentially cost fewer than $12 one way. Hostels and Hotels alike tend to cost on average less than $10 a night per person. Local cuisine is always the cheapest bet and a set lunch would cost anywhere from $2 to $5. A cold 655 milliliter beer costs, in a restaurant, $1.50 to $3.
The tastes from home tend to be more expensive. In the middle of Quito is the Mariscal Foch, a beacon of hope for the refined tastes of the Northern brethren. Expats thrive in the Mariscal Foch sitting at the tables that surround trendy restaurants serving draft beer and California club sandwiches. Draft beers cost $4 to $6 and food $8 to $15.
Petroleum is subsidized by the government. A gallon of diesel costs somewhere around $1.20 and a gallon of gasoline around $1.50, yet cars prices vary considerably. According to Ecuadorliving.com, cars cost more than in the U.S. as they become more expensive since the duty percentage is increased with price. "A brand new Ford Explorer XLT is advertised at $39,950 in Ecuador. A quick check in the US shows the price in the $29,000 price range." And on the other side, a Ford Fiesta costs $13,900 in the US but only 12000 in Ecuador.
The value of a luxury home in Ecuador is less than in the US. According to Ecuadorliving.com, a house outside of Cuenca with two living rooms, two dining rooms, four bathrooms, three walk-in closets, a caretaker's cottage and an outside barbeque, has an asking price of $230,000.
Cuenca, with its classic European feel, is becoming one of Ecuador's most popular spots for retirement. A luxury apartment close to the city center costs $42,000. According to Quitorental.com, a higher-end rental company, an apartment costs $300 to $700 in Quito. For an English Teacher, making six dollars an hour, there are much cheaper finds that are easier found by word of mouth than on the internet, where companies tend to inflate prices because their clients have never been in the country and don't know any better.