Live Abroad Now Articles

These are the main articles on Live Abroad Now that will show you the way out.

Ecuador Shipping Company Costs and Process: Relocation Services of Ecuador Interview Highlights

We interviewed Ecuador shipping company owner, Paul Wilches, founder of Relocation Services of Ecuador, to learn about shipping household goods to Ecuador. He discussed the logistics, process, import regulations, timeframes and costs to pack up your house and move everything to Ecuador from anywhere in the world.

We can send an email introduction to you and Paul: Ecuador Container Shipping Agent Referral.

Relocation Services of Ecuador Container Options

The container size you’ll need varies by the number and size of household items you’re planning to bring to Ecuador. For entire houses, you may need a 20 or 40 foot express container.

20 Foot Shipping Container

20 Foot Shipping Container

40 Foot Shipping Container

40 Foot Shipping Container

You can also ship a pallet or a lift van for smaller loads. A pallet is a wood base stacked with boxes and shrink wrapped. It’s the least secure option.

Wood Pallet

Wood Pallet

A lift van is a wood box that can be sealed shut.

Lift Van

Lift Van

Ecuador Shipping Company Process

It takes 3 to 4 weeks from the date of order for a container to be delivered to your house or storage unit for loading. If you live in a congested area, such as downtown in a big city, you may need to move your household items to a storage unit outside the city because there may not be enough room to park a large container on the street near your house or apartment.

You will need to pack your household items and keep a VERY detailed inventory of what is in each box. It needs to be VERY specific. For example, it needs to list the number of mens shirts, womens shoes, neckties, underwear, number of DVDs, number of kitchen utensils, etc. Simply stating that it contains clothes is not specific enough. EVERYTHING needs to be on the inventory list.

It currently takes 32 to 35 days from the time the container, pallet or lift van is picked up in the United States to deliver it to your new home in Ecuador. If you are unable to be in Ecuador when the container is set to be delivered, it will need to be stored in the United States and shipped once you’re able to come to Ecuador and sign the customs paperwork to accept your shipment.

You have 180 days from the date of your last immigration stamp in your passport to bring your container into Ecuador duty free. If you have been in Ecuador longer than 180 days when your container is scheduled to arrive, you will need to leave Ecuador and return to Ecuador to get a fresh stamp in your passport or be subject to the import taxes on your entire container.

Express Containers

Paul’s Ecuador shipping company offers a home-to-door service for express containers. This means the container will be delivered to your house or storage unit in the origin city, and you’ll be responsible for loading it or hiring a loading crew. You’ll have about 4 hours to load it so you may want to hire a few guys or invite your friends over to help.

Once the container is loaded, it’ll be driven to the nearest port city and shipped to Ecuador. Once it clears customs in Ecuador, it will be driven to your house and unloaded into your house. You’ll be able to tell the crew where to put things, but they won’t unpack boxes or setup furniture.

Pallets and Lift Vans

For pallets and lift vans, Relocation Services of Ecuador offers a door-to-door service. This means a crew will deliver the pallet or lift van to your house, load it, secure it and take it away.

When it arrives at your new home in Ecuador, the Relocation Services of Ecuador crew will unload it into your house, but they won’t unpack boxes or setup furniture.

Items You CAN Bring to Ecuador (and Legal Limits)

You can bring most household items to Ecuador, but there are a few legal limits on the number of items you can bring. A household item is anything used to fill or maintain a house or apartment. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Major Appliances: Stove, Oven, Refrigerator, Dishwasher, Washer, Dryer (Limit 1 Each, New or Used)
  • Small Appliances: Blender, Microwave, Mixer, Coffee Maker, Toaster Oven, Toaster, Cooktop, etc. (Limit 2 to 3 Each)
  • TV, DVD Player, Stereo, Air Conditioners, etc. (Limit 1 Each per Person + 1 for the Family)
  • Computers (Limit 2 per Person)
  • Dishes, Silverware, Glasses, etc.
  • Tools: Hand Tools, Tablesaw, Electric Generator, etc.
  • Furniture: Beds, Sofas, Tables, Chairs, Patio Sets, etc.
  • Holiday Decorations, Paintings, Rocks, etc.
  • Lawn Mower (thoroughly cleaned of all grass and dirt)
  • Gas Grill (without the propane tank)
  • Clothing and Shoes (Limit 200 Kilos/440 Pounds per Person)
  • Empty Safe (without Money or other valuables)
  • Alcohol/Liquor (Limit 23 Liters per Family)
  • Commercially Packaged Food in Sealed Containers

Items You CANNOT Bring to Ecuador

You CANNOT bring the following items to Ecuador. It’s EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that you don’t pack anything that might trigger an inspection. In the United States, port inspections cost $3,000 to $4,000.

  • NO Guns, Weapons or Ammunition
  • NO Flammable Items: Propane Tanks, Hair Spray, Gasoline, WD-40, Turpentine, Aerosol Cans, etc.
  • NO Cars, Trucks, Motorcycles, Golf Carts, etc. Nothing with a motor that’s used for transportation (unless you’re a returning Ecuadorian citizen, but then you need to apply for a special program and meet specific requirements)
  • NO Cash, Gold, Silver, Jewels, etc. (carry them on the plane and declare them at airport customs if the value exceeds $10,000)
  • NO Incandescent Light Bulbs (only CFL or LED light bulbs are allowed in Ecuador)
  • NO Agriculture Products: Seeds, Plants, Trees, Fruit, Herbs, etc.

Ecuador Shipping Company Cost

The cost varies by type and size of container; however, as a rough estimate, Relocation Services of Ecuador can ship a 20 foot container from the United States to Ecuador for $7,200 and $8,500.

Relocation Services of Ecuador charges include:

  • The Container, Pallet or Lift Van
  • Delivery of the Container, Pallet or Lift Van to the House or Storage Unit
  • Pickup and Loading of Boxes (for Pallets and Lift Vans)
  • Transportation to the US Port
  • Ocean Freight from US to Guayaquil, Ecuador
  • US and Guayaquil Port Fees
  • Guayaquil Inspection Fees
  • Legal Expenses to Legalize the Shipping Inventory
  • Inland Transportation from Guayaquil to Anywhere in Ecuador
  • Unloading Into your House or Apartment

If you would like us to connect you with Paul Wilches at Relocation Services of Ecuador, we can send an email introduction to you and Paul: Ecuador Container Shipping Agent Referral.


Planning a move to Ecuador?

Our Ecuador Expat Fast Track eCourse will tell you exactly how to do it! Join more than 250 people who have already signed up! See what our students have to say here...

Get Qualified, Trustworthy Recommendations

Need help with your visa, finding a place to live, shipping a container, health insurance, private driver or something else?

We're happy to introduce you to our trusted and qualified relocation experts in Ecuador!

NEWS from ECUADORNews & Current Events from Ecuador

Every Friday, we send an email with current expat-relevant news from Ecuador (in English). It contains the latest information about covid, travel restrictions & guidelines, government actions, volcanoes, flooding, crime, and more. Basically, anything significant from the prior week that affects expats. We don't share this information ANYWHERE ELSE!

In addition, you'll also gain immediate access to our Ecuador Cost of Moving & Living Calculator. And it now contains a Low Budget Cost of Living option.

 

BE Unconventional!

Cuenca Ecuador ExpatsWe've assembled a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and offer encouragement as you embark on your move abroad.

Once you become a member, you'll also gain access to a variety of exclusive benefits that will help you make a smooth transition to Ecuador!

Ecuador Temporary Resident Visas

There are several different types of Ecuador Temporary Resident Visas: Professional, Investor, Pensioners, Rentista/Digital Nomad, Dependent, etc. The qualifications and requirements vary for each type of visa so you’ll need to select the best option for your specific circumstances.

You can apply for an Ecuador permanent residency visa after 21 months of your temporary residency providing you haven’t left the country for more than 90 days during that period. The permanent visa requirements are identical to the temporary visa requirements. The only difference is that the temporary visa is valid for 2 years while the permanent visa never expires.

If you would like to discuss your visa options with Maite and her team at GringoVisas, please submit our Visa Agent referral form and we’ll send an immediate email introduction.

Several substantial changes were made to the Ecuador visa laws in March 2022. The new visa laws ONLY apply to NEW temporary visa applicants. If you are currently living in Ecuador with a temporary residency visa that was issued prior to March 2022, you can apply for a permanent residency visa at your 21-month mark under the old visa laws and income requirements as long as you haven’t been outside Ecuador for more than 90 days during your temporary visa period. If you have questions or special circumstances, please check with a qualified visa agent.

General Requirements for Ecuador Temporary Resident Visas

There are a few general requirements for all Ecuador Temporary Resident Visas. You can read the detailed list on the government website here; however, here are the main things you’ll want to consider:

Ecuador Temporary Resident Visas

Passport Expiration

If your passport will expire during the 2-year visa period, we recommend renewing your passport before applying for the visa.

Ecuador no longer attaches physical visas to your passport. Instead, they issue electronic visas that are attached to your passport number.

When you renew your passport, you’ll get a different number which means your visa will need to be electronically transferred to the new passport. This requires a $100 fee and an additional trip the visa office to sign paperwork.

There’s no harm in renewing your passport early and doing so will save you a lot of inconvenience.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is now required for all of Ecuador’s residency visas (not the 90 day tourist visa). You will need health insurance from a private Ecuadorian health insurance company. We’re happy to introduce you to our recommended Ecuadorian health insurance brokers here…

If you have foreign health insurance that will cover you in Ecuador, the contract needs to state specifically that you will be covered in Ecuador. You may need to request a special contract from your insurance company that specifically states “Ecuador” in the coverage area.

Income Requirements

Each type of visa has different income requirements detailed below.

For the pensioner visa, you must prove monthly income based on statements from Social Security, a pension or other retirement accounts.

For all other visa types, you must prove income based on bank statements from the previous 3 to 12 months, depending on the type of visa and the ministry official.

Self-deposits are allowed because they don’t verify the source of funds. That means you can deposit money into your own account from another account, or someone else like your spouse can deposit money into your account to meet the minimum income requirements.

It’s best to use an account that is only in the primary visa holder’s name rather than a joint account. If you have a joint account that you’re planning to use for the visa application, the Ecuadorian ministry will only consider 50% of the deposits as income for the primary visa applicant. Therefore, you would need to deposit twice the minimum income to meet the visa requirements.

You cannot combine income sources from your spouse or any other source. All the income must be in the primary visa holders income statements and/or bank statements.

Fingerprints & Background Checks

You’ll need to provide a State Police Report for your home state and a Federal FBI background check with your application.

Ideally, your background checks will be squeaky clean, but if you have a minor offense with a reasonable explanation, or if it happened a long time ago, it may not affect your application process. The ministry official has the final say, but a visa agent can help you navigate the process and advocate for your approval.

These reports must be less than 6 months old when you file your visa application. If they are more than 6 months old, you will need to request them again and pay for the new reports, so plan carefully.

Marriage License & Birth Certificates

For dependent visas, you’ll need a marriage license for a spouse or birth certificates for children. The documents need to be less than 6 months old when you send them for apostille; therefore, you will likely need to order new certified copies.

You can register your marriage license in Ecuador at a Registro Civil office so it will always be on file and you won’t need to go through this process again when you apply for permanent residency. Ask your visa agent for help with this.

Apostilles, Translations and Notarizations

ALL documents must have an apostille if you’re moving from a country that is part of the Hague Convention. If you’re from Canada, ALL documents must be legalized at the Ecuadorian consulate or embassy.

Additionally, ALL documents must be less than 6 months old to qualify for an apostille and to be accepted by the Ecuadorian Immigration Ministry when you submit your visa application. That means you need to plan the timing of your documentation very carefully.

Once all documents have an apostille, they need to be sent to Ecuador to be translated by a certified Ecuadorian translator and then notarized by an Ecuadorian notary.

A visa agent can help you navigate this complicated and time-sensitive process.

Ecuador Temporary Resident Visa Ministry Fees

Ecuador Temporary Resident Visas have two primary fees. The temporary resident visa application fee is $50 per person and is non-refundable. If your visa application is approved, the temporary resident visa fee is $400 per person.

Permanent Residency Consideration

The temporary visas no longer have travel restrictions, which means you can be outside Ecuador as much as you want during your 2-year Ecuador temporary residency.

HOWEVER, if you plan to apply for permanent residency after 21 months, YOU CANNOT BE OUTSIDE ECUADOR FOR MORE THAN 90 DAYS DURING THE 21-MONTH PERIOD!

In other words, you can be outside Ecuador for a total of 90 non-consecutive days during the 21 months leading up to the application date of your permanent residency visa. If you are outside Ecuador for more than 90 days during that period, you will need to apply for another temporary residency visa rather than a permanent visa.

Ecuador Temporary Resident Visa Types

All temporary residency visas in Ecuador are good for 2 years from the date of issue. You are allowed to apply for permanent residency after living in Ecuador for 21 months as long as you haven’t been outside Ecuador for more than 90 days during that period.

You can review all of the visas types and their specific requirements on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility website. The Ecuadorian government websites are all in Spanish, so here is a helpful article showing you How To Translate Websites to English from Spanish (or any other language).

Professional Visa

The Ecuador Professional Visa has the following requirements:

  • Monthly income of at least USD $425 plus $25o per dependent
  • An undergraduate or graduate degree from an approved university
  • A notarized diploma with an apostille
  • A notarized transcript with an apostille
  • A notarized letter with an apostille signed by a university official stating the diploma and transcript are valid, and that at least 80% of the classes were taken in-person (not online)

My temporary (and now permanent) visa is a Professional Visa, which means I still work, have regular income from outside Ecuador, and a degree from an approved university. You can find the approved university list here… If your university is not on the list, a visa agent may be able to help you get it added.

Amelia has a degree from The University of Phoenix, but that university is not accepted by Ecuador because the majority of classes are taken online. To qualify as an approved university, more than 80% of classes must be taken in a classroom setting and not online.

I went to the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk Jayhawk) for both my bachelors and masters degrees. When I graduated in the 90’s, online courses weren’t a thing yet, so I took all my classes in-person. This means Amelia is here on a dependent visa that’s attached to my professional visa.

We had to get an official diploma and transcript from KU for my most advanced degree (Masters). We also had to get a notarized letter from a university official stating my degree was valid and that the classes were taken in-person. Then we sent all the documents to the GringoVisas office in Connecticut so they could get the apostille before mailing them to Ecuador.

Investor Visa

For the Ecuador Investor Visa, you must show $425/month in income plus $250/month/dependent, and you must invest $42,500 in either a CD or property. There is no additional investment requirement for dependents.

Certificate of Deposit (CD): You can invest $42,500 in an Ecuadorian COOP CD for at least 2 years, the duration of your Ecuador Temporary Resident Visa.

The interest rates on the CD’s will shock you if you’re coming from the US where banks no longer pay meaningful interest. As of this writing, the interest rate on a 2 year CD in Ecuador is roughly 8.0% annually! That’s around $283/month in interest on your $42,500 CD!!!

You can leave the interest in the account so it compounds, but you are allowed by law to withdraw the interest income from your CD without invalidating your visa. However, you need to be careful when signing the paperwork with a COOP like JEP because they will default the application to prevent withdrawal of the earned interest until the CD end date. Be specific with them and tell them that you want to withdraw the interest every month, 3 months, or each year, whichever you prefer.

Bank deposits are only insured up to $32,000 so that means at least $10,500 of your investment will not be insured. You are not allowed to split the investment into different accounts or different banks to make up the difference, either. The entire investment must be in one CD.

Property: You can purchase property to qualify for an Investor Visa in Ecuador. The only requirement is that the property be assessed by the municipality for more than $42,500.

The ministry will issue a visa lien against your property and if you wish to sell it you will have to forfeit your visa and request a lien release.  (You can apply for a different type of visa or convert to a permanent visa before selling the property.)

The assessment value may be substantially lower than the purchase price. You can request a new assessment if the registered value is less than $42,500.

You are not allowed to transfer the investment without reapplying for the visa. So, for instance, you cannot use your CD to buy property. The investment must remain the same for the entire duration of the Temporary Resident Visa and cannot be changed or transferred.

Pensioners Visa

In order to get a Pensioners Visa, you need to show income for the remainder of your life of at least $1,275/month + $250/month/dependent.

Your income can be from Social Security, a pension, retirement accounts, annuities, etc. If you’re using Social Security for your income requirement, you’ll need an annual statement from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that’s signed by an SSA official and has an apostille at the federal (not state) level.

Rentista (or Digital Nomad) Visa

The Rentista Visa has been updated to function more as a Digital Nomad Visa as of March 2022. There are now two ways to qualify for this visa.

Digital Nomad Visa: If you are a digital nomad or work remotely for a company abroad or as a freelancer, you need to show an income of $1,275/month + $250/month/dependent, or a yearly income of $15,300 + $3,000/year/dependent (based on bank statements) for the previous 3 to 12 months.

Additionally, you need to prove you work for a real corporation or LLC by providing the legal business documents. If you are a freelancer, you need to have your own legal LLC.

You may also need proof of your work contract or employment that states you will continue to earn an income after you move to Ecuador for at least 2 years.

Rentista Visa: If you own a rental property outright in your home country, you may be able to use that as the support for your visa.

You are required to have a tenant with a 2-year lease agreement for at least $1,275/month in rent + $250/month/dependent. You will need to provide the deed of ownership for the property and the 2-year rental agreement.

Work Visa

For the work visa you must be sponsored by an Ecuadorian company. The company has to pay into the IESS and you need a 2-year work contract.  This visa can now be converted into a permanent resident visa provided you don’t leave the country for more than 90 days during the first 21 months.

Dependent Visa

A Dependent Visa must be attached to a valid Temporary Resident Visa and can be used for your spouse, children, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, or any blood relative. The primary Temporary Visa must be issued before the Dependent Visa application can be filed.

Ecuador Temporary Resident Visas

The primary visa holder must show an additional income of $250/month/dependent. For the Rentista/Digital Nomad visa, you have the option of showing at least $3,000/year/dependent in lieu of the $250/month/dependent.

So if you have a spouse dependent, you’ll need to show $1,525/month. If you have a spouse and a child, you’ll need to show $1,775/month in income. Etc.

There are no other special requirements for the dependent visa. The dependent visa holder has all the same benefits and requirements as the primary visa holder.

Amelia is here on a dependent visa attached to my professional visa. Since our visas were issued prior to the visa law updates back in February 2021 (not 2022), we are stuck under the old rules. That means as long as we stay married, she can maintain her dependent visa, but if I die or we get divorced, she will need to get her own visa and start the entire process over from the beginning. That’s the major downside to the Dependent Visa in Ecuador prior to February 2021.

However, for visas issued AFTER February 2021, dependent visa holders no longer lose their visa if the primary visa holder dies. If you get divorced, you may or may not lose your visa, depending on the circumstances.

If you leave your spouse, you will likely lose your visa. If your spouse leaves you, he/she must file for divorce in Ecuador and you must contest it. If you sign the divorce agreement, you have voluntarily agreed to the divorce and will lose your visa. If the primary visa holder leaves you for a justifiable and provable reason (e.g. abuse, infidelity, etc.), you may still lose your visa even if you contest the divorce. The laws are complicated so speak to a qualified attorney before signing anything!

Other Temporary Residency Visas

The other types of Ecuador temporary resident visas are the volunteer visa, student visa and industrial investor visa.

These are only temporary visa options and cannot be converted to permanent resident visas at the end of the 2-year term. If your goal is to become a permanent resident of Ecuador, it’s best to get one of the other visa types.

These types of visas aren’t popular with expats because they don’t lead to permanent residency, so we’re not going to cover them in this article.

90-Day Tourist Visa

The 90-day Ecuador tourist visa is easy to get. Just come to Ecuador and it gets issued at passport control. It’s only valid for 3 months, but you can apply for a 3 month extension once every 5 years.

The extension application has a fee that has increased from $100 when we moved here to $133. You’ll need to apply at the end of your 90-day tourist visa.

Ecuador Temporary Resident Visa Process

There are lots of steps involved with getting your Ecuador Temporary Resident Visa, and it usually takes 3 to 6 months.

It can take 2 to 3 months just to get the background checks done in the US, sent for the apostille and mailed to Ecuador for translation and notarization so keep that in mind when you’re planning your travel.

Step 1: Fingerprints

The first step in the process of getting your Ecuador Temporary Resident Visa is getting your fingerprints taken. We had ours taken in Cuenca Ecuador on our exploratory trip in 2017, but you can also have them taken back in the US at a local police station.

Step 2: Background Check

Once we had our fingerprint forms, our visa agent requested the background checks from the FBI Identity History Summary Checks website.

Step 3: Visa Specific Requirements

Professional Visa

You need to request a notarized diploma, transcript and the official university letter stating your documents are real and classes were taken in-person (not online).

Dependent Visa

If you’re applying for a dependent visa, you’ll need to get a certified copy of your marriage license, and birth certificates for your children and other relatives. Again, all these documents must be less than 6 months old to get an apostille so you may need to order new certified copies.

Investor Visa

For the investor visa, you’ll need to invest in a CD at an Ecuadorian COOP for at least 2 years, or purchase property that you intend to keep for the duration of the temporary resident visa. You can wire funds directly to an Ecuadorian bank from a US bank.

You will need to open the CD in a COOP such as JEP because banks like Banco Guayaquil require an Ecuador government ID (cédula) to open an account. You can open an account at a COOP with just your passport and your investor visa application.

Pensioner Visa

You need to request a letter from the SSA stating your monthly income and you’ll need to provide monthly income statements.

Step 4: Request an Appointment with the Ministry

You can go to any of the ministry offices in Ecuador to submit your application, but some have longer waits than others. Your visa agent will know which office is best at the time.

Step 5: Fill Out and Notarize the Visa Application Form

The visa application form is in Spanish and must be filled out in Spanish. Once it’s filled out, you’ll need to go to a notary to have it notarized. You need to sign the application in front of the notary after showing him or her your identification.

 Ecuador Temporary Resident Visas

Step 6: Submit Your Application

Once you have your completed visa application form and all the other required documentation with apostilles as needed, go to the ministry office on the date of your appointment to submit your application. You’ll need your passport as identification.

This process is different if your visa will be issued in your home country. Your visa agent will help with that process.

Step 7: Wait

We submitted my Ecuador temporary resident visa application at the end of October when we first arrived in Ecuador, but didn’t receive it until the end of January. It took 3 months to get approved and printed.

Due to the constantly changing laws and delays when we applied for our temporary resident visas, we were here in Ecuador for several months beyond our 3-month tourist visa without our temporary resident visa. Since the application was in-process, we technically weren’t illegal aliens, but it sure felt like we were! Thankfully we didn’t need to leave the country during that small window or it might have been difficult to get back in.

Step 8: Get Your Visa from the Ministry

Once your visa is approved, the government issues an electronic visa that is digitally attached to your passport number. They no longer attach a physical visa sticker to your passport. Again, if your passport is about to expire, we recommend renewing it first before applying for your Ecuador temporary resident visas.

Step 9: Get a Cédula

After we received our temporary resident visas, we took them to the government office in Cuenca to get our cédula, which is our official government issued identification card. It looks like a driver’s license, only it doesn’t allow us to drive.

It took about an hour to get the cédula and the cost was $5. You are not required to get a cédula; however, your expat life in Ecuador will be much easier and you’ll have more banking options available to you if you have one. You will need a cédula to apply for the public IESS health insurance.

Hopefully, you found this lengthy article about the Ecuador Temporary Resident Visas helpful. If you see others asking about this complex process on social media, please share it with them. And if you spot any inaccuracies or outdated rules, please let us know so we can keep this up-to-date.

HUGE thanks to Maité from Gringo Visas for not only helping us with both our Temporary and Permanent Resident Visas, but for taking the time to answer a bunch of questions for this article about the new visa requirements in Ecuador.


Planning a move to Ecuador?

Our Ecuador Expat Fast Track eCourse will tell you exactly how to do it! Join more than 250 people who have already signed up! See what our students have to say here...

Get Qualified, Trustworthy Recommendations

Need help with your visa, finding a place to live, shipping a container, health insurance, private driver or something else?

We're happy to introduce you to our trusted and qualified relocation experts in Ecuador!

NEWS from ECUADORNews & Current Events from Ecuador

Every Friday, we send an email with current expat-relevant news from Ecuador (in English). It contains the latest information about covid, travel restrictions & guidelines, government actions, volcanoes, flooding, crime, and more. Basically, anything significant from the prior week that affects expats. We don't share this information ANYWHERE ELSE!

In addition, you'll also gain immediate access to our Ecuador Cost of Moving & Living Calculator. And it now contains a Low Budget Cost of Living option.

 

BE Unconventional!

Cuenca Ecuador ExpatsWe've assembled a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and offer encouragement as you embark on your move abroad.

Once you become a member, you'll also gain access to a variety of exclusive benefits that will help you make a smooth transition to Ecuador!

How To Travel to Ecuador from the United States

Ecuador is more comfortable and more affordable than ever, and traveling to Ecuador from the USA is easier than ever. In this article, you’re going to learn about several of the options at your disposal for getting to Ecuador, and how to get around once you’re here.

This is Part 9 in our series about living abroad in Ecuador. If you missed the other articles, you might want to Start Here…

Covid Travel Guidelines (As of March 10, 2022)

On February 9, 2022, the National COE updated the travel guidelines. Foreign travelers are now allowed to enter Ecuador with EITHER a vaccination card completed at least 14 days prior to entry OR a negative PCR test completed within 72 hours of entry.

While the vaccination card is no longer mandated to enter Ecuador, it is still required to enter many public places such as malls, grocery stores, restaurants and public buses. This rule is being enforced more in larger cities, and less in smaller rural areas.

On February 17, 2022, the National COE indicated that masks are still required in both indoor and outdoor public places, including malls, grocery stores, restaurants, sporting facilities, gyms, etc. The mask mandate will be revisited in April 2022.

Booking a Flight to Ecuador

Direct flights from the United States land in the nation’s two international airports: the capital city of Quito and Ecuador’s largest port city of Guayaquil. There are no direct international flights to Cuenca, Loja, Salinas, Manta or any of the other large cities in Ecuador.

Your estimated time in the air depends on your departure city in the United States, and your arrival city in Ecuador. It takes about 4 hours to reach Quito from Miami, and 4.5 hours to reach Guayaquil from Miami.

The price for a trip ranges between $150 to $650 when you book a couple of weeks in advance. Unfortunately, if you need to hop on a flight last minute, it could cost you more than a thousand dollars.

flying to Ecuador

Direct flights to Quito from the United States

In Quito, the new Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) is located outside the city and takes about 30 to 45 minutes to drive to El Centro from the airport. From the Quito airport, you can catch a connecting flight to the smaller domestic airports such as Cuenca, Manta and Loja.

Direct Flights to Guayaquil from the United States

In Guayaquil, the modern José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport (GYE) is located inside the city and only a short cab ride to hotels, malls and tourist attractions. There are no connecting flights to Cuenca or most of the other cities in Ecuador.

  • Miami – American Airlines or LATAM
  • JFK (New York) – JetBlue or Avianca
  • Ft. Lauderdale (Florida) – Spirit or JetBlue

Transportation Options from Quito Ecuador

Most of the international flights land very late at night so we recommend staying overnight in your arrival city so you can enjoy the breathtaking views of Ecuador during the day as you travel to your final destination.

You can rent a lounge chair by the hour in the business center at the airport if you only have a few hours to wait and don’t want to leave the airport. Head outside from the main terminal and cross the arrivals/departures area to reach the business center and food court.

There is also a Wyndham Hotel located at the airport, but you’ll need to take a taxi or the hotel shuttle. It’s not walkable from the terminal. There is also a new Holiday Inn near the airport. It takes about 15 minutes to get there from the airport due to a lack of turn-around spots, but only 5 minutes to get back to the airport. We’ve stayed at both hotels and they’re very nice.

Flying from Quito to Guayaquil, Cuenca, Manta or Loja

The cost of flying from Quito to Guayaquil, Cuenca, Manta or Loja is generally between $45 and $100 depending on factors such as the amount of time in advance that you reserved your seat, the airline, and whether you are buying round trip or one-way tickets.

Flying from Quito to Cuenca, Guayaquil and Manta usually takes about 40 to 50 minutes of flight time.

Flying from Quito to Loja takes about an hour of flight time. However, the Loja (province) airport is located in Catamayo, which is about a 45 minute drive from the city of Loja and about 90 minutes from Vilcabamba.

Ecuador Domestic Regional Airlines from Quito (Direct Flights)

  • LATAM – Guayaquil, Cuenca, Loja, Manta and Coca
  • Avianca – Guayaquil, Cuenca, Manta and Coca
  • Aeroregional – Guayaquil, Loja and Coca

Cuenca Ecuador

Riding the Bus

Transportation by bus from Quito to Guayaquil takes an average of 8 hours, with a cost of around $10 to $15. You can also hire a private driver or taxi with a cost ranging from $200 to $400.

Traveling from Quito to Vilcabamba

From Quito, you can fly to the Loja province airport in Catamayo (about 1 hour for around $50 to $90). It takes about 90 minutes by taxi or bus from Catamayo to Vilcabamba. A drive from Quito to Vilcabamba is long but beautiful, taking about 14 hours and costing more than $200 for a private driver.

Traveling from Quito to Salinas

To get to Salinas from Quito, you’ll need to take a 45 minute flight to Guayaquil before taking a bus or taxi to Salinas. These flights generally cost between $45 to $95.

Driving from Quito to Salinas will take you about 10 hours via bus, and costs between $15 to $30. In comparison, a taxi can cut that time to 8 hours for $300 and $500.

Traveling from Quito to Manta

From Quito, you can book a flight to Manta, which takes around 1 hour. Prices range from $55 to $200 depending on the airline, trip, and date you book the flight.

Although it is cheaper to travel from Quito to Manta by bus with an average cost of $10 to $30, it is time-consuming as it takes about 10 hours to get there. If you intend to hail a taxi or private driver, it will take 7 to 8 hours with a cost of $150 to $300.

Transportation Options from Guayaquil

Guayaquil Ecuador Airport

There are currently no domestic flights between Guayaquil and Cuenca, Loja, Manta or any of the other small regional mainland airports.

The only domestic flights from Guayaquil go to Quito and Galapagos so if you book a flight from, for example, Miami to Guayaquil to Cuenca, you will be flying back to Quito before continuing on to Cuenca.

Therefore, we recommend flying into Quito if your final flight destination is Cuenca, Loja, Manta or any of the other regional airports.

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Traveling from Guayaquil to Cuenca

There are no flights between Guayaquil and Cuenca, so you’ll need to fly to Cuenca from Quito, or drive to Cuenca from Guayaquil through the incredible scenery of El Cajas National Park.

The drive takes 3 to 4 hours. Under normal circumstances, a private driver will charge roughly $100 to $150. Interprovincial buses and busetas such as Operazuaytur cost $8 to $12 per ticket

Traveling from Guayaquil to Vilcabamba

There are no flights from Guayaquil to Vilcabamba so you’ll need to travel overland. A bus will take you there in about 7 hours for an average cost of $15 to $30. If you take a taxi or private driver, it may take less time than a bus, but it’ll cost $140 to $180.

Traveling from Guayaquil to Salinas

There are no flights between Guayaquil and Salinas. A bus will generally take you to Salinas in less than 3 hours at an average cost of $3 to $10. The express CLP Bus also goes to Salinas.

A taxi or private driver will take less than 2 hours but cost more, usually between $50 to $80.

Traveling from Guayaquil to Olón/Montañita

You can take an interprovincial bus from Terminal Terrestre in Guayaquil to the Olón/Montañita area, but you’ll need to transfer in Santa Elena near La Libertad.

You can also take the CLP Bus from Terminal Terrestre in Guayaquil to both Montañita and Olón. It stops in both towns and ends on the north side of Olón.

A private driver will charge around $100.

Traveling from Guayaquil to Manta

There are no direct flights from Guayaquil to Manta so you will need to travel overland. To take a bus, you will spend an average of $10 to $30 for the 4-hour ride to Manta from Guayaquil. If you prefer a taxi or private driver, it will take you about 2 hours and 45 minutes to get to Manta and cost around $100.

Traveling from Guayaquil to the Galapagos Islands

Currently, the only flights to the Galapagos Islands depart from the Guayaquil Airport. Therefore, if you book a flight from Quito to Galapagos, you will be making a stop in Guayaquil on the way.

What to Do When You Land

You can’t grasp the depth and beauty of Ecuador until you experience it first-hand. Ecuador is a great holiday destination, especially if you live in the Midwest where the winter weather chills you to the bone. The sights, sounds, and smells of paradise hit you wherever you go, providing a fantastic contrast to the cold winters in the United States.

Whether it’s Cuenca, Guayaquil, or the capital city of Quito, you’ll find yourself amazed at the culture expressed in Ecuadorian society. Everything from churches and architecture to the various heritage cities scattered across the county that exude Ecuador’s unique culture.

bridge in Ecuador

On the flip side, nature is always present in its abundant and diverse wildlife. Explore the same Galápagos Islands where Darwin launched his theory of evolution or witness the annual return of humpback whales seeking the warm waters bordering Ecuador’s coast.

Exploring the County & Nature

You’ll find your visit to Ecuador enriched when you explore some of its hidden paradise cities. Taste and feel the liveliness in popular cities with their sights, restaurants, and nightlife. Just on the periphery lingers the richness and serenity of nature that blends perfectly with Ecuador’s thriving culture of hospitality.

Mountain in Ecuador

Planning a Trip is Easier Than Ever

If you’re looking for a fun vacation destination or choosing to relocate to Ecuador, it’s more convenient than ever. You’ll save a lot of money on airfare if you book your flight several weeks or months in advance.

November to January is the highest season in terms of air traffic, meaning you’ll pay for more a flight. The cheapest time to fly, according to Kayak, is October.

However, if your goal is to be in Ecuador during the warmest and sunniest time of year, you’ll want to visit between December and May. It’s very cloudy and much cooler from June through November.

Check out our detailed article Weather In Ecuador & Best Time to Visit Ecuador for more information.

When you’re booking your flight to Ecuador, keep in mind that the two international airports are in Guayaquil and Quito. Your trip will have to touch down at one of those two airports, after which you can catch a connecting flight to a domestic airport or drive to another city.

There are far too many wonderful places to visit in Ecuador with far too many transportation options to cover them all here. Ecuador has a vast, affordable and easy to navigate public transportation system so you won’t have much difficulty getting around. If you stay overnight in your arrival city, your hotel will be able to help you find land transportation to your final destination.

Wherever you end up, you’ll quickly be immersed in Ecuador’s natural beauty, and you’ll feel welcomed by Ecuador’s warm and inviting people.


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Cost of Living in Ecuador: A Guide for Expat Budgeting (Updated for 2021)

One of the main reasons expats leave home is to save money while also being able to afford a higher quality of life. The low cost of living in Ecuador and other popular expat destinations makes that possible. Back in the roaring twenties, American expats migrated to Paris and other parts of Europe for the same reason. In this article, we’ll let you know how much you can expect to pay for necessities in Ecuador, like rent, utilities, healthcare, transportation, food, appliances, and more.

Download our updated Ecuador Cost of Moving and Living Calculator here so you can plan for yourself based on our expenses.

This is Part 6 in our series about living abroad in Ecuador. If you missed the other articles, you might want to Start Here…

Cost of Housing in Ecuador

If you’re moving from the United States, Canada, or Europe–the cost of living in Ecuador for housing may prove to be your most significant savings. Short-term lodging, long-term rentals, and purchase prices are all much lower in Ecuador, even for premium locations like beachfront property and panoramic mountain views.

Short Term Cost of Living in Ecuador

When expats first move to Ecuador, some prefer to find somewhere to stay for only a few weeks or months while they find the best neighborhood and location for their long term investment.

When you arrive, you might find you’d like to stay in a larger city while finalizing your temporary resident visa process before moving outward to a smaller town or rural area. Whatever your circumstances, Ecuador has countless short-term lodging options for you.

AirBnB.com Ecuador Stays

Cost of living in Ecuador, AirBnB Ecuador Stays

You have a variety of options for short term lodging and rentals throughout Ecuador, and the best place to start is AirBnB.com. Less than ten years ago, booking a place to stay in another country was a hassle. But with Airbnb, whether you want a high rise condo in the city center, beachfront property with ocean views, or a remote mountain villa or cabin, you’ll find plenty of options to suit your needs.

The key to saving the most money on Airbnb is booking longer-term stays with a minimum of 7 nights, but ideally a month or more. Monthly rates for AirBnB offer steep discounts, sometimes as much as 40%!

You can also contact the host before booking to negotiate an even lower rate (politely, of course). If the booking is more than a month out and not during a busy travel season for the area, you can ask for an additional discount after establishing some rapport with the host.

Prices vary from $300 to $1,200/month depending on the city, the neighborhood, the location, the size of the property, and additional amenities. Some luxury beachfront condos in Salinas can be $2,500/month or more!

In general, real estate or rental agents won’t help you find short-term rentals for anything less than 6 months unless you’re looking at one of the high end luxury rentals.

This is because the rental agent’s fee is based on the lease amount and duration. For 6 month leases, they get 1/2 the first month’s rent as their finder’s fee. For 12 month leases, they get the first month’s rent. But for anything less than 6 months, they only get 10% of the rental amount so if you’re looking for a 1 month stay at a $500/month condo, their fee will only be $50 so it’s just not worth their time.

Apartment Hotels in Ecuador (aka Short Term Stay Residences)

You may be familiar with short-term stay hotels such as Residence Inn or TownePlace Suites, but the price for a month or more in the United States or Europe is very expensive. They’re geared more to business travelers with corporate credit cards than tourists on a budget.

However, you’ll find very affordable Apartment Hotels or ApartSuites in Ecuador with nicely equipped kitchenettes, comfortable beds, and security guards/concierges who can help you learn your way around town.

The cost of living in Cuenca

For example, Gran Colombia Suites (pictured above) and Apartamentos Otorongo in Cuenca are two examples of short-term stay hotels that range in price from $700 to $1,200 for monthly rates depending on the room size and location. (If you book through them directly, tell them Amelia And JP sent you and you’ll receive an additional discount.)

Most short-term hotel stays in Ecuador are listed on AirBnB.com, Expedia.com, and other online booking websites, but you’ll get the best deal by booking directly through their website. You’ll lose the travel protection offered by the big travel websites, but the cost savings may be worth it to you. And we’ve vetted our recommendations so you’re less likely to experience problems.

These types of short-term stay hotels focus on tourists from the US, Canada, and Europe. And they’re great places to meet other current and future Ecuador expats.

Long-Term Rental Costs in Ecuador

If you’re planning to stay in Ecuador for more than a year, a long-term rental lease will be your most cost-effective option. Depending on your desires and budget, you can rent anything from a single bedroom in someone’s house to a luxury hacienda in the country.

Types of Housing Rentals in Ecuador

There are three types of rental options that affect the price and availability of long-term rentals: fully furnished, semi-furnished, and unfurnished.

A fully furnished home includes all furniture, such as beds, dressers, tables, chairs, kitchen appliances, dishes, basic linens, etc. Most will even offer bedding and pillows, but some may not.

A semi-furnished home includes furniture such as tables, chairs and beds, but won’t include any kitchen appliances. There will be no stove, oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, washer or dryer.

An unfurnished home does not include any furniture or appliances. Most will not include window coverings, and some may not include light fixtures or ceiling fans. You will need to supply everything yourselves, which is ideal if you’re shipping a container with your household items because these are the most affordable rental options.

Best Way to Find a Long Term Rental in Ecuador

For low budget rooms or apartments, your best option is to check websites such as GringoPost.com for locals or expats who are advertising a room or apartment with very few or no amenities.

If your budget is over $500/month, GringoPost.com is still a good option. Nevertheless, you may find additional and better options on websites such as EcuadorProperties.com or Ecuador-Realty.com, and Facebook groups such as Real Estate and Rentals in Ecuador or House Hunting in Ecuador.

If you have a higher budget, you may want to work with a real estate agent who can help you find properties as well as negotiate the lease terms. Most leases in Ecuador are very basic, but they are in Spanish, so if you’re not fluent you may want to have someone there to represent your interests and act as a translator.

Low Budget Rental Options and Costs in Ecuador

The lowest budget long-term rental option is to rent a room in an Ecuadorian home. You can often find places in the $100 to $200/month range, but they may not have a private bathroom, and you’ll need to share the kitchen and refrigerator. If your goal is to learn Spanish quickly, full immersion in a Spanish speaking household is a great way to do it!

House and Condo Rentals in Ecuador

Cost of Living in Ecuador, Cuenca Ecuador House

Condo and house rental costs vary widely based on the size, location, amenities, and age of the building. At the low end, you’ll find an older studio or 1-bedroom/1-bathroom condo with minimal facilities in the $250 to $500 per month range.

For $500 to $1,500 per month, you’ll find better condos, townhomes, and free-standing houses with 2 to 4 bedrooms and bathrooms like the one pictured above. This 1,800 square foot fully furnished rental home in a popular Cuenca neighborhood was $800/month for 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms as of January 2020.

We now live in a condo about 3 blocks from the beautiful and popular beach in Olón Ecuador. It’s a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom ground floor condo with a nice covered patio and backyard for $700/month including Internet and tap water. We pay for electricity and bottled water. Since the tap water isn’t chlorinated, it’s not safe to drink. You can watch our condo tour in this video:

Depending on the location, some rental houses and condos may even have fantastic views of the city, ocean, or mountains.

Luxury Rentals in Ecuador

Bahia Chipipe Beach Salinas Ecuador

If your budget is over $1,500 per month, you’ll be able to live in a luxury home that would easily cost 3 or 4 times more in the United States or Europe. Condos will have all the bells and whistles, amazing views, and 24/7 security guards. Houses will be vast and luxurious. Comparable beachfront property that may have been a pipe dream in Miami or San Diego is affordable in Ecuador.

Buying a House or Condo in Ecuador

As it is with rentals, purchase prices for houses and condos are much lower in Ecuador. You can expect to pay one third or less for a comparable property compared to the United States, depending on the location.

For example, this newly built, modern condo in the heart of Cuenca’s El Centro district lists for $105,000.

Cuenca Ecuador Condo

While this 2,153 square feet beachfront house in Olón Ecuador with three bedrooms and three bathrooms recently sold for $425,000.

Olon Ecuador Beach House

There is also a lot of land for sale in Ecuador, so if your dream is to own a farm or part of the Amazon jungle, that’s a real option here. You can buy pristine land in many areas with lakes, rivers, and waterfalls for less than $1,000 per acre.

However, as with many developing nations, purchasing a property in Ecuador can be risky due to their lack of clear title rules and regulations. Some people have lost their property due to outstanding liens or fraudulent titles. When it comes to land purchases, you may find that the government has issued mining rights to major international corporations who have the option to set up shop on your property whenever they choose.

It’s less risky to buy a condo or house in a gated community, especially if you are working directly with the developer. And you will minimize your risk by working with a real estate agent and a lawyer to help you navigate the nuances of buying a property in a foreign country.

Whatever your housing requirements are, you’re sure to find something you like in Ecuador.

Cost of Food in Ecuador

Overall, the cost of living in Ecuador with respect to food is much lower than the US, Canada, and Europe, especially for fruits and vegetables. However, some specialty foods, such as non-dairy milk and gluten-free products, as well as meat and dairy are the same price or even more expensive.

Your cost of food will vary depending on the diet you choose to eat and whether you choose to buy most of it at the traditional Ecuadorian mercados, or in modern grocery stores such as Supermaxi, Mi Comisariato or Tía. Mercados tend to be much less expensive than grocery stores.

Farming isn’t heavily subsidized in Ecuador like it is in the US and Europe so the cost of food is more inline with the cost of producing it. That means food like meat and dairy that are expensive to produce are more costly in Ecuador because tax dollars aren’t used to artificially deflate the market price.

Since most plant foods are grown by local farmers inside Ecuador, and since GMO (technically, Genetically Engineered) crops are banned by the Ecuadorian constitution, things like beans, lentils, rice, grains, fruits and vegetables are very fresh and affordable.

Because most plant foods are grown in Ecuador, they don’t need to be treated with chemicals or specially packaged for expensive long distance transportation. Farmers are also allowed to save their own seeds for next year’s crops so they aren’t forced to buy expensive seeds every year from GMO monopolies. Additionally, the cost of farm labor is far less in Ecuador compared to the US and Europe. All of these factors mean the cost of plant-based foods are far cheaper in Ecuador.

Ecuador Mercado Itemized Food Cost

The cost of fruits and vegetables in Ecuador varies by location and season. Most of the products you’ll find in mercados are grown in Ecuador and much of it comes from local farms.

However, if you live in the mountains, you’ll pay more for tropical fruits grown at lower altitudes and shipped into the mountain cities. Conversely, many of the root vegetables like potatoes and beets, are grown at high elevations, so you may pay more for those if you live on the coast. Because of the pandemic, this is slowly changing and more things are being grown locally when possible.

Regardless of where you live, you’ll find the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables to be far less than you’re probably used to paying, and the quality is much higher.

In September 2020, we spent $41 at mercados, which is where we buy the majority of our produce and enough to feed two people for the entire month.

Here is an itemized list from a Mercado in Cuenca, Ecuador as of June 2019. Prices have not changed substantially since then.

Cost of living in Ecuador, groceries, Cuenca Ecuador

Item Oz  Cost
Choclo 16  $         1.00
Peas 48  $         3.00
Beans 16  $         1.00
Blueberries 4  $         2.50
Strawberries 16  $         1.50
Apples 40  $         2.00
Peaches 12  $         1.00
Dragon Fruit 32  $         3.00
Chirimoya 16  $         2.00
Limes 16  $         1.00
Bananas 64  $         1.00
Papayas 32  $         1.00
Tomatoes 32  $         1.00
Mellocos 16  $         0.50
Carrots 48  $         1.00
Sweet Potatoes 64  $         2.00
Yellow Potatoes 32  $         1.00
Beets 24  $         1.00
Broccoli 24  $         0.50
Cauliflower 32  $         0.50
Total 584  $       27.50
Pounds 36.5  $         0.75/lb

Ecuador Grocery Store Cost

The mercados have some packaged items, but they mostly carry fresh, unpackaged foods. Most expats choose to purchase packaged or specialty items at one of Ecuador’s major grocery stores, such as Supermaxi, Tía, Akí, Mi Comisariato, Coral, etc.

We spent $254 in September 2020 at grocery stores on things like cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, chocolate, almond milk, oats, mushrooms, popcorn, raisins and condiments. We also went to Mi Comisariato in Ballenita and El Pueblo in Montañita and bought some specialty items like whole grain pasta, flax seeds, tofu and bulk spices so September was a bit more expensive than normal.

Here is an itemized list from Supermaxi El Vergel in Cuenca, Ecuador (June 2019):

Cuenca Ecuador Cost of Living Supermaxi

Item Qty  Cost 
Rolls of Toilet Paper 12 rolls  $         2.06
Almond Milk 946 ml  $         3.13
Oats 850 g  $         3.14
Raisins 400 g  $         1.93
Organic Chocolate 3 bars @ 50 g  $         5.81
Brown Rice 2 kg  $         5.40
Lentils 2 kg  $         3.61
Pasta Sauce 2 jars @ 500 g  $         5.04
Garlic Salt 140 g  $         1.65
Garlic Powder 100 g  $         2.63
Mustard Powder 28 g  $         1.40
Vanilla Extract 120 ml  $         0.96
Ketchup 1200 g  $         2.85
All-Purpose Cleaner 900 ml  $         1.60
Dish Soap 1 L  $         2.41
Organic Spinach 250 g  $         1.23
Organic Chard 450 g  $         1.16
Asparagus 250 g  $         1.31
Total  $       47.32

Total: $47.32 + $4.25 Tax = $51.57 – $2.06 Loyalty Discount = $49.51

The prices in Cuenca are nearly identical to the prices in the Salinas Supermaxi and the Guayaquil Megamaxi, so you can expect the costs to be similar throughout Ecuador.

Ecuador Restaurant Costs

Dining at restaurants in Ecuador is so affordable that many expats choose to eat out more than cooking at home. In major cities like Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca, you’ll have a variety of international cuisines to choose from in addition to more traditional Ecuadorian fare.

Breakfast Restaurants in Ecuador

If you’re moving from the United States, you may be surprised to learn that breakfast isn’t a popular meal in Ecuador. Most Ecuadorians eat a VERY late dinner, typically after 8 PM. That may explain the low importance they put on breakfast, which is often a fresh piece of bread or fruit that they eat on their way to work or school.

Most Ecuadorian restaurants are not open for breakfast. Still, you’ll find some restaurants open for breakfast in areas that are more popular with expats such as Sunrise Café in Cuenca. You can expect to pay between $5 and $10 per person for a typical American-style breakfast at these types of restaurants.

El Almuerzo in Ecuador

Most restaurants in Ecuador have a traditional lunch special that ranges from $1.50 to $3.50. It’s called El Almuerzo (the lunch) and usually comes with 3 to 5 courses. The amount of food at El Almuerzo is smaller than a typical dinner, but it’s still very filling, especially for the price.

Dinner Restaurants in Ecuador

Dinner is the biggest meal of the day for Ecuadorians, so that’s when most of the restaurants are open. There are lots of Ecuadorian restaurants in every neighborhood. In the larger cities, you’ll also find a variety of international cuisines, such as American, Indian, Thai, Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc.

You can expect to pay around $10 per person for dinner without alcoholic drinks at expat-oriented restaurants. A glass of wine costs around $5 with a bottle running $20. A bottle of domestic beer such as Club or Pilsener costs around $3 while craft or imported beers cost around $5.

Pizza is also trendy in Ecuador. In addition to the American pizza places like Pizza Hut and Dominoes, you’ll also find a large variety of smaller mom-and-pop pizza restaurants. You can expect to pay around $15 for a large pizza at places like Fabiano’s in Cuenca.

Restaurants in Olón Ecuador

Here in Olón, we have several delicious restaurants to choose from, such as South Indian Restaurant, MOMO Restaurant & Deli, Nettuno Pizza, and many more. Dinner at South Indian typically costs $19, including a $2 tip, for rice, two entrees and 2 pieces of naan bread. A bottle of wine costs $15 and a glass costs $5.

MOMO is the most expensive place in Olón, but it’s also the most gourmet restaurant with food that would have people lined up around the corner in an major US city. We typically spend about $50 for dinner there which includes an appetizer, two entrees, dessert and a $5 tip.

A large square thin-crust pizza at Nettuno runs $12 and is one of the best pizzas we’ve had. The owners have family connections in Italy so it’s very authentic Italian pizza.

In September 2020, we spent $193 at restaurants and ate out 9 times for dinner. That’s an average of $21 per visit for 2 people.

Restaurants in Manta Ecuador

In addition to the malecón and other traditional Ecuadorian restaurants found throughout Manta, you’ll also find a variety of international cuisines along restaurant row on the western side of town near the beachfront condo buildings.

Our favorite restaurants are South India Restaurant, which is owned by our friend Ravi from Tamil Nadu in Southern India. He also owns the original restaurant in Olón that we’ve featured in our videos. You can expect to pay roughly $20 for dinner for two.

Martinica is a delicious Italian restaurant and arguably Manta’s best (non-Indian) restaurant. We also enjoy Mamma Rosa, which has great pizza and other Italian dishes.

Mall del Pacifíco has a food court with a Kobe Sushi, the express version of Noe, and several other restaurants. And Hotel Oro Verde has a really nice restaurant with outdoor seating and views of Playa Murciélago.

You can expect to pay $5 to $10 per person for lunch, and $10 to $15 per person for dinner at most places in Manta.

Health Insurance Costs in Ecuador

You’ll need private health insurance before you apply for your Temporary Residency Visa. Once you have your visa and cedula (government-issued ID card), you can get the cheaper IESS public health insurance.

Private Health Insurance in Ecuador

Just like in the United States, there are several different health insurance companies. You may want to use a health insurance broker to help you pick the best plan for your circumstances. A private health insurance plan allows you to go to the doctors and hospitals that you choose.

Depending on your age and smoking habits, you can expect to pay $50 to $150/month per person with a private health insurance company such as Confiamed.

Private insurance companies are required to cover pre-existing conditions after two years of paying into the plan. However, the maximum coverage is typically meager, so if you have an expensive pre-existing condition that requires medication or frequent trips to the doctor, you may prefer Ecuador’s public (universal) healthcare option.

If you would like us to connect you with our insurance agent, we can send an email introduction…

Ecuador IESS Public Health Insurance

IESS is Ecuador’s single-payer social security and (universal) healthcare system. Once you have your temporary or permanent residency visa and your cedula, you can sign up for this health insurance.

IESS health insurance is cheaper than private insurance, but you have to go to the IESS hospital and doctors. Since it’s their version of social security, it also means you’ll get some of it back when you retire if you’re still living in Ecuador. The IESS plan is around $70 to $80 per month per person and covers pre-existing conditions after a three month waiting period.

Other Common Costs of Living in Ecuador

Startup Costs Following Your Move to Ecuador

After we moved into our rental house, we spent about $700 on startup costs. Even though it came fully furnished, it lacked a few essential things such as sheets, blankets, a quality set of pots & pans, a pressure cooker, coat rack, knives, heaters, etc.

We bought most of these items at Coral and Sukasa. Coral is like a Super Walmart and Home Depot combined while Sukasa is like a Crate & Barrel or Bed Bath & Beyond.

For all the costs associated with moving to Ecuador, check out our article covering the Real Costs of Moving to Ecuador from the United States.

Prescription Costs

Most prescription and OTC drugs are available in Ecuador, but they may be sold under different brand names than back home. The prices may also be different (usually much lower than the US).

If you would like help researching the cost and availability of your medications in Ecuador, we know someone who can help…

Transportation Costs

In Cuenca Ecuador

In Cuenca, a bus ride costs 31 cents and the Tranvia costs 35 cents per trip.

Taxies have a minimum fare of $1.50. It usually costs $2 to $3 to go most places in Cuenca.

You can also book private drivers with nicer cars or trucks that can help you move things for $10 per trip.

In Olón Ecuador

You can catch a bus every few minutes on the main highway, la Ruta del Sol, for 50 cents. If you’re going a longer distance to La Libertad or to Puerto Lopez, expect to pay $1.50.

Most taxies are based in Montañita, Olón or Manglaralto. Fares between these towns cost $1.50, but if you live further away from these towns, you can expect to pay $5 and you’ll need to call one to come get you.

In Manta Ecuador

We haven’t taken a bus in Manta due to the pandemic so we can’t speak to that. The minimum cab fare is $2.00, which covers most 10 minute cab rides in Manta.

Clothing and Shoes

These new boots made with synthetic materials at Emily Shoes in El Centro cost $29.

Cuenca Ecuador Emily Shoes Cost

The price of clothes in stores is about the same as the US. However, you can have clothes made for you by local tailors for about 1/3 the cost of off-the-rack clothing.

Fitness Costs in Ecuador

It seems like there’s a gym on every corner in Ecuador. They’re very popular with Ecuadorians, who seem to be very active. We’ve seen both traditional indoor, as well as outdoor Crossfit-type gyms. You can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $40/month for memberships without long-term commitments.

Yoga at RumiSol in Cuenca Ecuador

You can find yoga classes on a variety of different websites, like Gaia.com if you prefer to do your yoga at home, but you can also go to yoga studios like RumiSol Yoga. The monthly rates range from $30 to $50, and a drop-in class is $5.

Appliances and Electronics

You can find most appliances in Ecuador, even 4K TV’s, but you’ll likely spend more on them here. The cost of living is tremendously affordable in Ecuador, but the price of “things” is very high. Anything with a plug will cost more than it would in the United States, sometimes double.

TV Cost in Cuenca Ecuador

This 65″ 4K LG costs $1,200 when you pay with cash. Similar TV’s are available on Amazon for $800, so this one is about 50% more here.

Cuenca Ecuador 65 Inch 4K LG TV Cost

This 75″ 4K LG TV costs $1,900 when you pay with cash. A similar TV on Amazon was listed for $1,300, so again, it’s about 50% more in Ecuador.

Cuenca Ecuador 75 Inch 4K LG TV Cost

Cost of a Dishwasher in Cuenca, Ecuador

This portable stainless-insert dishwasher costs $590 if you pay in cash. You can also use it as a built-in dishwasher. The main difference between an integrated dishwasher, and this one is that an integrated unit is fully encased in the home’s interior design.

Cuenca Ecuador Dishwasher Cost

Refrigerator at Marc’s Consignments

This small used refrigerator was listed for $680 at Marc’s Consignments in San Sebas.

Cuenca Ecuador Refrigerator Cost

Monthly Cost of Living Comparison: Cuenca June 2019 vs. Olón Sept 2020

Here is our June 2019 cost of living in Cuenca Ecuador. This list does not include medical fees or travel costs. These fees can vary a lot, so we opted to leave them out.

Itemized Expenses

Non-Discretionary  Cuenca Jun 2019  Olón Sep 2020  Manta Jun 2021
Water Jugs  $                        –  $                   14  $                       –
Propane  $                       10  $                     2  $                       –
Transportation  $                       20  $                   71  $                      10
Claro  $                       17  $                   21  $                      20
Mercado  $                     120  $                   41  $                      32
Internet  $                       56  $                   45  $                      45
Utilities  $                       80  $                   64  $                      84
Health Insurance  $                     158  $                 158  $                    174
Grocery Stores  $                     200  $                 254  $                    543
Rent  $                     800  $                 655  $                 1,300
Total  $                  1,461  $              1,325  $                 2,208
Discretionary  Cuenca Jun 2019  Olón Sep 2020  Manta Jun 2021
Wine/Drinks  $                        –  $                   85  $                       –
Entertainment  $                        –  $                   18  $                       –
Translations  $                        –  $                   20  $                       –
Massage  $                     150  $                    –  $                       –
Amelia’s Hair  $                       10  $                    –  $                       –
Yoga  $                       40  $                   80  $                       –
Belly Dancing  $                       40  $                    –  $                       –
Housekeeper  $                       40  $                   90  $                       –
Traveling Mailbox  $                       20  $                   20  $                      20
Spanish Lessons  $                        –  $                   50  $                      50
Restaurants  $                     150  $                 193  $                      85
Total  $                     450  $                 556  $                    155
Grand Total  $                  1,911  $              1,881  $                 2,363

Ecuador Inflation: What it Means for the Cost of Living in Ecuador

Often, people ask if we’ve noticed a price increase since we moved here over 3 years ago. Several other bloggers and YouTubers complain about how the cost of things has gone up in recent years, but we haven’t noticed much of a change. Most necessities have stayed at the same price, but some things are more expensive, and some are less expensive.

Unchanged prices

The previous renters of our house in Cuenca lived there almost a year and a half, and we lived there over 2 years. Combined, we lived in that house for over three years, and the rent didn’t change.

Our Mercado and Supermaxi food costs didn’t change while we lived in Cuenca. We consistently spent $30/week at the Mercado on produce, coffee, nuts, and seeds. That’s when we didn’t buy specialty or out-of-season items like cherimoyas or pitahayas. And we consistently spent $50/week at Supermaxi.

We spend much less at the mercados in Olón than we did in Cuenca mainly because we buy coffee, nuts, seeds and beans at the grocery story rather than the mercado. We consistently spend about $10/week in Olón for our fresh fruits and vegetables, and about $60/week at the Tía or El Pueblo in Montañita for packaged items.

The cost of water and electricity in Cuenca decreased while we lived there. Our utilities averaged $80/month for the first year in Cuenca, but dropped to $60/month for the year before we left. We still aren’t sure why they decreased.

Taxi rates and doctors visits have also remained unchanged.

Price Decreases

In 2018, Ecuador started rolling back its massive import tariff of 100% that applied to cars and electronics. Subsequently, the price of those items fell dramatically.

Ecuador also repealed the “goodwill law” that taxed real estate development almost out of existence. That meant developers weren’t building things because they couldn’t sell them for enough to cover the cost of the taxes. The lack of supply drove up the value of existing properties as the demand grew from both gringos and more affluent Ecuadorians.

Since then, lawmakers repealed the statute and as a result, developers were once again building at a faster rate (pre-pandemic), which has increased the housing supply. In the coming years, we expect this will drive down the overall cost of housing.

The cost of internet access is lower on the coast with Netlife than it was in Cuenca with Puntonet. This doesn’t have anything to do with the economy; it’s just a different service provider charging different rates.

Amelia is letting her hair grow out and she’s not coloring it anymore so we no longer have hair expenses.

Price Increases

Our private health insurance increased from $117/month when we arrived in Cuenca to $174/month now. The original company that provided our insurance went out of business (without notifying us). Our new plan is through a more reputable insurance company and offers better coverage.

A propane tank increased from $2.50 to $3.00. In Cuenca, we had to replace the tank attached to our hot water heater about once every two weeks. The tank connected to our stove/oven lasted about six months.

In Olón, we had a tank connected to our gas stove that we replaced twice in 15 months. We replaced the tank connected to the hot water heater about every 2 months. We’re not sure why a tank lasts so much longer in Olón, except that water boils at a lower temperature due to being at sea level, and the outside air is warmer so the pipes aren’t as cold for the hot water transit.

In Cuenca, the cost of a bus ride increased from 25 cents to 31 cents in 2018 to cover the cost of replacing the blue puffer buses with low-emission diesel buses.

Our mobile phone plan with Claro has increased from $17/month when we signed up in October 2017 to $20/month in September 2020.

Amelia’s yoga was more expensive in Olón because she took private lessons on the beach twice per week rather than the group classes she took in Cuenca.

Our housekeeper in Cuenca came once every 2 weeks for 4 hours and we paid her $5/hour. In Olón, we had a housekeeper come 3 days per week for a total of 5 hours per week. She came on Monday and Wednesday for an hour to clean the kitchen, and on Friday’s for 3 hours to clean the whole condo. We paid her $5/hour or $25/week.

Cost of Living in Ecuador: A Comfortable Life for MUCH Less

We live a very comfortable middle class life here in Ecuador. As you can see, it’s easy for a couple to live on less than $2,000 per month. For a single person, the cost of living in Ecuador is often $1,200 per month or less.

The major deciding factor is how much you want to pay for rent. You can rent rooms for less than $200/month, smaller condos for less than $400/month, nice condos and houses off the beach for less than $800/month, and true luxury resort-style condos and homes for less than $1,500/month.

This is a great place expats given the affordable cost of living in Ecuador. Visiting the city sights in Cuenca and Quito gives a unique perspective on this rich culture, while the diverse wildlife makes long hikes a great way to enjoy the beauty of Ecuador.

For more information about what it’s really like to be an expat in Ecuador, check out our YouTube channel here. Beyond just the cost of living in Ecuador, we give a unique glimpse into the amazing life adventure many expats have chosen for themselves.


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Ecuador President Lasso Inauguration Speech (Translated to English)

This is the full text of the speech by Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso translated to English from the inauguration ceremony:

“Today is May 24, 2021. Exactly one year from the bicentennial of the Battle of Pichincha, the last of several deeds that consecrated the independence of our nation, and that began our journey towards our life as a republic.

It is a day of remembrance, but above all of, renewal. Because the government that is born today has before it the responsibility of leading us towards a new century of the Ecuadorian republic.

Today we must examine whether throughout these 200 years we have lived up to those republican ideals that saw us born. If we have done honor to those patriots who, by dying on the slopes of Pichincha, gave life to this country.

Heroes who fought for enlightened ideas such as the rule of law, individual freedom, and brotherhood among human beings.

I ask: does the country we receive today respond to the greatness of that sacrifice?

Especially in recent years, have you enjoyed freedom in Ecuador? Have the law and the independence of powers prevailed? Has equal opportunity reigned?

Ecuadorians know me as a man of action. They know that I measure everything based on the results that reality shows. Because only this reveals whether we have had the courage to put into practice that task entrusted to us by the founders of our State.

And reality clearly says no. We have not been up to the task.

Today we receive a country with historical levels of unemployment. A country that has been dazzled by its inability to face a brutal pandemic, but which countries in similar conditions faced in a more orderly, efficient, and corruption-free manner.

A country where the culprits fatten their pockets while the most innocent – newborn Ecuadorians – cannot even fill their stomachs. Where the indicators of chronic child malnutrition are among the highest in the region.

A country with lacerating inequalities between the rural and urban world. A country that has failed its youth in education and creating opportunities. That keeps its retirees in the most humiliating oblivion. Where being a woman is not only a factor of disadvantage, but of existential danger.

Today that we are at the gates of a new centennial of republican life, I invite you to ask yourself: why?

Why do we have such a rich land, but such poor citizens?

Why do we have such abundant natural resources, but live in the midst of scarcity?

Why, having such fertile soil, does our economy not produce well-being for those who need it most?

The questions can be thousands. But the answer is only one. It is always the same.

And it is that our rulers have failed us.

They have not been able to live up to the sacrifice of our people, a true example of work. Nor have they known how to take advantage of the vast resources that nature has given us.

They have failed us for the simple reason that they betrayed our founding principles. In the midst of so much quarrel and internal struggle, they yielded to the worst of political weaknesses: the authoritarian temptation.

They dedicated themselves to the obscene cult of the caudillo [leader], that “messiah” who supposedly knows everything: what is right and what is wrong, what is good for us and what hurts us. An enlightened person who acts and thinks for everyone, who has all the questions and all the answers.

They have never been able to accept that this country was born as a democratic republic, and that its destiny is to live forever as a democratic republic.

But all that changes this May 24. In this government that is being born today, in this new century of republicanism that we are about to start, the era of the caudillos ends. Today we claim this glorious day and begin the fight to recover the democratic soul of our country.

And that starts with the most basic and even obvious things, but what we are obliged to say. It begins by not accumulating more power in the figure of the president. Because experience tells us that those who seek all power later end up seeking mercy for the crimes that occur when that power gets out of hand.

We will remain faithful to the strict margins dictated by law. We will have the humility, but above all the strength to say: I will be president. And only president.

We will not chase anyone. We will not silence anyone. We will rule for all. This means not governing in favor of a privileged sector, but also not against anyone. Whatever opinion you have, whatever criticism you make.

Someone must say “this ends here.” Even knowing the political dangers that it entails; even knowing that others would already be exhibiting here, on this stage, a macabre list of enemies and persecuted.

Someone must have the courage to take the risk and break the vicious cycle. And at this point in history that can only be done by this new government.

Therefore, so be it. The political persecution in Ecuador is over. I have not come to satisfy the hatred of a few, but the hunger of many.

I will be the democratic head of a democratic state. My strength will not come from how high I raise my voice to shout, but from how much I will listen to the people before speaking.

Behind the ruins of the caudillo cult, a democracy is beginning to be built that uses the power limited by the laws to make the dreams of its citizens bigger.

A democracy where no one is singled out as a peddler or enemy of the homeland, and whose only enemies are disease, illiteracy, malnutrition, and gender violence. That is the April 11 mandate [April 11th was the date of the runoff election to decide the president of Ecuador].

Many ask me how we managed to bring about that day the great peaceful change that has amazed the continent and the world.

The answer is very simple. What happened was democracy itself. After more than ten years of authoritarianism, aggression, and attempts to establish a perpetual regime, Ecuadorians assimilate the greatest democratic lesson: that there is no democracy without participation.

Today, we citizens want to give. We want to contribute without asking for anything more than the hope of making a better country. We want our vote to mean a more just country with women, a more responsible country with nature, more equitable with those most in need.

That all the politicians of this country get used to the fact that politics is this: a fundamental desire of citizens to contribute to the common good, to the collective good.

May this democracy that we recover today be forever a torrent where people bring together their ideals, each one more admirable and valuable than the other. And that, together, these ideals serve to build a diverse country where we will all have a place.

Thus, more than fourteen years later, and at the gates of a new century of republican life, in Ecuador we learned that there is only one possible response to authoritarianism: democracy, democracy and more democracy. Together we all decided to drown evil in abundance of good.

That is the way, Ecuadorians. The correct road. We know that we are not wrong because developed democracies have not been wrong. Their great advances in economic well-being, in health, in education, show that they have not been wrong. And no matter how great the pressure will be to replace our still weak institutions with the violence of the screams, we will not deviate one millimeter from the path we have set out. We will not give in. Because that would be doing more damage.

That vicious cycle ends today. And today the path to the Ecuador of the encounter begins.

We carry the spirit of the encounter in the name of our country: Ecuador.

We are a land where hemispheres, regions, climates, and cultures come together. We are the heirs of a meeting of civilizations that forever changed the course of humanity. We are depositories of ancestral knowledge of this land, and that in time have merged with the cultures that came from the old world seeking freedom.

But all that history must become a more just future. Ecuador must also mean a promise of balance in common life. Balance between the causes of its people. Balance between economic growth and social justice, two cornerstones that will be the foundations of a more prosperous and equitable country.

A country where all children can cultivate their minds regardless of their conditions of origin. Where young people will have the freedom to reflect and seek the vocation that best develops their spirits, without pressure and without fear of failure. Where material prosperity also means cleaning our air, our forests and seas.

And it is that the encounter is not an abstract concept. It is, above all, the certainty that the causes of this Government will be the causes of the people. That the will of the Government will be the will of the people, moved by the same objectives and the same hopes.

More than a dream, they will be actions directed by an efficient State to eradicate hunger, disease, lack of education, and abandonment. Let there be no doubt: our intention is not to minimize the State, but to maximize its capacity to serve the poorest.

A little over 40 years ago, President Jaime Roldós Aguilera already demanded it of us: “The people want water. The people want water. ” Time has passed, various governments have come and gone, but the problems remain. The first point where we must find ourselves is in our rural areas, where our brothers in the countryside still suffer from a shortage of services such as drinking water and sewerage. Today, as we recall one more year of his premature departure, we make our own the words of President Roldós. We take back his promise: water for the people. And not only water, but also essential infrastructure such as roads, lighting, schools, and hospitals.

Another encounter point is to recognize that the fight for gender equality is not just a women’s problem. It is a national problem. An Ecuadorian problem that must be addressed by the Ecuadorian Government.

When unemployment affects women more than men; When an Ecuadorian woman earns less for the same job, an inequity is produced that tears the social fabric, starting with the families. And when an Ecuadorian woman is attacked, we all suffer the wounds. It makes us a less free, less just and morally tainted country. Women’s rights are human rights. And we will put in place all the necessary policies to guarantee them.

Another encounter point is the eradication of hunger, especially child malnutrition. This is perhaps the worst of the inequalities because its consequences last over time, in the growth problems suffered by thousands of children who currently do not receive adequate food. Today’s unforgivable inaction is costing us tomorrow. But the time has come to act. This country of encounter will protect all its children equally, no matter where they are born.

The encounter is also built with the trust that we are generating in the world. After many years, the planet turns its eyes back to Ecuador. Just when the news of our election was released, the country risk was reduced by more than 500 points. Even before taking office, one of the first tasks of any government was accomplished: creating a positive atmosphere for work and growth.

But that renewed confidence must commit all of us, especially those in Ecuador who have the capacity to undertake and create jobs. From now on we call on you to start the economic reactivation without fear. Here is the expected opportunity. Show that without harassment, without persecution, you are ready to put your resources at the service of the country, and not the country at the service of its resources. Show your national commitment. To paraphrase a few words from President Kennedy: as long as, as a country, we cannot help the poorest, this Government will not be able to help the richest.

There is another meeting point that has been eluded for too long. And it is beyond our borders. The last two decades have been a time of wonderful technological change. We are going through a fascinating era of invention that has rendered many notions of the past obsolete. And while the modern world was getting smaller, advancing in connectivity, in commerce and digital education, in Ecuador they told us that we should lock ourselves in, that we should make it more difficult for our talent to go out and compete in the world.

But the reality is that no country can live in isolation. We are all connected. In the same way that no human being can live without being part of a family and a society, likewise a country cannot turn its back on the family of nations that make up the world. Isolation, confinement, only leads to decadence.

As a country, we cover a relatively small territory. But the talent of our people is infinite. It is time for a leadership with a big vision as the capabilities of its citizens. Today Ecuador declares that it opens its doors to world trade. To the Pacific Alliance. To free trade agreements with our greatest allies. We will fully insert ourselves in the world to seek free and fair trade.

Let the world also know that we are committed to the main international consensus to achieve sustainable development. In 2015, the Declaration “Transforming our world: Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” was adopted, an agreement that agrees that all people need health, education, housing, employment, energy, equality, peace and healthy ecosystems to live with dignity. The principle is “not leaving anyone behind,” which puts the inclusion of citizens equal to the priority of our work. All are objectives that this Government shares and will actively promote.

Sustainable development starts from the eradication of poverty in all its forms: the fight against inequality, the preservation of the planet, sustained economic growth, and the promotion of social inclusion. We must include the marginalized from progress, the poorest of the poor. For this we need to change the orientation of public policies in order to control climate change, build sustainable cities, change consumption patterns and protect our oceans.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will mean decades of delay in human development. It is urgent to take action to reverse them. The 2030 Agenda is a roadmap that requires the meeting of all humanity.

This brings us perhaps to the most critical point in which we must find ourselves: our health. We have difficult months ahead that will test our national resolve. Today, while we are here at this ceremony, we cannot forget that there are families suffering. Ecuadorians desperate to get a bed in a hospital. Ecuadorians suffering. Ecuadorians dying.

The country has to mobilize. Ministries, public and private hospitals, doctors, nurses, municipalities, parish boards, medical dispensaries, anyone who has the strength and knowledge to give the vaccine, or to help someone else provide it.

The pandemic does not care about our economy. It doesn’t care about our businesses or our jobs. But neither does it care who stops it, be it a pharmacy or a public hospital. That is why we will respond from multiple fronts, joining all our forces to maximize solutions that corner the virus. It will be the largest logistical deployment in our history to fulfill the most sacred duty of a Government: to save the lives of its citizens.

In undertaking this task we need to know that we are not alone. We need the goodwill of the entire international community, regardless of political leanings. We need to buy more vaccines. All that are possible. Health has no ideologies or colors. This global evil needs a global response. The people of Ecuador and its Government will know how to respond with the gratitude that has always characterized us.

As of today, the plan that will aim to vaccinate 9 million people in my first 100 days in office comes into force. The renewed Ministry of Public Health will have the direct support of the Vice President of the Republic and the Vaccination Coordination Unit. We will vaccinate without rest because the virus does not rest. We will do it seven days a week, in each province, in each town and parish and we will also call on the help of the National Electoral Council.

And when those first 100 days have passed, we will continue vaccinating until the task has been fully accomplished. And when the onslaught of the pandemic has subsided, and greater tranquility begins to breathe in our country, then an even greater task will begin. The real challenge. The struggle to lead Ecuador once and for all on the path of prosperity.

This is not a mere list of promises. Ours will not be a government that only promises; it will be a government that also commits us. As Ecuadorians we all share the same destiny. It is everyone’s obligation to take on the challenges that the future imposes on us, enormous challenges that cannot be faced in isolation by either the President of the Republic or this honorable National Assembly.

To realize the dream of a democratic government, of the people and for the people, an unprecedented democratic concurrence is necessary. Regardless of where we occupy, what role we play, let us act with the conviction that we all have a contribution to offer on this irreversible path to full democracy.

We need the best of this Government, of the citizens, and of each democratic party as well, especially those gathered here. Here, before the eyes of our constituents, I make a call for unity that must be addressed civically. Because our loyalty goes beyond a few acronyms, beyond the colors of some parties. Our loyalty is, above all, to the yellow, blue and red of Ecuador [the deeply symbolic colors of the flag].

Obviously, that does not mean that I seek the obsequiousness of recent years. Rather, what I expect from this assembly is passionate but loyal debate; vibrant but constructive, where the search for truth and good for the people always prevails. A debate that restores lost prestige to politics. Democracy is not the absence of differences or even conflicts. Democracy is the search for the peaceful and legal treatment of these differences. This is how the Ecuador of the encounter should be.

Beyond my exercise as president, my desire as a democrat is to witness the parliamentary recovery as the scene of popular sovereignty. The promise of full democracy requires that various State agencies, starting with this Assembly, regain their lost powers. No more concentration of functions in an organism dependent on the will of a person. Never again nationalization of citizen participation. Never again a poor organization in the fight against corruption. However, until the people decide otherwise, I will respect the current institutional framework.

The novelist Jorge Icaza said that in Spanish America there are no interior monologues, but interior dialogues. I said it because our identity is not “complete” yet. And this is because the Ecuadorian identity is born, grows, questions, reflects on itself yesterday, today and until the sun goes out. Because identity is not one. It is plural, it is about dialogues, encounters, disagreements and reunions. It is being in constant learning with the Other. Finding what we love about the other and giving the other what they need. The antagonistic exists and will exist, and our challenge is to find the center to reap a superior alliance. The difference is always enriching. Let’s be different, but let’s stay connected. “They are not clashes, it is complementarity and mutual help. It’s Minga [common term used in Ecuador to mean mobilization or working together to solve a problem or clean up a mess], Madam President of the National Assembly.

These are words that move me to meet my fellow citizens. To summon members of civil society to reactivate. To fill each space, each cause, with the goodness of their actions. In the last 42 years of our democracy, leading roles were granted to the State and the market. However, society has never been located in the center of that triangle, even when it has developed projects of social agreements, the State has given few signs of listening.

My Government will change that story. Today, in this transmission of command, it should not be the President alone who takes up the challenge. We must all be together. May all citizens feel that power returns to its true owners: you. This Government will encourage society in all its manifestations to adopt cooperation initiatives in the development of its State and its economy. That is why I have allowed myself to invite to this ceremony a sample of non-governmental organizations, which are not all that should have been, but they do embody the will of this Government to reactivate these segments of society.

In our country “there are opposite colors that become complementary: there are men and women, the past, present and future. The horizontal and the vertical are interwoven, the heavenly and the earthly, the earth and the air, the water and the fire. A center where we all have our reason for being and no one or nothing surpasses. There is a center in which we find ourselves and that is a seed of democracy. Beyond the photos and colors, the ballot, the ballpoint, the long lines and slips of paper, the ballot box, the percentages and statistics, winners and losers. It is about dialogue on the same level. It is about comprehending and understanding the person across the street. It is building and not imposing. ”

In this sense, I want to confirm once again that I will be the head of a secular state. However, that does not imply a country where our spiritual side is denied. Nor does it prevent us from promoting a great reconciliation between the State and all the religions that coexist in Ecuador. May our beliefs be bridges. May our convictions nurture a deeper and more humane encounter.

Although many young people may not believe it, there was a time when politics had the power to excite, because decency still shone in it. The following words of President Jaime Roldós Aguilera still echo in me. I quote: “National independence and social progress have never been the fruit of the isolated action of any government, but the result of the theoretical firmness, political honesty and the sacrificial perseverance of the entire community. Destiny is not done; it is worked every day, without hatred, without revenge, without renunciations. Together we must work to build a new historical time, where the people not only preserve their inalienable right to self-determination, but also to exercise their leading role in the exercise of an authentic democracy. ”

I have never stopped believing in our power to change destiny. One of my marks from a young age has been my total refusal to let myself be dominated by circumstances, or by what my life was supposed to be. And that same conviction has brought me here because political activity must also be a way of rebelling against fate, especially the one that some dark interests want to impose on us. Let politics be the collective instrument to dominate adversity. That together we change this present to make it the destination that we want, building that new historical time in which the Ecuadorian people will be, finally, the free protagonist of their own history.

That is our challenge. I, as President, can only hope that my actions speak as eloquently as the words of Roldós. May my decisions reflect your thoughts; May my conscience respond to your ideals, and thus awaken in young people the same civic fervor that sprouted in me forty years ago.

Finally, I can’t finish without thanking you. First to God, from whom I ask for the wisdom to guide my country on this path where many before me were lost. May he grant me the prudence to always discern between what is convenient and what is correct, between what is temporary and what is eternal.

To my parents. Whose legacy always reminds me that no matter how far one goes. What counts is never forgetting where you started from.

Thanks to my wife María de Lourdes, the love of my life, the beginning and the end of everything. This journey that we began forty years ago would not have been completed without the love with which you have filled it.

Thanks to my children, because despite their youth, I have learned much more from them than they have learned from me.

First of all, thanks to the Ecuadorian people for trusting me. Wonderful people, working people. The best people a president can aspire to. I am joined by the illusion that since I was a child for this country, for its ability to get up and work.

I know, Ecuadorians, that I was never the most conventional candidate. I am the first to be aware of my every flaw. And likewise I am the first to try to correct them every day.

I also know how unlikely this day seemed to many. That at one point all of this seemed like an impossible battle.

But the truth is that this was due – in part – to the fact that for many years our predecessors took it upon themselves to disfigure our reputation and life history. And they did the same with many of the legislators who are sitting here in this House, today appointed as honorable representatives of our people.

As for example you, Madam President of the Assembly. Who would have thought that, one day, a former banker and an indigenous leader from the Amazon would come to preside – at the same time – these two functions of the state? Who could have said it? Who would have even dared to mention it? Yet here we are both. Ready to serve and, above all, eager to work together for the good of the country.

That is the amazing power that democracy gives to those of us who do believe in it. The power to challenge the very notions of what can be possible. The power not to conform to reality, but to mold it with our will.

It is the power to achieve what until a few weeks ago no one would have dared to imagine.

Well, it’s time to dare. Today is a concrete reality that opens a new world of possibilities and opportunities for our people. Let’s hug them. Let’s take advantage of them. Let’s make this the moment we have all sought, the moment we are not wrong, the moment we truly change.

This is not an error. This is not ungovernability. This is, on the contrary, an invitation to continue discovering ourselves. To continue on a new path, open before us, ready to be explored. A path that others, clinging to fear and division, did not even dare to tread.

This is to conquer new territories of peace, coexistence, and prosperity. It is venturing into a new destination in a new time. It is shaking off the defects of the past, and in doing so, daring to be another country, here and now, from this very moment, from this very instant.

This is achieving the unimaginable. This is making history.

Let’s dare, Ecuadorians, to change.

Finally, invoking once more the words of Roldós, I conclude: My power in the Constitution, and my heart in the Ecuadorian people!

Long live the eternally democratic, eternally republican Ecuador.”

Our Review & How We Think Expats Will Be Affected

Additional Info

You can read the full speech in Spanish on El Comercio…

You can watch the inauguration on El Universo…

Image Attribution: Asamblea Nacional del Ecuador, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


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NEWS from ECUADORNews & Current Events from Ecuador

Every Friday, we send an email with current expat-relevant news from Ecuador (in English). It contains the latest information about covid, travel restrictions & guidelines, government actions, volcanoes, flooding, crime, and more. Basically, anything significant from the prior week that affects expats. We don't share this information ANYWHERE ELSE!

In addition, you'll also gain immediate access to our Ecuador Cost of Moving & Living Calculator. And it now contains a Low Budget Cost of Living option.

 

BE Unconventional!

Cuenca Ecuador ExpatsWe've assembled a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and offer encouragement as you embark on your move abroad.

Once you become a member, you'll also gain access to a variety of exclusive benefits that will help you make a smooth transition to Ecuador!

Bad Things About Living in Ecuador

Ecuador is a beautiful country with amazing people, but like most countries on the planet, there are also some bad things about living in Ecuador. Some of them are to be expected just like in any other country in the world, while others are specific to developing countries.

So, if you’re thinking about visiting or moving to Ecuador, there are several downsides that you need to take into account. From income inequality and pickpocketing to noise and litter, here are some of the main disadvantages of living in Ecuador.

Income Inequality 

Income Inequality 

Income inequality is one of the worst things about Ecuador. The wealth gap is quite significant in Ecuador, with approximately 26% of the population living in poverty. With a minimum wage of $400 per month, a large part of the population struggles to make ends meet.

While the minimum wage could be enough for one person with a minimalist lifestyle, lots of families have to live on the income provided by a sole earner, which translates into poverty for many of them.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, things were looking better for people in Ecuador, with fewer of them living in poverty when compared to the numbers from 10 years ago. Prior to 2020, the middle and upper middle class accounted for about 72% of the population in Ecuador, but there has been a decline in the middle-class as a result of the pandemic.

When it comes to the wealthy, they only account for 1.5% of the population in Ecuador, with the top 10% holding 50% of the country’s wealth. However, to put things into perspective, the top 10% of the United States population holds 68% of the country’s wealth, which translates into a greater wealth gap in the U.S. than in Ecuador.

Pickpocketing & Theft 

Pickpocketing & Theft 

Pickpocketing and theft are a rather common issue in Ecuador. From having your phone stolen to taxi robbery, travelers can encounter several safety concerns in Ecuador.

The good news is that with a little common sense and a few tips, it’s possible to prevent yourself from being a victim of theft.

Try always to pay attention to your surroundings and keep your belongings with you at all times. Keep your bags and pockets zipped at all times. You should also avoid putting your bags in the upper head bins or under the seat when you’re traveling by bus.

Keep your belongings close to you on public transport and never hand them to people who offer to stow them for you for “security.” They may be pretending to work for the bus company, but they’ll take your backpack, and you’ll never see it again. Another method employed by thieves is to slice open a bag placed underneath the seat to take valuables out, so it’s best to try and keep your bag on you at all times and invest in a cut-proof bag.

It’s also important to remember that there may be drug-related violence in some of the neighborhoods in major cities, so it’s always a good idea to know what to expect when you’re traveling to such neighborhoods. If you’re unsure about which neighborhoods are safe and which aren’t, either avoid unfamiliar areas or talk to the locals to find out where it’s safe to visit.

Price Gouging (Getting Gringoed)

Price Gouging (Gringoed)

If you’re wondering what “getting gringoed” means, it’s when you pay more than a local would for the same thing just because you’re an American (or any foreigner, for that matter). This typically happens in Ecuador because Americans are not used to negotiating, so they tend to pay the asking price, which is often higher than it should be.

Americans generally get gringoed in Ecuador in taxis, at the market, or when they hire a contractor to do some work on their home. To avoid it, make sure you ask what the price is upfront and remember that the culture in Ecuador is a negotiating one, so it’s ok to barter before you buy.

It’s NOISY!

Noise

Ecuador can be really noisy at times, which may be something you’re not used to, depending on what country you’re from. There’s music on the beach, people have loud parties, and there are lots of fireworks to deal with.

But it’s not just Ecuadorians having fun that causes the noise — there’s also construction, honking horns, and even roosters. You may also expect announcements over the loudspeakers, church bells, car alarms — you name it.

Living in Ecuador typically means that you have to learn how to live with a lot of noise. It’s just a fact of life, so if you don’t think you’ll be able to cope with it, Ecuador, or Latin America in general, might not be the right place for you.

Street Dogs & Cats

Street Dogs & Cats

Street dogs and cats are another thing that you need to get used to when you live in Ecuador. There are lots of dogs without collars on the streets, and it’s not always possible to tell whether they have a home or not. They’re generally friendly, but you can never tell for sure, so you may want to remain alert, especially if you notice large packs of dogs coming towards you.

Another issue with street cats and dogs in Ecuador is that people can’t always afford to take care of them properly, so many of the animals are underfed or have various health issues. Because people in Ecuador aren’t fans of neutering dogs, they end up with lots of puppies, which later become strays because they’re just too many of them to be kept as pets.

Some of the dogs you see on the streets in Ecuador are not strays and they go home at night. So even though they are in the street, they actually have a home and family somewhere. Most Ecuadorians have dogs for the purpose of property protection, so the relationship between dogs and humans is a bit different than what you might be used to.

​Litter

Litter

While litter is not such a big problem in large cities where the public administration has crews that sweep up the trash regularly, that is not the case in smaller rural communities. Expect to encounter lots of litter and trash, especially plastic. There’s also a lot of trash on the side of the road in smaller cities and the surrounding areas.

Several new laws that ban single-use plastic are rolling out over the next three years, so you can expect to see a significant reduction in single-use plastic around the country. Many of the provisions in these laws are due to come into effect in 2021, so hopefully the streets of Ecuador are on track to becoming much cleaner in the near future.

​Dark & Cloudy

​Dark & Cloudy

Ecuador has multiple microclimates, but you should expect lots of dark and cloudy days from June through November. It’s not all dark and cloudy in all parts of the country at the same time, as the clouds are related to the geography of the country.

The Amazon rainforest is located in the eastern part of the country. It releases lots of moisture that evaporates, then gets condensed by the Andes Mountain range, which results in clouds, mostly in the high cities such as Quito and Cuenca. The climate is typically drier and sunnier in Salinas and Manta.

Are there TOO MANY bad things about living in Ecuador?

These are the main bad things about living in Ecuador that you should be aware of if you’re planning a trip or even consider moving. The people of Ecuador are amazing and welcoming, the country is indeed a beautiful one, but like most places in the world, there are some dark sides to it.

From income inequalities to lots of noise, you should be prepared for a bit of culture shock when you land in Ecuador. But getting to know and love the Ecuadorian people and their beautiful country is definitely worth it if you have an open mind and are willing to adapt.


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NEWS from ECUADORNews & Current Events from Ecuador

Every Friday, we send an email with current expat-relevant news from Ecuador (in English). It contains the latest information about covid, travel restrictions & guidelines, government actions, volcanoes, flooding, crime, and more. Basically, anything significant from the prior week that affects expats. We don't share this information ANYWHERE ELSE!

In addition, you'll also gain immediate access to our Ecuador Cost of Moving & Living Calculator. And it now contains a Low Budget Cost of Living option.

 

BE Unconventional!

Cuenca Ecuador ExpatsWe've assembled a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and offer encouragement as you embark on your move abroad.

Once you become a member, you'll also gain access to a variety of exclusive benefits that will help you make a smooth transition to Ecuador!

Condos for RENT in Manta Ecuador on the Beach (2021)

In our last video, we showed you condos for sale on or near the beach. In this video, we’ll show you a few condos for RENT in Manta Ecuador on or near the beach.

The first and most affordable condo in this video is in the Poseidon, the second two are in the new Mykonos development, and the fourth is in the Santorini near Mall del Pacífico.

We share a variety of rental price ranges; however, if you’re looking for truly low budget rentals, you’ll need to stay tuned until our next property tour. We already have plans to film both for sale and for rent properties that aren’t right by the beach, which means they’ll be much lower cost.

If you would like to get more information about this property or others that we didn’t show in this video, please submit our referral form and we’ll send an immediate email introduction to our preferred rental agent in Manta, Ecuador.


Planning a move to Ecuador?

Our Ecuador Expat Fast Track eCourse will tell you exactly how to do it! Join more than 250 people who have already signed up! See what our students have to say here...

Get Qualified, Trustworthy Recommendations

Need help with your visa, finding a place to live, shipping a container, health insurance, private driver or something else?

We're happy to introduce you to our trusted and qualified relocation experts in Ecuador!

NEWS from ECUADORNews & Current Events from Ecuador

Every Friday, we send an email with current expat-relevant news from Ecuador (in English). It contains the latest information about covid, travel restrictions & guidelines, government actions, volcanoes, flooding, crime, and more. Basically, anything significant from the prior week that affects expats. We don't share this information ANYWHERE ELSE!

In addition, you'll also gain immediate access to our Ecuador Cost of Moving & Living Calculator. And it now contains a Low Budget Cost of Living option.

 

BE Unconventional!

Cuenca Ecuador ExpatsWe've assembled a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and offer encouragement as you embark on your move abroad.

Once you become a member, you'll also gain access to a variety of exclusive benefits that will help you make a smooth transition to Ecuador!

Buying a Home In Ecuador

The process for buying a home in Ecuador, whether it’s a piece of land, a house or a condo, is quite a bit different than the United States and other countries. Thankfully, we were able to sit down with Ryan Kelly from Ecuador Shores Realty in Manta, Ecuador to answer a long list of questions and walk us through the process of buying a home in Ecuador.

If you would like to get more information about buying a home in Ecuador, please submit our referral form and we’ll send an immediate email introduction to our preferred real estate agent in the area where you’re looking.


Planning a move to Ecuador?

Our Ecuador Expat Fast Track eCourse will tell you exactly how to do it! Join more than 250 people who have already signed up! See what our students have to say here...

Get Qualified, Trustworthy Recommendations

Need help with your visa, finding a place to live, shipping a container, health insurance, private driver or something else?

We're happy to introduce you to our trusted and qualified relocation experts in Ecuador!

NEWS from ECUADORNews & Current Events from Ecuador

Every Friday, we send an email with current expat-relevant news from Ecuador (in English). It contains the latest information about covid, travel restrictions & guidelines, government actions, volcanoes, flooding, crime, and more. Basically, anything significant from the prior week that affects expats. We don't share this information ANYWHERE ELSE!

In addition, you'll also gain immediate access to our Ecuador Cost of Moving & Living Calculator. And it now contains a Low Budget Cost of Living option.

 

BE Unconventional!

Cuenca Ecuador ExpatsWe've assembled a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and offer encouragement as you embark on your move abroad.

Once you become a member, you'll also gain access to a variety of exclusive benefits that will help you make a smooth transition to Ecuador!

Raising Kids in Ecuador: Sports, Activities, Socializing and Cultural Differences (2021)

If you’re considering a move to Ecuador with your children, this interview with Jason and Michelle from ExpatsEcuador.com will help you prepare for the differences you’ll encounter.

Jason is an expat from Australia who met the love of his life in Ecuador. Michelle is an Ecuadorian born in Quito who has two children from a previous marriage. This makes them a blended family with a unique inside, as well as outside, perspective on raising children in Ecuador.

If you would like even more information on this topic, checkout this guide from Jason and Michelle on their amazing blog:https://expatsecuador.com/living/kids


Planning a move to Ecuador?

Our Ecuador Expat Fast Track eCourse will tell you exactly how to do it! Join more than 250 people who have already signed up! See what our students have to say here...

Get Qualified, Trustworthy Recommendations

Need help with your visa, finding a place to live, shipping a container, health insurance, private driver or something else?

We're happy to introduce you to our trusted and qualified relocation experts in Ecuador!

NEWS from ECUADORNews & Current Events from Ecuador

Every Friday, we send an email with current expat-relevant news from Ecuador (in English). It contains the latest information about covid, travel restrictions & guidelines, government actions, volcanoes, flooding, crime, and more. Basically, anything significant from the prior week that affects expats. We don't share this information ANYWHERE ELSE!

In addition, you'll also gain immediate access to our Ecuador Cost of Moving & Living Calculator. And it now contains a Low Budget Cost of Living option.

 

BE Unconventional!

Cuenca Ecuador ExpatsWe've assembled a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and offer encouragement as you embark on your move abroad.

Once you become a member, you'll also gain access to a variety of exclusive benefits that will help you make a smooth transition to Ecuador!

10 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Exploratory Trip to Ecuador

If you’re considering a move abroad to join the expat ranks, use these 10 tips to get the most out of your exploratory trip to Ecuador. As you’re scheduling your visit, plan to spend as much time as possible in Ecuador to explore your future surroundings and make preparations for your move.

Tip #1 – Thoughtfully plan your trip

1. Thoughtfully plan your trip

Some careful initial planning will help you maximize your time in Ecuador so that you can see as much of the country as possible while identifying a place you might like to live.

If you have at least a month to travel in Ecuador, take a national bus tour. Buses are a popular way to travel in Ecuador. The private and public bus systems are safe and reliable. Three of the top tour companies you should consider are Ecuador Expat Journeys, Wander Bus and Ecuador Hop.

Ecuador Expat Journeys provides a guided tour across the country geared specifically towards expats. They do a great job of introducing you to towns and properties, giving you local insight into the areas where you may want to live.

Wander Bus and Ecuador Hop are hop-on/hop-off buses. When you depart, you have the option to stay in multiple places for a few days at a time or even longer than that.

Since they’re both self-guided tours, you’ll have more control over the itinerary, but you’ll also be responsible for your activities. Both companies will give you an excellent high-level tour of the main cities. The most popular routes start in Quito and stop in popular tourist cities, such as Cuenca, Montañita/Olón, Manta, Salinas, Guayaquil, Baños Ambato, etc.

Tip #2 – Don’t overbook your itinerary!

Manta Ecuador

If you’re only planning to stay for a week or two, choose just one or two cities to spend most of your time. It takes awhile to travel between the major cities so you’re better off focusing on just a couple. There will be plenty of time to explore more cities and areas after you move to Ecuador!

Check out our article, Best Cities to Live in Ecuador for Expats for a detailed list and review of popular expat cities in Ecuador, but two of the best options are Cuenca and Manta.

Cuenca tends to feel more like home for many expats, and this is where you should start if you’re not an experienced world traveler. Though you may need a little bit of time to adjust to the high elevation, you shouldn’t experience too much culture shock. Consequently, Cuenca is full of expats and many English-speaking Ecuadorians, so you’ll fit right in.

Manta and the surrounding towns are great to visit if you want to live near the beach. It’s also an expat enclave with more expats than Salinas, Playas or Olón. Manta is also more developed than many other places in Ecuador, with more amenities and access to better hospitals, too. It’s also safer than Guayaquil if you’re concerned about security.

Tip #3 – Stay as long as you can!

The New Cathedral Cuenca Ecuador

If you’re planning a move abroad, stay as long as you can on your exploratory trip to Ecuador so you get a real feel for the country and its people. While you can always move back home if you don’t like living in Ecuador, moving abroad can be costly so you’ll want to make sure the place you choose is a good fit for you.

We visited Ecuador for 10 days on our exploratory trip back in 2017. We stayed 2 nights in Quito and the rest in Cuenca, which was the city we had chosen as the first choice for our move abroad. A week in Cuenca was enough to confirm our feeling that we could be happy living there.

However, if there are several potential cities on your wish list, you will need much longer than a week to not only visit each of them, but to get a good feel for what it’s like to live in each city.

You get a 90-day tourist visa when you arrive at the airport—there’s no need to apply for one in advance. At the end of the initial 90 days, you can apply for a 90-day tourist visa extension.

Keep in mind that you can only request the tourist visa extension once every five years. If you want to stay longer, we recommend applying for a Temporary Residency Visa.

If you can stay for 6 months, that’s plenty of time to take a good look around the country!

Tip #4 – Focus on where you want to live in Ecuador

4. Focus on where you want to live in Ecuador

Don’t try to do too much on your exploratory trip by trying to squeeze in a trip to the Galapagos or the Amazon. Those are really cool places to visit, but it’s best to save them until after you move to Ecuador for two main reasons.

First, Ecuador residents get discounts on travel to the Galapagos, which will allow you to travel more conveniently and affordably after you move.

Second, going to these fantastic destinations won’t help decide where to live. Visiting them will detract from your focus, which is trying to determine where you want to live!

Tip #5 – Keep it authentic!

5. Keep it authentic!

The best way to explore Ecuador is to live like a local to get a real idea of what it will be like after you move.

To start, rent a place with a kitchen so that you can shop for fresh local foods at the mercados and grocery stores. You’ll experience some of the amazing local produce by making some meals instead of eating out all the time. Check out what’s on TV, visit some local museums, events or attractions to get a feel for how you might spend your free time.

Several housing options will serve as an excellent base for your in-country travels and let you connect to the cities you visit. Apartamentos Otorongo or Gran Colombia Suites are great places to stay in Cuenca. Short-term rentals listed on AirBnB, GringoPost.com (for Cuenca only), or OLX.com (like Craigslist for Ecuador) are also worth a look as you plan your trip.

Tip #6 – Get to know the neighborhood

Cuenca Ecuador from Turi

Once you’ve narrowed your desired destination down to a particular city, spend some time in the neighborhoods to investigate your new potential home. Different areas offer different experiences within the same city.

The best approach will be contacting rental agents in advance to arrange neighborhood tours for when you arrive. Xavier at Apartments Otorongo gives an incredibly informative Cuenca neighborhood tour.

There’s also an enjoyable Cuenca city bus tour that will take you around Cuenca, but it’s mainly for tourists so you’re better off exploring the neighborhoods with the help of local guides.

Tip #7 – Start the visa process before you leave

7. Start the visa process before you leave

If you’ve fallen in love with Ecuador and are ready to plan your move, start the visa process while you’re still in the country.

It’s best to meet with a visa agent in person before you head back home. Their fees can be as high as $1,000 or more so you might feel more comfortable transfering money to them if you meet in real life.

You’ll also have a better idea of what you need to do and what documents you need to collect when you go back to your home country. Here’s some more information about the types and requirements for Ecuador Temporary Residency Visas to help you prepare.

If you would like to meet with a qualified Visa Agent while you’re visiting Ecuador, please submit our Visa Agent referral form and we’ll send an immediate email introduction.

Tip #8 – Meet with a shipping company

8. Meet with a shipping company

Shipping household goods from abroad allows you to take your belongings with you to your new home. If you plan to do this, meet with a potential shipping agent while you’re in Ecuador.

Shipping a container can cost between $2,000-$10,000 so you’ll want to be sure that you’re comfortable with your agent before you wire the money. Here’s a complete guide to shipping a container to Ecuador so you’re better prepared for your meeting.

If you would like to discuss your container shipping options with a qualified shipping agent while you’re visiting Ecuador, please submit our referral form and we’ll send an immediate email introduction.

Tip #9 – Arrange to meet other expats

9. Arrange to meet other expats

Talking to other expats over coffee or a cerveza should be high on your list of priorities during your exploratory trip to Ecuador. Speaking with those who have already moved to your future home can be invaluable.

Reach out to expat groups on Facebook or the community of expats that we host on Patreon/Discord. More often than not, they’ll be happy to share their love of Ecuador and local insights with you.

Talking to expats who already live in Ecuador can give you a more accurate perspective of what it may be like to live in Ecuador while allowing you to ask some crucial questions. They can also provide you with input on optimal neighborhoods and advice on where to eat and what to do during your visit.

Tip #10 – Have fun in Ecuador!

10. Have fun in Ecuador!

Sure, you’re in Ecuador to take care of business on your exploratory trip, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t plan to take in some of the beautiful sights during your visit. Ecuador is full of unforgettable vistas and a wide variety of natural wonders.

If you’re heading to Cuenca, play tourist by taking a city bus tour or planning a day to relax in the hot springs in Baños Azuay.

If you’ll be primarily visiting the coast, head to Isla de la Plata or book a jungle hike to see some Howler Monkeys.

For those visiting Vilcabamba, plan a hike up Fandango or visit Podocarpus National Forest if you’ll be near Loja. You could easily pass an entire week in Quito traveling to the Baños Ambato or the Mindo cloud forest!

Get the MOST out of your exploratory trip to Ecuador!

Planning an exploratory trip to Ecuador can be challenging and exciting. A bit of initial planning with these tips in mind can help you maximize your stay to get a good survey of the landscape and facilitate your move.

The most important goal of your exploratory trip is to determine if you can comfortably live in Ecuador as an expat/immigrant. Visit Ecuador with an open mind, but be prepared for a little culture shock. And if you’re visiting the high mountain cities like Quito or Cuenca, give yourself a few days to adjust to the elevation.

Spend the majority of your time living like a local and laying the groundwork for your eventual move abroad, but take some time to smell the roses so you experience just how magical Ecuador can be.


Planning a move to Ecuador?

Our Ecuador Expat Fast Track eCourse will tell you exactly how to do it! Join more than 250 people who have already signed up! See what our students have to say here...

Get Qualified, Trustworthy Recommendations

Need help with your visa, finding a place to live, shipping a container, health insurance, private driver or something else?

We're happy to introduce you to our trusted and qualified relocation experts in Ecuador!

NEWS from ECUADORNews & Current Events from Ecuador

Every Friday, we send an email with current expat-relevant news from Ecuador (in English). It contains the latest information about covid, travel restrictions & guidelines, government actions, volcanoes, flooding, crime, and more. Basically, anything significant from the prior week that affects expats. We don't share this information ANYWHERE ELSE!

In addition, you'll also gain immediate access to our Ecuador Cost of Moving & Living Calculator. And it now contains a Low Budget Cost of Living option.

 

BE Unconventional!

Cuenca Ecuador ExpatsWe've assembled a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and offer encouragement as you embark on your move abroad.

Once you become a member, you'll also gain access to a variety of exclusive benefits that will help you make a smooth transition to Ecuador!