Live Abroad Now Articles

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

Ecuador Health Insurance: Private vs. Public IESS – EXPLAINED (2021)

Health insurance in Ecuador can be complicated and confusing, so we were very fortunate to have Carlos Ramírez from Blue Box Insurance stop by to explain it to us.

Blue Box is an insurance broker representing several health, auto and home insurance companies in Ecuador. They have an office in Cuenca, and they will be opening an office in Manta in April 2021.

If you would like to discuss your health insurance options with Carlos, please submit our referral form and we’ll send an immediate email introduction.

Health Insurance in Ecuador Explained

Ecuador Health Insurance

Universal participation has provided Ecuador with an excellent healthcare system. Medical procedures are a fraction of the cost in the US, and the quality of care is high.

Health Insurance in Ecuador is a bit different than the United States. You have the option of getting Private Health Insurance with one of Ecuador’s many health insurance companies.

Or, you can sign up for the Public IESS Health Insurance, which is Ecuador’s version of Universal Healthcare (Medicare/Medicaid). You’ll need your Temporary Residency Visa AND your cédula before you can apply for this plan.

Or, you can get both Private AND Public Health Insurance to make sure ALL your bases are covered. Since the cost of healthcare and health insurance in Ecuador is so much more affordable than in the United States, this is a viable option for many people.

The decision then comes down to a few significant distinctions: price, flexibility, and treatment of pre-existing conditions. Here’s what you can expect regarding each of those considerations for private insurance and the IESS. Hopefully, this information will help you choose which option or combination might work best for you.

Private Health Insurance in Ecuador

In Ecuador, there are 28 private health insurance companies to choose from. They provide health insurance that allows you to visit any private doctor and receive any treatment in Ecuador at private hospitals. Some plans even cover treatments outside of Ecuador.

Monthly premiums are generally affordable but can vary according to your current health factors (age, smoking, pre-existing conditions, etc.), coverage maximums, and the deductible that you choose. There are no network limitations like you’ll encounter using the public IESS plan.

For private insurance, in addition to the monthly premium, you can expect to pay a deductible on an annual or per-incident basis. You’ll also be responsible for a small co-pay for each doctor’s visit or prescription.

Ninety percent of in-network healthcare costs are covered, and 80% of costs out-of-network are covered by private insurance companies. Submit a claim, and the insurance company will reimburse you.

The government mandates coverage of pre-existing conditions, but there is a two-year waiting period before those treatments must be covered by private insurance. You’ll also have to secure private insurance before you go through the residency requirements of obtaining your cédula (Ecuadorian National Resident ID card).

Ecuador Public IESS Health Insurance

IESS Hospital in Manta Ecuador

Once you have received your cédula, you can sign up for the public IESS health insurance plan. The IESS is the national social security healthcare system that all Ecuadorians must pay into unless they obtain private coverage.

Under the IESS coverage, expect no co-pays or deductible and all medical costs are covered at 100%. However, you will be restricted to the doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies within the IESS network unless you are referred elsewhere after seeking treatment from an IESS facility.

All pre-existing conditions are fully covered after a 3-month waiting period, which is often why expats choose to have both IESS and private coverage at the same time.

Health Insurance Deductibles in Ecuador

Private health insurance providers in Ecuador offer both low and high deductible plans. A plan with a low $100 annual deductible will cost more than a plan with a high $5,000 annual deductible.

You’ll have to pay up to this amount before your private insurance coverage kicks in, but you can also purchase additional gap insurance for as little as $40/month to cover the deductible.

Your premium will depend on the maximum major medical coverage level you choose and how high you’d like your deductible to be. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium will be. There are plenty of coverage levels to fit most budgets, as you can see in the examples below.

Health Insurance Prices in Ecuador

Overall, both health insurance and healthcare are very affordable in Ecuador, especially compared to the United States.

Ecuador Private Health Insurance Cost

Here are some examples of current private insurance rates for an average 65-year-old.

Total Coverage Annual Deductible Monthly Premium
$100,000 per incident $180 $220-$230
$500,000 annual $5,000 $70
Up to $6,000 (Vida Buena) $39.20

For some, combining private plans makes the most sense. Combining the Vida Buena plan for about $40 per month with a plan that covers up to $500,000 per year with a high deductible will cost about $110.

Effectively, by paying for both, you’ll avoid paying the high deductible and have substantial coverage in place for major medical emergencies.

Ecuador Public IESS Health Insurance Cost

Ecuadorian nationals pay a percentage of their claimed income into the IESS system as their monthly premium.

Expats who choose IESS insurance are permitted to pay a voluntary amount based on the minimum wage, which is about $72 per month.

Again, there are no deductibles or copays and all medical care is covered at 100%. You just have to pay the monthly premium to access services in the IESS network.

Health Insurance Claims Reimbursement in Ecuador

Claims Reimbursement

With the IESS, you won’t need to do anything other than pay your premium to access national healthcare services.

Filing Claims with Private Health Insurance

Private insurance companies require that you to pay for healthcare services out-of-pocket before you can submit claims for each visit, procedure, or prescription that you’d like to have reimbursed.

You have three months (90 days) to submit each bill using a reimbursement claims form. Don’t wait too long to submit the paperwork in case additional documentation is required. Try to submit medical bills with the accompanying claims forms as soon as possible. Your insurance broker can assist you with preparing these claims forms and submitting them correctly.

If your insurance provider initially denies your claim for any reason, you can appeal the decision to the Superintendencia de Companias, who will review the request and make a final decision. If your paperwork is in order for a valid claim, the insurance company will likely be ordered to reimburse you. Otherwise, your claim can be denied.

This appeal process can take 3-5 months for a final decision, but it is free for you to apply. You have the option to file with the Superintendencia on your own, with the help of an insurance agent who’s familiar with the process, or through the free services of a public defender in Ecuador.

What if I can’t afford to pay for expensive medical services out-of-pocket?

Ecuador Health Insurance Filing Claims

Even though healthcare in Ecuador is far less expensive than it is in the United States, complicated treatments can still cost $20,000 or even more.

With private health insurance in Ecuador, you are normally required to pay for the services out-of-pocket and then file a claim to be reimbursed. However, what happens if you need expensive services like heart surgery or cancer treatment and you can’t afford to pay the entire hospital bill while you wait to be reimbursed?

If your treatment is NOT an emergency, you can get pre-approval from your insurance company and then you would only be responsible for paying the regular copays and deductibles.

If your treatment is the result of an emergency, such as an expensive surgery following a car accident, then you will only be required to cover the copay and deductible as long as you go to an in-network hospital. If you go to an out-of-network hospital, you will need to pay for all the services rendered before leaving the hospital.

However, if your emergency treatment is at an out-of-network hospital and you cannot afford to pay the entire bill, it is possible to submit a letter of commitment to pay to the hospital, which will mean you are legally required to pay the hospital even if the insurance company denies your claim.

This is another reason why it’s a good idea to work with an insurance broker like Carlos at Blue Box Insurance to help you negotiate this process.

If you do not have health insurance, you will be required to pay the entire amount before leaving the hospital.

Conclusion

The insurance framework in Ecuador makes it easy for residents to secure affordable coverage. Your best bet is to go through the options available and choose what will best meet your needs. An insurance agent can help you find what you’re looking for and secure that coverage.

There are plenty of significant differences between private and public health insurance and benefits to carrying one type or the other, or even both at the same time. Regardless of your decision, there are plenty of coverage variations for you to find quality, affordable health insurance solutions in Ecuador for your needs.

If you have more questions about health insurance or healthcare in Ecuador, we recommend contacting a health insurance agent/broker directly for more detailed or specific answers. To get in touch with Carlos and his team at Blue Box Insurance, please visit their website at BlueBoxInsurance.com and be sure to tell them you saw this video on Live Abroad Now.

If you would like to discuss your health insurance options with Carlos, please submit our referral form and we’ll send an immediate email introduction.

You might also be interested in our article about the Cost of Living in Ecuador: A Guide for Expat Budgeting.


Planning a move to Ecuador?

Our Ecuador Expat Fast Track eCourse is now live! Join more than 100 people who have already signed up!

Follow Us on Social Media

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 service providers in Ecuador!

News & Current Events from Ecuador

Ecuador Costs of Moving and Living

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.

Get Even More Guidance!

Want to be an expat? You're not alone! We have a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and provide support to help take the mystery out of your move.

While we provide a lot of extra value for your membership, the real benefit is the support your contribution offers to us. Your generosity and reciprocity helps us continue creating more videos, articles and content about expats and Ecuador!

Schools in Ecuador: Public, Private, International & Homeschooling

If you have school aged children and you’re considering a move abroad, you have several different options for schools in Ecuador.

In this interview with Jason and Michelle from ExpatsEcuador.com, you’ll learn about the different types of schools (public, private, international and homeschooling) as well as the pros and cons, and cost of each option.

Michelle is an Ecuadorian from Quito with two children while Jason is an expat from Australia. They met here in Ecuador and got married, making them a blended family.

Their perspective may be a little different than parents with expat children since Michelle’s kids speak Spanish natively. However, they are extremely familiar with the various school options in Ecuador, especially the cost/quality comparison.

Head over to ExpatsEcuador.com: Schools in Ecuador for a detailed analysis of the different school options and costs associated with each.


Planning a move to Ecuador?

Our Ecuador Expat Fast Track eCourse is now live! Join more than 100 people who have already signed up!

Follow Us on Social Media

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 service providers in Ecuador!

News & Current Events from Ecuador

Ecuador Costs of Moving and Living

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.

Get Even More Guidance!

Want to be an expat? You're not alone! We have a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and provide support to help take the mystery out of your move.

While we provide a lot of extra value for your membership, the real benefit is the support your contribution offers to us. Your generosity and reciprocity helps us continue creating more videos, articles and content about expats and Ecuador!

Low Cost of Living in Ecuador: Can you live on LESS than $500 per month?

Is it possible to live in Ecuador for less than $500 per month? The short answer is yes! Expats and retirees flock to Ecuador for its tropical weather and beautiful, biodiverse landscapes, as well as for the low cost of living! Depending on where you choose to live, it’s entirely possible to live well in Ecuador on a very small budget.

People worldwide—including US, Canadian, and European expats—have discovered that Ecuador offers many affordable options to choose from. Besides the prospect of pleasant weather and stunning scenery, you can also look forward to minimizing your expenses and stretching your income!

In this article, we’ll take a look at the typical monthly expenses you can expect to incur living in Ecuador. This is a guide to everything you need to know to make a $500 budget work well for you.

You’ll find information on housing options, health insurance costs, food, and transportation that will allow a single person to live quite well on a low budget.

Housing

Low Budget Housing in Ecuador

Housing is often the largest budget consideration. It’s also what makes moving to Ecuador so attractive for people who leave Canada, Europe, or the US. Although coastal options and larger properties will cost more money, it is entirely possible to find safe, comfortable housing for less than $300/month.

Here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind when you look for housing on a tight budget.

Hostel or Private Room

Although you’ll have to share amenities like a kitchen and bathroom in these setups, you can find a safe, spacious place to live in Ecuador for between $100-$200/month in a hostel or private room in someone’s home.

For example, a friend secured a well-appointed room in a house living with an Ecuadorian family in Cuenca for $110/month. Though she only had a small corner of the fridge to herself and shared a bathroom with her host family, she enjoyed the experience and lived on a very low budget. As a bonus, living with an Ecuadorian family allowed her to quickly learn the local culture and become fluent in Spanish.

Private Housing in Ecuador

If you elect to rent a private house, condo or apartment, there are plenty to find below or around the $300/month mark in smaller cities and towns throughout Ecuador.

Here are some things that you’ll want to factor into your housing search:

Furnished, Semi-furnished and Unfurnished

There are some pretty dramatic differences between the types of listings for rental properties in Ecuador.

Furnished homes are move-in ready and have everything you need, including kitchen items, like pots and pans, and linens, like sheets and towels. Consequently, they’re more expensive.

Semi-furnished homes have appliances, like a stove and refrigerator, but you’ll have to provide everything else, such as pots, pans, plates, bedding, etc.

Unfurnished units will not have anything included—sometimes you’ll even need to provide your own blinds and light fixtures!

If you decide to go with an unfurnished or semi-furnished place, you can find reasonably priced second hand furniture at moving sales or local consignments shops.

If you’re planning to ship your belongings to Ecuador in a container, check out our article about Ecuador Shipping Company Costs and Process for more on that.

Ecuador Housing Location

Desirable properties on or near the beach, or centrally located housing in popular cities such as Cuenca, usually charge higher rents, but there are plenty of places with great views and surroundings that you can rent on a budget.

Paute (which has a thriving expat community) and Azogues are about 45 minutes from Cuenca, but offer a host of cheaper housing alternatives. Inland cities like Cotacachi, Ibarra, or Otavalo also have very affordable housing options. You might find that you need a car to get around those areas rather than rely on public transportation, so that could be costly.

For more ideas on affordable coastal living options, check out our Affordable Beach Town Rentals in Olón Ecuador video to see opportunities like the Casita in Las Nuñez, which rents for $350/month.

Health Insurance

Health Insurance in Ecuador

You are no longer required to have health insurance to live in Ecuador. That rule was dropped from the tourist, temporary and permanent visa requirements in 2020.

However, you will probably choose to purchase either private or public health insurance, which will run you about $80/month/person. You’ll pay more or less than that depending on your age, pre-existing conditions, and whether or not you smoke.

Private Insurance in Ecuador

For private insurance, in addition to the monthly premium, you can expect a nominal $100 annual deductible and a $10 copay per visit for low deductible plans. You can also purchase a high deductible plan with gap insurance, which has the benefit of lower monthly premiums.

These plans cover you at 90% in-network and 80% out-of-network. Pre-existing conditions are covered after a two-year waiting period with private insurance plans.

Public IESS Insurance in Ecuador

After you obtain your temporary residency visa AND your cédula, you can enroll in the Public IESS health insurance plan for a similar monthly premium.

Under the IESS coverage, you’ll have no copay or deductible and everything is covered at 100%, including doctors visits, surgeries, hospital stays and medication.

However, you must go to doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies in the public IESS network. Pre-existing conditions are covered after a 3 month waiting period.

To learn more about this topic, check out our article, Ecuador Health Insurance: Private vs. Public IESS.

Cuenca Mercados

Grocery Costs in Ecuador

Budgeting $50/month/person for groceries is a reasonable amount in Ecuador, especially if you buy most of your fruits, vegetables and beans from the local mercados rather than the grocery stores.

Meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods are more expensive in Ecuador, so if you eat a plant-based diet or limit your consumption of those products, you’ll save a lot of money.

Transportation

Transportation

Ecuador is well-connected with a reliable public transportation system. Each ride costs about 35 cents in Cuenca and 50 cents along the coast.

Cab rides in Cuenca typically cost between $2 and $3, while on the coast they cost $1.50 to $5 depending on how far you travel between towns.

Interprovincial buses will take you from city to city throughout the country for just a few dollars per trip.

Realistically, you can get by on about $20 per month for transportation if you stay local and limit your cab rides.

Mobile Phone

Mobile Phone Service in Ecuador

WhatsApp is included in most mobile phone plans in Ecuador, and it’s used by most people to stay in touch using the free public Wi-Fi that’s available throughout the country.

Many expats choose to get a monthly phone plan that includes data for about $20/month. You can also go the prepaid route and spend a few dollars a month on minutes that you use until you run out. Depending on how heavily you rely on your mobile phone, this option can save you a lot of money over the course of a year.

Potential Extras

Potential Extras

Many rentals include utilities like water, internet or electricity.

In warmer areas in the coastal or Amazon regions, electricity isn’t typically included because air conditioning preferences lead to varying costs that are hard to predict. Depending on how cold you like it, and how efficient your place is, you’ll probably pay between $20-$100 per month in electricity charges.

Basic, residential internet service costs about $30/month with Netlife on the coast or PuntoNet in Cuenca, and faster speeds will cost more.

Some extra costs that you might incur are bottled water delivery, for about $20/month. However, plenty of people in Cuenca enjoy the tap water.

Propane costs vary widely, from $2-$3/month to $15 or more.

Montanita Ecuador Almuerzo

Incidental Expenses

Dining Out

Though the best way to save money on food is by shopping at the mercados and cooking at home, there are affordable dining options that you can enjoy on a low budget.

Local-run restaurants that serve typical Ecuadorian fares like chicken, fish, soup, rice, plantains, and juice are very affordable. Almuerzos, which are sizeable lunch portions, normally run between $1.50 to $3 for a hearty, authentic meal.

Depending on where you go and what you eat, you can dine out a few times a week on a $30 monthly dining budget.

Entertainment

Ecuador offers plenty of free entertainment options, such as local walking tours, free museums and free concerts. Local parks are outfitted with free outdoor workout equipment, and the beautiful beaches and most national parks are free, too.

These are plenty of fun ways to entertain yourself on the cheap in Ecuador.

Clothing & Shoes

Local brands of clothing and shoes are more affordable than imported brands, like Nike or Skechers. You can find plenty of options in malls, small stores or pop up shops that are in line with what you’d expect to spend on clothes or shoes back at home.

Conclusion

Yes! It’s more than possible to live well in Ecuador on less than $500 per month!

Frugal couples can easily manage on $700-$800 per month since the cost of housing won’t increase with more people.

Health insurance is reasonably priced, but will be a significant budget consideration. Beyond that, fresh, healthy food is very affordable in Ecuador. Almuerzos at local restaurants and fresh fruits and veggies from the mercados will allow you to eat well on a low monthly budget.

Transportation, utilities, and incidentals are also inexpensive compared to high cost of living places like the United States, Canada and Europe. The low cost of living in Ecuador continues to attract expats from around the world.

With a little creativity and little frugality, there are plenty of ways to make a $500 monthly budget work well for you in Ecuador, while providing lots of enjoyment and a higher overall quality of life.


Planning a move to Ecuador?

Our Ecuador Expat Fast Track eCourse is now live! Join more than 100 people who have already signed up!

Follow Us on Social Media

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 service providers in Ecuador!

News & Current Events from Ecuador

Ecuador Costs of Moving and Living

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.

Get Even More Guidance!

Want to be an expat? You're not alone! We have a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and provide support to help take the mystery out of your move.

While we provide a lot of extra value for your membership, the real benefit is the support your contribution offers to us. Your generosity and reciprocity helps us continue creating more videos, articles and content about expats and Ecuador!

Ecuador Temporary Resident Visas

There are several different types of Ecuador Temporary Resident Visas: Professional, Investor, Pensioners, Rentista, 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.

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

This article focuses on the types of visas that are available in Ecuador, as well as the process for obtaining a visa. These haven’t changed. However, we have an updated article and interview with Maité specifically covering the new visa laws that were passed in February 2021 that make it easier for expats to move to Ecuador: New Ecuador Visa Changes & What They Mean for Expats.

This is Part 11 in our series about living abroad in Ecuador. If you missed the other articles, you might want to Start Here…

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 NO LONGER REQUIRED for any of Ecuador’s visas, including the 90-day tourist visa, and both the temporary and permanent residency visas.

Fingerprints & Background Checks

You’ll need to provide both State and Federal FBI background checks 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.

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 apostille date on the documents needs to be less than 6 months from the date of the application.

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. Ask your visa agent for help with this.

Ecuador Temporary Resident Visa Ministry Fees

Ecuador Temporary Resident Visas have two primary fees (as of 2020). 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.

Ecuador Temporary Resident Visa Types

All temporary residency visas in Ecuador are good for 2 years from the date of issue. You can review all of the visas types and their specific requirements on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility website.

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 $400
  • 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

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…

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. Then we had to send that to the GringoVisas office in Connecticut so they could get the apostille before mailing it to Ecuador.

Investor Visa

For the Ecuador Investor Visa, you need to invest $40,000 in an Ecuadorian CO-OP Certificate of Deposit (CD) for at least 2 years, the duration of your Ecuador Temporary Resident Visa. The new laws for this visa no longer have travel restrictions: You can leave Ecuador for as many days per year as you want during the first 2 years of your residency.

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 8.5% annually! That’s roughly $287/month in interest on your $40,000 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 the COOP 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, 6 months, or each year, whichever you prefer.

Bank deposits are only insured up to $32,000 so that means at least $8,000 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 account.

In lieu of a COOP CD, you can also purchase property to qualify for an Investor Visa in Ecuador. The only requirement is that the property be assessed by the government at more than $40,000.

IMPORTANT: The assessment value may be substantially lower than the purchase price. You can request a new assessment if the registered value is less than $40,000.

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 $400/month with no additional dependent income requirement (as of October 2020). This was recently changed, due to an oversight in the new visa laws, from $800/month + $100/month for each dependent. This may revert to the previous amounts in future updates to the laws and regulations.

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. Due to the pandemic, this process is taking 8 to 10 weeks so plan accordingly.

You can only be outside Ecuador for 90 non-consecutive days per year with this type of Ecuador Temporary Resident Visa.

Rentista Visa

The Rentista Visa is a relatively new type of visa, and due to confusion about how it works, not many have been issued.

It’s similar to the Pensioner’s Visa in that you have to prove you have a consistent monthly income of $400/month from either a 2-year lease agreement attached to a rental property you own, or a 2-year work contract.

The main difference from the pension visa is that you don’t have to show it’s income for life. You just need to provide your last 6 months worth of bank statements showing that the qualifying amount has been deposited each month.

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.

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

Amelia is here on a dependent visa attached to my professional visa. As long as we stay married, she can maintain her dependent visa, but if I die or she leaves me for a Latin lover, she will need to get her own visa and start the entire process over. That’s the major downside to the Dependent Visa in Ecuador.

It took 3 months for my visa to be approved and issued after we filed the paperwork with the ministry. We filed it shortly after our arrival in October and my visa was available toward the end of January. Amelia received her dependent visa in mid-March.

There are no other special requirements for the dependent visa. However, you can only be outside Ecuador for 90 non-consecutive days per year with this visa type.

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 if needed.

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.

Other Visas

The four other types of Ecuador temporary resident visas are the work visa, 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.

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 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.

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. Then it needs to get an apostille.

Dependent Visa

If you’re applying for a dependent visa, you’ll need to get a certified copy of your marriage license and send it for the apostille. Your children and other relatives will need to have their birth certificates sent for the apostille.

Investor Visa

For the investor visa, you’ll need to invest in 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. Cuenca is one of the busiest offices in Ecuador so it can take 3 to 4 months just to get an appointment date to submit your application.

We went to Machala to submit our temporary visa application because the wait for an appointment was only 2 weeks. It can take several months to get appointments in the busier offices in Cuenca, Quito and Guayaquil.

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.

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.


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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.

Get Even More Guidance!

Want to be an expat? You're not alone! We have a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and provide support to help take the mystery out of your move.

While we provide a lot of extra value for your membership, the real benefit is the support your contribution offers to us. Your generosity and reciprocity helps us continue creating more videos, articles and content about expats and Ecuador!

11 Reasons to Move Abroad in 2021

Have you considered what it would be like to pack up your life and move abroad to a new country? If you have saved up some money, work as a freelancer, are considering early retirement, or you’ve joined the “remote working” society that has become so prevalent in the last year, moving abroad may be easier than you once thought possible.

In these unprecedented times, working at a job you love does not necessarily mean you have to work in the city where your job is located. As long as you have a reliable internet connection you can have your cake and eat it too. You can earn your high-wage American paycheck while taking advantage of the lower cost of living in a different country.

If moving abroad sounds appealing to you, read on to learn more about the perks of living in a distant location, far from home.

#1 Move Abroad for a Fresh Start

#1 Move Abroad for a Fresh Start

Moving to a new and foreign destination allows you to create a fresh start for yourself—the world becomes your oyster!

Starting fresh does not mean you need to transform your life completely, but you can finally take the opportunity to change bad habits, focus on the things in life that you truly love, and meet new friends who can have a profoundly positive influence on you.

A fresh start in a new country allows you to wipe the slate clean and get your life in order.

#2 Move Abroad to Pay Down Debt

#2 Move Abroad to Pay Down Debt

When deciding where to start your life anew, be sure to take the local cost of living into consideration.

In countries such as Ecuador, where the U.S. dollar is also the official currency, you won’t need to worry about calculating currency exchanges in your head. The cost of living is also much lower compared to living back in the states, affording you the opportunity to spread your money out much further.

Other countries in Southeast Asia like the Philippines, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and India are even MORE affordable than Ecuador! However, they’re much further away and you might experience more of a culture shock if you’re leaving the United States.

Depending on where decide to move abroad, your cost of living could be 1/3 or even less than you’re paying back home.

Check out our Cost of Living in Ecuador: A Guide for Expat Budgeting article for more on this topic.

#3 Move Abroad to Save For Retirement

#3 Move Abroad to Save For Retirement

Living abroad as an expat affords you the opportunity to develop a more aggressive strategy for saving for retirement.

Again, a lower cost of living allows you to live comfortably for less money, so the money you save can be invested into your retirement account. If you structure your retirement savings strategy the right way, you should be able to save much more money while living abroad, which will allow you to enjoy a better retirement when you get older.

The key is continuing to be frugal with your money, even when the exchange rate or cost of living works out well in your favor. Don’t adopt a more luxurious lifestyle just because you can.

#4 Move Abroad to Retire Early

#4 Move Abroad to Retire Early

If warm weather and sandy beaches are calling your name, consider becoming an expat and retire from the workforce earlier than the standard average age of 67.

We know several military, police and firefighters who retired after their 20 years of honorable service and moved to Ecuador. Their pensions weren’t enough to live a comfortable life back in the United States, but they can live a very comfortable life in Ecuador without working anymore. Imagine retiring in your 40’s or 50’s while you’re still young enough to enjoy life!

Moving abroad could be the ticket to realizing an earlier retirement, thanks to cheap real estate prices and being able to stretch your money out further.

#5 Move Abroad for a Better Work/Life Balance

#5 Move Abroad for a Better Work Life Balance

If you can’t afford to retire yet, one of the benefits of working remotely is that you can achieve a better work/life balance since you won’t be spending as much time commuting to a job. Less time in a car means more time at home with your family and friends.

You could also live in a vacation destination so you can enjoy the beach or the mountains every day instead of just when you take time off from work.

And since you don’t need as much money if you live in a low cost of living country, you may find that you don’t need to work as much. It’s a beautiful thing!

#6 Move Abroad for Medical or Dental Care

#6 Move Abroad for Medical or Dental Care

One of the biggest perks of moving to a country with a lower cost of living is that you will be better able to afford costly medical and dental procedures you may have been putting off.

You may be surprised to learn that reputable doctors and specialists are available in lots of countries, and you will find that it is perfectly safe and much more affordable to have medical and dental work completed abroad.

According to CEOWORLD Magazine, in 2019 and 2021 Ecuador had the best healthcare system in the Americas south of Canada. They looked at Overall Healthcare, Infrastructure, Professionals, Cost, Medicine Availability and Government Readiness. Ecuador ranks 25th among the 89 countries they evaluated, barely losing to Canada (23rd) and beating the US (30th). The top 9 countries are in Asia and Europe, and number 10 is Australia.

Not only can you save between 50% to 90% having your medical and dental treatments taken care of abroad, but foreign medical and dental insurance policies are much cheaper than purchasing these policies from insurance companies based in the United States.

Check out our FAQ #6 – What about HEALTH INSURANCE In Ecuador? for more on this topic.

#7 Move Abroad to Expand Your Worldview

#7 Move Abroad to Expand Your Worldview

The best way to learn about a new, fascinating culture is to experience it firsthand by living abroad.

While living in your new country, spend time indulging in foreign cuisine at fine restaurants and roadside haunts, learn about the history of its people through museum visits and getting to know the residents in your community, and by exploring the country’s major cities and the roads less traveled out in the countryside.

Moving abroad might also give you a new appreciation or at least a new perspective about your home country. Immersing yourself in a new culture is truly a mind-altering experience that can dramatically expand your worldview.

#8 Move Abroad to Get Inspired with Fresh New Ideas

#8 Move Abroad to Get Inspired with Fresh New Ideas

Part of the allure of living in a foreign country is that the colors, smells, sights, and sounds are all different than those you have experienced while living at home. All these new sensory experiences can inspire you with fresh new ideas and dreams.

Seize the opportunity of living in a vibrant place to come up with new plans for the present and future. Have you ever wanted to write a book, learn a new craft, or embark on a new career journey? Moving abroad has the power to help you change your perspective and turn your dreams into a reality.

You’re also likely to notice that day-to-day life is much different in other countries than what you have experienced living in the United States and other developed nations. In many parts of the world, big corporations and retail chains do not rule commerce like in America. Small, family owned and operated businesses are still the norm, which means there is also a lower barrier of entry for entrepreneurs.

You might even be inspired to return home and start a new business based on the fresh new ideas you have while living abroad.

#9 Move Abroad to Learn A New Language

#9 Move Abroad to Learn A New Language

Living abroad offers the perfect opportunity to learn a new language, which is great mental exercise to keep your brain active and pliable as you age.

Engage in activities like reading road signs and local newspapers/blogs so you are exposed to, and immersed in, the new language as you go about your day.

Instead of trying to work through a language learning program, get out and practice the language of your new country with the locals. To quote Xavier Montezuma, an Ecuadorian friend who is fully fluent in English, “Language is meant to be spoken; not studied.”

You will also find locals who are more than happy to help you learn their language. Do not be ashamed if you struggle at first—most people will be flattered that you are attempting to adapt to their culture.

#10 Move Abroad to Meet Someone Special

#10 Move Abroad to Meet Someone Special

Whether you are looking for a new best friend or a romantic partner to spend your life with, moving to a new country provides you with the opportunity to meet someone special.

It is often much easier to meet new people when you move to a new place because you are less wrapped up in your daily routine and are more open to new experiences.

When you first move to a new country, you will have more free time available, especially if you make a solo journey to the country without your friends or family.

You might meet a fellow expat with common interests, or maybe even a local. Once you “carpe diem” and start living life to the fullest, you suddenly become a lot more attractive to other people!

#11 Move Abroad for a Gap Year

#11 Move Abroad for a Gap Year

If you’re trying to decide what you want to study while in college, or whether college is even right for you, consider taking a gap year and moving abroad to open your educational horizons.

Experiential learning through immersing yourself in a new culture will provide a much more impactful educational experience than reading about world affairs in textbooks. Learning through experience better prepares you to tackle real world issues once you return to school or enter the workforce.

Are You Ready to Move Abroad Yet?

Whether you are young and want to take an adventure before settling down into a career, are considering early retirement, need to reduce your cost of living, or would just like to broaden your horizon and experience living in a different culture, moving abroad may be the perfect solution for you.

The beauty of moving abroad is that it doesn’t have to be forever, but it can change your life forever!


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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.

Get Even More Guidance!

Want to be an expat? You're not alone! We have a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and provide support to help take the mystery out of your move.

While we provide a lot of extra value for your membership, the real benefit is the support your contribution offers to us. Your generosity and reciprocity helps us continue creating more videos, articles and content about expats and Ecuador!

How To Translate Websites to English from Spanish (or any other language)

In this article, we’ll show you how to translate websites to English from Spanish so you can start reading news articles and blog posts written in foreign languages.

Most browsers and mobile phones have an automatic translation feature, but it’s not always enabled by default. However, it’s easy to activate and opens up an entirely new foreign language version of the web for you. This is especially helpful if you’re planning a move abroad to a foreign country.

Website Language Translation in Popular Browsers

The two most widely used browsers are Google Chrome and Safari, and both offer built-in website translations to English from many other languages. While Firefox does not offer built-in support for language translations, you can install a translator add-on.

Before you can get started with the instructions below, you first need to navigate to a Spanish language website such as ElUniverso.com on your device.

IMPORTANT: Automatic translations only apply to text, not images. In the example below, “El Universo” is not translated because it is an image of the news outlet logo. You may also notice some proper names, including city names, are incorrectly translated. There is no English translation for Guayaquil so it isn’t translated. However, a city name like Puerto Lopez may be translated to Lopez Port. Keep this in mind as you read the translated text.

How To Translate Websites to English in Google Chrome

You can easily translate web pages from Spanish to English in Google Chrome. Just click the icon on the right side of the browser address bar as shown below and select English. You can also opt to “Always Translate Spanish” so whenever you open a website written in Spanish, it will automatically translate it to English.

Google Chrome Translate Spanish to English

Don’t See the Language Translation Option?

If you don’t see this option in the browser address bar, you’ll need to activate it in the browser settings first following these steps:

  1. At the top right of your browser, click the three little vertical dots and then click “Settings” in the dropdown menu.
  2. At the bottom of the Settings page on the left side, click “Advanced” to expand the hidden list.
  3. Under the “Languages” section, click the “Language” block to expand it.
  4. Check the blue switch next to “Offer to translate pages that aren’t in a language you read” to activate language translations.

Google Chrome Languages Settings

For additional help, check this Google Support Page: Change Chrome languages & translate webpages for Desktop.

How To Translate Websites to English in Safari

Just like Google Chrome, Safari has an option to automatically translate Spanish to English. Click the icon on the right side of the browser address bar as shown below and select “Translate to English” from the dropdown menu. Then click “Enable Translation” in the popup dialog.

Safari Translate Spanish to English

For additional help, check the Apple Support Page: Translate a webpage in Safari on Mac.

How To Translate Websites to English in Firefox

Unfortunately, Firefox does not provide built-in language translation support. You’ll need to install the Google Translator for Firefox Add-On or one of the other available add-ons. After you download and install the add-on, follow the setup instructions to translate web pages using Firefox.

Website Language Translation on Mobile Devices

Android devices, as well as iOS devices running version 14 or later, are capable of language translation using the mobile browser apps.

How To Translate Websites to English on iPhones & iPads

The language translation feature is available in the Safari App on iOS 14 and higher. In the browser app, click the “AA” icon on the left side of the browser address bar as shown below in arrow one. Then click the “Translate to English” option from the dropdown menu by arrow two. Click “Enable Translation” in the popup dialog box.

iPhone Safari Translate Spanish to English

For additional help, check this guide on MacRumors.com: iOS 14: How to Translate Webpages in Safari on iPhone.

How To Translate Websites to English on Android Devices

In the Google Chrome browser app on Android devices, click the “G” icon on the left side of the browser address bar as marked by arrow one below. In the popup dialog box, click the “Translate” button or the “Always translate Spanish” option as marked by arrow two.

Google Chrome App Translate Spanish to English

For additional help, check this Google Support Page: Change Chrome languages & translate webpages for Android.

Translate Web Pages to English Using Google Translate

If you have an older device or your website translation tools aren’t working, you can always kick it old school and copy/paste the content into the Google Translate tool in a browser window.

We also use the Google Translator app on our phones. It’s available for both Android and iOS devices in the respective app stores and comes in really handy for translating WhatsApp and text messages from non-English speaking service providers.

Just long-press (hold your finger down) on a message and select “Copy” from the dialog box. Then Paste it into the translate input box with another long-press.

Be sure to download the offline dictionary so it’ll work when you’re not connected to the Internet. Here are the instructions to do that for iPhones and Android devices.

Translating Spanish to English on Web Pages is Easy!

As you can see, the world has become a lot smaller thanks to modern language translation software that’s available on most popular browsers and mobile devices. This opens up a new opportunity for people around the world to read websites written in foreign languages.

If you’re a current expat, these features will allow you to stay informed about what’s going on in your new home country. If you’re a future expat, you’ll be able to learn more about the countries you’re considering and prepare for life in your new home abroad.

We may not be quite to the level of the universal translators on Star Trek, but we’re getting close!


Planning a move to Ecuador?

Our Ecuador Expat Fast Track eCourse is now live! Join more than 100 people who have already signed up!

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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 service providers in Ecuador!

News & Current Events from Ecuador

Ecuador Costs of Moving and Living

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.

Get Even More Guidance!

Want to be an expat? You're not alone! We have a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and provide support to help take the mystery out of your move.

While we provide a lot of extra value for your membership, the real benefit is the support your contribution offers to us. Your generosity and reciprocity helps us continue creating more videos, articles and content about expats and Ecuador!

Expat Life in Ecuador: 10 Surprising Facts About Ecuador

Before we moved to Ecuador in 2017, we had a LOT of preconceptions about what expat life in Ecuador would be like.

Most of these ideas were fed to us by a lifetime of news media stories, movies, TV shows and government travel warnings, which continue to paint Central and South America with one broad brushstroke.

However, after several years as expats, we’ve learned that many of our preconceptions were just flat wrong, so in this article, we’re going to share 10 surprising facts about Ecuador that we discovered after moving here.

#1 Dogs Walk Themselves

Dog Walking Himself Vilcabamba Ecuador

The first surprising fact about expat life in Ecuador, which is quite a bit different than most places in the United States, is that dogs often walk themselves.

When we lived in Cuenca, several neighborhood dogs made the rounds at the same time each day, trotting by our house and leaving their marks on the corners.

Ecuador does not have leash laws and most dogs don’t have collars. While they are allowed to roam more freely, they’re often very protective of their own territories. We avoided certain streets in Cuenca, as well as in Olón, to avoid a potentially violent confrontation when we walk our dog, Daisy.

There are several animal rescues and education programs underway throughout Ecuador to improve the living conditions of dogs and cats, but they still have a very long way to go.

#2 The Temperatures Are a Lot Cooler Than We Expected

Cuenca Ecuador Cool Temperatures

Before we moved to Ecuador, we expected it to be much warmer, similar to Mexico. While it is much warmer in the Amazon Rainforest located in the eastern third of Ecuador, the rest of Ecuador is much cooler than you might expect from a tropical country on the equator.

In Cuenca, average high temperatures range from 64-72°F (18-22°C) with average low temperatures ranging from 48-52°F (9-11°C). However, it can get below 40°F (4°C) at night so you will need a jacket in most of the mountain cities.

Even on the Pacific coast, some areas are cool during the cloudy season from June through November with overnight low temperatures near 60°F (15°C).

Check out our Weather In Ecuador & Best Time to Visit Ecuador article for more on this topic.

#3 People Want To Practice Their English With Us

Do You Speak English

We were often stopped on the street in Cuenca by Ecuadorians who wanted to practice English, and it occasionally happens in other parts of Ecuador, as well.

Expats are generally taller, lighter skinned and dress differently so we’re easy to spot. And since Ecuadorians are so friendly and welcoming, most don’t hesitate to talk to us.

Several times in Cuenca, we were stopped by college students who were tasked with asking native English speakers on the street a list of questions as part of a homework assignment. They would speak to us in English and we were instructed to respond in English so they could practice.

English is considered a lingua franca, or bridge language, which means a lot of people around the world speak it as a second language. Ecuadorians who speak English are often qualified for better jobs and tend to earn a higher income, so we’re more than happy to help them.

However, it does make it more challenging for us to learn Spanish!

If you would like to learn Spanish from an amazing instructor who was born and raised in Cuenca, we recommend Christina with Walking Spanish Lessons. We featured one of her classes in this video: Cuenca Ecuador Walking Spanish Lessons. Due to the pandemic, she is now offering classes over Zoom for remote learning. Tell her Amelia And JP sent you!

#4 There Is No Postal Delivery System in Ecuador

DHL Guayaquil Downtown

Correo del Ecuador is the official postal service in Ecuador, but it was scheduled to be liquidated in 2020 due to the high cost of running it and competition from private delivery companies. However, as of this writing, it is still in operation at limited capacity and reliability.

Both DHL and FedEx have offices throughout Ecuador in the larger cities, but they don’t offer home delivery so you need to go to a physical office to pick up a package or to send one.

Servientrega is a home delivery courier service that operates throughout Ecuador for an additional fee based on the distance they must travel to your home and the size of the package. We have confirmed with several people that this service does work, but it can be costly and it could take a week or more to get your package.

While Amazon.com claims to ship to Ecuador, the best way to ensure your package arrives is to have a friend or family member bring it with them when they visit, or use a mule service such as USAValet.net or APShipping.us. You can also find and provide mule services through the Ecuador Mule Forum on Facebook.

A home delivery postal system isn’t the only thing we miss about the United States. Check out our “10 Things We Miss About the United States as Expats in Ecuador” video for more. 

#5 Ecuador Can Be Modern And Developed

Plaza Lagos Samborondon

In the United States, we’re led to believe by the news media, movies and TV shows that most countries outside the US, Europe, Canada and Australia are very undeveloped.

When we told our family and friends we were moving to Ecuador, we fielded questions about whether our house had dirt floors and indoor plumbing. We had done the research and knew that Ecuador was more developed than that, but we’re still occasionally surprised by just how developed parts of the country are.

We featured a really upscale neighborhood in a video about Samborondón (pictured above), located just north of the Guayaquil airport. Amelia found it difficult to compose her thoughts in that video because she felt like we had been transported to Miami or San Diego.

All of the major cities in Ecuador have modern malls and business districts that would look normal anywhere in the US or other “developed” countries.

#6 Ecuador Has Awesome and Affordable Public Transportation

Cuenca Ecuador Tranvia

Quito has a relatively new subway system, Guayaquil has a new gondola system and Cuenca has a new Tranvia rail system. There are also comprehensive city and interprovincial bus systems throughout Ecuador.

All are very affordable, costing 35 to 50 cents for local fares, $1 to $3 for city-to-city fares, and less than $10 for interprovincial fares.

You can also take private busetas (small buses) and luxury buses between cities for less than $15 per ticket.

#7 It Takes a Long Time to Get From City to City in Ecuador

Blue Bus Olon

The main highways in Ecuador are paved, but most of them have 2 lanes and run through towns like the old 2-lane highways in the US.

There is no high speed interprovincial highway system that bipasses towns or cities, so the average speed for a long distance road trip is usually around 35 miles per hour (56 kph).

Several of the newer highways leading into larger cities like Guayaquil have 4 lanes, but they’re toll roads with old-school toll booths. This often means long delays while the driver waits to pay the typical $1 toll. We waited in line at a toll booth for over an hour on one trip from Cuenca to Guayaquil.

#8 Ecuador Uses The US Dollar As Its Currency

Ecuador US Dollar

One of the things that surprised us about Ecuador is that it is on the United States Dollar.

Ecuador uses the exact same currency as the US, which makes it a really easy transition for US American expats because we don’t have to do any currency conversion math in our heads!

Unlike the US, Ecuador uses dollar coins far more than dollar bills, and half dollars are very common. They also have some of their own coins based on the obsolete Ecuadorian Sucre, which was replaced with the US dollar back in 2000 when the Sucre had essentially become worthless due to hyperinflation.

These coins are the same size as the US half dollar, quarter, nickel and dime, but they have images of prominent Ecuadorian historical figures rather than US presidents.

Ecuador Coins Sucre

Ecuador is not the only country that is on the dollar. In total, there are 5 US territories and 7 sovereign nations that use the US dollar as their official currency.

This is just one of the many reasons we chose Ecuador for our expat life abroad. To learn about the other reasons, check out our article: Should You Consider Living Abroad in Ecuador?

#9 There Are A Lot Of Expat Owned Businesses in Ecuador

MOMO Olon Ecuador

Most expats who move to Ecuador are retired, but many come here to start a business, like Anahi from Argentina and Johan from Sweden. They owned a restaurant in Vilcabamba before they moved to Olón, where they started MOMO, a gourmet restaurant and specialty food shop.

Here’s a list of several expat businesses in Ecuador:

Some of these expat companies are full time businesses with full time income, while others are hobby businesses providing supplemental income.

The Ecuadorian government and citizens are very happy when expats move to Ecuador and start businesses, especially when they create jobs.

They aren’t as appreciative if the business only caters to the expat community, which fosters an “expat bubble.” If you start a business in Ecuador, try to involve the local community as much possible.

#10 Ecuadorians Are Incredibly Warm And Welcoming

Luis Cuenca Ecuador

Not long after we started our expat life in Ecuador, this gentleman (Luis) stopped us on the street to say hello and welcome us to his country. He was a native Ecuadorian who lived in the US for several years and wanted to speak English with us.

Before long, several members of his family had joined us on the street to talk to us. They asked if we would like to join them for a cerveza in their yard where several people were enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

We told him how much we loved his country and it brought tears to his eyes. He told us, “mi país es su país,” which means, “my country is your country.”

That was the first time we heard that phrase, but it wasn’t the last. Even before we started our YouTube Channel, we heard that phrase often from welcoming Ecuadorians. And we see it even more in the comments on our videos.

If you are friendly and make an attempt to speak Spanish, the Ecuadorian people will be very warm and welcoming to you. In their culture, they never meet a stranger.

Expat Life in Ecuador

We did a lot of research about expat life in Ecuador before we moved here. We watched as many videos and read as many articles as we could find. However, they didn’t do this magical country justice.

Even though we thought we were prepared and knew what to expect, we were still surprised about several aspects of expat life in Ecuador. We do our best with our YouTube Channel and this website to share what expat life is really like in Ecuador, but we know it’s impossible to accurately reflect it. You really need to experience it for yourself.

You may also enjoy the articles in our Start Here Series, which covers a wide variety of topics about moving to and living in Ecuador.


Planning a move to Ecuador?

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News & Current Events from Ecuador

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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.

Get Even More Guidance!

Want to be an expat? You're not alone! We have a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and provide support to help take the mystery out of your move.

While we provide a lot of extra value for your membership, the real benefit is the support your contribution offers to us. Your generosity and reciprocity helps us continue creating more videos, articles and content about expats and Ecuador!

Weather In Ecuador & Best Time to Visit Ecuador

Many of our YouTube Channel viewers are curious about the weather in Ecuador, the best time to visit Ecuador, and what to pack for a visit to Ecuador, so we’ll shed some light on those topics in this article.

Since Ecuador is located on the equator in a tropical region, most people expect it to be hot, wet and humid like the Congo or Indonesia. However, the weather in Ecuador is much more complicated and nuanced than that.

The weather in the Amazon Rainforest that occupies the entire eastern side of Ecuador is much different than the weather in the high Andes mountain range that runs north and south through the center of the country, which is also much different than weather in the Pacific coastal region occupying the western third of Ecuador.

Ecuador Topographical Map

And, of course, the Galapagos Islands located about 600 miles (965 kilometers) west of the Ecuadorian mainland has its own weather patterns, although similar to the Pacific coastal region.

The weather in Ecuador, the best time to visit and what to pack for your trip depends largely on what part of Ecuador you want to travel to or live in, but before we discuss that, you’ll want to understand how Ecuadorians define the seasons, which may not be what you expect.

Winter vs. Summer in Ecuador

If you’ve been watching our videos for a while, you’ve heard us refer to “the dark days of winter” and “the hot days of summer.” If you’re from the US or Canada, you have a pretty solid understanding of these two seasons: It’s cold in the winter and it’s hot in the summer.

But what if you grow up someplace where the daylight hours are always the same, and the high temperatures between winter and summer vary by less than 10 degrees F (5 C)?

We’ve received numerous comments from Ecuadorians who tell us that we have the seasons backwards. According to our native viewers, winter is from December to May and summer is from June through November. That’s the same as it is in the US and elsewhere in the northern hemisphere.

However, most of Ecuador is in the southern hemisphere, which defines its winter and summer as the opposite of the northern hemisphere.

For example, winter in Chile and Argentina is from June 21st to September 21st; that’s when it’s cold and it snows. Summer is from December 21st to March 21st; that’s when it’s hot and sunny.

The picture below of Amelia dripping with sweat in her bikini top was taken on February 16, 2020 during what Ecuadorians call “winter.”

Winter In Ecuador

Winter In Ecuador

Summer In Ecuador

Summer In Ecuador

The picture of Amelia wearing a jacket during lunch at South Indian Restaurant one block off the beach was taken on August 10, 2020 during what Ecuadorians call “summer.”

The scientific definition of “summer” states that it’s the warmest time of year, while “winter” is defined as the coldest time of year. The hot and cold season may vary by location, but the definition of winter and summer remains the same, at least according to science.

But in Ecuador, winter is defined as the rainy season, even though it’s hot and sunny most of the time, while summer is defined as the dry season, even though it’s cooler and cloudy most of the time.

These definitions of winter and summer may not make sense to us North Americans, but that’s how Ecuadorians define them. When in Rome, do as the Romans do so we will now be referring to the sunny, hot, wet “winter” season as the hot season and the cloudy, cooler, dry “summer” season as the cold season to hopefully minimize confusion with our North American and European viewers who might be planning a trip here.

Weather In Ecuador

Despite the numerous microclimates in Ecuador, for the most part, it’s hot or at least warmer from December through May, and cooler and cloudier from June through November.

It rains more from December through May, but it’s also much sunnier with most of the rain occuring at night or in spurts rather than daily. Ecuador does not have a monsoon season like other tropical regions.

Weather In Cuenca Ecuador (and the Mountains)

Cuenca Ecuador Weather

Moisture evaporates in the Amazon Rainforest and is condensed by the high Andes mountains, which explains why most of the mountain cities such as Cuenca and Quito are often cloudy.

Also, due to the high elevation with Cuenca sitting at 8,400 feet (2.560 meters) and Quito sitting at 9,350 feet (2.850 meters), it’s often much cooler than you might expect from an equatorial region.

In the chart above from the World Meteorological Organization showing average weather stats in Cuenca, the red line indicates the average high temperatures (64-72°F / 18-22°C) while the blue line indicates the average low temperatures (48-52°F / 9-11°C).

These are just averages. It occasionally drops below 40°F (4°C) during the cold season in Cuenca, and above 85°F (29°C) during the hot season.

The turquoise bars represent average monthly rainfall (1-5 inches / 20-123 mm). The months with the most rain are March and April, but again, it’s sunnier during those months, too.

Humidity is not very noticeable in Cuenca due to the high elevation, but the UV index is very high so remember your sunscreen, hat and/or umbrella even if you’re just taking a short walk around town.

The lower mountain cities like Vilcabamba are much warmer and drier than Cuenca and Quito, and there are several mountain micro-climates that are very desert-like. However, you can expect similar weather conditions throughout most of the high mountain region of Ecuador.

Weather In Guayaquil Ecuador (and the Coast)

Guayaquil Ecuador Weather

The coastal region of Ecuador also has numerous micro-climates. Driving from Guayaquil west toward the coast and north to Manta, you’ll pass through deserts, jungles and rainforests multiple times. However, the general weather throughout the coastal region is similar to Guayaquil.

In the chart above from the World Meteorological Organization showing average weather stats in Guayaquil, the red line indicates the average high temperatures (84-90°F / 29-32°C) while the blue line indicates the average low temperatures (68-75°F / 20-24°C).

Again, these are just averages. It occasionally drops below 60°F (15°C) during the cold season in Guayaquil, and above 95°F (35°C) during the hot season.

The turquoise bars represent average monthly rainfall (0-13 inches / 1-332 mm). The months with the most rain are February and March.

It’s also sunnier throughout the year in Guayaquil and much of the coastal region than it is in the mountains with a few micro-climate exceptions.

For instance, due to the low mountain range east of Olón that runs about 20 miles (32 kilometers) along the coast, the towns from Manglaralto north past Ayampe experience more clouds and cooler temperatures from June through November than other areas in the coastal region. Both Manta and Salinas are much sunnier and warmer, similar to Guayaquil.

Humidity varies a lot depending on the weather and the season. During the hot season when it rains more, the humidity is much higher while it tends to be lower during the dry season.

During one of our visits to Guayaquil, it was very dry one day, cloudy and humid the next day, then dry again on the third day. Since much of the coastal region is desert-like, you won’t notice as much humidity as you might expect for a country located in the tropics.

I grew up in eastern Kansas south of Kansas City, spent a lot of time in north-central Texas, and lived in northern Virginia. The humidity in the coastal region of Ecuador is nothing like it is in the eastern and central United States when the air is so thick you can barely breathe.

Weather In Puyo Ecuador (and the Amazon)

The Ecuadorians refer to the Amazon region as El Oriente, which got its name from the original Ecuadorian government in 1861.

The province of El Oriente originally contained the two cantons (counties) of Napo and Canelos, but it was dissolved in 1920 by the local canton governments. However, Ecuadorians still refer to the region as El Oriente.

According to ClimatesToTravel.com, Puyo, Ecuador and the other cities/towns in the Amazon have similar weather throughout the year without many seasonal variations. Puyo sits at 3,300 feet (1.000 meters) above sea level, so it’s a bit cooler than the lower elevation areas in the eastern part of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

High temperatures in Puyo range from 77-81°F (25-27°C) with low temperatures ranging from 61-63°F (16-17°C). As you might imagine, it rains a lot in the Amazon Rainforest with average monthly rainfall ranging from 12-15 inches (295-390 mm). January and February have the least rainfall on average, with less than 12 inches (300 mm).

With all that rainfall in a tropical rainforest, it’s very hot, wet and humid in El Oriente.

Weather in The Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands Weather

In the chart above from the World Meteorological Organization showing average weather stats in the Galapagos Islands, the red line indicates the average high temperatures (79-86°F / 26-30°C) while the blue line indicates the average low temperatures (68-73°F / 20-23°C).

The turquoise bars represent average monthly rainfall (.3-4 inches / 8-107 mm). The months with the most rain are January through April, but those are also the warmest months and the best time to visit if you hope to spend time in the water.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Ecuador?

The best time to visit Ecuador in terms of weather is during the sunny season from December through May. This is especially true if you’re planning a beach vacation.

The water temperatures are mostly constant along Ecuador’s coast, ranging from 73°F (23°C) in January up to 79°F (26°C) in May. However, the cooler air temperatures combined with the ocean breeze mean it’s too chilly for most people to swim without a wetsuit during the cold season. You also won’t see enough sun from June through November to get any sort of suntan to show off when you go back home.

If your dream is to walk on miles of empty beach or go whale watching, and you couldn’t care less about swimming or suntanning, visit during the cold season from late June through early October when the Humpback Whales are passing by and the beaches are mostly empty.

Puerto Lopez Whale Watching

If you like crowds and festivities, the best times to visit Ecuador are during the first week of November during Cuenca Days, the week between Christmas and New Years, and Carnival in mid to late February. If you prefer fewer people and cheaper lodging, you might want to avoid those times.

The best time to visit the Galapagos Islands is also from December through May when the temperatures are warmer so you don’t get too cold on those amazing boating, snorkeling and diving adventures.

If you’re planning a trip to the Amazon, the time of year doesn’t matter very much since the weather is mostly the same year round.

What to Pack for Your Visit to Ecuador

The type of clothes, accessories and supplies you should pack for your visit to Ecuador depends on the area(s) you plan to visit.

What to Pack for the Mountain Region – Cuenca, Quito, etc.

San Francisco Plaza New Cathedral Cuenca Ecuador

When you’re packing for your trip to the mountain cities in Ecuador, bring clothes that you can layer. The temperature can vary widely throughout the day in the mountain cities, from 40°F (4°C) when you wake up to 85°F (30°C) by mid-afternoon when the sun is out.

It can also vary widely within the span of an hour, going from sunny and warm to cool and rainy so you always want an umbrella, rain jacket, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, water and a small backpack to carry everything. Bring comfortable shoes because Ecuadorian mountain cities are very walkable.

We don’t recommend hiking shoes or boots for the cities because the sidewalks are hard and uneven so the cleats can cause you to trip on things. However, if you plan to visit El Cajas National Park or go hiking in other natural settings, you’ll want a good pair of hikers and maybe walking sticks.

What to Pack for the Ecuador Pacific Coast, Galapagos and Amazon Regions

Guayaquil Ecuador Building Cerro Santa Ana

In general, you’ll want to pack shorts, sandals, short sleeve shirts, a hat/do-rag, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug repellant and your bathing suits when you visit the warmer regions of Ecuador.

You also may want hiking shoes and pants, as well as a backpack with a camelback for water if you’re planning any jungle hikes.

If you’re planning to visit the coast or the Galapagos during the cooler months from June through November, you may want to bring a mask, snorkeling gear, a lightweight wetsuit for swimming or surfing, a light jacket or windbreaker, and some light pants.

Conclusion

To recap, Ecuadorians call winter “summer” and summer “winter,” but we’re guests in their country so we should use the terms they’ve been taught since childhood.

However, if your goal is to lay on the beach and get a suntan or enjoy water sports, you’ll want to come during “winter,” which is from December through May. If you want to visit when there are fewer tourists and it’s more tranquilo, or you want to go humpback whale watching, the best time to visit is from June through November. The height of whale season is from July through the end of September.

What to pack for your trip to Ecuador depends largely on when you visit and where you visit, but as a general rule, pack layers and bring good shoes because you’ll be walking a lot. But don’t worry too much if you forget something because you can always buy it in Ecuador and help out the local economy.

Ecuador is a WONDERFUL place to visit as a tourist or live as an expat/immigrant. If you’re considering a move to Ecuador, you might want to checkout our Start Here Series, which is full of useful information that will help reduce the mystery of moving abroad.


Planning a move to Ecuador?

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News & Current Events from Ecuador

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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.

Get Even More Guidance!

Want to be an expat? You're not alone! We have a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and provide support to help take the mystery out of your move.

While we provide a lot of extra value for your membership, the real benefit is the support your contribution offers to us. Your generosity and reciprocity helps us continue creating more videos, articles and content about expats and Ecuador!

Guayaquil Ecuador: Hotels, Malls and Restaurants Near the Airport

If you’re planning a trip to Guayaquil Ecuador, here’s a handy guide for hotels, malls and restaurants near the Guayaquil International Airport.

In case you missed it, we shared a video on our YouTube channel about our long weekend in Guayaquil. We showed the Sheraton Hotel where we stayed, Mall del Sol where we shopped and ate, and we visited the Guayaquil airport to say goodbye to an old friend.

Several of our viewers asked for more details about our experience in Guayaquil, and especially about the price of Apple products in Think, the Apple Authorized Retailer, so that’s the focus of this article.

Guayaquil Ecuador: The 40,000 Foot Overview

Guayaquil Ecuador Building Cerro Santa Ana

General Information About Guayaquil Ecuador

We had several comments on our video about how developed Guayaquil looked. The part of town where we stayed near the airport and Mall del Sol is very “first world,” but there are large parts of the city that are still very poor and underdeveloped.

Miles of sprawling barrios with cinder block houses line the highway heading west out of town fulfilling the stereotype that many US Americans have about developing nations. However, some parts of Ecuador’s major cities feel just like any other developed city in the US, Canada or Europe.

Guayaquil and Quito (the capital city) are roughly the same size with about 3 million people. Guayaquil is Ecuador’s major economic driver and is home to Ecuador’s largest port.

Tourist Attractions in Guayaquil Ecuador

Guayaquil also has a number of popular tourist attractions, such as the Malecón 2000, Cerro Santa Ana (Santa Ana Hill), Cerro Blanco and Parque Histórico in Samborondón. These areas are well guarded and very safe during the day.

Safety in Guayaquil Ecuador

Guayaquil is also Ecuador’s most dangerous city with a high crime rate compared to other major cities in Ecuador. However, Guayaquil is still safer then the most dangerous cities in the US, such as Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit and Baltimore.

Most of Guayaquil’s crime occurs in the lower income areas of town, so if you stay in the more developed areas and don’t walk around the city at night, you’ll minimize your risk.

The two main causes for concern as tourists are pickpockets and taxi drivers. Always keep your possessions secure in locked zippers or safety belts. It’s best to leave your valuables in the hotel safe, but you’ll be fine taking pictures with your phone. Just pay attention to your surroundings.

We recommend using the Uber or Cabify apps to request cabs in Guayaquil, or use the hotel drivers/shuttles. These are much safer options than hailing cabs on the street since there will be a record of the fare.

Unfortunately, whether true or not, Guayaquil taxi drivers have a reputation of driving unsuspecting tourists to a bad part of town, taking all of their belongings, and leaving them to fend for themselves. We have never met anyone who has experienced this, but we regularly get comments on our videos about this type of crime from Ecuadorians who live in Guayaquil so it’s something to keep in mind.

Hotels Near the Guayaquil Airport

There are several hotels near the Guayaquil airport that are also conveniently located to malls and restaurants.

Air Suites Hotel Guayaquil Airport (Low Budget)

Air Suites Hotel Guayaquil Ecuador

The Air Suites Hotel in Guayaquil is only a few blocks from the airport, it’s very affordable and they accept pets. We’ve stayed their several times and it typically costs about $35/night.

The rooms are small, but very clean and the location is convenient to the airport, but there aren’t many dining options nearby and no one speaks English who works there. They do offer a limited breakfast.

We walked about 8 blocks to Mall del Sol for dinner one evening while it was still light, but we wouldn’t recommend walking there or back after dark. You can take a cab for about $2.

Holiday Inn Hotel Guayaquil Airport

Holiday Inn Guayaquil Ecuador Airport

We’ve never stayed at the Holiday Inn Guayaquil Airport, but it has been recommended to us by friends and viewers. It’s walking distance from the airport, making it the most convenient. Rooms run $80 to $100/night.

The Sheraton Hotel

The Sheraton Hotel

We often stay at the Sheraton Hotel across the street from Mall del Sol when we visit Guayaquil. It’s close to the airport, it has a walking bridge to the mall, and it’s now part of Marriott so we get points that we can use on future trips.

The hotel rooms are extremely luxurious and the hotel itself is very high end. We usually pay $70 to $100/night to sleep in arguably the most comfortable bed we’ve ever had. In Denver, rooms in a comparable hotel would easily be more than $300/night!

The people who work the front desk/check-in counter speak English, but most of the other staff does not. English is spoken by a lot of people in Cuenca, but not in other parts of Ecuador, so it’s a good idea to study your Spanish and bring a translator app with you when you travel throughout Ecuador.

Courtyard by Marriott Guayaquil

Marriott Courtyard Guayaquil Ecuador

UPDATE: The Courtyard by Marriott Guayaquil by San Marino Mall is no longer in operation, an apparent casualty of the pandemic and quarantine. We’re disappointed to learn that it has closed because it was a really nice hotel in a great location.

None of these hotels offer many food items for speciality diets so you won’t find a lot of vegan or gluten-free options on the menu. They cater to a largely international and wealthy Ecuadorian audience who tends to eat traditional fare.

Malls Near the Guayaquil Ecuador Airport

There are several high-end malls and shopping areas near the Guayaquil Ecuador international airport.

Mall del Sol

Mall del sol

Our viewers were especially surprised by Mall del Sol. You could drop this mall anywhere in the United States and people wouldn’t know it was from Ecuador. It even has a lot of the same stores and fast food dining options as any mall in the US, including Fossil, Clarks, Forever 21, McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, etc. This mall also has a Sukasa, which is a home store similar to a Crate & Barrel.

Think Authorized Premium Apple Reseller

Premium Apple Seller

We were really impressed with the customer service at Think, an Apple Authorized Premium Reseller and Repair Center. They were very knowledgeable about the products and very eager to help us with my laptop, which had a battery recall.

Below, I’ve included a few photos of the price and specs labels for the iMac and MacBook Pro (as of August 2020). Unlike a true Apple Store back in the US, Think only has a couple of options available in the store with a VERY limited color selection for each type of device.

The prices are also a lot higher. For example, the 21.5 inch 3.0 GHz iMac at Think costs $2,005 while it’s listed for $1,499 on the Apple website. That’s about 50% more. The base 13 inch MacBook Pro model costs $2,364 at Think while it’s listed for $1,299 on the Apple website. That’s almost double the price!

You’ll also notice that the prices are prominently shown with financing, which is extremely common in Ecuador. You can finance EVERYTHING. Even $20 toasters! However, you get a steep discount for paying in cash or charging it to your credit card.

iMac MacBook Pro Prize MacBook Pro Prize

San Marino Mall Guayaquil

San Marino Mall Guayaquil Ecuador

San Marino Mall is very similar to Mall del Sol, although it feels a bit more compact and crowded. It has many of the same international chain stores that you’ll find in malls throughout Ecuador’s major cities. It also has a nice food court with a Noe Sushi.

Plaza Lagos Town Center in Samborondón

Plaza Lagos Samborondon

Plaza Lagos Town Center is a high-end outdoor mall in the upscale Samborodón township located about 10 minutes by cab north of the Guayaquil Airport. We’re constantly amazed  by how developed parts of Ecuador are and we like to bust the “3rd world” myth whenever we have the chance.

This outdoor mall is one of the nicest we’ve seen, ANYWHERE! The stores and restaurants are VERY fancy! And expensive! You can expect to pay United States/European prices at this mall, which is a popular place for wealthy Ecuadorians to see and be seen.

Restaurants Near the Guayaquil Ecuador Airport

There are lots of restaurants to choose from near the Guayaquil Ecuador airport, mostly located in or around the three nearby malls.

Restaurants in Mall del Sol Guayaquil Ecuador

Mall del Sol has a big food court with a bunch of typical unhealthy American fast food chains, but we were really surprised at the healthy food options in the mall. The Freshii where we ate for lunch was delicious, and a place called Biscuits by Nané in the same area was equally good.

Both had loads of vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and traditional fare that would be considered fast casual like a Chipotle or Tokyo Joe’s in the US. Our lunch at Freshii cost $19.94, which included two entrees and two bottles of water.

Our favorite “treat” place to eat in Ecuador is Noe Sushi. We typically pay $60 to $80 to eat dinner there, depending on how hungry and “thirsty” we are. We often enjoy a carafe of saki, which is $15 for a large. Saki is quite a bit more expensive in Ecuador because it’s imported. A glass of wine costs about $6.

A typical meal like this back in Denver would easily cost over $120.

Noe Sushi

Saki

There are also several restaurants located next to the Sheraton hotel, including a Red Lion.

Restaurants in San Marino Mall Guayaquil Ecuador

San Marino Mall has a large food court with a variety of Ecuadorian and traditional fare restaurants. They also have a restaurant called Go Green (there’s also one in the Mall del Sol food court) that is similar to a Chipotle with bowls, burritos and salads.

The San Marino Mall also has a Noe Sushi and several other restaurants located in the area near the mall.

Restaurants in Plaza Lagos Town Center Mall

Plaza Lagos Restaurant Samborondon

We had a delicious lunch with some Aperol Spritzers at Tinta Café in our Samborondón video. The mall has several high-end restaurants that serve mostly traditional fare: American, Italian, Mexican, etc. They even have a Sweet & Coffee and a wine bar, but they have very few options for special diets. You can expect to pay similar prices as the United States at these stores and restaurants.

Conclusion

If you’re flying into Guayaquil Ecuador and plan to stay overnight or for several days to enjoy the tourist attractions, you’ll find lots of options for nice hotels, malls and restaurants near the Guayaquil airport.

That part of the city is very well developed and mostly safe during the day, but you’ll want to take common sense precautions just like you would in any major city to avoid being the victim of a crime, especially pickpocketing.

The cost of living in Ecuador is low, but the cost of things are high. Restaurants, hotels and public transportation (including taxis) are much more affordable, although there are a few exceptions like Plaza Lagos. However, anything with a plug, especially electronics, are 30-100% more expensive in Ecuador than the United States, and you’ll find a smaller selection with fewer options.

However, if you plan to stay in Ecuador, it’s easier to get things repaired if you buy them here, so you have to weigh the hassle of servicing things against the higher cost of buying them.

Most people don’t realize that Ecuador has a lot of wealthy people and a growing middle class (at least before the pandemic). While a large percentage of the population lives in poverty, it’s not a nation of poor people as the news media portrays it. We really enjoy showing the higher end areas as a contrast to our rural beach town and they also help bust the “3rd world” myth.


Planning a move to Ecuador?

Our Ecuador Expat Fast Track eCourse is now live! Join more than 100 people who have already signed up!

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

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News & Current Events from Ecuador

Ecuador Costs of Moving and Living

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.

Get Even More Guidance!

Want to be an expat? You're not alone! We have a supportive community of current and future expats who are eager to share their experiences, answer questions and provide support to help take the mystery out of your move.

While we provide a lot of extra value for your membership, the real benefit is the support your contribution offers to us. Your generosity and reciprocity helps us continue creating more videos, articles and content about expats and Ecuador!

How to Work Remotely as a Digital Nomad or Digital Expat (from ANYWHERE in the world)

How to Work Remotely as a Digital Nomad or Digital Expat is a topic that is gaining more and more interest each day. Due to the pandemic and the shuttering of offices worldwide, which has caused a massive growth in the number of people working from home, it has become even more feasible to work remotely from anywhere in the world.

While it is possible to earn income from a job in another country, there are other options that may allow you to earn more money working fewer hours. Plus, you can start before you leave home so you minimize your risk of moving abroad and ensure a smooth landing in your new expat destination.

Is Getting a Job Abroad Realistic?

While it is possible to get a job abroad, it may not be the best option to earn income as an expat, especially in countries like Ecuador. Here’s why.

Local Language Fluency if Often Required

Local Language

Most businesses require their employees to be fluent in the local language because most of their customers do not speak English. If you’re not fluent in the local language, it will be very difficult to find a job.

This is especially true in Ecuador where Spanish is the official language. Even though Cuenca has a lot of English speaking Ecuadorians, most people don’t speak English and even fewer speak la lingua franca in other places outside Cuenca.

In fact, according to the 2020 English Proficiency Index for Latin America released by Education First, Ecuador ranks LAST for English proficiency out of the 19 countries in the study.

Spanish fluency is a requirement to get a job at most businesses in Ecuador, as well as in other Spanish speaking countries.

A Specialized Skill Set is Often Needed

Doctor

If you have a specialized skill set or education, you may be able to get a job and have a translator supplied for you. For example, Ecuador has a foreign doctor program that encourages doctors to move to Ecuador.

There are also programs to teach a foreign language to students in Ecuador, but the pay is very low: $4 to $5/hour.

When we were doing research to move abroad, we briefly considered New Zealand and Australia. However, even though we have marketable skill sets for available jobs in those countries, they have age and health requirements for immigrants that we didn’t meet.

You may have a specialized skill set that qualifies you for a job abroad, but the pay may be very low and there may be other factors that prevent you from getting a job in your preferred country.

You Might Need a Visa That Allows You to Work Remotely

You need a visa type that allows you to work in another country. Some visa types are specifically for work, others allow you to work, and others prevent you from working.

We have a Professional Visa in Ecuador, which allows us to work remotely, as well as get a local job, if we want to. Ecuador also has a Volunteer Visa that allows you to work as an unpaid volunteer, and a Work Visa that must be sponsored by an employer.

You’re allowed to work remotely in Ecuador with most of the temporary resident visa types, but the same is not true in other countries.

You Might Need to Pay Local Income Taxes

Income Tax

If you get a job abroad, you also need to pay income taxes to the country and province where the income is earned. If you work remotely and earn income online from clients in other parts of the world, you may not owe any local taxes.

In Ecuador, any income earned from companies based outside Ecuador is not taxable inside Ecuador. That not only saves you money, but it saves you the hassle of filing tax returns in Spanish.

Most Low Cost Countries Also Pay Low Wages

Low Pay

In popular expat destinations like Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Belize, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, etc., the local wages are very low. It’s difficult to earn enough money from a job to live even a basic American middle class lifestyle in many countries.

The minimum wage for a full time job in Ecuador is $415/month (2021). That’s about $2.59/hour. Moving from a country like the United States to Ecuador with a monthly budget of $415 before taxes will likely be a drastically different lifestyle for you.

We recommend a budget of at least $500/month/person after taxes for a basic lifestyle in Ecuador, and a budget of $800/month/person after taxes for a more comfortable middle class lifestyle.

See More: Cost of Living In Ecuador (2020)

You Might Have Stiff Competition

Stiff Competition

Being a foreigner is often a hindrance to finding a job. This is especially true when there is stiff competition for work, which is common in most developing countries.

Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and other countries in this region have a lot of Venezuelan refugees who need work. Ecuador is prioritizing Venezuelan work visas so they can get jobs here and start paying into the social systems they’re using.

Since they already speak fluent Spanish and they’re willing to work for low wages, they are stiff competition to other foreigners looking for the same jobs.

If your dream of becoming an expat hinges on finding a full time job abroad, you might want to start thinking about Plan B.

How to Work Remotely & Make Money Living Abroad

If finding a job abroad isn’t the best option, then what is? Working remotely as a digital nomad or digital expat might be easier than you think. Here are several options.

Work Remotely from Anywhere in the World with Your Current Job

Work Remotely

One way to work remotely is to convert your day job into a virtual job. This is the most viable option for earning income abroad, as long as your employer will allow it.

Amelia works remotely for a commercial lighting company back in Denver, Colorado. She manages their sales CRM tools, sales incentives and manufacturer visits. 100% of her job can be done online.

When we lived in Denver, she worked in the office about 20% of the time and at home the other 80% of the time. When we decided to leave Denver, she told her bosses that she needed to be 100% virtual and thankfully they were ok with that.

Having Amelia’s full American salary while living in a low cost country like Ecuador has allowed us to pay down the debt we racked up from Amelia’s student loan and the lost income following my spine surgeries.

I also work remotely, but my job as a web designer has always been virtual. When we moved to Ecuador, most of my income came from my managed web hosting clients back in the United States. They pay me a monthly fee to host and maintain their WordPress websites.

Since our YouTube Channel has grown, we’ve started earning income from ad revenue and from our patrons on Patreon. As a result, I’ve stopped taking on new web design clients so I can focus on growing our YouTube and Blog business.

We also know another expat who worked as a medical transcriptionist for a doctor’s office back in the United States. She already worked remotely so when she moved to Ecuador, her employer didn’t know she left the country. With modern communication technologies, it’s easy to appear like you’re right next door even when you’re halfway around the world.

Work Remotely Doing Online Gigs

We live in the virtual age. More and more tasks can be done online from the comfort of your home, wherever your home happens to be. You can make money working remotely as a digital nomad or digital expat as long as you have a reliable internet connection and a few basic skills.

Work Remotely as a Website or Graphic Designer

Web Design

I built my first website back in 1995 while working for Sprint in Kansas City. Since then, I’ve built hundreds of websites for small businesses, as well as some very large business management systems for large corporations and the US government. My entire career has involved web design, software development and the Internet.

However, it’s much more difficult to make a living in the web business now than it was 20 years ago due to the wide availability of virtual workers from low cost countries. As a web or graphic designer, you’ll be competing with people in countries like India, Pakistan, Russia and China where the cost of living is a fraction of that in the United States or Canada.

It used to be common to charge thousands of dollars to build a relatively simple brochureware website. Now, you’ll be lucky to get a few hundred dollars, assuming you don’t lose the job to someone in India who will do it for $50.

To be honest, web design is a loss leader these days. It’s a way to get a business onboard with a web hosting, managed web hosting, SEO or social media management monthly subscription service.

My clients have paid me far more in managed hosting fees over the past several years than the original cost of building their website. Once I get a client onboard with managed hosting, they rarely leave. If they do cancel their service, it’s usually because they decided to delete the website or close the business.

If you’re in the web design business and don’t offer a monthly subscription service, you’re leaving most of your revenue on the table.

If you’ve never done web or graphic design, I don’t recommend starting now unless you live in a low cost country and can live on a small income. It also takes years of experience to become really good and efficient.

Check UpWork.com, Freelancer.com and Fiverr.com for web and graphic design of gigs.

Work Remotely as a Content Writer

Constant-Content

The web is made of content. Although video and images are extremely popular, the written word still dominates search results and eyeballs. In order to stay relevant, a website needs to produce high quality content on a regular basis. That means companies need writers.

The easiest way to get paid to write while working remotely is on websites like Constant Content, UpWork.com and Fiverr.com. If you’re a good writer with a broad range of experience or the ability to research, you can make a decent living writing content for other companies.

A few years ago, I submitted two business articles to Constant Content, which were subsequently purchased for roughly $80. I spent about 4 hours writing them, so my pay rate was about $20/hour. Not bad.

As an expat, you’ll also have valuable and unique experiences for the readers of International Living and similar media outlets. IL pays up to $350 if they publish one of your articles.

Some people make a full time salary by writing articles for companies and content brokers so this is a viable option for how to work remotely and make money living abroad as a digital nomad or digital expat, as long as you’re a good writer.

Work Remotely as a Social Media Manager

Social-Media-Manager

Business social media accounts require constant attention. In order to stay top-of-mind, companies need to post relevant and interesting content to their social feeds throughout the day and week.

A lot of companies, especially small businesses, don’t have the bandwidth to handle this time consuming and tedious workload so they outsource it to social media managers who are experts at getting attention online.

If you live on social media and understand how to attract eyeballs with your posts, this may be a viable way to earn income abroad as a digital nomad or digital expat.

Check UpWork.com, Freelancer.com and Fiverr.com for social media manager gigs.

Create Video and Podcast Transcription/Subtitles

The need for transcription services is a rapidly growing. There are millions of YouTube Channels and Podcasts that need transcriptions, translations, closed captions and subtitles for three main reasons: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the hearing impaired, and foreign language speakers.

Transcriptions for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO

YouTube uses a pretty sophisticated speech-to-text transcription system, but it’s still not very accurate, especially with foreign sounding names. It rarely understands the names of towns and businesses here in Ecuador when it attempts to generate automated English subtitles for our videos; however, it needs the subtitles to accurately optimize our videos for search results.

For example, the city of Guayaquil is often translated as “why I kill.” That’s actually a decent phonetic translation, but it’s obviously a very bad phrase to have in our subtitles for both SEO purposes, as well as the hearing impaired.

If names are misspelled or words are inaudible to the non-human transcription system, our videos won’t be as easily discovered in search results. Most large channels and podcasts with meaningful income streams pay humans to transcribe videos so they’re more accurate and more discoverable.

Closed Captions For the Hearing Impaired

Closed-Captions

It’s estimated that roughly 5% of views on YouTube are from hearing impaired viewers. That’s a lot of people who won’t be able to watch your YouTube video or listen to your podcast if you don’t have closed captions.

In addition, research shows that videos with closed captions have 12% more views and 80% more people watch them all the way to the end. As a channel or podcast continues to grow, the raw numbers associated with these percentages become huge. That means closed captions become increasingly more important as the size of your audience grows.

Translations for Foreign Language Speakers

Translations

Our VLOG is based in Ecuador, but we primarily target viewers who live back in the United States and are considering life abroad as a US expat.

We have a relatively small percentage of Spanish speakers who watch our videos, but as our channel grows, we’re getting more requests for Spanish subtitles.

Rev.com is one of the most popular transcription services. You can signup and start transcribing right now. The website charges $1/video or audio minute for English transcriptions, and $3/minute for Spanish transcriptions. They pay their transcribers $0.30-$1.10 per audio/video minute so you need to be a fast and accurate typer to earn a decent living in this field.

If you speak English and another language fluently, you can earn considerably more income by translating videos and podcasts. Even if English is your only language, you can still earn an income living abroad by transcribing videos and podcasts.

Check out Rev.com, UpWork.com and Fiverr.com for transcription and translation gigs.

Work Remotely as a Telemarketer or Customer Service Representative

Telemarketing

Several years ago, long before we considered moving abroad, I hired a telemarketer to make cold calls for my web design business. They advertised on CraigsList.org in Denver, but were based in the Dominican Republic.

The husband and wife team were both telemarketers from Southern California, but they couldn’t afford to live there as the cost of living skyrocketed, so they became expats and started working remotely from abroad.

They started in Costa Rica, but the 6 months of rain per year was too much for them so they moved to a beach town in the Dominican Republic where it’s much sunnier. With high speed internet available in most countries, it’s easy to use Skype or MagicJack to make calls anywhere in the world.

If you have the mental stamina to make cold calls, or the patience to deal with unhappy people on customer service calls, you can work remotely and earn an income abroad as a telemarketer or customer service representative.

Check FlexJobs.com, UpWork.com and similar virtual job sites for telemarketing and customer service freelance jobs. Or advertise on CraigsList and similar classified ad websites to work remotely as an independent contractor.

Teach English Online to Adults and Children

Teach-English-Online

We know several expats in Ecuador who earn the majority of their income from teaching English to Chinese children through websites like VIPKid.com. You can earn between $14 and $22/hour, but there are a few downsides.

For example, you have to commit to a certain number of hours per week so it’s not as flexible as other remote working jobs. Plus, if you’re in the western hemisphere, you’ll need to work either very early in the morning (4AM to 8AM) or very late at night (10PM to 2AM) since China is in the eastern hemisphere.

The main requirement for these types of remote working jobs is English fluency. We have a Russian friend who speaks English fluently as a second language and passed the test to teach English online so you don’t need to be a native speaker to do this online job.

Start Your Own Business Abroad

Start a Business

You may have never felt the entrepreneurial calling before, but it’s actually a great option for expats to make money living abroad. That’s because many of the products and services we take for granted back home aren’t readily available in developing countries.

While this isn’t necessarily a remote working income stream, we know lots of expat entrepreneurs. Here’s a list of several expat businesses in Ecuador:

Some of these expat companies are full time businesses with full time income, while others are hobby businesses providing supplemental income. It really depends on your skill set and your goals as to how much money you can earn from your own expat business living abroad.

How to Decide What to Do

Make-a-Decision

Deciding what type of remote working you want to do is the hardest part, especially if you’ve spent your career working a traditional white or blue collar job back in your home country.

Working remotely or starting a business may be a completely foreign concept, but there’s a really good chance you can find something that resonates with you. The real question is: How do you decide what to do?

Do What You Already Know

Do-What-You-Know

The most important point to take away from this article is to do what you already know how to do. This could be related to your career or a long-term hobby, but the key to earning income now is to start gaining expertise years ago.

If you don’t know how to touch-type, doing transcription or web design or programming probably isn’t a good option for you. To make a decent living in a typing heavy field, you need to be able to type quickly AND accurately.

If you’ve never built a website before, it’s unrealistic to think that you can start working remotely tomorrow by providing web design services. There is a steep learning curve that is masked by user-friendly web design platforms such as WordPress, SquareSpace and Wix.

It’s just not as easy as it looks and your customers will have unrealistic expectations that you’ll need to manage. If you’ve never done it before, you don’t know what you don’t know.

If you’re struggling to find something that will allow you to make money while living abroad, start by looking at what you already know how to do, as well as things you already enjoy doing. If you’re qualified to give advice on a topic, you can likely start earning income from it and work remotely from anywhere.

Identify a Demand (NOT a Need)

Dogs

There is a difference between a need and a demand. Your goal is to do something with a demand that has been unrealized or under tapped. There may be a need for a product or service, but if there isn’t demand for it, you won’t be able to earn an income from it.

For example, there is a huge need for dog and cat neutering services in Ecuador. However, there is also a cultural bias against removing a male dog’s, um, manhood. While neutering is growing in volume here, it’s mostly done on a volunteer basis because the locals aren’t willing to pay for it. That’s the difference between a need and a demand.

The list of expat businesses above are primarily successful for two reasons: the founders did what they already knew how to do, and they filled an unmet demand (not a need).

Determine If You Have What It Takes to Work Remotely

Perservance

It takes a lot of self discipline to work remotely, get your own gigs or start a business. A lot of people simply don’t have what it takes to work from home or be their own boss. They’re easily distracted and lack the motivation to work without someone breathing down their neck.

The easiest way to determine if you have what it takes is to start doing it now while you’re still at home. If you can start earning additional income while you’re still working your day job, that will prove the concept and you’ll know for certain that you have what it takes to work remotely from anywhere in the world.

Be Prepared for Hard Work and Slow Progress

Hard-Work

If you want to start an expat business or get online gigs, it will take twice as long and cost twice as much as you think it will. You need to plan for that.

Patience, determination, consistency and perseverance are required traits for entrepreneurship, regardless of where you start your business. It takes a lot of hard work to start, operate and market a new business. If you build it, no one will come unless you promote it like crazy!

Avoid Remote Working Scams

Avoid-Scams

There are lots of people selling digital nomad and work remotely snake oil. They will tell you what you want to hear and encourage you to do things at which you’re not likely to succeed.

While doing some research for this article and the related video, I found people recommending things like online poker, day trading and bitcoin investing. These ideas don’t qualify as earning an income abroad; they’re just different ways of GAMBLING abroad.

The charlatans who push these scams tell people who can barely use the Internet that they can learn how to build websites or do search engine optimization. And they’re happy to share their “secrets”…for a fee, of course.

Please don’t give your money to these con artists or believe what they say. Much of their advice is absurd and will end up costing you more money than you’ll ever make. Some people have lost their entire life savings on these scams.

Consider Multiple Streams of Income

Multiple-Streams-of-Income

We have income from Amelia’s job, my web design clients, ad revenue on YouTube and our websites, and Patreon membership fees.

Several of our friends in Cuenca teach English online while also teaching yoga and fitness, or writing content for the web.

Even if you have a stable day job back home, it’s always a good idea to have multiple streams of income in case one of them goes away unexpectedly. The same is true if you want to work remotely and earn an income living abroad.

Study the Local Language

Walking Spanish Lessons

As I mentioned before, speaking the local language is critical if you want to find a job in your new country. However, it’s also important if you want to start a business.

In Ecuador, it’s pretty easy to function with just English, but your life will be much easier and your business more successful if you can speak at least a little Spanish.

Start Before You Leave Home

Start-Now

You don’t need to wait until you arrive in your new expat home before you start working remotely or earning income online. In fact, it’s best if you start right now so you have time to prove the concept before you need the income.

If you want to earn money online, it’s easy to get started in your spare time. First determine what you want to do and then start doing it.

Don’t get buried in the busy work or worry about getting everything just right before you launch. Just start. Sign-up on a website and apply for a job or gig or start writing. See how it goes. Learn and adapt.

If you want to start a business in your new expat destination, you can get a lot of the research and planning done before you get there. Figure out where you’re going to get the products or how you’re going to provide the services. Create your brand image and write your business plan.

More importantly, start reaching out to other business owners who have already started a business abroad. Ask them questions about the process, requirements, costs, and marketing methods that work well where you want to live. You’ll be surprised at how helpful some entrepreneurs are when other aspiring entrepreneurs ask them questions.

If you’re worried about how to work remotely or earn an income living abroad as a digital nomad or digital expat, the best way to alleviate your concern is to start doing it now. You have lots of options at your fingertips and there are lots of ways to make money living anywhere in the world. The hardest part is getting started.


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