Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Answers to frequently asked questions about being an expat submitted by our patrons on Patreon and YouTube viewers.

FAQ #89 – What About FLUSHING TOILET PAPER In Ecuador?

You may have heard us talk about flushing toilet paper in Ecuador in our other YouTube videos. This has sparked a lot of questions from concerned future expats so we wanted to set the record straight.

First, it is true that throughout most of Ecuador you cannot flush the toilet paper. This is mainly due to undersized pipes in older houses and buildings, and processing plants that aren’t setup to handle TP.

If you’re someplace that can’t process TP, there will be a small covered trash can or pale next to the toilet for disposal of it. And you’ll often see a sign in bathrooms instructing you not to flush any paper down the toilet.

After traveling in many countries, we’ve found that this isn’t unusual. Parts of Mexico, several Caribbean islands, most of India and a lot of Asia can’t process TP through the sewer system.

It might seem like a big deal at first, and kind of gross, but you get used to it very quickly and it’s not as gross as you might think since the bags are scented and the cans are covered.

Second, we’ve lived in three different homes here in Ecuador: a row home in Cuenca, a condo in Olón and a condo in Manta. In all three, were were able to flush the toilet paper because the sewer systems were newer. In Olón, the condo building had a septic tank that was pumped every couple years.

If you live in newer, expat-oriented housing, you will probably be able to flush the toilet paper in Ecuador. However, if you travel a lot and stay in hostels or older buildings, you may still need to put the TP in the pale. It’s not a big deal and you’ll get used to it quickly.


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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!

FAQ #88 – Where is the BEST HEALTHCARE In Ecuador?

The best healthcare in Ecuador is located in the major cities of Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca and Manta. You’ll find top-notch doctors and hospitals in these cities, with state-of-the-art equipment and current techniques.

Many doctors speak English, and they often have nurses or other administrative staff who speak English. Your insurance broker can also help you make appointments with English-speaker healthcare professionals throughout Ecuador.

We had very positive experiences with healthcare providers in Cuenca. Since the pandemic began, we’ve done our best to avoid hospitals and doctor’s offices so we don’t have experience with healthcare outside of Cuenca.

We’ve been told by several expats that the healthcare in Cuenca is more affordable than other parts of Ecuador so lots of people travel there for medical procedures.

Both medical and dental tourism is becoming very popular in Ecuador due to the high quality and low cost of healthcare.


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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!

FAQ #87 – What About REAL ESTATE APPRECIATION In Ecuador?

Real estate appreciation in Ecuador is quite a bit different than the United States. In the U.S., the real estate market is very liquid with properties changing hands often. The volume of transactions and easy access to credit apply upward pressure to housing prices.

However, real estate in Ecuador is treated more like a savings account or long term investment, and used as a hedge against inflation.

Most real estate in Ecuador is for sale, for the right price. But that price is usually far above the assessed value because if they sell one property, they must immediately buy another because the banks only insure deposits up to $32,000. That means housing prices aren’t very negotiable and real estate doesn’t change hands very often.

Due to hyperinflation in the late 90’s and the crash of the Sucre, Ecuador’s currency at the time, most Ecuadorian’s remain distrustful of the banking institutions. People who owned real estate during the transition from the Sucre to the Dollar in 2000 fared much better than those who only had cash in the banks.

Credit is also not as easy to get in Ecuador, and the interest rates are far higher than the U.S. This means most real estate is purchased with cash or mostly cash, limiting the potential market and reducing liquidity.

Additionally, the economy in Ecuador has been very flat for the past several years and inflation (before the pandemic) was sitting around zero percent. Wages have also remained mostly stagnate.

This means the price of most things has remained very stable, and since wages haven’t increased much, you don’t see a lot of home upsizing. People tend to stay put for a long time and many live in their family homes with multiple generations under one roof.

If you buy real estate throughout most of Ecuador, you can expect very little to no price appreciation over the first 3 to 5 years.

The one exception is the coastal region due to the movement of Ecuadorians from the cooler mountain region and congested cities to coast. With more people moving to the beach, housing is in short supply, which has driven up the prices of both for sale and for rent properties.


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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!

FAQ #86 – What About ORGANIC PRODUCE In Ecuador?

You’ll find a variety of organic produce in Ecuador. The major grocery store chains like Supermaxi and Mi Comisariato have dedicated sections organic fruits and vegetables.

There are also a variety of small wellness tiendas in the major cities that sell organic produce that comes straight from the growers.

And you can also buy farm-to-table straight from organic farmers who deliver to your house or a central pickup location at weekly popup markets.

Here are a few places that sell organic produce:

If you know about other options, please post them in the comments below and we’ll add them to the list.


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!

FAQ #85 – What About UP-and-COMING Areas In Ecuador?

There are two up-and-coming areas in Ecuador that we think are positioned to grow in popularity with expats over the next few years.

Crucita Ecuador

Crucita is a beach town located just 30 minutes north of Manta and 30 minutes west of Portoviejo. It has a variety of expat housing options, from condos to single family homes to gated housing communities.

It is already popular with expats, but we expect it to become even more popular as the town continues making infrastructure improvements, such as paving roads, updating the water and sewer systems, and adding bike lanes.

The weather and beach in Crucita is also very nice, and its proximity to the Manta airport makes it an ideal destination for expats looking for a more tranquilo beach town that’s close to the amenities of a major city.

Playas Ecuador

Playas is located about an hour from Guayaquil on Ecuador’s southern coast. It has a new malecon with a wide 8 mile beach and lots of amenities like healthcare services, a shopping mall and a variety of housing options.

We think Playas will become very popular with expats over the next 5 years, especially if Marriott Hotel Resort opens on schedule in 2024. The only downside we saw was a lack of restaurant variety; it was mainly surf-n-turf and pizza. If Playas wants to appeal to the expat audience, it needs to offer more dining options.

It’s proximity to Guayaquil’s modern hospitals, shopping malls and international airport make it a great option for expats seeking the tranquilo beach life that’s just an hour away from a major city.


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!

FAQ #84 – Do I NEED to HIRE a VISA AGENT In Ecuador?

A visa agent is someone you hire to help you attain your temporary or permanent visa in Ecuador. While you don’t have to hire a visa agent, and you can go through the application process on your own, we highly recommend working with a recommended professional several reasons.

Ecuador is a Relationship Culture

All aspects of life and business in Ecuador function based on relationships. If you don’t have a relationship with someone, it’s extremely difficult to do business with them.

Visa agents have spent years cultivating relationships with the ministry employees who are responsible for processing your application. Since many of the laws are open to interpretation and the processes have no time limits, you’ll find that government officials are more flexible and expedient when they know and like the person they’re working with.

That means if you have any special circumstances, or you’re in a hurry, your application will be more likely to get an approval more quickly if you’re working with a visa agent.

The Visa Laws Constantly Change

The visa laws in Ecuador have changed at least 4 times in the 5 years since we applied for our temporary residency visa.

In fact, the laws changed right in the middle of our visa application process, which meant we had to request a new application date and gather a bunch of additional documents. Had we not been working with a visa agent, we would not have known or understood the changes, and our application would have been denied when we submitted it without the newly required documentation.

You Need to Be Fluent in Spanish

If you want to apply for a visa without the help of an agent, you need to be fluent in Spanish because we have never met a ministry worker who spoke any English.

You also need to translate the official supporting documents into Spanish. A visa agent in Ecuador can help you translate the documentation and act as a translator at your visa application appointment.

From our experience and from stories we’ve been told, it’s easier and less stressful to pay a visa agent to help you, especially if you’re not fluent in Spanish.

We’re happy to introduce you to our recommend visa agent. Tell us more here…


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!

FAQ #83 – Why Do You Say AMERICANS?

We’re often corrected by angry Central and South Americans when we call ourselves “Americans.” Their argument is that everyone in North, Central and South America is “American” and the implication is that we’re elitist for only using the term to refer to people from the United States of America.

The Spanish language has a specific word used to label people from the United States: Estadounidense or abbreviated as EE. UU. However, the English language has no such word. Instead, people from all over the world refer to us simply as “Americans.” Wherever we go in the world, people call us Americans.

If you’re from Ecuador, you likely call yourself Ecuadorian, not American. If you’re from Colombia, you likely call yourself Colombian, not American. If you’re from Brazil, you likely call yourself Brazilian, not American.

“American” is just a shorter way to say, “United States of American.” The term was assigned and adopted long ago by people who didn’t have an issue with the name’s semantics.

So to keep things simple and reduce confusion, we will continue to call ourselves American since there is no other word that is used and understood by our worldwide audience.


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!

FAQ #82 – Why EXPAT Instead of IMMIGRANT?

We’re often criticized for calling ourselves expats instead of immigrants. The implication is that we think we’re superior or elitist, but this has nothing to do with it. We’re happy to call ourselves immigrants in Ecuador, but we also want our content to show up in Google search results.

What Is An Expat?

Expat is short for expatriate, which is an old term that was used to describe someone who worked for a government or corporation and moved abroad to perform a job duty in another country.

However, it has since become a much broader term, and is now used to refer to anyone who leaves their home country to live in another country, including digital nomads, remote workers and retirees.

Fundamentally, an expat is anyone who LEAVES their home country to live abroad.

What Is An Immigrant?

The term “immigrant” has a negative connotation now, especially in the U.S., but it wasn’t always that way. Both North and South America are two entire continents full of immigrants.

Immigration used to be a sign of courage, fearlessness and adventure. Now, the term is more commonly associated with people trying to illegally enter a country.

We prefer to embrace the traditional meaning of the word immigrant, which refers to someone who moves TO another country.

The salient difference between the words expat and immigrant (and they’re just words) is that an expat LEAVES their home country while an immigrant MOVES TO another country.

That means we’re BOTH expats from the U.S. and immigrants in Ecuador. And we’re happy calling ourselves immigrants!

Why We Use the Term Expat Instead of Immigrant

However, we will continue to use the term expat in our videos and articles for one critical reason: We want our content to be found on Google. It’s that simple.

Our primary audience lives in the U.S. and Canada. If you do a search on Google and type in the term “Ecuador immigrant,” you’ll get a bunch of search results about Ecuadorians who moved to the U.S., either legally or illegally.

If you want to find information about moving TO Ecuador from the U.S. or Canada, you need to use the term “Ecuador expat” or Google won’t show you anything useful.

Therefore, we must use the term “expat” in our content or no one will find us, and we put an awful lot of work into this for it not to be found by people who really want it.


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!

FAQ #81 – Why Is It BAD TO OVERPAY In Ecuador?

We often talk about getting price gauged or “gringoed” in Ecuador, and the importance of negotiating a fair price rather than just accepting the opening offer. This is more than friendly advice to prevent you from overpaying; it’s actually BAD to overpay for things in Ecuador.

Overpaying Causes Inflation

First, overpaying can cause inflation. Let’s say you go to the mercado to buy a papaya and the going rate is $1, but the vendor sees that you’re a gringo who isn’t fluent in Spanish and quotes you $2.

You happily pay the $2 because that’s still $5 less than you would pay back in the U.S. for a smaller, less juicy papaya that was picked green, coated with chemicals, and has no flavor.

However, now the vendor knows some people will pay $2 for a papaya and starts quoting that to everyone, even locals. Most locals will negotiate the price down, but may not all the way to $1. They might offer $1.50, which means the price of papayas has just gone up by 50%, at least with that particular vendor.

Haircuts may be a more accurate real life example. The going rate for a regular haircut is $5 to $10, depending on the style and cut.

I went to a barber shop back in Denver before I started shaving my head and they charged me $35 to give me a buzz cut! It took 5 minutes! After I left, I went across the street to Walgreens and bought a special head razor for $15 and started shaving my own head!

If you move to Ecuador and think $35 or more is a typical price for a haircut, you may feel like you’re taking advantage of Ecuadorian hair stylists by only paying $5 or $10, but that’s the going rate. If gringos always pay more, the barber might raise their prices for everyone, even locals.

It’s easy to see how overpaying could cause inflation for lots of things, especially services like haircuts, massages, private drivers, landscaping, housekeeping, etc. The more gringos overpay, the more Ecuadorians will start charging EVERYONE, or at least using the higher price as a starting point for negotiations.

As immigrants in a foreign country, our goal should be to blend in and adapt to the local customs and culture; not change them, especially if they might cause financial hardship on the local citizens.

Overpaying Causes Gringo Preference

Let’s say you’re a private driver and you know that gringos always pay more than the going rate for your transportation services, either because they don’t know how to negotiate, they don’t speak Spanish well enough to negotiate, or they think your services are really cheap compared to their home country.

Now let’s say you’re driving down the road and see two different people with their hands up waving for you to stop. The first is an Ecuadorian and the second is a gringo (we’re usually very easy to tell apart from a distance).

Who do you stop to pick up? Do you stop for the local who will pay the going rate? Or do you drive past the local and stop for the gringo who will likely overpay?

As a driver, you would surely appreciate earning more income from the time you spend driving someone from point A to point B, but as a local who got passed up for a gringo, it could cause a lot of resentment. Especially if this happens often.

The last thing we want to do is cause resentment or lower the quality of life for local Ecuadorians.

It’s Not Racist. It’s the Free Market.

People have told us that price gouging is racist because some Ecuadorians overcharge simply because we’re white. This is a gross misrepresentation and misinterpretation of what’s happening.

Like many countries around the world, Ecuador has a culture of negotiation. It’s also a culture of relationships. Most vendors start high and expect to negotiate the price down. They also tend to charge less if they know you, and more if they think you’re wealthy.

As a foreigner, you may not be used to negotiating the price, and the vendors certainly won’t know who you are, at least at first. And as a gringo, they may think you’re wealthy since a lot of gringos overpay and flaunt their wealth (even if they don’t have any).

However, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a gringo or an Ecuadorian. It’s standard operating procedure for vendors to start by quoting a higher price than they’re willing to accept so they leave room for negotiation.

They aren’t being racist when you agree to overpay. The free market sets the price, the vendor sets the starting point, and it’s up to you to negotiate it down, and potentially walk away if you can’t agree.

How To Avoid Overpaying

The key to not overpaying for products or services in Ecuador or any other country that has a culture of negotiation is to negotiate the price BEFORE you take possession.

That means you need to ask how much the papaya costs BEFORE you pick it up and certainly before you say you want to buy it. Say, “Cuanto cuesta?” to get the price and offer less. If you’re getting gringoed, they’ll come down on the price. If it’s the going rate, they won’t negotiate. If you don’t want to pay that much, go to another vendor.

When you need a ride and wave down a taxi, tell them where you’re going and ask how much it will cost BEFORE you get in the car. Most cities/areas in Ecuador have flat rates, while other areas use meters with minimum fares.

In Cuenca, the minimum fare is $2.50, but they use a meter to track the cost by mile + time over that (make sure they turn on the meter when you get in or they’ll charge you $5).

In Manta, most fares are $2 and we rarely see a meter. In Olón, the minimum fare is $1.50 to go local or one town away. The price goes up from there. Ask around when you arrive so you’ll know what the local fares are. Then you’ll know if you need to negotiate.

We went into a neighborhood eye doctor and glass store recently. We knew that the typical rate for an eye exam is $25 so when they quoted $50, I said, “Ese es muy caro” and we walked out.

That was blatant price gouging, but I knew what a fair price was and they lost my business. Maybe next time, they won’t quote twice the going rate for an eye exam.

You may feel uncomfortable at first when you start negotiating prices, but you’ll get used to it quickly. Just accept that it’s a cultural difference, and it’s normal and expected.


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!

FAQ #80 – What About TIPPING In Ecuador?

Tipping in Ecuador is a lot different than most other countries. Ecuador does not have a tipping or gratuity culture, so most Ecuadorians don’t leave a tip at restaurants, salons or with private drivers.

However, those who do tip generally leave $1 per person at restaurants, or 10% of the bill, whichever is larger. It’s also appreciated if you give a 10% tip, or “propina” in Spanish, to other types of service providers like hair stylists, massage therapists, private drivers, etc., although it’s not expected.

It’s important that you DO NOT overtip because it can cause inflation and drive up prices for everyone, including locals who may not be able to afford higher prices.

If expats continually overtip, or overpay in general, some service providers may price locals out of their business or they may decide to only work with expats. That can cause resentment among the locals and prevent them from getting the services they need at a price they can afford.


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!