Life, Travel and Retirement in Ecuador.

 
 


 
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Expat Retirement Communities in Ecuador

Retired Couple in Salinas, Ecuador

Many retirees are moving to expat retirement communities outside the United States and Europe to enjoy what they hope will be the best years of their lives. People are finding that their pension does not go as far as it did in the past.

For most individuals in the U.S., a $2000/month pension covers the bare necessities, with little or no money left for leisure, or tragically, emergencies. However, the same amount of money in Ecuador will cover all your living expenses and health care coverage, with about $1000 a month left for travel, entertainment and whatever you want or need. Naturally, a couple would need a lot more than $2000/month for living expenses in the U.S., but in Ecuador that amount would cover a couple’s living and health care expenses plus be able to provide a few frills on the side.

Many retirees also consider the move an escape from the long, cold winters of North America and Europe. By moving to a location on the Equator, retirees can benefit from consistent weather patterns, 12 hours of daylight every day, and mild temperatures all year round.Retired couple rides bike outside Vilcabamba, Ecuador

By some estimates, more than 100 people a day are now moving to Ecuador to experience its amazingly varied climate, unique cuisine, vibrant culture and comfortable cost of living.

Currently the three most popular cities in Ecuador for expat retirement are Cuenca (a high-elevation city in the Andes), Quito (the capital), and Vilcabamba (in the spring-like “Valley of Longevity” to the south). Other attractive locations include Cotacachi, Bahia de Caraquez and Loja.

Cuenca

The city of Cuenca oozes Old World charm with its cobblestone streets, colonial-era churches and stately mansions with wrought-iron balconies. Colorful flags and pastel-painted murals adorn the many markets where residents shop for locally grown vegetables, coffee and other household goods. Cuenca has a very “European” feel in its architecture and culture, and the city attracts a steady stream of homebuyers from that part of the world.

At 2,560 meters (8,400 ft.), the weather in Cuenca is somewhat cool due to the high altitude, and you may see more rain here than other areas of Ecuador. However, the dry season from June to December is an absolute delight, with temperatures averaging 50° F (10° C) at night and 70° F (21° C) during the day.Domes of the New Cathedral, Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca is the cultural heart of the country. In this center of art and literature, you can attend the orchestra, a play, a tango performance, or an art opening, and these activities are usually free. There are many historical attractions like the Museo de las Culturas Aborigenes, which houses thousands of Incan artifacts dating as far back as 500 B.C., or the Museo del Banco Central, a massive museum complex with everything from colonial art to exhibits on Ecuadorian currency to botanical gardens. The Ingaprica — the largest Incan ruins in Ecuador — is also nearby.

Retirees here enjoy strolling through this very walk-able city or grabbing a coffee near the tree-lined Parque Abdon Calderon (the central square). The festive open-air markets, which sell locally made crafts (the Panama hat is primarily made in Cuenca), and food attract residents from nearby towns, and the flower market off Parque Calderon is a favorite for locals and tourists alike. Expats and tourists who like the nightlife enjoy Calle Larga, a more sedate version of New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, with its many bars, discotecas and internationally inspired restaurants.

Cajas National Park outside Cuenca, EcuadorMore athletic folks can hike in the nearby Cajas National Park — something you can do nearly year round due to the mild weather. The entire El Cajas region, which includes the park, was recently named a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Cajas is a perfect example of Nature’s masterful design, where the wind-swept paramos and over 200 lakes (lagunas) unite to create a natural temple. If you are bird watcher, fishermen or avid hiker, this is the place for you.

Cuenca is sometimes called the “Athens of the Andes” because it is a mecca for people who love culturally significant places, the arts, and learning. UNESCO named the historic district of Cuenca a World Heritage Site in 1999. Cuenca is also a great place to learn Spanish as the Spanish spoken here is clear and precise, and the costs to study the language are among the lowest in South America.

But while Cuenca is best known for its cultural contributions to Ecuador, the city also has plenty of modern conveniences, including 18 hospitals, four universities that attract students from all over the world, and a large indoor shopping mall (Mall del Rio) complete with Burger King, Pizza Hut and many other American fast food joints. The nearest international airport with flights to the U.S. and Europe is in Guayaquil, about 243 kilometers away (four hours by bus).

Although the city has many modern attractions, expats find the pace of life in Cuenca less hectic than in cities like Quito or Guayaquil. Cuenca is also affordable: most retirees can live for well under $2,000 per month. You can rent a furnished apartment for as little as $400 per month, an unfurnished apartment from $300 per month, or buy a small condo outright for less than $40,000. Thanks to the comfortable year-round climate in Cuenca, you won’t have to worry about heat or air conditioning, which is another important reason why retirement in this city is as affordable as it is.

To be able to enjoy all that the city has to offer, plan on a budget of $1,500 a month per couple if you’re renting and $1,100 per month if you own your home. You could certainly live here for less, but these estimates will allow you to make the most of your new life in Cuenca.

Quito

Quito, named the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, is a beautiful, sophisticated city supported by a modern international airport and world-class restaurants, museums and shopping. The Spanish influence is everywhere, especially in the colonial architecture and cathedrals.

While just 22 kilometers from the equatorial line, Quito has a climate that is often compared to an English springtime, with temperatures averaging 50° F (10° C) at night and 70° F (21° C) during the day. You can expect afternoon rainfall from October to May.Virgen del Panecillo at night

Quito is roughly divided into three sectors: El Centro (or colonial Old Town) is at the center; North Quito (or New Town) is adjacent to Old Town and is the hip, modern section of Quito; and South Quito, the work-a-day residential district. The greatest concentration of attractions for expats is in the Old Town and New Town sections of Quito.

Like most bustling cities, Quito is crowded, but it is easy to find what you want or need. Public transportation is cheap and readily accessible. Just take it easy until you become acclimated to the high altitude – 9,300 feet takes some getting used to.

Quito offers perhaps the best health care available in Ecuador, with outstanding hospitals, the most modern equipment and technologies, and top-notch doctors and specialists, many of who have been trained in the United States.

Vilcabamba

The healthy lifestyle, amazing year-round weather, plentiful organic food production and clean, abundant mountain water are just some of the reasons so many expats are enjoying their “golden years” in this lush valley in southern Ecuador. It is said that many residents here live to be 100 years old or more, so the region is often referred to as the “Valley of Longevity.” Residents of the area attribute this longevity to low-stress living in a near-perfect climate.Vilcabamba-j-trail

Vilcabamba is situated about 40 minutes from the colonial town of Loja, another popular expat retirement community. At an elevation of 5,000 feet, this area has average daily temperatures between 65° F (18° C) at night and 82° F (28° C) during the day. There are plenty of local activities that allow expats to enjoy the fine weather. Horseback riding and bicycle tours are popular and fun. And the nearby Podocarpus National Forest is a bird watcher’s and nature photographer’s paradise.

The number of permanent foreign residents, as well as part-timers, keeps growing. As a result of Vilcabamba’s growing popularity, some costs have increased in recent years. Still, it ranks as one of the least expensive retirement havens in the world.

Vilcabamba-Church-FountainOne couple that owns their home says they live comfortably on less than $800 a month, even though costs in Vilcabamba have risen in the last five years. They don’t go out often, and they do much of their own vehicle maintenance and home repairs. However, if they need help, the going rate for a common laborer is just $10 a day.

Rents are often higher due to a shortage of affordable housing. However, current residents report paying less than $1.25 a month for gas for cooking and hot water; monthly water bills are just $1.70. Electricity adds another $30 per month. Thanks to the temperate climate, there’s no need for heating or air conditioning. Gasoline in Ecuador costs less than $1.50 a gallon, so even if you must drive to Loja for shopping, it is still affordable.

Cotacachi

About an hour and a half from Quito, the little town of Cotacachi, with a population of about 9,000, is attracting expats who are seeking a gentle, less stressful life. With its friendly people, incredible mountain and valley views, Cotacachi offers low-cost living and most of the comforts you are accustomed to at home.Cotacachi Volcano towers over Parque Calderon

Due to its 8,000 ft. elevation, and being tucked away between two volcanoes, the city’s temperatures tend to stay between 50° F (10° C) and 70° F (21° C), much like Quito. When the sun is shining, which it usually is, Cotacachi is a springtime paradise – warm and inviting – all year round. When the sun does slip behind the clouds, the weather cools, so it is wise to carry a jacket and hat.

Retirees report that a new apartment can be purchased for less than $80,000, and that a couple can live comfortably on less than $1,500 per month for all the basics, including money for travel and dining out regularly. Expats can visit the local market with $5 to spend and return with more produce than you can carry. If one needs modern appliances and gadgets, larger stores are in Ibarra, about 20 minutes away by bus.

Owning a car isn’t necessary – taxis cost only a few dollars and buses travel to many other cities. Cotacachi has a medical clinic; however, most people go to the nearby towns of Otavolo or Ibarra for anything other than minor treatment, or to Quito for major procedures.

A market in Cotachaci, EcuadorCotacachi is known for its handcrafted leather goods and local markets. The town also offers unique immersion into a different culture: Cotacachi is a community hub for the indigenous Quichua people, many of whom wear their brightly colored traditional garb daily, engage in traditional healing practices, and speak their own language.

The nearby lakes and hot springs are major benefits for retirees, and the incredible scenery is beyond compare. Expats and tourists alike can enjoy a hike to the top of the Cotacachi Volcano in the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, or explore the reserve’s 750,000 acres of protected forests. One can walk along the shores of Lake San Pablo, the largest lake in Ecuador, or Lake Cuicocha, which to this day Quichua shamans use for ritual cleansing. Guided four-hour hikes around the perimeter of the lake make for a great way to spend a morning.

Lake Cuicocha, outside Cotachaci, Ecuador

Lake Cuicocha

There are also delightful hot springs located less than an hour from Cotacachi where, for around $4 a person, you can soak away the hours in thermal pools and enjoy a eucalyptus sauna.

Cotacachi is known nationally for it’s parades and festivals, such as Inti Raymi, a celebration of the sun, yet it’s off the major tourist routes, which allows it to stay a place of serenity – perfect for retirees who simply want to relax and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds them.

Bahia de Caraquez

Situated on a sandy peninsula in the Manabi province on Ecuador’s Pacific coast, Bahia de Caraquez is drawing retirees from around the world.

Bahia, as the locals call it, is a sleepy little beach town that is a popular vacation spot for wealthier Quito families. This clean, relatively safe town was once a thriving seaport, but the harbor suffered major erosion, and some of the shipping industry moved elsewhere. Today you will find lovely homes with manicured gardens and many top-notch restaurants and resorts, including the world-class Casa Ceibo Boutique Hotel & Spa.Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador

The local population of 30,000 enjoys year-round warm weather. Shorts and light shirts are the “dress of the day” most of the time. A long sleeved shirt and a pair of jeans would be sufficient for even the coolest evenings.

Earthquakes devastated Bahia de Caraquez in the late 1990s. Since then, residents have rebuilt and improved the town, calling it an “eco-city,” with modern recycling and conservation programs, and bicycle taxis being a popular means of getting around town. Today the city enjoys the reputation of being the cleanest city on the coast of Ecuador.

Bahia de Caraquez seems focused on sustainable growth and development. The city now has a hospital, and the roads are being resurfaced and rebuilt; residents are able to get to the Manta airport in about an hour for flights to Quito and Guayaquil. A new bridge connects Bahia to San Vicente, another beach town.Bahía_de_Caráquez

Expats can enjoy plentiful outdoor recreation, and its location on the coast makes Bahía one of the main tourist centers of the province of Manabi. Of course, there’s the beach, with Bellaca and Playa del Pajonal beaches being favorites with local residents. Retirees and visitors will also enjoy hiking through the Cerro Seco, a tropical forest that surrounds Bahia. Bird watching is a popular activity in Isla Corazon, a mangrove-shaded island across the bay that’s home to birds like the snowy egret, striated heron and white ibis. Plus, Bahia is within relatively easy driving distance of charming small fishing towns like Canoa, San Clemente, San Vicente and Jamal.

Bahia also has a rich cultural tradition. The Bahia de Caraquez Museum was built to showcase the region’s Incan history and archeological findings dating back many centuries. Cabanas Chirje, a rustic resort on a secluded strip of beach that is only accessible by car at low-tide, also has an on-site museum displaying ancient artifacts dating back centuries.

Expats who are looking to buy beachfront retirement property at a bargain will find Bahia de Caraquez a sure bet. This area of the Ecuadorian coast boasts some of the cheapest beachfront property for sale in the world. There are plenty of homes available for under $100,000, as well as condos for less than $50,000.

Loja

Until recently, Loja has been largely overlooked by expats. But Loja is no backwater. Situated in Ecuador’s southern Sierra region with a population of about 200,000 people, Loja offers all the modern big-city services while, at the same time, offering a cultural richness that makes it unique in Ecuador.

Puerta de la Cuidad in Loja, EcuadorIn some ways the local expat community enjoys Loja’s small-town anonymity. It’s their little secret and they like it that way. But now the secret is getting out. As Canadian expat Steve Chorney, who retired to Cuenca, puts it, “If I were to plan my retirement to this country today, Loja is where I’d live.” All things considered, Loja is a perfect choice for retirement.

First off, the weather is ideal. The average high temperature in Loja is 73° F (23° C), with a seasonal variation of only one degree. Nights are always cool, with an average low of 45° F (7° C). So you don’t need heat, you don’t need air conditioning and you can put away your winter clothes and your snow shovel for good.

The people of Loja are friendly and welcoming, and it’s easy to become a part of the community. The town has a small but growing expat community, meaning that a foreign retiree here is still accepted into the local community on his or her own merits, rather than being stereotyped as part of the American enclave.

Loja is a safe city, with less crime than you’ll find in Ecuador’s bigger cities of Quito, Guayaquil or Cuenca. If you use your common sense, strolling the downtown streets during the evening hours is practical and safe. Still, no matter where you are in Ecuador it is always advisable to walk in groups at night.The city of Loja, Ecuador

The countryside surrounding Loja is dramatic and beautiful, with green mountain peaks, idyllic valleys and rushing rivers. There are a number of attractive areas for owning a larger tract of land or a farm. The nearby towns of Malacatos and Vilcabamba are popular vacation spots, with warm climates, charming villages and a pleasant rural atmosphere.

The city of Loja itself is completely walkable, and anyone who can walk a couple of blocks will not need a car for day-to-day life. When you need a taxi, you’ll find them plentiful and cheap. Most rides around town cost a dollar.

For travel between provinces, there is a modern but cheap bus system with routes connecting to the rest of Ecuador, and into Peru. Loja is served by Camilo Ponce Enriquez airport in Catamayo, 30 kilometers (30 min) distant. From there, it is possible to fly to Quito or Guayaquil.

Loja's famous town squareLoja is built around a number of attractive town squares, which serve as the classic city social centers that the Spanish intended them to be. They are great places to relax, meet up with new friends, and people-watch. You can also enjoy a $2 three-course lunch, or just sip locally grown coffee as the crowds drift by your table.

Music plays a big part in Lojano culture, and Loja is, in fact, the undisputed music capital of Ecuador. Many of the country’s best musicians and composers came from Loja, and the city currently boasts two orchestras and a noted music conservatory.

Loja is also a great place to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Fresh tropical fruits and vegetables are always available in the markets at very low prices. It’s easy to make fresh-squeezed fruit juices so rich and wholesome that you’ll never again be happy with the canned or bottled juices you find almost everywhere else. And there are even a few well-equipped gyms throughout the city, at prices that even the tightest budget can afford.

176 Comments


  1.  
    Sandi

    Hi. Thank you for your great reflections. Now as I prepare for a 2-week scouting trip end of May, I’m looking at towns that are closer to sea level. Manta, Valdivia, and Playas as well. Thinking of staying for a night or two in Ceunca then onto Loja, Valdivia and hopefully Manta. Maybe too ambitious though. Any suggestions on a sea level town that has some cultural experiences as well as outdoor adventures? Any info is greatly appreciated. Thank you.




  2.  
    Bill

    you do not need them unless your low on mercury




  3.  
    Tim

    Hello everyone. I am planning on a two-week trip in June or July. I am not a big fan of needles. How many of you got the recommended vaccines (hep & typhoid) before traveling?




    • Doug Morgan
       
      Doug Morgan

      Hey Tim,

      Vaccinations are really not necessary unless you are going deep into the Amazon rainforest (Yellow Fever shot) as some authorities will not let you into those areas without proof of vaccination; rabies shots are also a good idea if, again, you are traveling deep into the Amazon.

      See our Staying Healthy section for more info.




  4.  

    Pam. Great realistic evaluation you gave Sandi. They helped me too. I am retired and hope to stay in Loja 5 months beginning December.

    Sally Ewing




  5.  

    Thank. You Mack. As an RN I agree with you
    Many factors affect longevity but the most important is how well one takes care of themselves not necessarily WHERE we live.

    Sally




  6.  
    Sandi

    Thank you. That is one of the places I intended to explore. Now I definately will.




  7.  
    Bill

    I Have found every expat community has its own vibe You want intellectual challenge and lots to do I’d go Vilcabamba . You can engage in many a conversation there that would never be touched in other environments their is young and old there and if you want outdoor activity their is many things to do. Its not high country and the weather is perfect every day




    •  

      Great comments Bill. Would like to hear more of Vilcabamba. Are you a retired expat? Hope you will contact me.
      sallysunshinevero@gmail.com

      Thanks. Sally




    •  
      Della

      I plan on being in Vilcabamba towards the end of this coming January. I’m looking forward to exploring several areas around. Is there anything that I should know before my trip. I have been researching Ecuador for the last three years. It sounds like the perfect place to retire in.

      Della




  8.  
    Sandi

    Pam, do you like it in Ecuador? I’m a single semi- retired professional mental health counselor and wonder about finding companions there. I don’t want this part of my life to be like typical retired floridians , ” chasing the good life with booze and golf” mentality kinda people. Nor do I want to be isolated. I’m from Florida, so plan in a lower altitude place. I know you are in higher altitude, though would like your and others comments. I would like a stimulating diverse, intellectual and athletic enviornment. Thinking college town????




    •  
      Pam

      Mainly yes, I do like it here Sandi. Like yourself, I’m a single retired professional, history in nursing, science and teaching at Uni’s. I also didn’t want the lifestyle you mention, and you don’t have to have it.
      Cuenca (8,000+ ft) and Loja (~ 6,000 ft) are both college towns, but Cuenca is much bigger than Loja and growing fast. It has the established expat community scene, a spot where most buy / rent accomodation actually called “gringolandia” by themselves and locals. Many get buy with no Spanish or any interaction with the Ecuadorean people, although I doubt they do the “golf” thing. I don’t know, but I suspect Ecuador doesnt do golf !!.
      Loja is much smaller and quieter, and I’ve seen several reports from expats living in Cuenca that they would have chosen it to live had they realised before they settled in Cuenca how nice it is in many respects. It is supposedly also the musical and arts capital of Ecuador. Certainly it has a strong musical tradition.
      I think there are many places you can sporting things. There are hiking trips into the Amazon from Loja, and horseback riding from Villecabamba.
      I have only lived in Cuenca since I got here, but that was part of my plan. Live in Cuenca for the first year, get my paperwork settled, explore the rest of the country and then decide where to settle. At the moment, I’m fast closing on Loja and district. I dont want to be part of a “gringo” scene. To start with, I’m not American, so I lack that familiarity with the past which can form the basis of friendships. Also, although I didn’t come here specifically for the Ecuadorean experience, I do want to learn a new culture and some of its language.
      I find the 3 month ditch does hit you. At that point, and it’s common to most expats I’m told, you get exhausted from the entire move and resettlement process, and start to see strangeness and think “God, what have I’ve done”. Just plan some nice things, know it will pass, and you get past it.
      I ve had my bad days, and I’ve had a couple of not very nice experiences, (specifically with a robber landlord who twisted the wording of a contract I was too tired and stressed to read properly and took off with $900 of my money).
      But overall, I am meeting nice people, enjoying a new place with some opportunities I could never have got in Australia, and finding that yes, 85% of the time I am very happy here.
      I think a lot depends on what you bring with you, and what you leave behind too. If you have a family you are very close too, good long standing friends, you could well find you’d miss them too much. I had no one to leave behind, so that made it easier for me.
      Hope I have given you some help in deciding. I have to say, I do think that you can probably find what you want somewhere in Ecuador. It may just be a case of looking.




  9.  
    Sandi Faust

    Very interesting discussion regarding hype, internet research and actually real life experiences on longevity. Thank you, it is making my choice much easier. Lower altitudes for me.




    •  
      Pam

      My experience with altitude Sandi has been that, while I have had some difficulties adjusting, many dont. I have spoken to some Americans who told me they experienced nothing at all, some who do and then, all to varying extents.
      The main thing I think is how much it is uncomfortable for you. There is NO evidence, (and believe me, I know how to research and have done so) that it affects your “longevity” at all. Longevity is a little known or understood phenomenon, and we really don’t know why some people make 100 and others die sick at 60. However, it is certainly going to turn out to be a compound of many many things, from genes, lifelong lifestyle, environment (toxins especially) and many other factors. (Not being a character who stresses out seems to help !!)
      The problem I have with living in Cuenca isn’t the minor degree of altitude problem, but the cold and wet. I’m from Australia, and used to baking heat, which I hate, but the chill here really gets my bones sometimes. It’s the major reason I’m going to look at Loja / Vilcabamba. I’d like a few degrees warmer and less rain !! Also, I’m not a city type and prefer a small country town, with a wide range of personality types.
      Hope it helps a bit.




    •  
      Mack

      Good choice. Anyone trying to sell u else wise just wants to validate their decision. And there is plenty of evidence that it is risky health wise . (Why do YOU think someone would want u to ignore health risks ?)
      I had a buddy who lived in a ….lower rent part of the city back in Vancouver. He always told us how great it was, how he preferred not living in the expensive parts of the city even if he would win the lottery, how he thought the people were nicer. Turned out his place was robbed twice, he was in daily fights with neighbours over noise, and his house was falling apart. But he desperately wanted his friends to think his circumstance was of his own choice and preferable…
      If someone were to say to u ,”Hey, you should take up smoking! My grandfather smoked 2 packs/day and he lived to 100! Everyone is different. You never know if it’ll kill ya until you start :) :O ”
      Like I said , Cuenca is actually a nice choice for retirees if it wasn’t at this altitude.
      It isn’t intimidating, I think the weather is actually quite nice, it is cheap and has everything u need.

      And add to the fact that I great number of retirees I had the pleasure to meet here enjoy drinking alcohol often which is also riskier at altitude.




  10.  
    Della

    That’s nice to know but I’m interested in moving to Vilacabamba. It’s known for its longevity.




  11.  
    Michael

    I am looking at possible retirement in Ecuador (Cotacachi or Loja) and am wondering if it is gay-friendly? I dread moving somewhere and later finding filled with ugly Americans, Fox News lovers and wing-nuts. FYI: I’m American myself, so I know these people well!

    Are there many gay people in Cotacachi or Loja?




    •  
      Pam

      I can only pass on a comment made to me by an American expat here in Cuenca who had been here over 5 years, had run a business, bought a large beautiful old building in the historic centre and had many many contacts and friends. She said she herself had many gay friends, that there were many gay people in Cuenca, and that Ecuador in general, and the city of Cuenca in particular is very gay friendly / tolerant. As she said, she wouldn’t live in a place that wasn’t.
      I only have her word I’m passing on, but I have no reason to think it wasn’t based in fact. Ecuadoreans seem to me so far to be pretty tolerant of most things.




  12.  
    Eric

    Just got an email from another blog; that not only is a local police check required to get a resident visa in Ecuador, now anyone, especially from U.S.A. is required to provide an F.B.I. background check. Not terribly expensive, however, could pose problems trying to plan and coordinate a smooth transition to make the move. Can anyone verify this or is it a misguided comment?




    • Doug Morgan
       
      Doug Morgan

      Yes, Eric…those new regulations concerning background checks went into effect at the beginning of 2015. See our Visas and Immigration page for more information.




    •  
      Tao

      Yes Eric,

      The FBI Report is required. I would suggest you start the process while still in the US as it takes two to three months to process. I believe the cost is $18.00 USD. The address of the agency is:

      FBI CJIS — Summary Request
      1000 Custer Hollow Road
      Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306

      You are required to submit your finger prints either printed or electronically. I understand the process time is 21 days if submitted electronically. Good luck.




      •  
        Dutch

        About getting the residency visa (9-1). I am still in the States, but expect to be in Ecuador about the middle of May, 2015. Yes, the FBI Background Check is a required document you must now have for the 9-1 visa. Also, I had to get a State Background Check (which ever state, within the US, you live in) done. Plus, there are several other documents you will probably need. All this information comes from my Ecuadorian based attorney, who is getting the visa process completed for me.
        Back to the documents: All these documents must also be “apostilled”, which is an additional process that must be completed. For example: When you get the FBI Background Check completed, and it is sent back to you from the FBI, you must then send it off to the U.S. Secretary of State department to get it “apostilled” (which is the term many Latin American countries use that simply means “authenticated”). From my understanding, this process must be done for every document that is needed in applying for your 9-1 visa. Something that will save you much time and aggravation (I know from experience), is that all the documents you will have to get “apostilled”, besides the FBI Background Check, must be sent to your respective state’s Secretary of State office. For instance, I live in Mississippi, so I sent my documents to the Mississippi Secretary of State office for the “apostilled” process. You can find the information you need via the internet by goggling for the Secretary of State website for your respective state.




  13.  
    Mary

    A friend of mine is moving to an apt project in Cuenca. I have become smitten with the idea but with a bad back and two dachshunds I cannot live in a multi level home. I am not a mountain goat anymore. I was hoping to find/build a Spanish colonial home w/ large rooms incl. A master downstairs and a guest room and possibly quarters for a live-in upstairs. I would be moving my furniture down there and would love 9′ or more ceilings. A fenced yard/garden, utilities and security. I can afford a house in the $200,000 range. The one thing that concerns me is the ability to adapt to the altitude – dogs as well. I live in Texas and have never had to live in thin air. I would appreciate any feedback. I have heard that building can be very problematic.




    •  
      Mack

      I am staying in Cuenca for one year while working. (I’m a health and safety professional)
      I think it is fantastic that there are so many options out there for senior citizens for North America to retire to because the costs are too high in Canada and the US. Plus , there is an almost instant social network that gives senior expats a full and energized social calendar here. There is no reason for anyone to feel defensive about choosing Ecuador because it is cheap and offers seniors a reenergized active lifestyle compared to just sitting around the house back home. This is a great option!
      But I have to say that I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the fact that so many have chosen Cuenca or Quito.
      The cities a very suitable but there is absolutely no way that someone moving from around sea level to 8400 feet or 9800 feet(quito) is going to improve their health. In fact , nearly every condition they may have will worsen. This is fact. The most recent studies include the worsening of Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, dementia, depression and cancer. But this is misleading because ALL conditions will worsen. Not the biggest deal for someone 39 years old and only staying for one year. But for folks moving here at ages 65-70…it’s just sad. It is a shame to see some websites promote Cuenca as a longevity location when it is closer to a death trap for someone at that age. But folks wanna convince themselves and others that it being cheap isn’t the reason they are here. Plus , they r often having a nice time here and are worried if they move elsewhere they may not enjoy it(plus the moving costs and stress involved)
      Everyday I run into folks I’ve met here who are seniors and they tell me about their health problems. I can see their hair thinning, eyes bulging , the white of their eyes turning yellow, the restless hand syndrome, chronic headache, the chronic cough, etc…and I sigh. If I ask if they have seen a doctor I often get the reply ,”No, if I don’t hear something is wrong from a doctor then it’s better.” (or something to that effect )
      They sometimes use the word acclimate and wrongly believe that this is an all encompassing,precise and powerful word. It’s not. It’s a vague and general term that offers little security to many.
      I know that it is unhealthy for a senior to move to such extreme altitudes and that they are often cutting their remaining years short here, but how do you tell someone that something they are so passionate about, like moving to Cuenca, is complete farce health wise ? For some it’s almost like telling a religious person their faith is a farce. The chance they’ll take it to heart is not likely.




      •  
        Pam

        I did some extensive research on the Internet at some good medical sites, and they do NOT support your statements. The overall contention is that in almost all respects but one, living at increased altitude is healthy, the body works better, and life expectancy is slightly increased. I have Insulin Dependent Diabetes and after 4 months I’ve lost a heap of weight and my blood sugars are much better than ever before. But, the one thing that is harder, is if you have emphysema or any Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. You might be ok, but you’d need O2. If you need it at sea level, you probably cannot live at altitude. I might add, I’m still having altitude problems, but they are getting better and I have options to improve them.
        To suggest we all get bug eyed, slightly nutty and drop dead in a couple of years is wrong, and misleading.




        •  
          Bill

          if you get a little bottle of cell food add to your water your oxygen level will go way up. I work above 12,000 ft use it and never notice the altitude




          •  
            Pam

            Thank you Bill, but what is cell food, and where do you get it? (I’m currently in Cuenca). As an ex microbiologist, I suspect my take on it is a little different to most :)




        •  
          Mack

          I’m sorry Pam. I know u want to believe that it is healthy for u to be here. It’s just easier. But it’s not true. We’re discussing living at 8000 – 10,000 feet. Not 2000-5000…)
          As far as those stats about living at altitude increasing longevity. That is also not true. For folks who were born at altitude though, they may qualify for such a statistic as this is their birthplace. To take it even a step further, it is quite possible that those who can trace their ancestry back for let’s say 10,000-15,000 years of living at altitude will have an even longer lifespan living at this high altitude they were born at. I believe it may be called gene manipulation where they have evolved and adapted over centuries of living at altitude. A study which u may have even came across is one comparing the life spans between those around Tibet whose ancestors have lived there for over 12,000 yrs and those of the Andes mountains here whose ancestors were only traced back 6,000 yrs. The asian lifespans are now longer. But as for a “lowlander” senior citizen who came across some sales pitches on International Living and decided to move to Cuenca or Quito and expect to live as long as someone who was born at altitude and whose families have lived here for centuries is just not true.
          And of course u have lost weight living at altitude. Everyone does. Your body is under undue stress 24hours/day. It is closer to wasting then a spa therapy…
          No doubt u have heard of the snake oils(even in this thread) of the teas and cell food etc… It’s just silly to b honest.
          Your reply makes it sound like u took my comment personally and that is kinda my point Im afraid. U wanna believe that this affordable place where u have an automatic social network of friends who come from a similar economic background and where your calendar is full of social event with your peers was a good choice. And in many ways it was a good choice. But as far as the healthy choice, I’m afraid it’s just not.
          But then again it’s all relative, isn’t it? Perhaps this reenergized lifestyle itself is healthier in many not so concrete metrics and if not then at least more interesting and happier.




          •  
            Pam

            I find your patronising comments about what you seem to think you know of my thoughts …”I know you want to believe…” very insulting.
            You know nothing of whether I am so unobjective as to believe things because I want to, you know nothing of me at all.
            Perhaps you could give us your medical and scientific background?? I have been reading medical papers, of medical controlled studies.
            What have you based your conclusions on? What you want to believe? That you have a superior view of the world to most others, especially those “sad over 65yrs people living their twilight years in a fantasy world of wishful thinking?”
            I repeat, to those reading this who are considering a move here, you should not be put off coming by this man’s comments. From my reading of the medical literature, (Oh, I have a background in medicine plus a M.Sc.) there is no reason to suppose you will shorten your life, get bug eyes and go ga-ga. There are thousands of expats living here, all doing well, feeling well, and very happy.
            If you do get some altitude effects that dont’ go away and are making you uncomfortable (and there is NO, I repeat NO evidence that they have any effect on your health and life span) you can always move to the coast.
            And when you tell me that I am thinking unobjectively and believing what I want to believe, I do take that personally, because it is a comment on me.




            •  
              Mack

              Y’see? The fact that u appear to take a health discussion so personally and emotionally again proves my point.
              A good portion of the retired expats fall into a kinda “economic refugee” status I’m afraid(sorry that sounds rude). There is nothing wrong with that. It’s fantastic that places like this exist :)
              The concern is that not many want to admit this and so they say,”It’s such a healthy,organic,culture rich place!” Now, if they were the ONLY person saying this then they may as well be selling pencils outta a plastic cup on a street corner. Instead , to validate this “healthy” claim they (like yourself) they try to get as many others on board to add validity to it. Same as a religion I’d imagine… This is unfair to seniors considering Ecuador.
              Cuenca is actually a very suitable place for seniors to retire.For many reasons. It may not be an exciting place but that may b one of the attractions.
              The truth that it is unhealthy for seniors to move to extreme altitudes threatens your rational it sounds like.
              As far as information. It is easily found online for those interested. Pam just needs to look harder it appears. :)
              I have spoken to many expat seniors here who have had their health take a drastic turn for the worse here in Cuenca. From chest infections, kidney problems, pulmonary hypertension, elevated blood pressure, chronic coughing , increased tremors and chronic fatigue….etc…
              The interesting part is that the majority of those whose health has become worse here (whom Ive spoken to) still don’t have any plans to leave.

              I’m sorry u are isolated and have no social life here Pam. I’m sure that can be difficult at times.

              Try not to be like Pam and take people’s comments personally or emotionally. Instead think about it rationally and weigh the risk /benefits for yourself and do your due diligence first.

              My background is a bachelors in Human Science from San Jose state University(Although this does not make me an expert at all) and Health & Safety.




              •  
                Mack

                The longevity claims of Vilcabamba and Loja have long been debunked as a bunch of lies and fraud.

                As proven many times like with Harvard Medical School research, the ages the elderly reported were all lies like one of the harvard researchers stated,” For instance, in the late 70’s he had met a man who reported his age as 122. When we returned three years later, that same man claimed to be 134 years old.” :) And then they realized and proved that there wasn’t even a single person to have lived to 100 in these areas.

                Far from being the ‘Valley of Longevity,’ the researchers concluded that “Life expectancy (corrected for exaggeration) at all ages in Vilcabamba (and Loja) is in fact much less than in the that of the U.S.”
                For those who have lived longer in Loja and Vilcabamba it has been attributed to nothing more special than the the fact that they and their ancestors have been born and lived at that altitude(although 5200 feet is far less than the altitudes of Cuenca at 8400 or Quito at 9400 feet), the benefits of exercise, a healthy diet and good treatment of the elderly by the community and longevity of the residents has also been attributed to a result of migration of younger people to cities.
                Young people tended to move out of the area, while the elderly moved in.

                The many researchers speculated that the villagers had originally exaggerated their ages in order to gain prestige in the community. This appeared to have been occurring for generations, long before academic researchers had arrived in the village. Additionally Dr. Leaf from Harvard proved that the international publicity, and subsequent rise in tourism, may have encouraged the villagers’ exaggerations to grow more prolific.




          •  
            Pam

            Oh – and I dont have “an automatic social network of friends who come from a similar economic background and where your calendar is full of social event with your peers”

            I am not American, I came here alone from Australia. I have not found a single “peer” here. I have no social life. My life here is as isolated as it was in Australia. So .. guess that blows that comment out of the water !!




  14.  
    Della

    I’m a single woman looking to move to the Vilcabama area. I want to check out all areas. What would be the best way to meet other people once I arrived? I hope to be there first of the year in 2016. Thank You




    •  
      Tao

      Hi Della

      It is easy to meet locals here the same way and places you meet locals at home. If you are primarily interested in meeting other expats, I would recommend looking at expat blog sites for the areas you are interested in. Like you I planned my move for December so I could be for for the new year. No regrets. The choice for me was a good one. Good luck.




  15.  
    Raina

    Hi all,
    My husband and I are considering moving to Ecuador with our two very young children (3 and 8 months) sometime in the next year or two. We are interested in coastal areas such as Bahia/Salinas/Canoa, but would also consider Vilcabamba and Loja. We are wondering where others would recommend as a good fit for a young family and which places might have good schools? We are open to homeschooling but also want our children to socialize and have things like safe parks to play in, etc. Another question is in regards to shipping belongings versus buying all things there. Our biggest concern with buying there is that we have high quality wooden toys and certain books and kitchen appliances we would prefer to keep with us. Furniture is not such a major issue. Thank you so much for any and all advice!




  16.  

    Hello all,
    Wife and I are interested in the possibility of retiring in Ecuador, we are interested in beach front areas. What temperatures can we expect, also the water temperatures? What would the price range be for a single level, beach front house with a pool be? Are mosquitos a problem in the coastal areas? Thanks in advance for your forthcoming help,

    Jeff




  17.  
    James Owens

    I am a single divorced Man with some health problems. I do need a wheelchair at times but fight it tooth and nail. I intend to make the most of the golden years but my social security, va disability and a very small reitrement make vastly difficult decisions on money maters. After I clear up some legal maters here, I am looking at Equador as a possibility. I would like the REAL story on rent prospects and averages, utilities, safety, etc. I have heard great things about the financial possibilities there but I have also heard of a few horror stories. I like living alone and enjoy my privacy very much. I live a simple lifestyle. I do internet and a little shopping, the usual stuff like food clothing and such. Do you just drop everything and start from scratch or what?




  18.  
    Jerry L

    The link to the brief and happy video I mentioned in my previous post is:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ze0mOAdgGDs

    Enjoy.

    Jerry.




    •  
      Jerry L

      Here is a video on Loja. “We are happy from Loja” gives you, through music and dance, an idea of what the city looks like, including people and places. It is a very well made video.

      “We are happy”, from Loja Ecuador:




  19.  
    Sara

    I’d like to know more about the coastal cities of Salinas and Manta as prospective American expat living options. Can you help? Typical high and low temperatures, please. Also, are mosquitos a problem in both locations?

    Thanks!




    •  
      Bill

      Well, I know the mosquitos in Manta can be unbearable. I have never had a problem with bugs in la Serena but I have not spent alot of time in either place just so you know. But I have spent alot of time in the jungle and the bugs are not bad there but Manta can be insane with bugs; the worst I have ever experienced in South America.




  20.  
    Bill

    The INTERNET provider I use is CNT. It’s very good and if you move only costs 7 dollars to get hooked up in your new town or apt. It’s government owned I think but they are very good.




  21.  
    Ron

    How about internet provider in Ecuador? Certainly don’t want to do much housework ifwe live there. How much is maid service on a weekly basis?




  22.  
    Gayle

    I am so grateful for these posts. We are looking to relocate soon. Has anyone moved pets too?




  23.  
    Pam

    Great to read this. I am currently residing in Cuenca having been in Ecuador only 2 months, but have decided I would prefer to relocate to Loja later this year. I’m having difficulty finding any furnished rentals listed and would be very grateful for any information anyone could offer to assist.




    •  
      Bill

      I know someone that can help you find an apt in Loja if you want. Write me at razoo51@gmail.com if interested.
      Bill




    •  
      Tao

      Hi Pam,
      I made the move to Loja a bit over three months ago. I found a furnished apartment close to El Centro by walking around town looking for rental signs. The town and people are great. Having lived in Cuenca, you have a general idea on what to expect in housing. Some of the hotels here have apartments for rent. All inclusive, but you have to check them out in person. They do not advertise on the net. Good luck.




      •  
        Pamela

        Thanks Tao. I find I have problems finding places in Cuenca as I have a small dog. Increasingly, unless you are prepared to take the lower quality cheap places (which I’m not), Ecuadorians are getting like Gringo’s I find – they like dogs OK, but not in their place !!! I doubt a hotel apartment would work :)
        Thanks for your suggestions. I have just found a nice new place in Cuenca and will probably stay awhile till I find time to visit Loja and do as you say – stay a few days and wonder around !!
        Cheers and Good Luck




      •  
        Sally Ewing

        Tao: Your advice to Pam was great. I want to find a furnished 1 bed in Dec until MAY. Retired, single nurse maybe you can contact me sallysunshinevero@gmail.com




  24.  
    Rene Close

    I desire to permanently move to Ecuador with my daughter who is confined to her wheelchair or uses her walker for short distances. I am looking for a temperate warm climate where the terrain is relatively flat so that we can take daily walking excursions. I personally dislike large cities and am not into any type of night life. I live simply and very modestly on an income even here in the USA on $1000.00 / month. My husband passed away a few years ago and need to feel safe in the community that we move too.
    Also after reading comments saw that the visas are only good for 90 days. How does one get a permanent visa from the beginning?
    Are there places to rent that accommodate handicap? With proximity to medical facilities.




    •  
      Pam

      I would suggest you contact Joseph Guznay in Quito for the visa. He helped he enormously with mine, which as it was from Australia had complications.
      You can get and extended tourist visa good for 180 days, but there are complications and added costs. I’d talk to Joseph first, his advice is first rate. He may seem a little expensive at first, but what he saves you in time lost caused by errors etc is well worth the small extra.
      Josephs’ email is josephguznay@gmail.com Good luck.




  25.  
    peter czerwinski

    Halo Sam, your letter perked our interest. We’re a diverse group of Germans and Americans, building a (non-religious/dogmatic) community on the coast, above a small fishing village. If you are interested, send us an email and we’ll take it from there.

    Saludos, The Tortugas




    •  
      Don Sam

      I am an American looking at Ecuador as a retirement consideration. Are there any expat groups that can familiarize “new” arrivals with information and friendship?




    •  
      sofia

      HI! Your letter sounded quite interesting to us, as we are a 3/4 german, 1/4 american family. When you get a chance, please send me a little info on your group on the coast. It sounds unique– esp. the german part! :) Sofia (sofiameyen@hotmail.com)




    •  
      Ronald conroy

      Would like to know more about your experience.
      My age is 69. On full pension australian. $20000 .
      Thank you for your time.
      Ron




    •  
      Jerry Cullen

      Good Morning and Saludo’s

      I am currently living in Sierra Vista, AZ but will be moving back to Florida in a couple of months, which I will be using as a jumping off place to find a permanent residence in Ecuador…your response to Sam sounds terrific… any info you could send my way would be appreciated.

      JC Cullen




    •  
      Michael

      I would love to learn more about your community on the coast! How may I hear more?

      Michael




  26.  
    Greg

    For those now living in Bahia, what do you hear about the new development Las Olas?

    Are the developers leaving a positive image with the locals? Do locals regard the coming of Las Olas a good thing?

    Are the developers following through with local contractors? Is the work there being completed on time?




  27.  
    peter czerwinski

    Hi Jimmy, we’ve been living in the Bahia area for several years — do diligence (i.e. homework) if you check out Las Olas. Saludos.




  28.  

    Me too need information about humidity. I am asthmatic and need dry weather, so should I not think about the coast? What are my options?




    •  
      sorn

      Hi. I’ve been in Quito, Cuenca, and Loja so far but have not seen the Pacific Coast of Ecuador. I can say that the weather is great in the Andes but (and no one talks about this) the air pollution in the cities is horrid. If you live in a rural area you’ll survive with breathing problems. But, I have severe allergies to the third-world air here and couldn’t possibly live in any of the cities. Cars and buses have no pollution controls. Beware.




  29.  
    Howie Soinner

    I too am looking at Ecuador. I have weather questions. Is the sun intense during the day at all altitudes, so I would need to use sunscreen, cover up or stay inside? Is the coast very hot and is it humid too? Hearing from all those with actual experience is appreciated.




    •  
      Bill

      Weather I think its about Impossible to beat the weather in Vilcaabamba
      The coast can cook you at times .. I have lived Just about everywhere in Ecuador. I even lived in the Jungle for a while which I prefer over the coast the coast is just too Hot…
      I Lived in 2 towns near Quenca its too cold for me . But if you want Comfortable T shirt and shorts weather almost every day of the Year
      You need to check out Vilcabamba. I find it to be a wonderful place to live and hang out you can met many expats there but you need a very open mind to be able to Enjoy it..




  30.  
    Kendrick

    I’m living in Austin, Texas right now – but have my sights set on South America for my quasi-retirement. As an artist and songwriter I’d like to find 1) the best beach city with 2) the best expat community. Lusting for the water vibe and getting a boat, but not finished making music yet. So, I’ve got to have access to decent recording facilities and talents, not to mention venues for Indie Folk, Blues-Rock original music.

    Kendrick




  31.  
    hippie99

    Don’t Americans over 65 get Medicare? May be Medicare too costly for retirees living on Social Security.




  32. Doug Morgan
     
    Doug Morgan

    If you want to advertise your property, please contact our advertising department: advertise@yourescapetoecuador.com




  33.  
    Sharon

    I would fly as close to the coast as possible. I took a bus at night from Quito to Canoa, and didn’t like the ride. Of course I couldn’t really see anything, but it just seemed that the driver was going too fast for all of the turns.




    •  
      Jason

      You should get a flight to Guayaquil or Manta. Both are very close to some of Ecuador’s best beach towns, including Salinas, Olon, Montanita and Puerto Lopez (Guayaquil) and San Clemente and Canoa (Manta).




  34.  
    Frank

    My wife and I are looking to explore Ecuador next summer for our 30th anniversary to determine whether we’d like to retire there. We currently live in Colorado, but generally keep to ourselves and are looking for a quiet, inexpensive place to retire with good healthcare. Which cities should we target to explore and how much time should we allocate assuming we fly into Quito and get a rental car?

    Thanks in advance!




    • Doug Morgan
       
      Doug Morgan

      Frank,

      The Canoa, Pedernales and San Clemente areas north of Manta are ideal candidates for you, as they are generally quiet and relatively inexpensive. If you want more cultural or fellow expats, Cuenca is your best bet. Salinas/La Libertab/Olon are must developed and have a livelier beach scene. Vilcabamba/Loja are far removed from the madding crowd but are great if you want to escape the big cities.

      Research the above suggestions to see which towns suit your lifestyle. Then I would suggest a month-long trip to fully explore your chosen locations.

      Good luck and take care,
      Doug




      •  
        Frank

        Thanks for the quick reply Doug!




      •  
        Frank

        Follow-on question – would you recommend we fly into Quito and get a rental car there or add a short flight from Quito to Manta and begin our journey from there?

        Thanks again for all of your advice!




        • Doug Morgan
           
          Doug Morgan

          Flights to Manta from Quito run as little as $40 one-way. It would probably be better to fly into Manta then rent a car there. You may want to check for rentals in Manta first, as I’m not sure if you can easily get a car rental.




      •  
        jim brogan

        hi doug
        I am a retired american looking at the possibility of moveing to some where in ecuador with a beach that has modern amenities. I now live in the philippines and been here 15 years but at my age (71) i have no health insurance here so I hear expats moving to ecuador can have free health if you stay there permanently..I presume you live in ecuador and any info you could help me with would be fantastic. I am alone so would like a nice condo with great water view for the awesome sunsets. Do you know of any such towns and the costs? Do you know about the health coverage available for us older guys? Thank you Doug for your time.
        sincerely
        jim brogan




        •  
          Jason

          Jim probably you should check in Salinas or Manta that are coast cities with modern facilities. In Ecuador any person who need health assistance can be attended in public hospitals (oversaturated but free).




        •  
          ecuadorian dude

          I would recommend you to go to Salinas, a beach town in the province of Santa Elena. It’s near the province of Guayas that is the country’s main port.

          Salinas is a small city with a great housing enviroment, has all things you will need, including a nearby mall and even some great hotels. The weather is great but is a bit chilly from May/June to December but not freezing cold.




        •  
          Sally Ewing

          Ron, maybe you can contact me sallysunshinevero@gmail.com. I’m a single retired nurse and I would like to find a furnished apt for Dec 1. to May 2016. Thanks. Sally




        •  
          Sally Ewing

          Maybe you can contact me sallysunshinevero@gmail.com. I’m a single retired nurse and I would like to find a furnished apt for Dec 1. to May 2016. Thanks. Sally




        •  
          Sally Ewing

          Hi. Jim Brogan maybe you can contact me sallysunshinevero@gmail.com. A single retired nurse would like to find a furnished apt for Dec 1. to May 2016. Thanks. Sally




    •  
      Eric

      My wife and I are about to make our third exploration trip such as you are preparing to embark. Would not advise a rental car approach, but rather utilize the hotel concierge to arrange for a driver if making day trips outside the city you are in. May cost $175.00 but will be more reasonable; than the high rental fees, accidents created by some opportunist taxi drivers that target those rental cars, unreliable GPS, and 0 visibility shortly after sundown around 6:30 as the air cools and the clouds descend to the surface. Around town we found walking the best, especially if you select a hotel that is located at a fairly high point in the city, you get a fantastic veiw and your tour walking down, shop, eat, hit the markets and cafes along the way and when ready to call it a day; get a taxi and ride back up to you hotel for $2.00/$4.00




    •  
      Jason

      I suggest you get a car in Quito and drive to Cotacachi that is about 2 hours by road from Quito; also if you wanna look a city for your retirement I suggest you to take a look at Cuenca or Loja with its nearby towns of Vilcabamba and Malacatos. Probably a time of 2 weeks will be enough for you to explore these options. Being that Loja is one of the most peaceful, cheap and healthy places (for me at least), you always can take a 45-minute flight to Quito and there you can get the best medical services in Ecuador. Hope you enjoy your journey.




  35.  
    Paul

    My wife and I are looking into retiring to Ecuador coast. I turn 50 next year and my wife is 46.

    We are thinking of staying in Ecuador approx. 9 months a year from say Feb thru end of Oct. Go back to US for the Holidays Nov, Dec & Jan

    ?my question is what do ppl do about health insurance for extended stays back in US?

    …also ?what is a realistic budget for two? renting?

    Thank you in advance….Paul & Jeannette




  36.  
    hippie99

    Found the section. Thanks again.




  37.  
    hippie99

    Thanks Doug, I navigated thru your drop down menus but didn’t see a Practical section. Please if it may be under another title?




  38.  
    hippie99

    Are credit cards and travelers checks accepted in Ecuador? Is it costly to cash American Express travelers checks? I would prefer not to carry too much cash for my trip to check out the country. Any suggestions for carrying travel funds? Thanks in advance for any info.




    • Doug Morgan
       
      Doug Morgan

      Hippie,

      Refer to our Practical Information section for your questions about traveller’s checks, credit cards and money.




      •  
        Jack

        I spent 2 weeks exploring Ecuador last summer. Beautiful country and people and am seriously considering retiring there. However, I learned the hard way – come with cash and a debit card to get money through readily available ATM’s. Most restaurants and retailers do not accept credit cards due to the high amount of fraud.




  39.  
    freshly retired

    I have been looking to retire in Ecuador for several months. I am a single 59 year old in pretty good health who has lived in Asia and Europe during my working years. Cannot stand living in the US and want the mountains, pleasant weather, and market places I have been seeing in these expat posts. How do I start to find a nice apartment (furnished as it is easier than moving a household). As long as I can get the internet and cell phones are there I could be happy. I would miss TV and in Europe I had Sky satellite…anything similar exist their?




    •  
      Jason

      In Ecuador you have many options for retirement, depending which kind of climate you like and if you wanna live in a city or a rural area. Here you have access to all the services you would need, including satellite TV. Welcome to Ecuador!




  40.  
    hippie99

    What is the least costly way to withdrew or transfer funds from a US bank?

    Is ATM withdrawal a good way to get extra travel funds in case one doesn’t bring enough cash for the trip.

    The other question is the transfer of funds deposited by Social Security in a US bank. For retirement to India, State Bank of India USA branch would do a free transfer to its counterpart in India every 3 months with no transfer fees. Is there a Ecuadorian bank with a branch in the USA that offer similar arrangements?

    Thanks in advance for any info.




  41.  
    hippie99

    Thanks for info. Not worry about petty theft I will be vigilant.




  42.  
    hippie99

    Crime on buses? Pickpockets or entire bus robbed at gunpoint?




    • Doug Morgan
       
      Doug Morgan

      Thefts from personal bags and backpacks on the buses. Also pickpockets as well. Just keep your carry-on bags with you at all times and avoid putting them in the overhead bins and you’ll be fine.




  43.  
    Ella-Livingwell

    Hi, I’m in my early 50s and my husband in his late 50s and both of us are finding it more & more difficult to live healthy in the U.S. with the horrible food choices found in our grocery stores (i.e. GMO’s, Antibiotic steroid pumped up livestock, and all the food additives, heavy metals in our food, etc. etc.) and fluoride in our drinking water, etc. — need I say more? Plus it seems “Retiring Comfortably” in a few years here in the USA is now an Unattainable Dream. So Ecuador looks promising and hoping some of you already living in Ecuador can share some helpful information with me in helping me choose a city/town?
    And I have MS and cannot tolerate extreme cold or heat, and because of other ailments I cannot tolerate damp rainy colder climates either.
    So basically I’m looking for a few things in a city/town to move to:
    1) Moderate climate year-round long
    2) Safe town (well as safe as one can be understanding no where in the world is 100% safe)
    3) Access to good healthcare and vets
    3) Enough land to have my own garden and chickens
    4) Clean drinking water
    5) Plus I LOVE the Ocean and would like to be close enough to the Pacific Coast (hopefully less than 1-2 hour drive safely to a nice beach)
    I’ve already ruled out Cuenca and Quito — for obvious reasons — And now, after some research, I’ve narrowed down my choices to the following towns:
    Loja, Vilcabamba, Cotacachi, Bahia de Caraquez
    Can anyone comment on some of the pros & cons of each? We’d like to purchase land and perhaps build our own home and then hopefully live comfortably and enjoyably on a budget of around $950-1550/month.
    Thanks




    •  
      Bill

      Forget Loja, it’s a dump. Ecuadorians don’t even like the place.

      Cotacaci pretty cold. The coast is dangerous … those other two places beside Vilicabamba you mentioned I don’t know anything about them.

      Vilcabamba has great weather year round; amazing place for that and you could live easy there on your budget. Lots of expats … pretty crazy bunch. I have a lot of friends there … I think it’s a wonderful place. But if you consider yourself normal you may not like it there.




      •  
        Ella-Livingwell

        Thanks Bill for the feedback. Vilcabamba does really sound nice. And I love the ocean, so to hear the coast is dangerous saddens me. Do you mean all along the coast? And yes, my hubby and I – I would categorize us as being fun loving and outgoing people – although with my illness it limits my abilities to have the energy to all the things I’d like to – I can still do most things, but I tire so easy so keeping up with friends at gatherings is sometimes a challenge for me- but that’s one of the reasons we’re looking for a nice climate to move to, to live healthier which would hopefully make it easier for me energy-wise – wanting to do more.

        How are the doctors/hospitals? and sorry I have to ask, how are the bugs and mosquitoes? Most of all, I hate spiders and have to admit I have a terrible case of a arachnophobia (lol!) so please be honest – is it something I’d be encountering a lot of? And problems getting in the house? And things like that? Just a little quirk of mine, lol! My poor husband has to spray around our house because of my fear of spiders getting in house lol! and we’re in NJ which is no where near the tropics lol! :)

        How about horseback riding in this town? Are there any nice horse people in the area for places to go riding?




        • Doug Morgan
           
          Doug Morgan

          I don’t know what Bill is talking when it comes to the coast be “dangerous,” unless he’s talking about Guayaquil or Manta. Most crime in Ecuador is restricted to the big cities and the inter-province buses. The coast itself is relatively crime-free and easy-going.




          •  
            Ella-Livingwell

            Thanks Doug for you reply – could tell me what is your favorite city in Ecuador and why? and do you live there? I’m trying to get a feel what city would be meet my needs and unfortunately Cuenca is too high up altitude and colder and rainier for my taste otherwise it sounds like the friendliest and nicest city for Expats/ Americans. Other than Cuenca what could suggest for a warmer climate but still stay relatively safe in a friendly to Americans environment, becuase I’ve heard & read thru other Blogs and Chat rooms that Ecuadorians in Vilcabamba do not like Americans and can be very hostile towards Americans unlike the people in Loja who I’ve heard a more laid back but do not speak a lot of English so I would have a difficult time until I could learn Spanish. Thanks for any feedback you can give me. Best, Ella




            • Doug Morgan
               
              Doug Morgan

              Banos is my favorite town in Ecuador. Well, that and Salinas or Puerto Lopez. Banos is about an hour away from Puyo, which is on the fringe on the Amazon rainforest. Banos is known as the extreme sports mecca of Ecuador. Lots of tourists pass through Banos on their way to the rainforest and all the great rafting and jungle adventures that are there.

              Banos is VERY cheap, has lots of English speaking restaurants and hotels, and is about 4 hours southeast of Quito. Banos has a very moderate climate because the altitude is much lower than Quito and the town itself is very laid-back. There are Spanish schools in Banos as well.

              The only problem is the proximity of the very active Tungurahua volcano, but I would worry about that.

              Salinas is like a little South Beach (Miami) but much cheaper, and Puerto Lopez is a sleepy little fishing village a few hours from Salinas and Manta. Puerto Lopez is the gateway to Isla de la Plata (the poor man’s Galapagos) and the best whale-watching in Ecuador. Every morning you can go to the beach and get fresh caught fish and lobster right of the local boats. You negotiate the prices and the someone is always available to filet your fish right in front of you. Puerto Lopez is cheap, accessible and small enough to lose yourself in.




              •  
                Ella-Livingwell

                Thanks so much Doug for your input and great detail! I love the ocean and would hate not being able to live near or close to it – and to read your comments is great news! & what you’re describing sounds like any of those towns would definitely meet my needs and still in a friendly environment. Thanks again so much!
                Couple more questions, first I heard mosquitoes can be a huge problem by ocean towns at certain times of the year – do you experience this?
                And are there places near the ocean towns where we could ride horses. Thanks




              •  
                sofia

                Doug– thanks for all the fantastic information!! Are there any Ecuadorian beach towns that DON’T have the “heavy mosquito” problem i ve heard about from a couple different sources? Or is that just the cost of being near the ocean in Ecuador?




    •  
      Ron

      Ella — Try Puerto Cayo. Just north of Puerto Lopez. Palmera Beach is a gated community with all the amenities. Horse back riding is just down the road. There is also a new “mini-ranch” horse community coming with 2-acre lots with plenty of room for a garden and across the street from the beach. It is by the same developer.




      •  
        Ella-Livingwell

        Ron, thanks so much for sharing that info regarding beach towns; actually a gated community does sound very appealing. I’m still thinking being in a little higher elevation (not too high) might actually be just as nice or nicer so there would be less mosquitoes during rainy months. And Banos that Doug mentioned sounds really nice too but thinking the elevation for my health might be too high? And hoping I can get some additional feedback from other expats who may have lived or live in Vilcabamba because the climate/weather; elevation seems so perfect – so if anyone else can maybe share there experiences with me about that town – just would like to know if what I read is true that although a lot of english speaking expats are there, I’ve read accounts by people saying the Ecuadorians in that area do not like Americans and can be dangerous?; perhaps considering Loja instead would be recommended as far as being in a safer friendlier town/area towards Americans? Again, THANKS SO MUCH to all of you who replied to me & shared your info – your feedback has given me a lot of food for thought helping me narrow down my search for when I come to visit soon so I can concentrate on certain pre-chosen areas to visit!




        •  
          Sharon

          I just got back from visiting Ecuador two months ago. I didn’t like Quito, although I had a great shrimp salad in the Marascal district. And I didn’t like the 9,000 ft. high elev.. Flew to Loja airport, and then took a windy crazy van ride to Vilcabamba. I loved Vilca. The temp. was great. I was here during the windy season, which felt nice during the day or evening. When the sun went down the temp. did not drop too much. Vilca is in a beautiful valley, and I did get mosquito bites in my hotel room. They do provide those things you plug into the wall to keep the bugs away. But I didn’t find out until I was ready to leave. Went back to Quito – couldn’t get a flight (standby) so I went to the coast (Canoa – had a contact there). I was blown away by the beautiful weather on the coast. It may be 85 degrees, but on the beach, with the wind blowing 24/7 I wasn’t even hot. And the wind keeps mosquitoes away. I actually got less mosquitoes (one or two in a two week period) on the coast than inland. Also the beach (and from pictures of other coastal towns in Ecuador) was fantastic!! It was miles long, very wide and very deep. You could be 50 yards or more out into the ocean and still be up to your ankles or knees. Just beautiful.

          Someone I met there also liked Banos. I didn’t think I would be big about the coast, but if I was going to live there that’s probably where I would wind up. There are so many towns/cities on the coast. You really need to read about (see videos on line), and then get boots on the ground to see if it’s for you. I was told the medical is approx. $70.00 per month. And I think it covers most everything. Best!….. Sharon




          •  
            Leonard Perella

            Hi. Was wondering if you have picked a place to stay and if so where and what’s it like. My wife and I are looking for a retirement place. We are looking forward to exploring the area in 2016; would appreciate any help you may be able to provide. Thanks, Len & Val…email address is surfsidebeach4us@aol.com




    •  
      Fred Konrad

      I live in Salinas, 5th floor, never any mosquitos nor buchos of any kind.




  44.  
    hippie99

    Do Americans need a visa to spend a few months in Ecuador? Am not seeking residency at this time but like to check it out as a traveler.




    • Doug Morgan
       
      Doug Morgan

      You will get a 90-day tourist visa when you enter Ecuador.




      •  
        hippie99

        Thanks. That is convenient. Perhaps a visit to a bordering country gets another 90 days upon re-entry?




        • Doug Morgan
           
          Doug Morgan

          No, unfortunately, like many South American countries, Ecuador only permits you to spend 90 days in the country during a calendar year period as a tourist. You can get a 90-day extension but that has its own special requirements. See are “Visas and Immigration” section under the Relocation tab for more details.




          •  
            Jimmy Stone

            Hey Doug, me and my wife are interested in what you may know about Bahia. I enjoy golf and was wondering if there are many golf courses in the area.




            • Doug Morgan
               
              Doug Morgan

              I haven’t been to Bahia but I understand it’s pretty nice.




            •  
              Charlie Fritz

              Jimmy, there is a development that is going in just south of Bahia. I am not sure where they are at on their timeline, as there have been several delays. The name is Las Olas. There is also a golf course resort fairly new in Monticristi, which is near Manta, about 1.5 hours south of Bahia, and a new golf course resort scheduled to be built north of Bahia, also about 1 hour. We do not golf, but know of these locations close to Bahia. Best of luck




  45.  
    Doug

    I am very interested in finding out more about retiring in Ecuador.
    Any info would help. Single 65 year old guy.




  46.  
    Segundo

    Great place to be. I lived there for more than 19 years. I enjoyed ever minute of it. Especially the Inca textiles.




  47.  
    Karen

    I am thinking about retirement at age 65, in a couple of years, in Ecuador. I have been researching for a few months and think I would prefer to live on or near the beach. I have been looking at Salinas, Bahia De Caraquez and Montanita. Any thoughts on these three areas? or any suggestions as to other areas?




    •  
      Gary

      Karen,

      Try looking at Puerto Cayo. There are a few nice communities there: Grand Palmas, Palmera Beach, etc.

      Gary




  48.  
    Bill

    Hi Sandi

    The best place in Ecuador for me is Vilcabamba. It’s very friendly … you will know many people fast. But it’s more of a artist funky crazy new age town … Many fun people to talk to.

    The other expat communities are much more conservative and don’t have the great weather. But that’s my take on it




  49.  
    Sandi

    Hi I’m 67 yrs old healthy and active. I’m single and want a locale safe and welcoming for a female. Looking to rent and want cultural and active communities with history. Any suggestions? Sandi




    • Doug Morgan
       
      Doug Morgan

      Cuenca and Quito both suit your needs. Cuenca is slightly lower elevation; truly I would recommend Vilcabamba as your best bet.




  50.  
    DENISE

    WE, 2 COUPLES ARE THINKING OF SPENDING A MONTH OR SO IN DECEMBER 2014 TO JAN 2015 AND WOULD LIKE TO KNOW A CONDO ON THE BEACH CLOSE TO THE CITY CENTRE, WE WOULD RENT A CAR, I THINK.
    WOULD ANYONE KNOW RECOMMEND WHERE WE COULD FIND A 2 BEDROOM CONDO FULLY FURNISHED AND HOW MUCH IT WOULD COST APPROXIMATELY WITH ALL UTILITIES.

    ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS WOULD BE WELCOME.
    WE ARE FROM CANADA AND REALLY WANT TO GET OUT OF THE SNOW HERE AND WOULD LIKE TO EXPLORE ECUADOR, BEACHES, CITIES AND THE ISLANDS FOR SURE.

    THANKS FOR THE INFO




    •  
      Gary

      Denise ,

      If you don’t mind being out of the city center, then I would suggest Puerto Cayo . It is a beautiful beach town and not too far from other attractions.




  51.  
    Bill

    You will not need an air conditioner in Vilcabamba the weather there is perfect
    Cuenca is cool and damp for me some people like it I do not ..I have lived in both places and Vilcabamba is pretty hard to beat. i was never so comfortable in my life.
    the coast is to hot for me




  52.  
    Darla

    I’m considering moving to Cuenca to retire. Does it rain there everyday? Seems cooler than I first expected? Also, do apartments in Vilcabamba have a/c?




  53.  
    hippie99

    A temperature range of 35-75F is what I consider perfect. How hot does Vilcambamba gets?




  54.  
    Joe

    Thanks for writing. You know how every bit of info is very important. I thought that Loja had more activities. What about healthcare? Car rental when we arrive in Catamayo airport.? What’s the big hype on Cuenca??
    Thanks




    •  
      Jason

      I can provide you some information about Vilcabamba. Is a small town outside of Loja (the main city in the southern region) and very close to Malacatos. In Vilcabamba you will find a lot of repats, but like someone else said is a kind of New Age community, if you want the same climate and more quiet town, you should check Malacatos (about 10 minutes by car). Medical services will be available in Loja (40 minutes from Vilcabamba and 30 from Malacatos) most of medical specialities are available there. Or for complex illnes you can go to Quito by a 45 minutes flight from Loja airport (catamayo). I suggest you to rent a car in Loja, where you will find more agencies and options. From Catamayo airport you can take a private taxi to Loja that cost $15 to 20 or a shared ride is about $5 per person, they gonna leave you in any addres inside Loja for same price. Best hotels options in Loja are Howard Jhonson, Hotel Grand Victoria Boutique or Zamorano Real Hotel.




  55.  
    hippie99

    Thank you for your info. I read cost of living in Vilcambamba online but it is somewhat outdated. How is the inflation affecting expat living in Ecuador & Vilcanbamba the last several years? It is hard for me to move there until 2016 at the earliest.




    •  
      Susan in QUito

      Every thing in Latin America and in developing countries, like Ecuador esp. and others, is in flux, CHANGING all the time. Please understand that fundamental and you will save yourself a lot of trouble financially, socially, etc. in making a major life change like moving to another country. This is not a sized-down Spain or Chile. This is Ecuador and its cultural past and present is DIFFERENT than everywhere else.

      If you are planning to come here, read everything you can and know what you really are comfortable with, large cities, small and simpler places, sophisticated or whatever you prefer. Travel around and take notes. It is not a process for the faint of heart; it takes time and a LOT OF PATIENCE here and people make errors even even when they are savvy travelers and know the drill in many places they have been.

      Be aware that as the country gets richer (the minimum wage was raised by the govt. in Quito this year to $340 per month) and people “want more” consumer goods and the life they believe they deserve, there is a tide of rising expectations and more crime comes with that. Crime rates (mostly theft, sometimes armed robbery and assaults on rich(er) visitors) is definitely rising in Quito in the 3 years I have lived here — My smart expat friends tell me the same. Come prepared, enjoy.

      I love this country as I find it but I learn everyday something new about it — and have lived in other countries in Latin America, Chile and Argentina. So be brave, be patient and make your own choices — this is my best advice. Check on prices and costs nearer to the time you plan to travel here.

      Buena Suerte.




  56.  
    isabel

    Dear Expats!
    My name is Isabel Noboa, im an attorney and currently living in Quito, Ecuador.
    I also speak fluent english since I went to highschool in the USA.
    Please dont hesitate to email me for any legal or non legal advcie in Ecuador.
    Hope you enjoy your stay

    :)




    •  
      Sharon

      Hi Isabel: I am planning a trip to Quito within a few months. Just waiting for a document from the Ecuadorian Consulate. I would like to start the process of Pension Visa when I arrive. I have one suggestion for someone to help me (a good recommendation). Do you help people thru this process, and if so what is your price? Or maybe you know of someone else who has a good price?
      Sharon




    •  
      Nabil

      Hi:

      May I inquire about practicing law in Ecaudor? Can a Canadian law graduate practice law there?




    •  

      I am considering moving to Cuenca or possibly another smaller town. I am the guardian of my 14 year old grandson. If we move it would be next summer and then he would need to go to high school. His Spanish will be quite elementary.Do you know anything about options for bi-lingual high school ? We will be living on a small income so paying a big fee is not an option.
      Thanks, Martine




    •  
      Rich

      Hi Isabel,

      Can you recommend an area to stay and some hotels in Quito? I would like to see the City maybe this winter and try to get a feel for Ecuador. I have been to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico many times and thought I might end up there. Summer seems like it would be a bit too hot though.

      Sincere Thanks!!




      • Doug Morgan
         
        Doug Morgan

        Be sure to check out our hotel recommendations in the Quito section under the tab “Stay.”

        Doug at Your Escape to Ecuador




      •  
        anne k.

        i would suggest The Hotel Sebastin in Quito. It is very clean! The staff is excellent and the restaurant in the hotel has a very good menu.




    •  
      sofia

      hi, Isabel! I d love contact info for you… my email is sofiameyen@hotmail.com. Thanks for offering advice!! Sofia




  57.  
    Joe

    Hi, any Baptist churches in Catamayo, Malacatos, Vilcabamba, Zaruma, Loja & Machala areas?
    Any preferences for semi-retirement in these areas? Any NGO’s or ministries?

    Our desire is simple: to serve in the community via Church or organizations. Please help!

    Pastor/Chaplain Joe n Raquel. Chaplainjoegomez@aol.com Gracias




  58.  
    Joe Gomez

    Hi, kindly inform me about the differences in Loja, Catamayo, Malacatos, Vilcabamba; anything and everything. Thanks.




    •  
      Bill

      Hi I have lived in Ecuador 4 years You wanted to know about Vilcabamba and Loja .. I really cannot see an Expat living in Loja .. But Vilcabam is close to it very nice and many expats . The weather is perfect every day even when its rains its hevenly.. Their are very nice resturants there and many gringos. Vilcabamba has a wide range of expats very interesting place if you like Good converstaion and there is always some kind of Music going on.
      You will find some people will tell you crazy Gringos live there I find them very fun and friendly. you can find Yoga classes and many new age activities there also. But Loja is very much just a Blue collar working mans town from the many times i have been there i think any active person would be quit bored there.




      •  
        Susan in QUito

        Can you be more specific about Loja, please ?? I’ve lived in QUito 3 years and spent 10 days walking around Loja a couple of years ago. For people who party and drink and drug a lot, it would not suit as the social life is small and potentially boring, I would guess. However with four universities and good public access TV it might be a good place, for some slower-lane people like me..IMO.

        Do you know Loja well? Let me know privately — I plan a visit soon to check out current conditions in Loja. SUEB4BS@YAHOO.COM

        Many thanks. Susan




        •  
          Joe Jomez

          Hi, we hope to visit Loja and the surrounding area Feb 01,2015. While the temp in Vilcabamba seems perfect, Americans are looked at as hippie,new agers drink/drug types and it is clashing with the ecuadorians. This info is everywhere I check online. How true or not let me know. I am more interested in Loja. Zaruma seems interesting but kinda outta the way and no real hospital there. Peace n safety plus good weather ( 50 to 80) is what I need. Been in contact with 3 pastors and 2 missionaries that will give me the facts once I am there. Kindly inform me of what were your experiences in Loja. Email me chaplainjoegomez@aol.com thanks.




  59.  
    Georgia

    Hi
    Just moved to Cuenca, Ecuador.
    I am 65 year old retired RN.
    Lots of hustle and bustle in Cuenca but quiet at night.
    People very friendly and always willing to help with directions, restaurant recommendations etc.
    Staying in a Guest House that is very reasonable, clean, friendly … while looking for permanent accommodation.
    Ate at a few places that were very good, reasonable, freshly prepared and fresh ingredients. The chicken is amazing, not like the chicken back home.
    Could let you know when I go to the coast to Salinas or Galapagos.
    Good luck !




  60.  
    Doug

    Hello,

    Looking for advice on best City/Town to live in. I am a 65 year old single/divorced man looking at Ecuador. I love the mountains/valleys and occasional beach. Is it safe for a single man to live in most places, easy to meet people, friends, etc? Looking to become a member of the community. Am a musician (play keyboards), can work on computers, etc. Friendly and outgoing….

    Any advice would help. Many areas sound good. But would like to meet and become friends with people.

    Thanks,
    Doug




  61.  
    Wyn

    I’m an avid motorcycle rider. I’ve been pouring over information i.e. living expenses etc. in Ecuador. Having been unable to find out any info. on road conditions, tour riding etc., is there anyone out there that can provide any information? I’m planning to retire to South America and Ecuador seems like a great place. Just want to find out about riding there.




    •  
      Albert

      Hey Wyn,

      My wife and I visited Ecuador in November/December 2013 and we absolutely loved it. The roads in Ecuador are absolutely the best in all of south america and I know because we have been to Peru, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. Salinas is a nice town and is in the middle of a building boom with all the highrise apartments going up; however, the prices are still very reasonable at around $70,000 to 100,000 for various sizes of apartment homes.




    •  
      Sharon

      You’d fit in great in any of the coastal towns. I saw a lot of motor bikes, and three wheelers in Canoa. And I’m sure the other beach towns would be the same. From what I’ve seen and read they drive very aggressively and crazy in the town of Quito and on the freeways. They don’t use indicators when changing lanes. It’s like a free for all, as if they’re racing the Indie 500. I think the speed limit on the … very nice freeway… to the Quito airport is 80 mph.




  62.  
    Larry Lane

    I would like information regarding any long term rentals beginning June 1, 2014, preferably completely furnished house, in Cotacachi. Anyone with this type property for long term can contact me at llane48@cfl.rr.com.

    Thanks and have a great rest of the day and rest of the week!

    Larry




  63.  
    Ken

    I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and have been considering relocating to Ecuador. I’m in my sixties, healthy, active and single.

    I’d appreciate any tips on where I might be relocate. I like to hike, workout, cook, dance, and motorcycle. I’m an amateur sculptor and ceramicist.

    Any information would be appreciated.

    Looking forward to making new friends.

    Ken




    •  
      Bill

      Vilcabamba is the place for you from the discription you gave




    •  
      Susan in QUito

      Hello Ken: I recommend since you are from the Bay Area, you try Quito. I have lived here for 3 years and love the city. I have lived in Northern CA also for 10 years, my property is in Southern OR near Ashland. Usually 1 x yr I return to the States. Lots of art and music here, a rich cultural scene. Also some fascinating development in cine and other areas of photography and the arts. Crime is going up, on the downside. In some case fairly dramatically. STILL NOTHING LIKE THE U.S. — so come, visit and let’s talk about what you are looking for… Susan in QUito sueb4bs@yahoo.com




      •  
        Roger

        Susan, how long have you lived in Ecuador??? I am retired and living in northern Peru, near the city of Chiclayo. The climate where I live is great, but I am planning a trip over the next couple of weeks to Ecuador.
        The cites I will visit are Vilcabamba, Loja and Cuenca. I am thinking about relocating to Eucador to one of these city. I will rent for awhile, until I get a good feel for the area I will live at permanently.
        I want this trip to be for the research and have a lot of questions to ask when I get there.

        Oh, I am also from Oregon. I still have a house just outside Portland in Happy Valley. Maybe we can meet when I get there. I certainly will have a lot of questions.

        Roger




    •  

      Hi Ken. I just read your post from last year. I ‘m thinking of moving to Ecuador and am just starting to explore. Am also active single, artist, love to dance etc. If you are already there i’d like to hear about how it’s going for you and where you have landed. if you are still in SF maybe we could talk on the phone. I live in Marin.
      Martine




  64.  
    Louis

    I just retired as a teacher and would like some information on the living conditions in any senior community there.




  65.  
    Joe

    I am planning to retire in May 2014 and I am looking for a great place to retire with low cost, I would go with my wife so I am doing a reserch to see what places to retire. I am interested in Ecuador, but first I would go during the summer to check the places in Ecuador. if someone could give me advise . Thanks




    •  
      Paula

      We just got back from exploring Ecuador for a month and have returned home to sell out! It will not matter much if you visit summer or winter as there is only about a 1 degree difference. On the equator its sunrise at 6 ish and sunset at 6ish and the temperature does not vary much. I couldn’t believe but, we didn’t need air or heat. I love to sleep cold under blankets and it’s perfect. Getting out of bed in the morning is chilly but, it quickly warms up. Stick a space heater in the bathroom and you have it made! We only visited towns in the Andes but, we loved it.




    •  
      Peter and Lisel

      Hi Joe: Suggestion– Google “retirement communities in Ecuador” Gives you many choices to pick from. Best wishes in your search.




  66.  
    BarbinBaltimore

    I’m always surprised when they give the temperature range of these towns and say “no heat or air conditioning needed”. I, for one, would want some heat if the nights get down to 45 degrees Fahrenheit! Would anyone who lives in Loja or Cuenca or Quito please comment on if you get chilly at night? Thanks!




    •  
      F. Vottero

      Sure, it gets chilly at night in Quito and Cuenca. But nothing a blanket or two won’t fix.




    •  
      Bill

      yes it gets cold you want perfect weather go to Vilcabamba the rest of tehmountain towns are chilly often




    •  
      Susan in QUito

      In Cuenca it is very cold many times of the year at night. You need Andean-style blankets while sleeping — I lived there for 1.5 months and it is colder overall than Quito. And Quito can be very chilly at night. Both cities are high in the Andes so of course, mountain temps across the world are much colder at night!

      Come check it out for yourself.




  67.  
    GringoTed

    I thought about moving to Cuenca, but now I think Loja may be a better choice.

    Good information. I’ll be sure to look at most of these towns.




    •  
      Georgia

      Me too. I thought Cuenca but Loja sounds perfect.
      No snow but how about mosquitoes?




      •  
        Carlos "ElGringoBueno"

        not a lot of ‘sQuitos at 6,500′ (Loja) or 8,500′ (Cuenca) or 9,300′ (Quito) above sea level. apparently, sQuito’s are only a problem in coastal Ec during 3-4 months per year, i.e., the “rainy” season.

        I’ve been researching Ec towns for retirement over the past 2 months. Lot’s of great options, Loja hit my radar later in the process than Cuenca, but has a lot of advantages. they’re pretty close to each other, so it’ll be easy to compare for yourself once you arrive.




        •  
          Doug

          What do you think of Vilcabamba?

          Checking ‘on-line’ on Cuenca and Quito.
          I like the mtns and a little quieter. Beach once in a while, but not to live there.

          Doug.




    •  
      Jason

      I can provide you some information about Vilcabamba. Is a small town outside of Loja (the main city in the southern region) and very close to Malacatos and Loja. In Vilcabamba you will find a lot of repats, but like someone else said is a kind of New Age community, if you want the same climate and more quiet town where even lives a lot of expats too, you should check Malacatos (about 10 minutes by car). Medical services will be available in Loja (40 minutes from Vilcabamba and 30 from Malacatos) most of medical specialities are available there. Or for complex illnes you can go to Quito by a 45 minutes flight from Loja airport (catamayo). I suggest you to rent a car in Loja, where you will find more agencies and options. From Catamayo airport you can take a private taxi to Loja that cost $15 to 20 or a shared ride is about $5 per person, they gonna leave you in any addres inside Loja for same price. Best hotels options in Loja are Howard Jhonson, Hotel Grand Victoria Boutique or Zamorano Real Hotel. Mosquitoes are not a problem there, climate is perfect and stable all roud year.





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