Cost of Living in Ecuador

| April 17, 2012 | 20 Replies

Cost of Living in Ecuador


What is the real cost of living in Ecuador?

This is a question that is hyped all the time… “Two people together can live for $600 per month in beautiful Ecuador.”  How can that be possible? Lets do the math.


The lowest cost of living in Ecuador budget.

Here is what I would consider to be minimum living standards and what they would cost.

  • $200 per month for an older 1 bedroom apartment, clean and well kept
  • $300 per month for food ($5 per person per day)
  • $  50 utilities (tap water, electric, and gas)
  • $  30 cell phone service for 2 phones (initial cost of each phone is $40)
  • $  10 bus fare (40 bus rides per month)

No cable TV or internet or emergency fund but we are at $590 per month for two people. You can probably find a bar with a TV (but you would have to buy a drink) and the park and Del Rio Mall have free internet. Good luck if you get sick or need dental work. The cost of living in Ecuador is really low in this example but this budget is really tight.


Cost of living in Ecuador for just under a $1000

With a budget of $950 per month you can move uptown… sort of.

  • $300 per month for a newer 2 bedroom apartment or condo
  • $300 per month for food
  • $  50 utilities (tap water, electric, and gas)
  • $  35 internet service
  • $  35 health care (a couple doctor visits a year)
  • $  30 cell phone service for 2 phones
  • $  25 bus fare and taxi fare
  • $  50 cable/sat TV
  • $100 entertainment (dining out, coffee, ice cream)
  • $  25 miscellaneous

Wow, $950 a month for 2 people is not to bad… this cost of living in Ecuador example should be affordable for most people.




But can you really live like a King on $1500 per month in Ecuador?

My friends keep telling me this, so lets see.



  • $400 per month for a very nice condo or apartment or home.
  • $400 per month for more food than 2 people can eat (Eat out more often)
  • $  80 HOA dues… comes with the security of a doorman
  • $100 Utilities (water, bottled water, electric, and gas, home phone if you like)
  • $200 Housekeeper (cleaning, laundry, may do some cooking)
  • $100 Really good internet service and Cable/Sat TV service
  • $120 Health insurance for 2 people
  • $100 Clothes
  • $100 entertainment (dining out, coffee, ice cream)
  • $100 Taxi rides 50 times a month
  • $  50 Cell phone service for two very talkative people
  • $  50 miscellaneous (symphony tickets or a trip to the spa)


Oops, looks like my Kingdom can not be had for less than $1800 per month. Maybe for some of us the cost of living in Ecuador will be a little higher than we thought.

I personally find it luxurious to be able to live without an automobile although others might find it to be a necessity. Add about $150 per month for maintenance, gas, and insurance and maybe a bit more for parking fees…. Remember the cost to purchase a car is considerably higher in Ecuador than in North America. Gasoline on the other hand is priced at $1.50 right now and diesel fuel is even less…

A Kingdom with a car for less than $2,000 a month all located in a friendly place with great weather… Not too bad…  Not too bad at all…

So, the cost of living in Ecuador will mostly depend on you. Scale down and live on a little, need more and it will cost you…

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Category: Living in Ecuador, Moving to Ecuador, Retiring in Ecuador

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  1. Ecuador Information 2013 - Ecuador George | March 3, 2013
  1. Dave says:

    Hi George,
    I can’t tell you how I found your website but glad I did! I just came across “retiring in Ecuador” on a yahoo story about a month ago and have been looking into it ever since!
    It looks like you are about 2 years ahead of us so hopefully you don’t mind having your brain picked?
    Everyone wants to have the American dream and it seems like Ecuador is the place to have it. It seems from all I have read the Ecuadorian people are very friendly and laid back which works for us. I will tell you what I expect and you give me your opinion.
    I am coming to their country and want to fit in as much as a gringo can so I want to learn spanish and hopefully not just spanish but their spanish since just like english it can all vary. I don’t want to find a gringo “compound” but instead learn from Ecuadorians all about their country and customs and if they want to try a Texan chicken fried steak I can do that.
    You posted some things you had heard and read and the one about dog poop in the street and I can just say I am glad I didn’t see it or I might of fainted!
    Can you tell me where to go to see some apartments,condos and houses with outside and inside pictures and sizes with prices? I know that from what you said never rent online but so we can get an idea.
    Thank you and I would like to talk to you sometime and further pick your brain and keep up with your progress. I know you have been and plan on moving in 2013 but I probably missed have you been once or twice?


    • Ecuador George says:

      My American Dream has changed in the last few years. I have the big house and the antique car and the 2 seater sports car and all the stuff that was suppose to make me happy. The problem is, it didn’t make me as happy as I thought it would. My new dream is simple. Rent a little, easy to keep clean apartment or condo with no outside maintenance. With all the extra time I will walk and visit with new friends and just sit and relax or travel and see new things… More experiences and less things.

      I like that you want to immerse yourself into the culture. Very cool. I hope to live downtown.

      You know, I didn’t see that much poop on the street or sidewalk but there was some. I walked a lot when we were there and it never bothered me.

      As for getting an idea of rentals, I usually google Cuenca Apartments and Condos for rent. A lot of sites will come up. Good hunting. Always fun to look at those places.


    • Frank Huthnance says:

      We lived in Ecuador 14 years. While many things such as rent are cheaper, things like electricity and buying a car are much more expensive. You can live cheaper all around if you modify your life-style, but if you want to live the way you did in the USA, i.e., late model cars, washer and dryer, large refrigerator with ice maker, plenty of hot water, etc – the net cost is going to be the same as in the USA. (unless you compare with NY or San Francisco, which are more expensive). We lived in Ecuador 7 years, then back to the USA for 2 years and then back o Ecuador for 7 more years and then back to the USA where we now live. Our comparisons are valid and documented. We maintained the same life-style in both places and while our expenses varied vastly by category, our overall bottom line cash outlay was practically identical in dollar amount.

  2. Dave says:

    Hi George,
    Thanks for the reply and the thing about the dog poop was sarcasm cause if that bothers you then they will probably have a problem in any city USA!
    Are you going back for your second trip or have you already made two and 2013 your move date? We plan to lease our house here for the extra income and to also have a place here if we do want to come back to stay or visit for a while.
    It sounds like getting a car there is a no go but that doesn’t seem necessary anyway but would like to take our horses,same problem or worse?
    We were thinking about sending a “pod” with our clothes and TV’s since they are hard to find and expensive is that feasable?
    It sounds like you will already be living there when we are visiting and scouting so I hope we are able to get together get extra advice and don’t worry we are not looking for a tour guide,just a few pointers and a nice dinner.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Buenos dias Dave,
      We visited Cuenca in late 2011 for about 3 weeks. We pretended that we lived there. Took taxis a few times but mostly used the bus system. We went to all the shopping areas, the Mall del Rio, a lot of the Mercado’s, we did the local $2 lunches, bought some clothes, the museum, the spa with a mud bath, and walked a lot. The city is very conducive to walking although the sidewalks can be an obstacle course. Our second visit will be in August of this year. We will go for 16 days, and currently our plan is to do the Northern Coast for 6 days and then Cuenca for about 10. Then, if all is well, we will move in July/August of 2013.

      As for the car thing, I don’t want one. That doesn’t mean I won’t get one but we will see. I like the idea of being driven when we need to go somewhere. Two weeks at the beach is a $30 roundtrip bus ride per person… twenty five cent buses and $2 taxis are excellent in the city. You are on your own about bringing your horses. No ideas on that. We have decided to completely start from scratch so we will leave here with two suitcases each…

      Here is my suggestion to you and to anyone who reads this. Find someone in Cuenca that you trust. Our friends Brenda and Clark suggested we stay at the Casa Ordonez, a wonderful bed and breakfast a couple blocks from Parque Calderon (center of town). Alberto, the owner of Casa Ordonez was very helpful, speaks better english than I do, and we became like family over the time we stayed there. His sister can show you real estate and he knows everything that you might have a question about. He called ahead for us when we went to dinner and we were received like royalty when we arrived at the restaurant. Everyone needs someone like Alberto to help them get started… I can not stress how much Alberto helped us… And if you are reading this Alberto, mucho gracias mi amigo!

      Dave, I have been meeting so many new friends on this blog that we are thinking about having a party to meet everyone in person once we have settled in. As for dinner, would love to. Keep reading my blog and other blogs. There is a lot of good information on the internet. Take care…


  3. Elizabeth P. says:

    Hi George,

    Your new ‘friend’, it’s Elizabeth here. I love your cost-of- living article. [never know whether to call it a blog or an article, as the website is called a blog too. 🙂 ]

    I will keep Alberto and Casa Ordonez in mind for when I get all my ducks in a row and commit to going south. The more I read your articles the more I want to go.

    I was wondering if you’ve heard of Bryan and Dena Haines? They are a young Canadian couple with a daughter who moved to Cuenca a couple of years ago. They sold everything they owned and arrived with a couple of suitcases each, just like you plan to do. They have an excellent website: . It’s worth checking out.

    Talk to you again soon,
    P.S. I got the email addy. 🙂

    • Ecuador George says:


      For us, staying at a bed and breakfast had some unexpected benefits. Not only did we make friends with Alberto, his mom, his sister, and his staff, but we met quite a few other wonderful people that were looking to move from Canada or the US or Europe. Without hardly trying we were right in the middle of a group that were doing the same thing we were… as for the website/blog you mentioned, it is full of great information. I will be writing an article/blog about their site and others that I have found helpful. Look for it this week… stay tuned my new friend….

  4. Linda Momberger says:

    We have a retirement income of 3300.00 per month, and savings. We would like to rent the first year at a coastal community, But we want to be near hospital and medical care, is this possible?

    • Ecuador George says:

      Linda, I would suggest Manta as the first place to look. This area is a large city and has those full service hospitals you are looking for. Good luck. George

  5. Meg and Nak says:

    Dear George,

    My husband and I have this crazy idea to live in Equador and flip a property for extra income. We have a home in the bay area and jobs with homeland security, so we would take our three kids and try our luck. Our employer can allow a two year unpaid leave, so we would take two years to find a place, fix it up, live in it and sell it. I’m just wondering if it’s feasible. We have bought and sold homes here, but after the market crash we lost out big time. We also won’t be selling our current home, so our investment is limited. We bought this last house to flip, but I love this one, so I can’t. We are blue collar workers (not rich people) and we want time to investigate and live in Equador, but our income would depend on being able to buy and sell within a couple of years of being there. Otherwise, we’d have to return home and return to work for homeland security. We have three kids 11, 7, and 3. We want to teach them, and ourselves, something other than smart phones and tv, but can we swing it? Vacations are out of the question with our job, and we love house flipping. Thanks for reading and definitely give me any feedback you can!

    • Ecuador George says:

      So you are the people from Homeland Security that have been reading my blog. I thought maybe I was in trouble…. I know a few people that are doing this and I think they are doing ok. You would need to find someone local you trust to find the right properties that need work and that would make financial sense for you. Alberto has connections. He is the owner of Casa Ordonez in Cuenca. We stay there when we travel to Cuenca and he is the man with good connections and it very trustworthy. Good luck. George

  6. Eric says:

    Hello George, My wife Lisa and I have just started looking into the possibility of relocating to Ecuador. Last child will be done with college in 5 years. We really want to live on the ocean. I was really excited about Salinas until I found a few really bad reviews on it. Dirty, nasty, always cloudy, ect. Then I looked into Manta. It seems to look like a better option. What do you think? We are planning to spend the week of Thanksgiving there this year. Will fly into Guayaquil, rent a car and start first in Salinas for a couple days, then head up the coast to Manta, then on to Esmeraldas. We will own our home in Phoenix outright by the time we want to move, and after selling it, use that cash to purchase a house on or near the beach in Ecuador. We plan to rent here and there for a few months at a time before deciding on our favorite. Would you think that shipping a car over would be a lot cheaper than buying one there? Also, have you looked into shipping household goods and stuff over? You mentioned that you like Cuecnca a lot. Are you planning on living more inland? Is the weather better inland? Anyway, nice to sort of meet you. Maybe we can get together for a meal when we come at Thanksgiving. Eric

    • Ecuador George says:

      Eric, we will be in Salinas tomorrow and so please stay tuned. I am not an expert on the coast but I will be looking around Salinas and the Montanita/Olon area. I will give everyone my first had observations in just a few days. Your plan about flying into Guayaquil and then moving up the coast is a good one. Talk with you soon and good luck. George

  7. Raymond Gravel says:

    Hi Georges,
    your Web site is very interesting. We plan to go in Ecuador on the next winter, probably from october to december. Is it a a time or is it better to delay it to January. We like beaches, so where are the best beaches places ? Thanks!

    • Ecuador George says:

      Raymond… I was able to get a really good airfare in January so think about that. The weather on the coast and in Cuenca was great in January. Mid 80’s on the coast and low 70’s in Cuenca. Remember you are on the equator so weather changes very little through out the year…. The coast is warm all year…. I liked Salinas and Montanita/Olon area…. but that was as far as I went. I hear Bahia and Canoa are nice too… George

  8. Leo says:

    Hola George, first let me congratulated you for this wonderful information and the willingness of you to share it with the world. I hope you’re having a great time in Ecuador. Given your experienced and having gone through the move, I would like to get your opinion on something that has been bothering me for a long time. I am originally from Quito, I have family there. I’ve lived in the US for most of my adult life, I’m currently 43 years old. I’ve always wanted to go back to Ecuador (don’t get me wrong, I loved this country [USA] it has giving me a lot and that’s why is hard to just pick up and move), but for some reason I have never made the jump. Here is the question: Would you move to Ecuador with $140K cash in your hand, single 43 years old? I would like to buy a place to live and maybe have some money left for a business of some sort. I would like your opinion and I know there is always a risk on everyday life, but an opinion from someone that has moved there to retired to me is very valuable. Thank you very much in advance. -Leo

    • Ecuador George says:

      First of all, we don’t live in Ecuador yet but have spent almost 2 months there in the last few years. We currently are selling most everything we own and plan our move for this October.

      I will still try to answer your question. Your age has a lot to do with my answer.

      You are still a young man. I would jump at the opportunity to go back to Ecuador. I would not buy a home, I would rent. I would start my business using as little of the money I have, meaning lease a building if needed, buy everything used if possible. If the business is successful, then you can move to your own building, you can upgrade things as you grow… but invest as little of your capital… if things don’t go well, you will still have 80 or 90 thousand dollars left in the bank to try something else. Cash is king my friend, hold onto it.

      Good luck,


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