Ecuador’s Cost of Living

| October 19, 2012 | 69 Replies

Ecuador’s Cost of Living

 

Ecuador’s cost of living is a subject I have done a lot of research on the this blog. It is probably the subject I get most questions about.

Ecuador's Cost of Living

 

I like writing this blog. I do research, figure things out for myself, then share it with anyone who wants to read about it. I learn a lot, share what I know, and sometimes people question the information I give… When that happens, I go and research a little more to make sure the information I am putting out there is correct.

 

My new friend Claudia had a few questions about the information I gave in my last post. And although I hate to think I may have misinformed, I might not have given as much information as I should have on the subject of money, inflation, and Ecuador’s cost of living.

 

So, lets see if I can do it a little better this second time around…

 

Ecuador’s Cost of Living, Set up Costs, Moving Containers, Inflation 

There are a lot of stories about Ecuador’s cost of living, and how low it is. It is easy to get confused when you read that $600 will cover all your monthly expenses and with $1500 you can live like a king. Is this really possible?

 

There are also the reports that it will cost a fortune to set up your household when you get to this new country. Expensive appliances and electronics, lots of money for kitchen gadgets and furniture. Computers will put you in the poor farm…. Well is this true?

 

Ecuador's cost of livingIf all this stuff is so expensive, maybe we should hire a shipping container company and move all our stuff from our current home to our new Ecuador paradise. What to do, what to do?

 

And then there are the stories about how costs are on the rise and they are going up fast. Is that true? And who is causing this inflation? Is it because of the increase in expat population, or is it something else?

 

 

Lets cover Ecuador’s cost of living first. 

From everything I have seen, $600 a month budget leaves no room for any contingencies or unexpected emergencies…. Plain and simple, if you can find an apartment for $250 per month and you don’t eat out, and you don’t get sick, and don’t need a dentist, and don’t need new things like clothes and shoes, then you might be able to get by on $600.  I think minimum is more like $850 a month. No travel, no new stuff, just basic survival, a cheap cell phone, no internet or cable TV. I could do this but I don’t know if I would want to.

 

On the other side of the coin is the good life. Plan on $1800 per month living in a $600 apartment or house, you have health insurance, maybe a dog, maybe even a car. You send your laundry out and have a house keeper/helper two days a week. You also have internet, cable TV and a couple of cell phones. You can eat out 3 or 4 times a week and have an extra $200 per month to do with as you please. Ecuador’s cost of living can get as high as living in the states if you want and need all those things and trappings….

 

Somewhere in between these two examples will get you a cost of living at about $1200 per month. Rent at about $450, no car, you probably do your own laundry and domestic help maybe once a week. Not much left at the end of the month. I have all this broken down in an earlier post call “Cost of Living in Ecuador”.  Wish I knew how to create a button here to get you easily to the other post. Anyone know how to do that?

 

My niece Niki and new friend Burt just sent me the information for creating a link… cool. Lets see if it works. To see my previous post with three different detailed budgets click on the word “Budgets“.

Our goal is to live on $1500 a month without a car. We are hoping we can bank $200 per month from this budget to a travel fund.

 

 

Cost to set up your new household

This is the subject that my friend Claudia had questions about. Here again, you will get mixed reports. Some say you can do this on the cheap, and other say that this will be very expensive.

 

In a nut shell, both reports are correct.

 

Imported items are expensive, locally produced items are not. So, a Maytag washer/dryer could be double the cost of a similar appliance that is manufactured in Ecuador. Watch for sales and always negotiate. Furniture and mattresses are available locally so if you shop around your furnishings should be pretty reasonable.

 

But there are things you will need that are not cheap. Electronics, TV’s, imported Smart Phones, and Computers are some of those things. So, how do you get these on a budget?

 

Buy technology that is a year or two old. Last years Plasma Television will be your cheapest bet on a flat screen compared to the same size LED. New technology is expensive. Sometimes twice as much. Same thing goes for computers. This years iMac desk top will cost a fortune but you can find last years PC for prices that are not to much more than what you would find in the states.

 

We are bringing an iPad, a laptop, and a MiniMac with us as they are small enough to easily fit in a suitcase. We will buy keyboard, monitor, and printer when we get here.

 

So, buy locally manufactured things and get some great prices. Quality is sometimes suspect but let your sensibilities be the judge. Do your research on the different brands and ask around. Give yourself some time to set up your house. You don’t need to do it all in the first week. If you take your time you might run across gently used things. Ecuador’s cost of living can stay low if you shop smart.

 

Our plan is to buy a very expensive imported coffee machine and everything else will be local stuff. We also realize that we will be furnishing a two bedroom place, not a 5 bedroom house. We only need one of everything instead of 3 or 4 of everything makes a huge difference in set up cost…

 

Ballpark prices for these things…

 

  • 40 inch Plasma Flat Screen  $1000
  • Couch and coffee table  $550
  • Queen Bedroom Set   $500
  • Queen Mattress  $350
  • 18 CF Refrigerator   $500
  • XYZ Kitchen Range   $500
  • Microwave Oven  $200
  • XYZ Brand Washer/Dryer  $900 for the pair

(Newer technology or imported brands will double the above prices)

 

One last thing on this subject. Keep you eye open for a rental property that is partially furnished. This could save you on your set up costs. Also remember that you can rent fully furnished places but those will have monthly rental pricing that can be $250 more than unfurnished units. Renting furnished gives you the freedom to move around fast and easy. Just pack up your clothes and go. Some people rent furnished for the first year just to see how this new lifestyle suits them. Something to think about…

 

 

Moving Container… Is it worth it?

In this section I will talk only about what we have decided. We currently live in a big house in the states. Lots of everything. 6 Flat Screens, 5 sofas, 3 stereo systems, 3 desktop computers, and I could go on. My house has 6 refrigerators! Don’t ask…

 

This is not how I want to live anymore. We only need one of everything. One TV, one refrigerator, one sofa, so I am dead set on selling everything. Our goal is to scale down to almost nothing so we have more freedom to travel around if we want.

 

We will not be paying the five or six thousand dollars for a shipping container to move all our stuff to Ecuador. Not that this is wrong, but we can buy all the stuff we need once we get to Ecuador for about $4000. This is the right decision for us.

 

But if you must have your pool table, your Craftsman tool box and all your tools, and your antique furniture, then you should get that container, and move your stuff. Just be absolutely sure that Ecuador is what you really want. Six months down the road if you should decide that the move was wrong, that move back will be that much harder with all your stuff in tow.

 

 

Are things getting more expensive in Ecuador?

This was the other question my friend Claudia wanted me to clear up. If prices are going up, what is causing this?

In Cuenca, there is a population of about 500,000 people. There are about 5000 expats in Cuenca. Could it be possible that 1 percent of the population is responsible for all this talked about inflation?

 

I think this is another yes and no answer…

 

Let me try to explain. I am currently trying to sell a couple of expensive homes in my little mountain town. Someone suggested I advertise these homes in the Palm Springs and Los Angeles newspapers because those people have money and they would grab up my homes for sure… Not sure if I agree with this marketing strategy, but lets use this way of thinking but insert Ecuador into the story.

 

An apartment in Cuenca might have two prices, a local price and a gringo price, and the difference could be $200 per month. I was in the Mercado buying fresh vegetables and a local ahead of me bought 3 avocados for half what I was asked to pay for them. Even the shoe shine boy in Quito charged a local man a quarter for a shoe shine but wanted $2 from me. I think this is where the inflation is coming from.

 

This inflation is real, but in most cases it is only the gringo that is feeling it. And who’s fault is this. Guess?

 

When we (the gringo) agree to pay more than market value, we are ruining it for everyone that comes after us. We are painting a huge bullseye on our foreheads and creating a two tiered pricing structure.

 

I am not an economist, but my guess is that this might, over time, start to raise prices across the board for everyone. And this would then create an even bigger problem.

 

The best thing that everyone can do is find out what the going price is for the things you buy all the time and only pay that much. Leave a quarter for a tip instead of a dollar, find out what a taxi costs to your destination and insist on paying only that much before you get into the cab. That shoe shine boy story is the best example of this gringo inflation.

 

Stop paying two dollars for 50 cents worth of rice. It screwing up the economy…

 

 

Hope this post was helpful. I know that cost of living and cost of setting up is important to everyone. I know it is to me.

 

Have a great weekend everyone….

 

If you have any experience with this subject please leave a comment… thanks.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Category: Before The Big Move, Living in Ecuador, Moving to Ecuador, Retiring in Ecuador

Comments (69)

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  1. Mike says:

    Hi, thanks for the continuing info, I enjoy your posts A heads up on shipping containers – be careful when purchasing local containers as they may not be acceptable for international shipping, they sell ones here in Canada that are good for storage etc. but theshipping companies don’t want them, not sure what expires on them but maybe do your research before purchasing and then not be able to use it

    • Ecuador George says:

      Mike, thanks for the information on the containers. It is those little things that can ruin your day if you don’t have all your ducks in a row. Please let us all know of anything else you might run into during your move. We are all ears here…. George

  2. Gary Sisk says:

    Your Info is pretty close! But it does depend on how expats expect to live here. I have friends that spend lots of money on furniture and in some cases pay more rent then they should. If it is a couple it will cost more to live here in Cuenca. I notice groceries do go up a little at a time and some things here cost more, but with other things costing less its still cheaper here.
    I am a single guy with a 2 bedroom condo that I am very happy with, 11th floor on the Rio for $280 a month. It is in a 7 year old building and was $260 a month before a rental agent added an extra $20 a month. Anyway for the full story and cost of setting up my household check out my blog! And looking forward to meeting you in Cuenca someday!

    • Jim says:

      Gary: How did you go about finding your condo? I thought I might do a first trip for orientation via hotel, then a short rental before taking the long term rental. Also, how does renting long term fit with residency/tourist visa requirements? Thought there would be a max stay per trip.

      • Gary Sisk says:

        We looked in the Sunday paper. I came in Dec. and it is pretty full that time of year with snowbirds.
        Tourist visa’s 90-days – always a good idea to check it out before the move here.
        My blog is: AAA Living in Cuenca
        Lots of answers for you there, let me know when you are here.

    • Gary, I love the information in your comment. Is that price for a 2 bedroom a normal price for a unit like that. Did you get a special price, local price, gringo price. Thanks for sharing any info here that you see fit. George

      • Gary Sisk says:

        Expats are quoted higher prices here. I got mine through the Sunday paper with the help of an Ecuadorian friend. The ad was in Spanish of course and was targeting Ecuadoreans.
        I met a couple from CO who rented at Palmero on the 14th floor, 2/3 for $600 a month unfurnished. The apt was 3 years old and no one lived there before because the Ecuadorean owner wanted $600 a month for the last 3 years and would not take less!
        There are 52 new apt building under construction now and Expats don’t seem to be buying now. Hopefully when they are all finished there will be more availability then demand and they will rent for reasonable prices.
        This is the biggest advantage of living here besides cheap gas and utilities.
        The highest priced restaurants in town are owned by gringos!

        I am at: AAA Living in Cuenca

    • Monty says:

      I would like to check out Ecuador.
      Have only $1700.00 a month.
      Any chance to live there.

      • Ecuador George says:

        Monty, read some more of my blog and you will find that you can be very comfortable on your budget… Learn the language and you will really fit in… George

    • mariacatarina says:

      Hi Gary
      I was wondering you living there for a while, you might know and meybe others would let me know. I would like to rent a little home I can’t live in an apartment, I have to be outside or very close to it. I have always cooked and baked so I can do most of my own upkeep and with the exception of house work which I can’t do other chores are not that much of a problem. How much would a little home 2 bed migh go for? I am still able to garden not as much but enough and I do not smoke or drink. I will be 62 in November and I am single. I do not need much and I like to be on my own in quiet with my thoughts. I would not like to be in the “middle” of entertainment and most likely I will have just a few friends over for rasberry suffle! Can you give me some info on the above? Thanks

  3. Burt says:

    You asked about referring to another blog. The easiest way, and with no coding involved, is simply to give the url of the other page. For example, if I wanted to refer to this post, I would say:

    You can find my earlier post at — http://www.ecuadorgeorge.com/ecuadors-cost-of-living/

    Depending on the browser the reader has, that might be clickable, but if not, they can copy/paste it into the url text box and go there.

    The “proper HTML code” for that line would be:

    You can find my earlier post by clicking here

    HTH

    • Ecuador George says:

      Thanks Burt… I did that in my original post but I like to be able to have a clickable link, and what I am really trying to do is figure out how to have a clickable word or button instead of the full link. It is an appearance thing…. It is probably a plug in but I have not had time to do the research. All this blogging is going to make me an expert in SEO and blog design if I am not careful… thanks for the comment…. George

      • David Salahi says:

        Hi George,
        If you’re using WordPress the editor has a way to create a link from any word or phrase. When in Visual view (it’s the default and what you’re probably using) just select the word you want to turn into a link. Then click the chain link icon. In my copy of WordPress it’s the 7th button from the right on the toolbar above the box containing the text of your post. If you hover the mouse over the icon it pops up a tooltip that says “Insert/edit link.” When you click the button it will pop up a small dialog with a place to enter the target URL (the address of the page you want to link to; e.g., http://www.ecuadorgeorge.com) and, optionally, a title for the link. The title will be displayed if a blog visitor hovers their mouse over the link. You can use this to provide additional info about the link destination (and/or improve your SEO by choosing appropriate keywords).

        If you want to change or remove the link there is an unlink icon next to the link icon.

        If anything is unclear, feel free to email me.

        Cheers,
        Dave

        • Thanks David, 8 months ago I have zero knowledge of any of these things. I read a few websites, watched a couple of youtube’s, and just jumped in. I figured that I will be somewhat competent at this programing stuff in about a year. I would love to be more creative. Maybe click on the pictures and have them take you somewhere… you know, stuff like that. Right now I am just trying to improve my SEO. I show up on page 1 for a few searches but most of my traffic comes from referrals. I have noticed lately that other sites have me on their blog rolls so that is very cool. Thanks for the help. George

  4. Jim says:

    Well stated!! I witnessed the same two tier system in Venezuela. The weekend trip to Aruba was much cheaper when booked thru the Vzla travel agency than thru the company travel back in Dallas. As I’ve said, “It’s all in the language”. You’ll note travel that originates in the US is much more expensive than travel starting in Ecuador. I think you’ll find it applies everywhere in SA. Just be smart…”NO” is pronunced the same in English as well as Spanish and no need to worry about your accent. If the shoeshine kid wants to pass you up, so be it. There’ll be another down the block who might not and he knows it. BUT the more the system is accepted, the more reinforced the behavior. Worse…when the higher prices begin to hit the everyone (i.e. supply vs. demand) the locals will resent gringos destroying their price structure ’cause they can’t afford it.

    • Jim, your last statement is what I am afraid of. When the local economy begins to feel a negative impact and we become the target for it, that is when the poop may hit the fan. There is also the possibility that the next new great place to retire may slow the expat influx and that might cause a large amount of supply and not so much demand. As a group, we need to do what we can to not upset things to much…. George

  5. Annette Brennan says:

    Hi George
    I agree wholeheartedly with you re XPATS being a part of the problem. On our last trip to Manta I was shocked at how “cheap” certain things were…taxis, maids etc. $1 for a taxi ride anywhere in Manta seemed crazy to us, so in the beginning we paid the $1 and tipped our driver another dollar. (we used the same driver). Well it didn’t take him long and by ride 4 he had upped the cost to $1.50 which we paid but this time no tip! Luckily we had met a great group of XPATS and they quickly told us, pay what is asked only, otherwise you’re messing up their economy…that never ocurred to us. Our maid was being paid $10 per day for working her %^^& off. Upon leaving I couldn’t help myself and gave her a $20 bill…she was a young girl with a baby and pregnant again and well, I thought it would help. I will never forget the absolute joy on her face while she held me and thanked me. So I think you have to use your own judgment. If I lived there I probably wouldn’t pay her double, but I was leaving and her plight touched my heart. That’s a huge problem down in ever so Catholic Ecuador… young pregnant girls. Go figure. One other thing we found food at the Supermaxi not much of a bargain at all, matter of fact just as expensive as here in Canada. Wines…forget it…the costs were exorbitant..like thirty bucks for a regular bottle of red. Mark was most upset and missed his daily glass of red, but he wasn’t about to pay that kind of money. We were told all alcohol is pricey..don’t know the solution to that one. Re rentals…we’re renting a 3 story brand new townhouse at Vistazul in San Clemente this time around…cost $850 for a month plus electricty of maybe about $40. that includes bottled water, internet WIFI and TV plus all the amenities of the hotel palmazul next door. We’re leaving next Monday and are anxiously looking forward to see how things work out. I will bring you up to speed when we get back in early Dec. If I get a chance I will post you some info as I’m taking my IPAD.

    • Annette… please send any info that you think would be helpful or educational… From your comment it sounds like you are gathering lots of knowledge… Share it with us anytime you want… George

  6. Nancy H says:

    A word about the keyboards for sale here. They are mostly the Spanish version of a keyboard. They have a few extra keys so you can type the “n” with this “~” over it. There ae a couple of other differences.
    Mattresses are not that expensive here. Everyone says to buy a Chaide y Chaide for long term durability. My friends paid $295 for a new queen size pillow top mattress. I just saw one for $249 – new. I have been told that queen size sheets from the US do not fit the queen mattresses here. Was told they are too short. No personal experience. I did ask the dimensions for the queen mattress I saw. It is 200 centimeters long. They are also very tall as the mattress is it. I have not seen any box springs anywhere, and I have been in some expensive furniture atores here.
    I agree that it is a matter of how you choose to live. I know a couple that lives on $900-$1000/ month. They are busy folks and always doing something fun. I live on $1000 per month now that I have rented this house – $450/month, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, kitchen, laundry room, open LR/DR, middle class neighborhood. Gas tank refills are $2.50 each which I only have to do every 2-3 months. ( I have 2 gas tanks – one for hot water, the other for the stove. I pay $20/month for land line phone and internet. No TV yet and am not in a hurry to do so. When I do it will be to use the gadgets for getting American TV down here. That does not require TV service here. Water is relatively inexpensive and it is the best water in Ecuador. We all drink the tap water here in Cuenca.
    I do not sit at home and contemplate my naval rather than going out to eat or explore. I am also not one of those people who has to be seen in all the “right” places with all the “right” people. How boring.

    • Nancy… you and I will be going shopping together when we get there. I will pay for lunch….

      How are you doing. You are sort of my barometer… I have met you, spent a day with you, had lunch with you, and I know you to be sensible and very wise and interesting. That is why I am always asking how you are doing. Hope you will let us all know about the joys and any anxieties you might be experiencing…

      OK, start talking…..

  7. Gary Sisk says:

    Thanks George for the opportunity to share my blog on your site. I will post your on my blog.
    It is fun to see who is reading us from all over the world.
    I just finished a book about my move to Cuenca and it should be on kindle soon.
    It is: Why Ecuador for me. And my blog is: AAA Living in Cuenca – gas2335.blogspot.com

    Gracias again!

  8. Delores J. P. says:

    Nice blog George.

    I am ecuadorian woman, (sorry my English). It is true that people here take advance of you guys, but not only you, they see that U are tourist from another city or another country and they raise the prices in everything, that is happening to us also, please don´t feel bad, after one or two years living here, you going to know prices, and how to bargain, and they start to know you and everything change, trust me.

    Good prices in furniture or appliances you going to find in Holidays, wait for them, mothers day fathers day Christmas etc. much better if you pay cash, dont feel bad asking for discount, they said $500, you say I am paying cash, I give $320. Or one microwave and get blender free, that is the way it works here, dont forget 500. U said 300. Yes, and pretend U live here for long time.

    Chao and good by. D.P

    • Ecuador George says:

      Delores, Everyone should read your comment. Thank you for the inside information. You sound like a wonderful lady. I would love to meet you the next time I am in Ecuador. Keep these comments coming. Thanks… George

    • Teejay says:

      Thank you Delores! Do you live in Cuenca?

      I am moving there in early March! My Spanish is poco – so so, and I will certsainly find an Ecuadorian friend. Seems like many expats are not the right ones to get advice from – LOL.

      Keep in touch

  9. Suzanne Cubbison says:

    WOW, I love your blog!! Currently I live in Oakland, CA and everytime I read your blog I immediately want to jump on a plane to Cuenca.
    Someday, but not yet.
    Thank you so very much for providing all the important info you are sharing with us. ALL of it is very helpful to know.

    Suzanne Cubbison

    • Ecuador George says:

      Suzanne, I have a sister in Alameda and she just loves living in the bay area. You really do need to visit Ecuador. It is beautiful. Thanks for following the blog. George

  10. claudia says:

    Jorge!
    Wow! I am incredibly appreciative that you took the time to look into and verify my questions about your post re: expat at fault for rising prices and the cost of things, in general! YOU ARE A GEM!! ~

    I am all for ecouraging Norte Americanos to not pay more than is necessary, lest they ruin the lower cost of living for EVERYONE. If the cost is $1, pay $1, not $2 just because “it’s not that much more.” Let’s face it, the #1 reason expats are moving there is because of the lower cost of living. Everything else is icing on the cake!

    I want to hug your neck when we both get down there!

    Warm regards,
    YOUR NEW FRIEND, CLAUDIA

    • Thanks Claudia… You know one of the most difficult things about writing a blog is coming up with ideas and subjects to write about. I don’t even live there yet so it is even harder because I don’t have any day to day experiences in Ecuador to write about. When readers challenge me it gives me a subject to work on. Thanks.. this is one of my favorite posts…. George

  11. denise says:

    So let’s see if I have this right: there are two of you moving to Cuenca and you are going with an expected budget of 1500/month.

    But, there is only one of me….so, I think that 1300/month is more than enough.

    • Yes Denise…. I believe that would be enough… I know singles that are doing it on $900 per month. Keep us informed and go over the Ecuador Expats on Facebook and they can help you answer questions you might have. Might even help you find that perfect apartment… George

  12. denise says:

    don’t know how I cut myself off, but to continue…

    While apartment rents don’t usually change whether there are one or two occupants..I still think that I am going to beat the 600/month rate.

    If I can see rentals online for 500, I should be able to beat that price when I am there and looking. In fact, I am only considering 500 if it includes furnishings and utilities and wifi.

    Maid service would be nice but not necessary. Alcohol not a big deal unless some gentleman is trying to woo me and get me drunk and he is paying (tee hee).

    Eating out would be mostly for almuerzo while I am out and about.

    The local Banos is a splurge that I will suffer is silence, but it would still fall under the treats category.

    I fully intend to get insurance thru the Coopera and that is less than 5/month.

    So I am planning on socking away 300/month after expenses.

    One blogger said recently that she could not see her (and husband) doing it for less than 3000/month. I guess her essentials are vastly different than mine.

    Like you stated, everyone has different needs/budgets/expectations. But you get to spend only what you have and it is up to the individual to make those decisions. My decision is to live there not expect the rest of my life to be a vacation there.

    Keep blogging and I will keep reading (and I just love the comments!)

    Charlotte NC 10/2012
    Cuenca EC 05/2013

  13. My guess is that you will find a nice place for $350 per month if you take you time and are lucky…. I would find a temporary place for the first month while I looked around. The more time you give yourself the better chance at finding something that suits you. By the way, readers alway mention the comments and how much they like them. I like them a lot too. The post takes on a life of its own and we all get to go for a nice ride, including me… Very cool. Good luck. George

  14. Maynard says:

    Rentals are best found without going to any of the online real estate agencies, because the make a percentage of the monthly rent, so there is no incentive to rent low priced properties. Look in the Sunday and Wednesday newspapers, use your computer to translate the ad if you don’t know Spanish, and make friends with an Ecuadoran to make the initial phone call, and go with you to the appointment. We followed this method, and found a 4BR/2.5 Bath house with an office, a third floor game room, front and back patios, unfurnished, and we pay $300 per month. The house is over 2500 square feet, and we love our neighborhood.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Maynard, That is a very smart way to get the pricing down. Cut out the middle man. You certainly did get a great deal. I think the advise here is to friend a local who speaks english and spanish to help. That is very good advice…. Stay well my friend and thanks for the help… George

    • Serena says:

      Hello Maynard,
      That is my uncles name – it’s a great one.
      I am trying to move with-in he next two months. I am a single mom of two teens. I am coming to work with a mission organization. I will be collecting materials like clothing and bible school left-overs from churches in the states and them distributing them. I guess you could say I will be a liaison or sorts. I live in Dallas and currently work with the Red Cross teaching work place safety and CPR/AED for Medical Professionals and First Respondors. I will have support from my church and I have saved up for the last year.
      I would welcome any advice you might have. Shaky Legs– lol
      My children are both doing a home-school curriculum but I had questions about the possibility of them being able to go too school there.?? I especially need to find somewhere nice to live at a great price as it seems you managed to do.
      I look forward to hearing back from you. :-)
      Thanks in advance,
      Serena Bond

  15. Ray says:

    George, have read much about apartments and condos but what about houses? where should I look for a 3 bedroom 2 bath (or better) home. I intend to have a car so being in town is not necessary but having internet ability is necessary.
    having some yard is desirable one fourth acre to one half acre is ok, more is even better. just found your site today and it is fantastic.
    regards
    ray

    • Ecuador George says:

      You will be able to find a nice home for no more than $500 per month. I do not follow the different sites but join Ecuador Expats on Facebook and they will be able to direct you to those real estate sites…. Good Luck, George

  16. Jim says:

    George: I think the summary message would be to take the time and initiative to find the right balance of cost / amenities. I agree the use of so-called rental agencies should be limited to temporary living only (those agencies tend to be gringo owned as well). The issue that we must keep in mind is the visa duration. Gary mentioned 90 days for a Tourist visa….you MUST exit the country before it expires…I doubt they would extend it. That means you have a finite timeline to narrow your search for intermediate or permanent accomodations. Personally, I like the “toe in the water” approach and the 90 day visa provides a reasonable duration for fact finding and decision making.

  17. Francisco says:

    Hi George, i am from Cuenca and live in a neighborhood that probably is popular with north american expats cause i see lots new of them everytime. Your blog is excelent and you have very accurate information and even so if you dont live here yet. I read it because i was courious of what gringos think of our city. I think most of cuencanos feel good and proud that foreigners are coming to live here and appreciate our Cuenca.
    With respect to prices: most of the inflation is not due to the expat influx (only 1% of the population of Cuenca), the main reason is that Ecuador economy is growing and booming mainly because of the high international oil prices and the very high goverment spending, and that our currency is the US dollar. Ecuadorians in general never in history had so much money in their pockets and are spending it, so now are entering in a new consumer capitalistic society. (for an example construction workers used to go to work riding bicicles, now many of them go in their own cars). This caused a huge commercial deficit so the goverment in order to level that and to take care of the dollar as our currency raised tremendously the import taxes and fares especially in electronics, cars and licours (they call them luxury items). Other countries with their own currency depreciate it, but we can´t.
    Good luck with your relocation trip and if you have any questions to anything about Cuenca and prices feel free to ask.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Francisco… What you say makes a lot of sense to me. I am very happy to have you as a new friend. I will take you up on using you as an expert. Thanks for letting me know that I am doing ok on my reporting even though I am not there full time yet. Please call me on anything I may be misinformed on. Thanks again, George

    • Teejay says:

      Maynard, where is this place? Tell me Cuenca or Loja?

    • Teejay says:

      Francisco, so what is the most economical care to buy in Cuenca? And with the Ecuadorian capitalistic attitude, you still need buyers for seller – yes?

    • treesa says:

      Francisco, thank you for your reply. It is important to us gringos to hear from the local Cuencanos. I have lived here two and a half years and hope that the gringos never make a negative impact on the local culture or economy. It’s nice to hear that there are some people who don’t think that the 1% is harming the 99%.

  18. Wayne says:

    George:
    Certainly enjoy your blog with the relevant costs to expect upon arrival. I am a bit different as I am already in Costa Rica, thought it would be my home, but after 3 years of inflation and a general CR attitude that would prefer Gringos and expats stay home, I am ready to call it quits. Done my research on Quenca, and have a trip booked for next month, will be looking at Baños as well. On the topic of rentals and what is driving prices, I too believe that expats with deep pockets are generally the cause, some well meaning, and when you see rents like $1600 for a Cuenca t/house (expat owners) driving the market, it’s only a matter of time before $1k becomes the norm. To sum it up, enjoy the current moderate inflation, reasonable prices for food and help, and services that are a relative bargain because as more N/Americans discover Ecuador the C/America effect of unrealistic rental prices and services will follow.

    • Wayne…. you can still find a nice home or condo for $500 per month. We will be renting when we get there because we want to be able to move around freely. If things get to expensive or if we chose to see the rest of the world, we will be able to just pick up and go. I really like Cuenca and right at this moment, we have a 5 year plan to have Cuenca as our jumping off point… Two years full time then schedule 5 or 6 world trips including Italy, France, and New Zealand. We will then re-access plans for the next 5 years. I do know that we want to be at the 2016 Olympics in Rio… Good luck. And hold onto you ass, you are in for a great ride…. George

  19. Andrew Lenarcic says:

    Looking to retire to Ecuador in 2014. Want to make a short trip down there first of next year just to look around Cuenca area as our possible future home. Can you recommend someone or a group that will take us around to see things as they really are, don’t want a suger coated view but don’t want the scared straight version either. We are taking Spanish classes now but basically at the moment only know some phrases so communication will be an issue right now. Thanks for your help and insight, really looking forward to this trip.
    Andy

    • Ecuador George says:

      Andrew, I stay at Casa Ordonez in Cuenca and Alberto is my point man. He knows everything. Also hire Mio Tours for a day trip around Cuenca. Efrin will tell you anything you want to know without treating you like a tourist. Both Alberto and Efrin are good people to have as friends so make those contacts and life will be easy for you…

      George

  20. Nathalie says:

    Hi everyone!
    I am so happy I bumped into this blog in regards to relocating to Ecuador. My husband and I are currently from Miami, FL. and are desperately looking for a new change. We stumbled across Ecuador and so far it seems pretty amazing. I think we are going to plan a trip out there in Jan/Feb 2013. We’re both Cuban-American and speak Spanish fluently so the language won’t be a shock to us. At times we both say “let’s just go and experience it and see what happens!” but then we put our feet back down on the ground and think… “hmmm.. can we just pack up and go?”. What do you guys think? We definitely want to experience life in Ecuador on the beach so do you have any recommendations?
    Thanks so much for taking the time to read my comment!
    -Nathalie

    • Ecuador George says:

      Nathalie, We are doing just what you are talking about… Lets just pack up and go…. but that is taking us a year to do… but we are doing it. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions. By the way, the coast of Ecuador is very beautiful but it is also very different depending on what areas you are visiting. We are exploring the very southern part of the coast next month. We will report on what we think… Others on this blog should be able to answer other questions but it is my opinion that you must visit all the areas to know just what you like… George

  21. JayJay says:

    My initial trip to Cuenca was for 6 months…Sept.2011 to March 2012. I found a temporary place to stay before I even left the States and put down a small down payment via Western Union,(as I wanted to check out Cuenca to see if it was a place I could continue my retirement) It was close enough to walk to the SuperMaxi on Ave. de las Americas/Ave. Gran Columbia. I told the manager that I wanted to look for an apartment in the S.E. area, just South of the Tomobamba River, and near the end of my month long stay, he found a fully furnished apartment that wasn’t even on the market yet. He made an appointment for me to see it the next day, and upon meeting with the landlady and her English speaking daughter, I told her I wanted the place. It was in a gated community, with only 8 homes, in an upscale neighborhood, very safe, with a lot of restaurants nearby, and even a church within walking distance. Near a bus route and even a little local general store. A little courtyard, A nice bright 2nd. floor apartment with 3 skylights,a glass topped table with 4 wrought iron chairs, a lounge area with 3 wicker chairs, a U.S. type kitchen, stove with oven, 2 dr. fridge, and even a Maytag washer and dryer. All utinsels, Microwave, blender, coffee grinder, coffee maker, and cabinets galore…you name it, it was there. Large bedroom with a Queen sized bed, TV with cable , a large bathroom with double sink, and tub with shower, and central hot water…not one of those ‘widow maker’ heaters on the end of the shower arm. The rent was $400./mo.including all utilities, plus I paid $14.00/mo. for the WiFi. I thought it was a little high, but I negotiated not paying a deposit, and taking the place for 5 months. They agreed and I moved in the next day. It took me a year in planning before I made the move, as I was in my 70’s, and most friends thought I lost my mind. My kids though, thought it was great that I would do this at my age. I found I loved Cuenca, the culture, the beauty of the city, the kindness of the natives to me, their acceptace of my poor Spanish, and the 60 or so friends I made in that short time. Unfortunately, I had to move back to the States, as I had a lot of other preparations to do before I came back for good. I was hoping to back already, but for various family reasons has delayed that. As MacArther said of the Phillipines during WWII, “I will return” I was able to save almost $600./month of my S.S. after all my monthly expenses. God Bless. JJ

  22. Claudia says:

    Hola Jorge!
    I saw your recent post about the top blogs for 2012 and decided to take a look at this post again. Wow! I’m proud to have contributed in a significant way. But mostly, I’m grateful to YOU for taking the time to “flesh out” the story. I said it before, and I’ll say it again, YOU’RE a GEM!
    Feliz Ano Nuevo!
    Clow-the-uh

  23. George says:

    Claudia…. You were my inspiration… thanks. Keep reading and keep questioning everything… George

  24. Wow, lots of really useful info on this blog — thanks very much! Really makes me want to visit Ecuador…

    Saludos desde Oxford,
    Monica

  25. Starr says:

    Hi George,

    I’ve been perusing your blog for the past couple of weeks… my husband and I are seriously considering moving our 3-generation family down to Cuenca. We’re planning a trip in May.

    What I wanted to comment on is the inflation. Charging higher prices at point a than point b charges does not contribute to inflation at all- it’s just competition. For instance, in the states, you can buy a cup of coffee at the gas station for $!.00 or you can go to Starbucks and pay $3 or $4, but that has no effect on inflation. Inflation is caused by increased printing of the money supply, in the case of Ecuador- the dollar. And the Fed has been printing like there’s no tomorrow. I would wager that Ecuador is experiencing roughly the same inflation rate as the U.S., but since the prices started out so much lower in Ecuador, the inflation appears to be less.

    Thanks for the great blog! I’ll definitely keep reading!

    -Starr

    • Ecuador George says:

      Starr,
      There seems to be a two tier pricing system. Gringo price and regular price. And real estate pricing is going up and that affects the price that everyone pays… What would have rented for $400 two years ago is now renting for $600. Lots of other examples… George

      • mariacatarina says:

        I just read an article regarding the price increase and it seems that the minister of commerce? was quite unhappy about the influx of “gringos” that are driving the prices up to the point that no equadorian will be able to afford a home. This is food for thought! I was also watching a blog on the “inconvenience” of the new airport that put one individual in a situation where he had to go to get a bus or such non-sense but he said he “could not find anyone that spoke englis”! The nerve of these locals not to speak American! I am disable and I will not have enough income to live in US. I have lived here for 36 years and I have worked for 34 of these and, to top it all, going back to my birth land Romania is just not an option. What I have been reading about it scared the daylife out of me. So, I need to start looking at other options and I thought I found it but, reading more about it it showd me once again that NO MATTER WHERE THEY GO, AMERICANS ALLWAYS RUIN EVERYTHING! Why do you guys not look into it before you step and not spoil everything for the rest of us?

  26. Thanks for you information.How much could a living budget be in Riobamba at a rough estimate?
    Greetings and manv tanks again!

    • Ecuador George says:

      Javier, Check this cost of living post….. I have been to Riobamba and my guess is that it will be more affordable than Cuenca… I could live on a $1000 per month, but I am not a big spender. Good luck. George

  27. Sam says:

    Hi George
    I am from India and looking for moving out for good. Ecuador seems nice as the weather is not in extremes, pretty like India. growing economy, so i guess that leaves me space for a start-up.
    i am into sales of wood and furniture related products. can you please enlight me more on Ecuador and business possibilities. a minimum money for a medium start up and a year backup.
    is the legal rules transparent and investor friendly. and yes i am vegetarian..

    • Ecuador George says:

      Sam, that is a lot of info you are looking for. Not sure about the answers for any of those questions. I would certainly visit and check out things for yourself, especially if you are planning to start a business… Good luck. George

  28. Papo Cruz says:

    Hi George
    started reading your blog since 8:oopm & got hook on it ( time right now 4:00am). I also had been planning a trip to Ecuador since last yr. with the idea to live there for 6mo & 6mo in myhometown in Deltona FL.( I’m 65yr old & retired with 2 pension)last night my wife was looking for a round trip ticket for two and also Hotel accomodetions & the Hotel prices are way too high! I happen to be Puerto Rican & will have no problem with the language. In your blog you mention Alberto from Casa Ordonez & Efrin from Mio Tours. Can you pls. provide me with their web site/phone # or any other inf. so I can contact them ( had been in Mexico & Costa Rica twice but as you had mentioned earlier, The Gringos had inflated the prices on everything! My main City will be Cuenca & also will be visiting Salinas. Thank’s

  29. julie says:

    Hello George and everyone else reading here. Can’t thank you all enough for the good info. My friend and I would like to come for one year to explore 4 different areas and decide where to settle. Cuenca, Vilcabamba, Gaia Sagrada and a beach town (no idea where)- However it seesm that a visa is only good for 90 days. Is there a way to stay for one year while we explore? Or do you think 90 days is enough to get a good feel for different areas?- Thank you George.- Julie in Phoenix

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