This is the fourth smallest country in South America this small Andean country hosts a wonderful array of exciting destinations. Situated in the heart of the Andes, the capital city Quito is the perfect starting point for any itinerary in this diverse country. The central region is dominated by towering Andean peaks and fiery volcanoes and exploring this region is all about traditional life that often centres around weekly markets and town plazas. In the east is the biodiverse Amazon jungle where you can stay at a remote lodge and learn about traditional indigenous life and spot a huge variety of wildlife. Notwithstanding the natural beauty throughout the country, surely Ecuador's most famous destination is the Galapagos Islands. Located 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) off the mainland at the meeting point of three major oceanic currents, the archipelago, made up of 13 major islands, six minor islands and 40 islets, is a true natural wonder. Boasting unique wildlife such as land and marine iguanas, giant tortoises, and abundant marine and bird life, the archipelago has the highest rate of endemic species anywhere in the world. Historically the islands have shaped the way in which we now see the natural world with the roots of Darwin's theory of evolution found here and later published in his ground-breaking book The Origin of Species. First discovered by boat, this continues to be the most effective means of exploring the islands, both on land and under water.
Ecuador, for its privileged geographical location equinoctial and natural resources it possesses, should be a country with great economic, social and political development; however, even though everything is present to make it happen.
Safety Yes, Ecuador is not only safe for families, it’s a great destination for families. Ecuador has a family-oriented culture, and you’ll find everywhere you visit is prepared to accommodate travelers of all ages. There are plenty of family-friendly resorts, as well as tours that cater to young visitors’ natural curiosity. As long as you plan ahead, your whole family can easily experience the best of what Ecuador has to offer. This is where having a carefully curated itinerary comes in handy, since the more help you have planning, the less margin there will be for error. As you plan, your Anywhere Local Expert can answer any questions you might have about whether an activity is family-friendly.
Currency US dollars are the official currency; they are identical to those issued in the USA. Coins of one, five, 10, 25 and 50 cents are identical in shape, size and color to their US equivalents, but bear images of famous Ecuadorians. Both US and Ecuadorian coins are used in Ecuador. The $1 coin is widely used.
Electricity Ecuador uses 110 -120 volt, 60 cycle electricity, same as the US. Plugs are typically the 2 pronged flat type so US travelers will not typically need a converter or adapter.
Ecuador’s colonial city and a UNESCO world heritage site. It is an ideal place to relax and wander around. The centre is the most attractive part but everywhere is draped with history. It is a nice stop, but the draw of visiting this region is also the journey to get there through the Ecuadorian Highlands and the Valley of the Volcanoes which is a fantastic way to experience the mighty Andes.
In the last several years, Cuenca has become a major destination for retirees looking for low cost, high quality lifestyle. Most retirees find that they can in fact live off of their fixed incomes. Restaurants in Cuenca are of excellent quality, plentiful and quite cheap. Strolling the colonial streets, riverside paths, visiting colonial churches and escaping to the andean countryside (especially Cajas National Park where there is excellent hiking and trekking) are all fulfilling, free activities. Exploring Cuenca’s museums is very affordable and an excellent way to relive Cuenca’s rich history.
It is extremely difficult to predict Ecuador's weather. In fact, it's not uncommon to experience all four seasons in one day. The weather patterns of Ecuador vary greatly because it is such geographically diverse country and so many different things influence the weather.
Ecuador lies directly on the equator, so the entire country enjoys 12 hours of direct equatorial daylight 365 days a year. However, the climate you will experience depends largely on where you are in Ecuador, since there are four distinct geographical areas—the Sierra (mountains), the Oriente (eastern rainforests), the La Costa (Pacific coastal plains), and the Galapagos Islands.
For example, Ecuador’s capital, Quito, lies in the Central Valley between the Andean Mountains’ eastern and western ridges. The equator is less than 20 miles north of the city, yet at an altitude of 9,350 feet (2,900 meters), Quito’s climate is spring-like year around: about 50 F at night and as high as 76 F during the day. The sun makes the difference. You can comfortably stroll out on a glorious Quito afternoon in shorts and a T-shirt, but you’ll need to take your wool sweater in case the clouds roll in. The equatorial sun is intense, but when it’s obscured by clouds, you realize how high in the Andes you really are. In fact, cold weather gear is needed for high altitude hiking and mountain climbing.
If you like your days and nights on the warmer side, go straight to the coast where you’ll enjoy temperatures that reach between 80 F and 90 F. Living on or near the beach will allow you to enjoy those fresh ocean breezes, while inland coastal properties are likely to be warmer and more humid.
Head towards the Amazon Basin if you’d like the warmer weather but without the sand. In the towns of Tena and Puyo you can enjoy that warm tropical weather of the coast, but in a rainforest environment surrounded by lush jungle, tropical birds, and Amazon tributaries.
The temperatures in Ecuador don’t change much throughout the year, so the seasons of spring, summer, winter, and fall pass unnoticed. The one seasonal change however is that of precipitation.
Ecuador experiences a wet and dry season each year, though the timeframe of each varies by region. Throughout the highlands October through May tends to be wetter than the months of June through September. January through April are often rainier and warmer on the coast while the months of April through November are when you’ll find the most rain near the Amazon.
Whatever your preference, just about any type of weather can be found in Ecuador.
Weather Averages in Cuenca
Weather Averages in Quito
Weather Averages in Guayaquil & The South Pacific
Flying within Ecuador, with the exception of the Galapagos, is quite easy and affordable as it's rarely exceeding $125 for a one-way ticket. All mainland flights are under an hour and often provide you with incredible views over the Andes.Fifteen cities in Ecuador have airports, but just 2 of these are international: Quito International Airport (Mariscal Antonio José de Sucre), and Guayaquil International Airport (Simón Bolivar). Almost all flights originate or end in Quito or Guayaquil. The country's small size means internal flight times are generally no more than 30 to 45 minutes.
Ecuadorian taxis are low-cost and available everywhere most taxis have a lit ‘taxi’ sign on top or a ‘taxi’ sticker on the windshield. A long ride in cities such: Quito, Cuenca & Guayaquil should rarely go over $5. The minimum fare nearly everywhere is $1.50. On weekends and at night, fares are always about 25% to 50% higher.
The Bus is the cheapest way to travel around and it's widespread way of getting around in Ecuador. This mode of transportation also offers the traveler an alternative way of seeing the country. You can get around most towns for $0.30. Local buses often travel to nearby villages, and riding along is a good, inexpensive way to see the area. The majority of Ecuador's cities offer efficient public bus service. All of the larger cities and most of the smaller ones all have their own inner-city bus system. Most inner-city bus rides are a flat rate of $0.30, . Cuenca has been building a European style TranVia for the last years. This ground level train will traverse the city from the airport in the Eastside to the suburban areas in the west and will open for business in late 2020.
One of the great perks for foreign residents living in Ecuador is high-quality, low-cost healthcare. Bloomberg recently rated Ecuador as having the 20th most efficient healthcare system among advanced economies, while the U.S. ranked near the bottom in 46th place.
An internet comparison of healthcare costs from around the world found that Ecuador’s costs are the lowest—lower than those in China, Malaysia, India, Mexico, and Panama. In general, you can expect to pay 10% to 25% of what you would in the U.S. For major surgery, we’ve seen a number of cases in which costs were even less than 10% of comparable procedures in the U.S. You will find similar savings for dental care.
Although Ecuador is a developing country, you will find first-rate medical care here, particularly in the major cities. Many doctors are educated in the U.S., Europe, Argentina, Chile, and Cuba and continue to train around the world. In many respects, the medical system is reminiscent of that in the U.S. in the 1950s or 1960s. House calls are still possible, most doctors do not have nurses, and the average office visit is 30 to 45 minutes. Another throwback is that Ecuadorian doctors don’t expect to become instant millionaires, and the average income for doctors, according a Quito medical association, is about $65,000 a year.
A visit to a general practitioner costs $25 to $35, while a visit to a specialist runs anywhere from $30 to $80. For follow-up visits there is usually no charge at all. A psychiatrist will charge $30 to $50 for a half-hour session. Simple, ambulatory procedures are equally inexpensive. For example, the removal of a small lump (under local anesthesia) and a biopsy cost about $125. Brand name medicines usually cost less than in the U.S. Generics, which are widely available, are also much cheaper.
The network of public education has been greatly expanded to promote the goal of universal literacy. Primary education is free and compulsory for six years beginning at age six. Ecuador has made progress in making education available to disadvantaged classes and ethnic groups and to women. Religious and nondenominational private schools also play a significant role. Population growth and limited funding have placed great strains on the educational system, however. Efforts are under way to adapt the curriculum to Ecuador’s cultural diversity.
Secondary education varies from seriously overcrowded public institutions to elite private institutions emphasizing bilingualism in English, French, or German. The premier university is the Pontifical Catholic University in Quito, noted for its research programs in fields such as botany, archaeology, linguistics, and anthropology. It (along with other universities in Quito) attracts numerous students from the United States and Europe who participate in study abroad programs. The Polytechnic School in Quito has good programs in the sciences, as well as an outstanding centre for monitoring and studying volcanic and earthquake hazards. The Polytechnic School of the Military has outstanding facilities for technical training. San Francisco University is a private institution modeled on colleges in the United States. Numerous other universities specialize in particular areas, although the university system in general has suffered from uncertain funding and political turmoil. Many Ecuadorans seek training abroad, especially in technical fields and in business.
Much research takes place outside the universities. Geographic and environmental research and postgraduate training are conducted by the Panamerican Center for Geographical Studies and Research at the Military Geographical Institute in Quito. The same building houses other environmental institutes, libraries, and laboratories. Social science institutes are also numerous, especially in Quito; they include a local unit of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences. Agricultural research is concentrated in the laboratories of the National Institute of Agricultural Investigations. Major research establishments are maintained by French and U.S. foreign assistance organizations.
Cost of living
The cost of living in Ecuador continues to be very cheap. Prices are on the rise, but compared to life in other parts of the world, you can still live very inexpensively in Ecuador. And you can retire on little money, you can also live very well.
A couple can retire on less than $18,000 per year, and this figure is based on a comfortable lifestyle. Many foreign residents take advantage of this low cost of living to have their main home in the city, and also own a country home, a beach property, or even property in another country…a feat that would be impossible on a comparable budget in the U.S.
Nestled in the Ecuadorian highlands and with a population of just under a half million, the vibrant colonial city of Cuenca is located in a picturesque valley at about 8,200 feet above sea level. Cuenca’s climate, pace of life and peppering of colonial buildings has made it popular with tourists and expats alike. Then, of course, there’s the cost of living. You get big-city amenities without the inflated costs associated with big-city life. You can rent a luxury three-bedroom apartment, have a weekly maid service, cover the cost of running a car, and regularly eat out at a fancy restaurant for $1,700 a month.
Even in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito, a stunning city which just drips with Spanish colonial history, you can live well on a modest budget. Quito is home to some of the most exclusive addresses in Ecuador, yet a pampered lifestyle—with maid, healthcare, plenty of entertainment and dining out, and a luxury two-bedroom apartment rental—will come in at around $1,800 per month for a couple.
Additionally, the low cost of living in Ecuador allows retirees to increase their travel, take up new hobbies, and generally enjoy a better quality of life. Ecuador offers something for everyone, and at prices unheard of in North America and Europe.
Here is a sample budget for a couple living well in the city of Cuenca. The expenses are, of course, approximate. We’ve erred on the side of extra spending to come up with a budget that allows for a pretty luxurious lifestyle…for barely more than $20,000 a year for two people.
Ecuador welcomes people from all over the world who wish to visit for a short period of time or to establish a permanent residency. Most people do not require a visa prior to visit Ecuador for a stay of up to 90 days. Nonetheless, citizens (passport holders) from the following countries must obtain a visa at the Ecuadorian consulate of their jurisdiction:
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea)
República Democrática del Congo
All travelers must have the following:
A passport with a remaining validity of at least 6 months beyond their travel dates.
A round/onward trip ticket.
Health insurance that will cover any health issues during their visit to Ecuador.
The possession of a visa or the lack of a visa requirement does not guarantee entry into Ecuador. At the port of entry, an Ecuadorian Customs Official will determine if the person is eligible to enter.
Temporary and Permanent Visas
Only the residence status will allow you stay on a permanent basis. In the past, foreigners were able to immediately apply for a permanent residency visa, but that is no longer the case. Now everyone must first obtain a temporary residency visa that is valid for two years. This temporary visa may be renewed one time only. After holding your temporary visa for 21 months, you are eligible to apply for a permanent visa that does not have an expiration date.
Temporary visa holders may be out of the country for no more than 90 days per 12-month period. Those with permanent visas may be out of the country no more than 180 days total for the first two years. The law does not clarify how long permanent residents can be out of the country after the first two years have passed.
The types of visas you may apply for are outlined below and these choices are the same for both temporary and permanent visas.
60-III: Pensioner: For expats with retirement income this is usually the preferred option since it requires no major capital investment. You are required to demonstrate permanent income from a source outside of Ecuador of at least $800 per month. An additional $100 of monthly income is needed for each dependent. Typically, this comes from the applicant’s pension, Social Security, or fixed-income annuity (since funds cannot be withdrawn once the distribution phase begins). Income from sources like rental properties or stocks is not acceptable with this visa; however, those investments can be used for the 60-II (Rentista) visa.
Professional Visa, Category 60-X
Professionals of high technical levels.
Professionals of specialized fields.
Dependent Visa, Category 60-XII
Applies to dependents of all primary visa holders.
Rentista Visa, Category 60-II
You can qualify for this visa if you have monthly income from a stable source outside of Ecuador. This could include investments, rental properties, or wages. The monthly amount required is yet to be determined.
Note: Please keep in mind that rules and fees are subject to change.
After three years of residence it is possible to obtain Ecuadorian citizenship. This allows you to apply for an Ecuadorian passport and maintain dual citizenship, if you choose. Ecuador allows dual citizenship, as does the U.S., Canada, and most European countries, and hundreds of thousands of Ecuadorians are dual citizens.
Ecuador is not the easiest country for an expat to find a job. Employment is still more likely to be allotted to locals as a priority. However, if you happen to have some form of specialist skills in a field not commonly offered by Ecuadorians themselves, this may work out to everyone's advantage, and your skill may make your job search more productive.
Attempting to secure a position from abroad could prove arduous, and may be unwise. Sure, in theory, you could find a job online from overseas. However, the happiest and most successful expats seem to have prospected for a job while physically in Ecuador.
Aside from the occasional position at a tourist lodge or expat bar, there is little opportunity for paid work. The one exception is teaching English. If you have a bona fide teaching credential, so much the better. Schools such as the American School in Quito will often hire teachers of mathematics, biology and other subjects, and may help you get a work visa. They also pay much better than the language schools. Rather than waiting for an opening and sending in your resume by mail, a suggestion is that you create your own opportunity. Candidates who take the time to visit schools to deliver their CV and apply in person will often find that they have an edge in Ecuador, where the human touch is highly regarded.
In the other hand, the tourism industry also yields its fair share of job opportunities for expats. Still very much at that junction between the local and foreign, these jobs revolve largely around language skills ' solid knowledge of Spanish as well as your own native language is a must rather than a plus.
Investment can be divided into tow categories: Small investment by opening a small service business such as: Restaurant, Coffee shop, Tourism company...etc
The other category which is the big investment which required a huge capital both option is welcomed in Ecuador.
The numerous opportunities for investing in Ecuador have made the country one of our favorite locations for overseas investing and retirement. Over the past few years, Ecuador has made a concerted effort to attract foreign investment by liberalizing its investment regulations. Equal treatment is given to local and foreign investors, so when you invest in Ecuador, you’ll receive the same rights of entry into any market as Ecuadorian citizens. Practically all sectors are open to investors and profits and capital can be repatriated without restriction.
There are many reasons why you should consider investing in Ecuador. One reason is the ideal location for exporting goods. The country is located at the northeastern end of South America, giving trade access to all of Latin America, East Asia, and the west coast of the U.S. With access to the Panama Canal, Europe, the Middle East, the rest of Asia, and the east coast of the U.S. are also within the countries reach as well. There are over 2,500 vessels that leave the ports every year.
Ecuador also has preferential access for its products to Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Bolivia. Also, with an agreement with Mercosur countries, exports of close to 4,000 products are tariff-free to Brazil and Argentina.
According to the Ecuadorian government, it has been proven in previous cases that a country’s attempts to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) are successful when just a small number of sectors are targeted. In the case of Ecuador, among the entire range of the country’s profitable sectors, only four sectors were chosen by virtue of their economic attractiveness on a curve of supply and demand relative to FDI. These sectors are:
Agribusiness and forestry
Fishing and aquaculture
Doing Business & investing in Ecuador by PWC guide
Doing Deals in Ecuador by PWC guide (Spanish version)
If you’re looking to do business or invest in Ecuador, it pays to look into these areas. These sectors are where the government has focused its attention, so they’re likely where you’ll find the best investment incentives. Maybe you already have a thriving business in the U.S. and want to expand your market. The U.S. Commercial Service tracks trade with U.S. trading partners and keeps tabs on the growth areas where money is to be made importing U.S. goods. Here are the top six nonagricultural areas of greatest opportunity in Ecuador right now:
Automotive parts and accessories
Water resources equipment
Travel and tourism
Ecuador has free trade zones that allow you to import raw materials and machinery duty free and export finished or semi-processed goods without paying taxes. There are no restrictions on the repatriation of the profits for the companies. Relaxed labor laws also allow the companies to hire workers temporarily instead of a year-long contract.
As a Conclusion honestly speaking, Ecuador is more suitable for immigrant who are: Investor or Retired