7 Reasons Why Ecuador is a Great Retirement Haven

Ecuador offers great financial value for retirees.

Photo of retirees in Ecuador.
Ecuador has much to offer retirees. Westend61/Getty Images

Moving abroad only for financial reasons can be a recipe for disappointment. The primary motivations for living or retiring abroad should be a sense of adventure, a desire to learn the ways of another culture, and an appetite for new situations and challenges…because those are exactly the qualities needed for a successful move.

That being said, a significantly lower cost of living is an undeniable benefit.

If you could live a happier, more adventurous, more fulfilling and engaging life (with better weather to boot) at half or less of your current cost of living…why wouldn’t you?

And in the category of a value-for-dollar retirement destination, Ecuador consistently tops the list for several reasons.

1. It’s easy to settle in. Ecuador is only a four- or five-hour flight from the U.S. and the U.S. dollar is the official currency so there are no complicated currency conversions to deal with. There are several well-organized expat communities in Ecuador that offer a network of resources.

2. Weather. Thanks to its location on the equator, there are many locations in Ecuador, especially in the mountains, that enjoy Spring-like weather year around. Which means that for much or all of the year, residents of those areas need neither heating nor air conditioning, making monthly utility bills extremely low.

3. Transportation. Public transportation in Ecuador is widespread and affordable. Prices for bus rides average about a dollar per hour of travel. Taxi fares within towns average two to five dollars and rarely go over $10 even in major cities. Because of this, many expats simply have no need for personal vehicles, which takes the cost of gas, insurance, and maintenance off of the top of monthly budgets.

4. Discounts. At age 65, Ecuadorians qualify for senior citizen discounts on transportation costs, movie tickets, public services, and can even get the money spent on value-added tax refunded on a monthly basis. These discounts apply to foreign residents over 65 as well.

5. Health care. Foreign residents can qualify for either Ecuador's Social Security funded health system called IESS, which you will pay a monthly fee for, or for free public health insurance. The IESS health system is available for low monthly payments determined by income, and is likely the better option if you want to avoid longer wait times. You could also opt for private health insurance available nationwide or through individual hospitals at a fraction of the cost of private health insurance in the U.S. With private insurance out-of-pocket costs for most office visits and medical procedures in Ecuador cost significantly less than in the U.S. With all these options, it’s common for many foreign residents in Ecuador to put together a personal health insurance package that they simply couldn’t afford back home.

6. Property tax. Foreign residents can own real estate property in Ecuador via a direct deed. Annual property taxes in Ecuador are incredibly low.

For example, the annual property tax on one 1,100 square-foot condo we know of is less than $60.

7. Food and meals. Food in the U.S. is relatively inexpensive compared to much of the rest of the world. However, in many towns and villages in Ecuador, fresh produce—often direct from the nearby farm—is available at the local mercados at even lower costs than in the U.S. And many small restaurants offer daily, fixed-menu lunches at remarkable values. Recently seen in one local restaurant was a three-course lunch, including soup, meat with two sides and a salad, dessert, plus a glass of freshly squeezed fruit juice, for $2.50. Depending on location and personal dietary needs, it is perfectly possible to eat a well-balanced diet in Ecuador without ever cooking for yourself for $8 to $15 per day.

Not much variety, perhaps, but plentiful and delicious.

The financial benefits of retiring in Ecuador are undeniable. Begin with a healthy sense of adventure and a true interest in understanding and acclimating to Ecuador’s rich and unique culture, and a move to Ecuador can be one of the best ways to ensure a happy and affordable retirement.

This article comes to us courtesy of InternationalLiving.com, the world’s leading authority on how to live, work, invest, travel, and retire better overseas.