Easy Living in the Andes of Ecuador: Real Estate in Cuenca and Quito
The South American nation of Ecuador, about the size of the U.S. state of Nevada, lies alongside the Pacific Ocean with the ridge of the Andes Mountains running down its center. Thinking about a city in the Andes may call to mind images of Peru's ancient royal city of Macchu Picchu, but to Peru's north, Ecuador boasts two Andean cities of its own. Enlarged by the Spanish empire in colonial days, and largely keeping pace with the modern world, Cuenca and Quito are both contemporary cities, with rich histories, surrounded by Andean majesty.
Cuenca and Quito are two very popular destinations for the nation's small but growing community of expatriates. While not nearly as popular as Mexico or some other Central American nations, investing or moving to Ecuador has some remarkable advantages.
Cost of Living
For those accustomed to North American or European prices, the cost of living in Ecuador is staggeringly inexpensive. Homebuyers can buy a modern, well-maintained condo or house in a desirable location for less than the price of a fixer-upper in a U.S. city or suburb – often with furniture included. Domestic help, such as a housekeeper or cook, can generally be hired for $10-20 per day.
Medical care is both affordable and high-quality in Ecuador's cities, doctor visits average around $20, and the same goes for a filling at the dentist. Insurance plans are available to adults through city hospitals, generally for under $100 per month. Food is inexpensive (and often locally produced on small farms), and a couple can enjoy a nice dinner out on the town, including drinks and gratuity, for around $20. While in many regions of the U.S., an income or retirement pension of around $2,000 will leave a couple feeling like they are barely scraping by, in Ecuador, it offers a relatively luxurious lifestyle.