5 Things No One Tells You About Moving To Ecuador

Ecuador remains a mystery to the English-speaking world.  This is for the most part not an accident; much of the country is secluded mountain terrain or jungle, and townspeople tend to be wary of foreigners.  However, Ecuador is a surprising and diverse country, and an increasing number of expats and retirees are choosing to settle there.  If you have plans to move to Ecuador, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Photo by Hjvannes

1. Bananas are everywhere.  Bananas are Ecuador’s equivalent of Ireland’s potato, or Italy’s pasta; they show up in every meal, and in various different guises.  You’ll find them slivered, sautéed, and floating around in your soup.  You’ll even find them chopped up, mashed into a ball with Andean, and fried.  Anytime you venture outside of a city, you’ll find yourself faced with miles of banana plantations.  If you don’t hate bananas already, you will shortly after moving to Ecuador.

2. Real estate is unbelievably cheap.  One of the main reasons Ecuador has been drawing so many foreign investors is its land.  Prime real estate can cost as low as $500 an acre, and whether you want to resell, get into the tourism industry, or live out your retirement, it makes for a sound investment.  Plus, if you spend $25,000 on property in Ecuador you are automatically applicable for residency.

Photoby Rinaldo Wurglitsch

3. There is amazing biodiversity.  Ranging from Andean highlands to tropical coastal areas to the Amazon rainforest in the east, Ecuador has a wide range of ecosystems and terrains, attracting foreigners from ecologists to adventure tourists.  Taking the Galápagos Islands into account, Ecuador is widely considered to be the most diverse country in the world, based on its small size.

4. Traditional lifestyles are still commonplace throughout the country.  Much of the Ecuadorian population live in rural communities, commuting into the cities daily to sell produce in markets.  Most of the country has indigenous origins, and it’s common even in modern cities, such as Guayaquil, to see women in the traditional embroidered skirts and fedora hats.  Quechua is Ecuador’s second official language, with many secluded villages supporting themselves through artisan and agricultural work passed down through the generations.

Photo by David Torres Costales

5. Gringo-hunting is a common pastime.  More so in the big cities than in rural villages, but especially if you’re a woman of European descent traveling solo you can expect to be stalked by local men with the aim of conning money and free meals out of you.  Generally if you confront them in aggressive manner, they will run away to go pester someone else; if not, you can always get a police officer to put them in their place.

For anyone looking for a country with a low cost of living, perfect climate, and friendly locals, Ecuador might be the perfect place for you.  Prepare for your big move by taking our free online Spanish language level test, or send us an inquiry for more information.