Ecuador for Retirement: All You Need to Know for 2022

Ecuador for Retirement

Nestled in between Colombia, Peru, and the Pacific Ocean, in the northwestern corner of South America lies the beautiful country of Ecuador. This country is almost the size of Colorado or Nevada yet filled with so much diversity. The backbone of this country is the Andes Mountains, with Mount Chimborazo the highest peak, descending unto a tropical rain forest in the east. To the west lies the pacific ocean with balmy beaches. If you are looking at Ecuador as a retirement, you must read ‘Ecuador for Retirement: All You Need to Know for 2022.’

You are entering a new phase of your life after years of working. With kids out of the house and some with their own families, you decide to downscale and look for your dream retirement location to enjoy a better quality of life. One of the choices on your shortlist is Ecuador. Here I all you need to know to retire in Ecuador.

An Expat Haven

Since 2010 Ecuador has been an attractive retirement destination. Ecuador is far more than mountains, villages, and unspoiled beaches. Life in Ecuador is more relaxing, healthy with an even climate. Believe me!  No Expat in Ecuador misses shoveling snow in the cold or winter jackets and gloves for almost four months. There are a few things you should know before you make that all-important decision to move to Ecuador.

About Ecuador

When living, traveling, or retiring in another country, it is good to know more about that country. Ecuador is the Spanish word for the Equator, and the country’s officially the Republic of Ecuador. The climate here is perfect, with minimal temperature variation.

Before the colonization of Ecuador by the Spanish in the sixteen century, several tribes inhabited the country.  All the tribes were eventually incorporated under the Inca Empire in the 15th century. Independence came in 1820 as part of Gran Colombia, where Ecuador became a sovereign state in 1830.

Spanish is the official language of this diverse population of many ethnic groups and cultures. The Republic of Ecuador is a fast developing country with a large middle-income representative demographic. From 2006. poverty in Ecuador decreased from 36.7% – 22.5%, with significant growth in their GDP.

Political Landscape

A democratically elected president governs the country for a four-year term. The government consists of five branches: the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, the Judicial Branch, the Electoral Branch, and Transparency and Social Control. Ecuador is divided into four geographical areas: La Costa (coastal), La Sierra (highlands), La Amazonia / El Oriente (the east), La Region Insular (Galápagos Islands). Quito is the largest city and also the capital of Ecuador.

Ecuador has limited ethnic diversity due to the low immigration of foreigners into the country. The coast tends to have a larger Afro-Ecuadorian community due to the earlier slave trade by the Spanish. 60% of the population is mestizo, including the Spanish nobility of the country. The mestizos are upper-class landowners, and the indigenous people are farmworkers or skilled and unskilled workers.

Cost of Living

Now that we know the lay of the land. We can look at retirement options in Ecuador. Ecuador is relatively inexpensive, making it possible to retire comfortably. With low prices for all local products and well-priced restaurants, one can easily indulge in gourmet cuisine. Atin out is half of what you will pay for an appetizer and a bottle of water in Europe or New York.

 The local Ecuadorian market sells organic fruit and vegetables for pennies, Unlike the organic specialty shops globally.Ecuador is not just an affordable retirement destination. The country offers everyone that settles here a high quality of life. The new land of opportunity with a growing middle class makes it a stable economy. The stability makes the prospect of retiring here more advantageous.

The Economy

No longer in an economic slumber, the country is advancing with the new Mariscal Sucre International Airport just outside Quito with plenty of shops and restaurants. For the nature lover, it is home to 10% of the world’s animal and plant species. Ecuadorians are the real treasure of this country. The people live in coastal fishing villages and jungle river towns. They also have cattle ranches that are isolated, ancient haciendas, and colonial cities.

Foreigners are welcomed into their communities and a new way of life with relative ease and blend in quickly. Here you will establish a new circle of friends. Ecuadorians treat retirees with respect and are always eager to meet new people and learn new things.

Although the country has a tumultuous past, it is emerging as a welcome haven for investment and retirees. There is an established property market that is on the rise. Do not worry, for there are plenty of bargains still around. The US dollar is not losing any value here in Ecuador, making retirement much more appealing.

The Comforts of Living

Ecuador for Retirement

It is good to know since 1990: the US dollar has been the official currency of Ecuador, which eliminates any currency risk. With a low inflation rate of 4%, the economic indicators look very positive. Almost everything is more affordable, not just properties. In the big cities, all the first-world conveniences are available, and there are plenty of new cars.

Stay connected with reliable internet connections and Cellphone networks that are almost first class. One can live comfortably on $1000-$18000 per month, excluding adventure trips. Foreign nationals live in the cities and have holiday homes in the country or the beach. Because of the low cost of living, retirees have more time and money to travel and buy the things they want.All You Need to Know to Retire in Ecuador

Language-Ecuador for Retirement.

Language is numero-uno on our list of need to know. It will take you a long time to get to conversational Spanish, to be able to establish good friendships, joke, or enjoy parties. To live in Ecuador, you need more than the odd travel phrases.

Staying in an area where people speak your langue will not be a problem if you can not speak Spanish fluently. Not speaking Spanish will mean that you will miss out on what the country and people have to offer. Not speaking Spanish can also make you feel isolated.

We suggest that you start learning Spanish at least a year or two in advance. Join a Spanish internet club to improve your accent, vocabulary, and grammar. With the advancement of technology, there are many translating apps. Like BP Mobile, that can make a difference.

Save for Retirement-Ecuador for Retirement

Nowadays, it is easier to save for your retirement. You did not run out of time if you did not start saving for retirement at twenty. It is never too late to start. There are many retirement options to choose from: Best investment for retirees has some options you may want to consider.

Solid investments to save for retirement are IRA and 401(k) accounts. The employer has an option to contribute to your pension plan through the 401(k) account. You can also contribute to your personal retirement account (IRA).

Saving for your retirement from an early age definitely has its advantage. The older you are when you start saving, the higher the percentage of your annual salary will go towards contributions with 401(k). Mutual funds have the same returns as 401(k) and IRA options. Make an informed decision by gathering all the information before investing. There are investment companies and financial advisers that can advise you where necessary.

 ​Cost to Retire in Ecuador

With Pension, annuity, and Social Security benefits, you will live comfortably. Approximately $1,800 per month will be a conservative estimate to budget for a retired couple in Ecuador. A single person can live comfortably on a budget of $1,400 per month. The budget does not include currency transfers as Ecuador uses the US dollar. If you live outside the US, you will have to factor in the currency transfers.

Example of a budget for a single person:

2-Bedroom apartment (luxury)          $400

Car maintenance and fuel                  $140

Phone/Utilities/TV/Internet                $155

Healthcare                                          $65

Food                                                    $400

Entertainment                                     $120

Weekly maid service                           $80

Miscellaneous                                     $80

Monthly total                                      $1,440

With a Social Security benefit of $1,400 per month, you will be able to retire in Ecuador. It will be risky because you will be on a tight budget. There will not be room for unforeseen events or emergencies. Should this occur, you will be cash strapped. Your savings will supplement your Social Security payment and give you peace of mind.

Getting Your Visa for Ecuador

Requirements to retire in Ecuador

The process of establishing residency is tedious, no matter what country you choose. The requirements are the following:

  • Have an income of $ 800 for an Ecuador retirement visa (9-I Ecuador visa).
  • Annuity as your income source, the fund must show the ability to cover your expenses for five years minimum.
  • Invest $25,000 plus in local real estate.

​How to get a retirement visa-Ecuador for Retirement

Applicants that want to become permanent residents must apply for a temporary resident visa from February 6, 2017. Foreigners can apply for a permanent resident visa after holding a temporary resident visa for 21 months. The holder of temporary residency may only leave Ecuador for 90 days within 12 months. The permanent visa holder may only leave Ecuador for 180 days during the first two years of permanent residency.

Follow these steps to secure a temporary visa:

  • one – Make a request online for an appointment
  • two – Download and fill in the application forms.
  • three – You need a valid 90-day passport with a stamp from immigration.
  • four – You need migratory movement permission for 30-day from the Ministry of the Interior.
  • five – Proof that you can sustain yourself for the period of your visa.
  • six – Pay the visa fee of $400.

 A different process applies if you have a relative or a spouse that is an Ecuadorian citizen. We recommend that you use an immigration attorney. Immigration attorneys know the rules and laws and can adjust the applications accordingly and at a moment’s notice for your benefit. Fees for the attorney will be approximately $1,500 for a single person. For a dependent of an applicant, charges will be $2,000.

There are 13 visa options that you to consider. The T-3 tourist stamp in your passport allows you a 90 entry into Ecuador. You can lengthen your stay up to 180 days via the Ecuador consulate in your home country. Extended visas are excellent for touring the country and deciding if this is where you want to spend the rest of your days.

The Benefits of a Permanent Residence Visa

Both tourist and non-resident visas will make it possible to stay in Ecuador for extended periods. Only when you have residence status will you be able to import your household goods duty-free.

There are all sorts of benefits for residence over 65 years of age: like half-price on bus transportation throughout the country, Tickets to sporting and cultural events and movies are half-price, landline telephone for free, a refund on the 12% value-added tax for the month, discounted airfare. The banks have separate lines that move faster for senior citizens.

Best Places for Retirees to Settle in Ecuador-Ecuador for Retirement

Ecuador has the globes largest ocean on one side and the densest largest jungle on the other. Running right through the middle of it is the Andes Mountains (the longest mountain range on the globe). With three of the best scenery options, there is no limit to the imagination.

There are diverse settlement options to choose from, including a serene and relaxed ocean beach setting or on the mountain highlands with beautiful views. Nature lovers can settle in the Amazon Rain forest on the Galapagos Islands. Here are some options to consider depending on your preference.


Quito is one of the largest cities in Ecuador, with two million-plus residence. Here you will find all the big city attractions like shops, theaters, concerts, galleries, and nightclubs are in abundance, including the beauty of nature. This city offers a large and growing retirement community of expats. You will find that the cost of living in this city is affordable. Rent for apartments ranges between $425 and $740 monthly fully furnished.

​Cuenca-Ecuador for Retirement

Cuenca is the most popular retirement destination for international retirees. You will find this city an easy-going blend of culture of a diverse amount of foreigners. There are large shopping centers, Four universities, and eighteen hospitals. Of the 350,000 residence, 8000 are Us citizens Cuenca is still affordable despite its popularity, with rent from $ 900 to $ 1,500 for a comfortable apartment. 


Seeking a beach retirement, look no further. This coastal town is ideal for retirement with breathtaking views of the pacific ocean and a beach resort atmosphere. Enjoy a long stroll on beaches like San Lorenzo and Chipipe beach early in the morning or the evening. For shopping, visit Guayaquil, only a two-hour drive away.

​Loja-Ecuador for Retirement

Loja is where you want to be if you love mountains, is nestled in the Andes. Here you get a taste of the rich Spanish culture. Enjoy a short rainy season and balmy weather throughout the year. This city has plenty of historic buildings, museums, and shops that are within walking distance. Here the crime rate is the lowest in all of Ecuador. The foreign community still needs to grow, but the cost of living is much lower than in the popular cities.

Vilcabamba (The senior homesteader’s heaven)

Always wanted to do homesteading, never had the chance? If you are into homesteading, this is the perfect option for you. Vilcabamba has many outdoor and homesteading activities. Live a natural and healthy lifestyle that includes horseback riding and hiking.

Here is the perfect opportunity to grow your food, live a healthy lifestyle, and care for the environment. Enjoy temperatures of 70º F– 80º F yearly with an altitude of 5000 feet. Vilcabamba is only 30 minutes from Loja,

Negatives of Retirement in Ecuador-Ecuador for Retirement

​Import Taxes

Ecuador has extremely high import taxes that escalate the prices of imported goods. The result is that anything not manufactured or grown in this country costs twice as much. Ordering anything from Amazon online is therefore not an option. Forget about having someone send you anything from outside of Ecuador because even gifts are taxed.

​​Do not let someone send you anything (not even a gift). The package will most likely get stuck in customs, and you will pay an outrageous amount to receive it. Gifts and packages are expensive to send. It is better to send them with someone you know when they travel to Ecuador. 


Traveling to high elevations without body adjustment can cause altitude sickness. Ecuador has many cities like Quito that are higher than 8,000 feet above sea level. Altitude sickness will cause symptoms like headaches, dizziness, tiredness, loss of appetite, breathlessness. Altitude sickness is treatable with medication.

​Crime-Ecuador for Retirement

All countries have crime. Ecuador is no different. The key is to avoid areas that you know are unsafe and. When you are not sure, inquire from the locals which areas to avoid. Although there are gunpoint robberies, guns are not as available as in Mexico or Brazil. Foreigners can be targets if they splurge. Therefore it is advisable not to show off. Also, if held at gunpoint, do what they ask you to do.

​Natural Disasters

Natural disasters are a risk in Ecuador with volcanoes, earthquakes, and fault-lines. For the past year and months, there have been many trembles. These trembles are mild, of course, and most of them you do not feel. Consider that you might lose your life or everything you own with a big earthquake or volcanic eruption.

On, you can view all the expected quakes, volcanic eruptions that may hit Ecuador. Keep in mind that towns in Ecuador have been wiped out before by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. One needs to be alert to these eventualities. Not all areas in Ecuador offer these same dangers. Most of Ecuador is safe for habitation.

If you live in such an area, have an emergency bag ready to leave at a moment’s notice. It is also advisable to .ave a volcano kit at hand in the case of a volcanic eruption.

Related Questions-Ecuador for Retirement

Do I need to become a resident to retire in Ecuador?

Although there are non-resident and tourist visas to extend your stay in Ecuador, you will not have all the benefits of residency status. As a retired resident over 65 years of age, you become eligible for Half-price bus rides throughout Ecuador, entertainment is half-price, and you have access to free health care.

Is retiring in Ecuador a good idea?

Ecuador is a diverse country with lots to offer foreigners. It has also become very popular as a retirement destination. Since the cost of living influences your decision, Ecuador’s low cost is a definite option. You can live very comfortably and have a good quality of life for a fraction of what it will cost you in Europe of America.

Is Ecuador a safe place for Us citizens to retire?

Ecuador has its share of problems with crime, yet, this is a very safe, stable country for retirement. In Cuenca alone, there are more than 8000 US citizens. In general, it is a good idea to take extra care when visiting Quito.

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