From the list you give, Cuenca, Quito and Cotacachi, it sounds like you are interested in just the Andes -- or -- you have been reading International Living and Gary Scott's blogs
Ecuador is an amazing place -- with a whole lot of "places" to live within a few hours of each other -- mountains, beaches, rainforests, tropical deserts. So more to the point, you really need to come and spend about two weeks first taking a look around and see what area speaks to you.
As to your other questions -- since I don't know what you find as comfortable, or what medical conditions you have, or your specific transportation needs I will give you a very general response.
With your own home purchased, you can live very comfortably, eating out, entertaining, and even having help around the house (which by the way is the norm here, expected, and one of the best ways of being a part of your community is employing a "housekeeper") for $1,500 a month (more or less).
Transportation is normally by bus, taxi, "hired car" (private taxi), or for long distances (Quito to Guayaquil or Cuenca) by plane) Long distance buses are available inter city/inter province and run about $1 for each hour -- making a trip from Quito to Guayaquil for example $10. Cars cost about the same as in the states and bringing in a car is NOT worth the hassle.
Medical insurance is available and there is world class medical care available in the cities (and also in the Salinas resort area.) Regular doctor visits for a cold or a stomach bug will run you about $20 and medication such as antibiotics are only a few cents a pill.
And now that you are completely confused and befuddled, may I invite you to come stay with us at the OceanHideaway when you come visit and see what the Costa is like ? We aren't what you might expect come give us a try!
All the best,
We are considering living in or near Quito, cuenca or Cotacachi. We are lookibng for anyone that has reliable information as far as : Cost of Living medical (if needed) availability to transportaion.
We are anticipating a visit in about 12 months. we know alot can change by then but this is the beginning steps. Please feel free to share any experience that may be of importance.
Hello. Just joined the Network. Very interested in coming to Ecuador and see what is available as far as the place to live. Interested in meeting fellow expatriates. I have no clue where to start. Any info is greatly appreciated. Ed
Cumbaya is absolutely lovely ~ definitely mark that as a place to visit!
And if anyone wants more information about the Salinas and Ruta Del Sol area up to Montanita and Olon, drop me a line ~ it's the area I know best right now and I adore it and love talking about it (between bites of prawn and lobster of course LOL)
Hello "OceanHideaway" Susan and FeeAcer, and everyone else!
FeeAcer, I lived in Dubai from March '07 through March 08' working for Emirates Airlines! I lived in the Millennium Tower.
I'm "retired" from my old job, but working part time, and we are looking for someplace where we can enjoy a comfortable (not meager/not lavish) standard of living without my having to work. But, yes, OceanHideaway, I've been reading IL since 1997, and I've been reading Gary Scott for the past few months. Cotacatchi does sound intriguing, but my wife says she would like to live in a warmer,lower elevation climate.
Actually the bottom line is: we want to live in the most comfortable, but least expensive place available. Salinas sounds great, but I would like to know more about other Ecuadorian beach towns. We are not surfers, but we enjoy diving and snorkeling, and just getting in the water. I've read about a development called Coco Beach. Property and building costs sound very reasonable, but how far is it from "civilization?" We plan on taking a trip to Ecuador soon, most likely in September, to check things out. Where is the Ocean Hideaway located? I appreciate you comments about the cost of living, but it is hard to imagine living so cheaply.
One last thing; neither of us is fluent in Spanish. In my old job I frequented Panama, Chile, Brazil, and Argentina, and I never had any real communication problems, but I was always in a larger city. I have no problem with purchasing a Rosetta Stone course, or taking Spanish lessons, but does this pose a problem?
After Dubai ~ Ecuador's low prices should blow your mind! Some items -- cars and electronics for example -- are about equal but food, clothes, DVDs, rent/purchase of a home, much much less.
Spanish ~ you'll need it but don't stress! Rosetta Stone is a good basis -- and there are some free programs online that can also start you out. Learn the basics (that there are masculine and feminine nouns, that verbs conjugate to the person they reflect to) and the basic sensible and respectful questions and responses: Where is the restroom? Please and Thank you, Good Day, Good Afternoon, Good Evening, How much is that..do you have a more economical price?.
I have someone here -- Amy Prisco (alprisco[at]gmail.com) who is a relocation expert. She is fully bilinual -- started studying Spanish in a "smart kids" program in Massachusetts when she was 12 -- went on to major in the language and then go on to a Masters degree, and then an MBA. She is also a US Consulate Warden for our Province (Santa Elena).
Check out TUCASA.com -- it's in Spanish but if you enter the site through Google you can auto translate -- not perfect but okay -- and get an idea of the prices on places to live. Keep in mind that Salinas is less than 2 hours from Montanita -- and you have Ayangue (a major snorkeling/diving area)-- plus the roads are excellent having been repaved and regraded over the past two years. This means you can live in a luxury condo in Salinas and have access to the rural country coastline at your leisure.
I know nothing of Coco Beach but it has a "gringo-land" feel. And I have to say that IL, while being a great introduction is WAY off-base on their prices. Gary Scott emails some interesting stuff -- and I do read it to keep abreast of what is being propounded -- some is good, some is not so good. Gary's agenda -- it is to sell real estate -- and when folks come on his tours they are rarely shown anything in a reasonable price range plus they are specifically herded to specific spots where he has a financial interest. Keep that in mind -- especially if you take one of his tours. The other thing is "his" roses -- do a Google search on "Roses Ecuador pesticide" and learn a bit about that industry here and the effect on the local population and then make up your own mind.
Ocean Hideaway is locating just outside a small fishing pueblo called Anconcito and we are in the neighborhood (barrio) known as La Diablica. Anconcito is one of the small towns that makes up the canton of Salinas, so officially we are part of Salinas. We are located 15 minutes by taxi from the high rises on the Salinas Malecon (boardwalk) on the opposite side of the Peninsula from the high- rise buildings and further south along the side of the Peninsula that is much rougher than the Salinas bay (where the yacht club is located in the protected arm of the curve of the Peninsula). They call our side the Mar Brava -- the Fierce Ocean -- We should be tagged on Google Maps.
I hope all that helps -- of course seeing is the best way! Come for a visit -- first Pilsner (beer) is on me!
Susan TheOceanHIdeawa.com theoceanhideaway[at]aol.com
For a cost of living comparison between Quito and the Coast I would again defer to Amy Prisco alprisco[at]gmail.com She lived in Quito her first year in Ecuador and then came to the coast from the mountains. She commutes back and forth to Guayaquil and Quito regularly for business -- and pleasure
The cost of living here is cheap compared to the states.. I know friends who paid something in the range of four hundred dollars for a furnished, two bedroom condo. Other expenses vary with the big one being cars. Another friend just sold his car as he was leaving the country for the same price he bought it for five years ago. On the plus side taxis are cheap and busses are everywhere. Let me know if you have other questions and I would suggest getting in touch with the contacts provides above.. Jon
Thanks everyone for your replies. I'll definitely check out TUCASA.com, and I'll get in touch with Amy. Susan, you mentioned that IL is WAY off base on their prices. Can you be a little more specific? ie. Does IL quote prices too high, or too low? Concerning housing, food, or just everything in general? I doubt seriously I would take a real estate tour with anyone (especially a real estate broker or agent). I'm sure they would steer one to what they want to sell, just as you mentioned. But we do plan on visiting sometime this fall, and I'll take you up on that cerveza. We also want to take a look at Panama. It is much easier to get to from where we and our kids/grand kids live (non stop flights from our local airport). Thanks again, Bob
Most recent IL underestimate was: Live in luxury with 3 full time workers (cook, maid and gardener/handyman) for $1,500.
Taking into account that under the law each of those full-time workers combined would have a salary of $800, that would leave you $700 or less for all of your other expenses -- electric, water, internet, food and cleaning supplies, transportation, clothes, medical expenses/insurance, etc. -- $175 a week is a bit low. Not too much so -- I would say $2000 to $2500 for a "luxury" style of living would be more like it.
Does rent come out of the $2000-$2500, or is that assuming my home is paid for? Either way, it sounds like an income of say $4000-$5000 per month (not spending all of it each month of course) is more than adequate to live a nice lifestyle. By the way it's really nice to hear something from a real "locals" instead of a sales person. Cheers, Bob