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August 17, 2013


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Very interesting! We have been thinking about moving, or at least doing some long-term traveling. Might need to add Ecuador to our list :)

I have read that the crime in cities like Quito is really bad. So many people on the internet have said your chances of getting robbed are quite high, I tend to believe it. I have heard Cuenca is safer, but it has major issues with diesel pollution from buses.

I am planning to relocate my family from the Philippines to Cuenca in Ecuador. My research is bang up to date and I can advise that the crime rate in Cuenca is below that of American cities of similar size, and has been declining year on year for several years now.

As for pollution, the buses in Cuenca have produced too much pollution in the historic district but that is being addressed. Work on a light rail system along European lines is starting about now, and bus movements in the historic district will be far more restricted with some all pedestrian zones.

Cuenca has many green park areas which are steadily being renovated and updated to make them even more family friendly. Can't wait to get there, just have to sell our land in Palawan.

Why do these posts never discuss issues like: (a) difficulty of attaining the equivalent of permanent resident status or (b) near-impossibility of securing a mortgage in a country in which you don't have permanent resident status?

@Sarah because it would warrant a whole separate post :). You raise really good points. Navigating the permanent resident visa process in Ecuador is not for the faint of heart. There are six different types of permanent visas, all with their own requirements: Pensioner Visa 9-I, Investor Visa 9-II, Industrial Investor Visa 9-III, Agent Visa 9-IV, Professional Visa 9-V, Dependent Visa 9-VI.

For early retirees (or anyone without a pension), that also have a Bachelor's degree, the best route to residency is the Professional Visa 9-V. All you need is to have graduated college and around $350 to cover government fees. A bargain compared to other routes like the Investor Visa 9-II which requires an investment of $25,000 in the form of a CD or real estate, which the government takes 5% of if you ever leave the country.

However, note that visa requirements change regularly so it's in one's best interest to speak with an attorney in Ecuador during the process, although many expats have gone it alone and received permanent visas without issue (just a lot of paperwork!).

I guess if it's your only option for retirement, then it will work fine.

@Roy. Thank you for the update on Cuenca. I don't have any immediate plans, but it's something I might look into for the future.


The Visa issue is a legit. one. But obviously it is doable because a lot of Americans live down there. As for real estate, while it's a legit issues, not everyone cares about owning their home. I have no desire to buy real estate in the U.S., let alone a foreign country, so that issue doesn't matter to me.

It might be a cheap to live there, or somewhere similar, but there's always a cost.

I don't think I could bail on the US of, friends, familiarity, food...

Hey I think this post details a viable cheaper alternative for a decent retirement. For 1200 a month you can live good in a city that offers so much, try doing that anywhere in the US. It's an option for people who did not prepare much for retirement or others who want some adventure in the golden years.

Mr. Everyday Dollar, I read your post, and disagree with some of your findings. I live in Bahia de Caraquez on the north Central Coast of Ecuador. We have found several of the costs to be higher than what you have described, here in Ecuador. For example cell phones for $12.00, at @.18 to .25 per minute depending on if the other party you are calling is on your same provider and if it is a land line, will not go very far. We spend approx. $45 per phone per month for texting and phone calls. And we are on a plan which you need a Bank Account for 6 months to get and a Cedula(National ID Card) to get. The prepaid plans are more expensive.
While you can find a meal such as the lunches for $2.50 to $3.00 the Restaurant Food is More like $4.00 to $10 per meal depending on what you order. The $200 is low compared to reality per month.
For Healthcare you need to add for Hospital visits. You can get set up on the Social Security Plan they have down here and you'll have to pay a minimum of about $65 per month into the plan depending on your earnings. This will cover Major Medical Items. The Doctor Visits are correct about $25 or so.
Home costs seem low also. Water costs quite a bit more for us . There are 3 of us and we spend about $140 per month to pay for 4 tanker trucks to be brought in where we live. About $35 per truck.
As far as the visas they are not that hard to get. Once you have all your paperwork in order, Originals, Apostilled, Notarized, Translated, Legalized etc. It is simply a matter of choosing the one that works for you and applying for it. It may seem daunting however they have processed many Expats here and they will assist you. If all is correct, Original and properly certified it will simply be a matter of applying and waiting for the process to work it's way through.
We have discussed and are working with a Major Bank here in Ecuador to secure Mortgages for Expats. They ARE available for 10 to 15 year terms. Higher interest rates but can be secured!
We prefer and live in a Smaller Coastal City, Bahia de Caraquez. No issues with diesel pollution, crime is very low here and much less City type Stresses. We are from Seattle WA. We found our permanent resident visas easy to get and have our Cedulas as well.
I am sure others may not embrace the Culture here but we enjoy it. Not trying to be offensive, but we live here and can provide first hand information. We are Developing Property 20 minutes North of here. The climate is a huge plus here for us, always warm and yet a wonderful breeze cools us every day.
Living It and Loving It here in Bahia, Ecuador.

This sounds like a good option! I'm a surfer and plan to retire for at least part of the time in Central or South America. I had been thinking Nicaragua.

@Mark: But you do have to look at quoted "housing costs" with a skeptical eye to make sure they are not based on housing prices for citizens. I can't tell from this post what the basis is.

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