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An Expat Talks about Retiring in Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador

Feb 27, 2017

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Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador

An expat who retired to Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador enjoys Bahia's very low cost of living, fresh uncontaminated food and warm climate. He wishes he had been more cautious with investments given the issues in Ecuador with the 7.8 earthquake last April. The experience has taught him a lot about buying property and property laws.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Bahia de Caraquez

Why did you choose to retire abroad?

We had previously lived in 4 other countries on 3 different continents so another country was an interesting idea. We also liked the cost of living and climate in Ecuador.

Are you retired abroad all year or part of the year?

All year though we visit family every year

Why did you choose the country you retired to?

Cost of living, climate - slower paced life

Did you ever live abroad before you retired abroad?

Yes - we left our native UK in 1976 and lived in Bahrain for 5 years, then Canada for 10 years and then the USA for 22 years before moving to Ecuador.

How long have you lived abroad since you retired abroad?

Just over 3 years

How many countries (other than your home country) have you lived in as a retiree?

Only this one

What have been the most challenging aspects of being retired abroad?

Trying to speak Spanish in an environment where locals speak a highly colloquial form of it very quickly. Putting up with various unexpected bureaucratic offices.

What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?

Very low cost of living, fresh uncontaminated food, warm climate.

What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?

Been more cautious with investments given the issues in Ecuador with the 7.8 earthquake last April. Probably found out more about property purchase and laws.

What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)

Life is relatively quiet in Bahia. There are restaurants and bars frequented by expats but a limited number. Most expats in this town know one another. There are local nightclubs but generally not used by most expats. There was a very good museum here until the earthquake.

What residency documents or visas did you need to obtain to retire in your host country? How difficult was this process? (Please describe)

Birth certificates, wedding certificate, proof of income, police certificate from each state of residence for the last 5 years all translated into spanish. Found it easier to use an immigration lawyer.

Did you buy a home or apartment, or rent one? Is this a difficult process? (Please describe)

Purchased - not a difficult process at all - probably easier than in the USA or Canada.

Financially, has living abroad in your host country met your expectations? Exceeded them?

Most of the time - yes. However imported goods have a major tax on them so that electrical goods etc. are far more expensive. Food is plentiful and cheap and oceanfront property very good value.

What are the most important financial considerations for retiring to your host country?

Capital gains tax on property in Ecuador is very expensive as is moving money out of the country.

How much can a retiree live on comfortably in your host country?

Less than $1000 per month depending on location

Do you have access to quality medical care? (Please describe - is it close? Expensive?)

Yes - Bahia has good medical services and a new hospital is being built to replace the earthquake damaged one. Drugs are readily available and significantly cheaper than in the USA.

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Is there a lot of crime where you live? (Please describe)

No serious crime - only some petty thievery.

Describe available transportation where you live. Do you need a car? Is there access to safe public transportation?

There are bus services to Quito, Guayaquil, Manta and locally which are cheap and reliable. Nearest airport is Manta but most expats use Guayaquil. We choose not to have a car as most places in Bahia can be easily reached by foot or $1 taxis.

Is there high-speed internet access where you live?

Yes - we have fiber optics in our building

Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share about retiring abroad?

This would not be for everyone. Having lived in multiple cultures we have adapted quickly and easily whereas most americans or canadians have much more fixed views and less flexibility.

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Comments about this Report

Mar 23, 2017 15:53

I sense doubt and some regret in you comments...you should have tried COLOMBIA! I lived in Ecuador for 3 years (Manta and Cuenca) and ended up in Colombia, which beats Ecuador hands down! You can find slow, medium and fast paced lifestyle with a buffet of climates. The people in Colombia are friendlier and provide expats with a more sophisticated environment than Ecuador. Cost of living is low, but also relative to your lifestyle and the region you select to live in.

Apr 25, 2017 12:59

I was glad to read your comments about Bahia. We also own a condo there and we recently visited Bahia to see how things are progressing. It was good to see that the roads are being improved, the new road into town will be a very good highway. We were also happy to see that construction of some of the buildings is underway, including new buildings that are being constructed. For those of us who own condos in existing buildings, it is great to know that the intrinsic structure of our building was fine. The damage that needs to be repaired is only with the internal walls. There are many strong spirited business owners in Bahia, like Henry at HBar and the owner of Coco Bongos, who have remained and who are open and providing good service. It will take some time for people to return to Bahia because repairs to buildings need to be completed so that people can live there again. What we appreciate about Bahia is the strong sense of community among the expats who live there. Although many of us have been living elsewhere, we have kept in touch and we still feel very connected to each other. Bahia is a sweet little town. There is abundant sea food. The bay is really a natural wonder. We look forward to spending time there again once our condo is completed.

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