Ecuador is cheap, no doubt about it.
Those who think life in Ecuador costs about the same as other Latin American destinations like Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, or the Dominican Republic are mistaken.
Of course, how much you spend greatly depends on your personal spending habits, and a little on the area of the city in which you live.
But Ecuador is a land where a dollar still goes a long way, and people still cherish their pennies.
Food, transport, medical and housing costs are all considerably lower than in most of the western hemisphere.
A 3-course plate lunch in a local restaurant in the street costs around $2. Many small, local families do all their grocery shopping for the month for under $150-200. (Of course, knowing how to shop, finding the deals, and shopping a lot in local markets.)
Even the international fast food chains have adapted to Ecuadorian prices. For example, in Pizza Hut, you can buy a personal pan pizza for $1.50, and in KFC you can get a plate lunch with rice, beans and chicken for $1.75.
Thankfully, with plentiful taxis and public transport, Ecuador is one of those countries where you truly don’t need a car. I have never waited longer than 10 minutes for a bus in the street, nor has it took me longer than 6 minutes to flag down a taxi.
This automatically eliminates the costs you incur for car insurance, repairs and parking.
A city bus costs a whopping $.25 cents and inter-city buses cost around $1 per hour traveled. So, in other words, you can go from one end (Colombian border) of Ecuador to the other (Peruvian border) for around $17.
Taxis within one of the major cities usually costs around $2-3 for a short 10-15 minute ride.
The level of care is surprisingly very high in Ecuador, and particularly within the private clinics, hygiene is placed at an even higher premium than in some clinics I have visited in the US.
A standard doctor consultation costs around $25. A teeth cleaning starts around $40, and to fill a cavity starts around $20.
Full coverage medical plans for seniors start around $87-180 dollars a month (depending on personal circumstances).
Both costs to purchase and rent are relatively low in Ecuador. To rent a small, 1 bedroom apartment in one of the major cities starts around $150-200 a month. To rent a luxury, furnished one bedroom suite-apartment in a nice area of Quito (for instance) is starting around $400 (and up).
Purchase prices greatly depend on the area and property type, but you could find a small apartment, already-built starting around $30,000 almost everywhere in Ecuador.
Did I mention that in Ecuador you also never have to worry about exchange fees, because Ecuador uses the US dollar as its official currency.
So hop that 4 hour flight from Miami… Ecuador awaits you.