2010 Ecuador Cost of Living

By Domenick Buonamici

Cigna International Health Insurance

Summary: Living in Ecuador may not be an inexpensive as living in Mexico or living in Costa Rica, but it's still cheap. Ecuador real estate reporter gives a brief overview of 2010 Cost of living in Ecuador.

Living in Ecuador - 2010 Ecuador Cost of Living

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.

Food:

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.

Transport:

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.

Medical:

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).

Housing:

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.

About the Author

Domenick Buonamici is the lead reporter for http://www.EcuadorRealEstate.org, an online magazine detailing new investment and income opportunities for expats in Ecuador.

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Comments about this Article

PacificLots
Aug 24, 2010 08:37

Speaking of Costa Rica, check out http://www.PacificLots.com to see more about the largest international residential project, now in it's 21st year. The company has sold out the first 10 phases of development and is the largest builder of custom homes in the country, with over 500 people working in the construction division alone. 4 day 3 night tours are offered for just $250 per person (no international airfare) and the fee is applied to any purchase should you decide to buy there. Check out http://www.PacificLots.com/slide-show for more info

jvanpelt
Nov 8, 2010 21:57

I am surprised that you say "living in Ecuador may not be an inexpensive as living in Mexico or Costa Rica." Based solely on my reading, I was under the opposite impression, i.e., that Ecuador was one of the least expensive countries in Latin America. I would love to see others' comments on their experience of this.

tfreddie
Dec 3, 2010 14:10

I'm going a bit coo-coo ... I'm new to this site and saw a posting by a person from NY renting a house ($600) ... anybody remember seeing this?

guest
Jan 19, 2011 00:41

I was also under the impression that Ecuador was the most inexpensive South or Central American country

guest
Mar 18, 2011 17:20

In my opinion the author of this article does not paint a very accurate picture of the cost of living in Ecuador. Comparatively speaking almost all items are more expensive than prices that you would find in the US and the much of Latin America. While the prices mentioned in the article for Transport, Medical and Housing are in the the ball park of what you would expect to see. It is important to note that for Medical Services the level of service provided even in the best clinics varies GREATLY. On the other hand food prices over all are pretty expensive. Many raw goods you can find cheaper but even then things like potatoes are going to be more expensive than what you would find in the US. Also almost all packaged/processed goods are going to have a 10-25% premium of what you would expect to pay in the US. Even making a simple comparison to say Arcor branded foods, which are produced in Argentina and available in both the US and Ecuador every time I have made the comparison Ecuador has been around 40% more expensive. By the way $1.75 meal mentioned at KFC is the cheapest item on the menu most other items are pretty comparable in price to what you find in the US except no free re-fills =). Quality home furnishing, electronics, and general household goods are all going to have a 5-60% premium on cost compared to the US. Overall for similar quality goods/services expect to have to pay a premium but with the cheap cost of housing and transportation it is possible to live on the cheap if you are willing to sacrifice some amenities. I have lived in both Ecuador and Chile and in comparison Chile is much cheaper.

JimmyLew
Oct 11, 2011 05:49

I am very interested in hearing more about Ecuador and in particular about Quito for I will retire next July 2012 with Philippines and Quito as my two choices.I am now an American English teacher at a university in Shanghai.Any input from Ecuadorians will be appreciated and my name is Jimmy.Email is Thanks for your time!

JimmyLew
Oct 11, 2011 06:25

I am considering retiring to Quito,Ecuador July 2012.Can I get by ok on 800-1000usd a month?(My total allowance) All replies appreciated and my name is Jimmy.Email is

guest
Apr 19, 2012 22:06

I find this article very misleading. Yes, you find lunch for two dollars but eating food from the street, under no hygienic conditions, no quality food either. Yes, medical attention can be cheaper, but if you are looking for a good doctor or specialist it's about $50 per visit. There are many good clinics and hospitals, but beware there are also a lot of "cheap clinics" that won't meet the general safety and higyenic standars like in first world country. I am surprised the author advices not having a car! Please, everybody knows that in Ecuador is strongly recommended not to use cabs from the street but from call centers and buses encompasses the risk of being robbed at gunpoint. I will only agree that housing is cheaper in Ecuador (at all levels), but that's it. Even food prices in supermarkets are very close to US prices. The author is talking about a life that poor Ecuadorians live, this is not true for middle class. And to come to Ecuaor to live like poor... Hmmmmm.... Good luck!

First Published: Aug 21, 2010

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