Expat Exchange recently conducted a survey to explore the "Best Places to Live Abroad in 2020."
When expats in Ecuador rated their "level of satisfaction with the expatriate experience," responses indicated that those who live in the South-American nation are by far more satisfied with their experience than those in other nations throughout the world.
A full 31% of expats in Ecuador reported that they were "extremely satisfied" as expats, while 59% stated that they were "very satisfied." Combined, that 90% who are either extremely or very satisfied rates 16% higher than the international average of 74%. An additional 10% reported that they were "moderately satisfied." No respondents reported that they were either "slightly satisfied" or "not at all satisfied" with their expat experiences in Ecuador.
Here are some thoughts from the expats that responded to the Expat Exchange survey:
From Ayangue, Ecuador:
Ayangue is a small, tranquil town of 3000 on the Pacific coast. It has a small, protected bay so the surf is minimal and great for swimming. It is close enough to larger towns/cities like Salinas to be able to find whatever you want. I have lived on the coast of Ecuador for six years and in Ayangue for 1 1/2. After discovering Ayangue it took me more than a year to find my housing because I dropped in3 times for a couple of days at a time. If my Spaniash was better I am sure it woud have been easier.
From Cuenca, Ecuador:
"We (retired husband and wife) have lived in Cuenca, Ecuador for over 2 years. We will be moving back to the U.S. in a few months for visa and family reasons. We speak Spanish and are pleasantly surprised when an Ecuadorian wants to practice his/her English with us. We try to look at the majority of our experiences as adventures. We don't expect everything to be the way it is/was in the U.S. Our advice: learn the language of your host country, remember that you are ambassadors of your country in the host country, adapt to a new/different way of life, and be thankful when things go right and fall into place. Thus, your 'adventure' will be fun!"
"Cuenca is still a little 3rd worldly - noisy - with little respect for pedestrians or bicyclists. But this is overridden by all the positives of access to nature, culture, clean water, nice weather, volunteer opportunities, low cost of living, great healthcare, and ease of making friends."
"We are permanent residents...just bought an apt after 7 years of renting. We love living here, and the local people here--so friendly and caring. Always things one can go do, and we've learned to use the local ingredients to make family recipes from back in the USA. We tend to mostly cook at home, but there are a WIDE variety of restaurants and foods here. Our family has had a few surgeries here and all went well. It would (admittedly) be nice if there were more medical staff in the public system (IESS) that spoke english but we get by with my Spanish and if something complicated, we use a translator. One thing that my adult (30s) daughter has found difficult is finding friends her age that speak at least some english, but she's fine with the few she has. Vet care for our pets has been great, human medical care has been good too, and we've got a dentist, a couple doctors, etc that we really love, that are very good! All in all we are VERY HAPPY in Cuenca. (It has been 7 years since we moved to Cuenca, and we have not made a trip "back home" once) Only thing that is much of an issue is trying to get stuff here by mail, etc....there are now many more restrictions than when we first arrived, so there are a number of things (a few foods,OTC meds, and clothing for larger/taller sizes) we have trouble getting."
From Manta, Ecuador:
Manta is incredibly diverse, with easy access to the rest of the country, for both day trips and longer. One can choose to stay in the more recently developed part of town, or use it as needed, and then also the original El Centro, which offers even more diversity and choices. Fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken, etc., is fresh and without added preservatives and chemicals, so the food is absolutely delicious and tastes "real." We have found the emphasis to be on the value of the "person", which is a wonderful way to live each day.
From Quito, Ecuador:
"I love Quito. It took an adjustment period for me because of the altitude. I moved here from Key West, Florida so I went from about 10 feet above sea level to about 9,400 feet above sea level. I love the difference in temperature here daily between the daytime high and nighttime low and there is no need for heating and air conditioning here. Quito is a large enough city that there is everything available here that I had in the United States. My Ecuadorian wife and I live in the northern part of Quito, just west of the old airport and we take frequent mini vacations in the old historic part of the city, which we both love and also various towns a short distance from Quito. We both love having an international airport here in Quito which makes it much easier to travel."
"I like the availability of things to do, choice of restaurants and cultural activities. I am also a half hour drive from a major international airport. There is nothing that I do not like."
"I love the cost of living, especially housing."
From Ecuador (Unspecified):
Fell in love with the place I am living when I first saw it & wouldn't want to live anywhere else in Ecuador. The views from my roof are spectacular & different every day. A short walk to the Pan American Highway every day keeps me fit & 30c bus ride to nearest towns or $2.50 taxi ride. Lots of interaction with Indigenous people and/or expats if wanted & so much to do & see it would take a lifetime to complete. Temperate weather in the Andes & could do with a little less wind during the dry months but generally love the cool evenings for sleeping & warm days.