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Expat Exchange - Cost of Living in Vilcabamba 2024
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Vilcabamba, Ecuador


Cost of Living in Vilcabamba

By Betsy Burlingame

SJB Global
SJB Global

Summary: If you're moving to Vilcabamba, understanding the the cost of living in Vilcabamba helps you know what to expect when it comes to apartment or house hunting, grocery shopping, transportation, dining out, utilities and more.

Category Cost
Apartment Rentals A one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Vilcabamba can cost around $300-$400 per month. A three-bedroom apartment in the same area can cost around $500-$700 per month.
Apartment Purchases The price of apartments in Vilcabamba can vary greatly depending on the location and size. A two-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost around $80,000-$120,000. A larger, three-bedroom apartment can cost around $150,000-$200,000.
Transportation Public transportation is quite affordable in Vilcabamba. A one-way ticket on local transport can cost around $0.50. A monthly pass can cost around $20. Taxis start at around $1.50, with an additional $1 per kilometer.
Groceries The cost of groceries in Vilcabamba is relatively low. A liter of milk costs around $1, a loaf of bread is around $1.50, and a dozen eggs is around $2. Fruits and vegetables are also quite affordable, with a kilogram of apples or bananas costing around $1-$2.
Restaurants A meal at an inexpensive restaurant in Vilcabamba can cost around $3-$5. A three-course meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant can cost around $20-$30. A domestic beer is around $1.50, and a cappuccino is around $1.20.
Utilities Basic utilities for an apartment (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage) can cost around $50-$70 per month. Internet can cost around $30-$40 per month.
Private School Tuition Private school tuition can vary greatly depending on the school. On average, you can expect to pay around $200-$400 per month for preschool, $300-$500 per month for elementary school, and $400-$600 per month for middle and high school.
Please note that these are average prices and actual costs may vary. The cost of living in Vilcabamba is generally lower than in many Western countries, but it can still be relatively high compared to other parts of Ecuador. It's also important to keep in mind that while some things are cheaper, others, like imported goods, can be more expensive. Vilcabamba is known for its beautiful scenery and relaxed lifestyle, which has attracted many expats and retirees. However, it's still a small town, so while it has many amenities, it doesn't have the same level of services or variety of goods as a larger city. In terms of education, there are a few private schools in Vilcabamba that offer bilingual education and follow the International Baccalaureate program. However, these schools can be quite expensive, especially compared to public schools. Overall, Vilcabamba can be a great place to live for those who value a slower pace of life and a close-knit community. However, it's important to do thorough research and consider all costs before deciding to move.

Monthly Budget for Retirees in Vilcabamba

"One person can live on around $1000 a month, a couple on $1500 but it also depends on the area and personal needs," said one expat living in Vilcabamba.

"The cost of living in Vilcabamba is considered to be relatively low compared to many Western countries. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can be quite affordable, while outside the city center, it can be even cheaper. The cost of utilities such as electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage is also quite low. Groceries in Vilcabamba are also reasonably priced. Local markets offer fresh fruits, vegetables, and other food items at a lower cost than in many other countries. Eating out at an inexpensive restaurant is also quite affordable. Transportation costs are also low in Vilcabamba. Public transportation is widely available and is quite cheap. Gasoline prices are also lower than in many Western countries. Healthcare in Vilcabamba is also affordable. Many expats living in Vilcabamba find that healthcare costs are significantly lower than in their home countries. However, it's important to note that while the cost of living is generally low, it can vary depending on lifestyle and personal spending habits. For example, imported goods, luxury items, and high-end dining can be more expensive," wrote a member in Vilcabamba.

Can I live in Vilcabamba on $1,500 a month?

"I've been living in Vilcabamba for a few years now and I can tell you that it's definitely possible to live comfortably on $1,500 a month, but it does require some adjustments. The cost of living here is significantly lower than in the U.S. or Europe, but you have to be mindful of your spending habits. For instance, if you're used to eating out at high-end restaurants or buying imported goods, you might find it a bit challenging to stick to your budget. However, if you're willing to embrace the local cuisine and products, you can save a lot. In terms of housing, you can find a decent apartment or house for rent in the range of $300 to $500 a month. The neighborhoods around the town center are generally more expensive, while those on the outskirts are more affordable. I live in a neighborhood called San Pedro, which is a bit away from the town center but still within walking distance. It's quiet, safe, and the rent is reasonable. On the other hand, neighborhoods like Hacienda San Joaquin and Malacatos are more upscale and therefore more expensive. They offer more modern amenities and larger properties, but you might end up paying over $1,000 a month for rent alone. Groceries are relatively cheap, especially if you buy local produce from the farmers' market. I spend around $200 a month on groceries. Utilities, including internet, electricity, and water, cost me around $100 a month. Healthcare is also affordable. A visit to a local doctor costs around $30, and a comprehensive health insurance plan costs around $70 a month. Transportation is cheap as well. A bus ride costs less than a dollar, and taxis are also affordable. However, I mostly walk or bike around town, which saves me a lot of money. The biggest sacrifice I had to make was giving up certain luxuries and conveniences I was used to back home. For instance, there are no big shopping malls or fancy restaurants here. But on the flip side, I've come to appreciate the simple pleasures of life more, like enjoying the beautiful scenery, hiking in the mountains, and interacting with the friendly locals. In conclusion, living in Vilcabamba on $1,500 a month is doable, but it requires a certain level of adaptability and willingness to embrace a simpler lifestyle," commented an expat living in Vilcabamba.

Can I live in Vilcabamba on $3,500 a month?

"I've been living in Vilcabamba for a few years now and I can tell you that it's definitely possible to live comfortably on $3,000 a month, even if you're used to modern amenities. However, you might have to make a few sacrifices. For instance, you might not be able to dine out at high-end restaurants every night or live in the most luxurious neighborhoods. But, if you're willing to adapt a bit, you can live quite well. The cost of living here is significantly lower than in many Western countries. You can rent a decent house in a nice neighborhood for around $500 to $700 a month. The neighborhoods around Centro and Barrio San José are quite affordable and offer a good quality of life. They're close to the town center, so you'll have easy access to markets, shops, and restaurants. On the other hand, neighborhoods like Hacienda San Joaquin and Mollepamba are more upscale and therefore more expensive. They're beautiful, no doubt, but if you're trying to stick to a budget, they might not be the best options. Groceries are also quite affordable here. You can get fresh fruits, vegetables, and other staples for around $200 a month. Eating out is also relatively cheap, unless you're going to the more upscale restaurants. A meal at a mid-range restaurant will cost you around $5 to $10. Utilities, including electricity, water, and internet, will cost you around $100 a month. Internet service is decent, but it might not be as fast or reliable as you're used to. That's one of the sacrifices you might have to make. Healthcare is another area where you can save a lot. A visit to a doctor will cost you around $30, and a comprehensive health insurance plan will cost you around $70 a month. Transportation is also quite cheap. You can get around town on a taxi for a few dollars, and a bus ride to the nearest city, Loja, will cost you around $2. So, all in all, you can live quite comfortably on $3,000 a month in Vilcabamba. You might have to give up a few luxuries, but in return, you'll get to enjoy a relaxed, laid-back lifestyle in one of the most beautiful places in the world," said one expat living in Vilcabamba.

Can I live in Vilcabamba on $5,000 a month?

"I've been living in Vilcabamba for a few years now and I can tell you that living on $5,000 a month is not only possible, but you can live quite comfortably. The cost of living here is significantly lower than in many parts of the world. For instance, you can rent a nice, modern house for around $500 to $800 a month. If you're looking for more affordable neighborhoods, I'd recommend areas like San Pedro or San José. They're a bit further from the town center, but they're peaceful and the views are amazing. On the other hand, if you're looking for something more upscale, neighborhoods like Hacienda San Joaquin or Malacatos might be more your speed. However, these areas can be a bit pricier, with rents often exceeding $1,000 a month. When it comes to utilities, you're looking at around $50 a month for electricity, water, and gas. Internet and cable TV can be a bit more expensive, around $60 to $80 a month, but the service is reliable. Groceries are also quite affordable. You can get fresh fruits, vegetables, and other staples for around $200 a month. Eating out is also quite cheap. A meal at a local restaurant will cost you around $3 to $5, while a meal at a more upscale restaurant will be around $10 to $15. Transportation is another area where you can save a lot. A taxi ride within the town will cost you around $1.50, and a bus ride to Loja, the nearest city, is only $1.25. If you decide to buy a car, keep in mind that cars are more expensive in Ecuador due to import taxes. A new car can cost you around $20,000, while a used car will be around $10,000. Healthcare is also quite affordable. A visit to a local doctor will cost you around $30, while a specialist will charge around $40. If you need to go to the hospital, a private room will cost you around $100 a day. In terms of sacrifices, you might find that some modern amenities you're used to are not as readily available. For instance, while you can find most basic goods, certain specialty items or brands might be harder to come by. Also, while the internet is reliable, it might not be as fast as you're used to. Overall, I'd say that living in Vilcabamba on $5,000 a month is not only doable, but you can live quite comfortably. You just need to adjust your expectations a bit and be willing to adapt to a different way of life," commented an expat living in Vilcabamba.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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Vilcabamba, Ecuador

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