12 Tips for Living in Rio Chico, Ecuador
An expat talks about what life is like in Rio Chico, Ecuador, a small beach town about 10 minutes from Montanita. With 12 hours of sunlight every day, beautiful beaches and terrific local shops, life in Rio Chico sounds wonderful.
Expat Life in Rio Chico
The coast of Ecuador has miles of beautiful beaches, with mild temperatures and no hurricanes! Ecuador uses the US dollar so there is no fear of currency fluctuations and the cost of living is easy on the wallet.
Cost of Living in Rio Chico, Ecuador
There is a wide variety of housing available on the Coast. In my little stretch of beach, expats can purchase a home in a gated community starting at just $125K and going up to $285K for an amazing 3 bedroom home with a pool. Rentals are anywhere from $600 and up depending upon amenities. Taxis and food are inexpensive and good.
Local Clubs and Organizations
Many of the expats in my area are actively involved with the local orphanage which houses about 80 children. You can find information about it at www.fosmo.me where you can also donate. There is a Rotary Club in nearby Salinas. I belong to 2 book clubs and there are several card playing clubs.
International Schools in Rio Chico
Sorry. Nothing close to my area.
Shopping in Rio Chico
Local shops are terrific for produce, meats and most every day needs. It's like shopping in the US years ago with one shop just for meat and another for fish, etc. Many expats make the trek into Salinas to shop at the big box grocery stores or the mall at least once a month for those hard to get items.
The bus to Salinas is $1.50 from Montanita area or half that for seniors. The express bus (CLP) to Guayaquil is a pleasant 3 hour trip for $6 in a reserved seat with AC and movies. Taxis are reliable and cheap. I have never felt unsafe on the bus or taxi but then I don't travel late a night and I am careful with belongings.
On the equator, we get sunrise at 6:30am and sunset at 6:30pm all year long. We are semi arid with cloudy days and some rain from May to December. Our warmest and sunniest days are Christmas to Easter. I use the AC in bedrooms during those months, but the ocean breeze is sufficient for the rest of the year.
Restaurants and Nightlife
Montanita is the nightlife spot about 10 minutes from me. Lots of young people use the 2 or 3 dance clubs in town. All along the Coast are great little seafood shacks. Near me are also Thai, Peruvian, Mexican, Italian and American style restaurants.
Health Care Facilities in Rio Chico, Ecuador
There is an emergency clinic 5 minutes from my house but the hospitals are in Salinas (45 minutes) or Guayaquil (3 hours) away. Fortunately, I've not had much need for health care but my friends and neighbors have been very pleased at both the quality and the price of procedures here. Although you can find English speaking doctors, it really helps in crisis situations to speak Spanish.
Expat Health Insurance in Ecuador
Expats interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.
Recreational Activities in Rio Chico
There are miles of gorgeous beaches, what more can anyone want? Surfing is possible year round here as is scuba and snorkeling. Golf is a couple of hours north outside Manta.
Residency and Visa Requirements
The latest residency visas are a two year temporary deal that can then be exchanged for a permanent one. Rules for qualifying stayed the same as when I came 3 years ago, but the temporary visa was a new idea instituted in 2017. The requirements of background checks and proof of ability to support yourself are pretty straightforward. Canadians have had good luck at getting visas before they arrive but most expats I know have used an expediting service or lawyer since the actual rules can change.
Crime in Rio Chico, Ecuador
I just read an article that listed the US as the 36th most dangerous country and Ecuador was around 95th. Mostly, we hear about petty crime. The local communities tend to police crime on their own and violent crime is not tolerated. Shopping the cities especially at Christmas requires more vigilance, but for the most part crime is not a worry at all.