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Parque La Carolina in Quito, Ecuador
Parque La Carolina in Quito, Ecuador
Parque La Carolina in Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 05, 2022

Summary: With a population of approximately 2.5 million, Quito has some big city problems like traffic and pollution. But, expats and digital nomads appreciate that Quito still has a small city feel, a low cost of living and year-round temperatures in 50-60s. Plus, it's easy to get out of the city on the weekends to enjoy the fresh mountain air.

William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

What do I need to know about living in Quito?

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When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Quito, they said:

"Be prepared for pollution and robbery problems. Quito also has a large traffic issue and makes it hard to get around at busy hours of the day. The altitude is sometimes hard for people with asthma or the elderly. In general, it's still a small city and has a friendly welcoming attitude. It's easy to get away on weekends and go to the mountains for fresh air. The night life is fun and exciting in the mariscal area. I would research the city really well before renting or buying. Find the safer neighborhoods like Quito, Tenis or Gonzalez Suarez where there are many other expats," added another expat in Quito.

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

What do I need to know before moving to Quito?

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When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Quito, they said:

"THis process esp with minimal Spanish is NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART, trust me. I have struggled at times and have lived before out of the United States in South America. Visit, do your homework, trust that you will be taken advantage of (as I have several times with trusted Ecuadorians) and you REALLY have to WANT TO MOVE HERE sometimes to simply stay here. I am overall happy with my move/immigration to Ecuador but it is tough and challenging esp as a soltera at times, very tough," said another expat in Quito.

"Rent, learn, then leave. Keep in mind I have no business interest here so I am just being honest. You can deposit money into your bank acct & if want to know your balance after your deposit they charge you a fee, service in Ecuador is terrible. Ask for a roll of quarters, & be refused! No reason, just be told no," added another expat who made the move to Quito.

"Come visit first, stay in a travelers hostel if you want to meet people, doesn't matter your age...see where you want to live, then check the local paper to find rental listings..," explained one expat living in Quito, Ecuador.

How do I find a place to live in Quito?

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We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"Not easy... I was offered a teaching job at PUCE , then denied it when my papers came through very late but I knew the barrio where I wanted to live -- however, it has gone up in price and there were few options available. I walked around in the neighborhood I wanted to finally settle in and found what I need. This is a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED way to discover a good apt in Quito," added another expat who made the move to Quito.

What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Quito?

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"A "suite" or two rooms and bath, lovely little place, good dueno and furnished nicely with condominio fee monthly it's $460. in the swanky neightborhood of Gonzalez Suarez. Noise here is bad," remarked another expat who made the move to Quito.

What is the average cost of housing in Quito?

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If you are thinking about moving to Quito, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Much lower. I bought an apartment for under $30k and I have rented another for just $150 a month," explained one expat living in Quito, Ecuador.

How do I meet people in Quito?

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When we asked people living in Quito about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"DAMAS - Damas Norteamericanas y Britanicas - meets once a month and does service projects for the community, we have an English book library and a play group for moms with young kids. English Fellowship Church - all English speaking Advent St. Nicholas Church - 3 services in English, Spanish, and German," commented one expat who made the move to Quito.

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

What should I bring when moving to Quito?

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People living in Quito were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"More books - not the Kindle I was given --personal effects, small paintings, items you love at home (small and transport friendly) Nothing in 2nd category," mentioned another expat in Quito.

"I wish I had brought digital camera, laptop and more books...I wish I had left home medicines (widely available and cheaper in Ecuador), basics like towel, socks, etc (also easily available), furniture (very beautiful pieces avialable locally)," commented one expat who made the move to Quito.

Will I be able to find a job in Quito?

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When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Quito, they reponded:

"The city has all sorts of businesses and industries, but most expats will find quick employment in some sort of education job. The universities have many opportunities for those with degrees and the English institutes are always looking for native English speakers. Small business owners find it hard to get started here, but some do very well," commented one expat who made the move to Quito.

What is life like in Quito?

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When we asked people living in Quito what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"The Latino life focuses on family and friends. The Expat community focuses on service projects, mountain sports activities, and traveling around the country," added another expat in Quito.

Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Quito accepting of differences?

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"Quito is very diverse. We have a growing Asian community as well as a large expat community. The Quitenos are very nice and accepting of other cultures and people. The Latinos in general do not mix classes (the city is separated into neighborhoods of different classes.)," explained one expat living in Quito, Ecuador.

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

What are the schools in Quito like?

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"I would advise against this school. The administration is extremely bloated and are merely puppets of the school director. The students are for the most part rude and have no respect. The teachers are primarily short-term (2 years then move on) and the curriculum is in a constant state of flux. The teachers try to do the best they can, but are given zero support from administration," said another expat in Quito with children at Academia Cotopaxi.

"I love it. I have my two boys and am amazed at the academic standards. My oldest one is not quite studious, yet he manages to excel in many areas, even compared to other schools worldwide. When compared to other kids his age in other schools around the world, he is significantly more advanced. I think that says a lot. I like the special services and the close knit feel of the parent teacher relations," remarked another parent with kids at Academia Cotopaxi in Quito.

"I would highly suggest taking a look at all options in Quito. This school has made a rapid change to being an elitist, local school where students of powerful local families are given preferential treatment and their parents are allowed to dictate what is done at the school. Discipline is non-existent. The curriculum is constantly "being worked on" and the school is all about how it appears, not substance. Bullying by local, wealthy is prevalent and the school takes no action. The answer is to make the target and their family the problem and wait for them to leave while the bully is allowed to continue for years to come," explained one expat living in Quito, Ecuador.

What are the pros and cons of living in Quito?

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Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Quito responded:

"My wife and I live in north Quito, near the old airport. We really like this area because we are a short drive to downtown, close to a few malls, within walking distance to a great supermarket and a public park and many nice restaurants. We both love the old historic part of the city and we're only a 15 minute drive away. We go regularly and check-in to a hotel and spend the weekend there. It's like a little mini-vacation for us," commented one expat who moved to Quito.

"I love Ecuador. I find that dealing with government bureaucracy is frustratingly time consuming, but I only have to renew my visa once every five years," said another expat.

"I like the cosmopolitan feel of Quito. City easy to navigate. Convenient national and international travel. I am worried about the rise in crime and the appearance of the cartels," commented one expat living in Quito, Ecuador.

"I like the Golf and cost of living. I don't like the traffic and a good percentage of the people," remarked another expat living in Quito.

What type of social life can someone expect in Quito?

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When we asked expats and global nomads about their social experiences in Quito, they replied:

"It is best if you join an expat group. In my case, at 63 years of age I took a 3 month Spanish course, avoided English speakers, and joined a Rotary Club where I received a very warm welcome into the Spanish community," commented one expat who moved to Quito.

"The Ecuadorian people have been very accepting and friendly to me. This is my home now and I'm very happy with my decision to move here," commented one expat living in Quito, Ecuador.

What advice to expats in Quito have about housing?

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"I believe it's better to rent rather than buy immediately when first arriving in Quito so that you can check out other parts of the city," said another expat.

What are medical services in Quito like?

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When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Quito, they replied:

"My health insurance is with IESS and I've been completely satisfied with the care I've received. I have high cholesterol and a family history of heart disease. When the doctors at the IESS hospital learned this they ordered a complete lipid profile, an EKG, treadmill stress test and echocardiogram and placed me on a statin drug for my cholesterol and a drug for high blood pressure," said one expat living in Quito.

"Most doctors don't have insurance for malpractice so if you are unhappy, tough luck. There is no medical body to appeal to," mentioned another expat inQuito.

Are healthcare and health insurance expensive in Quito?

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"The cost of medical care if much cheaper than the United States. I had back surgery for $8,000 and I only had to pay $1,000 deductible," said an expat in Quito.

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

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Parque La Carolina in Quito, Ecuador

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Expats QuitoExpats in Quito

Expats, digital nomads & retirees talk about what it's like living in Quito.

Ecuador Index Quito Index
An index of all of our site's Quito information.

Expat Healthcare Advice in QuitoHealthcare & Health Insurance in Quito

Expats in Quito offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Quito.

Ecuador Forum Ecuador Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Ecuador on our Ecuador forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Contribute to Ecuador Network Contribute
Help others in Ecuador by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Ecuador.

Expat Healthcare Advice in EcuadorHealthcare & Health Insurance in Ecuador

Expats in Ecuador offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Ecuador.

Best Places to Live in Ecuador Best Places to Live in Ecuador

Expats share some of their favorite places to live in Ecuador from beautiful colonial cities to affordable beach towns.

Real Estate in EcuadorReal Estate in Ecuador

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Ecuador.

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For American expats looking to dine out on Thanksgiving, here's a list of several restaurants offering Thanksgiving dinners in Quito and Cuena.

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