Many people choose to retire or relocate to Ecuador because of the comparatively inexpensive cost of living and the beauty of the country. Settling in Ecuador is not difficult at all.

Settling In Ecuador - Fun and games in the Ecuadorian capital, Quito

Fun games, Ecuadorian capital, Quito

Still, there are quite a few differences that will take some getting used to. Your daily life will be fairly different in Ecuador than in your home country, with even small things like grocery shopping requiring a certain amount of flexibility.

Ecuador has a spectacular variety of fruits and vegetables that can be bought cheaply at any of the local markets that dot the streets of cities and towns.

Fresh local produce and meat are always available, and you can expect a weekly budget for a couple to be around $50.

Of course, if you are homesick and have a craving for a certain food that isn’t part of the local cuisine, you’ll have to find a supermarket.  There are several chains of supermarkets, each selling a varying amount of non-Ecuadorian foods.  Supermaxi generally has the largest selection of specialty items.

Settling In Ecuador - Buy from the local farmers

Ecuador is still a cash economy, so when shopping from individual vendors you can often only pay in cash, or will receive a better deal if you pay in cash.

In fact, prices are very fluid in Ecuador outside of supermarkets, and normally translate to what the seller thinks he can get from you.  For that reason, if you intend to make any big purchases, it helps to have an Ecuadorian friend come along to make sure you get a better deal.

That being said, for any official business, for example to open an account with one of the utilities or to get internet service in your apartment or house, you will need to open an account in one of the Ecuadorian banks.  It’s always a good idea to keep your bank accounts in your home country as well.

You will find that most utilities and services are comparatively cheap.  The bills for a three bedroom apartment in Quito, with internet, would total around $60-80.  Bills must be paid in person, before a specified date.

Also note that services can often be unreliable.  In the capital, as in many other places in the country, the power goes out on occasion (or sometimes often), or the water doesn’t work etc.


Because the companies that provide the services are often slow, there are quite a few private service people who can come out and fix your problem for a negotiated rate.

But before hiring anyone for such a job, bear in mind that standards of service (and even your chances of getting the job finished) can vary significantly.

It is always a good idea to rely on word of mouth and get recommendations from someone you can trust to be sure you’re dealing with a reliable worker who will finish the job for a reasonable fee.

The key here is to make friends and don’t be afraid to talk to strangers. A useful source of information in any country is the online communities at places like CouchSurfing.

If your visit to Ecuador is likely to be more short-term, contact a travel agency such as this specialist in Ecuador and Galapagos Island.