The reality of expat life in Ecuador

Posted on 15 May at 6 PM in Relocation
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The reality of expat life in Ecuador

The reality of expat life in Ecuador

After years of being pushed by online international lifestyle marketers, expat life in Ecuador may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

A new ‘tell it like it is’ book on expat life in Ecuador may be about to expose the reality never mentioned by several international lifestyle marketers. For years, the country has been represented as the answer for cash-strapped expatriates mostly from the USA needing a pleasant, affordable retirement haven providing new friends, new activities and active ageing. However, the majority of expats, especially women, interviewed by the author had somewhat different stories to tell.

Firstly, it is just possible to live far more cheaply in Ecuador than in say, San Francisco, LA or even London, but to do so requires a massive change of lifestyle. The oft-repeated sum of $700 a month is inadequate for all but the most frugal existence, according to several interviewees. One reason is that condos reflect USA tastes and are therefore expensive to rent. Some expatriates work online or have started small businesses to generate much-needed extra cash, with starting a business far easier than in many other so-called retirement havens.

As with many such world destinations, it’s the wealthy in Cuenca who benefit the most from expat retirees, as they understand and take advantage of the tastes of newly-arrived Americans. In the real world, most expatriates are economic refugees from the home country, expecting a cut-price paradise which solves all their financial problems. One advantage of the move for many is that they’re forced to live more healthily, losing weight and becoming more physically active as a result.

It seems the attraction of Cuenca for retirees is more about what they’re running from than what they expect once they’ve arrived. The moral of this tale is that the majority of articles aimed at retirees are either click-bait or advertorials for those running expat-focused businesses such as real estate development. For those able to live as locals, any destination can be inexpensive as long as it’s not in an expat-heavy location.

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