British expats could well consider Ecuador for their retirement years

British expats could well consider Ecuador for their retirement years

British expats could well consider Ecuador for their retirement years

Nowadays, many would-be expat pensioners are looking to settle in a region known for its biodiversity, beauty and fascinating history rather than joining in a conventional expat community in an already popular country.

For British expatriates, one of the South American states may well be the answer, even although the majority have already been discovered by American retirees. Ecuador is a good example, set on the equator in the northwestern corner of the landmass between better known Columbia and Peru. Many of its treasures, including the Galapagos Islands and Cuenca city, are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites and its Pacific coastline is stunning. It’s also one the planet’s most varied locations for biodiversity.

As with the majority of popular expat retirement destinations, it’s possible to retire in Ecuador on an average state pension, although for Britons it may be necessary to top up the state pension with capital or investment income. Like many countries, the state’s bureaucratic residency requirements can be tedious at best, with proof of an $800 monthly income from a reliable source a must. If the payments arrive via an annuity, proof of its ability to maintain the payment for at least five years must be shown. An easier way in is to invest at least $25,000 in local real estate.

Once you’ve’ convinced the authorities you’re solvent according to their rules and received your retirement visa, you’ll get the same rights as do Ecuadorian citizens including access to the public health insurance programme. A monthly fee of $66 gets you free emergency care, free visits to a doctor and a discount on prescription drugs. If you’re over 65 years old, you can travel on public transport with a 50 per cent discount, get a refund on sales tax and pay half price at sporting events and other entertainments.

Cuenca is Ecuador’s favourite expat retirement hub for its big-city assets combined with an easygoing culture and a great choice of malls, hospitals and universities. The cost of living is affordable and the expat community is now international. Another choice for those needing a change from big city life is Loja, set in the Andes mountain range and famous for its Spanish culture and music. Balmy year-round weather, fascinating museums and many historical buildings combine with a low crime rate and equally low cost of living to make it the perfect retirement location.

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