Getting its name from the Equator, Ecuador is home to several magnificent natural attributes. Not only does the island of the Galapagos sits in the middle of this South American treasure, but also is it home to stretches of the Andes and the Amazon.
This Spanish-speaking nation has an abundance of culture and history, thanks to its rich legacy of the Inca Empire, followed by Spanish colonialism, which has left it with some wonderful historic architecture in its towns.
Add a breathtaking coastline littered with beautiful beaches, fantastic food, and kind people, and you have a very wonderful place to visit.
Often times, expats from different parts of the world find it difficult to pick which Ecuador city to move into. That is why we have compiled this list of the best places to live in Ecuador.
Is Ecuador a good place for Americans to live?
According to the 2019 Expat Insider poll, Ecuador ranks 8th out of 64 nations globally. According to the information we have gathered thus far, the people of Ecuador are exceptionally kind and pleasant to foreign visitors.
There are exciting music and delectable food to go along with the rich and vibrant culture. Another, more practical benefit is the cost of living. However, Americans moving in here may want to keep in mind that services such as travel throughout the country, public transit, and basic infrastructure are difficult to come by.
What is Ecuador famous for?
Ecuador lies along the equator on the South American Eastern Coast. It is famous for housing one of the most well-known places on Earth — the Amazon Rainforest, which has some of the richest plant and animal species on the planet. Additionally, the Inca culture has a history with this gem.
Its Galapagos Islands are also a popular UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Best Cities to Live in Ecuador for Expats
Best Coastal Cities to Live in Ecuador for Expats
This is Ecuador’s largest city and home to over 2 million people. Guayaquil is, like other large cities, the home of everything one might need. It features an international airport with direct flights to Europe and the United States, and it is close to numerous other South American countries.
As the nation’s number one business and financial center, Guayaquil is home to thousands of expats and many gated communities with contemporary, western-style residences, but it is also one of the most dangerous cities in all of South America with one of the worst crime rates in the continent.
You may choose one of the safer Ecuadorian coastal cities if safety is a big issue for you. But if you like a place with a lot to offer, like a huge metropolis, then Guayaquil could be your ideal location.
Salinas Ecuador has the vibe of a small Miami, but for a fraction of the expense. Due to its wealthy Ecuadorian population, this coastal beach resort is quite popular with the Ecuadorian elite, who like to acquire vacation condos on the beach and use them on weekends and holidays.
Most of the action happens on the Salinas waterfront and on the beach. There are a ton of restaurants, bars, discos, and other tourist attractions in this neighborhood.
If you want a more laid-back ambiance, then you should go to the Chipipe Beach (LA Playa de Chippie) which is a short stroll away from the Salinas Yacht Club.
Salinas resembles a ghost town during the offseason from May through November, since most of the high-rise condominiums are Ecuadorian vacation homes. Seafood restaurants and beaches are almost deserted, except on summer weekends when things become more lively.
Montañita and Olón Ecuador
American and European expats usually choose the 9-mile (14-kilometer) section of Ecuador’s Pacific Coast between Manglaralto and La Entrada, which includes the important beach communities of Montañita and Olón.
Young adults, as well as people who have lived in this region for over five years, are all present in the expat community. As a party town, Montañita is widely considered as the party capital of Ecuador. There are several nightclubs for you to discover, both on and off the beach.
Restaurants include Thai, vegetarian, and lots of pizza locations. You have a large selection of tiny boutiques and street vendors whether you need clothes, shoes, or accessories.
Olón is more family-friendly and quieter than Montañita. It costs $1.50 to take a five-minute cab journey north along Olón’s massive beach that spans five miles (8 kilometers) north to La Entrada.
After enjoying yourself at the beach, you can either get a bus or a cab and be back in Olón in time for dinner at one of the town’s many excellent, tasty, and cheap restaurants.
Montañita and Olón offer some of the greatest surfing in the country, which explains why younger expats from across the world are interested in them. Spanish, English, German, Dutch, Polish, French, and numerous other languages are likely to be heard during a walk along either shore.
The large number of American and Canadian expatriates who have resided here for an extended period of time may be due in part to the preponderance of English speakers in this area. Hence, this region is one of the best places to live in Ecuador for expats.
There are around 250,000 people in Manta, making it one of Ecuador’s biggest cities. Manta is Ecuador’s main shipping port, and this means that cruise ships often make a stop there. Most flights leave from the airport in Quito or Guayaquil.
It will take 7 hours from Quito and 5 hours from Guayaquil to arrive to Manta. Several high-rise condo projects, as well as several gated communities located further inland, offer western-style, expat-oriented property for rent or purchase.
Manta is an excellent place for expats to reside in Ecuador, since it combines many of the amenities found in a big city with the added benefit of a gorgeous beach and wonderful weather. It is indeed one of the best places to live in Ecuador.
Best Amazon Cities to Live in Ecuador for Expats
Tena is the place to be if you have always wanted to go hiking in the jungle, trek to the top of a volcano, or adventure down a cave. It’s also well-known for its connection to the Amazon jungle and the rivers that flow into the Amazon River.
The entire area is an excellent place for bird-watchers because of kayaking and river rafting. There are an average of 71°F to 88°F (21°C to 31°C) temperatures, but it rains year-round. The rainy season, which usually lasts from April to June, officially begins in April.
Puyo Ecuador is approximately two and a half hours south of Tena by automobile, but it is more than double the altitude: 3,116 ft. (950 m) compared to Tena, which is located at an elevation of only 1,305 ft. (421 m). The above equation translates to “It is cooler on average, but most other qualities are similar.”
Most activities like forest trekking, waterfalls, and birdwatching are available in Puyo, but the area has just recently begun to take off as a tourist destination, so you’ll find it slightly less developed than Tena.
While the airport is located nearby, it is mostly utilized to fly visitors and locals into far-off indigenous villages. Situated about 2 hours west of Puyo on tortuous mountain roads, Ambato is the next large city.
Coca is widely known as the doorway to the Amazon Rainforest, and many Amazon travel excursions begin from here. Many travelers fly into the Coca airport before heading into the rainforest, which is more than 5 hours drive time away.
Due to its proximity to the Amazon jungle and being at a lower altitude, it is generally warmer than Tena and Puyo which have average temperatures that are between 32°C and 90°F (0°C to 32°C).
Coca has invested in an IESS hospital and other tourism attractions including a river walk, in the last many years. You will be able to obtain basic medical needs in Coca, but if you need treatment for major medical conditions, you would have to consider Quito.
Best Mountain Cities to Live in Ecuador for Expats
Cuenca Ecuador has about 10,000 North American and European expats, making it the most preferred expat destination in the country. This lovely old-world Spanish colonial city with all the modern facilities was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.
Among the most recognizable and iconic works of Latin American architecture is the New Cathedral (building began in 1885). It’s a great opportunity to learn Spanish in Cuenca. The population is heavily represented in bilingualism as well as in language schools.
The Cuencana dialect also differs from other Spanish dialects by being more drawn out and having a different tone from their particular accent.
Cuenca remains one of the cheap best places to live in Ecuador for expats despite its abundant shopping, excellent transit, and first-rate medical services.
The capital of Ecuador, Quito is a Spanish colonial site, just like Cuenca. It particularly offers every modern conveniences you might need, and or ranks as one of the safest cities in Ecuador. It is also on the World Heritage List, which was in place much before Cuenca was inscribed in 1978.
Due to its magnificent location, great city vistas, and beautiful old-world charm, people often describe Quito as “the most beautiful large city in South America.” More stunning images are waiting around every bend, so make sure your camera is always nearby.
Located north of Quito’s city center, the 14,000 acre Parque Metropolitano Guangüiltagua offers picturesque drives, forest walking trails, and various outdoor activity areas. With about 17 times larger area than New York City’s Central Park, many tourists and residents alike love to come here.
If you want a modern city that offers direct flights to other nations, Quito Ecuador could be the right expat location for you.
Many people regard Vilcabamba to be a fountain of youth since it was briefly believed to be a Blue Zone where people live far longer than the usual.
While it is true that you will notice a lot of very OLD Vilca residents strolling around, this is a regular occurrence in other parts of the country. It seems as though the older generations in Ecuador live very long, healthy lives.
Vilcabamba is located around 45 minutes south of Loja and 4 hours south of Cuenca. While there are numerous well-maintained river walks, as well as some high mountain hiking paths, there are some concerns about their quality of maintenance.
Those who have time and bravery should take the long and steep walk to Mandango in order to have a stunning gaze of the Vilcabamba valley.
In addition to various smaller food shops and stands, there are several village green markets that operate on Sundays when residents from rural regions come to sell their goods. When in Vilcabamba, you’ll find lots of eateries, many of which are focused on the large expat community living in the town.
Best Places To Live In Ecuador FAQs
How much money do you need to live in Ecuador?
You can retire in Ecuador and have good financial well-being, too. The average cost, which is anywhere between $1,600 and $2,400 a month, is sufficient to allow a couple to retire comfortably.
Many international residents take advantage of this low cost of living by maintaining a primary residence in the city and simultaneously owning properties in other countries.
Is living in Ecuador safe?
If you’re considering relocating to Ecuador, we would say it is typically safe so long as you are aware of your surroundings. However, living in Ecuador isn’t always easy, and even when it is, it’s not 100 percent safe.
It has all kinds of illegal activities, from drug trafficking to violent attacks to petty thievery, and more. According to reports, the border zone between Ecuador and Colombia is an area where no persons should be.
How many Americans are living in Ecuador?
The population of Americans in Ecuador is composed of immigrants and expatriates from the United States, who mostly take advantage of the country’s generous social welfare benefits in order to cause a controversial form of gentrification.
The approximate number of American expats projected to reside in the country is 5,000 to 10,000.
How long can a US citizen stay in Ecuador?
Your tourist stamp in your passport will allow you to stay in Ecuador for 90 days after you first enter the country. If you want to stay for more than 90 days within a year, you can apply for an Ecuador visa through a consular office in America.
These are the top places for expats to live in in Ecuador. In this South American nation, there are so many fun places to live. Living on the genuine Galapagos Islands or Ecuador’s stunning capital city, Quito, would be a dream come true for so many people. You would literally be living on the equator! How amazing is that!?
But before you hurry off to get your visa stamped, you need Moveity to help you handle all your relocation needs and preparations. Our team of experienced movers would ensure you have a smooth moving experience, absolutely free of any hassles. Why don’t you give us a call today to get started?