Living as an expat in Ecuador can be delightful experience or a disaster depending on your mindset and expectations. Actually you could replace Ecuador with the name of any country and the same would be true. So if moving to Ecuador is primarily driven by the hope of living as you did back home – but cheaper, it’s likely to be a disaster.
Similarly if you want out of the US or wherever because you want to escape an intrusive government or (pick an annoyance or your choice), again – likely to be a disaster. However if you are wanting to begin anew, experience life in a new culture and perhaps even learn a new language, have we got a deal for you.
Yes it’s true that living in Ecuador is quite inexpensive as compared to North America and Europe. However the actual cost of living will vary quite a lot depending on where and how you live. We have a full time maid and gardener which we didn’t back in the US and our house is more than double the size yet we spend around 25% of what we did. However that’s not why we’re here.
There were numerous reasons for us to leave the US, but more importantly there were even more reasons for us to ‘go to’. The draw of living in a foreign country with the promise of being able to experience life in ways not possible previously was compelling.
So what is it like to live as an expat in Ecuador – it’s the best of times and no it’s not the worst of times, but there are challenges. For example, we shopped at Whole Foods back in the US which cost us $500-600 per week and was one stop shopping. We now go to several mercados to purchase our organic produce, but spend $25-50 per week. It takes much more time, but we interact with the people who grow the food which we enjoy.
Taking more time has become a way of life since moving here. Everything seems to take more time. At first it was challenging and now it’s just how it is. The Ecuadorian culture is very social so when on the way to do something and you see someone you know, a “hi how ya doing” wave is not enough. You take the time to ask them how they are doing. ¿Cómo estás or cómo está usted? It is asked virtually each and every time you meet someone or talk to them on the phone – even if you spoke to them 5 minutes ago!
We’ll be posting lots of articles about living as an expat in Ecuador so stay tuned. A sampling of some of the upcoming articles will be; How not to be the Ugly American, Learning Spanish for the Linguistically Challenged, Driving in Ecuador aka Bumper Cars and You Want it When?