Expats moving to Ecuador are sure to be in awe of this compact country’s diversity and natural beauty. From its gorgeous coastline and large swathes of Amazon jungle to the stunning peaks of the Andes, Ecuador is ripe for exploration and adventure.

Living in Ecuador as an expat

Most expats live in the capital, Quito, or Ecuador’s most populous city, Guayaquil, while Cuenca is popular among retirees. Wherever expats decide to settle, they are sure to be embraced by a friendly local community. 

Accommodation in Ecuador comes in all shapes and sizes, and excellent medical care is accessible in major cities. With insurance, the cost of private medical treatment is also reasonable and only a fraction of the price that expats from North America and Europe would be accustomed to.

Political tension and protests, as well as personal safety, are sometimes concerns in Ecuador, especially in cities such as Quito and Guayaquil. It's best for expats to exercise the same caution they would in any metropolitan city: keeping valuables hidden, only walking in well-lit areas at night and avoiding public transport late at night. Crime is much less of a worry for those who relocate to the Galápagos Islands. While recognising the risks, it's important to have an open mind.

Cost of living in Ecuador

The cost of living in Ecuador is refreshingly affordable for those from more expensive destinations. From accommodation and public transport to entertainment and eating out, expats can expect to spend a lot less in Ecuador than in major destinations such as the US and parts of Europe, and even some of its South American neighbours.

Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2024 ranked Quito as the 148th most expensive city out of 226 cities worldwide. It's significantly cheaper than Montevideo, Uruguay (42nd) and Buenos Aires, Argentina (77th), and far below the likes of New York City (7th) and Hong Kong (1st).

An expat's choice of lifestyle also has a major influence on their monthly costs. Those who shop around and choose local alternatives will find that they can save plenty of money which can then be used for travelling or other fun activities.

Expat families and children

Expats with children can note that Ecuador has a well-established public education system and standards are improving year on year. Still, many expats prefer the quality and curriculum flexibility of private and international schools – many of which offer bilingual opportunities in Spanish, English, French and German.

This diverse climate and environment make for fun activities for the whole family, and learning about the local culture and language is critical for expat adults and children as they settle in. 

Expat families wishing to explore the country will discover that the natural landscape is full of wonders. They can experience everything from incredible views of calderas and volcanic lakes, such as Quilotoa Lake, to warm and sunny beaches, lush rain forests and more arid, desert conditions. And remember that the Galápagos Islands are a province of Ecuador – a beautiful volcanic archipelago world famous for its wildlife.

Climate in Ecuador

Due to its location on the equator, most of Ecuador has a humid tropical climate, specifically around the coastal areas and lowlands, which are covered in rainforests. The mountain valleys have a more mild climate due to the high altitude in this part of the country. Temperatures generally fall between 73°F (23°C) and 79°F (26°C) throughout the year, although they are somewhat lower in the mountains and can rise slightly during the warmer months in the rainforests. 

Expats who are considering relocating to Ecuador need to weigh up the pros and cons of doing so. Concerns about safety and schooling are worth serious consideration, especially for expats with children – on the other hand, the country offers a low cost of living, great healthcare facilities and a steadily improving infrastructure, not to mention gorgeous scenery.

Fast facts

Population: 18 million

Capital city: Quito

Neighbouring countries: Ecuador is bordered by Colombia to the north, Peru to the south and east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Geography: Ecuador has four distinct geographical regions – the Galápagos Islands, the western coastal area (La Costa), the central highlands (La Sierra) and the Amazonian basin (El Oriente).

Political system: Unitary presidential constitutional republic

Major religions: Roman Catholicism

Main languages: Spanish

Money: Ecuador's currency is the US dollar, making financial transactions easy. ATMs are available all over the country. Expats may open a bank account with a local bank but extensive documentation is required.

Tipping: Service charges are usually already included in bills at restaurants, although an additional dollar or two may be given for exceptional service. Tipping is appreciated but not necessarily expected.

Time: GMT-5 and -6

Electricity: 120V, 60Hz. Plugs have two or three flat blades.

Internet domain: .ec

International dialling code: +593

Emergency contacts: 911

Transport and driving: Public transport in Ecuador consists mainly of a bus system. Cars drive on the right-hand side of the road.

Expat Health Insurance

Cigna Health Insurance

Cigna Global Health Insurance.

Moving your family abroad can be intimidating, but learning about medical options such as family health insurance early on can help you settle successfully.

  • Comprehensive Family coverage, wherever you go
  • Paediatric coverage for well-child visits & immunizations
  • Access to dental and orthodontic care
  • 24/7 multilingual Customer Service

Get a quote from Cigna Global

Moving Internationally?

Sirelo logo

International Movers. Get Quotes. Compare Prices.

Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.

Get your free no-obligation quotes from select removal companies now!