Quito, Ecuador

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Reviewed by Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen is the Live and Invest Overseas Founding Publisher. She has more than 30 years of hands-on experience traveling, living, and buying property around the world.


Quito, Ecuador: Everything You Need To Know

Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was founded in the 16th century and was originally named San Francisco de Quito. It’s a city that sits at about 2,800 meters above sea level.

Located on the slopes of an active volcano, which erupted in 1999 and that it’s unlikely to happen again anytime soon.

In recent years, Quito has become a well-known destination for expats and retirees. If you envision yourself retiring in a city, then Quito is a place you’ll want to look into.

Here you’ll enjoy the best restaurants and shopping malls the country has to offer. You’ll likely never have a shortage of entertainment options.

Despite its bustling atmosphere, Quito is a city with a strong sense of community and family values.

The people of Quito, Ecuador, are known for their warmth and hospitality, and visitors are often struck by the friendliness and welcoming nature of the locals.

Overall, life in Quito is a rich and rewarding experience, offering a fascinating blend of history, culture, and modernity.

And, if you’re a retiree and looking for a place overseas to call home, Quito is a great choice because of everything mentioned before plus its low cost of living.

A couple could retire to Quito on a budget of about US$1,300 per month. In short, if you add a bit more to that budget, say about US$1,800 per month, you and your spouse could live quite comfortably here.

Cost Of Living In Quito, Ecuador

Authentic fruit market in Quito, Ecuador
iStock/nathanphoto

Quito, Ecuador, is an incredibly affordable city. A couple could live here with as little as US$1,300. Let’s take a deeper look into this…

Grocery shopping will increase or decrease depending on your preference of items. Most importantly, if you’d rather eat almost identical to how you would eat in the United States, most of your grocery items would be imported goods.

Considering import taxes and more, the price of these items is considerably higher than if you were to purchase local produce. Try switching your breakfast or snack fruits from blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and kiwi to locally grown bananas, oranges, mangos, and watermelons.

Switch your imported brussel sprouts for local lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, and asparagus.

Lastly, instead of buying the highly priced imported beef, head over to your local butcher and buy local meat. And, if you make these changes, you and your spouse’s monthly grocery shopping will come out to about US$350.

As for rentals, it’ll depend on the area (neighborhood) in which you decide to settle.

Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center in a higher-end neighborhood can come to about US$600 per month.

That same two-bedroom apartment outside of the city center rents out for about US$400. You might even find more affordable options not too far from the city center if you take the time to look.

If you opt for not owning a car in Quito, Ecuador, which is completely doable, you transportation expenses can be brought down considerably as public transportation here is very affordable.

A one-way bus or metro ticket costs about 35 cents. Taxis here charge between US$2 to US$5 when moving in the city center.

Here’s a table to give you a better idea of the cost of living for a couple in Quito, Ecuador…

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Apartment Or House Rental Budget (For A Couple)

ExpenseMonthly CostsNotes
RentUS$600One-bedroom, unfurnished apartment in the city center.
TransportationUS$17.50Monthly Bus/Metro Pass.
ElectricityUS$30An average for a couple renting a one-bedroom apartment.
Household HelpUS$160For twice a week, full-day cleaning and tending to household chores (8 hours). The average rate is US$20 for 8 hours.
Entertainment150Eating out twice a week at a mid-range, local restaurant: US$10 to US$20 per meal.
Local drinks twice a week at a nearby watering hole: about US$8 per drink (depending on the drinks).
Movie theater trip twice a month: US$5 per person (snacks not included).
GroceriesUS$300Basic monthly plans for two people.
Medical AppointmentUS$50A standard consult with a general practitioner can cost anywhere between US$30 and US$50.
A specialist consultation can run between US$80 upward.
TOTALUS$2,854

Things To Do In Quito, Ecuador

Things to do in Quito, Ecuador

Quito is a city filled with a variety of activities and attractions that cater to a wide range of interests.

Here the top things to do in Quito…

Historic Center

The Historic Center of Quito is also known as Old Town or Centro Histórico and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city.

One of the main attractions here is the Plaza de la Independencia, also known as Plaza Grande. Also, you’ll find more than 130 monumental buildings here, including churches, monasteries, palaces, museums, and galleries. There are also shops and restaurants.

National Museum of Ecuador

The National Museum of Ecuador was founded in 1825 making this one of the oldest museums in South America.

The collection of artifacts housed here span more than 5,000 years of Ecuadorian history and culture. You’ll find the collections divided into archaeology, colonial art, republican art, and contemporary art.

It’s a great place if you’re a history buff or if you simply want to learn about the country. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also has temporary exhibits and hosts cultural events, lectures, and concerts throughout the year.

Casa del Alabado

Casa del Alabado is another great place to visit to learn about Ecuador’s culture. Here you’ll find exhibits of pre-Columbian art and artifacts of this country.

This museum has three floors where visitors can explore a variety of artifacts from different periods and cultures including pieces that’ll give visitors an insight into the daily lives and religious beliefs of the ancient cultures.

Like the National Museum of Ecuador, the Casa del Alabado hosts temporary exhibits along with lectures, concerts, workshops, and cultural events throughout the year.

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Cable Car to Pichincha Volcano

Quito is located on the slopes of a volcano. One of the main attractions here is taking a cable car up to Pichincha Volcano to enjoy a full panoramic view of the city and surrounding mountains.

After you reach the top of the mountain you can get off the cable car and explore the area. Also, you can go to several hiking trails that lead to different viewpoints.

You could also relax at one of the restaurants at the top of the volcano to enjoy the view while sipping on coffee, tea, a drink, or while enjoying a meal or snack.

The cable car ride is open year-round. However, you should check the weather conditions beforehand as visibility can be limited by clouds and rain.

El Panecillo Hike

Similar to the cable car ride that takes you up to the Pichincha Volcano, the Panecillo hike offers stunning panoramic views.

This hike starts at the base near the Historic Center of Quito. It’s well-maintained and relatively easy to follow, but it can be steep in places.

Remember to wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Plus, bring water and snacks with you. The Panecillo trail is a relatively short hike taking up to between 30 minutes and 1 hour to reach the summit.

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Retirement In Ecuador

Colorful street under panecillo mountain at Quito, Ecuador
iStock/jon chica parada

Ecuador has a health care system that is available to all residents and in Quito is generally high quality. For example, many of the doctors speak English so language shouldn’t be a problem.

Private health care is also available to everyone and it’s likely more affordable than in the States. Plus, the overall low prices in Ecuador are a big attraction for expat retirees.

Both the cost of day-to-day living and real estate are far cheaper than in the United States.

The official language in Ecuador is Spanish but a lot of people in Quito specifically speak English particularly in the tourist areas and industries.

Above all, if you’re interested in learning Spanish you could, but for anyone who isn’t particularly interested in having to learn a new language, you’ll be happy to know that you can get by in Quito with very little Spanish.

Retirees, along with other potential expats, will be happy to learn that Quito, Ecuador, has a growing expat community.

Many organize social events and activities where newcomers can connect and make new friends.

Above all, Ecuador is a safe and peaceful place to live. Expat and tourist numbers are both increasing, and the majority of people are reporting that they feel happy and safe in Ecuador.

In short, retirees can expect to live a comfortable and fulfilling retirement in Quito.

Ecuador’s Moving And Visa Information

Travel and tourism in Ecuador
iStock/Kagenmi

To enter Ecuador, you should apply for a Tourist Visa. It’s valid for 90 days and you can renew it for an extra 90 days.

This is a great opportunity to hop on a plane and scout the area of Quito (and other towns and cities in Ecuador) out for yourself before committing to a move here.

Keep in mind, moving to Quito doesn’t have to be a permanent decision. You are always free to change your mind if for some reason your life here isn’t living up to your expectations.

Once you decide to retire to Ecuador, you must first apply for a temporary resident visa.

The process to obtain this visa can be lengthy and will require various documents, including a police clearance certificate and a health certificate.

After you have the temporary resident visa you can apply for the permanent resident visa. The application for residency needs to be in Ecuador and you must head to your local immigration office.

As a result, if you are not fluent in Spanish, bring someone who is. You may not need to know a lot of Spanish to live in Quito, but whenever legal documents and permits are involved, fluent Spanish is always a must.

Documents such as a police check certificate, need to be authenticated. Depending on the country of origin, you’ll use either the apostille process or consular legalization.

Any document that is not in Spanish must be translated into Spanish. The translator must certify the translation as correct, and their signature must be verified by a notary.

Note that visa requirement and processes can change, so it’s always best to check with your nearest Ecuador Embassy or Consulate for the most up-to-date information.

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Weather In Quito, Ecuador

Average temperature in Quito in celsius
Graph By Weather & Climate

The temperature doesn’t change much throughout the year. The average high stays between about 66°F (19°C) and 68°F (20°C) and the average low falls to between 49°F (9°C) and 51°F (10°C).

Despite the seemingly low temperatures, you will need to wear sunscreen when outside on a sunny day.

The dry season in Quito runs between June and September. The rest of the year is part of the rainy season. Interestingly, the rainy season is when the weather is warmest.

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Quito, Ecuador – FAQS

Is It Safe To Walk Around Quito, Ecuador, At Night?

Quito is generally safe. However, it’s always good practice to be cautious when strolling around at night. Avoid dark alleys, keep your belongings close, and don’t wear flashy jewelry that might attract unwanted attention.

Can I Drink Tap Water In Quito, Ecuador?

The water quality in Quito might carry bacteria that can cause illness. We recommend you buy bottled water here. The water is safe for showers and washing dishes, though.

Is Quito, Ecuador, Safe For Female Travelers?

Yes. However, we recommend taking the necessary precautions everyone should take when traveling anywhere in the world. Stay away from isolated areas, avoid dark alleys when taking a stroll at night, keep your valuables out of sight, and avoid attracting unnecessary attention to yourself.

Is Quito, Ecuador, A Walkable City?

Quito, Ecuador, is considered a walkable city but there are areas less walkable than others. For example, you may encounter steep hills, uneven sidewalks, and busy traffic, but areas such as the Historic Center are very pedestrian friendly.

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