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Ecuador Is Many Places

How To Choose Your Ideal Spot In Ecuador

Ecuador is a land of mega-diversity.

The lifestyles on offer are many and dramatically varied. Quito is a big city. Cuenca is a smaller city, more manageable, more welcoming. Otavalo is a small mountain town. Salinas is a beach town.

All are interesting and appealing in different ways, for different people. It depends on what kind of lifestyle you’re looking for and, also, important, on your budget. Otavalo is more affordable than Cuenca, which is more affordable than Quito, for example.

“Where’s that US$6.50 steak you wrote about recently, Kathleen?” one reader wrote in to ask. “The steak listed on the room service menu for the hotel where I’m staying in Quito is US$20!”

The US$6.50 steak dinner I recommended not long ago is to be had from a small restaurant in the center of the historic district of Cuenca. I’m not surprised to hear that a room service steak in a hotel in Ecuador’s capital city Quito costs more.

That’s my first recommendation for how to consider and process your options for where to retire in Ecuador (or any country)—remember that Ecuador is many places, many options, many lifestyles, and many budgets. You can’t try to process it as one choice. It’s not.

My second recommendation is to think comparatively.

Nothing is absolutely true. As you consider options for living, retiring, investing, or starting a business in Ecuador (or anywhere), focus on the comparisons.

There’s no such thing, for example, as perfect weather. And what qualifies as ideal weather for me is likely different from what qualifies as ideal weather for you. Maybe ideal weather for you is no rain, ever. Or maybe you want to live with flowers and greenery all around…everything growing…and you understand that, for that to be the case, you’re going to have to put up with some rainfall.

When you consider your options for living or retiring anywhere in the world, you must address a handful of key issues—weather, yes, and, as well, cost of living, cost of real estate, health care, taxes, infrastructure, etc. And, again, I recommend that you consider all these things comparatively. Is the cost of living in Cuenca higher or lower than in Salinas? Is the quality of the available health care better or worse in Otavalo than in Cuenca? Is Loja more or less accessible than Vilcabamba? Is the per-square-meter cost of real estate in Cotacachi more or less than in Manta? Etc.

Then, to help you layer some perspective over things, draw comparisons between Ecuador and other countries you’re considering. Compare the cost of living, of real estate, and of health care…the tax situation…the options for and ease of establishing foreign residency…the accessibility…the opportunities for recreation and culture…etc., between particular spots in Ecuador and particular spots in Colombia, Panama, Belize, Nicaragua, Uruguay, and anywhere else that has attracted your attention.

There is no perfect retirement spot, and no single retirement option is ideal for everyone. Everything is relative…so think relatively.

And, as you do, remember what’s most important to you.

Before you begin the work of considering all your good options for living, retiring, and investing overseas, first identify and prioritize what matters to you most. What kind of life do you want? Start there.

The world is alive with opportunity. That sounds like rhetoric, I know…like so much marketing speak. But it’s the truth. It’s the reality of the world we live in. There’s more opportunity all the time.

The problem with so much opportunity is that it demands you make decisions. You can’t do everything at once, and we’ve each of us got only so many years to do anything at all. So you’ve got to make choices. Make them based on what you like, what you prefer, what you enjoy.

Kathleen Peddicord

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