The three most popular cities in Ecuador for retirement are now Quito (the capitol), Cuenca (a high-elevation city in the Andes), and Vilcabamba (in the spring-like "Valley of Longevity" to the South).
More than 100 people a day are now moving to Ecuador to experience its amazing year-round weather, abundant food production, culture and comfortable cost of living.
According to US News and World Report (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/The-W...), here's how costs of living add up for typical single-person living in Ecuador:
Rent: $200 (see below for more details)
Utilities and Internet: $120
Health Insurance: $50
Of course, this is just a basic living package. In some areas, you'll spend considerably more on rent, but food is affordable just about everywhere!
I lived in Ecuador on and off for two years (and plan to go back!), and came to love what it has to offer. Here are my thoughts on the three most popular retirement destinations in Ecuador:
Ecuador's top three retirement destinations for homes and landQuito
Pros: Easy access to international airport, easy to find and buy things you want or need.
Cons: Crowded. Air quality isn't as good as other cities. High-density city living.
Pros: Very "European" feel in architecture and culture. Top destination for Europeans to buy homes. Lots of shops for food and household goods.
Cons: Considerably colder weather due to high altitude. More rain than other areas.
Pros: Amazing year-round weather, ridiculously easy food production in rich soils, with abundant water from nearby mountains. More "country" living than city living.
Cons: Higher rent due to shortage of affordable housing. Must drive to Loja for shopping.
Real-world costs of living in EcuadorIt's true that Ecuador offers very affordable living, but only after you acquire land and a house there. That can cost you anywhere from $100k and up depending on where and how nice your land is. Home construction is accomplished with high quality materials but takes more time than home construction in the USA or Canada.
Once you have your home and land squared away, living in Ecuador is extremely affordable. That's why it has become one of the most popular retirement destinations in the world.
If you want some domestic help, budget in another $250 per month (or so) for a cook or groundskeeper. If you decide to own a vehicle there, you'll need to budget for that, too (don't expect to buy a car on a loan, you'll need to pay it in full up front).
Realistically, I would recommending budgeting more like $1200 per month to live more comfortably, and that's after you've acquired your house and land. A couple can live comfortable for only slightly more, and a family of four can live well on $1500 per month.
Vilcabamba resourcesVilcabamba Real Estate Company (VREC)
One of several available ranches with a home and orchard:
Amazing photos from Hacienda San Joaquin: