How to retire in Ecuador: from becoming a resident to enjoying Ecuador
culture and its high quality, low-cost health care.
Ecuador Visa Requirements
Ecuador is one of the few countries in the world where you get an automatic 90 day tourist visa
no matter what your nationality is. Europeans, Canadians and Americans
can apply for a 90 day extension of the tourist visa whilst being in
the country. The cost for this so-called 12-IX tourist visa is $230 plus $50 for each dependent.
conflicting information on the Net if you can apply for residency while
being in the country on a normal 90 day tourist visa or if you need to
have the 12-IX visa in order to apply.
Best is to check with your nearest Ecuadorian consulate.
If you want to retire in Ecuador, your best bet is to
hire an experienced Ecuadorian immigration attorney to help you
navigate the red tape and frequently changing rules for
obtaining permanent residency.
There are at least six types of permanent residency visas in Ecuador.
The two most relevant for retirees are:
A minimum income of $800 (plus $100 for each dependent) from a stable
source, like a state pension or trust fund is required. Your Social
Security check will qualify you as well. Cost: $320 plus $30 application fee
of Real Estate or Securities Visa:
Buying a house or land with a municipal value of at least $25,000 (plus
$500 for each dependent) will make you eligible for this type of
residency. Cost: $320 plus $30 application fee
Once you have your residency visa, you need to
stay in Ecuador for at least 9 months per year, for the first two
years. After the two years, you are free to leave the country for
What benefits do you get when you retire in Ecuador on a permanent
You pay no taxes on foreign income, and
You can import your household goods duty
free within 6 months after obtaining residency.
"Great care with a
personal touch", that is how expats often describe their
experiences with Ecuador doctors and hospitals. House calls are still
common, yet will set you back only $20 to $25. A visit to a specialist
costs about $25 to $40 and a dental check with cleaning will amount to
$35 to $40. In general, medical costs are about 75 to 90% lower than in
the United States.
For specialist treatment, you will need to go to one of the private hospitals in Quito,
Guayaquil or Cuenca, as doctors and clinics in smaller
towns and rural areas only provide basic medical services.
To find good multi-lingual Ecuador doctors, you can either ask around
in the expat communities or get the lists of recommended doctors from
the British, American or German embassies.
Health insurance is very
affordable too, especially if you choose one of the
Ecuadorian providers like Salud, S.A. or Humana, S.A. It is however
difficult to navigate through their flashy web sites, especially if you
don't understand Spanish. Pro-Ecuador.com features a few example
policies for health insurance in Ecuador on
their site, which will give you a good idea of prices and coverage.
Ecuador Culture & People
Did you know that besides Spanish, there are ten native languages
spoken in Ecuador? Or that you can tell from the dress where a man or
woman is coming from, as each region has a distinctive dress code?
Despite its name, the Panama hat
originates from Ecuador. Made from the Carludovica Palmata plant
growing in Guayaquil, a good quality hat can be rolled up and springs
back into shape.
Tradition and folklore is still very much alive amongst the
approximately 13 million inhabitants. The Ecuador people are a mixture
of 65% Mestizo (mix between indigenous population and Spanish
conquerors), 25% indigenous Amerindian, 7% Spanish and 3%
Ask the locals about their tales and legends to get a glimpse into the
fascinating history and culture of Ecuador and its many native groups
and tribes. If you are into arts and crafts, you
will find a
wealth of hand crafted goods, especially at the markets of Otavalo or
Salcedo. Popular items are weavings, woodcarvings, painted ornaments
made of bread dough, dress pins, leather goods and textiles.
Shopping is a mixed experience in Ecuador. From
markets and craft markets to sterile, glossy malls, there is something
for everyone here.
-- Ecuador Channel at www.ecuador.com
What about outdoor
activities? Ecuador is famous for its whale watching
and bird watching opportunities. Other activities include rain forest
trekking, volcano hiking, whitewater rafting, horseback riding and of
course the typical water activities like surfing, snorkeling and scuba
diving along the 1400 miles of coast line.
Music and dance festivals
are also big in Ecuador. Afro-Ecuadorians are
well known for their "Marimba" music, played on an instrument of the
same name. The guy in white in the video below plays the Marimba.