How to retire in Ecuador: from becoming a resident to enjoying Ecuador's culture and its high quality, low-cost health care.
Ecuador is one of the few countries in the world where you get an automatic 90 day tourist visa upon entry, no matter what your nationality is.
You can enter Ecuador as a tourist with a valid passport (must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry). Only citizens of the following 11 countries need to apply for a visa prior to their entry: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Senegal and Cuba.
Europeans, Canadians and Americans can apply for a 90 day extension of the tourist visa whilst being in the country.
To qualify for the extension (called a 12-IX tourist visa) you must:
You can only apply for the 90 day extension once in a period of 365 days.
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:
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 residency?
For more information about the Ecuador Visa requirements including application forms please go to the website of the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Movilidad Humana (English and Spanish version).
"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.
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?
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.
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.
Before you retire in Ecuador, learn about Cost of Living * Climate * Infrastructure & Internet Access
Before you retire in Ecuador, get the facts about Education & Schools * Safety * Real Estate