Moving to Ecuador:
Pros and Cons

A "Moving to Ecuador Pros and Cons List" is a must before hopping on the next flight south. The pros are extolled everywhere online almost daily, but sometimes we don't hear enough about the cons. I've already written about some of the reasons people move to Ecuador, but there is no perfect place anywhere. So, we want to address some of the downsides of moving to Ecuador.

Ecuador Pros AND Cons = Realistic Expectations

Why are you considering living in Ecuador? Are you hoping to simplify your life? Are you looking for somewhere your money will go further? Both things are possible, but Ecuador ISN'T Florida

When moving to Ecuador, remember that you are now the minority in someone else's country. Don't expect things to be just like home, because it's not. Don't try to change the way things are done or the way people are. Instead, be ready for a learning adventure and embrace it!

Now on to our Ecuador Pros and Cons List:

The Weather

Pro: I'm sure you've heard....Ecuador is sometimes called the "Land of Eternal Spring." And it's true. In the mountains you can enjoy spring-like temperatures year round.  

Con: However, we often forget that spring comes with "April showers." This is also true in many areas of the Ecuadorian mountains and jungle. Rains are common, it's what keeps the country so green and lush. Sometimes it can rain for days or even weeks at a time, especially during the "El Niño" weather pattern.

Weather in Ecuador2015 has been especially rainy in Ecuador!

Consider: Do you mind doing your shopping in the rain? Rain does bring down the temperature (which in the jungle is a blessing), so make sure to bring warm clothes and shoes!

Totes Umbrellas can be a life saver! They are well built and last until you forget them somewhere. I always bring a few from the States.

Dogs

Pro: Who doesn't love dogs?!? 

Con: You may not realize that in Ecuador, dogs might almost outnumber people. And they aren't well-fed or living in gated yards. Dogs tend to roam the streets in packs. They tear into the trash bags that have been set out for collection and they eat anything they can find (even soiled diapers...ewww).

And since they are eating in the street, they are also pooping in the street and on the sidewalks. It's can be pretty gross! 

Also, for animal lovers it can be hard to see the condition of some of these pups. Starving dogs can really pull at your heart and even be so distressing some may want to leave. Deliberately poisoning dogs is sadly a common practice.

Consider: If you are a light sleeper, it may take you a while to get used to barking dogs at night. When one starts the whole neighborhood starts...the whole city sometimes seems to erupt with the roosters chiming in just as the dogs quiet down.

Utilities

Pro: Normal, everyday utilities, like water, electricity, Internet and telephone services are available.

Con: These services can go out at any time, without warning. Although this doesn't happen as often as it used to, it still does happen. I always keep a trash can full of water in one of my bathrooms, just in case....

Life in EcuadorDoing dishes in the dark...at least we had water!

Consider: Do  you work online? You may need a backup power source or a wireless (USB) modem so you don't miss work.

Battery powered lanterns and candles are handy to have around.

Drinking Water and Preparing Food

Pro: There is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, including lots of exotic things to try.

Con: You have to be extra careful when preparing food. Cleaning fruits and veggies has to become part of your routine. Drinking water from the tap is a no-no in most places. So you either have to boil or buy water.

Consider: How much do you rely on prepackaged foods, whether complete meals or individual ingredients (e.g. canned vegetables/fruits/sauces)? You may find cooking in Ecuador a challenge. Having a good imagination helps!

Cost of Living

Pro: Cost of living in Ecuador is still quite cheap. Plus, modern commodities are becoming more common, even in small cities of the country.

Con: Prices are going up in Ecuador. Foreigners still tend to pay more than Ecuadorians. It takes some time to get to know prices, so that you aren't taken advantage of.

There are also some real estate scams that could cost your thousands of dollars. Be careful! Don't fall for anything that seems too good to be true.

Consider: Do you expect to live like a king on less than $800 a month (for a family of 2)? It probably won't happen.

"You can't be afraid of a little dirt"

Germaphobes might have trouble in Ecuador. Public transportation, open air markets, and crowds of people could all present situations that make you uncomfortable. A bottle of hand sanitizer helps, but even that won't block not-so-nice smells that you will run into at times.

Even in your own home, you may feel overwhelmed by the layer of dust that somehow descends over your house everyday!

Beautiful EcuadorBeautiful Ecuador!

A Couple More Considerations

To really enjoy life in Ecuador please consider the following:

  • The process for obtaining a residency visa isn't easy and requirements change frequently. It takes patience. If you don't have any, get a lawyer to help. :)
  • No place in this world is 100% safe. There is crime in Ecuador. Be safe!
  • Biting bugs and mosquitoes are common on the coast and in the jungle. You will go through an adjustment time (roughly 6 months) while your body builds up a resistance to some of these critters.

I am in no way trying to scare people away from Ecuador. I love living here and would recommend that just about anyone should try it out. But before moving to Ecuador, pros and cons can help you make an informed decision.


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