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Wow! Quito in expensive. And know Spanish.

We all hear and read about how inexpensive Ecuador is to live as a retiree. "It's much, much cheaper than in the United States." That's really great marketing.  I live in Quito. I carefully look at the prices. Wow! Look at the prices of rentals, food, clothing, shoes, taxis, household goods, just 'bout everything. Fast foods like KFC and McDs?  Just as expensive. Decent apartment rentals are from $600-$2000+. Don't go to the mall supermarkets because the prices are the same and even higher than in the US. Thankfully, fruits and veggies are a bit cheaper. To save, you must use the marcatos, the open markets,  to buy your food. Also, search out the small stalls/stores on the side streets for goods. STAY OUT or limit your use of the malls. Stay out or limit your use of the nice city restaurants, too. Very expensive. Do not buy any imported goods. Way too expensive. And -good- medical care here is expensive. (My recent ophthalmologist appointment with tests was nearly as expensive as it is in my hometown in a southern state, but I had Medicare to help me out there.) Granted, medicines, when they are available, are 25%-50% cheaper.)  But there is -no- "free" medical care here for expats. You can buy medical insurance and the good insurance is expensive.  Most assuredly, Quito is a very beautiful, clean, safe, and modern capital city. But my expenses here are not very different from my expenses in the rural south. And there, we have Wal-Marts. Bottom Line?  If you come to Ecuador, be well-do-do in retirement funds or consider living outside of Quito. Maybe Cuenca or Loja. Other smaller places. So, I'm moving out of Quito to a smaller town shortly where my retirement dollar goes just a bit further. FINAL COMMENT: Do not come to Ecuador unless you speak CONVERSATIONAL Spanish.  Spanish is the national language. Know it. Surprisingly, few speak English. My mistake. I've been making an effort to learn Spanish, but it's tough. Good luck.

The fact this is in the Africa section suggests you need a little work on your knowledge of the country.
The local average wage of $300 means you're being ripped off or spending unwisely.

Thank you. Agreed. Wrong expat.com section. My error. Sadly, after many years of teaching in Ethiopia (and learning the national language), I had to recently leave beautiful Ethiopia because of government unrest and many other problems you can find reported in the international news. Now in Ecuador. Gracias.

Hello :cheers:

This thread is now on the Quito Forum!

Regards
Kenjee
Expat.com

@amerexpatteacher

You must have been gone from the US for a long time.

The current Cobra payments for our health insurance in the US is $1,150 per month. That doesn't include any kind of medial treatment or co-pays or prescriptions or deductibles, just the insurance premium.

Water and electric utilities here are several hundreds of dollars a month. Usual cable/internet/phone fees can run several hundred more per month + up. To rent an apartment here in the US you have to be backround checked, credit checked, previously referenced,  and job income secured.  Landlords charge you the fees to run these inquiries. You pay it even if they turn you down.

We don't own a car because we can't pay for the insurance, maintenance, parts, service, and average purchase price of $30,000.

No doubt Ethiopia is cheap, I believe it.  If you think Ecuador is pricey, you don't even want to think about coming back to the US.

I always suspected the expats in Quito have the big bucks.

amerexpatteacher,

Stay out of North Centro Quito, and you’ll fare better. Especially the financial district, tenis, and Gonzalez Suarez. Stay out of Quicentro, Bosque and Jardin malls, you have to have patience and know how to shop and or you’ll get fleeced, I know. Last time I went to Quicentro I bought a pack of Bicycle playing cards for $8. These malls are only good for their cafes and restaurants as far as I’m concerned. My wife on the other hand knows how to shop, translation patience, and comes out with deals. If you see Levi's, Hugo Boss, Diesel, Fossil, or any other American or European brands, run. Honestly I don't know how those shops in malls make money. No one is ever carrying any shopping bags. Everyone just hangs out at the cafeteria, cafes and ice cream shops.   

Juan Valdez French breakfast for $6, you get a cup of coffee, small cup of orange juice, 1 egg, and 1 croissant. A cappuchino mediano is about $3. A bit south Disfrutar café on 10 de Agosto just across the street from Parque Julio Andrade you can get a great cappuchino and Chillian chicken/carne empanda for $2.50. You want to live the western life in Quito and live in modern looking areas with western amenities you have to pay up. The key imho is to reside in areas that offer the best of both worlds or proximity to both, and that means areas that have not completely underwent gentrification.

The one and only thing to look at is local salaries.
If locals manage on $300/month, you're paying too much for everything.

I'm not suggesting you 'go native', just don't go crazy.

I agree let’s look at salaries, but let’s not just look at absolute bottom of the range. The minimum salary is however $366 for 2016 up from $350 from 2015(correct me if I'm wrong).
So let’s look at salaries as a whole because there are ecuadoreans who make much more than the basic salary of $366.

I know my friends do, and their car payments alone are more than the basic salary, but that could be deemed as subjective information. So here are some salaries that are verifiable:

The minimum starting salary for a nurse is $1212 a month up from $986 a month. This is a level 5 on a public servant salary schedule and there are other healthcare professionals who make much more than that wage according to the ministry of health.

http://www.salud.gob.ec/enfermeras-se-s … cialistas/

I believe it because these nurses and healthcare professionals in my neighborhood drink coffee and eat at the same places that I do. Places that some expats would deem "too expensive."

The public servant salary schedule ranges from $527 to $6,122, so there are a whole lot of people earning much more than $366, yet expats expect to “live large” on $800 a month. If an Ecuadorean can’t “live large” on $800 a month in Quito neither can an expat.

http://www.conocimiento.gob.ec/wp-conte … amccth.pdf

The above is a public servant schedule, there are people in the private sector who make much more.

How do you think they afford all those new cars on the road or the nice houses and apartments? Yes Ecuador has extreme poverty and I see it when people dig into garbage for recyclables but on the same street there are professionals who live in nice apartments and drive nice cars.

gardener1 wrote:

@amerexpatteacher

To rent an apartment here ........ previously referenced,  and job income secured.

We don't own a car because we can't pay for the insurance, maintenance, parts, service, and average purchase price of $30,000.

Some landlords in Ecuador are requesting job reference and proof of income especially for higher end residences and those that are luxuriously furnished.

As for car prices, they cost much more here because of high import duties. Even older models that are new (example 2010) cost more than same newer models. 

Insurance is cheaper, but spare parts are more expensive again because of import fees.

So how do locals and foreigners who earn the basic salary get by in pricier areas?

Food
In Quito there is a thriving unregulated street food and beverage industry.  These sellers can range from a vendor selling mote con chicharron out of a basket or tub in which the ingredients are separated and then served in a plastic container even in aplastic bag with a spoon. There are also people who sell food from trunks of their cars and usually park in busy areas during breakfast and lunch hours but also around 5 pm when employees go home. There are also sellers who cater to construction sites and sell food cheaply to construction workers. This is also the case for beverages as you’ll see a big tub of iced coconut juice or juice being sold on the street.

Transportation
It’s cheap $0.25 a ride

Housing
They live in either South or North Quito. Some rent houses and this especially the case for families as they are able to rent a small house for around $200 a month, and with the husband and wife working they are able to afford that rent. Some also live in more central areas in apartments and pay around $100 for a room. And while these areas like west of 10 de Agosto around parque Edijo are central they appear slightly dodgy especially with many Cubans and Colombians.

In conclusion the words below sum up life on a basic salary.

A Venezuelan told me she earns the basic salary and can’t afford to do anything or buy anything, but at least has food because in Venezuela there isn’t any.

I really do not agree,

Ecuador is among the cheapest capital in south america. IF you complain about Quito please please never go souther.

I believe you are visitng the wrong places.

I will be happy to give you advice.


Best,

Elena

elenatura wrote:

I believe you are visitng the wrong places.

Probably true.
The average salary there is far lower than the OP's home country, meaning the OP is not looking for, or does not understand, value for money.
Research is the key here.

Elenatura,

Do you know that the OP was comparing Quito’s prices to EEUU, and not to southern nations?

Do you know how ridiculously cheap products and food is in the USA compared to not just Quito but the rest of the world? It’s a single market of 330 million people, and the world caters to this market offering it the cheapest prices for the best quality products.

Let me break it down for you, but before I do so here are the exact words of the OP:

"Wow! Look at the prices of rentals, food, clothing, shoes, taxis, household goods, just 'bout everything. Fast foods like KFC and McDs?  Just as expensive. Decent apartment rentals are from $600-$2000+."

Food with the exception of vegetables and some fruit are much cheaper than Quito. This is true for chicken, beef, and pork. It’s true for snacks including chocolate bars, Doritos and other chips, it’s true for cookies and cakes that are of any quality. It’s true for beverages including sodas, beer, juices. It’s true for cold cuts, dairy especially milk and cheeses.

The cheapest Chicken breast for example that I saw here is $5.45 kg  (with Bone) at Santa Maria, you can get an additional 10% off on Wednesdays or Tuesdays can’t remember. I bought once and never again, because these are the chicken pieces that sold in huge stacks. They are deteriorating and some with edges of *******. The legs and drumsticks that are also sold are bruised. The groundbeef they sell cheaply on Thursdays smell of sulfur. Once is enough and never again. So please tell me where I can buy clean chicken and meat that cost low? At Supermaxi/Megamaxi (btw very clean poultry and meats) on Fridays which is discount day for poultry the cheapest chickens cost $2.79 a kilogram and these are the two chickens in one package and include the innards. If I posted some weekly supermarket ads from the US you might understand what I’m talking about. You might even be shocked about how expensive groceries are here in comparison.

Clothing is much cheaper in the United States, and this is true for quality jeans, outwear, coats, sweaters jackets, under garments, you name it.

Shoes are also much cheaper, whether they are Italian shoes, timberland, nike, reebok, Adidas or any brand that signifies quality.

Taxis, nope, they are much cheaper here, and this is true for public transportation in general.

Household goods are much cheaper in the US and this is true for ovens, refrigerators, washing machines and dryers among other products.

KFC and McDonalds are about the same price it’s $5.65 for McDonald Combo and $6.35 to upsize. The same for KFC. Maybe it's cheaper at the OP city/state city, and I wouldn't be surprised.

Apartment Rentals. Yes and No are we comparing to NYC,/L.A or St.Louis or OP home city, somewhere in the south? A decent Suite ranges between $450-$700 in La Carolina, Tenis, Gonzalez Suarez and in areas close to La Mariscal (Jose Tamayo for example). Decent 2 Bedroom for same areas are $600-$1000+. Decent 3 Bedrooms in those areas are $900+

Are there cheaper areas, I know there are, but there are also areas that are more expensive than some cities in the EEUU, but after all this is a third world country.

I would appreciate feedback in this regard. Everything above is verifiable by simply looking at Amazon prices, supermarket weekly ads, for example.

Alright for balance, in what way is Quito cheaper?

Healthcare and insurance

First if you need to see a specialist you don’t have to wait a month or two or possibly more. It’s also possible relatively speaking to pay out of pocket because the cost by comparison won’t be as costly. Health insurance coverage is also cheaper and again relatively speaking especially for IESS policy.

Professional/Labor Services
Whether it’s an interior designer, electrician, driver with car, maid, hair stylist, tailor, it’s way cheaper here.

Mobile Phone Plans
To give you an idea Movistar has a plan for $28.50 a month with 1.5GB data and unlimited talk time to all mobile operators. Free data usage of whatsapp, and 150 additional MB for Facebook, this is in addition to 1000 free SMS.

HOA/Building fees/ Condominio/Alicutoa
Fees here for buildings don't cost as much. In Quito they can range from $50-$300 and more depending on size of property,services offered by management and of course value of property, but for around $125-$200 in a new building in upscale area you can expect 24hr security, CCTV, and good upkeep of the communal areas.

Transportation
As I mentioned in the previous post there's no comparison. I sometimes use a driver to run errands and I pay him about $7 hr, although he offered $6, I pay more because he does other work aside from driving. Public transport costs less whether it’s city or intercity buses. The only exception in my opinion is airfare to other South American countries.

Fine Dining
While there really isn’t great value in casual dining, fine dining on the other hand costs less especially for a capital city. You can eat and drink in style at top end restaurants for about $150 for two.

Drinking Out
Definitely cheaper for beer, and usually there are great promotions like 3 Micheladas for $10 at some nice joints. Even brand name like Sports Planet at Plaza of Americas has nice offers at times especially when there are big events. There are even cheaper places that my Ecuadorean friends hang out at with offers like $5 for 3 large Pilsener. Microbrewery joints are developing and cost more but I guess because they have higher costs, such prices should decrease as competition grows and popularity of micro-brews increases too. Don't know about booze.

Rentals
As I mentioned in the post above, it’s a yes and no answer whether it’s cheaper, and it depends not only which city we are comparing it to but also which area in Quito. For a capital city and compared to other major cosmopolitanism areas some nice deals for centrally located apartments/houses can be found. 

Entertainment
Movie tickets are cheaper here and can be bought for $4.60 on weekdays at Supercines 22 on 6 de Dicembre.  Concerts are also cheaper the upcoming Metallica  concert for example $85 a ticket, not bad for a legendary band releasing a new album. The same is true for theater and musicals.

Do seniors enjoy discounts, e.g., restaurants, cinema, flights, etc.? When I was in Panama, I was shocked when my bus ticket from Panama City to Las Tablas (a 4-hour ride) was only $6 compared to $12 for others. Still, $12 is reasonable compared to the U.S. Who can afford $85 for a concert ticket?!
As Nards commented, it seems some folks in Ecuador have a generous income. Living well is a relative term.
I only spend $50/week on groceries in VA because I buy all of my cleaning products and toiletries at Dollar Tree ($1 items) and grocery stores always have discounts with your grocer's card (plus I'm vegetarian which is a real concern for me in moving to another country).However, rents and property taxes are ludicrous here.

It seems from what I've read and researched that rent and medical care are the two areas where prices are more favorable in Ecuador than the U.S. (relatively speaking). When I say medical, I am referring to routine medical care/treatment.Of course, the recent news on negligible increases in SS but higher medical premiums in Medicare and "re-tiering" medicines thanks to greedy pharmaceutical companies is all so disheartening. This adage holds true: Money cannot buy good health.

I appreciate all the current info on cost of living in Quito/Cuenca. I'm hoping to visit Quito and Cuenca in the near future and depending on who wins the Presidential election, I may be there sooner rather than later! Thank you again for an informative forum.
Regards,
PS

peripatetic_soul wrote:

Do seniors enjoy discounts, e.g., restaurants, cinema, flights, etc.? When I was in Panama, I was shocked when my bus ticket from Panama City to Las Tablas (a 4-hour ride) was only $6 compared to $12 for others. Still, $12 is reasonable compared to the U.S. Who can afford $85 for a concert ticket?!
As Nards commented, it seems some folks in Ecuador have a generous income. Living well is a relative term.
I only spend $50/week on groceries in VA because I buy all of my cleaning products and toiletries at Dollar Tree ($1 items) and grocery stores always have discounts with your grocer's card (plus I'm vegetarian which is a real concern for me in moving to another country).However, rents and property taxes are ludicrous here.

It seems from what I've read and researched that rent and medical care are the two areas where prices are more favorable in Ecuador than the U.S. (relatively speaking). When I say medical, I am referring to routine medical care/treatment.Of course, the recent news on negligible increases in SS but higher medical premiums in Medicare and "re-tiering" medicines thanks to greedy pharmaceutical companies is all so disheartening. This adage holds true: Money cannot buy good health.

I appreciate all the current info on cost of living in Quito/Cuenca. I'm hoping to visit Quito and Cuenca in the near future and depending on who wins the Presidential election, I may be there sooner rather than later! Thank you again for an informative forum.
Regards,
PS

Personally I like numbers or price of things because it gives the reader an opportunity to judge for themselves whether it is expensive or not. Some bloggers might say well it’s so cheap here, and in some cases these folk live in a room, and in other cases some bloggers live in unhealthy/unsafe residences. Rent in cheap place and you maybe be in an unsafe area, a residence with mold, or a place that is old and a block of cement can fall on your head in a seismic event. Others generalize that it’s cheap in Ecuador while living in 4th , 5th, 6th tier cities where a supermarket doesn’t exist, never mind cinema or theater or other amenities.

I love facts, numbers and particularly updated ones. Also specificity as in which city, and which area of that city a person is commenting about. I know I’m probably blabbering at this moment but I had to let that out because I don't like generalizations and what’s cheap to you might not be acceptable for me, and what’s expensive for me might be fine by you. So let’s keep it as objective as possible por favor.

Okay now to answer señora peripatetic_soul questions, yes there are discounts for seniors in some purchases, for cinema you get 50% off for all types of tickets including weekends. I am not sure about airlines but as a resident you’ll get cheaper fare, perhaps someone can give us more info in this. As for restaurants I haven’t seen discounts in this regard.

As a vegetarian you’ll just have to adapt to what's available here, and there are delicious vegetarian foods here like humita, of which I had two deliciously piping hot ones for $0.50 each, across the street from parque ejido today, just west or down the block of Oki Doki by a woman who had like a 50 of them for sale.

They also sell raw and delicious fava beans for 1 dollar a bag, same for peas, maize is also reasonably priced. The bad news is tofu is non-existent and even in Asian grocery stores. I hope someone can prove me wrong and point out where tofu can be found. I’m by no means a vegetarian but sometimes a wanna-be vegetarian especially when I detox.

You’ll be okay, and you’ll adapt, the other good news is that vegetables here are absolutely delicious, especially the non-supermarket variety, for example the tomatoes sold by women in $1 plastic bags outside of mercados are small, sweet and delicious whereas tomatoes sold in supermarkets taste just like tomatoes, if that makes any sense. Lettuce here is the best I’ve tasted anywhere in this world. Broccoli is actually farmed here in the Andes and is second to none. Carrots are also sweet and delicious. They even have Napa cabbage that I make Kimchi from. These are available in supermarkets and also in Asian grocery stores. Kimchi is an integral part of my non meat/poultry meals as I eat it with white rice and veggies. If Quito is meant for you, you can buy the Korean pepper flakes or other vegetarian friendly ingredients at Mercado Inaquito. There are two shops there, one in the Mercado itself and one across the street on the same side of Santa Maria, there’s also my pal Mr. Lee and his wife, two elderly South Koreans who have a small shop off of Japon Street in the NNUU building just off of Unidad Naciones in north centro Quito. Keep in mind these are modest shops and nothing spectacular but simple and beautiful just like Quito itself.

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