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Ecuador's most expensive cities

Hello everyone,

What are the most expensive cities to live in Ecuador? What are the costs of things such as rent, utilities, weekly groceries, dining out, etc.?

What is the lifestyle like in these cities, for expats and locals?

What are the different neighbourhoods like? Are there more affordable areas?

Do you have any experience living in any of Ecuador's most expensive cities? What was it like?

Which cities in Ecuador would you recommend? Are there any that offer particularly good value for money when it comes to cost of living?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Priscilla

The most expensive cities in Ecuador are Cuenca, Guayaquil, Quito and Salinas. And in all of these cities certain areas will cost much more than the rest of city. My personal experience is with Quito and I will share some insight.

Quito is a Tale of Two Cities in every imaginable way in terms of infrastructure and development. In South Quito a small house can be rented for as little as $250. South Quito however barely has any semblance to North Quito especially Centro Norte. This is true in infrastructure, development, amenities, safety, and so on. 

Centro Quito for the most part is world class in every way, and walking on say República del Salvador, one would not believe they are in a developing country. And rent is higher, a decent 1 bedroom apartment is around $500, 2 bedrooms, $650+, 3 bedrooms $750+. A house in this area is cost prohibitive, and affordable to companies who use them as offices. Some of these houses are redesigned to house a tenant on each floor.   

Then of course are the valleys and some areas there too are affluent and some not so much and the rent will reflect that.

As for expenses the costs will vary by lifestyle, and mine is one of a middle class person living a middle class standard of living. Similarly to where I have lived everywhere else.

Grocery bills will also vary for people but personally this works to reflect household size.
The primary person will cost about $75 a week, the second person $50, and every child thereafter add $25 a week more. For me personally my grocery bill includes non-perishables such as toothpaste, deodorant and so on, but I also eat out frequently.

Utilities bills will also vary, and mine averages about $150 a month for electric, internet, landline, and water.

Eating out also varies, a simple almuerzo is $3, but an authentic Mexican lunch with 1 michelada is $20. A sushi lunch also costs $20. A Carl’s Junior is about $8. Dinning out also varies and specific prices and restaurants are detailed in the Ethnic Restaurant thread.

Other expenses are:

Entertainment (TV, Bowling, Billiards, Theater, Cinema, Pubs, Etc) A movie for 2 with popcorn and 2 sodas is about $23-$30. 

1 day DIY excursion (About $60-$75+ which includes lunch and transport)

Local travel  (a R/T Quito to Guayaquil for 2 with 4 night stay at 4* hotel is $500-$600 on promo)

International travel 

Books (varies)

Spanish Courses ($7-$8 an hour), Higher level with a MA/PHD graduate will cost more.

Transportation (Private car $7-$10 an hour)

Clothing (varies)

Health Insurance (varies by age)

Dental (varies but a dental cleaning is about $50)

Dry cleaning (a shirt is around $1.70, sweater $2.50, comforter $9)

Home decorations (varies)

Maid ($20 a day)

Gadgets  (varies)

etc,

etc

etc

What is the lifestyle like in these cities, for expats and locals?

Locals in general are happy people. It doesn’t take much to please them because the little things in life matter to them. In short they are not consumer minded like people in developing countries so it’s a different mentality. I discovered many details of this while doing business research to find my niche. I research how, where and why people in various age groups spend their money.

So regardless of income for the most part, locals manage to have a decent lifestyle. Locals love to drink, socialize, visit the parks on weekends and on holidays the beaches and highland resorts are popular.

The expats that I associate with basically fall into two groups. The first are the old timers, or the ones who have lived in Quito for a long time. These expats are established, and some with families. Their lifestyles are simple and similar to upper middle class Ecuadorians. Or basically it’s from their businesses to their families and with vacation here and there whether locally or abroad. They dress trendier, and eat at trendier establishments.

Then there are the newer expats or the ones who work, study or volunteer. These are more outgoing people and they frequent pubs and cafes, and also travel within the country to tourists areas. Generally they however remain with their own kind when socializing and make no attempt to assimilate and probably because they know they will move on. For the most part good people on the younger side or 20s-30s and they should not be confused with obnoxious tourists.

Which cities in Ecuador would you recommend?

This particular question is one of the most difficult to answer because it’s mostly opinion based and people are very different so there’s no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to recommending a particular city or area.

And I absolutely detest comments like “just move down here”, because they are IMO irresponsible.

I will share my insight on living in Quito, and I will narrow it down to single people who want to move here for good e.g. retirees. So this excludes families, couples, and people who will a work here. The reasoning is very simple because families and couple’s social life will basically revolve around themselves, and people who will work will most likely develop a social life through colleagues. Hermits are also excluded.

What is appealing about Quito?


Quito in many ways is stunningly beautiful. The weather for most of the year is near perfect, but there are hazards such as intense UV light as we are experiencing now.

Quito has diverse neighborhoods some of which are nightlife, culinary, and financial sectors. Quito also has authentic suburbs that have less rainfall and on average 10 degrees warmer because they are situated in lower altitude valleys. There are parks galore, entertainment galore from jazz clubs to international artists such as Metallica, Aerosmith and Bruno Mars making appearances here.

The population density for Metro Quito is low, and this is more than obvious in North Quito and the suburbs. Pollution levels are good provided you stay away from main arteries in which diesel buses pass through and certain congested areas e.g. centro histórico, and many parts of South Quito.

Outdoor nature is close by for instance Pululahua to the north of the city is an hour away, or about 2 hours with public transport from the center of the city. Beaches are 5-6 hours away.

Now what is not so appealing about the city?

A pint of draft beer for $4.50 in a pub, a mediocre sushi lunch with 1 soda water for $20, a fast food meal that costs the same as a city in a developed country, an Under Armor t-Shirt for $30, expensive groceries with the ONLY exceptions being fruits and vegetables, and I smh when people boast about prices when all it amounts to is veggies and fruits.

That is common knowledge that fruits and vegetables are the only cheap food items and it's old news, but how much do the rest of the groceries cost? How much is a can of tomatoes? How much is a gallon of milk?

When winter comes, and yes we do have winter which is basically consecutive days of rain and without any sunshine and the temperature indoors plummet. The heater must be turned on, and in those months add $30-$50+ a month, unless you’re in a hoody day and night with a pair or two of socks. I mean it is okay to endure this but if it expands for weeks and months and a cough develops, that is insane.
 
Language difficulty, and a member, JadeRiver is currently experiencing this difficulty as he wants to find a general practitioner who speaks English. I wish I could help, I can’t, and my personal experience was in an ER room when my oxygen level plummeted due to altitude sickness when moving here. No one spoke English, and my wife and I were like statues, the only limited English was from a friendly nurse with the aid of her Samsung phone who translated.

So articles online about English being widely spoken by doctors are utter nonsense. In the same manner you can’t expect a Brit doctor to speak Spanish, do not expect Ecuadorian doctors to speak English. Spanish is a world language that we have to conform to and not the other way around.

This post will continue.....with a recommendation or not...

Pardon the suspense, jajaja.

The best recommendation is to try out Quito by signing a 6 month lease for a furnished apartment, and simply live here. My personal budget has increased twice in less than two years most recently by acquiring comprehensive health insurance. What’s most important is to have realistic expectations with regards to costs and lifestyle.

What's good about obtaining costs online is the improvement for instance on the numbeo it states that on average a 3-course meal  at mid-range restaurant for 2 in Quito is $35, and in Cuenca $20. And while I disagree with the Quito number it is still better than what was stated last year and in 2015. But the $35 in itself is telling even if some mid-range restaurants cost $60 for 2 people. It’s telling because as I mentioned Cuenca is $20.

For about $35 you can dine at Romolo e Remo, an Italian restaurant popular with middle class locals, and international school teachers. You can basically get 2 plates of lasagna ($16), 1 large salad to share ($7), 1 large dessert to share ($6), and 2 glasses of house wine ($9).

With regards to lifestyle and particularly social life I will quote Hedonist Poet, “Loneliness is dangerous. It’s addicting. Once you see how peaceful it is, you don’t wanna deal with people.”

This is true and so it’s important to be proactive in networking immediately after settling in. One observation is that despite locals being incredibly friendly the interaction with expats on a close friendship basis is rare.     

For newcomers who don’t know Spanish or a soul in the capital, enrolling in Spanish courses at a language institute, volunteering, and going to expat pubs is a good start to begin networking. This will cost money but just like choosing the right neighborhood the investment will be worth it.

My conclusion is that Quito is probably the most expensive city in Ecuador but is a great place to move to because of everything I mentioned in this thread. It’s cosmopolitan, a metro line will open in 2019, the culinary scene improves all the time, it has authentic suburbs and developed valleys, and is one of the safest cities in South America.

I personaly would never move to a big city with all the noise and pollution everywhere, be prepared pollution of all sorts resides in Ecuador all the major bus lines use diesel gas which is suffocating if they drive by you also the trucks use the same desiel gas it's really a bad health hazard and wish they would switch all the buses over to natural gas which they have in the USA. Noise pollution is a real big issue here because your neighbors and thier pets, dogs and roosters are loud and noisy all the time expect late night partys to go all night long on the weekends or holidays with blistering loud music.  I work from my computer so am not forced to live into the city I also prefer a perfect climate and Ecuador allows you that as it's on the Ecuator all you need to do is move up or down to find the right city with the best temperature for you to live in. I personally think Quito is way to cold but another commented on needing heat, where I live my expenses are much lower as I never need aircon or heat and since I am not in Quito my other expenses are much lower also. Oddly someone commented that only the fruits and vegetables are inexpensive that's certainly not true I get a dozen eggs for only 1.65, chop meat about 4 dollars a pound for 1% fat more fat much cheaper than that  and  a 61 oz container of organic plain yogurt under 5 dollars, soft serve icecream here is only 50 cents with a cone.  Beer in the store for a 22oz bottle is about a dollar or 1.50 to 2 dollars in a pub all theese are much cheaper than the USA.

schrifty :

I get a dozen eggs for only 1.65, chop meat about 4 dollars a pound for 1% fat more fat much cheaper than that  and  a 61 oz container of organic plain yogurt under 5 dollars, soft serve icecream here is only 50 cents with a cone.  Beer in the store for a 22oz bottle is about a dollar or 1.50 to 2 dollars in a pub all theese are much cheaper than the USA.

I don't think everything there is much cheaper than the USA.  For instance I just bought 2 dozen Jumbo eggs (the largest size) for $0.82/dozen here in the USA, that's half the cost you cite.  32 oz. of plain yogurt is $3.78 - a bit more expensive but there are at least a dozen varieties to choose from - for instance, another store offers 10 6 oz. containers (60 oz. total) of Yoplait yogurt, assorted flavors, $4.77.  5 lbs. of ground beef 73% lean is $12.57.  Angus T-Bone steaks $5.85/lb., Boston Butt pork roast $0.97/lb., fresh chicken thighs or drumsticks $0.98/lb., Virginia smoked ham $2.48/lb.  A whole hot ready-to-eat rotisserie chicken is $4.97, 5 lbs. of Idaho Russet potatoes $3.77.

Beer is more expensive in the USA, I'll grant you that.  But I have many dozens of brands including great craft beers to choose from.  We do not have any chicha available here, more's the pity...

schrifty :

I personaly would never move to a big city with all the noise and pollution everywhere, be prepared pollution of all sorts resides in Ecuador all the major bus lines use diesel gas which is suffocating if they drive by you also the trucks use the same desiel gas it's really a bad health hazard and wish they would switch all the buses over to natural gas which they have in the USA. Noise pollution is a real big issue here because your neighbors and thier pets, dogs and roosters are loud and noisy all the time expect late night partys to go all night long on the weekends or holidays with blistering loud music.  I work from my computer so am not forced to live into the city I also prefer a perfect climate and Ecuador allows you that as it's on the Ecuator all you need to do is move up or down to find the right city with the best temperature for you to live in. I personally think Quito is way to cold but another commented on needing heat, where I live my expenses are much lower as I never need aircon or heat and since I am not in Quito my other expenses are much lower also. Oddly someone commented that only the fruits and vegetables are inexpensive that's certainly not true I get a dozen eggs for only 1.65, chop meat about 4 dollars a pound for 1% fat more fat much cheaper than that  and  a 61 oz container of organic plain yogurt under 5 dollars, soft serve icecream here is only 50 cents with a cone.  Beer in the store for a 22oz bottle is about a dollar or 1.50 to 2 dollars in a pub all theese are much cheaper than the USA.

I personaly would never move to a big city with all the noise and pollution everywhere, be prepared pollution of all sorts resides in Ecuador all the major bus lines use diesel gas which is suffocating if they drive by you also the trucks use the same desiel gas it's really a bad health hazard and wish they would switch all the buses over to natural gas which they have in the USA.

Noise pollution is a real big issue here because your neighbors and thier pets, dogs and roosters are loud and noisy all the time expect late night partys to go all night long on the weekends or holidays with blistering loud music. 


In Quito pollution levels vary immensely. The latest reading at the nearest pollution reading center to my home was 67 or moderate at 10:00 am today. Examining the past five days the pollution readings throughout those days were predominately Good and Moderate. So it’s important to choose the neighborhood and streets with pollution in mind because some areas are higher than others.

With regards to noise, at least in Centro North Quito and specifically around Carolina it’s not an issue, yes there are parties sometimes, but so what. Dog barking in my area is not an issue at night, some houses you walk past during the day, and the little guys bark sometimes but again so what. It’s important for people interested in Quito to know this fact and not be influenced by opinions that make it seem like Quito is a noise machine. Live on side streets, and nicer residential enclaves that are away from main street pollution and noise and you are okay in the North Quito. I mean would never live in Centro histórico, La Mariscal, or South Quito who the Virgin of Quito has herself turned her back on.   :lol:

I personally think Quito is way to cold but another commented on needing heat, where I live my expenses are much lower as I never need aircon or heat and since I am not in Quito my other expenses are much lower also.

Yet another generalization and misconception. As I mentioned Quito has suburbs and valleys that are part of Quito and in which the temperature is warmer. The elevation for Cumbaya at 2200 meters and is similar to Loja at 2060 meters.

This is one of the splendors of Quito, we have beautiful and developed warmer and less rainy suburbs that are 15 minutes from the Carolina.

Personally I love it when it’s colder outside, I am hoping for the weather to change drastically soon, but we haven’t had much rainfall, and no back to back days of rain since early May. But what I love is irrelevant because what's important is put it in an economical, comfort, and health perspective so people interested in Quito will learn something.

As I mentioned I love when it’s colder outside, but indoors between 74-70 degrees is ideal. Right now it’s exactly that 74 degrees, and I’m wearing a t-shirt and pair of sweats with no socks. It’s perfect. When the rainier months come and most recently they were January to early May the temperatures indoor decreases when we have back to back rainy days without any sun.

One day of rain is nothing because the following day the sun blasts my windows and raises the temperature indoors. But when it’s back to back rain and without any sunshine, I turn on the heat. The heating accomplishes two things it takes the chill out the air and expands it also it holds more moisture. The Sun eventually comes out and I open the windows and everything is reset. Although for this upcoming cold/rainy season I will also have a dehumidifier and will also get another one.

The added cost of about $30-$50 a month for 4-5 months, and investment in heaters and dehumidifiers, is inconsequential because the quality or standard of living outweighs the small costs.

Okay there is something else that I have to mention for people who want to move to Quito– the more windows the better. If you look at some of the buildings in Centro North Quito you will observe that the front and back of the buildings consist of 75% windows. My residence for instance has huge windows some of which are 1.80 meters long, and many residences in my area are like that too. So your heating expenses may vary if your residence is not taking advantage of the sun when it is out.


Oddly someone commented that only the fruits and vegetables are inexpensive that's certainly not true I get a dozen eggs for only 1.65, chop meat about 4 dollars a pound for 1% fat more fat much cheaper than that  and  a 61 oz container of organic plain yogurt under 5 dollars, soft serve icecream here is only 50 cents with a cone.  Beer in the store for a 22oz bottle is about a dollar or 1.50 to 2 dollars in a pub all these are much cheaper than the USA.

No it is not odd at all, what's odd is somebody who doesn’t live in Quito telling a Quito resident about prices in the capital. You got called out on your price of eggs by OsageArcher, and I will call you out on the “beer.”

And you really shouldn’t have stated “beer”, but rather Pilsener because Corona, Heineken, Stella Artois, etc are much more expensive, and for German wheat beer forget about it. And BTW the 22 oz returnable Pilsener is $1.75 and $1.50 with the return bottle at mom and pop stores in Centro North Quito.

But I hope you continue to list prices, especially in the cost of living thread, simply mention your city.  My contributions there are straightforward and systematic or from the receipt to the thread and often I state the source of the purchases. This is the best way to inform people interested in costs as it allows them to compare with their costs.

What's becoming abundantly clear to me is that some people, and I don't necessarily mean this thread, are confusing "cost of living", with their own personal cost of living when they talk about living in Ecuador. That is a huge mistake because a person might live a frugal lifestyle but that doesn't mean that is what the cost of living is of a city. This is also true for someone living an upper class lifestyle. This is why I respect facts and actual prices over opinion. And not just prices for the cheapest possible product but rather a broad variety of the similar products which is reflective of society as a whole. The same with housing, and many other things, and if we are objective, we can determine for ourselves what is expensive and what is not.   

BTW the Virgin of Quito comment I made above is a quiteño thing, and one I don't believe which should have been obvious by my "lol" emoticon.

Another thing, I saw USDA Angus steak today at mi comisiariato the frozen strip steak was $29.90 per kilogram or about half that per pound. Would I buy that, nope. I just thought it would be helpful for people who crave US beef. Other US beef was $21.90 a kilogram (not steak). This is at mi comisiariato at Quicentro, the frozen meat section.

Hi...

I really have to jump into this thread and point something out... Everything depends on on HOW you live as much as WHERE you live...

Guayaquil comes first to mind with this because if you live in the barrio near the airport in Guayaquil you are not going to be paying what you would living in the better parts of Urdesa.  Just as if you were living some lesser area of the Bronx or if you were living in Riverdale in New York City.  Areas of a city will have as much a variation of cost of living as a city itself.

Also cities are spread out differently in Ecuador than in other countries, from my experience... and pretty much there are only a few real cities: Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil.   Manta might be added because it is an actual port location. Even so, cities are truly complex barrios, or if you think like a New Yorker, burroughs.

But where I really have to disagree is Salinas? First, not a city, a municipality and second, a resort town.  And just like the resort towns of Montañita and Baños, the areas where the tourists go will have a bit more of a price tag than where the locals go shopping.

In Salinas the tourists go to Paseo Shopping mall.  The locals go to Libertad and BuenAventura (aka Cholo mall).  The Tourists and local Gringos too scared to go into the areas off the malecon get 6 eggs for a dollar, the rest of us get a dozen for $1.50... So there is a mark up for those who want the conveninece of not heading further afield 8the tourists) and those who haven`t the capacity pof moving beyond their comfort zone (the Gringo with a language barrier).

If I was forced to say which city was the most expensive I would say a toss up between the better parts of Quito and the better parts of Guayaquil because both are heavy business and government centers and they do have the opportunity for a more expensive lifestyle.  So if your dream is to own a 5 house compound with elevators on a mountain top in a secured urbanization next to ambassadors and you have plenty of money you can certainly spend it in Quito and own something very fancy with a huge price tag.

Me, I prefer my casita near the ocean and the truck that comes down the street selling 3 pineapples for a buck ... that`s just how I like it :)

Susan

Ok, I will admit that a couple of weeks ago, I did purchase the Angus USDA ribeyes, here in Manta.  I have given up buying/eating beef here except for "ground", and I was just craving a good steak.  It was not easy persuading my husband to agree with the purchase, but after he grilled them, they tasted so wonderful, but that would only be maybe a twice a year purchase.  The last beef roast I tried to cook went in the garbage even after slow cooking it. 

I did buy 2 large navel oranges today at mega maxi, and their weight totaled .77kg and for 2 it was $3.31.  But I use them in certain marinades and I want to make some apple cider and my recipe calls for the juice of an orange, so I bought 2.  Of course the price wasn't posted, so I bought them not knowing how much they were, but it wouldn't have mattered cause I needed them.  (But I did get 20% off today, which isn't reflected in the price I quoted)

Susan_in_Ecuador :

Hi...

I really have to jump into this thread and point something out... Everything depends on on HOW you live as much as WHERE you live...

Absolutely but such is not reflective of cost of living for a city. This is something that I try to convey  especially to counter bloggers who brag about living an upper class lifestyle on a middle class budget.

People like my Ecuadorian landlord constitute upper class people in Quito. He owns a house in Quito, a house on the coast, has an SUV for travel outside the city and a car for trips within Quito. He vacations regularly and also travels abroad. I know for a fact his family dines at upscale restaurants.

That is a genuine upper class lifestyle. Yet people brag that they live upper class lifestyle yet don’t even own a car here.

Nards Barley posted an article a few months back and here is an exceprt from it. "They’ve found that for about $1,500 a month, they can live a solidly upper-class lifestyle, dining out frequently and traveling."  :/

Sophems :

Ok, I will admit that a couple of weeks ago, I did purchase the Angus USDA ribeyes, here in Manta.  I have given up buying/eating beef here except for "ground", and I was just craving a good steak.  It was not easy persuading my husband to agree with the purchase, but after he grilled them, they tasted so wonderful, but that would only be maybe a twice a year purchase.  The last beef roast I tried to cook went in the garbage even after slow cooking it.

I'm glad you enjoyed US steaks.  :)

And twice a year satisfying a craving is good. Many times, the availability of a specific product is reassuring in itself and which lessens the  craving. It was like that with Gulden's spicy mustard for me, I bought it once and that was that, and just walk past it now.

I consider myself middle class, and look up middle class on dictionary.com and it will read:

      1.Vsimple

And who can fault me for being assertive as I just gave an example of people who constitute upper class in Ecuador two posts above this one. I don’t own properties, vehicles, or even dine at upscale restaurants on a regular basis.

But I have a beautiful life living a middle class cosmopolitan lifestyle. I live in a beautiful home by any definition in one of the safest areas in probably all of Ecuador where I walk day and night at any hour.

My latest grocery bill was $60, and I cook often, mostly dinner. I also eat out a lot sometimes $3 almuerzo, and in my neighborhood there are about a dozen of such traditional places and about a dozen more non-traditional places with almuerzo that ranges from $6-$13.

Sometimes I splurge on $20 lunch, but rarely, maybe once or twice a month.

To be continued …..

I respect your grocery buying control.  My husband has been excluding me from the grocery buying lately.  I cook everyday, make my own dog food and make more American food than Ecuadorian food.  I also tend to stock up on rare items.  My husband failed to buy (to restock) my sesame oil, and I'm now completely out.  For a month I have searched mega maxi and they're completely out.  So this is why I spend more $ grocery shopping than my husband.  For most of his career he was a hotel GM, a food and beverage manager and at one time way before me owned his own restaurant in Nashville.  So he doesn't believe in having excess inventory sitting on shelves cause it's money we could be currently using.  I was raised differently.  My grandfather was a coal miner who dealt with lay offs, union strikes and months of unemployment.  So my grandparents always stocked up on sale items for emergency times or for times families in the church were on hard times and had nothing.  That's when our basement and stand alone packed freezer would be opened up to the families, emptied and also major grocery store shopping.  So we differ on how we grocery shop.  Plus in the US, money wasn't an issue and here we are more on a budget, but isn't that wha credit cards are for?  Just joking!! 

So yesterday my husband had eye surgery and went home. I went grocery shopping.  He gave me cash, but then texted me and wanted me to order contacts which took a big chunk of my grocery cash.  Ok, so $40 went to alcohol purchases.  Maybe $40 in cheese, but I bought good cheese that was on sale and I freeze it for later.  The only junk food I bought was 2 packages of cookies (on sale), and some meat (on sale), milk, eggs, salmon (1 package for dog treats, trying to master jersey), a couple US splurge products of Edamame and Chinese pot stickers (less than $20).  My normal bottles of Powerade and Diet Coke.  Then yogurt, eggs, a few packaged pepperoni and turkey coldcuts (all on sale), and fruits and veggies.  My total bill was just shy of $254.  I was a little shocked, but I cook everything at home, we eat out seldom.  So maybe that's not so bad.  Wish I could lower my grocery cost but I may be good for most things for a few weeks.  Hopefully!!  My biggest expense is groceries, then electric.  Now add health insurance to the budget and my expenses just keep growing.

Buen día

Sophems knows the deal, and used the perfect word, “control.” That’s the reality of grocery shopping in Quito for me.  Without it I would have gotten the fresh tuna fillet in addition to the fresh salmon fillet. And I probably would have gotten 1 pint of Hagen Daz for $6.50.

Which brings me to a point I want to reiterate, yes there is cheap ice cream, but there’s also Hagen Daz, Baskin Robbins and everything in-between price wise.  Can anyone sanely assert the cost of living of a city based solely on the cheapest possible products, areas, and restaurants?

And Sophems I think your grocery bill is reasonable considering that you cook all your meals.

A nice meal can cost money. Yesterday I made:

Garlic Honey Salmon ($8 for 350 grams fillet) with asparagus, baby potatoes and cucumber yogurt salad. The total for these ingredients is probably another $2-$2.50. This is definitely much cheaper than Lucia's (restaurant) Salmon which I like and costs $24, but of course the latter is in a nice mid range restaurant.

vsimple :

My conclusion is that Quito is probably the most expensive city in Ecuador but is a great place to move to because of everything I mentioned in this thread. It’s cosmopolitan, a metro line will open in 2019, the culinary scene improves all the time, it has authentic suburbs and developed valleys, and is one of the safest cities in South America.

I decided on Cumbaya because the weather is much warmer but I'm finding it quite expensive to live here!  Wish now I had chosen Quito. With more choices in Quito I think you can live more affordably.

CyberJane :
vsimple :

My conclusion is that Quito is probably the most expensive city in Ecuador but is a great place to move to because of everything I mentioned in this thread. It’s cosmopolitan, a metro line will open in 2019, the culinary scene improves all the time, it has authentic suburbs and developed valleys, and is one of the safest cities in South America.

I decided on Cumbaya because the weather is much warmer but I'm finding it quite expensive to live here!  Wish now I had chosen Quito. With more choices in Quito I think you can live more affordably.

Look at this way at least you essentially chose the right city but different area. Some expats sometimes choose the wrong country.

Is there anything in particular you find expensive about Cumbayá  or is it general cost of living that is expensive?

Oh I bought 3 packs of the fresh salmon for $9+.  The sad thing is that my dogs are developing health problems and I spent $230 the other day with no factura and no responses to my list I had translated into Spanish.  I now realize a few of the English words translated into different Spanish words than I intended, however, I took a Spanish speaker with me to go over everything.  I was supposed to have received a factura and details by email Friday night, but again nothing.  This is the one time it's a good thing my Spanish vocabulary is limited. 

I think my one dog is starting to have mini strokes or seizures and if it's seizures, she's having the worst ones.  I'm waiting on labs and if I don't get them by Tuesday, I will show up at the vets office and not leave until I get answers.

So back to the salmon, I tried to make jerkey treats for my dogs but it only ended up in little chips that resembled bacon bits.  I will try one more time.  But last night my husband said you paid over $9 for their treats and I said of course.  One pack is for him though, so he should be happy with that, lol. 

I have figured out how to make my own tahini for pennies and also my hummus for less than $2.  But I'm a bit over spending my days in the kitchen, but we eat well.  I always say, I have to make stuff to make recipes and it takes forever.  My next adventure, which I've started is making apple pie moonshine for the holidays.  We will see how that turns out.

If anyone is interested, after months of research, I finally found cast iron cook ware, and it's very cheap and according to US review sites very good quality.  It's made in Columbia, and the company has recently installed the same machinery Le Creuset uses to make their products. I'm waiting to hear back to see if they will ship to manta as we don't have those stores here.  Once I get my cast iron Dutch oven, I will start making my own bread.  I have live cultures to make sour dough, but have been a little nervous to attempt it as of yet.  You can save money on food if you have the patience and lots of time to research and figure out the recipes.  Just not my favorite thing to do.

Nice observations--I found all of it most helpful===I am new in Quito---I will love to find how I can meet fellow expats --especially from US===I live in Cumbaya--

perhaps a pub or a coffee place where some expats visit===Any other gatherings in and around Quito-

Dodd    ===please drop me a quick hello ===***

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Here´s a hint...if you can´t find sesame oil...look in the 2imported foods" section of Supermaxi or Comissariato and try to find tahini ...which is sesame paste.  There is always sesame oil on sesame paste and it is very thick!  Cut it with your favorite vegetable oil for use in cooking.  ANd of course you have tahini for making humus, and sesame dressing, and sesame candy, etc!

I have continued to look for the sesame oil.  I'm sure it will be back in 6 months.  I have made my own tahini for less than a $1, so I will try your idea.  Thanks for the info.  I also made my own hummus which turned out great.  I actually surprised myself. 

As for ice cream, I think the Hagen Daas is horrible here.  I have a very simple recipe to make my own without an ice cream machine.  With the right add ins, it's just as good as Ben n' Jerrys but so fattening I don't make it often.

It's the general cost of living - of which rent is a big part of it.

Look at this way at least you essentially chose the right city but different area. Some expats sometimes choose the wrong country.

Is there anything in particular you find expensive about Cumbayá  or is it general cost of living that is expensive?

For people who don't know about Cumbayá, it's one of the nicer suburbs in Quito's valley. Cumbayá might be expensive but so are the nicer neighborhoods in Quito and I'm not sure the savings will be worth it considering that they differ greatly with one offering suburban life and the other offering city life. Then there's the climate which also differs, and it's really beautiful because you can start out with a sweater in Quito and 20 minutes later in the valley a t-shirt will suffice.

Living on a middle class budget in what is arguably one of Ecuador’s most beautiful yet expensive area or centro norte is what you make of it. For me I love it because it suits my lifestyle, I enjoy going out multiple times a day even for brief moments with everything right there. In my neighborhood there are a few expats like me (and locals), there are wealthy Ecuadorians, and newer immigrants (Venezuelans, etc).

Some of these immigrants might share an apartment with 2 in each bedroom for instance; (some Venezuelans are also executives in penthouses) these are immigrants with decent jobs or above basic salary, so they have some skill set. This is something some locals won’t do as they prefer to live in surrounding areas with lower rent with more space and lesser expenses. The wealthy own houses or apartments and pricey vehicles. The middle class such as me either rent or own an apartment (mortgage), and most own cars with decent jobs, around $2500+ a month household income.

One can do the math to determine costs around here; a basic SUV with insurance is about $550+ a month (6 yrs), and a 3 bedroom is about $700+. On my block alone there are more than a dozen SUVs in plain sight and never mind the underground building garages, and some of those SUVs are the $60,000+ variety. I count these SUVs because it is so striking for a third world country, and because I laugh when people say Ecuador is poor.

And do not think that what I described above is limited to my neighborhood because it’s not. There are other similar areas and some that are more affluent.

So what’s great about living in one of the priciest areas in Ecuador?

It’s beautiful, every conceivable amenity is here.You are nestled between a world class park (off season because it takes abuse during summer break), and a huge natural reserve park. Malls galore, restaurants galore, pubs, and a whole entire nightlife district or area that parties until 2 or 3 a.m.

The best thing about living in Quito however, and especially centro norte Quito are the people!  :) Sí, Quiteños!!

To be continued………………………………….

The quiteños in your neighborhood are certainly not poor, but...

The per capita GDP in Ecuador for 2016 was under $6000, per:
https://www.google.com/search?q=ecuador … p;ie=UTF-8

This compares with the 2016 per capita GDP of the USA of over $57,000:
https://www.google.com/search?q=united+ … KQboun0YMM

Almost a tenfold difference that shows up in so many ways in both societies.  I'm sure you know that your area of Quito is not representative of the country as a whole!  The difference between the rich and the poor in Ecuador can be quite striking for those of us used to the more developed world like the USA, where most of our "poor" have TVs, cars, cell phones, refrigerators and on average more living space than even middle-class Europeans.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/20 … dle-class/

OsageArcher :

The quiteños in your neighborhood are certainly not poor, but...

The per capita GDP in Ecuador for 2016 was under $6000, per:
https://www.google.com/search?q=ecuador … p;ie=UTF-8

This compares with the 2016 per capita GDP of the USA of over $57,000:
https://www.google.com/search?q=united+ … KQboun0YMM

Almost a tenfold difference that shows up in so many ways in both societies.  I'm sure you know that your area of Quito is not representative of the country as a whole!  The difference between the rich and the poor in Ecuador can be quite striking for those of us used to the more developed world like the USA, where most of our "poor" have TVs, cars, cell phones, refrigerators and on average more living space than even middle-class Europeans.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/20 … dle-class/

The Google GDP is not year specific so according to Wikipedia the the estimated 2016 GDP is $6,640. This amount does not take into account remittances from Ecuadorians abroad which were reported to be 2.6 billion for last year. And in the same manner that the US GDP is not reflective of all citizens because 45 million Americans live below poverty level the same is true for Ecuador’s GDP per capita.

And of course North Quito, and the surrounding valley areas are not representative of all of Ecuador but the fact remains that they exist in a sizable area and population. There is a real middle class here and over the last 10 years Ecuador’s middle class has grown from 14% of the population to 35% and in urban areas the percentage is 45%.

A starting public sector nurse salary (servidor publico 5, 2014 schedule) for 2016 was $1254. An Ecuadorian couple I know who live in a middle/upper middle class neighborhood have a household income of $4000 a month.  These are middle class people who send their young daughter to an Ecuadorian private school. That income is middle class, the upper class send their kids to $20,000 a year international schools.  So this notion that a middle class budget can give one an upper class lifestyle is a fallacy.

So while there is poverty and definitely striking, there is also a sizeable middle class with purchasing power that definitely exceeds Ecuador’s per capita, and this reality should not be discounted, and if so, it will be a rude awakening for people who think they can live like a king on a middle class budget. I live amongst this sea of middle class quiteños.

Actually, vsimple, a minor correction - if you click on the links I provided for the GDPs, the graph clearly indicates they are for the year 2016 in the title.  In any case they are similar and are only estimates, anyway, subject to many assumptions and not completely hard data.

I agree with you, in many places in Ecuador one cannot "live like a king on a middle class budget" - you can live well, but only if you adopt a lifestyle similar to many Ecuadorians, much simpler and with many fewer luxuries and much less so-called disposable income.  For at least some this is made easier and more acceptable by the lack of broiling hot summers and freezing cold winters!

Absolutely, and expectations should be tempered. Ecuador is a lovely country and luckily there are areas for every budget. But people should never assume that because it’s a developing country that everything will be cheaper.

Here are some examples that I have faced or facing. My local gym has started to annoy me because in the evening it sounds like a nightclub with god-awful music during scheduled exercise classes. Before I would go either before or after the classes, now they have these classes back-to-back-to-back. So I started looking at exercise equipment to buy and to just workout at home. Similar products to those abroad are 4 times as much here and that is utterly insane. The cheapest stationary bike is $150 and it looks like it’ll break in less than 6 months. Here’s another example with the price of a Mazda CX3 locally, you can purchase a CX5 abroad.   

My cousin asked me if he could “live large”, on a $2000 a month budget. I told him to add $1000 more, and with that budget he can have a nice car (about 30k), live in a nice 1 bedroom apartment in an upper middle class/upper class neighborhood, money to take out a girlfriend if he’s ever so lucky jajaja, :lol: , local traveling during holidays, one r/t ticket home annually. All the rest of the expenses including clothing, health insurance, gym membership, cellular plan, and pocket money for small purchases.

That IMO is a solid middle class budget for centro norte quito or about $36,000 a year for a single dude and for a couple to add around $10,000-$12,000 more.

People have different budgets and live in different areas. My posts convey the realities of a middle class lifestyle in Quito with facts and prices that are as current as of October 2017. This week I had a couple of delicious almuerzos for $3 each, and I almost always decide whether to eat almuerzo based on the soup they are offering. If it’s menestron, arroz de chebada, or quinoa, I’m in there and to some degree sancocho, especially if it’s Colombian. I also had a $6 Mexican almuerzo at Coyote restaurant, the best Mexican food in all of Quito.

Another lunch I had this week was at Texas chicken for $5.35, it’s my favorite there or the “completo”, you get two pieces of grilled chicken (leg and thigh), rice, potatoes, soup and a coke. I also had lunch with an expat (Spaniard, I’m emphasizing social life as well as Quito is cosmopolitan) and my lunch was $9.

For breakfast sometimes I have a ham & cheese egg croissant at Dunkin Donuts for $2.75 and a cup of coffee for $1.75 from another place as I don’t like DD coffee. I however often make my own breakfast with eggs and soya sausages (about $4 for 250 grams), sometimes just peanut butter and jelly on delicious pita bread, and local peanut which costs a bit less and has only 3 ingredients is not nearly as good as JIF with it’s 5 ingredients.  :D
 
I had dinner out twice this week once was at a burger joint with a beer promo for about 2 liters of beer and bill for two was about $20. And at TGIF it was $70 for two plates, 2 liters of beer (happy hour beer you get 1 liter (litro) mug of draft beer for $7 from 6-10pm), and a juice.

These are prices for October 2017 in one of Ecuador’s most expensive cities.

How to save money in one of Ecuador's most expensive city?

For eating out read above for real Mexican food there’s an almuerzo but they close on Monday, and on Thursday and Friday I haven’t seen it advertised. TGIF has nice lunch time promos for $12.99. There’s also an all you can drink mojito day. The same with draft beer promo, a real good draft beer promo, and true draft drinkers know the taste,
TGIF is first class, for $7 for 1 liter – good stuff.

Clothes, shoes, and really everything else don’t buy during the summer months or June –Early September. This is when local tourists visit and also rich people from other South American countries visit too. Wait until that season is over and aim for local holidays. Recently we had a holiday and places like Clarks shoes were selling their stuff for 50 % off and that translates to being basically 25-50% more than abroad which IMO is a good buy.

Yes, it’s important to be realistic about prices. If you have a fit body, Zara, is an excellent option and their prices are pretty much the same the world over.

I recommended to Russell (a member here), Mercado Libre and sometimes it’s a good idea to explore that online website as well. I bought a genuine watch from there that was only 30% more than Amazon and I’ll take that every day. Again a good buy

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