9 Things You Need To Know Before Moving To Ecuador As An Expat
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9 Things You Need To Know Before Moving To Ecuador As An Expat

Streets of Salinas de Guaranda, Ecuador

17 Oct 9 Things You Need To Know Before Moving To Ecuador As An Expat

Ecuador has become a very popular country for expats. With amazing climate and low cost of living it is and one of the most popular places to move to for retired people. Here are 9 things you need to know before moving to Ecuador as an expat.


There are a few different visas you can have. You can get a professional visa which gives you the opportunity to work in Ecuador, get a cedula and the opportunity to register to vote. This requires that you have a Bachelor degree from a University that is registered in their system. For this, you need to show the original Diploma that is apostilled.

You can also get a volunteer/missionary visa where you are sponsored by an organization. You can also have a travel visa for 6 months, but you need to reapply after 3 months. There is also an opportunity to get a student visa if you study at a language school or any type of school or university. The process is challenging where it requires a lot of paper work and going back and forth to the immigration office. You can also apply for residency as a retired individual or a real estate investor. If you want more information about migrating to Ecuador, I recommend you to visit your closest embassy with your wishes so you are sure to apply with the correct documents.

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The currency in Ecuador is US-dollar which is very convenient. The most common banks in Ecuador is Banco Pichincha, Banco Guayaquil, Banco del Pacifico. You will find this in most of the cities in Ecuador and ATMs of Banco Pichincha and Banco Guayaquil is found smaller towns as well and easily accessible. You can easily open a bank account. Just bring your passport and visa documents.


When it comes to spending money in Ecuador it is more common to pay in cash than pay with a card and it is always easier to pay in cash, the smaller note, the better. You won’t be able to pay with a card on small shops, taxis, and buses. The best is to have coins or small notes. You can experience taxi drivers not being able to give change back if y you pay with a dollar note. Always carry coins with you is a golden rule in Ecuador. The best way to deposit money is by going to the bank directly and fill in a form, it is the same with cheques.It is possible to transfer money


Colorful buildings in the street of Guaranda

If you are looking for a place to rent it is advised that you don’t pay anything online but make sure you actually get to check out the place. The best deals are usually not online, but either in the newspaper El Comercio or in the window of the place it self. Instead of moving in right away when you arrive. You should stay around a week in an Airbnb, hostel or similar until you find a place you like. When you are looking at a place you should test the water, mold, and damages and if it is construction around or a lot of noise. Read through the contract and take photos of everything when you move in, especially if there are damages.


Transportation is a mess in Ecuador, especially in Quito. Be careful if you want to drive in Ecuador. People take a lot of chances in traffic and make sudden turns and you will see car crashes all the time. More people choose to get their own car because the public transport system is not reliable and horrible. In Quito, there is a system that is called Pico Placa where it goes after the last number of your plate where you can’t drive in specific areas during rush hour. It is one day a week on weekdays.

pico y placa

Source: Ecuador Noticias


Public transport is a mess and is packed. It is very cheap and you pay by cash, coins are best for this. It is not safe in terms of pickpocketing and be very careful to hide your valuables. There is also no information whatsoever about where to go and how. You need to talk to the bus personnel or the people at the big bus stations. If there is a bus that says Otavalo or Quito, it doesn’t mean it goes to where you want to go. You need to ask specifically if the bus goes to ________  because the bus usually has the same sign on the bus even though if it is going the opposite direction.

Ecovia, Metro, and Trole

If you take the metro, trole or Ecovia in Quito you need to know what direction you want to go and also how many stops there is from where you are to your stop. Ecovia goes from Rio Coca in the North of Quito to Quitombe or La Marin in the very south. The Ecovia is red. The metro yellow and the Trole is green.  All of the three goes from different stops to different places in the city.  It is recommended to avoid these during rush hour and lunch time as it will get too packed and you will literally struggle to get out at the same time it is the time pickpocketers steal your belongings.

Taxi and Uber

Best and safest option for transport is Uber and Cabify. This is only in Quito and Guayaquil and you need to book it through the app. You can also take the yellow taxis, make sure they have a green, square sticker on the side and sit in the back seat! Don’t take a yellow taxi by yourself at night, especially as a female. Do not accept other passengers on the taxi. Make sure they use the taxi meter, they are required to, but they are known for tricking foreigners.



Don’t walk around by yourself after dark in Quito and Guayaquil. Be very careful on public transport.  Don’t take chances in traffic and you can’t always walk on the green man. Read more about safety-tips for Ecuador here.

Top 5 Safety Tips When Visiting Ecuador


Your health insurance and basic travel insurance might not be valid in Ecuador after a specific number of days. A good health insurance I personally recommend is Ecuasanits and it is placed in many cities around the country and covers accidents, health bills, and hospital bills at the best hospitals in the country. If you are having a car you really should get a car insurance that covers theft, accidents, and damages on the cars. It happens all the time and it is a big loss for so many because they don’t have car insurance. If you invest in a property or buy a house, you need house insurance. Floods and earthquakes happen in Ecuador and that has made huge and expensive damages in the past.

Jobs for expats

I don’t advise you to get to Ecuador hoping you will get a job. It is better to apply beforehand if you have something in mind for example teaching. English teachers are valuable here, where you will get best paid at universities, high school and public schools as well as big and recognized institutes.  It is a plus if you have a degree in teaching, but TEFL is ok as well it is even better if you are a native speaker. If you are fluent in Spanish you can apply for any type of jobs. The job market is very hard at the moment and people are losing their jobs.

Phone service

You can easily get a phone number in Ecuador with many different plans. The best ones are CNT, Movistar, and Claro.


The Internet in Ecuador is quite slow. The best providers are Netlife, they have the fastest internet. Others are TvCæble, CNT and Claro.


Are you thinking of moving to Ecuador? What would you want to know more about?

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