Ecuador the new hot-spot for Expat Retirement?
Typically when people think of retiring overseas they think of Spain, France, Australia. They think of sunny skies, a laid back lifestyle and the opportunity to try new things.
But with the economic situation lowering the appeal of Europe, more and more retirees are considering alternative locations.
According to a recent report, one of the most popular up-and-coming retirement locations among expats is now Cuenca, Ecuador.
The region isn’t as well known as others in South America, and has a relatively small population (both expat and local) and comparatively low property prices.
Other aspects which recommend it are the weather, the peaceful atmosphere and the minimal cost of living.
Healthcare in the area is also significantly cheaper than in North America and Europe.
The scenery is spectacular, it’s warm pretty much all year round and, great for adventurous expats, Cuenca is close to the dramatic El Cajas National Park. There are also a host of festivals and parades to enjoy throughout the year, primarily celebrating the history, cuisine and culture of the region.
Another draw of Cuenca is El Centro – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This 16th century city of striking architecture, cobbled streets and quaint shops is a wonderful place to spend the day exploring.
Of course, Cuenca isn’t for everybody.
For one thing its position in relation to other places and amenities makes it more suited to the active retiree.
The quality of the healthcare available is also generally below the standard you would expect in places like the US and Europe. If you are in poor health or don’t like the thought of falling ill in a very culturally different environment Cuenca may not be the retirement location of your dreams.
Also, although Spanish is the most widely spoken language in Ecuador there are several variations: Equatorial Pacific Spanish, Andean Spanish and Amazonic Spanish. Which variant is spoken depends on the area. There are also many local dialects in use, so at times you may find it difficult to understand or make yourself understood.
But if you’re in good health, are quite adventurous and like the idea of learning new dialects Cuenca might just be the retirement location you’ve been searching for.