As well as the great weather, thriving expat scene, and low-cost living, excellent, affordable healthcare is a big reason many folks retire to Ecuador. In Cuenca, the country’s main expat hub, a recent report on expats found that 75% cited quality healthcare services as their number-one reason for living here.
I was catching up with a high school friend over Skype recently. During our conversation, he shared his amazement that my wife Cynthia and I enjoy what he called our “crazy social life.” He said, “It seems like you two are always busy having fun with friends.” I replied that, since I’d “walked in his moccasins,” I understood his feelings. “Let me ask you,” I said. “I know you recently moved, so how many of your new neighbors have you met?”
You read it here first—I’ve discovered the Fountain of Youth. Funny thing is, turns out it’s not a fountain at all. Nor is it located in just one place. In fact, it can be found in many places if you know where to look. Confused? Let me explain. I celebrated a birthday recently and it was a weird feeling. No, not that I’m getting older: actually, just the opposite. Since we moved to Ecuador almost six years ago, I know I feel younger than when we arrived, and I believe I have aged less than the number of years marked by the calendar (the same is true for my wife, Cynthia).
“We love the fact that our retirement income goes so much further here,” says Leanne Crawley of her and her husband’s retirement in the mountain city of Cuenca, Ecuador. “Our quality of life is so much better than it was in the States, when we were both working too hard. We’re thankful for the friendships we’ve made with people from all over the world. Living in Cuenca, we experience a sense of peace and joy that we’ve never known. We are truly blessed.”
For years our hometown of Cuenca, Ecuador, has been crowned one of the world’s top retirement destinations. From my home, a short walk from the historic center of this colonial gem, it’s easy to see why. The low cost of living, the temperate climate, and the excellent medical facilities make for a comfortable life, and you’ll find plenty to do. I must admit, though, that when my wife Cynthia and I first arrived in Cuenca over five years ago, the culinary scene left a lot to be desired. But there has been an amazing transformation in Cuenca’s dining options.
“Every morning I wake up in Quito, it’s with a sense of amazement at how great my life is,” says Rami Amit of his new life in the Ecuadorian capital. “I absolutely love my hometown,” says his wife Daphna of their retirement haven. “Quito offers so many options that it’s impossible to be bored.” This diversity of cultural, entertainment, and dining options enticed the Amits to Quito in the first place.
There are certain islands on almost everyone’s bucket list: Hawaii…Tahiti…the Falklands. The Falklands? Okay, maybe not. But if you happen to ﬁnd yourself in the Atlantic Ocean, 300 miles east of Argentina’s Patagonia region, you’ll certainly enjoy a memorable visit to this isolated and unusual archipelago.
When the time came in 2010 to retire and choose the location for a part-time home far from the cold Canadian winters, Michael Keith and Susan Birkenshaw knew exactly where they wanted to go. Five years later, while folks back home battle the biting cold each winter, Michael and Susan enjoy the year-round spring climate (and incredibly low cost of living) in the Ecuadorian mountain city of Cuenca.
Recently, I was sitting on a terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean, while enjoying a beautiful sunset, a bottle of wine, and the company of my wife Cynthia and two friends. "Man," I said to them, "it's great to be on vacation." Everybody laughed. I knew why. It's because, as Cynthia put it, we were taking a vacation from our "vacation." Though we're all retirees living in Cuenca, Ecuador now, years ago we left behind a stressed out, overscheduled, unsatisfying world—perhaps much like yours. In that former life, we worked our tails off day after day to "enjoy" weekends jammed with chores and errands, occasionally grabbing dinner at a chain restaurant. Our few weeks of vacation never seemed long enough to truly decompress and relax.
Moving abroad can be the start of the most exciting and fulfilling chapter of your life. I arrived in Ecuador over four years ago and I’ve never been happier. Stress has vanished; I choose how to spend my time; and I’ve never had so many wonderful friends.