8 Things Expats Might Miss in Ecuador

Photo by vagueonthehow.

Ecuador is an exceptional country to retire in, and more foreigners are realizing this every day. Ecuador has a distinct culture, and retirees have no trouble embracing its magnificence. Yet, of course, it is only natural that, sometimes, foreigners will miss that “special something” from home.

1. English

Although cities like Cuenca are English-friendly cities, not everyone speaks English in Ecuador, especially in rural areas. If you don’t speak Spanish, patience and a translation booklet are necessities.

2. Four Seasons

It might seem odd that people in a tropical paradise would miss winter, but sometimes, retirees’ minds turn to the fun memories associated with snow. Ecuador’s pleasant climate often draws them back in short order, but when someone is accustomed to changing seasons, Ecuador is a different experience. Within Ecuador, there are two seasons referred to as summer and winter, but by Canadian standards, for example, they seem more like early and late spring.

3. Home Roadways

Many retirees choose not to drive in Ecuador. If expats decide to drive, however, they should be prepared for congestion, city traffic, pollution and, in rural areas, somewhat difficult, unkept roads.

4. High Quality Home Accessories

Ecuador does have outlets that sell high-quality home décor. The price, however, for curtain rods or bathroom amenities can be a hefty one. High-quality towels can also be difficult to come by.

5. Aunt Jemima’s Maple Syrup

Aunt Jemima’s Maple Syrup might be just one of a few products you might find yourself longing for in Ecuador. If an item is imported, the cost is more because of the import tax. Certain items (including pancake syrup) have been taken off many Ecuadorian shelves because of the high taxes. On the bright side, fresh, local fruit sells for practically nothing.

6. Blending In

It’s nothing to be alarmed about, but fair, blonde, and blue-eyed people can tend to stand out in Ecuador. Remember you are not alone in that regard, in a city with multitudes of other foreign visitors and expats. It’s expected that you might attract a friendly stare. At times, you might miss the days when you just blended in with most of your home population.

7. The Beach

Yes, it is possible to be homesick for a beach in Ecuador — but only if you live in the Andes. Eastern Canadians might miss beachcombing and bonfires. A trip to the coast, however, can easily become part of your future in  Ecuador.

8. Family

Of course, more than anything, retirees in Ecuador will miss their loved ones back home. But try sending out an invitation — it might not be hard to persuade them to visit.

3 Responses

  1. Something that I miss here in Ecuador is personal security. Every Ecuadorian that I know here has been ripped off at least once by thieves. Sometimes it’s a pickpocket, or you’re suddenly surrounded by a group wanting your cell phone. Homes get broken into by thieves looking for cash, jewelry, etc. You will notice almost every house in Ecuador has bars over the windows. I’ve even had a couple of cows stolen. Be careful when coming out of the bank. Sometimes thieves will be watching for the opportunity to snatch your recent withdrawal. Most of the time by taking precautions, one can avoid becoming a victim. It’s just some extra steps you normally wouldn’t have to take back home.

  2. I think the article has good and accurate points except for Aunt Jemima — That stuff is not maple syrup. It’s a substitute for real maple syrup, and many people love it but it’s not the same thing as having real maple syrup. You can find Aunt Jemima in Cotacachi where we have a store which caters to expat tastes and brands, but I’ve not seen any real maple syrup around here.

  3. Only thing I miss are spices like chili powder, allspice ,good sour cream and cream cheese and vitamin selections such as fenugreek that I use for balancing blood sugar, and a few others; however, all necessities are here and the good people here make up for ones who are thieves and material things not found. Country is lovely, freedoms are great and healthier foods available in abundance make up for minor things missing.

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