The Top 4 Remote Working Destinations in Ecuador
During the six years I’ve spent living in Ecuador, one of the key trends I’ve noticed is the rise in the number of digital nomads from North America and Europe.
Some of these remote workers relocated when their careers migrated online. Others arrived here in retirement and built new incomes in blogging, freelance writing, photography, or one of dozens of other online professions.
Either way, it’s easy to understand why my adopted homeland of Ecuador so appeals to this remote working set. This country remains largely undiscovered, but offers a high quality of life, all modern amenities, excellent internet, and a truly unique environment.
One of the most ecologically diverse nations on Earth, Ecuador is blessed with remarkable natural and cultural riches. You can travel to the coast to see whales migrating up the Pacific Ocean, or visit the mountain resort town of Cuenca (where I live) to enjoy the 16th-century Spanish colonial and 18th-century French architecture, or venture to the Amazon and paddle down the Puyo river to spot indigenous tribes.
Then, of course, there’s the cost of living. Rents in beautiful resort destinations can run as little as $300 to $500 a month. My electric bill averages $30 a month, fiber optic internet costs $70 a month, and there’s no need for cooling or heating bills as the temperature remains comfortable year-round. My healthcare costs $64 a month. You can get a nice lunch for $3 or a trout dinner for $5. All in, I can easily live well on $1,800 a month.
When it comes time to get down to work, Ecuador has the added advantage of being on East Coast time, so talking to clients in the U.S. doesn’t mean getting up in the middle of the night. And if you feel like escaping your home office, internet cafés dot city streets and cost just $0.50 to $1.50 per hour. Meanwhile, larger cities are now installing WiFi across their downtown areas.
If you’re ready to give up the endless, soul-sapping grind and trade it in for a more engaging, laidback, and affordable life in Ecuador, below are my recommendations for the best destinations to investigate.
Ecuador’s top beach resort, the Pacific coastal city of Salinas offers spectacular oceanfront views, excellent internet, and a low cost of living. You’ll find modern condominium buildings (which line much of Salinas’s miles-long beach), restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and discos. Plus, there’s a regular bus service to Guayaquil, only two hours away, which has an international airport. If you are looking for good internet cafés that offer privacy for remote workers, there are a number to choose from, including Café Jazz Salinas and Mis Cabinas.
With a population of 2.6 million, Guayaquil is one of the most intriguing and diverse destinations in Ecuador. The largest port in the country, the city is active and vibrant, with a great variety of restaurants and shopping, and some beautiful parks and architecture. It also boasts a large riverside boardwalk (malecón) stretching 1.5 miles, and is located near José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport.
Guayaquil was the first city in Ecuador to offer 5G. Virtually every upscale restaurant and coffee shop has good WiFi and there are plenty of coworking centers, including Guayaquil Business Central, Networking830, and Invernadero Coworking, which is near the university and attracts a younger crowd.
Home to 2 million people, Ecuador’s capital is both a vibrant business center and UNESCO World Heritage site known for its historic architecture, proximity to the equator, art and history museums, awe-inspiring cathedrals, and beautiful parks with miles of bike trails. The city has a youthful feel, with neighborhoods like Plaza Foch offering plenty of chic restaurants, coffee shops, and popular bars with internet access. The town is also blanketed with free WiFi, with 5G making its way to most of the city.
If you need a coworking space, there are plenty to try out including Selina Quito Cowork or UIOStation Coworking.
Ecuador’s cultural capital, Cuenca is a resort town located in the Andes. It’s home to a prosperous tourism industry as well as plenty of expats due to its rich architectural history, free symphonies, art and history museums, and more than 300 restaurants and shops tucked into historic structures in the Parisian-style downtown area.
The town is only 20 minutes from the Cajas Mountains, which offer hiking, downhill biking, and trout fishing. Because Cuenca is a tourist hotspot, good internet and internet cafés abound. Most restaurants in the breathtaking downtown area have free WiFi.
My two favorite internet cafés are Cafe de Ñucallacta, which serves homegrown Ecuadorian coffee and pastries, and Goza Café, where you can work upstairs alongside other expats. Coworking spaces in Cuenca include Selina Cuenca Cowork, Coworking República Sur, and Coworking Cuenca.
The face of work, and of retirement, is changing before our eyes. As workers are freed from the office, they have the opportunity to shape a life they love…in a place they want to be. And for retirees, who all too often struggle to maintain their quality of life once their careers end, an overseas move can hand them not only a better lifestyle, but a reinvigorating sense of adventure and excitement.
If you’re ready to live a richer, more laidback life, where you never have to worry about your finances again, then you owe it to yourself to consider Ecuador.
By Donna Stiteler