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Luxury for Less in South America: Real Estate in Ecuador

For years, expatriates, retirees, and those desiring a second home have been drawn to Latin American countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama. One of the newer countries on the radar for those considering purchasing real estate abroad is Ecuador. Ecuador is a South American nation about the size of the U.S. state of Nevada, and home to about 15 million residents.

One of the main reasons for Ecuador's appeal is the extremely low cost of living and of property. Ecuador real estate is incredibly affordable: a custom-built 2000 square-foot house can cost approximately U.S. $100,000, and comfortable, modern new condominiums in desirable locations sell in the $50,000 range. North American and European natives searching for Ecuador real estate for sale will be able to find a wide range of appealing options for a fraction of what they might pay back home. Many expatriates take advantage of this by purchasing two Ecuador real estate properties: one in a city, and one in a more rural location such as the mountains or the beach.

In Ecuador, other expenses are low as well: medical and dental care, even out of pocket, is very inexpensive by U.S. standards, with the average doctor visit only costing around $15. Unlike in some other countries, expatriates in Ecuador will also have access to very modern medical care, as the hospitals and clinics in the nation's cities keep pace with those in many northern countries.

Food is similarly inexpensive, and in this land of great biodiversity, you'll find yourself using a lot of fresh produce and locally produced foods. Restaurant and other entertainment costs are also low, making it easy to have dinner out with a partner – even eating international cuisine such as sushi or Indian food – for under $20, including the tip. Gasoline runs about $2 per gallon. All told, a couple can live a relatively luxurious quality of life in Ecuador for well under $2,000 per month.

Those who are looking for Ecuador real estate won't have to sacrifice natural beauty for such a low cost of living. Situated along the spine of the Andes and adjacent to the Pacific, the country's natural diversity is breathtaking. New residents have their choice of living in the mountains, by the sea, or in one of the country's historic Spanish colonial towns or cities. The Galapagos Archipelago lies about 650 miles off of Ecuador's coast, and can be visited from the mainland. Due to the fact that most of the country's landscape is rugged and there is not an extensive superhighway system, locals often travel by plane, and you can get from the sea to the mountains on a small passenger plane for around $70.

Although modern infrastructure, such as roads, internet connectivity, and phone lines, is generally well-developed in major population centers, some of Ecuador's rural areas still have bumpy roads and slow dial-up access. Many visitors and residents, however, don't mind that, as part of the appeal of Ecuador for many is its rural, natural charm.