At this time of the year the IL often present us with good food for thought in the form of a retirement abroad index for the coming year.  So if you’re approaching retirement, or you just want to plan ahead and start thinking about where you can put your feet up in perpetual sunshine and luxury, IL is here to help with its Best Place to Retire Abroad tip.

Whilst the publication is North American facing, it can open the eyes of us Brits by making us consider countries way outside our usual perspective as a good place to live abroad when we retire.  For example, in this year’s Best Places to Retire Index the top three nations are Ecuador, Panama and Mexico.  Certainly not hot on the majority of Brits’ agendas when looking for somewhere to retire abroad to…

Taking our inspiration from International Living’s findings therefore, here is why Ecuador is the best place to retire abroad – and why it actually deserves at least a second, much closer look as potential retirement abroad destination by more Britons.

Why is Ecuador so Popular?

Not only the darling of IL’s Best Places to Retire 2015 Index, but chosen by members of InterNation’s community as the best place in the world to live in 2014, Ecuador has so much in its favour.

In fact, it’s probably easier to start by touching on the negatives, as there are almost too many positives to list!

So, Ecuador is certainly very different to the UK – if you’re not prepared for major change you may well find Ecuador a step too far.

Ecuador is also a long way away from UK and a relatively expensive destination to reach.  It requires between 1 and 3 changes depending on the route you favour as well.  This means that it’s practically a one-way ticket – you’re not going to want to pop back and forth between Ecuador and the UK…

If you have family and friends in the UK you will need to encourage them to make the trip to see you!

You will not find any supermarkets selling British favourites in Ecuador, you will not be able to tune in regularly to watch British soap operas, and getting an English breakfast anywhere other than your own kitchen will be pretty impossible.

You will need to learn Spanish to get on well, get used to 2 distinct seasons – i.e., wet and dry – and a real consideration to keep in mind is the altitude you can encounter in Ecuador.

Some of the best destinations are seriously mountainous – which can impact on anyone with a respiratory issue such as asthma.

Other than these main issues the only other thing to keep in mind is that the infrastructure can be pretty basic.  Oh, and driving styles and the non-enforcement of some really basic traffic laws can make getting around a bit hair-raising at times!

Beyond these relatively innocuous negatives there are the many, many positives of Ecuador…

The cost of living is low – truly low.  Including the cost of property…

This means that if you’re on a tight budget or you just want to retire early perhaps, Ecuador could offer you the lifestyle you want at a price you can actually afford.

IL’s local correspondent states: “A couple can live well here on $1,400 a month, including rent.”  That’s less than £1,000 a month – for everything!

Staff – such as a housekeeper, gardener, cleaner or even a carer or live in support worker – are affordable.

The government offer financial incentives to international retirees choosing Ecuador.  Such as money off entertainment, public transport and utilities.  Over 65s can also qualify for money off flights originating in Ecuador.  This could encourage you to travel around South America if you wanted to expand your horizons still further.

The country’s economy is considered strong for the region, its healthcare services are high-grade in the main cities, decent internet access is becoming more widely available, and public transport can be relied upon, negating the requirement for a car for many.

There is a steadily growing expat contingent – albeit largely American in origin, but this does mean English is heard and spoken in the most popular expat communities.

That said, you will need decent Spanish language skills to thrive.

Because the locals are so very welcoming however, the ability of expats to integrate is widely cited by both International Living and InterNations’ correspondents as being a strong positive in the nation’s favour for relocating expats.

In Conclusion

In the last year two highly regarded and very well researched indices have independently ranked Ecuador as the best place to live/retire abroad.  Their findings should not be ignored.

If you’re looking for an emerging expat destination with massive potential in terms of lifestyle and quality of life, where the cost of living remains honestly affordable, and you’re neither put off by the distance or the language learning requirement, take a very close look at Ecuador.