Living Costs in Ecuador as an English Teacher
Ecuador uses the U.S. Dollar, and as a result many things are much cheaper than in the United States. A lunch will cost anywhere from $1.75-$3, including soup, a main course, desert and drink. A liter beer bought in a store will cost anywhere from 80 cents to $1.50. In a bar it could cost $1.50-2. A taxi could cost you $1-$3 to get across a city. But keep in mind that prices in Quito will always be higher. In most cities, you should agree to the price of a taxi before getting in, but in Quito it is sometimes better to ask them to use the meter. By law, they have to do it if you ask.
Almost everything in Ecuador is negotiable, and unless you are in a store with set prices, you shouldn’t pay the first price quoted to you. In a market it is normal to bargain, and it is not an insult to plead and try to get the price you want. If you aren’t satisfied you can walk away and not feel badly about it.
Rent Expenses in Ecuador
Rent in Ecuador will depend on the same things anywhere else in the world. What city, what neighborhood, what the apartment has to offer, etc. However, as a general rule, you should look for something in the range of $70-$300 a month. Anything higher should be a whole house. Most places do not have wireless Internet, though it is becoming more common and it is possible to get it in bigger cities. Gas and water might not necessarily be included, but most of the time they are. The most expensive cities and Cuenca are Quito, but that is relative to other cities in the country. By American or European standards, they are very cheap.
Internet connections in Ecuador are pretty poor. In cities, Internet cafes are everywhere, and the going rate is about 10 cents per 10 minutes. Even with a hard line the internet will be still be slow, so don’t count on being able to watch too many videos. If you are lucky enough to get a WiFi signal, as they aren’t that common, you’ll probably lose the connection from time to time. Attribute it to the mountains messing around with the signals or just inadequate supply, but there are still advances to be made in terms of the Internet. With that being said, more and more people are starting to get Internet into their homes, which means that it is becoming cheaper and more accessible.
Cost of Food in Ecuador
Food, as mentioned earlier, is pretty inexpensive, but if you wish to eat something besides the comida tipica, you can find other options in larger cities. Pizza, hamburgers, and fast food are common in Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca. The smaller the city, the less chances you’ll have of finding these things. And if you’re in a small village, forget about anything but what the locals are eating. In the other cities, however, a slice of pizza could go from $1-$1.75, a hamburger from $1-$2, and fast food will generally be more expensive than anything else. KFC is everywhere in Ecuador, but it’s a pricier option. Pizza Hut is another option in some cities, but it’s not like in the United States. Pizza Hut is very expensive, and the restaurant is a classy place that you go on special occasions. A large pizza costs upwards of $20. Unfortunately, the pizza itself doesn’t change much from the quality in the States.
Don’t expect to make or save money in Ecuador. While you are here you will be able to live well by other standards and get by. But you won’t go home after a year and have thousands of extra dollars in your bank account. That is generally the case in all countries in South America. You could choose to work more and barely spend your money. When you go home you might have a little extra money, but not on par with what you would have made in a year in South Korea or Japan. Yet you can still work 20-30 hours a week and live comfortably.
Videos on the Cost of Living in Ecuador
More Ecuador English Teaching Links
TEFL English teaching job listings in Ecuador
A general overview of what to expect teaching English in Ecuador
Information on visa requirements to teach English in Ecuador