Ecuador Country Profile

Passport Ranking
96/198
Passport Score
66.2
Visa-free Countries
84
Show More
Region
North and South America
Capital City
Quito

Largest City
Guayaquil
Currency
United States dollar

Languages
Spanish
Population
18.1 million

Life Expectancy
78 years
GDP (nominal)
$115.5 billion

GDP/Capita
$6,384
Cost of Living
Climate
Safety
Pollution
English Proficiency
Very cheap (2/7)
Very comfortable (1/5)
Average (4/7)
Average (3/5)
Low (4/5)

Taxation Type: Residence-based

Sovereign Research's take:

Ecuador is part of the Mercosur, allowing its citizens to obtain residency in any other Mercosur country using a simplified procedure.
Sovereign Research team members have traveled to Ecuador many times (and always liked it). 

In particular, Quito – the capital and the country’s second largest city – is a great place to visit. It is located high in the Andes Mountains, so it is never too hot there despite being located right on the equator. (“Ecuador,” as you may know, translates as “equator” from the Spanish.) 

Quito’s old town is one of the prettiest urban centers you will find in South America. The rest of the country is also lovely – places like Vilcabamba, Guayaquil and Cuenca, all have a lot to offer.

Most impressive, perhaps, are the Galapagos Islands. The archipelago justifiably ranks among the top bucket list items in the world. Each island has its own compelling topography and ecosystem. On one, you’re standing on otherworldly, volcanic rock. On another, pristine white-sand beaches dominate the landscape.

But you most probably won't settle in Galapagos – it is a restricted zone.

Instead, pay attention to Cuenca – a highly livable city of nearly 750,000 people with a rich artistic and intellectual bent. It sits at about 2,500 meters (~8,000 feet) above sea level, and its temperatures range from the high 40s to low 70s Fahrenheit, year-round. 

Many North American retirees and digital nomads found their way to Cuenca, attracted by the surprisingly inexpensive lifestyle, great climate and the surrounding natural splendor.

We have previously written about a young American entrepreneur that calls Cuenca home. 

Also, Ecuador (as any country near the equator) offers a solid 12 hours each of daylight and darkness, which is good for the human circadian rhythms and health. 

But we can’t praise Ecuador for its business or investment environment.

There are some opportunities for bold people to get involved in ventures in Ecuador, but at the end of the day, it is a quasi-socialist, populist country. The “free” market isn’t free of government interference.

For those reasons, Ecuador is generally not the best place to park a lot of money, or start a business (unless, for example, you are focusing on catering to expats). .

Service Providers available in Ecuador in Sovereign Research's Rolodex:

  • Immigration (residency, citizenship)
  • Tax advice (attorneys and/or accountants)
  • Corporate services (company formation, etc.)
  • Real Estate (agents, lawyers)
  • Banking contact
Obtain access by signing up for Sovereign Confidential

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