Many people thinking about moving to Ecuador want to know about cost of living. There is a lot of dated and bad information out there in this regard.
Cost of living also varies GREATLY by region. Guayaquil and Quito for example are much more expensive than Loja and other places. Cuenca is more comparable to Loja, but cost of living in Cuenca is higher.
While we would be happy to chat with you about cost of living in other parts of the country – in this piece I will give you as complete a rundown as I can based off of prices here in Loja as of November/December 2015.
Rent: for a furnished, international quality, 2-3 bedroom apartment, you can expect to pay $350-$600/mo. The equivalent in a 3-6 bedroom house $500-$1,000/mo.
Utilities: Electricity and water are incredibly cheap. For a house you can expect to pay $15-$40/mo. for both.
Gas: There is currently a subsidy (which may or may not be going away) for gasoline. Diesel and regular unleaded are just over $1/gallon. Gas for cooking costs $1.75/tank. Each tank will last you a couple of months for normal household use.
Food: Food is also exceptionally inexpensive. Examples – for a pound of organic beans at the market I pay $1.25. Organic oranges, depending on the time of year, vary from 10 for a dollar when its not orange season to 30 for a dollar when it is. Organic, free-range eggs cost 20-30 cents each. Potatoes are normally 5lbs/$1. For the best cut available of local, grass fed beef I pay $3.75/lb. (there are much cheaper options for lower quality cuts). Organic chard is 25 cents a bunch. Peas are around $1/lb. Cilantro, thyme, rosemary, basil are all 25 cents/bunch. Tomatoes are normally 3 pounds for a dollar. Lunch, which includes soup, a main course, and a drink is normally $2.50-$3.00. A main course at a nice restaurant for dinner would range between $4.00-$14.00, often around $6.00-$8.00.
Taxis cost $1.25 for most rides. They can go up from there based on distance.
A bus ride is 30 cents.
A normal visit to a veterinarian to have shots done or stitches for a pet costs $10-$20.
The going rate for a day of labor is around $20.
For a beautiful, street level, brand new 72 square meter (775 square foot) office space on arguably the most attractive street in Loja we pay $700/mo., utilities included.
For my daughters’ private school, which is one of the best in the city, I pay around $170/mo.
Ballet, or other after school classes such as tennis or taekwondo cost around $30/mo.
To travel by van to Cuenca with no stops is $12. $7.50 by bus.
A one-way plane ticket to Quito or Guayaquil is approximately between $30-$80 depending on how far in advance you book.
To travel to Vilcabamba or Malacatos by shared taxi service – $2.25.
I hope this helps provide some accurate information as to prices and therefore cost of living in Loja.