Ecuador Remains One of World’s Top Retirement Destinations
According to International Living magazine’s 2014 Global Retirement Index, Ecuador is one of the top choices as a retirement destination this year, for more reasons that its temperate weather, which put it at the top of the Climate category, ahead of Malta and Uruguay. The magazine’s special projects editor notes that the towns and cities in Ecuador’s mountains, including Otavalo, Cuenca, Vilcabamba and Quito, experience the best weather due to their altitude and intensity of sunlight. Moreover, surveys undertaken in 2013 revealed that Ecuador is one of the least expensive places in the Americas and Europe, if not in the world, to retire to while maintaining a good standard of living. Reasonably priced organic fresh fruit and vegetables can readily be found at local markets and accommodation is plentiful and well-priced. Discovering the culture of the people and exploring the historic landmarks and natural wonders of Ecuador can keep retirees busy indefinitely.
A decision by the government of Ecuador to provide medical care to all citizens, irrespective of age and pre-existing medical conditions, who want to voluntarily join the country’s national health care plan, at a cost of $70 a month, is likely to be yet another incentive to those who are considering retirement in Ecuador. Managed by Ecuador’s Social Security administration, the national health plan was previously closed to anyone over the age of 60, and anyone with a pre-existing medical condition was excluded or expected to pay a higher monthly premium. But all that is set to change as the government makes provision for thousands of Ecuadorians who have worked overseas, and therefore not contributed to the Social Security program, but now want to retire back home. By extension, foreigners who retire in Ecuador may be eligible for the same benefits if they become legal citizens. Of course, this applies to medical services provided by government institutions and not private hospitals, and those in the know warn that there are likely to be teething problems as the new system is put in place. Nonetheless, the Ecuadorian government is working toward fulfilling the terms of the constitution adopted in 2008 which states that all citizens and legal residents must have access to health care.
More and more people facing retirement are finding that the provisions they have made for this time of their life are simply insufficient. Ecuador offers a viable alternative, and many retirees who have chosen to spend their golden years in this spectacular country are having the time of their lives.