"Is Ecuador one of the Best Countries to Retire and Live in?"
Ecuador is a country in Northwestern South America, with a Pacific Ocean coastline, lying on the Equator between Colombia, to the northeast, and Peru, to the south and east.
Cotopaxi the world's highest active volcano. Many cities, and sites are integrated in a prestige Unesco World Heritage Sites. Such cities, and best known places are the Galapagos Islands, and the city of Cuenca.
Top Cities to visit in Ecuador:
Depending on which activity you intend to persue, such city of glamour or culture are available to your choice.
* Quito - Capital. Colonial City.
* Baños- In this city you can find an active volcano having small eruptions of ash and lava. Volcano Tungurahua. There are also many hot spring mineral baths as its name would imply.
* Cuenca- The third largest city in Ecuador. Cuenca was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site.
* Guayaquil - Largest city in the country and largest port city.
* Manta - the most important seaport of the country.
* Otavalo - Small town only two hours north of Quito famous for its indigenous craft market.
* Riobamba -- Starting point of the famous train ride down the Nariz del Diablo and gateway to Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador's highest peak, whose summit is the furthest point on Earth from its centre.
* Esmeraldas - One of the most popular beaches in Ecuador.
* Bahía de Caraquez - Another popular beach.
* Loja - the oldest colonial city.
* Sucumbios or Nueva Loja - a jungle centered city.
The climate of Ecuador:
Tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands
How to get around in Ecuador:
Intercity buses travel to almost everywhere in Ecuador. Many cities have a central bus terminal, known as the terminal terrestre, where it is possible to buy tickets from the various bus lines that serve the city. Long-distance buses typically cost from $1 to $2 per hour, depending on the distance and the type of service; groups may be able to negotiate discounts. Buses are frequent along major routes. Reservations or advance purchases usually aren't needed except during peak periods such as holidays. The bathroom on the bus, if any, is usually reserved for women. However, it is permissible for men to request that the bus make a stop so that they might relieve themselves. The bus rides themselves are often quite beautiful, through mountain views in the clouds. These altitude changes cause many of the same ear pressure problems which are associated with an airplane ride.
The bus driver will stop along the way to board additional passengers. Many busses arrive at their destination with passengers standing in the aisle. There are a few first class busses, called "Ejecutivo", which cost a little more than the regular busses. They are generally more comfortable and safer.
Taxis are widely available. Taxis are generally yellow and have the taxi license number prominently displayed. Taxis in Quito have meters (fares under $1.00 are rounded up to the minimum fare of $1.00). Agree upon a price before getting in or ask the driver to use the meter (often cheaper than a negotiated rate); short trips generally don't cost more than $1 or $2, and you generally shouldn't end up paying more than $10 per hour, if that, for longer trips. Evening rates are often double. As with any country in Latin America, (or the world for that matter), don't ride an unlicensed taxi. It's a great way to get kidnapped.
Hitchhiking is possible in Ecuador. A lot of people drive pick-ups which you can easily throw your backpack into if they give you a lift. We practised it on the Panamericana from Quito to Riobamba and in the Northern Part on the coast.
On roads not frequently serviced by busses, cargo trucks may take on riders or hitchhikers, either to ride in back or in the cabin. In some cases the driver charges the going busfare, in others he may simply be taking on a rider for the company and refuse a fare.
The language of Ecuador:
Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quichua) are really only spoken by the elderly women who live in the more rural, especially mountinous, villages. English is widely spoken in hotels, restaurants and other businesses that cater to high end travelers. Ecuadorians are generally tolerant of foreigners who attempt to speak Spanish but make mistakes.
Stay safe in Ecuador:
Tourists should use common sense to ensure their safety. Most tourists who avoid flashing large amounts of money, visiting areas near the Colombian border, civil disturbances, side streets in big cities at night and that sort of thing report few problems. Probably the biggest threat in most places is simple thievery: Belongings should not be left unguarded on the beach, for example, and pickpockets can be found in some of the more crowded areas, especially the Trolébus (Metro) in Quito, in bus terminals and on the busses themselves. Busses allow peddlers to board briefly and attempt to sell their wares; however, they are often thieves themselves, so keep a close eye out for them. Hotel personnel are generally good sources of information about places that should be avoided.
Ecuador offers great opportunities for hiking and climbing, unfortunately, some travelers have been attacked and robbed in remote sections of well known climbs. Travelers are urged to avoid solo hikes and to go in a large group for safety reasons.
Stay healthy in Ecuador:
Ecuador is widely considered to be a developing country and health hazards are a significant issue. Of the most significant are foodborne illnesses, though they can easily be treated with digestive drugs such as antacids or antidiarrheals.
Bottled water is the key in Ecuador if you don't want to get sick. This doesn't only apply to foreigners who don't have the stomach for Ecuadorian food but also Ecuadorians who know that if they don't boil their water or drink it from the bottle that they can get very sick. As a result, it can be purchased almost everywhere (even in the most remote places) for well under $.025-.50. Water bottles are sometimes provided by hostels and hotels, which can be used for brushing teeth.
It is advisable to receive a typhoid vaccination, and possibly a yellow fever vaccination, depending on your specific area of travel.
Outside the major cities and tourist areas, malaria can be a problem along the coast during the rainy season.