A Guide to Ecuador for digital nomads and remote workers

Things are changing at a rapid pace, and chances are, the post-pandemic world will adopt many of the habits we’ve become accustomed to since the early lockdowns of 2020. Something that has certainly gained traction these last two years is remote working, which has, in turn, churned out many a digital nomad. 

Digital nomads, you may have heard the term, is very much linked to travel. Once office life turns “so 2019”, attending your meeting from anywhere you want to -literally- is now not only an enticing idea, but a viable possibility. Connecting with colleagues or your boss can be done from a cabin at the beach, a country house, and, if you work out the time zones, the very ends of the world…. So, travel up… the digital nomad revolution is here. And Ecuador is a great place to put your digital nomad mettle to the test.

Ecuador for Digital Nomads at a glance

How exotic a place is Ecuador? How “nomadic” will it make you feel? Well… very. It offers the best of both worlds. It is exotic. Full of exciting destinations. Full of variety… some say the entire world fits into this small wormhole-of-a-country… and they it’s not an exaggeration. Wanderbus knows this well, and if you stick with us and read along, we’ll show you just how spectacular, diverse, and comprehensive a destination this is. But that’s only part of the story… because Ecuador is also very modern, up-to-par in terms of technology… and ready for all digital nomad needs. 

Pros & Cons to being a Digital Nomad in Ecuador

The pros are literally countless. Moving around in Ecuador is such a breeze. Ecuador is a small country, well overlooked by the tourism industry in general… so it’s a great place to make home and to feel at home without feeling like a “tourist”. Be it for a short period –a several-week stay (which will literally make you feel like you’ve only scratched the surface of this country); a many-month foray; or, why not, a move that can change your life and last years; Ecuador is a fascinating destination, as you will discover across our website… 

So, perk number two, there’s everything: beaches, cloud forests, dry forests, tropical jungles, cold weather, humid weather, spring-like weather, seas, mountains, cities big and small, villages, long-lost forest communities… and after you’ve seen all that: the Galapagos Islands. And all of this located in a country that is smaller than Italy… There are excellent roads through most of it and a three-to-four hour drive can take you half the way across the country. 

So be nomadic all you want in Ecuador, cause there’s certainly a lot of room for discovery.

Now, the cons. Well, the only real con for digital nomads in Ecuador is the availability of internet in ALL destinations. For most, there is excellent cellular connection and in all major cities, WIFI and fiber optic technology is available. However, there are remote sites –the middle of the jungle, namely… or sometimes high elevation, remote mountain inns– where internet falters. But these sites are conveniently not far from major cities. This is a unique possibility that no other place on Earth can offer. The Ecuadorian Amazon, for example, is the most accessible piece of Amazonia in the world. In less than four hours from Quito, the capital, you’re already there. What does that mean? Well, if you want to “disconnect” for a while, that’s not even half.a-day away. And you can quickly get back to make it to your meetings!          

Remote Work in Ecuador: where to go

Once you’ve figured out the terms of your nomadic lifestyle with your employer and you’ve secure an income, remotely, Ecuador, and its many destinations, certainly proves an enticing exhilarating “remote” hub to move around the country (and, if you so wish, other Latin American countries as well).   

If you’re a beach lover —if you like the sea, the palm trees, the tropical weather— there are several destinations for you. Manta is probably on the top of our list. It’s an important port city, with all necessary infrastructure in decent to excellent accommodations, including beach front condos and hotels… a great place to call home and set out and explore, with a fascinating history and amazing food. 

Puerto López is also an important travel destination, known for its close distance to some of Ecuador’s most beautiful beaches and its only coastal National Park, Machalilla National Park. A little south from here, find Montañita, a world-renown surf town, known for its rave culture and Bangkok-style street life. Though Montañita gets all the attention, we recommend Olón, if you’re seeking a nice, small beach town to settle in; located only minutes from Montañita, it offers a much calmer, community-based vibe. 

South of here, comes the important port city of Salinas. While Olón and Montañita, are small beach towns, Salinas, like Manta, offers amenities, commerce, restaurants, and high-grade infrastructure, which equates to more comfort… though, perhaps, less ambience. It’s the go-to holiday destination for residents of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, found an hour-and-a-half inland. Guayaquil is the country’s commercial hub. A typical tropical capital, with all the noise and hustle and bustle.

In the Sierra, or mountains, Quito and Cuenca are your main nomad hubs, for sure. Both are beautiful cities —Cuenca arguably Ecuador’s most beautiful city— featuring all the necessary digital nomad perks. Smaller popular destinations for people wishing to live and work remotely from Ecuador include Cotacachi and Otavalo, two hours north of Quito; Baños, in the eastern (Amazonian) corner of the country; or Loja and Vilcabamba, in the extreme south, near Peru. These are all smaller, foreigner-friendly sites which have already been colonized by digital nomads from around the world.         

Coworking in Ecuador

Coworking is a growing phenomenon in Ecuador, especially in its major cities Quito, Cuenca, and Guayaquil. There are many new options for rental spaces, from small offices and shared houses to full-blown companies, such as IMPAQTO, dedicated to offering the office space in Quito in handsomely-appointed buildings full of charm.    

The cost of living in Ecuador

Ecuador is quite interesting in terms of quality of life and cost of living. One thing to know is that the country runs on the US Dollar. That rids Americans of the conversion rate chaos that can muddle a stay in other parts of the “exotic” world. Of course, that means that some things can be more expensive than in other countries with more depreciated currencies. However, things are still cheaper in Ecuador than in most of the developed world. 

Most apartment rentals for one to two people in a good neighborhood in any city, including the capital Quito, go for less than $400. Hi-speed Internet plans are between $25-50 per month; as well as cellular phone plans. What’s always a nice surprise, of course, is the food. Vegetables and fruits are dirt cheap and of excellent quality, including not only your tropical favorites but items that we associate with other latitudes, like apples, strawberries or more. There are more and more organic options throughout the country, and prices for organic produce, though higher, are still reasonable. 

Things only get a tad overpriced when dealing with imported goods. Though Ecuador produces most things at some level, good wine, for example, comes from Argentina or Chile. The same happens with equipment (computers, cameras, brand clothing, etc); so, it’s probably best you buy these items in your home country.

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Dear Wanderers! Like many travel businesses, the pandemic has proved very challenging for us. We have therefore decided to cease operating for now. We are determined to return soon, stronger and more passionate than ever, dedicating to creating amazing experiences for wanderers like you and positive impact wherever we go. We are looking for new partners for our next chapter, so, if you’re interested, send us an email to nponce@wanderbusecuador.com. Gracias!