Living Abroad in Ecuador, Where $1 Bills Go a Long Way
Kent Zimmerman
For International Living
Date: 01/31/2009

Itís probably hard for you to believe what I'm about to tell you if you're not already living abroad. After all, in the U.S., it's easy to pull $200 from the cash machine one day and wonder where it all went the next. But here in Ecuador the biggest problem we have is tracking down $1 bills.

Living Abroad in Ecuador? Stock Up on Dollar Bills

Everything is so inexpensive that no-one wants to deal with bills larger than ones. Using a $20 bill in Ecuador is akin to trying to use a $100 bill in Colorado to buy a candy bar; it can be done but itís not easy. As for using $50 or $100 bills--donít even try!

Consider this: A four-course meal--good soup, meat, vegetables, potatoes or rice, a drink and dessert--will cost you $1.90. You read that right, one dollar and ninety cents. White tablecloths, servers, delicious fresh food, in great locations all around Cuenca, for $1.90.

This is a country set back in time with all the comforts of today, and the prices and service of the U.S. in the 1950ís. A taxi into town will cost you $1.50, gas is still pumped by a helpful attendant, and Sundays are for families.

Editor's note: Real estate is inexpensive in Ecuador, too--right now you can buy a large beachfront apartment in the primary resort destination on the north coast for $73,000Öor something small for $28,000.


Here's some grocery store (Super Maxi) prices as of 9-6-09:

regular ground beef- $1.18/lb ($2.61/kg)

chicken legs- $1.35/lb ($2.97/kg)

Braun 7 cereal bread- $1.75/lb ($2.12/loaf of 1.2 lbs)

Kraft Real Mayo- $2.41/10 oz.

Del Monte Ketchup- $2.09/14 oz.

whole wheat flour- $.90/lb ($1.00/.5 kg)

white sugar- $.31/lb ($.68/1 kg)

white rice- $.82/lb ($1.93/2 kg)

lentils- $.86/lb ($.95/.5 kg)

Royal Gala apples- $.95/lb ($2.09/kg)

bananas- $.34/lb ($.75/kg)

tomatos- $.41/lb ($.90/kg)

celery bunch- $.87/large

Purina Cat Chow- $2.91/lb ($3.20/.5 kg)