marketI’m currently in Quito, Ecuador, where it’s only taken me one full day to confirm that most prices are pretty much where they were last time I was here a few years ago. (See Travel Prices in Ecuador.)

The fact they use the U.S. dollar as their currency helps, but there’s also low inflation and the country grows a lot of its own food. All the fruit pictured at the top was selling for $1 a pound or less in the market.

Gasoline is heavily subsidized, which helps keep the costs of transportation down.

eggs for a dollar

There’s one big change though that everyone is talking about: the price of alcohol. It has roughly doubled this year for anything imported.

Theories abound as to whether this was a sin tax to bring down consumption and raise revenues or just a way to keep more money in the country. The bottom line though is that imported brands—which is almost all of them—now often cost more than you would pay in your own country. This includes wine from Chile and Argentina, which is universally a great deal across the rest of the continent.

Ecuador has a wealth of tomatoes and sugar cane, so you’d think they could do some decent vodka and rum at least, but no go yet.

For now, there are few solutions. Bring in duty free bottles. Drink local brands (usually lousy). Drink beer.

That last one is probably the best choice as the beer is decent and it’s made in-country. No import taxes.