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Yes, Ecuador is Still a Bargain, but Not for Partying

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.

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Monday 26th of September 2016

I have been coming to Manta , Ecuador for 26 years. It is now September, 2016. I'm paying the same price here in Ecuador as I do in Pittsburgh,Pa. The dollar has caught and prices being abused by the rich people here who control the prices, nit the government anymore.

Luther Beckett

Friday 15th of April 2016

It's damn near inevitable that I go to Ecuador. Looks like beer it is. Don't drink much these days anyway, and other 'substances' are priced well, from what I've read.


Monday 22nd of October 2012

Nobody making Vodka or Rum locally? Sounds like you need to get on that! I'd even consider it if start up cost weren't out of sight. I don't drink though and have no idea how to start such a thing...

Nice to see thing are still very affordable. Its a shame though that many Americans will be right where they are today in five years.

Its simple if you can't afford to live in America, move somewhere you can afford, but that falls on deaf ears or overt concerns with children, aging parents, etc, etc, etc.