Living in Quito Ecuador, The Pros and Cons

Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, is a popular place to live for expats from all over the world. We’ve spent a lot of time exploring the city and surrounding areas, and we lived in one of the suburbs for almost 2 years.

It’s a big city with almost 2 million people and it has all the amenities you would expect from a big city, including a new Metro rail system.

However, even though Quito is a great place to live, there are some downsides that you need to consider before calling it home.

In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of Quito, Ecuador to help you decide if it’s the place you want to live abroad.

Watch Our Video About the Pros & Cons of Quito, Ecuador

Living in Quito: The Pros

View of Cathedral and surrounding neighborhood in Quito Ecuador

Here are the things that you might love about living in Quito.

Conveniences: Quito is a big city so you can find most things you need. There are  large malls and a variety of specialty shops, plus small mom and pop stores in the neighborhoods making it easy to get what you need without driving all over the city.

Culture: If you love cultural activities then Quito is the right place for you! There is much to experience, from museums, historical sites, art galleries, to the national ballet, and more. Quito is a haven for cultural enthusiasts.

Mitad del Mundo Quito EcuadorActivities: Quito provides a plethora of activities. Explore the historic Centro Historico, take a ride on the Teleferiqo, visit the iconic Mitad del Mundo, or enjoy a leisurely stroll through Parque La Carolina. There’s hiking, cycling, classes, and a variety of day trips.

Global Connectivity: Quito has an international airport with direct flights to the United States, Europe, Mexico, and other countries in South America.

After flying through multiple airports we are even more impressed with the efficiency

and the quality of the airport. It is quick and easy to get through security, go through customs, and pick up your luggage.

There are always taxis outside and they are safe.

View of the city with neighborhoods and high rise buildings in Quito EcuadorDiverse Neighborhoods: Whether you seek the vibrancy of urban living or the tranquility of the suburbs, Quito offers diverse neighborhoods catering to various preferences and budgets.

Some popular neighborhoods within the city are Centro Historico, La Floresta, and La Carolina.

The suburbs are in the valley and they are approximately 20 to 30 minutes from Quito by car. Popular areas include Valle de los Chillos, Tumbaco, and Cumbayá.

Living in Quito: The Cons

Now for the downsides of living in Quito Ecuador.

Safety Considerations: While certain areas are safe, Quito does come with safety considerations. Being aware of your surroundings is crucial, as safety levels can vary across neighborhoods.

Traffic Challenges: With a population of around 2.5 million, traffic congestion is a daily reality in Quito. Navigating the city streets requires patience and strategic planning.

View of Quito, Ecuador from mountain Elevation and Weather: The elevation of Quito is 9400 feet! The sun can be very strong at times. It can also be cloudy, cold, and rainy. You can have strong sun and cold temps in the same day so you’ll need sunscreen and layers.

If you struggle at high elevation or don’t like cloudy and cold weather, consider moving to the valley. In general it is much sunnier, warmer, and drier.

The elevation is still high, around 7000 feet, but the difference is noticeable and much more pleasant, at least to us!

Cost of Living: Quito tends to be pricier than Cuenca, Cotacachi, and smaller cities and towns in the mountains of Ecuador. Depending on your lifestyle, the cost of living may impact your budget.

Clouds over mountain in Quito, EcuadorLanguage Barrier: There are English speakers in Quito, especially in the tourist areas but you’ll still need to learn some Spanish. We’ve found the most English speakers in Cuenca.

Final Thoughts…

The elevation in Quito proper is too high for JP so we decided to settle in the valley. We enjoyed living in that part of Ecuador and being so close to the airport was a big plus, but we still prefer Cuenca for its affordability, safety and high quality of life.

It can be more expensive in parts of Quito so if you’re looking for a more budget friendly option, Cotacachi, Loja, or Cuenca might be a better fit for you.



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Amelia Basista
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I grew up in the Chicagoland area and spent most of my career working as a sales rep in the commercial lighting industry. I still work online for a company in Denver doing sales CRM administration. YouTube is my part-time gig, but I'm so happy we can share our Unconventional Life and hopefully inspire you live yours!

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