Those who think life in Ecuador costs about the same as other Latin American destinations like Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, or the Dominican Republic are mistaken. Of course, how much you spend greatly depends on your personal spending habits. But Ecuador is a land where a dollar still goes a long way, and people still cherish their pennies. Food, medical and housing costs are all considerably lower than in most of the western hemisphere.
Ecuador uses the United States Dollar as its currency. The cost of living in Ecuador is one of the least expensive in the world and your dollar will go further. The cost of gasoline is $1.50 - $2.00 gallon one of the lowest in the world. A decent hotel room for two persons with private bath will generally cost about $20-40 a night and up and high end luxury hotels are plentiful in the country. If you want to travel in luxury, it won't cost much. You can also find hotels at $8 a night. An Ecuadorian once said "A man in Ecuador with a hundred dollar bill, is a man with no money" It is often difficult to find change for large bills here, so be sure to bring small bills and bring that jar of change sitting in your bedroom - it will be of great use here!
A 3-course plate lunch in a local restaurant in the street costs around $2. Many small, local families do all their grocery shopping for the month for under $150-200. (Of course, knowing how to shop, finding the deals, and shopping a lot in local markets).
Even the international fast food chains have adapted to Ecuadorian prices. For example, in Pizza Hut, you can buy a personal pan pizza for $1.50, and in KFC you can get a plate lunch with rice, beans and chicken for $1.75.
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