I spent a year of college at the University of Manoa in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Recently, this month, I went back for a weekend trip, so I thought I’d take the chance to compare life in Hawaii (a truly under-rated retirement destination) to my current home, Ecuador, where I have been on and off since 2005.
I love both places, but even though they may seem similar on the surface, they are very different. Both with their pros and cons, you just have to pick your poison, like picking between a blond and brunette.
Here they are, compared:
Costs: Ecuador wins. Ecuador food, housing, public transport, healthcare and real estate are all cheaper. No personal maids in Hawaii, but you do get the typical, comfortable American style of living you may be used to.
Food: Ecuador wins. Although I LOVE Hawaiian food, Ecuador has more variety and the food is far cheaper.
Weather: Hawaii wins. Hard to compete with 74-82F degrees year round. Hawaii also gets more sun than Ecuador but Ecuador has more climatic variety, cold mountain zones, spring-like valleys, the humid Amazon and the breezy coast.
Beaches: Hawaii wins. Hard to compete here with the breathtaking beachfront cliffs and sapphire blue waters of Hawaii. Ecuador has more California style beaches with cliffs, golden sand and darker water.
People: Ecuador wins. Ecuadorian people love foreigners (especially ones from Europe, Australia and the USA) and treat them very well. In Hawaii, anyone not from Hawaii is a “Hawley” and in some of the smaller villages, local dislike for outsiders can be very apparent!
Attractiveness of the Women (and men): Hawaii wins. The surf culture of Hawaii has produced really beautiful people (both gals and guys) with cut up bodies. But Ecuador women are under-rated, many who come are pleasantly surprised. And they are more laid back and easy going than from many other Latin countries.
Real Estate: Ecuador wins. Hawaiian real estate boomed along with the mainland US from 2003-2006, and since has dropped considerably, making now an interesting time to buy. But Ecuador still wins this one!
Residency options: Hawaii wins. Obviously, being an American state, for American citizens, this one is a no brainer.
Business Opportunities: Ecuador wins. I can only speak from my own personal experiences, and Ecuador has treated me well although if you speak Japanese Hawaii might be a good place for you (there seems to be a large up-swing in Japanese tourism currently).
Healthcare: Ecuador wins. Unless you are on Medicare (which only would cover you while in the USA) Ecuador is the choice here for having much cheaper, yet still high quality options available.
Public Transport: Ecuador wins. In Ecuador buses are a quarter, and they are EVERYWHERE. Taxi fares start at $1. In Hawaii, there is a decent bus system (maybe better than ANYWHERE in the mainland US) but Ecuador still wins out here.
Expat Community: Hawaii wins. In Hawaii yo have something for everyone and people from all over the world, in Ecuador, it is still a little off the radar still.
Safety: Hawaii wins. Ecuador is safe, but being in the US, backed by the US legal system and laws, Hawaii has the edge on this one.
Hope that helps! Dom
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