This week I´m checking in from Miami, FL.
First time I´ve been in the USA for a bit over three years since moving full-time to Ecuador.
And now, it´s quite clear to me what is SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper or easier to find in the USA compared to Ecuador.
What to bring with you to Ecuador?
1. Laptops. In countries like the USA, lap top computers are not just cheaper than in Ecuador, but the variety is much greater. For instance, want something specific like an i7 processor? Best buy in USA and bring to Ecuador. Maximum 2 allowed per person.
2. Cell phones. There are very strict import regulations in Ecuador on cell phones thus jacking up the local prices. Best bring from USA. You can bring a maximum 2 down per person per trip.
3. Apple products. Apple computers, iphones, ipads and anything else Apple is best brought from USA.
4. Footwear. Name-brand shoes like Nike tennis shoes can be double the price of the same shoe found in USA. Moral of the story, bring down! Womens high heels´ are often MUCH less expensive in USA, too. Bring, the local Ecuadorians already know this!
5. Cosmetic products like specific facial creams, make-up. Again, these products can be hard to find or double the price in Ecuador.
6. Lingerie. The good, name-brand stuff, even Victoria Secret, can be double or triple the price in Ecuador.
7. Name-brand jeans. Levi, Tommy, all that can be triple the price in Ecuador, and even still, when buying in Ecuador you are never quite sure if what you´re buying is REALLY authentic. Know what I mean?
8. Designer sun-glasses. Much cheaper in USA. But the cheapies for $8 that break in a few weeks can be found in Ecuador.
9. Projectors, DVD players, other specialty electronics. These type of products can be hard to find or simply double the price in Ecuador.
10. Video game systems, i.e. XBox 360, PlayStation. Often these systems can be over double the price of similar systems found in USA, plus, the games are much cheaper if bought in USA. Personally, Id buy both the system and games cheap in a pawn shop in USA, then bring down.
11. Musical equipment. A Keyboard in Fry´s of Las Vegas costs $99, the same keyboard is over double the price in Ecuador. Nuff said.
12. Fishing, hiking and other extreme sports equipment. Its not the price here, its that these type of specialty items are simply hard to find in Ecuador. Best to bring.
13. Security equipment. Systems like security cameras and other specialty home or personal security equipment are best brought from the USA.
14. Baking equipment. Specialty items like cookie-cutter molds, mixers and other items related to baking can be non-existent or far more expensive in Ecuador.
15. Designer jackets, leather, pleather, etc. More variety and cheaper in USA.
16. Specific food spices and sauces. For instance, stadium-mustard with that unique flavor is hard to find in Ecuador.
17. Liquor. Things like Tequila and many other liquors can be much cheaper in USA compared to Ecuador, but you can only bring up to 3 liters per traveler according to this recent article from the Ecuador customs (Aduana).
18. Big-screen TVs. MUCH cheaper in USA, a 32 or 40 inch TV is often half the price in USA at a place like Walmart compared to Ecuador. While a 32 inch, flat-screen LED Sony in Ecuador starts around $440, the same TV or similar can be found in USA for around half that or less! But according to the Ecuador customs, you can only bring ONE TV up to 24 inches tax-free per traveler unless you´re bringing one down in your one-time-only tax-exempt shipment from USA after attaining residency in Ecuador.
For more import restrictions for travelers to Ecuador, try this article.
What NOT to bring to Ecuador?
Almost as important as what to bring is what NOT to bring, in my hotel near the airport in Quito I meet a lot of foreigners everyday that haul things to Ecuador unnecessarily due to the fact that they are readily available or cheaper in Ecuador.
1. Sheets, pillows and bed linens. One set of sheets for a double bed in Ecuador start around $18 and are of good quality.
2. Towels. Dont bring towels, they are cheap and plentiful in Ecuador.
3. Furniture. Ecuador has some very nice and reasonably priced furniture. Most are happy acquiring here.
4. Sweaters, hats. Also plentiful and reasonably priced in Ecuador. Alpaca is the norm.
5. Belts, wallets, other leather objects. Also cheap and readily available in Ecuador.
6. Designer lamps, lighting. Ecuador also has some beautiful designs not available in USA.
7. Jewerly. Ecuador has some very nice, unique gold, silver and other options available at reasonable prices.
8. Peanut butter. It´s a myth peanut butter is hard to find in Ecuador. Actually in any big box store like Supermaxi you can find it.
Now, how to find the best-priced properties in Ecuador? For that and more subscribe to my weekly Ecuador Insiders Newsletter below, you can unsubscribe at any time: