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GringosAbroad No More: Why Bryan & Dena Left Ecuador shares the best travel insights, facts, and photos. When you use our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

One week ago today we (along with 7 large bags of luggage, 2 bikes and our dog) left Ecuador, and not just for a vacation. It was very difficult and emotional for our whole family. This was first published in April, 2015.


View from our deck in Santa Isabel Ecuador

The Sunday before, we packed everything and sold off all our belongings. Many of our friends came over to see us off.

We cried almost all the way from Santa Isabel (a small town about an hour outside of Cuenca) to Cuenca!


At the airport in Quito with all our bags

We couldn't leave Chica the “super puppy” behind!


Chica at the Quito airport

We were a little worried about how Chica would make out on the trip (it was over 24 hours long!) but she did just fine 🙂

Why We Moved Back To Canada

Moving back to Canada was not in the plans. I couldn't count the times that we talked about buying land and building a home in Yunguilla. We were happy we moved to Ecuador and we wanted to stay.

We didn't think anything could uproot us, especially after we got over the robbery! But life in a foreign country can be challenging (as can life anywhere) and it can throw you a curve ball you weren't expecting. Health problems were our curveball.

My health had been getting increasingly worse and we realized that we had to make a change. Our doctor recommended that we return to Canada to get treatment. Because much of our money was tied up in our investment for residency, my doctor wrote a letter which enabled us to break the investment contract early giving us the money we needed to move back to Canada and receive treatment.

My health problem is not new – I had it before moving to Ecuador – but it had gotten significantly worse over the past year. We aren't sure how long recovery will take and what I'll be able to handle in the future.
So here we are back in Canada.

We went from this…


The park in Santa Isabel, Ecuador

To this…


An unusually snowy April in N.S. Canada

Are We Sad To Be Back In Canada?

Are we sad to be back in Canada? Yes and no.

We loved so many things about our life in Ecuador and we miss our friends terribly, but it's also nice to be back close to family and friends here.

We are enjoying the comfort of familiar surroundings, and our daughter is enjoying rediscovering everything. She was 8 when we moved and is 14 now, so in many ways Ecuador felt like home to her, memories of Canada were fuzzy. Although it was hard for her to leave and she misses it, she is very happy to be back.

She is also enjoying the snow, it's April 8th and there is still snow!

We will never forget how amazing life was in Ecuador and all the friends we made, it will forever be part of who we are!

What Are Our Future Plans?

We don't really know exactly what the future holds for us, or when we will be able to return to Ecuador.

Living there changed us for the better. We have a different outlook now, and we also learned new skills (like blogging) which will help us live a more simple life than we were before we moved.

We still have lots to share about Ecuador so we will keep blogging about it. Stay tuned for lots more posts, experiences and videos.

We want to say thank you to everyone who followed our life there, and we hope that this blog continues to help people discover Ecuador.

Your Turn

Have you also had to move back to your home country? How did it make you feel? Please share with everyone by commenting on this post.

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Tuesday 5th of January 2021

I was looking at doing a pet sit in Ecuador. It was to be a recce tour to help me decide whether or not I would like to move there as a retiree resident. The woman I first exchanged emails with lives in Cuenca and gave me a lot of personal information. She loves Cuenca. One thing she mentioned is that retirees can buy different levels of what might be called 'top up' medical insurance. Different costs for different options. This woman mentioned she has the most expensive top up insurance, and has complete coverage at the best private hospitals. She pays more per month for her insurance than many people pay for their rent. That said, rents are relatively cheap, and her insurance is a lot less than my friends pay for their medical insurance in the USA. She has used this insurance and was extremely happy with her treatment. Apparently there are hispanic people in Cuenca, and I imagine other towns and cities, who specialize in helping immigrants find the right top up insurance for them. This is second hand knowledge, but her account of experiences in using her insurance were very positive. She stressed that she has the highest level of top up insurance, but she feels it's worth it, at a fraction of what one would pay here in Australia. I repeat that she is retired and she pays a premium for private health care on top of the public care.


Tuesday 5th of January 2021

I sincerely hope that your health improves and your options in life increase. Thank you for your posts, all 3 of you, and insights, reminders, local knowledge ... Wishing you all the best in 2021.

Bryan Haines

Saturday 9th of January 2021

Thanks Chey.


Friday 21st of February 2020

Bryan & Dena, Thank you for your blog! I have started to use many of the recourses that you’ve recommended for language learning. The countless amount of information has made me feel a bit more confident in my family’s future move to Ecuador!! Thank you, thank you!!!!!!!

Douglas Vasey

Friday 15th of March 2019

Sorry you had to do that, Actually we came down to Ecuador for medical treatment. I don't know your issue, but you could research SAMMI Medical (Dr. Pesantez) in Cuenca.

Bryan Haines

Saturday 16th of March 2019

Thanks Douglas. I'm glad things worked well for you.


Saturday 13th of May 2017

Hi Dena, Great to see your site, I found your site through an organic Google search for "Ecuador cheap oil prices" and somehow ended up signing up to Airbnb through your link, truly hope you get credit for that with Airbnb as it seems you've devoted great amount of time with this resourceful blog. Best wishes and hope you're doing much better in health and up there in Canada ;) Regards from the Caribbean and US!

Tony Tyler

Wednesday 8th of August 2018

Dear Dena, International Living and Statistica both provide international Healthcare ratings in which Ecuador always appears within the top two places and the USA about 40-50th position. However, it would appear that the reality must be different. It is true that I and my wife are both seniors, with livable pre-existing conditions. Based upon the results of the US elections this coming November, we may be forced to live elsewhere should our monthly medical expenses exceed our monthly social security payments. Ecuador has always seemed an attractive alternative with its relatively low cost health insurance compared with social security incomes. But what is the real truth? Is it simply that living on Ecuadorian salaries, healthcare is really expense and major operations are essentially out of sight for Ecuadorians, but easy for retired expats to manage financially? Or is the Ecuadorian level of capabilities that is simply at a lower level than we could find in Canada or the US? I am a Canadian Citizen living in the US and contrary to many, my view of US healthcare (using a medicare advantage program) is the best I have received in the world. This includes the UK (I am still a British Citizen, the Philippines where I was resident for a few years and Canada.) My 72 yr old wife is about to have a disc surgically replaced by a decompression disc and two vertebrae screwed and stabilized. A $100,000 operation that will not cost us $1. Pretty remarkable! But the future looks extremely dim under the current progressive oligarchic government. We thought of moving back to Canada, but housing costs are higher than where we currently live in Las Vegas. Even Britain looks expensive c.f. Ecuador. I would really appreciate whatever comments you would be prepared to share as to the limitations of the Ecuadorian health system. Best Wishes on improving your own health and returning that good old get up and go, that has enabled you to sample the world!