Pema, SafetyWing’s Nomadic Content Creator, is paid to travel and document 10 amazing coworking destinations from around the world. If you want to see more about her travels through Ecuador, check out her YouTube video!
Ecuador is a stunning South American gem. Quito, the capital city, is slowly gaining popularity amongst digital nomads seeking to branch out of insular hubs like Bali or Tulum. Ecuadorian destinations like Quito and Salinas offer decent infrastructure for remote work and an authentic way to experience the country. And with spectacular mountain ranges, coastlines, and everything in between, you'll never be short of sites to explore.
There are several large cities with coworking and coliving spaces on offer. Some beautiful coastal towns also enjoy a large expat community and shared workspaces for locals and travelers. They enjoy a low cost of living, with food prices just a bit higher than in neighboring countries, like Colombia. It's generally considered safe, but petty crime can still be an issue for tourists in major cities. Staying alert and exercising good judgment is an easy way to avoid pickpocketing or bag snatching even as a solo traveler.
The Ecuador digital nomad visa requires a monthly income of $1,275 USD, allows a 2-year stay with tax exemption for work outside of Ecuador, and is simple to obtain. For those who just want to test the waters, most nationals can for 90 days on a tourist visa.
Quito has an international airport, extensive coworking and coliving options, hostels, a stunning UNESCO-protected old town, and easy access to the Andes. Another popular city is Guayaquil, a gateway to the Pacific beaches and Galapagos Islands.
There are a number of surf towns for a more laid-back type of travel. I originally planned on visiting Montañita, the surfing mecca of South America. Apart from having the best waves in Ecuador and vibrant nightlife, it's also a melting pot for locals and expats. If you’re looking for a digital nomad community, you’ll find it there. Cuenca is another popular choice, located in the sierra of the Andes.
Overall, the cost of living is low, and for American travelers, easy to convert. Ecuador uses the US Dollar! Of course, the dollar goes a bit further in Ecuador than in the US. I ate out for most meals and even thought an upscale sushi restaurant in downtown Quito was very affordable. Locals told me that food prices are inflated compared to the rest of Latin America and I might agree to some point.
Coworking in Ecuador is still up and coming, but coworking in Quito is well-established. I had a bevy of coworking spaces a short walk from my hotel. Working from coffee shops is commonplace, and most establishments I visited in Quito had fast internet and power plugs.
I spent my first morning in Ecuador at a coworking space downtown, then took a 10-minute taxi ride to the cable car station for lunch. The Teleférico took me up to about 3950 m, and from there I had a short hike up. Access to nature like this is almost impossible to imagine in most other cities in the world. The next day, I worked from another coworking space, then drove up to a mountain hut in the evening. By sunrise, I was standing at 5,790 m/19,000 ft at the highest point on the equator, the summit of Cayambe.
I'll never forget being able to go from a cosmopolitan city straight into the heart of the Andes. It was unreal climbing through the night to summit Chimborazo - the closest point to the sun - and making it back to Quito just a few hours later. For that reason alone, I'd go back to Quito in a heartbeat. And on future trips, I'd love to spend time along the surf-filled shore and visit the Galapagos.
I think most nomads would enjoy working from this coworking space for its funky aesthetic and large common areas. There was also a great cafe in the garden providing fragrant brews on top of the included drip coffee. Coworking La Floresta had a more hip interior design and a great location, but the staff and I had more difficulty understanding each other and even paying.
WorkingUP had excellent workspaces, especially for private office rent, with a staff that was very welcoming and spoke English comfortably. It's located in the downtown business district, and around the corner from a line of restaurants, most of which also have strong Wifi. WorkingUP also regularly hosts events for startups and entrepreneurs you can join.
Coffee shops to work from in Quito
Of the cafes I visited, Coffee Factory was my favorite. This coffee shop was made for coffee connoisseurs, chocolate lovers, and remote workers. Each desk is set up with a wifi QR code and power outlets. Upon arrival, you receive a chocolate tasting and spring water from the pools beneath Cotopaxi. The owner was wonderful and I really can't imagine finding a more work-friendly cafe.
Aside from these options, there were plenty more coworking spaces to choose from, as well as coliving options like Play House, Coliving Quito, and Selina. The abundance of restaurants and cafes providing high-speed internet to remote workers was impressive.
Life as a digital nomad in Ecuador is pretty sweet. The culture and local cuisine are rich, and the coworking hubs are well-developed and growing. You can still visit and feel immersed in a new culture, while making local or nomadic friends easily. The quality of life for the price is hard to beat. If you're looking for an alternative to coworking in Medellín or Mexico City, try Quito or even one of Ecuador's sleepy beach towns instead. You'll be glad you did.
For more digital nomad destinations, check out Pema's previous guide on working remotely from Funchal, Madeira.