Ecuador is a popular destination for people who are retiring and want to decrease their costs of living while enjoying great weather year-round. The Republic of Ecuador is also well known for its affordable dental services and premium clinics. Traveling to Ecuador for dental services also gives people the opportunity to visit some beautiful locations, including the Galápagos Islands on Ecuador’s Pacific coast. Both Cuenca and Quito have one of the biggest, least-altered, and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas. In fact, Cuenca and Quito were two of the first UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites.
Ecuador has fairly reliable telephone service, with a network that provides service to most of the country, including the Galápagos Islands. Cellular coverage is provided by three different providers: Movistar, Claro, and CNT. These companies cover almost all of the country, and they all sell both monthly and prepaid plans. They can also provide modems and mobile internet packages. It’s a good idea to purchase a local SIM card if you’ll be staying in the country for a while. Ecuador’s electricity is 110 volts and plugs are usually the same kind as are used in the United States, that being the two-pronged flat type, so US visitors don’t usually need any adapters.
Internet access is easily available in major cities and in popular tourist locations. Larger hotels have access, and there are plenty of Internet cafes around as well. English is also commonly spoken in major cities (i.e. Cuenca and Quito), especially at hotels and restaurants. Dental providers also usually speak English as well.
The Dental Industry in Ecuador
Ecuador has a good healthcare system as well as high quality dental care for a fraction of the cost in comparison to the United States and other countries. Medical professionals are highly qualified and often have been trained in the US or in Europe before returning to Ecuador to practice their professions. This has attracted many people to travel to this little South American country for their medical and dental care. With low prices for excellent care, as well as the many great tourism opportunities that Ecuador provides, it’s a great choice for a lot of people.
You’ll be able to find most of the same procedures that are common in the United States. Whether you need fillings, crowns, root canals or more complex procedures like bridges and implants, you’ll be able to have them done in Ecuador for a fraction of the cost.
There are many different reasons that people choose Ecuador for their medical or dental needs. Cosmetic surgery is common, as well as oral surgery. There are many well-qualified dental oral surgeons, so wait times are generally minimal, and costs are typically 60% to 90% less than prices in the United States. These appealing prices for great, well-qualified dental surgeons make Ecuador a prime dental tourism destination. Cuenca and Quito are the two major cities in Ecuador that have the best options for inexpensive, high-quality dental care (Cuenca’s large Expat community of nearly 10,000 North Americans living there being the preferred one for foreigners at that!).
It’s becoming more common for dental clinics to have an online presence, especially if the office caters to foreigners. In the major cities, you’ll find plenty of English speakers, especially in areas that have significant expat populations, and if you know or meet any expats, they’re often a good source for recommendations. It isn’t hard to find a good dental clinic in Ecuador, but if you want to make sure that they have English-speaking staff, or can do certain less common procedures, talking to the locals is a great way to confirm what you need and where to get it done.
Getting To Ecuador
There are two international airports in Ecuador. Quito’s airport, Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Sucre (UIO), is about 38km east of the city’s center. Aeropuerto Internacional José Joaquín de Olmedo (GYE) is in Guayaquil, only a few kilometers from downtown – those who are traveling to Cuenca for their dental or medical procedures will want to fly into Guayaquil since it’s only a 3 hour drive from the Airport to Cuenca through the breathtaking Cajas Mountains.
TAME Airlines is the country’s main airline. It has a good safety record with its fleet of modern aircraft, including Airbus, Boeing, and Embraer models. LATAM Airlines, the largest airline in Latin America, has international flights to New York and cities in many countries in South America, including Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru, as well as Ecuador.
Outside of Latin America, there are a few places that do have direct flights to Ecuador’s international airports. In the United States, flights to Quito and Guayaquil depart from Atlanta, Miami, and Houston. In Europe, direct flights leave from Amsterdam and Madrid. The busy season is July-September, as well as December, so flights will be a bit more expensive at those times.
Quito and Lima or Quito and La Paz are both popular combinations for “open-jaw” tickets, which allow you to travel from your arrival point to your departure point on your own, which is great if you’re planning on visiting other locations during your South American vacation.
Ecuador has many historical and cultural attractions, as well as a wide variety of nature to explore. The small country has everything from beautiful Pacific beaches to tropical rainforests, and even volcanoes. The cultural history of Ecuador is diverse, including Incan and Spanish influences that are still visible today in many places. Cities display beautiful colonial architecture, and native traditions remain a part of village life.
Ecuador has several National Parks that offer many activities such as hiking, biking, and kayaking, as well as the opportunity to see a huge diversity of plant and animal life. Cotopaxi National Park (Parque Nacional Cotopaxi) is named for its massive active volcano, Cotopaxi. The park also contains the smaller Sincholagua and Rumiñawi volcanoes. Cajas National Park (Parque Nacional Cajas) is great for hikers or mountain bikers, with plenty of trails through its valleys and hills. It also has over 270 glacier-fed lakes and lagoons, with some great places for canoeing and kayaking. Podocarpus National Park is often called the “Botanical Garden of America” because of its ecological diversity. There are more than four thousand species of plants and trees, as well as a variety of wildlife, in the humid mountain forest environment. It’s a great place to see Ecuador’s national tree, the famous cinchona, which produces quinine, a treatment for malaria.
A trip into the Andes Mountains to see the amazing Nariz del Diablo (“the Devil’s Nose”) is a must. The train trip through the mountains is unlike anything else you’ve ever seen. The sightseeing is unparalleled as it zigs and zags through switchbacks, climbing the nearly-vertical mountain to a viewing station at the top. The trip includes a visit to the Puñuna Condor Museum, where you can witness the culture of the Andes, with displays and exhibits about the rich history of the indigenous people.
Finally, the most famous natural site in Ecuador is the Galapagos Islands. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an archipelago of volcanic islands. Their isolation has created a unique ecosystem with a wide variety of animals, including many different species of birds, as well as sea lions, marine iguanas, penguins, and the islands’ namesake, the giant tortoises. There are strict controls on access to the islands, but there are certified tour guides who can help you witness the beauty of this unique place.
Cities and Towns To See
Cuenca: There are plenty of reasons why Cuenca is appealing to expats. One is that the city is very pedestrian-friendly. Downtown Cuenca is easy to walk, and there are also taxis and buses available for very low prices. Here are some insider tips for riding the bus in Cuenca. It can be a simple and economical way to get around the city.
Cuenca’s aesthetics are also quite striking. With a mix of modern and colonial architecture, parks and plazas, open air markets, and a river that borders the downtown area, as well the beautiful Cathedral of Immaculate Conception that has all the elegance of any European cathedral, you’ll find plenty to enjoy.
There is a vibrant arts culture in Cuenca. You can visit a variety of museums, handicraft markets, restaurants, and more. Almost every weekend, you’ll be able to find a music festival or a cultural event to attend. Entry fees are often free or just a couple of dollars per person. The local symphony is a popular event, and it puts on free performances in many beautiful locations around the city.
Quito: This historical city is the historic Andean capital of Ecuador. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and has a lot of beautiful colonial architecture to explore. Many of its old churches are worth visiting, especially La Compania de Jesus Church, which is considered by UNESCO to be one of the top 100 most important buildings in the world. Another beautiful church to visit is Quito’s cathedral, Basílica del Voto Nacional. Quito is known for its beautiful public squares, like Plaza Grande and Plaza San Francisco. Calle La Ronda is another popular destination: the street is lined with great restaurants and cafés, as well as art galleries and theaters.
Quito is home to some world-class museums, as well as some beautiful monuments and palaces. If these interest you, check out the Convent Museum of San Francisco, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Municipal Palace, the Presidential Palace, and Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World) Monument. The city is a great place to shop as well, with local artisans producing everything from clothing to wood carvings and ceramics.
Baños de Agua Santa is named for its numerous hot springs and it’s a popular tourist spot in central Ecuador. The town is surrounded by jungle, hot springs, and waterfalls, which you can visit from town along trails that cross over rivers with rope bridges. The views of waterfalls and deep pools from these bridges are simply breathtaking. There are opportunities for mountain biking, whitewater rafting, kayaking and hiking in the area as well.
Otavalo City is famous for its handicrafts. The indigenous people, the Otavolos, make a variety of stone and wood carvings, jewelry, and textiles. The Plaza de Ponchos holds a market every Saturday, and in June, the city holds a music festival called Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun), which features local musicians and native instruments, so it’s definitely worth a visit.
Salinas is a coastal city with a year-round warm climate that makes it a popular destination for beach-goers. Bahía is another great tourist town, with plenty of hotels and a great entertainment scene, as well as beautiful beaches. Montañita is popular with younger tourists, especially surfers. It’s located in the south coastal region of Ecuador. Families can travel a bit further south to find some more quiet beaches near the fishing village Ayangue.
Ecuador is a beautiful country with many great destinations, and so whether you’re interested in historical monuments, nature activities, or local handicrafts, there’s sure to be something for you. Thus, if you’re investigating the world of dental tourism, you’ll find that Ecuador offers excellent services, great prices, as well as plenty to do on your trip.
Adam Elliot Altholtz serves as Administrator & Patient Coordinator of the “Find Health in Ecuador Dental Clinic” in Cuenca, Ecuador, and for purposes of discussing your Dental needs or questions, is available via email at email@example.com, via US phone number of 1-(941)-227-0114 or on the Clinic’s Ecuador phone number of 07-410-8745.