I'm a single woman in her early 60s considering retirement in Banos or southern Ecuador. For anyone who has lived or traveled there, do you have any recommendations? Safety considerations? I am more interested in acclimating to their culture than living like an American.
Hi Jamie, I lived in Quito, Ecuador for 4 1/2 months a few years ago, and visited Banos a number of times when I was there. Banos was one of the places (of the many I visited) that I felt safest. It is a fairly small community, and all of the locals seemed to know each other (native Ecuadorians as well as Americans and Europeans who had relocated). Banos sees a lot of tourists, so there is always a buzz of activity and people to travelers to talk to, but it is fairly easy to drop off the map on the outskirts of town. Especially if you want to acclimate to the culture, out of the big cities is the best and most authentic way to do so.
Baños is popular as a tourist destination for both locals and foreigners. It's quite a safe place if you compare it to any of the larger cities in Ecuador. Having said that, you still have to keep your wits about you wherever you go in Ecuador.
It's best if you can speak Spanish if you want to live like a local there. You cannot entirely get away from the touristy crowd there, as the town is that way by nature.