Mexico, Ecuador and Peru.
I just got back from 6 months in Mexico and am right now in Ecuador and next week headed to Peru. Spent 4 months in Peru 4 years ago.
Peru is on the bottom of the 3 stack i am working for myself right now.
I am only in Ecuador to escape 4 months of Summer in Mexico and USA and i am only leaving Ecuador to Peru because my tourist welcome is only 90 days long but i have 135 days between my round trip ticket to a from Ecuador. So i will spend the extra 45 days in Peru.
All of this is just for whistling my summer time away so i can get back to Mexico on the beach. Mexico in the winter months is the best i ever had after being in 23 countries so far. Ok Hawaii is hard to beat, but homeless and broke in Hawaii can be beat in Mexico, Ecuador and Peru. Easier to afford to live flying and driving between USA, Mexico, Ecuador and Peru during the year ,than it is to live anywhere in Hawaii. Complete Cost of decent living in Mexico, Peru or Ecuador is only enough to rent a small apartment in a bad neighbourhood in Hawaii. Or just live out in a shed style cabin in the Hawaii woods without electricity, running water, and still go broke trying to keep a car going because no public transportation to get to the nearest store 10 to 20 miles away. And that doesn't even cover the volcano smoke that is a real bother every once in a while.
So Peru is the bottom of the list for me because of lesser clean living and lesser ambience of the place tainted by general low quality appearance and even smells. Ecuador seems cleaner or at least better smelling, maybe because it rains enough to wash away the year's build up of human residue. Peru, it depends on where you live, while in Ecuador it is throughout the country you get a bit better state of things. Even just the lesser presence of bad smells is a plus. Also you don't see the type of old outdated, unsafe buses that Peru allows. Ecuador has dirty Diesel belchers like Peru but not the buses that look like scrap metal patch jobs on top of a salvaged junk yard chasis. Probably shipped to Peru in pieces from other countries where the original vehicle was totaled, so they do a mix&match patch job to get a public trans bus running. And cleaned daily with straight diesel on the inside to deter rust(cheap metal used to fabricate the bus locally) from salt water air. Straight scrap metal floors and seats. Not all buses but enough of them to make a mark on parts of Peru.
People can get used to these things, but when you travel around to see the grass on the various other sides, it is easy to start wondering why you graze the junk yard patch when the Park land patch is just across the creek.
Plus, last time i was in Peru, i was always not right with my body and even my head/sinuses or whatever. So far in Ecuador it is great but maybe that time in Peru was when my health was generally in a fragile state. Will find out this time when i get back to Peru next month. I know how to turn right back around to Ecuador if need be. I did better in Northern Peru though. The weather is not as cold nor going through such big temperature swings from day to night and day to day. I am very sensitive to major weather and temperature swings. Trujillo/Huanchaco area has a bit too much temperature swing for me.
Mexico in the winter? Just below the desert latitudes and just above the rain forest latitudes is a perfect beach climate during winter. No rain and the temperature is in the sweet spot with little fluctuations. Sometimes drier when north desert winds blow in and sometimes more humid when south rain forest winds blow in.
Peru is dry on the coastal areas with hardly ever any rain except in the northern parts which will show themselves by all the tropical plant growth. Peru is otherwise a blank desert slate where ever humans don't stain it with their mark.
Ecuador is not desert and the amount of towns and cities spread across the various altitudes and climate zones is impressive despite being smaller than Peru. If Quito is too cold and big, the Cuenca, if Cuenca is still not warm enough and small enough, then Loja. If you like small towns, then you have a lot of them that are near these cities, being lower down or higher up for better climate niches.
And then comes the coastal areas. Pretty much the same climate up and down and then slight differences here and there.
A lot more rain than Peru. Enough rain to make bad road situation in every town and city alimg the Ecuador coast.
Price in Peru can be better but as of now in Ecuador, i am paying $2.50-$3.00 for classic menu selection of soup bowl starter and main dish with a glass of mystery juice of the day. Thats the same as Peru. In the city Market eatery section i can get the same meal for $2 but i am in a smal mountain town with enough tourists and expats making it more expensive.
My hotel in the small hill town in Ecuador gave me a double room for $200 a month. My arrangements in the beach resort town in Peru has a room for me $250 a month, one block from the beach, close to a major city and a room that is a bit more equipped than the one i have in Ecuador now(possibly a mini fridge). I have access to a self use kitchen to cook for myself at both hotels in both countries and that was a lucky strike of chance.
Hotels are the best option for me, being i am only around for 145 days and splitting my time between two countries.
Beach living in Peru may be cheaper, but i am not expereinced with Ecuador beach towns/cities. Buying property may be a different thing also. Renting can be about the same from what i have seen so far. Public transport costs seems the same also and gasoline or diesel is very cheap in Ecuador. Also getting around in Ecuador to far flung parts is easy. Peru is so big with so much desolation in between each major town or city, a trip from Lima to the favorable north climate can be a grueling journey. Ecuador is never more than 4 hours between the next worthwhile stop over and you can fly directly into Quito in the north or Guayaquil in the south depending on where your final destination is. I flew into Quito, connection flight to Cuenca and then took a 4 hour or less bus ride to Loja and Loja is another 4 hours away from the Peru border. 4 hours due to 2 lane winding mountain roads and not actual distance. Peru takes four hours to the next city even with wide open, level and straight high way.
I will go from the Perú north border to Mancora and stay a night, then to Piura and stay a night and then to Chiclayo and stay a night amd then to Trujillo and stay a night and on and on like that. To avoid the long haul 10-20 hour bus rides. Although not bad doing 8 hours on a sleeper bus, but those are usually only available for longer routes.