The caveats with Ecuador are real.
The volcanoes and earthquakes are somewhat of a concern. If you stay in the Vilcabamba, then you are away from the greatest threats.
Ecuador IS 3rd World. It takes a special person to live in a 3rd World country. The amenities and choices are very limited.
Ecuador is mestizo. If you are white, you will stick out. The good news is you can be black, and there will not be the racial tension that blacks and Hispanics deal with in the US. I personally think that an important part of survival is being ‘invisible’ in your expat country (not being so noticeable). This is hard to do in Ecuador.
Now the pros of Ecuador are innumerable. The year-round Spring-like weather is nice. The lush green valley of the Vilcabamba is gorgeous. The number of expats is huge (you will have friends.) It is relatively close to the US. The people are friendly. And then there are the two biggies: low living costs and relatively quick, ‘painless’ immigration. It is the low cost of living and the ease of immigration that attracts so many US expats to Ecuador.
As with any expat country, I ALWAYS advise you to spend time exploring your potential future home.
NOTE: Purchasing the Culture Shock and Culture Smart book series are VERY helpful in understanding the culture of your potential expat country. There is a Culture Shock Ecuador and Culture Smart Ecuador (can be purchased on Amazon.)