In the Ecuador beach resort town of Salinas, expats can find an ideal place to settle down for under $100,000. Salinas offers the typical resort shopping and restaurants, while a short drive can take you to a small fishing village that offers a small-town experience and even cheaper prices. See the following article from International Living to learn more.
The car engine idles as we wait for the light to change. The air conditioning is on the fritz, so we’ve rolled down the windows. The day is hot and sunny—about 85 degrees—and the air is dry. Here, away from the ocean, it’s also a bit dusty (not surprising in an area where road construction is under way.)
“This feels like Southern California when I was growing up,” says expat Mike Sager. The light changes and we drive on, heading back toward Ecuador’s Pacific Coast.
I know just what he means. This part of Ecuador—the southern Pacific Coast around the beach resort of Salinas—does feel like Southern California. But not the California of today, with its overly-groomed, trendy coast, its chi-chi restaurants and multi-million-dollar homes behind gates, and where Desperate Housewives meet for lunch.
This feels more like the California I remember from my childhood 30 or 40 years ago, when there were still cozy, affordable single-family neighborhoods just a few blocks from the ocean—and you could still let your kids walk to the beach. When a short drive inland took you to countryside filled with truck farms and ranches that grew fresh produce…countryside where the air was hot and dry and slightly dusty when you rolled down the car windows.
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Salinas is an upscale yet low-key beach resort. It has a long sandy beach, a mall for shopping, and a lively nightlife with plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars. You can find everything from beachfront highrise condos to single-family homes.
You’ll generally pay $150,000 to $300,000 for beachfront in the quiet residential neighborhood of Chipipe. But if you look around you find properties for less—a two-bedroom, two-bath condo needing renovation was recently for sale for just $80,000. Go as little as a few blocks inland and you find plenty of three-bedroom single-family homes for around $65,000. Not bad for comfortable living within walking distance of the beach.
Head north of Salinas for a more small-town lifestyle and even better bargains. The little village of Ballenitas is just a 12- to 15-minute drive from the big shopping mall at the Salinas city line.
Ballenitas still looks and feels like a little fishing village, though a few upscale houses have been built. Located on a high spit of land that juts into the ocean, a planned four-bedroom house has expansive coastal views on the front side. At the back is a separate entrance to another street, and plenty of room on the large lot to build a pool, a separate rental unit, or whatever you’d like. Asking price: $210,000.
Farther north is the little town of Ayague, with its perfect half-moon bay. It’s only an hour or so from Salinas, but if you want an unspoiled beach that feels away from it all, this is it.
We walked down to the beach for lunch…and if I lived here I’d do it every day. We had freshly-grilled lobster and cold beers at a table right on the beach, our bare feet digging into the sand. The total bill: $18.50.
It’s been a long time since California felt like this.
This article has been republished from International Living.