With more than 1,250 miles (2,000 km) of coastline, Ecuador is the westernmost country in South America. And Salinas, on the Santa Elena peninsula, is the westernmost piece of land on Ecuador’s mainland.
It’s one of the world’s few coastal resorts where you can still buy a new condo for less than US$53,000.
This ex-fishing village has become the most renowned attraction of the Ecuadorian coast, welcoming people from the domestic cities, as well as from other South American countries, such as Peru and Colombia. People come here looking for a relaxing, laid-back weekend, a longer vacation, or to set up a second home.
Salinas has around 40,000 residents and hosts one of the biggest expat communities in the country. During holidays, this crowd can increase up to three times.
|Salinas enjoys the nicest city beaches in Ecuador|
Salinas can easily be reached from either of Ecuador’s two international airports. Now with an airport of its own, Salinas is just an hour from Quito by air… and it’s around a one-and-a-half-hour drive from the international airport in Guayaquil.
I personally recommend that you don’t own a car here, as most everything is within walking distance.
You can easily walk to dozens of restaurants and shops, to the beach and the malecón (boardwalk), and to the grocery store or the farmer’s mercado. Here you can buy large quantities of fresh, vibrant produce for a few bucks… or taste a super-natural and rich jugo de fruta (fruit juice) made to order with a wide variety of tropical fruits like papaya, mango, coconut, pineapple, and passion fruit, just to name a few.
If you’re going too far to walk, we’ve got a great bus system you can ride for 30 cents, with buses coming by every few minutes. Taxis are also very affordable; you can go anywhere in the city for one dollar or to the neighboring town of La Libertad for two. Taxis are quite plentiful, with several passing by each minute.
Thanks to Salinas’s extreme western location, the cool Peru Current keeps those hot, equatorial temperatures in check. There’s very little rain, which keeps the climate dry all year round. This means no sweat, no mosquitos or other insects, and more outdoor activities.
So now it’s time to put away your winter clothes, forget about snow, fog, rain, ice, cold, and endless dark winters, and make your dream comes true, as I did.
I moved from Italy to Salinas to have a more laid-back lifestyle, enjoy the beach and the ocean all year round, and to be able to take long walks and enjoy other outdoor activities every day. I breathe clean salt air, and eat healthy natural foods… and all of this in a low-cost paradise that holds some of the most unique and amazing biodiversity in the world.
Salinas Is Great… And The Property Market Makes It Even Better
Salinas offers one of the continent’s best real estate investment markets, and you can buy a house or an apartment for a fraction of what you would pay back home.
And since Ecuador’s adoption of the U.S. dollar as its currency, the market has steadily appreciated, making your overseas home a great investment too. Homes here, while still inexpensive, have provided a near-double-digit average annual return as a buy-and-hold-for-appreciation investment.
Salinas also offers a great rental opportunity for extra income. By owning here, you have a double advantage because you can rent/sell your property to the increasing Ecuadorian middle class, as well as to expats and foreigners seeking a primary residence or a second home.
Here’s A Good Example Of Real Estate Values In Salinas
I recently discovered a brand-new building with units of four different styles. The building has an elevator, 24/7 security, and is about 150 meters (492 feet)—a one-minute walk—from the beach and malecón. This is the perfect position because you are steps from everything but away from the noise of the malecón and beachfront road.
You can choose between the following designs:
- Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, living room, balcony, and bodega (storage space) for a total of 83 square meters (893 square feet), for US$52,150…
- Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, living room, balcony, and bodega for a total of 112 square meters (1,205 square feet) for US$75,850…
- Two bedrooms, three bathrooms, kitchen, living room, balcony, and bodega for a total of 112 square meters (1,205 square feet) for US$75,850…
- Three bedrooms, four bathrooms, kitchen, living room, balcony, and bodega for a total of 147 square meters (1,582 square feet) for just US$110,000.
Again, this project is brand-new. If you grab one you will be the first to live in it.
Most of the units available offer an ocean view and for an additional US$10,000 you can buy a gated garage in the same building.
|Watching fishermen from the Salinas boardwalk|
Is Salinas Right For You?
Salinas offers you a change of life to a laid-back, relaxed atmosphere… as well as an excellent means to escape the cold winters up north. Your income—whether large or small—will go a long way here… Ecuador’s pensionado discount program is second to none, with discounts for everything from airfares (half price) to property taxes. A medium-sized lobster dinner in an oceanfront restaurant is less than 10 bucks.
The investment potential in Salinas is good, and this market enjoys good returns year after year. And you don’t have to worry about currency swings because Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar.
Salinas gives you the opportunity to live your dream life in your dream place. For more information about Salinas, its properties, or the property market, feel free to write to me here.
For Overseas Property Alert
Does Mexico have any investments priced in Mexican pesos, or are they generally all in U.S. dollars? Everything I’ve seen recommended is in USD. I have a decent amount of cash (in pesos) from when I lived in Mexico but I’m hesitant to exchange to another currency at the current, unfavorable, exchange rates.
You hear about a lot of dollar-priced properties in Mexico, and it’s mostly in markets that are dominated by Americans and Canadians. The same is true for developers who are targeting the American and Canadian market.
Once you get off the beaten trail, properties are priced in pesos. Based on current exchange rates, these properties now cost dollar-holders half of what they did in 2008.
Very generally speaking, the advantage of the gringo markets is that they often have high standards of living and good amenities, such as restaurants, cafés, nightlife, etc. The advantage of the Mexican markets is that they offer lower prices and are richer in unadulterated Mexican culture.
I agree that now is not a good time to liquidate Mexican pesos, which most agree are undervalued on today’s market. Investing in Mexico is a good way to await a rebound, while owning something that’s appreciating or generating income. In other words, your pesos still have full value in Mexico, if not in the United States or Australia.
Alternatively, you could convert the pesos into another depressed currency, such as Colombian pesos or Brazilian reais.
I thought Mexico’s Riviera Maya was another FONATUR’s designed Integrally Planned Resort Centers (it was not mentioned in the article on Huatulco). Is that not true? And if it is, what is the progress in that area?
FONATUR is Mexico’s national organization for tourism development, and no, there is no FONATUR project for the Riviera Maya… at least not directly.
What has happened, however, is that FONATUR’s first resort project, Cancún, has been so successful that it has “spilled over” and fostered development down the entire Riviera Maya south of Cancún.
These are FONATUR’s primary projects in order of their success as measured by constructed hotel rooms. On that basis, Cancún is 300% larger than second-place Los Cabos.
- Los Cabos
These are FONATUR’s projects that are still work-in-progress:
- Marina Cozumel
- Playa Espíritu
- Marinas Turísticas (a project to develop marinas as tourist destinations)
Those of us who invest in Mexico are, of course, looking for a crystal ball, in order to predict which of these destinations will be the next Cancún.
Hi Matt (or Lee),
I’m interested in buying residential real estate in Montréal as you recently recommended. Do you have an organization or a specific real estate broker you recommend?
I checked with Matt (the author of the Montréal article) and he recommends that you contact Angela Langtry with Century 21. Her number is 1 (514) 961-1313, or you can email her at email@example.com.
Have a question? You can write to Lee (or Renato) here.