The beautiful Yunguilla valley is easily accessible from Cuenca and still unknown to foreign investors.
Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008
Yunguilla is a long valley that begins just south of Cuenca and ends near the seaport city of Machala, with a few small towns along the way. The best locations in Yunguilla are just 45 minutes from the capital, Cuenca. The elevation in Yunguilla ranges from about 7,000 feet at the Giron side (closest to Cuenca) down to 4,500 feet at the Santa Isabel side (closest to Machala)–the climate is perfect and warm, with a very short rainy season. The valley is at an east-west orientation, so it gets direct sunshine all day long.
While most of the economic and real estate development in Vilcabamba has come from foreigners, Yunguilla is mostly driven by Ecuadorians. Even though this is where many middle- and upper-class families from Cuenca have vacation homes, properties are still 30% to 50% lower than those in Vilcabamba.
The area’s infrastructure is well developed–good restaurants and entertainment, a well-maintained highway, excellent water, electricity, and telephone service.
On a recent scouting trip, we saw a new development of 10 homes. What was interesting was the design of the houses–you could start with a one-bedroom model and upgrade to the two- or three-bedroom version anytime in the future with a simple add-on. Prices start at $50,000. We also toured lots with stunning views overlooking the valley. These lots are equipped with the necessary infrastructure in place (water, electricity, phone). Lot sizes vary, and prices start at $8 per square meter ($32,500 per acre).
One property that caught my attention was a 2,300-square-foot home with three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a small caretaker’s home, and a nicely manicured yard. The price: $70,000.
Yunguilla offers many opportunities for nature lovers, such as world-class bird watching and a network of great hiking trails. If you prefer, you can find local guides to take you horseback riding. Drive up above Giron, and you’ll find a park with a breathtakingly spectacular mountain waterfall. This area is also known for the hearty liquor that the locals make from sugar cane. You can take a tour of the cane farms and see the distillation process first hand. There are also coffee, banana, orange, and papaya plantations nearby.
For International Living
Editor’s Note: Ecuador is one of the world’s cheapest places to live…and hides some of the world’s great real estate bargains and investment opportunities. From snow-capped volcanoes to dense Amazon jungle to sun-drenched Pacific beaches to the famous Galapagos Islands, Ecuador offers something for everyone and at prices unheard of in North America. No matter what you want to do in Ecuador–live, invest, vacation, or retire–you’ll get everything you need in the new Ecuador Owner’s Manual.
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