The Pacific Coast towns of Montanita, Olon, Playas and Salinas in Ecuador are worth exploring.
But there are even more beach towns in Ecuador that you should investigate.
Continuing north along the coast, two areas of note are Ayampe and Puerto Lopez. Both are of the picture postcard variety, where luxuriant green hills close in on the beach. Puerto Lopez has been one of my all-time favorite Ecuador beach towns since I first saw it in 2001.
From atop the hillside, it reminds me of what Puerto Vallarta, Mexico must have looked like 50 years ago. Depending on your plans in Ecuador, you may be interested in a 16-acre parcel of land high on that hillside with perfect views of the village and ocean below…selling for just $400,000. (And this property has it all: water, power, road access, beach access, you name it.)
In my opinion, Puerto Lopez has a lot of potential…and it’s only about a 75-minute drive from Manta, the largest city on Ecuador’s coast.
Farther north, another town I like is Bahia de Caraquez. The town itself occupies a small sandy peninsula with the Pacific Ocean on one side and the bay on the other at the mouth of the Rio Chone.
The bay is a safe harbor for boats and yachts and yachtsmen from around the world take refuge in the Rio Chone inlet and use time on shore in Bahía for R&R and to restock supplies. Bahia has also become increasingly popular with expat retirees (a welcome security blanket if you don’t speak Spanish) who find its low cost of living suits them perfectly.
The cost to rent a furnished two-bedroom beachfront apartment in Bahia is $350 to $600 a month. For a similarly sized unfurnished beachfront apartment, you’ll pay $300 to $450 a month. If you’d prefer to buy, a two-bedroom/two-bath high-rise condo with balcony and bedroom views of the Chone River and the ocean…is selling for $76,000. Another modern 1,500-square-foot condo with seventh-floor ocean views and three bedrooms is selling for $90,000.
Head north from Bahia and the beaches are largely undeveloped. But again, you’ll find a similar landscape to southern Nicaragua/northern Costa Rica or the Nayarit/Jalisco coast of Mexico—high bluffs overlooking the water. This part of the coast is really very pretty.
And while the lack of infrastructure here means this would be rougher/lonelier living than I’d want to do right now, if you’re a pioneer and don’t need much more stimulus than sun, sand, and delicious seafood, this might be your place. A couple of communities are attracting English-speaking buyers, so it probably won’t be long before there’s a good-sized social infrastructure here.
Bottom line: to get the inside track on Ecuador, you need to be here. And the upcoming Fast Track Ecuador Conference will be invaluable in your research. Meet the experts, learn the ins and outs of how everything works in Ecuador, network with fellow expats…and once you’re well-armed with reliable information, go take a firsthand look at Puerto Lopez, Bahia de Caraquez, Salinas, and some of the other areas I have mentioned. Then you’ll know for sure if this attractive part of the world is right for you.