Bargain Hunting On and Off the Beach in Salinas

In many ways, the off-season is our favorite time here in Salinas, on the Pacific coast of southern Ecuador. The temperature is mostly in the 70s F, once in a while going up to the low 80s F, and things are mostly peaceful and quiet. This could also be your favorite time of the year, too…and if you are interested in looking for bargains at the beach, Salinas is the place to check out.

It has been almost four years since my wife Rita and I first visited Salinas. We were immediately drawn to the laidback, family atmosphere of this popular beach resort. We loved the mile-long malecon that makes it easy and fun to walk to our favorite restaurants, like the Luv’N Oven, home of the $9 bacon-wrapped filet mignon dinner, and El Valero, just a few blocks back from the beach that always has a great $3 lunch special, to name just two.

During off-season, airfare into Ecuador drops—which make it the perfect time to visit to find your dream home. Here on the beaches with fewer people around to look at properties, owners tend to be a little more willing to wheel-and-deal. It’s also much cheaper and easier to find places to rent, so you can take your time doing a thorough search of the market.

There’s a lot of different properties to see, as well. On the beach, in the same modern building where Rita and I live, there is a one-bedroom, fully furnished condo available for just $105,000. The building has a pool, jacuzzi, exercise room, movie room, sauna, and 24-hour staff.

If you’re looking for some more space, just now hitting the market is a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom, fully furnished condo listed at $235,000.

Sitting at the end of a small peninsula that juts out into the ocean, this condo has a very large balcony that affords a beautiful view of the entire Salinas beach and spectacular sunsets…

After you check it out, you can relax for a bit at the expat-run Common Grounds coffee shop just a few blocks away.

And the bargains are not limited to the sand, either. If you would like to find something a little off the beach, there are also plenty of options available. Where else can you find a three-bedroom, two-bathroom condo—brand new—and just four blocks from a beach, for only $95,000? That’s right, a 1,000-square-foot home in a gated community, just minutes from the large El Paseo Mall, and a short walk from a major grocery store.

There are wonderful deals to be found all over the Santa Elena peninsula—the westernmost point on mainland Ecuador. In the small community of Ballenita, homes can be found starting as low as $45,000. Ballenita has a rapidly growing expat population, partly because of the bargains to be found there, but also because the area is undergoing lots of renovation.

It is just a 20-minute drive from Salinas and is already the home of the new regional bus station, which has brought more cabs and local buses to the area, as well as the location of one of the newest shopping centers in the area. Now the malecón (beachfront road and walkway) improvement project is also underway.

You could bag a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home near the bus station, listed for $60,000. If that is not enough room for you, it was designed to make it easy to add a second floor, or a rooftop terrace.

If you’re not the do-it-yourself type, choose a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom condo in the gated Ballenita community of Punta Faro. There, you get not only the fully furnished home for $154,900, but also access to the beautiful pool, large outdoor barbeque area, and a spa/hot tub. This unit also has a beautiful ocean view from the master bedroom balcony.

So if you have been thinking about finding your own little piece of Ecuador, now is the perfect time to visit—take advantage of lower travel rates, wonderful weather, and negotiable prices of Salinas in the off-season.

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