Realizing the American Dream in Ballenita, Ecuador

For many, the American Dream of owning your own home is fast becoming more of a fantasy than a dream. But more and more North Americans are finding their dreams coming true in the quiet town of Ballenita on the southwest coast of Ecuador.

Situated at the start of the Santa Elena peninsula, Ballenita is often overlooked by people headed to Salinas, Chipipe, or Punto Carnero. However, expats are now finding that it deserves a closer look.

We have friends who came to Ecuador with limited cash to invest. Their dream had always been to have a home they owned outright, with a room for art projects for her, and a yard with a garden for him. They were able to find a two-bedroom house with a nice yard, near the main road but only a couple of blocks from the ocean, for just $60,000.

They were then able to take advantage of the low cost of renovations in Ecuador, and for less than $20,000 more, they made it their own, adding a brick patio (soon to be an outside grilling station), improving the plumbing and wiring, expanding the porch, installing outdoor lighting and speakers, landscaping the garden, and furnishing their home. Now they enjoy life in the shade by their garden, or lounging in the hot tub they installed in the bath.

Ballenita itself is undergoing renovations as well. It started less than two years ago when the new regional bus terminal opened there. That meant that cabs and buses are more frequent and easy to catch. Then a new shopping center was opened, featuring a large, modern grocery store. Further improvements are planned for their Malecon, which already has several excellent restaurants and beautiful views of the coast. Residents are also only a short bus or cab ride from the mercados of Santa Elena and La Libertad, and the modern El Paseo Mall, which includes another large grocery store, department store, specialty shops, movie theaters, food court, and more.

Although it is one of the fastest growing expat communities on the peninsula, there are still great bargains to be found in Ballenita. There’s a three-bedroom house just a two-minute walk from the new grocery store listed at just $58,000. Another just a few minutes away in a gated community features a pool and a view of the ocean for only $84,000.

Ballenita also is a great location if you want to build your own dream home, or invest for the future. There are lots available for $15,000…one developer is selling a block of eight building lots for $89,000, so you could build your dream house on a double lot, and still have six others to develop or sell.

If your dream was a big, luxury home by the ocean, or to start a bed and breakfast, Ballenita has you covered there as well. There’s a beautiful, 6,500-square-foot, eight-bedroom complex with a great ocean view stunning sunroom and patio. The compound includes the main house and two rental apartments, with gardens and lots of protected parking for $280,000.

With a growing expat community, good infrastructure, close shopping, easy transportation, ocean views and real estate priced under the market for the rest of the peninsula, Ballenita may be the perfect place to make your dreams come true.

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