Just over the bridge from the city of Guayaquil is the exclusive area of Samborondon, filled with gated communities, shopping centers, theaters, and trendy restaurants. ©iStock.com/DC_Colombia
Have you ever wanted to live somewhere like Beverly Hills but just weren’t rich enough or famous enough? Don’t worry…we have you covered in Samborondon, Ecuador—about a 15-minute drive from Guayaquil airport.
This exclusive area is filled with gated communities, shopping centers, theaters, trendy restaurants, and its own branch of the Kennedy Hospital.
For years I’ve been hearing about Samborondon and recently my husband Mark and I made our first trip to check it out. As soon as we crossed over the bridge from Guayaquil airport, we entered into another world filled with exclusive gated communities with pools, tennis courts, and golf courses. The streets were wide with sculptured trees that looked like huge gumdrops.
We hired a taxi driver for $10 an hour and he showed us around the neighborhood. There was a lot of oohing and awing because I simply couldn’t believe this pristine community was just over the bridge from Guayaquil.
Our first stop was Plaza Lagos, an upscale neighborhood, with a mixture of boutiques, five-star restaurants, palm-tree lined waterways, fountains, and bridges—with white buildings and black wrought-iron balconies. The classic color combination made everything appear modern, chic, and timeless. Even the Sweet and Coffee Cafe (Ecuador’s version of Starbucks) was black and white instead of the traditional green.
We had lunch at the trendy Ciabatta Panaderia and Pasteleria under large patio umbrellas. I haven’t eaten a panini like that since we lived in Italy. Authentic Italian pastries and breads filled the shelves, so Mark had to order dessert for me because I was overwhelmed with all the choices.
At night, Plaza Lagos comes alive with colored lights reflecting off the pools, waterways, and bridges. Mark literally had to lead me by the hand to the parking lot because I wasn’t leaving on my own volition.
Although this is home to the rich and powerful, there’s a price range for just about every budget. Prices for houses and condos at Plaza Lagos range from $230,000 to $1.45 million, but there are several nearby gated communities with reasonable prices starting at $81,500 for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom condo with gardens and a pool. I also found an ultra-modern, three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with a pool renting for $400 a month.
But you don’t have to live in Samborondon to enjoy all of its amenities. A boutique hotel is already here and the Oro Verde chain is constructing Hotel del Parque, which is situated in Parque Historico. It will be a 42-room luxury hotel in the heart of the tourist district. In keeping with the design of Plaza Lagos, there will be columns and arches with black and white décor and chandeliers that shout sophistication.
The development of this area will continue to grow and so will its prices, but you definitely don’t need to be rich and famous to enjoy Ecuador’s new “Beverly Hills.” In fact, we’re planning another trip in two months to shop, play, and look at a few more properties.
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