Thursday, December 8, 2011
Ecuador Beach Rentals From $200 a Month
By Suzan Haskins
A couple of years ago a friend came to visit us in Ecuador. Once here, he realized that the biggest expense of his trip was his airfare. With nice hotel rooms priced at $30 a night (including breakfast); full meals, including beverage, for $2.50; and beers for $1 or a glass of wine for $2, he was hardly spending anything to kick around the country.
(Public bus transportation is inexpensive, too—you can figure costs at about $1 an hour…it’s just 25 cents for the 15 to 20-minute ride to a nearby town, for example.)
Ecuador is so inexpensive, in fact, our friend realized that he could spend a month here for about the same amount of money as a one-month utility bill back home in California. So the next year, he came back for two months, and this time he rented a fully furnished and outfitted apartment (with Wifi Internet) in Quito’s popular Mariscal district for $400 a month.
This year, he plans to return to Ecuador…but he’ll rent an apartment on the beach this time. He’s not sure yet which beach town he’ll choose. He’s spoiled for choice, although he won’t find anything like Mexico’s glitzy beach resorts. Ecuador’s beaches are low key and sparsely habited…there are long stretches of coast where you’ll have the beach entirely, peacefully to yourself
The largest beach towns with any kind of amenities…such as shopping, restaurants, etc….are Salinas in the south and Manta and Bahia de Caráquez farther north. Quito residents have long had an affinity for towns like Atacames and Tonsupa, even farther north on the coast, although that’s changing now that a new bridge at Bahia de Caraquez has made the mid-north beaches near the small, pretty towns of Canoa and Jama more accessible.
How much might you expect to pay for a rental on the coast? Far less than you might expect.
In trendy Salinas, a furnished two-bedroom condo with a community pool rents for $450 a month in the low season or $600 a month in the high season. In the quiet community of Punta Blanca, just 20 minutes north of Salinas, a spacious four-bedroom house with a private pool rents for $1,000 a month.
Manta is the largest coastal city in Ecuador. There, you can typically rent a modern three-bedroom, two-bath home (unfurnished) or apartment for $330 a month. A furnished luxury apartment with four bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths, and a balconied terrace right on the beach…and with a social area that includes a gym, pool, sauna and Jacuzzi, is just $1,500 a month. (Don’t be afraid to negotiate.)
It’s becoming more difficult to find an apartment for rent in Bahia de Caraquez, thanks to that new bridge I mentioned. More and more people are choosing to rent in Bahia while they build their beach homes farther north along the beach. But it is still possible to rent a furnished house or apartment for $200 a month and up…I found a small cottage, owned by a European artist, with spectacular ocean views for just that price. Billed as the “perfect artist’s retreat,” it's probably a bit rustic for most of us. Expect to pay closer to $500 a month for a nice two-bedroom apartment in a high-rise condo in Bahia de Caraquez with an ocean-view balcony.
Keep in mind that most rentals you’ll find on the Internet are vacation rentals—being let short-term to the holiday crowd. The best bargains will be found through word-of-mouth and via post-it-notes on coffee shop bulletin boards (not electronic versions but the old cork kind) and in ads in the classified sections of local newspapers.
And keep in mind that once you get here, your rent will be your largest monthly expense. When public transportation rarely costs more than a dollar, a fine eat-your-fill seafood dinner costs $3 or $4 and a beer sets you back a buck, it’s hard to spend more than $1,000 a month total here.
at 1:59 PM