El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana

El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana
The Conquistador who put the Amazaon baisn "on the map"....Francisco Orellana

Monday, December 3, 2012

"A beach home like this in the US?

There’s a chilled-out vibe on Ecuador’s Pacific Coast that you won’t find anywhere else in the country. And the people there have good reason to be relaxed—they’re enjoying luxury living by the beach... at a fraction of what it would cost in the U.S.

—Like Cynthia and Ron Kelley. They spend their evenings watching the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean in their new home in Canoa. They hadn’t even planned to buy a home in Ecuador—they never dreamed they’d have the money to buy a home by the beach. But, when they took a vacation to the coastal town, they were glad to discover they were wrong.

"We could never have afforded to build a home right on the beach in the United States," Cynthia told us. "Now we’ve about four acres and this year we have papayas growing in the front yard."

—It was a revelation that Pete Stromberg and his wife, Maija, had in Canoa, too. When the couple visited the friendly fishing village during their honeymoon in 2008, they didn’t know they were about to become business-owners. But, in keeping with the surfer vibe of Canoa, the couple are now partners in the Surf Shak.

As well as serving some of the best burgers in town, the business also provides everything you’d need for paragliding, surfing, and kayaking... and they’re expanding all the time.

"We just started running scuba diving at the Surf Shak and now we’re doing spear fishing," Pete says. "They’re bringing in some monster fish with the spear guns."

—And farther down the coast, the vibrant city of Salinas is surprising expats too. Though she’d heard it described as the "Miami of Ecuador," Wendy Doris was initially disappointed to find that Salinas didn’t have the malls or Starbucks of Miami... but she quickly came around.

"To be able to live near white-sand beaches with great weather year-round and such low living expenses is shocking....

"We've also learned that the luxuries of home (such as lattes and shopping excursions) aren’t out of reach here. I’m considering a second home in Salinas, now. Maybe I'll open a bookstore!"

—Mike Sager, a keen motorcyclist and surfer, has also discovered that Ecuador’s Pacific coast is no cheap knockoff of American beach life. And he should know—he’s a native Californian who’s made Ecuador his home. The similarities are apparent to his trained eye.

"Montanita, considered to be Ecuador’s surfing capital, looks incredibly like Huntington Beach. It’s got that great surf and similar cliff lines...

"The beach is one of Ecuador’s prettiest—no cross currents, and a gradual incline makes it safe. You could walk out a hundred yards and still be in waist-deep water...the surfers have to go out farther."

You won’t find affordable living on the Pacific coast like this anywhere else. If you long to splash your toes in the surf... or dream of watching the sun set over the ocean from your beachside home... or spending every day relaxing on the sand... you’ll want to check out Ecuador’s Pacific coast.

Len Galvin
Managing Editor, IL Postcards

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