Waterfront Living in Ecuador…

| May 23, 2012 | 23 Replies

Can I Retire on Waterfront Property? waterfront beachfront ecuador

I want to live waterfront. I don’t care what kind of water. Just “The Water”.

Are you with me so far?

Waterfront and on the beach has always been my first choice. Can you hear the waves crashing and feel that sand between your toes? I can.  And that taste and smell of salty moist air… I’m getting all excited again.

How about living on a lake… with that little private dock where I sit with my feet in the water and watch the sunset every evening. My small boat smacks the side of the dock every once in a while letting me know that it’s there for me, anytime I want it.

Maybe a slow moving river is best…. sitting on the shore, eyes are closed, and all I can hear is the sound of the river passing by…

Oh my god, I am loving this story so far.

I have always dreamed of living on the water. In fact, I currently live on a small creek. It is so beautiful to sit near and let the stress melt away. The dogs love it too.

So… what about Waterfront Living on the Beach in Ecuador?

waterfront beachfront ecuador

Are you young at heart? Try Montanita on for size. It is a charming little surfing village of thatched huts, inexpensive hostels, with a party all night attitude. Want to get some sleep, forget it. Like to party and dance and stumble around high on cheap rum and marijuana… this is the place. Want to drink the tap water, no way. Are you an old wrinkled hippy? Is Bob Marley your hero and you can’t get enough of the reggae music? You will love this place. Are you a same sex couple? This is probably the only place in Ecuador that you can hold hands in public. Need a real hospital for that little heart problem you have….don’t look here for one. For me, this place would be fun to visit, but not to live full time.

Like the excitement and activity of a tourist destination but don’t want to live in a thatched hut. Maybe you are looking for Atacames. Population is about 15,000. More modern than Montanita, and considered a small city instead of a village. Busy night life because the weather during the day is extremely hot and humid. Oops, thats all I need to hear. I am not going to live out my final years with a heat rash down in my nether regions… another beach town to visit but not live.

Now Manta looks interesting. Cruise ships dock here so I already know tourists are welcome. A quarter of a million people live here too.  Looks like the temperature is 85 degrees during the day and at night it is 71 degrees. Oops, that darn humidity again. Looks like the entire coast of Ecuador is pretty hot and humid. But this place has some great hospitals, and other amenities that the small and medium sized cities don’t. Like an airport! Manta also has an international film festival every year and its own soccer team. Now we are talking. A nice air conditioner could be all that is needed. We shall see. Yet to find suitable and affordable waterfront housing…

As for Lakeside Living, there are so many choices and the same parameters could be used on finding a comfortable lakeside home. A higher elevation would lend itself to cooler weather and less humidity. With so many lakes in Ecuador to pick from, I will bet that cool, calm waterfront home is available in many different locations. But it will also need to be close enough to shopping and medical facilities.  I will start looking now and report back.

Finally, on the idea of Living on a River, I have already found my dream area…. a balcony overlooking the Tomebamba in Cuenca would suit me just fine. I know there are many more rivers in Ecuador but I love the idea of being in a big city and also on the river. So far, as river front living goes, this sounds pretty good. Living in Cuenca and living on the water. Close to shopping, to medical care, to the symphony, to wonderful parks…. Cuenca is still number one on my short list for waterfront living but I’m not done with my research yet.

We will visit Manta in August of this year and I will report back on how livable this coastal city is. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the weather is comfortable.

Maybe a cure for this oceanfront / waterfront fantasy is renting a place for a month each year on a big lake or at one of these coastal cities. Less hassle, less responsibility, no maintenance, just arrive, mix a cold lemonade, and relax…

Full time living in Cuenca with a month at the beach or lake… I think maybe I am really close to  figuring this whole thing out……..


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Category: Living in Ecuador, Retiring in Ecuador

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  1. Morning Update – Wednesday, May 23, 2012 « South of Zero | May 23, 2012
  1. Trish and Terry (TnT) says:

    Your fantastic blog has us enchanted! Can’t wait for each new one….Thanks so much for your off-the-wall-but-respectful-and enjoyable humor; it is a delight. And we we’re learning a lot too. We will be down for our walk-about in september ’12 for six weeks. See ya then. Regards and hugs Terry and Trish.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Hi Terry, glad you like the blog. I am learning a lot from writing it. Keep coming back or just subscribe and my posts will end up in you inbox….. Your comment made me smile. I think it was the word “enchanted” that did it. You should use that word as often as you can, especially if it makes others feel as good as it made me feel. Buenas Noches Terry.

  2. Malcolm Reding says:

    Having lived on both coasts of Florida for 25 years, I’ve had enough of heat, humidity, bugs, mold and mildew. Give me some high altitude with spring like weather, no bugs and moderate humidity and I’m a happy camper. The Tomebamba river, I can see and hear from my balcony and that’s all the water I need

    • Ecuador George says:

      Malcolm, maybe we will be neighbors soon… I’ve been to Florida and I loved everything but the humidity. It is overwhelming… Congrats for being on the Tomebamba… Stay well.

  3. Frank says:

    Terrific website.Thank you. In my case, the drier the better, waterfront living in Ecuador… if there is such a thing. Will be down in Quito for a month in July, 2012. Any suggestions and tips would be great. Was thinking about Atacames and Manta, but your reports confirm my suspicions. I understand a more southern locale, like Salinas, may be the way to go in terms of less humidity- which is very important to me. Not sure. Thanks again for a fun website.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Frank, I always check out Youtube for reviews of specific areas. Just type in “Salinas Ecuador” and start watching. I always tell people you have to experience it yourself to really be able to make such an important decision. I do research to narrow down the choices to 5 or 6 and then plan the adventure. Good luck to you. And report back what you find!

    • Sue says:

      Hi Frank: Recently we bought a condo in Salinas on our first visit. The weather was wonderful in April. I hope you will enjoy in July.
      Have a nice trip.

      • Ecuador George says:

        Sue, could you tell us a little bit about what you thought of Salinas, the good, the bad, and the ugly???? Thanks, George

  4. CheryLynn says:

    Just found your blog, consider me a permanent groupie now! I’m still in my research mode with 12-14 months to go before I can make my first visit. We have so much in common, downsizing ‘stuff’ as well as ‘self’, and desire for an easier, less expensive and more laid back lifestyle for retirement. I’m gung ho and my husband is very tentative so I must take everything one step at a time, plus the fact that I can’t retire for another 2+ years. Keep up the wonderful blogs, I’m hanging on every word. 🙂

    • Ecuador George says:

      My sister has a rule. One thing in and two things out. So, if she wants a new blouse, she has to find two blouses she no longer wears and she donates them. Then she can buy her new one. Slowly but surly this has thinned out her very cluttered life. You can start this today and your husband might not even notice it. I just cleaned out the kitchen. All those second and third tier pots and pans and utensils are gone. I don’t need 3 rolling pins and 4 spatulas. I used to push a cart around Costco as a form of therapy, throwing whatever I wanted or thought I might need into the cart. I keep finding unopened items from years ago in closets. I have not done this for at least a year now. No more retail therapy for me. Glad you are here and like the blog…..

  5. kathy leveque says:

    I just found your blog and it is very interesting and you write very well and with humor which I like.
    Would you tell me about Loja? Is it humid there? Also health care, I read that as a resident up to the age of 69 you are eligable but what if you are older and what if you have had a pre-existing cond. Say cancer, but it is now in remission. Would you still be able to get health care?
    Thank you for your time

    • Ecuador George says:

      Kathy, I have not been to Loja but I have read about it. If I remember correctly it is what I would consider a medium sized city with medical services available. I am not an expert in the area of medical but I did find this from an old (2010) issue of INTERNATIONAL LIVING…..

      Another option for expats who are too old for private insurance coverage is to apply to the Ecuador Social Security system or IESS. IESS maintains a country-wide health care system, and the facilities in major towns and cities are clean and modern. There is no age limit as long as you have a cedula or Ecuadorian ID card (see here for information on Ecuadorian visas). Monthly fees average a little over $50, and after a six-month waiting period, all physician visits, lab tests, hospital procedures, medications… even eye glasses and dental care… are covered 100%.

      Good luck to you….

  6. Hello George,

    I found your blog yesterday and have been enchanted by your writing! You make no mention of Bahia, which is a great place to live if you want to live on the water. Our family is planning on moving to Ecuador at the end of the summer.

    How have your dogs adjusted to the change?

    Warm regards,


    • Ecuador George says:

      Hi Kim,
      We are not living in Ecuador yet but will be moving soon. We visit again in August and will be stopping in to see Bahia… We have heard many nice things about this beach heaven. Makes me wonder if I should just book the entire coastal experience in Bahia….

      We have 2 dogs and I am not sure the older one who is 15 years old would survive the flight so we still need to decide what to do, time will tell, but the young dog is coming with us for sure.

      Thanks for the heads up about Bahia… I keep hearing about that area so here we come in Augusts and then the permanent move will happen middle of next year.


  7. Mark and Annette Brennan says:

    Hello all
    We’ve just returned from a three week visit to Manta. We stayed at an apartment which we found on airbnb.com. The locale was heavenly 100 ft up from the Ocean with the breezes continuously blowing. We were there in May and the weather could not have been more perfect, absolutely NO humidity.
    Manta itself is quite delapitated. But one always has to remember Ecuador IS a third world country. If you’re able to close your eyes to this, then we feel it is ideal. We met many XPATS mainly American and they have a most active support group. We were however shocked at the number of people who move there without knowing ANY Spanish. They manage to get by, but we think that would be our first order of business if we were thinking of re-locating there.
    Bahia was a bit of a disappointment as we had read much about it as well as seen a lot online. Again, we found the main areas along the wharf to be extremely run down. We had somehow envisioned something more upscale but now realize that we were thinking of Salinas.
    We took a day trip to Santa Marinata about 20 min. from Manta and were shocked to see the desert landscape…here we ate fresh fish just caught, fried in thatched hut restaurants. It was lovely. That is one of the things we find most intriguing about the Coast. If you love fish, it is everywhere…you can buy fish from fishermen selling them on the wharf (just caught)…amazingly fresh and delicious.
    But what took us aback most of all was the friendliness and kindness of the Ecuadorian people. Most of them live in poverty most of us can’t even imagine, but smile at them and they smile back. It was a wonderful experience to meet these lovely people. So much so that we’re looking to return to Salinas in November to see what the weather is like then.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Mark and Annette… Thanks for reporting back… So, out of everything you saw, is there a place you might consider living? Did you make it to Montanita or Salinas? It is nice to hear a candid description of what is currently there… Thanks for the report. Pictures would be great if you have any and would like to share… George ( geoforgues@msn.com )

  8. Bonnie Combs says:

    We are also looking to snowbird the winter of ‘012. Looking for furnished apt with wifi and will cell phones/ Skype work there for a reasonable fee? We also have as all dog so looking for dog friendly living. No humidy, 60- 70 degrees. SAFE, and a variety f tngs t do. thanks so much to all. We like in the Pocono mountains in PA. Looking to network with all. Feel free to email me anytime. even my Canadian cousins!

    Bonnie @ Steve

    • Ecuador George says:

      Bonnie, Skype worked well for us and we also had a cheap cell phone we never used. Cuenca has the temperatures around your range but I think the coast will be hotter than that… probably in the mid 80’s. Good luck… Google dog friendly rentals, condos, apartments, and hotels in Ecuador….

  9. leah says:

    Hello George,

    I love your blog – subjects are all very topical and relevant. We just returned from Ecuador and each trip confirms our choice of the coast for our vacation property; we look forward to the day we can spend more time there. Our townhouse is at the Vistazul Development in San Clemente – between Manta and Bahia. It is very low density – currently only 38 units in about 10 acres. This is a quiet area with lots of sun “microclimate”, fantastic beaches, sunsets, multi-cultural community and within easy access to larger centres such as Bahia, Manta and Portoviejo.

    Our unit is just finished and ready to rent:
     2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, rooftop deck, AC
     1250 sq ft interior, plus rooftop deck (600 sq ft)
     Furnished with equipped kitchen
     Quality boutique hotel as Clubhouse
     Local, bilingual rental manager who can assist with local services i.e. drivers, cleaners etc.
     $800/month + electricity (mostly for AC usage) for rental of at least 6 months. Other terms, i.e. 1 month rentals also available.

    Link to Vistazul website is attached. It has full access to boutique Hotel Palmazul and its beachfront pool, restaurant, spa services. See tab for Clubhouse (separate link also below).


    For more information: vistazul_ecuador_beach_rental@rogers.com

    • Ecuador George says:

      Leah… good luck with renting out your beautiful place… Now I would like you to send me your story and I will feature you on the next post… Where you are from, why you bought this home, where else you looked, how much, problems??? And send a few pictures… Everyone wants to know and you can tell them. Thanks George

  10. Bonnie says:

    hi george! we plan to make a trip down there to scope it out after i sell my house. we are wondering, are there any houseboats on rivers? i can’t seem to find any info about river living or houseboat living at all! thanks for all the info you put out here for us, looks like a ‘done deal’ to us!

    • Ecuador George says:

      I wish I could tell you for sure, but I have never heard of even one houseboat in Ecuador… and there are no houseboats on the 4 rivers that run through Cuenca. Good luck. George

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