In the space of just over a decade, Salinas has appeared on the expat map. It’s gone from an overlooked beach town to one of Ecuador’s top places to live.
Known locally as Little Miami, Salinas has long been a favorite vacation spot for Ecuadorians. More recently tourists from other countries have started to appear. So have expats. There are more than 6,000 of them living here making it one of the top expat locations in Ecuador.
Salinas owes its history as a popular beach town to infrastructure. For a long time roads in this part of Ecuador were only mud tracks. Salinas was the only town by the beach that you could drive to. The well maintained road carried a steady stream of tourists thoughout they year.
However Salinas no longer has things all its own way. Today the whole coast has been linked by a modern highway.
Other beach towns have started to appear along this stretch of coast. So, are you better of living in Salinas or in one of the up and coming neighboring towns?
Living In Salinas
Salinas is a well-established tourist town. There are more restaurants, bars, shops, hotels than any other town along the coast. If these things are important to you, then Salinas is the best option for beach town living in Ecuador.
Other beach towns are still developing and have less resources. You can find better prices elsewhere, but the trade is worse infrastructure.
Don’t think that Salinas is a town for culture vultures though. This is a town for enjoying a quiet, relaxed life by the sea. There is an informal feel, people dress for comfort and like to take things easy.
Most of the things to do in Salinas involve the outdoors. Sailing, surfing, fishing and diving are popular. Hiking and biking are other pleasant ways to spend your time. Yoga classes and language classes are other options.
Real Estate In Salinas
Real Estate in Salinas remains a good investment. Despite an increase in competition, Salinas remains Ecuador’s favorite vacation town.
If you are buying in Salinas as an investment you can expect a strong rental return during the peak season. House prices in Ecuador have been rising too. A real estate investment here is likely to provide you with the opportunity of a price increase.
The market liquidity in Salinas is generally good. Luxury properties will take longer to sell though. If you are spending more than US$350,000 a fast sale is not guaranteed.
MLS Ecuador has a good selection of property for sale and rental. Ecuador Realty also have a good selection of properties. Take time to do thorough research and make sure you don’t pay above the going rate.
Retire In Salinas
Salinas makes a great retirement destination. The weather is comfortable and the town is pedestrian friendly. It is also affordable enough that you can live well on your Social Security alone. Retiring in Ecuador is especially convenient because Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar for currency.
Salinas is generally safe, but like any city you need to live sensibly. Walking down quiet streets after dark is never a good idea.
The tap water in Salinas is not safe to drink, whatever you might read. If you want to retire here on a budget you will need to factor buying bottled water.
The clean air and fresh food will contribute to a healthier retirement. Retiring in Salinas gives you an opportunity to break a lot of bad habits. The lack of fast food outlets and healthier options in supermarkets will force you to eat better.
Climate In Salinas
Salinas enjoys warm weather throughout the year without ever becoming uncomfortably hot.
The warmest weather is from December to April when the average high temperature is around 80 degrees. The weather is at its coldest between July and October, with average highs falling to around 70 degrees.
The sea is warm enough for swimming all year. Between December and April it reaches 79 degrees which is the same as many heated swimming pools.
This moderate climate means you don’t have to worry about air conditioning or heating. If you want to escape the North American winter without stifling heat, Salinas is a good option.
Salinas is close to the equator and receives an even 12 hours of sunlight and darkness all year. Days merge into weeks and months and they all slip by with the same sunny weather and lack of rain.
Infrastructure In Salinas
Salinas was the first tourist town in the Santa Elena province, mostly thanks to being the only beach town with decent roads. The roads across this region have improved a lot over the last decade and you can easily explore the region.
Guayaquil and it’s international airport is a 2 hour drive away. There is a regular bus service between Salinas and Guayaquil. You can also take flights to other destinations in Ecuador. This is a popular option as some of the mountain roads in Ecuador can be terrifying.
Salinas is a small town and you can easily get around by taxi or bus. Owning a car is by no means a necessity here.
A big benefit to living in Salinas is the internet. The speeds here are as fast as you can find anywhere in the continent. Digital nomads are taking advantage and anyone who works online can consider Salinas.
Healthcare In Salinas
You can find quality healthcare in Salinas with English speaking doctors. There are 3 hospitals as well as a handful of clinics. As an expat you are unlikely to be treated at the public hospital. This means you will need to go to the Clinica de Especialidades.
Prices are low for healthcare and some expats believe it’s more affordable to pay health care out of pocket and save on insurance fees. This obviously comes with risks so consider if it’s a route you want to go down. Some expats like to keep their U.S. health insurance so they have the option of flying home if they have health problems. Others take the short flight to Colombia where you can find some of the best, and most affordable, healthcare in the world.
If you are not happy with the standard of healthcare in Salinas you can travel to nearby Guaquil. This is where you will find the best hospitals in the region. The Hospital Alcivar is regarded as one of the best you can find anywhere in South America.
Dental care in Salinas is also modern and affordable. Prices here are far less than in the United States. You can find English-speaking professionals.