I got an interesting article from an “expert” forwarded to me this week about how great Playas, Ecuador is.
Insert YAWN here.
Are you serious? Have you actually been to Playas?
Spent significant time there? Done business there?
Trust me, there are much better options on the Ecuador coast for investors in 2014.
Sure, Playas looks good on paper… a small beach town near the big malls, hospitals and international airport of Guayaquil, the biggest city in Ecuador.
But the truth is… Playas was the place to invest… 5-6 years ago.
Its still the crappy place it was then… but at least then it was CHEAP.
If you´re going to sell me a turd, it better be cheap!
The truth about Playas circa 2014 is that the town is still unattractive, lacks infrastructure for a comfortable expat existence same as it was 6 years ago.
The beach is not attractive comparatively to many other beaches in Ecuador. The beach is horrendously big to the point of just walking across it reminds me of crossing the Sahara desert by foot.
The water. Well, its murky. Playas is situated right where a huge dirty river delta meets the ocean. Its also a bit choppy for comfortable swimming yet the waves aren´t that nice for surfing.
The beachfront… overpriced and all developed due to all the money the wealthy Guayaquil folks have poured into the place.
I know these people. To them, all they know for beaches are Playas, Salinas and the new kid on the block, Montanita. Thats where their beach universe ends.
Nowadays, for a beachfront property in this area you are looking at a six figure investment for even a small house on a tiny lot.
I know of one 3 bedroom 2 bath place beachfront but still far from the water due to the boardwalk out front and big beach that sold for a bit over $100k. Another 2 bedroom crumbling place I know of two blocks back sold for $40k.
Go to the north or south of the city and prices go up even more as many Guayaquil folks have their beachfront villa there.
Playas is actually the same distance to Guayaquil as Salinas in travel time although on the map it looks closer. You´re still looking at 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours but the buses that service Playas are chicken buses compared to the nice air conditioned ones that service Salinas.
Unlike most coastal Ecuadorian towns Playas is so spread out you better have a car to live here!
Also, for land or property purchases the municipal in Playas is a royal pain-in-the-arse if you´ve had the displeasure (like myself) to have to work with them.
Other municipalities on the coast like in Manta, PortoViejo or even Santa Elena (Salinas) are MUCH nicer and more efficient.
The seafood is good, but so is it in about anywhere else on the coast of Ecuador.
Basic services like water, electric and Internet… iffy at best. In other words they come and go. Much better on a lot of other beaches in Ecuador.
Also, in Playas, you are REALLY far removed from everything.
You are still an hour to an hour and a half from the next nearest town or city.
In the winter months of January, February and March it rains a lot… its humid and boy are there a lot of mosquitos. Place reminds of Guayaquil (where I lived for about a year.)
Playas also lacks the nice onshore breeze the rest of the more west facing Ecuador coast gets.
Its true the sun comes out more here than on other beaches in Ecuador but I also find it more intense, burning white skin like eggs on a skillet. Plus with the beach so wide theres no where to take cover.
As for Playas, leaving it off your beach property hunting itinerary is a good bet.
The “value” price-quality just isn´t there.
So where is a great investment on the coast right now?
Stay tuned to this newsletter and soon you´ll find out.
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