The 2nd best beach in Ecuador to find cheap beachfront property

This is part 2 of 3 in this series on where’s the best, undiscovered places to still find your own small piece of the beach in Ecuador… cheap, small front-line beachfront lots for personal use preferibly under $15k.  
Today’s pick is probably not on your Ecuador beach property house-hunting itinerary.
But it is one of the sunniest beaches in Ecuador (by far).

Has very little humidity nor insects (comparatively).

Is within an hour and a half of an international airport and first-world style hospitals.

Has great, empty waves for surfers.

At night, you can see stars, lots of them, and like in many small towns, hear a pin drop. (Ok, almost.)

And is only minutes from an already well-known Ecuador beach town and a new, large SuperMaxi mega-shopping center.

And did I mention the forgotten beachfront lots that are cheap… very cheap.

Welcome to todays pick… Engabao.  

In Engabao you’ll feel like you’re on the edge of the world.  Not many people here.  There are a few hostels though that cater to the surfers that seasonally migrate to these shores.

Only 15 minutes northwest up the coast from Playas, you’ll feel a lot farther away.

Heading north away from ‘town’ a few folks have already ‘seen the signs’ and have bought in and erected vacation homes for sale.  But vacant, often abandoned beachfront lots can be had, and had cheap, recently, I’ve seen smallish 250m2-1000m2 beachfront lots for sale in this area anywhere from $15-30 USD per square meter while beachfront land in other areas of the coast often command $60-150 per m2.

Surf is the key for a town to have explosive growth potential.  Discos, hotels, restaurants and other amendities can be added later.  But a town either has surf or it doesn’t.

Don’t look far for an example of a town on the Ecuador coast that started with not much more than a decent surf, that exploded in a matter of 2-3 years since about mid-2009 as it got discovered by both the local and international travel community (Montanita).

And while Montanita is 3 hours from the nearest major city and international airport (Guayaquil) this town is only about 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours away.

Now, I don’t expect this place to explode, not overnight anyway, it’s too raw just like the last pick, Chanduy.

And frankly, its not for the mainstream expat looking for the standard services (just yet) and put down roots.

But it is an interesting investment option.

Now, Engabao does have its disadvantages… like (lack of) population, (lack of) basic food options, spotty basic services (water, electricity, internet), the dry, desert-like moon-scape, and the access road from Playas is 20 minutes of pot holes.

But that’s why its cheap.  And as of now, there is inventory for sale, and potential indeed is here.

After all, what else would you expect from a cheap, low priced, undiscovered beachfront option!

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Chasing the ‘holy-grail’ of Ecuador: Cheap beachfront property, part 1 of 3



What if you only had 5 days to look for cheap beachfront property in Ecuador?
And you were only interested in something front line, I mean right on the ocean.
You want to walk out the front of your house and be able to wiggle your toes in the sand.
You know, something that would cost millions in California, New Jersey or even Costa Rica.
A block back… no good… not interested… and you got a LOW budget, you want something small just for you, I’m talking $20k or less.
You can’t dick around.
You’d be wasting your valuable time going somewhere like Olon, Montanita or Canoa where prices have already jumped in recent years and there is little to no front-line beachfront availability.
I’d start in these 3 places that stand out in my mind as the ‘top three opportunity’ areas right now in July of 2013.
3 undiscovered places on the coast where you can still find that holy grail, or in other words really cheap, yet desirable, undiscovered beachfront property.
You can always buy one or two blocks back…  But let’s face it, front-line beachfront property is a limited commodity.

And the first town in this series, the one I reveal to you today is where i found the one I bought the 500m2 front-line beachfront lot a few months ago for $4300.
Of course, these are not the only places in Ecuador with cheap beachfront.
And big lots with cheap ‘per meter’ values can be had all up and down the coast particularly between the towns, but you are still looking at a several hundred thousand dollar investment with those larger lots.  So that’s not what im talking about with these three picks.
These 3 picks are a good place to start for someone looking to spend a few thousand bucks to have their own piece of the beach, a slab maybe big enough for a house with a small yard.  Maybe 500m2 or so.
They’re completely undiscovered, and this is probably the first time you’ve even heard them mentioned… anywhere!
Over the last 2 years I’ve witnessed places like Montanita, Playas, Canoa, Ayampe and Ballenita jump in beachfront prices.  Could these 3 be next?
Here is my first pick to find CHEAP beachfront property (over the next week you’ll get the next two picks in this series):  

“Where?”  You might say.
Maybe I have you scrambling for a map.
Don’t worry, if this town wasn’t put on your house-hunting itinerary you’re not the only one!
This town is south of Salinas and north of Playas, almost right inbetween.

You didn’t know there was a town between those two?  Well, there is, its just not well known and certainly not touristy.

To date almost zero foreigners have bought here.  Ok one if you count me.  This is where I found that 500m2, $4300 beachfront lot (that has proper title).
Chanduy is a fishing village, with a large fishery on the far end of town.
There’s one little hostal in town only open on (some) weekends.
Its about 45 minutes from the boardwalk of Salinas, or 30 minutes from the big malls and shopping of Santa Elena.
It’s a dusty,dry, rather vacant town on one of the sunniest stretches of beach in Ecuador.  Raw… yes!
The beach is golden, long but not wide, and there is surf, but its better for body surfers than for surfers.
So how has this town remained a completly undiscovered secret being so relatively close to the Salinas area?
Because its out of the way.
It’s not anywhere near the main coastal road like so many towns on the coast of Ecuador.
Its VERY easy to drive past the sign.
You actually have to turn off the highway that connects Guayaquil to Salinas and drive down a shoddy (yet paved) road with some pretty big potholes about 15-20 minutes just to get to the town and the beach.
The going price for most lots seem to be around $10-20 per m2 and that can even be for a beachfront smallish lot for a single family residence.
Does this place have potential?
Well the location is great, less than a half hour from amendities and shopping malls (in Santa Elena near Salinas).

And less than two hours from an international airport in Guayaquil (GYE).

Its also one of the sunniest, least humid beaches in all of Ecuador.
The locals are friendly but not very used to the sight of foreigners.
And its not a big place so with just a couple dozen foreigners buying in the price could really move.  But it won’t happen overnight.  I see this as a good 1-3 year investment.
For pics just Google “Chanduy”.  There’s some decent ones on there.
Can’t say I dont put my money where my mouth is!


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Guayaquil: the top short-term rental opp in Ecuador?

guayaquil real estate
Las Penas near the boardwalk in Guayaquil.

Most expats and travelers in Ecuador just skip it.

It’s hot, it’s humid and the mosquitos plentiful. But if you stay there for a while, you’ll automatically be compelled to know the best way to stop mosquito bites from itching.

Ecuadorians will tell you not to go there cause it’s dangerous.

Welcome to Guayaquil.  Ecuador’s largest city and top international port.

But after a year of living there I can honestly say it is also a great investment for short-term, furnished, up-scale rental properties.

There simply is more demand than supply.  And it’s year round!

Guayaquil along with the heat and humidity also happens to be the main crossroads of Ecuador.  Wherever you’re going, chances are you’ll need to pass by Guayaquil.

Locals in the city haven’t quite grasped the idea, and almost all the properties for rent ask for long-term leases (1 or 2 years) and come unfurnished.


…it’s an easy sell to many executives and travelers alike as to why stay in a hotel room for weeks or months when you can enjoy the privacy of your own apartment and kitchen.

There’s money in Guayaquil.

And you’ll soon discover you’ll have just as much interest from local, Ecuadorian executives as you will from foreign travelers just passing through maybe on their way to the Galapagos… or maybe on their way from Salinas/Montanita to Cuenca (they have to pass through Guayaquil).

You could rent by the night, week or month to month.

So where in Guayaquil is best for this type of rental?

Well, I’d avoid the city center like the plague although the river boardwalk (malecon) while nice to visit in the daytime it’s dodgy at night.  I’d avoid the south of the city too cause it’s just plain ghetto.  Samborondon is nice, and where the local rich live but it’s far away from everything and your renters will need a car to rent there from you.

Urdesa is a pleasant neighborhood with lots of restaurants that is nice to live with tree-lined streets but being in a narrow valley the traffic during rush hour can get untolerably bottlenecked, not for me.

I’d stick to the north central part of town between the city center and the airport.  Particularly, I like the Kennedy Norte area and even more specifically the Plaza del Sol area.

The Plaza del Sol area is the new city financial center, right next to the Mall Del Sol and where both travelers and the locals (with money) want to be.

You’re in the middle of everything.  A few minutes from the airport, a few minutes to Urdesa or Samborondon or even the old city center.

There is a Sheraton and Howard Johnson in the area too.  The Hilton is nearby.

There are a few condo towers I like specifically with pools, parking, elevator and 24 hour receptionist.  Two are the twin towers adjoined to the Howard Johnson, and another is the Elite Tower across the street.  In any of these towers you can find a luxury one bedroom suite starting around $85k resale.  The two bedroom start about $10-20k more.  The suites rent for $1100-1200 a month, or around $80 a night.  But there are VERY few for rent as short-term furnished rentals!

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Ecuador a safe haven for enemies of the USA?

I recently got this email from a subscriber…

“I enjoy your emails about Ecuador but have become concerned that it  is becoming known as the safe haven of enemies of the United States.  First it was Julian Assange from Wikileaks, and now it is Edward Snowden.”

My response: 

Well, yes, it is becoming a safe-haven, isn’t it obvious!

This is what happens when a leader plays to his own ego instead of doing what’s truly best for the country.

Maybe, being an oil-producing country with plentiful fresh water sources and extremely fertile farmland, Ecuador really doesn’t need the US, but someday it might.

What I do know is there’s quite a few folks in Ecuador whose clients are primarily North Americans (paticularily in the tourism and exporting industries), and if Ecuador starts to garner a bad rap, than yes, these businesses will be hurt.

Now I hate politics as much as anybody and don’t want to get into it but I look at it like this…

Any little guy like myself with leanings toward dorkiness… yet survived middle school in the USA knows it doesn’t pay to tick off a bully.  There’s nothing to be gained from it, you’re best to lay low, mind your own business and let the authorities sort out the injustices.

If I were Ecuador my response would have been to simply not get involved in the “Assange, Snowden” cases.

But does this effect Ecuador as a quality, safe, inexpensive place to live with a mild climate somewhat near the US that accepts foreigners wholeheartedly?

No, not really.

Most Ecuadorians have family in the US, and feel a special bond with Americans so i don’t think rascism towards North Americans will ever be an issue and it will remain a nice place to live despite these very-political occurances.

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Abusive landlords in Ecuador: Ecuador Rental Law

“Come on man, help me grab her washing machine.” My Ecuadorian friend (and roomate at the time) yelled.

“Naw man, even if she did screw me, and I don’t mean that in the positive sense, I’m not about stealing people’s shit.” I responded.

“Thats how we do it in Ecuador.” He responded.

You see, recently a good local friend of mine and myself were renting an apartment in Quito, and the landlord upon finding out we were going to unoccupy the apartment refused to give us back our security deposit.

So my Ecuadorian friend planned on cleaning her out by taking her microwave, washing machine and random other things… but I eventually talked him out of it.

But as a renter in Ecuador, excuse me, as a FOREIGN renter in Ecuador, its important you know your rights cause a lot of people will try to take advantage of you.

It is what it is.

So what exactly are your rights as a renter in Ecuador? 

Well, this week I was interviewing a friend in the Rental Court of Ecuador (Juzgado de inquilinato) in Quito asking just that.

Me: Security deposits, how much should they be, what is legal?

Response: There is no legal limit as of yet but most folks with nicer properties charge two months worth of rent as the security deposit.

My take: Use your status as a foreigner (us foreigners have a good rep of being good renters so use that as you negotiate) and often you can get the landlord down to accepting one month worth of rent.  Some don’t ask any deposit.

If a property owner doesn’t mention a security deposit, DON’T mention it yourself!  If there is no way around a hefty security deposit but you really want the place, most landlords will accept, and I suggest, that you pay half the security deposit up front and the other half after a month or two, this gives you time to evaluate the property.

Me: If I leave my contract early, does a landlord have the right to keep my security deposit?  

Response:  No, absoutely not, not in Ecuador.

Me: If I leave my contract before it expires, and unoccupy the property, can the landlord come after me for the unused time on the contract?

Response:  No, not in Ecuador, generally, if you notify you’re leaving, unoccupy and stop paying, its over.

Me: What can I do if a landlord doesn’t want to return my security deposit?  

Response: Most Ecuadorians just occupy the property for the amount of time the security deposit would buy them, and leave it at that.  You could also sue them through this office (Juzgado de Inquilinato) and you could get a judge verdict within 3-6 months.

Me:  Switching sides a bit, if you as the owner of a real property in ecuador are renting to someone who stops paying their rent, how quickly can you legally evict them and what is the process?  

Response:  Well, its more complicated than in the US where I’ve heard in many states by the 10th day of non-payment you can get the police to come and get  the tenants stuff placed on the front lawn.

Here after two complete months of non-payment you can file a complaint through this office and within another 1-3 months get a verdict to have them legally booted from your property.  In Ecuador, you can not get someone booted from your property just by going to the police, you need a court order.  If the case goes to the court the judge will order the tenant to pay you for all the time they spent in your property without paying.

Me:  Most foreign investors, like myself, are weary of places (like Costa Rica) where squatters or in this case folks that rent your property for a really long time can eventually gain some sort of legal right of ownership of your property?  True in Ecuador or not?  

Response:  No, not in Ecuador, there is not this risk when renting property in Ecuador.  You may run into this a bit when dealing with seemingly deserted, unoccupied land several people claim title too, but not when renting residences or commercial property in Ecuador.

Me: How can you legally register a rental contract in Ecuador?

Response:  By getting a few copies of the signed contract and copies of both parties’ legal ID and bringing it to your nearest JUZGADO DE INQUILINATO, once here we can give you more specific details or requirements you need to register the contract.

That’s it, now hopefully you won’t find yourself trying to lift someone elses washing machine!

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