Ecuador is the expat retirement flavor of the year, and Cuenca might just be the ideal spot for both snowbirds and retirees alike.
Those who prefer a beach background choose Salinas. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Miami Beach, Salinas draws expats looking for an affordable alternative to Florida, USA.
In fact, we named Ecuador among the Best Places to Retire Abroad in our Ultimate Guide, and Salinas one of the best spots, offering “Miami living without Miami prices.”
For years folks have been living in one spot during the summer months and then going somewhere warmer for the winter months. You can easily adapt this to your Nomad Capitalist Lifestyle.
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Salinas, Ecuador, sits within the Santa Elena Province, about 90 minutes from the Guayaquil International Airport.
The area, known as “Puntilla de Santa Elena,” comprises three large cities: Salinas, La Libertad, and Santa Elena. Boasting plenty of sunshine year round, Salinas’ average temperature ranges from 65°F (18.°C) to 85°F (29°C).
People come to Salinas for its 340 days of sunshine, year-round low humidity, affordable housing, and easy access to affordable medical care. The expat community is smaller than what you might find in Cuenca, but it’s a close-knit group.
Things To Do in Salinas
Unlike Cuenca, Salinas is not a haven for cultural mavens, foodies, or fashionistas. Water sports are the name of the game.
Salinas has hosted major surf events, including the 2009 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Championships and the Salinas International Longboard Festival 2021, and the beach establishments here pay special attention to everything a surfer needs.
Other outdoor activities include sport fishing, whale watching, and bird watching.
Many surfers flock to La Chocolatera. Since it’s a naval-base territory, you’ll need permission to enter, but it’s almost always granted.
Salinas has a decent tennis court facility, but its golf courses are a bit lacking, which may be a major drawback for some retirees.
The local mall has a movie theater, which movies in both Spanish and English.
While there’s some decent nightlife during the high season, there’s the usual beach town problem: The low season!
The City of Salinas has a steady year-round population of about 43,800 inhabitants. An estimated 80 to 1,200 from the mainly USA and Canada comprise its expat population.
Given its status as one of Ecuador’s top beach and surfing resorts, the population of Salinas increases signficantly during the high season.
From a business perspective, one can do well in the high season. During the off-season, not so much. Businesses that appeal to the US expat crowd can potentially survive year-round.
Despite this, many locals and expats bemoan the lack of off-season activities and conveniences. Others are shocked when they discover that Ecuador is not the Caribbean. While it might not snow during winter, it does get chilly, rainy, and overcast.
The beaches can get extremely packed because this is a vacation spot for everyone in Ecuador.
Outside the water activities, there is not much in the way of cultural activities or diversions.
Another downside can be the income disparity; high-rise condos dot the Salinas beachfront, called the Malecon. But walk a few blocks from the beach and the neighborhood changes.
This was a deal-breaker for some who didn’t want to walk from their condo and see garbage all over the streets and poverty all around them.
Salinas has been the undisputed premiere resort community for the Ecuadorean elite and middle class for decades, but it seems that this positive designation has meant that not much effort has been put into development here.
High-speed Internet in Salinas
Internet access is available throughout most of Ecuador, including Salinas.
The availability of high-speed internet depends on your definition of high-speed. What’s acceptable for occasional Facebook posts and emails might be unacceptable for digital nomads working on tight deadlines.
The city has a selection of Internet providers whose performance ranges from pretty good to bad.
Speedtest reveals that among top mobile operators in Ecuador, CNT delivers the fastest median download speed at 28.45 Mbps.
Is Salinas, Ecuador, right for you? We always recommend our readers to visit and spend some time before making your decision.
Are you looking for a second residence or citizenship? Would you like to buy a property and find the ideal retirement location?
Ecuador is definitely a very affordable place in a very interesting part of the world that is relatively safe.