Recommendations for best overall coastal city

Hi all,
Of course, the "where to ____" question is very common but I find that a number of the threads are likely outdated and aged as times, politics, and costs change. So, with that in mind I'm hoping to get some really good feedback on the best options amongst coastal cities based on factors like 1.) cost of living 2.) climate 3) mobility (ease of getting around via various modes) 4.) services (like access to services available in big cities versus smaller towns) 5.) safety 6.) social atmosphere 7.) accessibility to other locations...if you want to add to that list, by all means, feel free. For now, all I have heard is Esmeraldas and Manta but vague non-specific on each. What is your take on the two cities or others based on the mentioned factors? Many thanks in advance.

Other things to mention is if you want expat communities or happy being the only foreigners.

Probably the choices are Manta / Bahia / Salinas. With Manta being the more city like, the others like towns

That is a good point. Often expat communities are more familiar with foreigners and the services are usually there. The small town has a more personal feel to them though which is especially helpful when living abroad. Speaking of living abroad in compared to the states, they say in the states that it is best to have six months of savings on hand to account for things like a loss of job or sickness, I wonder if those numbers are much higher when living abroad. That seems especially true since most people seem to go abroad in search of a second home or retirement. In either case, there is usually no income from working abroad which means only spend, spend, spend. Even meeting the low monthly pension requirements for Cuenca does not seem stable enough, since it is a month to month thing. So things like "loss of employment or sickness" while living abroad can be catastrophic quickly. Hell maybe 12-16 months of savings, on hand, is a good position. Like anything else, there is a learning cost associated with being abroad in addition to the issues mentioned. The last thing that is needed is to be in an uncomfortable position money-wise while abroad especially with all the negative sentiments directed to expats from the states. Not good. Who knows what an embassy could or would do there. Yet another situation where the six "P"s come into play. Sickness could occur easily too. ..sounds like the drinking water is not all that safe and bottled water may not help much when eating at restaurants and so on. yada yada yada.

In particular heard there are issues with the water supply in Manta and Esmeraldas.

The water on the coast has high levels of bacterial and amoebic contamination. This is not only true for Ecuador, but most coastal areas in the tropics around the world.

Drinking bottled water or boiling and filtering your own is the safest way to avoid infection.

In regards to money worries, budgeting is simple on a fixed income:
First,  invest 15% to 25% of your monthly income.
Next, Cover yourself against catastrophes with  insurance from financially sound companies.
Third, spend the remainder of your monthly income freely and happily.

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