Ecuador Coastal Towns and Cities

Happy New Year all,

You all have been helpful on my previous forum topic on moving to Ecuador but now have some additional questions on the coast in general as compared to the mountain cities (Quito/Cuenca).

Bear in mind that my wife has arthritus and bad knees. We need a place that she can get around fairly easily to shops/grocery etc. on an electric motor scooter and a place where the barometric pressure is stable. Short and inexpensive cab fares are also a must. We are looking for a furnished 2 bed-2 bath around $800/month (12 month lease)

So, with that in mind, I'm hoping to get some really good feedback on the best options amongst coastal cities based on the following factors:


1.) Cost of living in Salinas or Manta etc. compared to Cuenca/Quito.

2.) Overall better climate (ie. Salinas vs. Cuenca. We like it warm. We use to live in Fort Lauderdale.

3) Mobility in Salinas vs Cuenca (ease of getting around via various modes)

4.) Access to services in Coastal locations vs mountains cities

5.) General safety (Coastal vs Cuenca/Quito)

6.) Social atmosphere- Expat Communities on the coast (We are both in our sixties and retired.)

7.) Ease of Transportation in Salinas/Manta compared to to other towns/cities in Ecuador.


Many thanks in advance and Have a good weekend all.

John W.

Hola John!

We just posted a video comparing Salinas, Montañita and Cuenca a couple weeks ago: https://youtu.be/mJ4IeZGN09o. We haven't been to Manta yet, but it's on our list.

If your wife has arthritis, Cuenca may be a little painful for her. I have arthritis in my back and some days it's really painful here. It was much better on the coast in the warmer air and lower altitude.

Buena suerte!
JP

as always "it depends"


1.) Cost of living in Salinas or Manta etc. compared to Cuenca/Quito.

Probably the same with mountain produce being more expensive on the coast.

2.) Overall better climate (ie. Salinas vs. Cuenca. We like it warm. We use to live in Fort Lauderdale.

define better? But salinas will be warmer, but does have a 6 month low season where it will be overcast for a lot of the time.

3) Mobility in Salinas vs Cuenca (ease of getting around via various modes)

Salinas isn't really a city, more of a town, but blends into La Libertad / Santa Elena which may make it seem larger than it is. But there are buses / taxis. Pavements / sidewalks are not so great - but that goes country wide

4.) Access to services in Coastal locations vs mountains cities

What Services? hospitals? Salinas has a few

5.) General safety (Coastal vs Cuenca/Quito)

Salinas safer

6.) Social atmosphere- Expat Communities on the coast (We are both in our sixties and retired.)

No idea about ex pat communities myself, but from what I read Cuenca has A LOT more expats so more community there.

7.) Ease of Transportation in Salinas/Manta compared to to other towns/cities in Ecuador.

Stand on road and flag down a bus or call a taxi. Same as everywhere


End of the day, visit all and see how it is for you

6. Manta and Salinas both have expat communities, Manta being larger. 
7. Taxis are plentiful, budget $2 to $3 per trip under 8 km. Good quality coach buses go between cities for $5 to $15. Uber works in Guayaquil, Ambato, and Quito but not in Cuenca. I haven't tried in Manta yet.

2. Weather. The coast of ecuador has a rainy season (December to May) and a dry season (June to November). The rainy season has day and night temperatures 3 to 6 degrees F warmer than the dry season.

Microclimates are significant on the coast, so one town might see twice the rain as another just 10 miles north. Rainy season might mean morning overcast, afternoon mostly sunny, stormy late night, 5 days a week.
Dry season could go 10 weeks without rain. Again, microclimates.

Depending where you are on the coast daytime highs in the rainy season might average 84 F, lows 75 F. Dry season 79 f high,  70 f low.

We moved to Salinas a couple of months ago and are very happy with the move. We rented a 2bed, 2 bath, nicely furnished, smallish 9th floor condo in a newer building. Have a great view of San Lorenzo beach and the Malecon. We found many apartments available in the 600 to 900 price range, but got in just before the high season started. Sidewalks are a bit worse than what we found in Cuenca when we did our exploratory trip a few years ago. lots of broken, missing, rebar sticking up, too narrow to walk on. There are many expats here and we have 3 couples that we socialize with regularly already, and many more that we 'have a beer with'. there are a few organized expat activities each week, like karaoke, Mexican train, poker and a couple of others.  good luck!

> 2. Weather. The coast of ecuador has a rainy season (December to May) and a dry season (June to November). The rainy season has day and night temperatures 3 to 6 degrees F warmer than the dry season.

For Santa Elena province that is what they say, but it isn't so cut out

Rainy season is hot season, but heavy rains are very rare, might be a week or two or rain at night, although some years might just get 1 or 2 heavy rains. The rainiest month that last few years has been February with little rain at other times. But days are hot and sunny (I would say the temp diff is more than 3-6degree f. I would say day highs are 30c in high season and closer to 20-22c in low season. Actually that may be 6f, but is definitely more than 3f

Dry season is cold season (relative), it will be overcast and can still be wet, but is a drizzle rain that can last days / weeks at a time

To OP:

1.) Cost of living in Salinas or Manta etc. compared to Cuenca/Quito.
Similar, though Cuenca offer better values on housing rentals.

2.) Overall better climate (ie. Salinas vs. Cuenca. We like it warm. We use to live in Fort Lauderdale.
If you like rain = Cuenca; If you like dry = Salinas.

3) Mobility in Salinas vs Cuenca (ease of getting around via various modes)
Reasonable mobility in oth, but overall better in Cuenca.

4.) Access to services in Coastal locations vs mountains cities
Access in both is reasonable. But you are comparing cities like Quito and Cuenca to towns like Salinas or smaller cities like Manta. Not apples to apples.

5.) General safety (Coastal vs Cuenca/Quito)
Safer in Salinas.

6.) Social atmosphere- Expat Communities on the coast (We are both in our sixties and retired.)
Per capita, Cuenca has the highest expat population, with Salinas running second.

7.) Ease of Transportation in Salinas/Manta compared to to other towns/cities in Ecuador.
Both offer private and public transportation, but it is more prolific in Quito and Cuenca, than Manta and Salinas.

Previous answers are objective and factual. Purely on a subjective level, since I am not an M.D., I can't imagine anyone with arthritis being comfortable in the damp and often chilled climate of Cuenca.

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