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The Quiet Life in Ecuador: Canoa and Vilcabamba

The nation of Ecuador has begun to draw the attention of North American and European expatriates and retirees as a cheaper, less developed alternative to more well-known areas in Mexico or Costa Rica. Many new arrivals to Ecuador take up residence in one of its Andean cities such as Cuenca or Quito. Both of these cities are large urban centers dating back to Spanish colonial days, with beautiful historic districts and a high quality of life at affordable prices.

In fact, Ecuador as a whole is becoming known for its incredibly low cost of living. U.S. $2,000 per month will allow a couple to live a relatively luxurious lifestyle, frequently taking advantage of Ecuador's many opportunities for good dining, arts and culture, and travel to explore the country's wonderfully varied terrain and biodiversity. Real estate in Ecuador presents some amazing opportunities to potential investors.

But what about options for people who would rather not live in a large population center? Ecuador is full of such areas, although in seeking them out, one should consider that rural areas in Ecuador are less developed than Quito, Cuenca, or the port city of Manta. This may be reflected in the quality of roads, the availability of speedy internet connections and English entertainment options, and the proximity of health care services. Those wanting a lifestyle close to the natural wonders of Ecuador, and willing to leave the urban centers a few hours behind, can consider two very different areas: Canoa and Vilcabamba.


Located on Ecuador's Pacific coast, Canoa is a seaside village known for its great surf and beautiful beaches. Canoa has been "discovered" more in recent years, and is developing a more lively nightlife with an uptick in tourism. Yet, expatriates in search of peace and quiet in Ecuador can find it here. In addition to surfing, locals swim, fish, and occasionally turn up pre-Columbian artifacts on the beach. The town is small, with basic amenities. However, this may change as new highways and bridges are constructed, which will make Canoa the closest beach town to Ecuador. Many visitors find themselves so captivated by the area that they find themselves coming back and eventually purchasing Canoa Ecuador real estate, and now is an ideal time to do it before prices rise.


Vilcabamba is a small rural town of 5,000 people, nestled in the bright green hills at the base of the Andes. Sometimes referred to as the "Playground of the Inca," Vilcabamba was formerly used as a retreat for royalty. And perhaps the ancient Inca monarchs were on to something: today, Vilcabamba receives international attention as one of the spots on the globe where locals regularly live to over 100 years old. The jury is still out on whether Vilcabamba's longevity claims are legitimate, but it's undeniable that the area has a healthy, wholesome feel to it. Young and old alike can sit for hours at the cafes that surround the small, brightly colored central square, chatting and watching men and women on horses go by. Those looking for a simple, country lifestyle will find just that in Vilcabamba. Because this area is becoming desirable for expatriates, Vilcabamba Ecuador real estate is generally pricier than other places in the country. It is, however, still very affordable by North American standards, with modern, spacious homes available for under $300,000.