Located in the Manabi Province, along the central coast of Ecuador, Puerto Lopez is a small coastal village that’s famous for its myriad of tourist attractions, including humpback whale watching, the scenic Machalilla National Park, and so much more.
One of the best things about Puerto Lopez is its simplicity – the village boasts a very laid-back charm, as it lacks the bustling venues and high-rise buildings found in other coastal villages. Outdoor lovers in particular, will be able to find a wide variety of stunning destinations, including beaches, reefs, hiking trails and forests.
The unique coastal town truly has something for everyone, so it can be challenging for visitors or new residents to figure out what to see or do first. LiveTheLife has prepared a list of some of the best attractions and activities you can experience in Puerto Lopez:
Humpback whale watching
Humpback whale watching is one of the main reasons why Puerto Lopez is a big tourist attraction. The best time to see these majestic giants is during the months of June to September, as this when they usually stop along the coast of Puerto Lopez.
Puerto Lopez has several licensed tour agencies that offer whale watching tours – you can find many of these offices in the town’s beach area as well as in the plaza. Tours typically last around 30 to 45 minutes and can cost about $15 to $20, depending on the season.
If you’re interested in going on a whale watching trip, LIVETHELIFE can book a guided tour for you!
Isla de la Plata
Avid birdwatchers will enjoy visiting Isla de la Plata, as the island is teeming with a wide variety of unique bird species, including Nazca boobies, frigatebirds, tropicbirds, Peruvian pelicans, waved albatrosses, and more. You can see some of these marvelous creatures while walking along Isla de Plata’s many established nature trails. You’ll be able to find tour companies that offer complete tour packages that include whale watching, guided treks, and snorkeling.
Trips from Puerto Lopez to Isla de la Plata typically cost around $30 to $45, depending on the time of the year.
Los Frailes Beach Park
Located around 10 kilometers from Puerto Lopez, Los Frailes Beach Park is a beautiful beach with spectacular ocean views and rock formations. The Los Frailes beach is the largest of three beaches included within the National Park of Machalilla.
Outdoor lovers can take an unforgettable two-hour long hike that will take you to the black sand beach of Playa Negrita, La Tortuguita beach, a lookout point surrounded by spectacular views, and finally to Los Frailes.
Foodies can choose from a huge selection of top-notch dining venues in Puerto Lopez. Many of the restaurants offer traditional Ecuadorian cuisine which you shouldn’t miss, such as ceviche, pastel de banano, corviche, and many others.
One dish you should definitely try when in Puerto Lopez however is encebollado, a delicious fish stew that’s made with yuca and served with crushed fried plantain chips. The dish is very popular in the Manabi Province, and is usually offered as a breakfast meal in either street carts or restaurants.
If you’re looking for another great place to visit in Ecuador, check out our guide to Yunguilla Valley.
Dining is an absolute treat when you’re in Puerto Lopez. At this coastal town, foodies will be able to indulge in a terrific mix of great-tasting dishes, all of which are guaranteed to satisfy your taste buds.
Restaurants in Puerto Lopez come in all shapes and sizes, from cozy cafés to lovely seaside bistros and more. While Ecuadorian specialties such as ceviche, encebollado, and pastel banana are definitely the highlights, different types of cuisine from all over the world such as Italian, Mediterranean, French, and more are also available.
If you’re looking for some of the best Puerto Lopez restaurants, here’s a list of places you should visit:
Moby Dick Restaurante
Malecón Julio Izurieta (near Alejo Lascano corner)
Puerto López, Manabí
(+593) 98 700 7326
If you’re craving for some of the finest, freshest seafood in Puerto Lopez, you can’t go wrong with Moby Dick Restaurante. Their grilled fish is highly recommended, with its melt-in-your-mouth lightness and flavorful herbs.
The restaurant offers a great view of the ocean, which is enhanced by its quirky nautical motif, creating a relaxing ambiance for diners.
Bell Italia Restaurant
1 block off Malecon, between Abdon Calderon and
Maria Immaculada Concepcion, Puerto Lopez
(+593) 99 617 5183
Bell Italia may be located a few minutes away from the city center, but is definitely worth a visit if you’re in Puerto Lopez. The venue boasts a welcoming and romantic ambiance, which diners can enjoy along with top-quality homemade Italian dishes.
Bell Italia serves a wide selection of pastas and lasagnas. One of their standout menu items is their homemade pasta topped with salmon and prawns – a delightful dish that is sure to tickle your taste buds.
If you’re looking for a place where you can enjoy a hearty Italian meal while taking in beautiful surroundings, Bell Italia is for you.
Malecon, beside Hotel Pacifico, Puerto Lopez
(+593) 99 219 90 914
Paella Mar is a Spanish restaurant and wine bar that serves a delightful mix of Spanish-style seafood, Mediterranean cuisine, and vegan options. Their dishes are made from scratch with fresh ingredients, so it might take some time to prepare, but everything’s worth it.
As their name implies, their specialty is paella – and boy, are they heavenly! They’re served in generous proportions, and come in several variations. The best one is definitely the lobster paella, which is truly a phenomenal dish.
In addition to their great tasting paellas, Paella Mar also features a good selection of wines, which guests can enjoy along with scenic views of the ocean.
Calle General Cordova (next to the fire station), Puerto Lopez
(+593) 99 167 6876
Located close to the beach, Etnias Café is a cozy coffee shop that is owned and managed by a French couple. The place is designed with coffee lovers in mind, with its authentic espresso and great tasting cappuccino.
Their beverages go along perfectly with their top-notch selection of desserts, which include crepes, homemade brownies, waffles, and pies. If you’re looking for a great place that serves coffee and dessert, stop by this wonderful café – you won’t regret it.
Yunguilla Valley is fast becoming one of Ecuador’s top retirement destinations, with its relaxing countryside atmosphere, pleasant sunny weather, and stunning views of deep green farmland surrounded by mountains.
If you’re searching for an excellent place to retire, Yunguilla Valley is a wonderful choice. Here are a few great reasons why:
The pleasant climate
Geography plays a huge part in Yunguilla Valley’s pleasant climate – the area has an east to west orientation, which means it gets plenty of sunshine as well as a shorter rainy season.
The valley has an altitude of approximately 4,500 feet near Santa Isabel and around 7,000 feet close to Giron, resulting in temperatures that reach the low 80s during daytime to a pleasant high 50s to low 60s at night. With these conditions, retirees get to enjoy lower air conditioning costs, which is not common in most tropical locations.
World-class outdoor activities
If your idea of retirement is spending more time outdoors, then Yunguilla Valley is perfect. The region offers a top-notch variety of recreational activities, which include bird watching, horseback riding, and many more.
Love hiking? There’s an exceptional network of hiking trails that will take adventurers through breathtaking scenery, where you can soak up views of majestic mountains, dense forests, and spectacular waterfalls. The area also has numerous banana, coffee, papaya, and orange plantations, which tells you just how lush and fertile the region is.
Many parts of the Yunguilla Valley may be underdeveloped, especially when compared to Cuenca, but its infrastructure is top-quality compared other rural communities in Ecuador.
Residents get all necessities, including water, electricity, and telephone lines, along with numerous restaurants and entertainment venues. In addition, Yunguilla Valley residents are also less than an hour away from Cuenca, which means quality healthcare services are a short drive away.
Well-constructed and affordable real estate options
If you’re searching for a home in Yunguilla Valley, you’ll be able to find plenty of excellent options. The quality of construction in the region is superb compared to other areas in Ecuador.
Properties are very affordable as well, and many of the lots already come with necessary infrastructure (water, electricity, and phone). Even with all the modernization around the area, property values have remained relatively low, with prices that are sometimes as much as 30% less than comparable properties in other areas. And when you factor in the relaxing atmosphere and gorgeous panoramic views surrounding most of the homes, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal in such a beautiful location.
Fantastic investment opportunities
Yunguilla Valley is not only a terrific place to live; it’s a fantastic location for investors.
as well. The region is experiencing constant, steady growth, which will likely continue for several years. Moreover, its close proximity to Cuenca as well as the number of hotels in the valley ensures easy access to visitors as well as new residents.
Puerto Lopez is a great spot for vacationing to some of the most beautiful beaches in Ecuador. With some of the most beautiful sights in the world, Puerto Lopez attracts people from all over the world to its stunning beaches. Let’s take a look at four fun facts about the beaches in Puerto Lopez.
#1. Puerto Lopez Beach Has It All
When you visit Puerto Lopez beach, you can visit the Machalilla National Park for boat tours to go whale watching or dive tours to Isla de Plata and Salango. The calm waters make for a great swimming and snorkeling spot for children and a few hostels have boards to rent for beginner surfers. There are also plenty of places to eat seafood near or on the beach.
With Puerto Lopez priding itself on being an eco-friendly city, many of the hotels use organic materials to maintain beautiful grounds while also protecting the environment. The fishermen in Puerto Lopez haul in the day’s catch around 6:00 am – 7:00 am every morning. You’ll certainly enjoy the culture and the beautiful sandy beaches shaded by tall palm trees.
#2. Salinas is Often Compared to South Beach
This beach in Puerto Lopez is often compared to South Beach in Miami, Florida. With its white sandy beaches and plenty of activities going on, you are sure to be entertained in this popular spot. There are restaurants, cafes and plenty of bars to grab a drink in.
Make sure to visit Banos de San Vicente for a famous thermal bath. This beach is one of the most popular spots for tourists to visit and there are always events happening on and around the beach for you to embed yourself into the local social scene.
#3. People Drive Their Cars Right Onto the Beach
Puerto Cayo is a large beach in the area in the front of the Malecon, located in a lush and tropical location with palm trees lining the beach. It can be found on the northern border of the Machalilla National Park. Puerto Cayo is so broad that people drive their cars right onto the beach to unload all of their beach supplies.
The waters are full of fish and many restaurants offer these “catches of the day” as specials on their menus. In front of this beach is the small island of Islote Pedernales, where some coral can be found. The water between the mainland and the island is not very deep. On calm days it is fun to snorkel and dive.
There is also a growing retirement community in this location and several beachfront developments are under construction Puerto Cayo. Puerto Cayo offers some of the most breathtaking ocean-view sunsets.
Take a look at our blog “Swimming – Living the Life in Ecuador” to find out more information on the beaches in Puerto Lopez. Be sure to contact us to discuss investment opportunities in the area and to get acquainted with all that Puerto Lopez has to offer you.
Yunguilla Valley is located just 45 minutes away from Cuenca. This stunning region feels worlds away from the bustle of the historic city and boasts verdant green farmland and panoramic views of cloud-crowned, sun-dappled mountains. The valley is one of the most beautiful places in Ecuador, where you can enjoy being out in nature all while having modern conveniences close by. It’s no wonder the region is quickly becoming a popular option for retirees in Ecuador.
You can read more about what life is like in the Yunguilla Valley here.
At Live the Life, we can help you find the best rentals in beautiful Yunguilla Valley. Below are some of the things you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re looking for rental properties in the region.
Rental Properties in Yunguilla Valley
In general, the area has limited options when it comes to rental properties. This is because when rentals do hit the market, they are often not widely advertised and are almost always quickly snapped up.
The valley has long been very popular among locals and tourists due to its ideal location and numerous outdoor recreational options. These include world-class bird watching, horseback riding, hiking, trips to spectacular waterfalls, and more. In fact, Yunguilla Valley is the traditional vacation address of many of Cuenca’s prominent families.
Here are a few examples of the kinds of properties available for rent in the area:
- A rustic home with a full kitchen at the base of Girón Falls close to multiple hiking trails
- A 4-bedroom and 2-bathroom home in Yunguilla Valley with a pool
- 1 to 3-bedroom homes located close to restaurants, shops, transport, and pharmacies
- A spacious home on several hectares of irrigated land with large gardens and a pool perfect for vacation or retirement
While they’re in demand, these rental properties remain relatively affordable. Many have rates that start at just $400 a month. There are many other kinds of rental properties to be found in Yunguilla Valley with varying features and amenities. Whether you’re looking for a cozy cottage or an expansive home with enough room for a large family, you will find more than a few options here.
Let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll help you find the property that best meets your needs. Get started today and check out our listings here.
Because few properties are going to be fully advertised, whether online or more traditionally, the best way to find rentals in the region is to keep an ear to the ground. Many people still find properties through referrals – information is often spread via word of mouth as locals usually prefer to find clients that have been vetted by their friends or family.
Rentals in Yunguilla Yalley – Ecuador Rental Properties
Don’t know anyone in the Yunguilla Valley? Get help from a local real estate expert. At Live the Life, we’ll help you locate the ideal property, negotiate the best possible terms with the owner, and close the deal with the proper paperwork. Get in touch with us today!
The city of Cuenca is one of the best destinations in the world for expats. Teeming with an old world charm, the city offers a very relaxing and enjoyable lifestyle for residents, with its scenic cobblestone streets, stunning historical buildings, great selection of beautiful and affordable properties, numerous cultural attractions, and unforgettable activities, events, and festivals.
There are plenty of great reasons why the city attracts countless tourists and new residents. For most people, the city’s nostalgic character, unique attractions, and high quality of life is simply too hard to resist. In addition, the cost of living in Cuenca is very affordable – you’ll be able to reduce your monthly spending significantly as you get more and more used to the lifestyle.
If you’re thinking about moving to Cuenca, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind:
Take a Spanish class
As an expat, you’ll be able to make an easier transition to your new life in Ecuador by learning Spanish. Having a basic grasp of the language and familiarizing yourself with the local lingo has many benefits, like getting better prices for goods, for example.
Finding a Spanish class is really very easy, as there are hundreds of options to choose from. The classes are very affordable as well – they’re much cheaper than language schools found in the US. If you want one of the best options, look for the Simon Bolivar Spanish School, which is known as one of the largest and most successful Spanish schools in the country.
Consider joining the Cuenca for Expats program
Because of the huge number of expats living in Cuenca, the city’s Chamber of Commerce has organized a Cuenca for Expats program, which is designed to give expats a smoother transition into the city, and make them feel more at home. Joining the program is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with your new city, and it can help you meet other people in the same situation as well. In addition to showing expats the many common pitfalls to avoid, the program is also a great way to find out how you can start benefitting from cheaper living immediately.
Find out about Cuenca’s culture
To say that Cuenca is a great place to live in is a huge understatement. The city is designated as an UNESCO World Heritage site, which shows you just how rich it is in terms of historical attractions. The city is home to a great selection of world-class museums, including the Museo de las Culturas Aborigenes, Museo del Monasterio de las Conceptas, Museo Pumapungo, Museo del Sombrero, and more.
There’s also a diverse amount of great local events and festivals to enjoy throughout the year, most of them free.
Visit the SuperMaxi grocery store
It may sound a bit weird, but visiting the SuperMaxi can be very helpful for anyone looking to meet new people and learn a few handy local tips. The grocery store is a well-known meeting location for expats, so you should be able to learn a few new things when you drop by.
For more helpful tips for expats, take a look at our Expat guide to living in Ecuador here.
Lentag is a town located less than 350 miles south of Quito. Surrounded by views of refreshing open space, deep valleys, and breathtaking mountain slopes, this quiet little village is a paradise for outdoor lovers, nature enthusiasts, or anyone looking to relax while breathing in the fresh mountain air.
Although the town is mostly surrounded by nature, it offers plenty of convenience as well. It is less than an hour away by car from Cuenca, and just around four hours away from Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city and busiest commercial district. Lentag is also situated close to nearby communities such as Giron, San Fernando, and Santa Isabel Canton.
Rentals in Lentag
Due to its overwhelming abundance of enjoyable outdoor activities and beautiful natural destinations, Lentag has become famous for many tourists from all over the world.
With its breathtaking landscapes and endless wonders to explore, you’ll need a comfortable place where you can rest and refuel, so you can plan your next activities. Luckily, there’s a superb selection of rental options in Lentag to choose from, ranging from cozy 2-bedroom apartment units to rustic ranch-style properties surrounded by acres of space, and nearly everything in between.
The best part is many of the rentals are very affordable, some of them costing as little as $400 a month.
Here are a few examples of properties available for rent in Lentag:
- Fully-furnished single-family homes with 1 to 3-bedrooms, located conveniently close to a great selection of shops, restaurants, and transit hubs.
- Rustic villas with spacious and well-designed interiors, high-speed internet, and panoramic views of lush, rolling landscapes.
- Stylish 4-bedroom homes with features such as hardwood floors, rustic interiors, large bedrooms, and resort-style swimming pools.
- Vacation homes perfectly suited for relaxation, with features such as al fresco dining areas, large kitchens, and sweeping mountain and forest views.
- Large estates surrounded by over two hectares of space and unforgettable views of forested hills and majestic mountains.
- Comfortable 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom homes on organic farms, perfect for soaking in the lush views and fresh mountain air.
Live the Life Lodge in Lentag
If you’re searching for the perfect accommodation in Lentag, Live the Life has its very own lodge located at KM 54.820 Giron Passage, Lentag.
Our lodge is perfect for short stays or extended vacations for those who want to explore the many beautiful destinations in Lentag. It offers the perfect blend of comfort and privacy, with comfortable bedrooms and first-class features and amenities such as a sauna, a swimming pool with snack bar, a Jacuzzi, a volleyball court, fish ponds, and organic garden and seed store, and lush gardens.
In addition, we also arrange trips for visitors who want to see some of Ecuador’s most stunning destinations. We can help schedule trips to attractions such as the El Chorro Waterfalls of Giron, Laguna de Busa, the Mountain of San Pablo, the markets of Giron and Santa Isabel, and the Complejo Arquelogico of Carachula above Santa Isabel.
Considered one of the world’s top retirement destinations, Cuenca boasts a scenic charm and a very welcoming atmosphere with its picturesque cobblestone streets and elegant mansions. As Ecuador’s third largest city, Cuenca is home to roughly 350,000 residents along with over 4,000 expats. The city is extremely walkable and has an abundance of tourist-friendly destinations such as the Parque Abdon Calderon, where expats often gather for conversations over coffee or drinks. Cuenca offers the best of both worlds, with its old world charm enhanced by modern conveniences including 18 state-of-the-art hospitals and four major universities that attract students from all over the world.
The real estate market in Cuenca
Cuenca’s real estate market has experienced stabilization recently, after several years of steady appreciation. This can be attributed to the events after the recession of 2008, when a significant number of Ecuadorians returned home after working abroad, mostly in countries like the US and Spain. This caused a housing boom throughout most of Ecuador, especially in larger urban districts such as Cuenca, Quito, and Guayaquil.
Real estate prices in Cuenca are a bargain compared to prices in North America. New expats in Ecuador often use their real estate purchase (which should have a tax assessed value of $25,000 in order to qualify) to obtain their residence visa.
Foreigners also get the benefit of having the same rights to real estate as locals. The purchase process is also pretty straightforward, and can be less tedious compared to buying a home in other countries. When considering a purchase however, be aware that mortgages are not always available, thus, you may need to settle the full purchase price to complete a transaction.
Examples of homes for sale in Cuenca
Here are a few examples of available homes you can purchase in Cuenca:
- A well-designed 3-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom townhouse and office with over 1,600 square feet of space. Features include a private patio, parking, and 24-hour gated security. Price: $117,500.
- A fully furnished 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom condo unit with sweeping city views of Cuenca. The unit is equipped with a spacious kitchen, large closets, and a laundry area. Price: $68,000.
- A stylish 3-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom condo with approximately 1,300 square feet of living space. The property includes a spacious kitchen with granite countertops, an oversized private terrace, built-in closets, and lovely views of the Yanuncay river. The unit is conveniently located close to shopping venues, supermarkets, and El Centro. Price: $139,000.
- A furnished studio unit with panoramic views of the Tomebamba river, and is close to shopping districts and commuter bus lines. The unit comes with a stove, a water heater, and a refrigerator. Price: $45,000.
- A comfortable 3-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom townhouse with 1,500 square feet of space. The unit is equipped with a modern kitchen, spacious bedrooms, and a small garden perfect for al fresco dining. The townhouse is a short distance away from public transportation, and is less than 15 minutes away from the city amenities and attractions. Price: $75,500.
Real Estate, Cuenca Ecuador – Ecuador Real Estate for Sale
For more helpful information on Cuenca’s real estate market, see www.livethelifeinecuador.com/category/estate-sales/cuenca/
Your safety, whether on a short visit or a longer stay in Ecuador, is our top concern.
We want nothing more than for you to enjoy and experience all the beauty, fun, and exciting adventures Ecuador has to offer.
So we don’t want malaria, yellow fever, hepatitis, typhoid and other diseases in the area to get you down. These dangerous diseases are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, and affect millions of people each year.
As a tropical country, Ecuador has its fair share of cases.
Fortunately, these diseases are preventable and curable, as the right treatments and/or vaccines to combat them already exist.
Check out our post on Staying Healthy in Ecuador
Below is a rundown of these diseases and its symptoms. See a doctor immediately if you recognize any of these warning signs during or after your visit.
This life-threatening disease is caused by Plasmodium parasites from female Anopheles mosquitoes.
The first symptoms show up 7-15 days after infection.
Symptoms that may be mild and difficult to recognize are:
Get yourself treated within 24 hours as failure to do so may lead to death.
Avoid mosquito bites. Use repellants and insecticide-treated mosquito nets when going to sleep. Take anti-malaria pills before, during, and after your visit to Ecuador. Consult a travel doctor for more info.
Visit http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2016/infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/yellow-fever-malaria-information-by-country/ecuador for more info and a map of areas susceptible to the disease.
This acute hemorrhagic disease is transmitted by day-biting mosquitoes. Symptoms appear after 3 to 6 days.
Acute yellow fever has the following symptoms:
- Muscle pain
- Back pain
- Appetite loss
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Yellowing of skin and eyes
- Blood in vomit or feces
The most recommended prevention method is vaccination, which, according to international regulations, should be repeated once every 10 years as booster shots.
Treatment is symptomatic. Go to the hospital immediately.
Visit http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2016/infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/yellow-fever-malaria-information-by-country/ecuador for more info and a map of areas prone to yellow fever.
This viral liver diseases causes mild to severe illness and is spread through contaminated food, water, and direct contact with infected individuals.
- Abdominal pain on the right side of the body, where the liver is
- Yellowing of skin and eyes
- Dark urine
Hepatitis A vaccine and proper sanitation, plus food safety are great ways to stop the disease from ruining your day.
This bacterial disease is transmitted through contaminated food or water and contact with infected organisms’ feces and urine.
These symptoms show up 1 to 3 weeks after infection, and range from mild to severe:
- High fever
- Red spots on chest
- Enlarged spleen and liver
- Typhoid fever can be treated with antibiotics
Disease preventative measures include ensuring that food and water are safe, avoiding contact with stagnant ponds or rainwater and observing proper sanitation. Vaccination is highly recommended.
Knowing more about these diseases will enable us to take necessary precautions in preventing them so we can make better decisions in lowering our risk of infection. Show you care. Share this information with those who are planning their next adventure.
Investing in Ecuador real estate doesn’t only give you a piece of paradise. It also presents a slew of tax benefits. Here are a few details you need to know.
1. Deductions on taxable income
Just like your properties in the US, the real estate you own abroad will be taxed in much the same way.
This means you get the same tax benefits for properties abroad as you do for your real estate investments back in the US.
Here’s a list of tax deductible items:
- Mortgage interest and property tax payments you make on properties for personal use.
- Expenses you incur for renting out property for more than 14 months. While you’re taxed on what you make off your rental, you can deduct insurance premiums, utility payments, and property management and advertising fees.
- Depreciation costs. In Ecuador, the depreciation for a property is amortized over a period of 40 years, versus only over 27.5 years for a US property. This means you enjoy this tax benefit longer for a property abroad.
- Travel expenses related to maintaining and managing your rental property abroad
2. Deductions when you sell your property
As with a US property, you get capital gains tax benefits for a long-term property investment abroad. In Ecuador, a piece of property is considered your prime residence if you’ve lived there for at least two years.
This means that when you sell the property, you can deduct up to $250,000 (or up to $500,000 if you’re a married taxpayer) from the sale amount, and save on capital gains tax along the way.
3. No double taxation
If you’re afraid of being taxed twice for your Ecuador property– once by the Ecuador government and again by the U.S. government — relax.
Taxes you pay on your overseas property may be credited against your US tax return. This means you only need to pay the higher amount stated on either your US or Ecuador returns – and not totals on both.
To find out more about buying property in Ecuador, contact us today.