Coastal Ecuador Part 1
Build it and they will come
As I sit here in the early morning with the Pacific Ocean crashing against the break wall of my hotel I have spent the night pondering what I have seen in the past day. What I couldn´t help thinking about was the movie Field of Dreams, based on the Canadian author W.P. Kinsella´s book, Shoeless Joe. Build it and they will come, may be risky advice for an entrepreneur to follow but Ecuadorian President Correa has implemented a plan to draw tourism to this country, especially to this area of coastal Ecuador, in and around Salinas.
The lights of the city Salinas are twinkling around the bay and I see opportunity waiting for the savvy buyer. When I first arrived in Cartagena, Colombia looking for property there had not been a new apartment built in 12 years. Since that time, over the last 9 years, there have been dozens of new projects and more on the way. Although Salinas is a little more advanced than that stage, there are still many similarities.
Salinas is located two hours from the buzzing hub of Guayaquil. The coastal highway is new and the drive is easy. We came by bus and besides having to negotiate the main bus terminal in the big city the trip was uneventful.
The bus does not arrive in Salinas but in a large, brand spanking terminal in Ballenita. It is so new that none of the bays were in use. This terminal is part of the Ecuadorean governments plan to develop tourism in this sector. Perhaps ten minutes away is the new airport which will be opened on Dec. 15 and operational by February 2014.
The infrastructure is in place. What is missing is the tourists. Actually this is not entirely true. We ate lunch at the Smokin BBQ and there was a small flow of American expats in and out of the establishment. We expect to see an influx of weekenders from Guayaquil come rolling into town today but I did not have the sense there were large numbers of expats here – yet.
If I was looking to be leaving in a beach environment where there was infrastructure in place, that I could easily access from a major centre – by air from Quito or by road from Guayaquil. I would be seriously thinking about Salinas.