We are getting a number of folks who, like us, always had a dream of living at the beach (and not working...).
Everyone who is even thinking of following this dream should know that we are being inundated by Gringos right now...what with Boomers retiring, and with the staggering cost of retirement in the US.
Numerous Gringo tours are being formed that charge an arm and a leg for the tour, and then a commission, and then maybe $100/day...
Pretty much everyone is looking at the same stuff.
So...what does that mean? It means that you, yourself and in person, will probably have to come on down here, and work really hard to discover the place that is best for you. This place will not be one that has been on the numerous tours (unless it is exorbitantly over-priced).
The people that seem to be the most successful are the ones that fly into Guayaquil rent a car, and plan to spend at least a month driving all up and down the Coast, knocking on doors, if need be...just to find something that might work for them.
Remember, it takes absolutely no previous training or any license to say you are a Real Estate Agent in Ecuador. So...beware of a fellow Gringo who tells you that the perfect property is just waiting for you. Hundreds of folks will have already passed on it, if it is sitting there waiting.
Anything on the Internet is old news. The only thing that might be new, would be a reduction in price, or a previous rental that you might convince an owner to sell to you.
The reason for these property shortages, is that there is not a building boom going on here, as it is in Cuenca. True, there are apartment buildings in the larger cities and towns...and they are nice. If you would like an apartment, they would be your best bet. (Important: I use the word "apartment" just as I would use the word "Condo"...here in Ecuador it is common to sell out the apartments created by new High Rise developments...)
As far as a house on land goes, they are scarce, and the developments that are springing up remind me of Arizona desert lots, or Florida land fill promotions. Many of the lots are smaller than your actual house in the States or Canada.
All is not hopeless, however, you just have to work at it.
Number one...try to learn more Spanish. You don't need to know how to conjugate a verb 17 different ways...just learn about 20 of the most common verbs, and about 300 of the most common nouns...that will get you started...
Number two...get a good map of Ecuador...The bookstores have them.
Number three...How do you want to live? With a bunch of other Gringos, only speaking English. as they do in Costa Rica and Panama? How about Security? If you must have a guard taking care of your security, you probably will need an apartment building.
How remote do you want to be? There are wonderful properties all up and down the Coast, but they don't have much in the way of amenities, infrastructure, or Gringo neighbors.
Also, you pretty much need a car on the Coast. We travel an hour each way to go to Supermaxi, once a week. Do you want a car?
The reason that Cuenca is absolutely flooded with Gringos is that there are a lot of apartments going up, and there is a lot of security in most of them, and there are lots and lots of Gringos, and the city is charming in a European or SF in the 40's sort of way...plus a lot of them say they don't need a car, that taxis are fine...
So...remember...you have to do a lot of work yourself, and make sure that when you use an agent, that you pick a reputable one with good references...