Amelia and JP VLOG 163: This Salinas Ecuador Cost of Living 2019 video covers rental costs, living expenses, real prices for a variety of things, as well as some other common costs of living in Salinas. If you’re thinking about moving to Ecuador, check out our Ecuador Expat Info page for more videos and detailed blog posts.
Salinas AirBnB Tour, visit: Salinas Ecuador AirBnB Tour + A Walk on the Beach (2019)
Chipipe Luxury AirBnB Tour, visit: Edificio Bahía Chipipe AirBnB Condo Tour (Salinas Ecuador)
Cuenca Cost of Living, visit: Cuenca Ecuador Cost of Living 2019: Updated with Real Prices
Cuenca Rental House Tour, visit: Cuenca Ecuador Rental House + Monthly Living Expenses 2019
Salinas Ecuador Rental Cost
House and condo rental costs vary widely based on:
- High Season, Low Season or Holiday
- Beachfront, Ocean View, Off-Beach
- Chipipe, Malecón, Northeast Salinas Beach
- Length of Lease
- Square Feet
- Bedrooms and Bathrooms
- Furnished, Semi-Furnished or Unfurnished
- Year Built
The low season in Salinas is from May through mid-December. The weather is cooler (60’s F) and it’s much cloudier. You may only see the sun for a few days per month.
The high season is from late-December through April. This is the warmest time of year (70’s – 90’s F) with a lot of sunny days. This is when all the Ecuadorians like to visit Salinas because the kids in the coastal towns have their summer break during these months. Rents are much more expensive during the high season. You can expect to pay about 50% more than the low season, on average.
The big holidays in Salinas are:
- Christmas & New Years
- Cuenca Independence (the week of November 3rd)
During the holidays, the nightly and weekly rates can be double or even more from the low season rates.
Reasonable Housing Costs
Salinas is not for the overly budget conscious. If you’re looking to live as cheaply as possible, you might want to consider another beach town like Playas or Manta, or a popular mountain town like Cuenca, Loja, Vilcabamba, Cotacachi, etc. Salinas is one of the most expensive places to live in Ecuador.
In Salinas, you can find small fully furnished apartments and houses for rent starting in the $500 range depending on the factors listed above. However, a nice 2 bedroom 2 bath ocean view condo will likely cost $1,000 or more. Some of the really high-end places will cost over $2,000/month.
Unfurnished apartments and houses for rent are very difficult to find in Salinas because it’s such a popular short-term tourist destination. Lots of Ecuadorians own several properties in Salinas as investments that they rent out only during the high season to short-term stay tourists.
If you sign a 6 month lease for the low season, you’ll pay less per month than you will for a 12 month lease because that would include the highly lucrative holidays and high season months.
Finding Properties in Salinas Ecuador
We met with Amy Prisco, a gringo real estate agent, on our visit to Salinas to ask her lots of questions about living there. We plan to use her services when we search for a rental property if we decide to move there. You can search properties and contact her through her website: Ecuador-Realty.com.
You can also search for rental and for sale properties on the Island Estates International website.
Agents like Amy Prisco provide valuable boots-on-the-ground support for people looking for a rental house. They work on commission paid by the owner so there’s no cost to you for their services. In order for them to get paid, you need to work through them so if you find a property you like, send them the link and let them get the details, set the showing and work with the owner or listing agent.
Salinas Ecuador Cost of Food
We didn’t do a lot of cooking during our 10 day trip to Salinas, but we tried to get a good feel for the cost of food.
Salinas Ecuador Cost of Mercado Produce
The Salinas Mercado is MUCH smaller than the mercados in Cuenca and we’re told most people go to the mercado in La Libertad that’s about a 15 minute cab ride away when they need more than the basics.
On our first day in Salinas, we went to the mercado for some dinner ingredients: giant head of broccoli, 2 onions, a caveman carrot and a whole bulb of garlic. The total cost was $1.50, which we think is about the same as Cuenca.
On our second visit to the mercado, we bought: 7 bananas, 2 mangos, 1 pitahaya, 1 small cauliflower and 2 lbs of tomatoes. The total cost was $4.50, which is also about the same as Cuenca.
We eat a Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) Diet, so we buy LOTS of produce at the mercado on Thursdays. Then we fill in the gaps with our local neighborhood fruit lady. We also chop up veggies and freeze them for quick oil-free stir fries on busy nights.
Salinas Ecuador Grocery Store Cost
Here are some price comparisons to the Supermaxi El Vergel in Cuenca Ecuador. Each store was missing a few of the items so we couldn’t do a perfect comparison, but this will give you an idea for prices and how little they vary between Salinas and Cuenca.
|Item||Qty||Cuenca Supermaxi||Salinas Supermaxi||Salinas Comisariato|
|Bananas||1 kg||$ 1.07||$ 1.07||$ 0.95|
|Broccoli||1 kg||$ 0.70|
|Papaya||1 kg||$ 1.39||$ 1.05|
|Mango||1 kg||$ 1.43||$ 1.96|
|Almond Milk||946 ml||$ 3.51||$ 3.51||$ 3.38|
|Sweet & Coffee||400 g||$ 6.57||$ 5.87|
|Oats||850 g||$ 3.42||$ 3.42|
|Raisins||450 g||$ 2.76||$ 2.46|
|Natures Heart Cranberries||200 g||$ 3.39||$ 3.03|
|Pita Bread||1 pkg||$ 2.34||$ 1.76|
|Schullos Brown Rice||2 kg||$ 5.40||$ 5.40|
|Super Extra Brown Rice||2 kg||$ 2.85||$ 2.78|
|Lentils||500 g||$ 0.91||$ 0.90|
|Tofu||1 pkg||$ 2.50||$ 2.50|
|Pasta Sauce||490 g||$ 2.52||$ 2.59|
|Schullo Peanut Butter||200 g||$ 3.46|
|Don Intriago Peanut Butter||400 g||$ 2.89|
|Jif Peanut Butter||793 g||$ 9.13||$ 14.63|
|Tabasco Sauce||150 ml||$ 9.80|
|Los Andes Ketchup||550 g||$ 1.61||$ 1.96|
The cost of meat and dairy are higher in Ecuador than in the States because it’s not heavily subsidized by government handouts and taxpayer dollars. Animal ag competes on a level playing field with other food industries so the costs reflect that.
See More: Supermaxi Salinas Ecuador + Paseo Mall
Salinas Ecuador Restaurant Costs
We ate out quite a bit during our stay in Salinas. More than we intended to. And the cost of eating out in Salinas is a lot more than eating out in Cuenca.
You’ll also notice a big price difference between restaurants on the Malecón/beach vs off-Malecón. The Malecón prices were much closer to Denver prices while the off-Malecón prices were closer to typical Ecuadorian prices.
El Almuerzo at Bhakti Lunch Salinas
Most restaurants in Ecuador have a lunch special that ranges from $1.50 to $3.50. It’s called El Almuerzo (the lunch) and usually comes with 3 to 5 courses: juice/tea, salad, entree, rice, dessert & coffee.
Most almuerzos have chicken, fish or cow so we don’t eat those. However, the vegan almuerzo at Bhakti Lunch in Salinas was $3. Plus, the owners are amazing people who speak fluent English!
Oahu Açai Bar
We ate at Oahu Açai Bar for breakfast on the day of our Salinas Supermaxi Tour. It was AMAZING! I had the mango açai bowl and Amelia had the Spinach açai bowl. The cost of their bowls vary from $6.50 to $8.50 compared to the smoothie bowls at Zatua Miski in Cuenca that cost $4.50 and are just as good.
Luccy’s Mexican Grill
We have never eaten Mexican food in Cuenca so we don’t have a comparison, but Luccy’s Mexican Grill in Salinas was so delicious that we ate there for dinner 3 times! They have several vegetarian options that can be veganized and their chips & salsa are muy delicioso!
For dinner each night, we ordered roughly the same things: chips & salsa, 2 entrees, 2 wines and 2 Club Verdes. The cost was about $35 with a $2 tip. That’s about the same amount we spend at Paradise Indian Restaurant here in Cuenca for 2 entrees, rice, naan, 2 wines and 2 beers.
We had some delicious wood fired oven pizza at Mario’s on the Northeast end of Salinas. They have a vegetarian pizza piled high with veggies that we veganize by skipping the cheese. Their daily special is 2 medium pizzas for $20. That’s a little more than we pay for pizza in Cuenca.
Health Insurance Costs in Ecuador
You’ll need private health insurance before you apply for your Temporary Residency Visa. Once you have your visa and cedula (government issued ID card), you can get the cheaper IESS public health insurance.
Private Health Insurance Cuenca Ecuador
Just like in the States, there are several different health insurance companies to choose from. We used an insurance broker to help us pick the best plan for us.
We selected a health insurance plan through Confiamed that costs $156/month for both of us. A private health insurance plan allows us to go to the doctors and hospitals that we choose. Quality and convenience cost more, but that’s important to us.
If you would like us to connect you with our insurance agent, please drop us a note and we’ll send an email introduction.
Ecuador IESS Public Health Insurance
IESS health insurance is cheaper than private insurance (for now), but you have to go to the IESS hospital and doctors. Since it’s their version of social security, it also means you’ll get some of it back when you retire if you’re still living here. The IESS plan is currently $77/month for each of our married friends who are in their 60’s.
See More: Ecuador Health Insurance Overview 2019
Other Common Living Expenses in Salinas Ecuador
After we moved into our rental house in Cuenca, we spent about $700 on startup costs for it. Even though it was fully furnished, it lacked a few essential things such as sheets, blankets, a nicer set of pots, a pressure cooker, coat rack, knives, heaters, etc. You may not need these things in a Salinas rental because they tend to be more fully stocked for the tourist crowd.
Transportation Costs in Salinas Ecuador
A bus ride costs 31 cents throughout Ecuador
Taxis in Salinas have a minimum fair of $1.00 compared to $1.50 in Cuenca. However, not a single cab driver turned the meter on when we got into their taxi so we negotiated the rate ahead of time. They all charged us $2 except for the first driver who gringoed us because we didn’t know what the minimum was. He charged us $2.50 for a $1 trip from the Salinas Supermaxi to the Paseo Mall.
For transportation options and costs between Cuenca and Salinas Ecuador, visit:
We pay for our own electricity for our rental in Cuenca, but it’s very common for that to be included in the cost of rent here. However, in Salinas, electricity is usually not included in long-term leases because it’s expensive (and optional) to run the air conditioners. Electricity is included in short-term nightly and weekly rentals.
There is no need for AC in Cuenca so this will be an additional cost of living in Salinas or any coastal, low altitude city.
In Cuenca, we spend less than $10/month for propane that we use for our hot water, gas stove/oven, and the clothes dryer. From our observations, propane isn’t used very much in Salinas. Instead, they use electricity for most of their energy needs. That means you’ll likely save money on propane but spend more on electricity.
We drink the tap water in Cuenca (even though some people say not to), but the tap water in Salinas isn’t safe to drink for us gringos (or probably anyone). During our 10 days in Salinas, we used three 5 gallon bottles of water for drinking and cooking at $2 per bottle. That means you can expect to pay about $20/month for bottled water plus another $10-$20 for the tap water used for showers, laundry, etc.
We have Puntonet in Cuenca and that costs us $56/month for 50Mb up and down. The main provider in Salinas is Netlife and they charge $45/month for 50Mb so that’s a little cheaper.
Salinas Ecuador Quality of Life
We live a very comfortable middle class, low-stress life in Cuenca Ecuador for less than $2,000 per month. However, we expect it will cost about 25% more in Salinas, or $2,500/month, due to the higher rent, restaurant and electricity costs. The house we live in now in Cuenca would easily cost $1,200 or more to rent in Salinas so keep that in mind if you’re on a tight budget.
We’re going to feature other cities on the coast and throughout Ecuador in future videos so stay tuned for those. You might want to Subscribe to our YouTube Channel so you don’t miss them. And also, please consider joining our growing community of unconventional expats over on Patreon so we can afford to continue making these informational videos and blog posts.