Eco Luxury on the Coast of Ecuador by Christina Libuda | 6th December, 2019 | Prime Properties
Near the Ecuadorian fishing village of Puerto Cayo, the 25-acre Oceanside Farm Residences is home to like-minded owners dedicated to a sustainable concept for luxury living. The superb properties with Pacific views feature solar power and a bespoke organic farm where chef’s tastings and events in the arts and yoga are practiced as a community.
The fishing village of Puerto Cayo on the coast of Ecuador is so small it takes a matter of minutes to drive from one end to the other. Brightly coloured houses and banana trees line the road on both sides. The air is humid and salty. Here, the tropical climate of the Machalilla National Park meets with winds blowing off the Pacific. Only the gentle sound of the sea can be heard; from time to time a humpback whale can be seen breaching out of the water in the distance. The international airport of Eloy Alfaro is some 60 minutes away, while the next major town Jipijapa is a half-hour drive. Nobody thinks about leaving though. You come to this area and then you stay.
Just like the Californians Sean Kelly and Dahiana Cedeno, who escaped Silicon Valley in 2010 to start a family here in Puerto Cayo, Cedeno’s place of birth. The village welcomed them with open arms, and Sean immediately became part of the community. “The warmheartedness and lightheartedness of the people here just blew me away. I’d always wanted to live like this.” They started up a real estate company, supported social projects and had a daughter. Issues such as sustainability, social responsibility and health became increasingly important to them and in 2015, they met Wendy and David Chan from New York City. Tired of the marketing business in Manhattan, they wanted to recharge their batteries in this peaceful, secluded area. “We shared the same love of healthy eating, sustainability, good company, and nature. We’d understood what the formula for health and well-being was. So we decided to create a place where we could unite all aspects of this,” says Sean. Strangers became friends, then business partners. They developed the boutique living concept of the “Oceanside Farm Residences” (OSFR), where people come together to form a community focused on healthy living through nutrition, culture and nature. A contemporary eco-luxury community.
Thanks to Sean’s contacts in the real estate world, a land plot was soon found: The size of 10 football pitches, with its own Pacific beach, located directly in Puerto Cayo – with the snowcapped volcanic peaks of the Andes as the backdrop, tropical rainforest to the left and right, and the Galapagos Islands straight out ahead. The four founders raised the funds for the purchase on their own. Fast-forward to the present and there is now a community master plan featuring 60% green space, a private on-site permaculture farm, and 29 luxury residences, some of which have already been sold. There is also an organic farm including beds and plantations for growing fruit and vegetables, as well as fitness facilities such as the “Lime Orchard Yoga Cottage”.
There is a varied program of concerts, readings and workshops – chosen by the community itself, which will grow organically according to the vision. “We’re not looking for quick buyers, but for people with the right mindset,” says Sean. Who are they? “Well, that’s what you find out when you get talking to them,” he laughs. Humanity and reliability are important. He cites the neighbours in the village as an example, who were involved the moment the OSFR project got started. Sean knows them all by name. He lives by a prudent and sustainable ethos, fearing nothing more than a large CO2 footprint – and this is reflected throughout the entire OSFR concept: “We prioritise the use of solar energy in our homes and community, we use on-site groundwater for irrigation, and we work with local artisanal fishermen to achieve a farm-to-table lifestyle,” he explains.
“The Oceanside Farms might well be the healthiest place in the world.” SEAN KELLY
Coffee beans, fruit, vegetables and herbs are grown on the farm. Honey comes from the beehive, the eggs from free-range chickens. The disdainful image of those who live self-sufficiently has been revolutionised here. They are one big step ahead of the “Simple Life” trend. “Nowadays, knowing where food comes from is the greatest luxury,” says Sean. Residents can harvest and prepare their own food on the farm. It is all shared with the community here.
Residents enjoy their own private oasis in this beachfront community. With the OSF Kitchen Restaurant open for both residents and private events, owners can enjoy organic, high-quality ingredients directly from the farm and prepared by top chefs as part of the Mindful Gastronomy series. “We love to invite guests to come stay,” says Sean. He likes to show them his new life – and how completely different it is now. These days his time is spent diving, hiking, surfing and golfing. “I often go out kayaking to the humpback whales, whose seasonal migration sees them pass by our beach in summer. They come very close – these are the really magical moments,” he enthuses. Whale watching is also a favourite pastime from the living room windows of the residences. The sleek, modern architecture is designed by Gabriel Rivera, one of Ecuador’s leading architects.
Each of the eight Phase I residences comes complete with 70-square-metre saltwater infinity pools, sea views, solar panels, elevators, water filtration and home automation. The living space spans some 1,200 square metres, extending over two floors and available in different room layouts. Warm wooden elements and a fireplace ensure homeliness and comfort. The 21 single-storey Phase II residences vary in size from 195 to 297 square metres, with public sales access to begin in December 2019. All OSFR residences are fitted with exclusive bathroom fixtures and top-end kitchen appliances. A two-car garage (Phase 1), optionally fitted with an electric charging station, comes as standard here, along with, of course, high-speed fiber optic Internet. The only question is who really needs it – here in paradise.