Tom and Becky Arbuckle first came to Ecuador on vacation in August 2013. “We fell in love with the Ecuadorian culture and people,” Tom said. “We were in Salinas for a month, and decided we would have to come back and explore more of Ecuador, try to find a place where we could live the rest of our lives.”
They traveled up and down the coast checking places out and talking with the residents. They visited the capital, Quito, and even the cloud forests in the northwestern parts of the country before finally deciding on Playas.
“Playas just seemed perfect to us. It has a great small-town feel, the people are extremely friendly, and the weather is near-perfect,” says Becky.
About halfway between Guayaquil and the beaches of Salinas, Playas is just west of where the Guayas River opens into the Pacific. The coast faces to the south and the village has an average of 320 sunny days a year. Temperatures hover pleasantly in the 80s F year-round.
Tom and Becky found and purchased a condo on the malecon (boardwalk) in September of 2014, and made the move to Playas in October of the same year—ready to spend the rest of their lives relaxing and lounging by the sea.
Or so they thought.
It wasn’t long until they began to get restless. After two months of living in paradise, they decided they needed to find something to keep them busy—but not too busy.
“I’d always thought that Playas could use a nice cafe/sports bar,” said Tom. “Somewhere people could relax in a quiet and friendly atmosphere.” He also noted that since most of the restaurants were outside or open-air, that a cool, air-conditioned oasis might also be attractive.
In May of 2015, “Tom y Becky” opened its doors. The menu they’ve come up with is an eclectic mix of southern U.S. and Ecuador, with occasional specials like gumbo or Texas chili. “I’m from Texas and Becky is from Louisiana,” Tom explained, “so the food we serve can be a little spicy.”
Some folks will stop by just to enjoy a smoothie, a glass of sweet tea, or a espresso with a slice of homemade pie.
From the start, “Tom y Becky” set out to be a spot for both expats and Ecuadorians. “There’s only about 20 full-time expats in Playas right now, so you have to be inclusive to have any business,” says Tom.
When my wife and I visited the cafe, Tom and Becky were just finishing up a Spanish language lesson.
“We enjoy our quiet times in Playas,” says Tom. “But also like to take trips into Guayaquil, Salinas, and even the mountains to look for supplies, new menu ideas, or just to explore.”
Becky says that they finally found balance in their lives—”living the quiet beach village lifestyle, and working just enough to soak up that extra energy you still have when you first drop out of the rat race.”
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