You’ve seen these claims before…about how you can live well and more affordably in Ecuador. People always ask me, how realistic are those statements? What do you mean by “comfortable?”
My wife and I recently rented a car for a week to leave the familiar sights and sounds of our oceanfront home in Salinas, and explore a little of the interior of Ecuador. We planned to use the city of Loja in the southern Andes as a base, but took our time getting there, stopping in a few places along the way.
Sitting at a lower elevation than Cuenca, Loja's climate tends to be a little warmer. It also has a much smaller expat population, probably only a few dozen scattered around town and in the nearby farms, so if you're looking for a place to live among North Americans, this is probably not for you. However, if you know some Spanish or are willing to learn, it can be a very rewarding home.
I can’t stay silent any longer. There are some things that expats don’t warn you about before you make the decision to move to Salinas, on the Pacific Coast of Ecuador. In the interest of full disclosure, I feel you have the right to know these seven things that expats don’t like to mention, but will surely happen to you as a full-time resident.
When you think of Salinas, on the southwestern Pacific Coast of Ecuador, you picture big crowds and lots of water activity under a hot summer sun. But this is not the only side of Salinas. It is one of the most popular beach destinations for Ecuadorians and an increasing number of North American “snow birds”, but us year-round residents get to experience something wonderful—Low Season!
I recently spent a few days in the beautiful city of Loja, “cradle of art, literature, and music,” in the southern Andes of Ecuador. You know you are in a special place almost from the moment you arrive. Between the ornate castle-like structure of the City Gates, or the walking bridge displaying pipe organs, cellos, and guitars, it is clear that you are entering a city that appreciates music and culture.
Much has been written about Ecuador as one of the most ecologically diverse countries on earth, with near-perfect climates to choose from and landscapes including plains, mountains, coastal, and everything in between. For a country about the same size as Wyoming, this is impressive. Choose the weather and terrain you like best, and most likely you can find the ideal spot in Ecuador.
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.
What exactly does it mean to live a healthy lifestyle? There have been mountains of articles and books on the subject, infomercials abound, and ads touting the benefits of this or that food jumping out at us daily. But in the middle of all of the noise and the sometimes contradictory claims, there seems to be three things that everyone can agree are important for a healthy life; a healthy diet, regular exercise, and time spent outdoors breathing fresh air. Fortunately, we have those things in easy abundance here in Salinas, Ecuador, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
The other day my wife Rita and I were sitting in a local restaurant enjoying a $3 almuerzo (lunch special, typically a soup, small salad, rice, and meat or fish with a juice) when I overheard a new arrival behind us say with obvious glee, “I got up today and had no idea what day of the week it was!” I had to turn around and tell him, “That’s nothing. Wait until you can’t remember what month it is!” Sounds odd, but it’s true. Living in Salinas on the Pacific coast of Ecuador, there are few changes to mark the passing of time. This close to the equator the days are always 12 hours long, and the high and low temperatures only change about 10 degrees between the height of summer and the depths of winter. It’s surprisingly easy to find yourself trying to remember if it’s March or October.