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!
The magic starts to happen slowly in March and April, as the visitors from other countries leave the beach and return home for their spring. Then the first week of May, the school year starts for Ecuadorian children, and things really change for the residents.
We still see an increase of visitors on the weekends, or for a holiday, but nothing like the high-season crowds. Monday through Thursday we are blessed with low traffic, and wide, open beaches. You can stroll the Malecon and see the same smiling faces every day, or spend some time at the Mercado chatting with the vendors. Everything slows down, and seems more relaxed. Even cab prices drop a little, down to a “resident” rather than “tourist” scale–and rides are shorter with less traffic.
Best of all is the change in the weather. As the Humboldt Current shifts, so do our weather patterns. Days become gradually cooler, peaking out in the low 80s F, and dropping down into the low 70s F at night. Of course we are still only two degrees from the equator, so the sun is not to be trifled with, but the seas breezes are cooler this time of year so sitting out in the shade and enjoying the peace is pleasant.
As we move more into our winter, we will have some cloudy days, and sometimes the daytime temperature will stay in the 70s F, but in our three years of living here, we have never seen it get colder than 66 F overnight.
For us, low season is a time to relax and recharge, to turn off the air conditioners and open the windows to let the ocean breezes in, and to spend time with friends. Once we near the end of the year and November and December start bringing the crowds back, we will be refreshed and ready to enjoy all of the excitement and fun of a full and active Salinas, but until then, we’ll just sit and enjoy the sound of the waves crashing on quiet beaches.
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