My wife and I have been living the “endless summer” lifestyle in Salinas, Ecuador for three years now, and I have to say it has been pretty fantastic. We love how the waves are the last thing we hear as we fall asleep, and that they are the first sound we hear when we wake up. We enjoy the way the ocean seems to look different every day, cycling through colors based on wind, sun, and temperature. And we love walking on the sand, with the warm water hitting our bare feet once in a while as we stroll.
It has been a perfect lifestyle for us, but how about you? Here are some things to consider when deciding if the year-round beach life is right for you.
1. Weather, Weather, Weather!
Are you someone who hates being cold? Do you wear a sweater to movie theaters, or huddle under a blanket on airplanes? If so, you would love the weather here in our beach town of Salinas. In three years, our coldest mornings have been in the high 60s F—and those days were back in the mid-70s F by 9 a.m. On our hottest days, it still rarely hits the high 90s F. For most of the year, our temperatures run 80s F in the day and 70s F in the evening.
The climate here is incredible. Our average rainfall is less than five inches a year, and while we do have seasons, they are a slow change from “air conditioner during the day” season to “leave the windows open” season. Every day when we go out, our only nod to the weather is changing to outdoor sandals, and deciding if we need sunglasses or a Panama hat.
2. Fresh Seafood
One of the advantages the Humboldt Current brings to the Pacific coast of Ecuador is an abundance of sea life. Living by the sea year-round, we are spoiled by the variety and quality of the seafood available. Tuna, sea bass, flounder, mahi-mahi, swordfish—the list goes on. Don’t forget the shrimp, lobster, clams, mussels, oysters, squid, and octopus either. This is a place where encebollado, a soup made with onions and fresh tuna, is considered perfectly acceptable breakfast food. I remember my surprise the first time I ordered “sea bass with a shrimp sauce” and was served a huge grilled sea bass filet, topped off with “sauce” that consisted of six large shrimp—all for only $7, with salad, grilled plantains, rice, and fries.
3. Speaking of Food…
The beach is a great place for those who love open-grilled food. The emphasis here is on outdoor living, and restaurants sometimes feature large outdoor grills. In fact, we have vendors with grills attached to their bicycles, who pedal around the malecón (boardwalk) cooking as they go. You can always find a parrillada (barbecue) place that is grilling up chicken, beef, pork, sausage, and seafood.
You won’t miss out on fruits and vegetables either. The local mercados are full of some of the freshest and healthiest produce you will find anywhere on the planet. You may not even have to leave the beach—local vendors are always coming by with fresh pineapple, mangos, and fruit juices. Or you can flag down someone who will chop the top off a coconut and bring it to you with a straw.
4. Water Sports
Ecuador beaches are perfect for year-round water sports. On a typical day, I see people out sailing, pleasure boating, and going on fishing trips or whale watching. You can rent a paddleboard or learn to surf, take scuba or snorkel lessons, rent a jet-ski or paddle boat, go for a wild ride on a banana boat, take up parasailing or kite-surfing, try your hand at surf fishing, paddle off in an ocean kayak, or just enjoy a swim and then doze on the warm sand.
5. The Off-Season
It is always fun at the beach when the big crowds are here, and there’s a lot of activity going on all around. But one of the best parts of living at the beach is when the tourist season ends. We wave goodbye to all the snowbirds, and reclaim the beaches for ourselves. That’s the time when you can really enjoy the beach lifestyle, and find a special calm in just watching and listening to the endless flow of the waves. There’s a kind of “school’s out” feel during off-season. You are suddenly living in a small town, and feel part of a special community of people who share this secret, wonderful life at the land’s end.
Will the year-round beach lifestyle suit you? If the above paragraphs had you smiling and nodding, then there is a good chance you could be as happy as we are living in Salinas, or one of the many other beach towns of all sizes on the coast of Ecuador. There is something very special about living where the land meets the sea.
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