Okay, despite what it may seem at this juncture, there really is a point to this intensive and surprisingly exhausting wander of Ecuador that we are in the midst of right now. We have a 6 month tourist visa for this country and so the thought was to spend the first month touring around the places we were interested in, find the one we like the best and settle there for the remaining 5 months for some intensive Spanish language study and cultural immersion in a single community. Both experiences more adequately arming us for a successful and enjoyable second half to this sabbatical – traveling South America at large.
We’re about halfway through the exploring and I thought it’d be fun to post each option on here, with the pros and cons and photos, and at the end of it all we’ll do a poll where you all can vote on what you’d do in our shoes! 🙂
OPTION 1: BAHIA DE CARAQUEZ (needs an accent over the first “i” and the second “a” in Caraquez — can’t figure that out on my keyboard yet)
Bahia, as they call it in these parts, is probably our only hope for beach living in Ecuador as the other towns along the coast are either too ‘Miami Beach’ or too small and remote for the things like schools and hospitals and internet that we need. Bahia prides itself on being Ecuador’s leader in terms of having eco-friendly policies in place. There are more bike taxi’s than the yellow variety, it is cleaner over all, it’s large enough to have a number of modern amenities, but small enough that the traffic and noise are acutally bearable. We even ran into a few expats with young children there that seemed happy and really enjoying their life there. But the best thing about Bahia, by far, is its sunsets. Here is the view from our hotel room door:
All beaches are known for their sunsets, I know, but what is unique and special about Bahia’s is that the whole community values them, together. There is a nightly gathering along the boardwalk, people on bikes, 4 wheelers, trucks, foot… friends and strangers, and Each Night they commune together to watch some of God’s truly amazing handiwork…
A custom we were happy to partake in:
Being built on a large river delta, Bahia does not have the long stretch of beach one thinks of when considering coastal living (except when the tide is out and then people have picnics and parties galore on the exposed sand), but it is a short and inexpensive taxi ride to Canoa where one can do all the typical beachy things to the fullest. On our visit there the boys, as usual, attracted a lot of attention with their cute little blonde selves. This family just perched themselves right next to the boys and began playing:
They then had their littlest member take a picture next to them…
And then buried them both in sand…
Ocean access, sunset ritual, not as hot or buggy as other parts of coast, lovely temperatures in morning and evening, near big beach scene, clean(er), love the green mountains coming directly down to the water, and expats with young children that seemed to be doing great
Built on the delta and the river water makes playing in the nearest waves a decidedly muddy experience, it’s still too hot and muggy for us to be out in most of the daytime hours, couldn’t find any info on a good school, no historical center or cathedral or square, no large green space or playground that most other towns seem to have, not too appealing to us in terms of the overall “look” of the buildings and grounds.