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Bahia de Caraquez, Manabi, Ecuador: A Comprehensive Look -- updated May/2/2013

Updated on May 2, 2013

Bahia de Caraquez from Mirador la Cruz

Mirador la Cruz

Climate and Location

Bahia de Caraquez is very comfortable most of the year. A long sleeved shirt and a pair of jeans would be ample for the coolest evenings. Shorts and light shirts are ample most of the time. The only time the conditions are the least unpleasant would be beginning in December or January for about three months, or as Susi at Coco Bongo Hostal says, "until it stops". She says it usually rains only at night and the water is warm when it comes down. During the rainy season the humidity is quite high.

Bahia is dominated by a cross on the hill that is easily six stroies high with a stairway and viewing platform between its two walls. This is the Mirador la Cruz, known by english speakers as the cross on the hill or more simply the cross.

The population of Bahia is currently pegged at around 30,000 residents, many of which are the descendants of an ancient culture. A visit to the museum (one of the best in the country) will confirm the long genetic lines stretching back to antiquity in the area. On the walls are photos of modern residents and by just taking a few steps to a nearby display case you can see the same features duplicated in generations of ancient pottery on display.

The city seems focused on sustainable growth and development. Bahia de Caraquez enjoys the reputation of being the cleanest city on the coast of Ecuador.

1997 and 1998 were hard years for Bahia. In 1997 torrential rains triggered a landslide in Bahia de Caraquez that killed one resident. Then in August of 1998 an earthquake that exceeded 7 on the Richter Scale struck Bahia toppling one building. and generally wrecking havok on the seaside community. Since these two incidents life in Bahia has been quiet.

On February 23, 1999 Bahia de Caraquez declared itself an Eco-city and has been working to maintain the title ever since. It seems to have paid off in a cleaner city and increased tourism, particularly among foreigners.

Bahía de Caráquez sits on a peninsula where the Rio Chone empties into the Pacific Ocean. The city was once a thriving seaport that has morphed into the most attractive city on the coast.

I spent many of my years in Charleston, South Carolina. Much to my delight, I see many similarities to Bahia de Caraquez today and Charleston, South Carolina in the late 1950s.

A good guide book is essential! We travel with at least two.

Moon is my favorite and always my first choice when we explore a new place. My husband unfailingly chooses a Lonely Planet guide.

You are going to need a good lawyer!

We have both applied for and received our resident status and are in the end stages of a successful real estate transaction. We used an excellent law firm that took care of all of our concerns IN ENGLISH! I can wholeheartedly recommend this firm. They also have expertise in Corporate Law, Civil Law, Labor Law and can provide translation of legal documents. I am providing a link at the bottom of this blog.

No, I am not getting a kick back from this link.

A city park just across from Coco Bongo Hostal

Bahia de Caraquez residents seem to spend every available minute outside.

Children and young lovers are a constant presences in the parks.

After school teens stroll hand in hand and in the evenings courting couples and young marrieds occupy the benches. Colored lights bathe the trees in the evenings and cool breezes soothe sunburned tourists.

It is not easy to find a map in Ecuador. Take one with you.

Coffee at Coco Bongo Hostal

Breakfast at Coco Bongo; the internet, fruit cup, two eggs, fresh bread, fresh brewed coffee or sometimes fresh fruit pancakes and coffee. Always good. The perfect way to start the day. Expect to pay about $3.00 for a full breakfast at Coco Bongo which has a reputatuion for serving the best breakfast in Bahia de Caraquez.

December 2012 update breakfast still 3.00.

I love my copy but I have worn it out. Time for a new one.

Lunch at Muella Uno

We will stop for a leisurely meal and conversation with acquaintances to get our social time and then take a turn through Tía to pick up something we can live without. Then we will return to Coco Bongo Hostal and relax a little before we strike out on an evening stroll along the Malecón or the beach. Somewhere in the course of a day something interesting will usually present itself and extend our morning or evening walk. Oh yes, life is hard in Bahía de Caráquez!

The Lunch you see above was $2.80 each, the jug of fresh fruit juice was $2.60.

Waiting for the panga

An afternoon ride on the panga is refreshing, relaxing and a bit of an adventure for landlubbers.

The bridge is open and the pangas are still running, somewhat less crowded but still going. YEAH!!

Fresh Catch? Look for clear eyes and they should smell like the sea. These were fresh.

You will never go hungry in Bahia.

You will find a number of small restaurants and street stands that serve a fixed lunch menu, usually including juice, soup, salad, rice and fish, chicken, or pork. The tariff is a very reasonable $1.50 to $2.00.

The market at Bahia de Caraquez is full of fresh seafood,vegetables,and fruits. The prices are right and the quality is excellent.

Town House For Sale!

350 feet from the Pacific Ocean.  Swimming pool just 300 steps away.  1290 sq. Ft, 2 bedrooms, 2 and a half baths, 645 sq ft roof top terrace.  Air conditioned, fully furnished, washer and dryer.  Parking space and a car.   24 hour security.
350 feet from the Pacific Ocean. Swimming pool just 300 steps away. 1290 sq. Ft, 2 bedrooms, 2 and a half baths, 645 sq ft roof top terrace. Air conditioned, fully furnished, washer and dryer. Parking space and a car. 24 hour security.

The Chicken Place

This street stand opens in the evening serving a quarter chicken with sides for under $3.00. When you consider that a chicken costs about a days pay for a minimum wage earner the price for the meal is not all that bad. When it is cooking on the rotisserie it smells divine. It tastes even better. It may be time for a nighttime excursion to Bahia for some chicken for me, right now!

Part of the Malecon

The Malecon is a hub of activity, probably because of its proximity to the ferry crossing between Bahia de Caraquez and San Vicente. There are numerous vendors, bars and restaurants along the riverside that are patronized by locals, expats and yachties (those who moor their yachts in the river). It is a good place to make connections with people who know the area.

Kids at play on the Malecon, incoming ferry in the background. The ferry is now a thing of the past. It gave way to a much needed bridge.

Living here is very relaxed for expats. The city has an ample supply of taxis and Pedi cabs that are affordable enough to turn any stroll outbound into a short and pleasant ride home. The temperature is mild and pleasant except for the rainy season when the humidity and heat soar.

The primary pursuits of the expats in Bahía de Caráquez seem to be lounging in water-fronted restaurants while sipping beer and eating long and leisurely meals. While there is immediate appeal to this lifestyle it can get boring after a while, almost any burst of energy or excitement is channeled off pretty quickly and the return to the easy life soon beckons one back.

Bahia de Caraquez, a beautiful and peaceful beach city, except for the parades, street parties, and holidays, then all bets are off!

Tia Store in Bahia de Caraquez

From Toothpaste to fresh eggs

There is a Tía store two blocks down from the Coco Bongo that sells food, bottled water, house wares, toys and clothes. Carts set up along the streets selling produce, juice, water, candy and other merchandise. You might not always find exactly what you want in Bahía de Caráquez but you will certainly find what you need. And the longer you are here the less you seem to need.

Bahia de Caraquez, on the Pacific Ocean

Approaching Bahia de Caraquez from the beach

The skyline of Bahia de Caraquez as seen from the beach.

Pottery at the Museun

If you love pottery, or museums, or indigenous culture the museum located in the Banco Central, on the Malecon, is a worthy stop. The pottery collection is amazing. The designs are a tribute to the creativity and skill of ancient artisans. On the walls are photographs of modern indiginas whose faces are direct reflections of many of the faces depicted on the pottery.


There seems to be a parade every Saturday

The Yachts at anchor from Mirador la Cruz

From Mirador la Cruz the river, the yachts, and San Vicinte offer a pleasant view.

The day we made the obligatory pilgrimage to the giant cross on the hill was hot and humid but a cool breeze prevailed and made our tour quite plesant.

Attn: Boat Owners

THe laws concerning boats in Ecuador have changed recently. If you are a resident you are obliged to import your boat. The duty is quite high so check that out before you decide to apply for residency.

High rises on the beach front

There are several modern high-rise apartment buildings and condos overlooking the bay or ocean. Rents can run from $200.00 up for apartments. Most  of the units in these buildings are owned by Ecuarorians who live inland and come to the beach for holidays and school vacations. At first glance they may appear to be unoccupied but just wait for a holiday and they light up like Christmas trees.

Why buy a car in Ecuador?

Well, we read all of the reasons that one does not need a car in Ecuador and we bought one anyway. Why? Because we spent far too many years as slaves to schedules and regimes. We wanted the freedom to come and go at will without being subject to bus schedules and routes.

We paid $4,700.00 for this 1992 Dihatsu Feroza four wheel drive cutie. We put $450.00 in new tires and spent a little time and a lot of effort to get it registered. But, oh my!, the fun we have had.

We christened this little beast Teddy Roosevelt because it is one rough riding SOB. But we have developed a pretty intense fondness for this extremely basic vehicle. No AC and a lot of rattles. My husband had a canvas top made for use during the dry months. (the top of the back comes off) and it makes for a cool and exhilerating ride.

Our first off road adventure was to drive the beach between Bahia and San Clemente at low tide. What a joy! The beach is sparsley populated and still in a pretty natural state. If it weren't for the garbage that washes up on the beach you would not know that the rest of the earth's population existed.

My take on the whole issue is to go ahead and buy a used vehicle and see if your heart and mental health will withstand the excitement of sharing the roads with Ecuadorian taxi drivers. If your nerves will take it then have a ball! And go aywhere you want at ant time of the day or night.

Not every ladies room deserves a photo, but how colorful can it get? Bamboo de Sabor in San Clemente!

The wall with the spirals? That is the Gent's. The gents don't get a door.

Sabor de Bamboo AKA Aleman Meier's place

Day Trip to San Clemente

20 km down south of Bahia is San Clemente. A quiet fishing town during the week and a resort town on many weekends.

I have been told that the attraction is the fact that San Clemente seems to be a micro-climate where there is usually more sunshine and cooling breezes than it's neighbors and its lovely beach. I know that I am more comfortable on the hotter days in San Clemente than I am in Bahia.

We will hop in the car and drive the beach to San Clemente at low tide and come back on the highway later in the day.

We usually stop at Sabor de Bamboo for a cooling drink upon arrival and seldom go much farther because it is so easy to just kick back and relax in the shade and catch up on the local gossip. The beer is COLD and the food is great!

For your convience I am placing a link to Sabor de Bamboo on Facebook at the bottom of this page.

And it is a great place to network.

Just take a motorbike taxi to 'Aleman Mier's' if the driver doesn't recognize the name Sabor de Bamboo. You will wind up at the same place.

Spanish is the language of the country. English is not common here but it gets more common everyday. Take a Spanish book in case your high school Spanish fails

Coco Bongo Hostal, Cha! Cha! Cha!

The entrance to Coco Bongo Hostal has received a new paint job and a wonderful new mural. This is a local rendezvous for english speakers. You can also arrange for spanish classes here. The coffee is usually hot and the beer is cold. Stop in and refresh yourself.


Coco Bongo Breezway

Entertainment at Coco Bongo Hostal

The breezway at Coco Bongo Hostal (phone 08544098) is often the scene of impromptu performances, communal meals, and educational talks given by local educators. You can never be quite sure what you will find at Coco Bongo.

Why Cocobongo?

We prefer to stay at the Coco Bongo Hostal on the Malecón because it is conducive to easy conversations with the inhabitants of an international fleet of transient sailboats that anchor off the Malecón and local expats who drop in daily for a good cup of coffee. The Coco Bongo is a watering hole for these colorful characters and serves the best cup of brewed coffee in the city and ice cold soft drinks and beer.

A good cup of coffee is hard to find in Ecuador, even though Ecuador is a major coffee producer everything but Nescafe instant seems to be exported. Suzy has found a local producer who grows and processes organic coffee. So the coffee she serves has a pedigree.

You can also buy ground organic coffee from her at Coco Bongo!

Coco Bong is a good place to strike out from for an evening stroll.

Somewhere in the course of a day something interesting will usually present itself and extend our morning or evening walk. Oh yes, life is hard!

You can reach Coco Bongo Hostal by cell phone at 085440978

Store on the back of a motorcycle

The most descriptive words for Bahía de Caráquez is laid back. A trip by the new bridge across the river takes you to San Vicente, where the party is always on. Twelve miles up the road from San Vicente is Canoa where beachfront hotels, bars and restaurants can surely keep you entertained.

The new (and first) bridge makes it much easier to access San Vicente and Canoa now but I'm still a little nostalgic form the 'good old days', but this bridge will most likely improve the quality of life for many Ecuadorians.

Carnival Parade

Little Girls Get to Join the Parade Too

Local color - you can be a part of it all!

There is a simplicity of life here that harkens back to my early years in rural South Carolina. The young people seem to be forever rehearsing for a parade or participating in one.

Bahia residents greet visitors warmly as they pass on the streets. A smile and "Buenos dias" (before you have eaten lunch) or "Buenos tardes" (after lunch) is all you need to navigate the streets with ease.

Living here is very relaxed for expats. The city has an ample supply of taxis and tricleros (pedi-cabs) that are affordable enough to turn any stroll outbound into a short and pleasant ride home. The temperature is mild and pleasant except for the rainy season when the humidity soars and makes everything seem to be on a slow simmer. We don't find it any hotter or more uncomfortable than the southeast sector of the US during the summer. Temps seldom get as high as Miami.

The primary pursuits of the expats in Bahía de Caráquez seem to be lounging in water-fronted restaurants while sipping beer and eating long and leisurely meals. While there is immediate appeal to this lifestyle it can get boring after a while, almost any burst of energy or excitement is channeled off pretty quickly and the return to the easy life soon beckons one back.

Sophie the Coco Bongo Cat

Tropical flowers

Taking photos in Bahia de Caraquez can be a lot of fun. The people are interesting. Conflicts between technology and context are abundant. Tropical flowers abound in a wide variety of colors and fragrance fills the air at unexpected times. Even some of the dogs are rather exotic looking. There is one that hangs around the malacon that is tiger stripped.

Six of these fed two and generated leftovers

Camarones Grande!

We bought some of these for $6.00 a pound and everyone said we paid too much for them. when they yielded two full meals with leftovers we felt justified!

With shrimp this size you can plan of two to three to a person. Throw them on the grill or satue them in butter. Delicious!

Malecon Vendor Open for Business

Malecon Vendor Closed for Siesta

A store you can close up and tow home.

My husband was fascinated by the wooden vendor wagons that are built in Ecuador. They reminded him of some of the wagons that the circus he worked for as a kid used. They made me think of Gypsy caravans. They also build wooden backs for pickup and delivery trucks.

We spent twenty five years in the retail business. Any unfamiliar approach to retail draws our immediate interest so these stores/conveyances peaked our interest.

Chickens Coming to Market

My return to vegetables

We were strict vegetarians for several years before the pressures of traveling in a non vegetarian world eased us back into eating things that had a face or a mother. The combination of being exposed to the live animals that I would likely eat that evening accompanied by the climate has nudged me back to eating more vegetables and less meat, fish,and chicken. A trip to the local (daily) produce market stirred a craving for fresh fruit and vegetables. The selection is mind boggling.

The pangas cross from San Vicente to Bahia De Caraquez bringing produce from the countryside, in this case live chickens.

Shell Art

Reincarnated shell art

Are you old enough to remember when shell art was made in beach towns. Now all of it comes from China or Taiwan.

Perhaps this display is different. I often see the locals waking the beach at low tide picking shells. I am a hopeless romantic who hopes they can earn a lviing by gathering shells and creating gift items from them.

Friendly Man, Dead Fish (Dorado)

The people of Ecuador are so friendly that they can disarm you entirely. This man watched me struggling to get a good shot of a Dorado. He then rushed to the front of his booth and held the fish aloft for me to photograph.

Coco Bongo Hostal has an interesting policy of allowing guests to use the kitchen in the evenings to prepare their own food. Sometimes a guest or local expat will prepare a large meal to share with other guests for a contribution toward food costs and maybe a little help cleaning up. The results are good food, good conversation, and cold beer. What a way to end the day!

Yachts in the River

The yachts at anchorage float an intriguing international group of free spirits.

From pineapple to taro root, it all looks good!

So much potential here for a real feast!

Taking it Slow, Breezy, Easy

Just exactly how did this dog get into the hammock? You can't pass through a village that you don't see locals relaxing in hammocks, especially during the heat of the day.

Here the humans have returned to more productive pursuits and the dog remains too do what a dog does best.

Bahia After Dark

An evening stroll is almost mandatory

After dark everyone in Bahia de Caraquez seems to be on the streets. People stroll around town greeting friends, eating at sidewalk cafes, or just taking in the evening air. It is a lovely time to stroll the streets that are bathed in light and color.

House on the beach south of Bahia de Craquez

The bamboo house is far removed from the concept of a "grass shack". Here you have a house that is affordable, goes up quickly, breathes well, cools quickly in the tropical evening, is bio-degradeable and generally speaking comfortable.

We learned that a manufacture in Portviejo makes a small bamboo (canya) house kit for about $500.00. How is that for a starter home?

View facing south on the beach south of Bahia de Caraquez

You can drive on the beach between Bahia de Caraquez and San Clemente at low tide. Many locals use it as a short cut between the two towns.

I am told that this sea wall was built by the Spanish over 400 years ago.

Aren't you just itching to see what treasures these tidal pools hold.

Tidal pools and rocks on the beach

I have always been intrigued by tidal pools and the ones here are full of interesting finds. There are shells that I had only dreamed of finding on a beach. Turbo, Olive, Cowerie and more.

The beach at high tide is an inviting place for a picnic but remember to keep an eye on the waterline so that you return to the safety of high ground before you are cut off from an exit point.

At high tide the waves come up to the base of the overhanging cliffs.

There is danger in paradise. You would not want to get  caught on the beach when the waters reach the foot of the overhanging hills and cliffs. Take caution to go out on the falling tide and return before your return route is blocked.

The beach between Bahia de Carquez and San Clemente is driveable at low tide

Along the beach south of Bahia de Caraquez you will find colorful fishing boats pulled up on the sand as well as many other photo ops.

Here one of the many boats that are painted this particular shade of blue rests on the sand between tides and forays into the nearby waters to partake of the bounty of the sea.

Lighthouse near Bahia de Caraquez

Lighthouse near Bahia de Caraquez

I will wax poetic about lighthouses sometimes when I am feeling more romantic.

But here is your chance to fill in a blank space. How many stories of the sea have you read? Have you ever dreamed of a lighthouse? Do lighthouses hold a spiritual meaning for you? Of what dangers do they speak? Or what pleasures?

Pacific waves rolling in

This beach is ideal for biking, strolling, or even four wheeling. The sand stays damp and firm and the beach is wide and inviting. The undeveloped nature of the area can lead you to forget that other people exist except for the debris washed up on the shore.

These cows have a fine view

How long can this last?

Much of the land along this stretch of beach is used in marginal ranching and farming. It makes me wonder if it is really necessary to develop every square inch of beachfront. Each farm that is purchased by a real estate developer is a farm that will never return to its original purpose. It is land that is bulldozed into submission, terraced, landscaped, paved or otherwise abused. It is a farmer and his family displaced, for now and for future generations. Sometimes the cost in human and natural terms seems too dear to pay.

Driftwood abounds

The amazing shapes and textures of the driftwood on the beach made my hands itch to start collecting. 

Not every sunbather wears a bikini!

Bahia de Caraquez receeds into the evening

We took the ferry across to San Vicente to attend a party at the beautiful home of an expat in Canoa just a little north of San Vicente. A native speaker with an outgoing personality managed to arrange for a ride in a pickup truck to our destination in Canoa for 5 of our party. The rest followed in a taxi. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever see any of them again. Our driver was a policeman on his way home and he seemed determined to exercise any driving skills he had acquired during training (if any). It was a wild ride.

Knowing what I now know, I would be hard pressed to choose between a ride with a taxi driver or an Ecuadorian policeman.

Maria Magdalena

On our return trip our hostess at Coco Bongo arranged for a ride with an expat who gave us much more sane ride. We returned on a panga, the Marie Magdalena. It was a lovely moonlit ride complete with fresh sea breezes and comfortable temperature.

It is just fum to ride the pangas. Take a panga across in the afternoon and return on the Marie Magdalana.

The Fish Market - and it doesn't smell bad either!

The fish market is located on the ground floor of the Mercado. Fresh fish arrives daily and is cleaned and sold until about 12:30 PM.

You can purchase corvina that will be skillfully filleted while you wait. You can also get your shrimp whole or cleaned and headed for a few cents more per pound.

I will spare you photos of the meat market which is on the upper floor just in case you happen to enjoy eating meat.

If you are going to spend anytime in Bahia you had better love a parade

November 3rd is the anniversiary date of Bahia de Caraquez and is celebrated with festivities that begin to ramp up in late October. This parade started with toddlers and proceeded to high school aged kids. The drums were prolific, fantastic, and loud. They can be heard practicing for weeks in advance all over the city. I have heard more than one person comment that they are looking forward to November 3rd because it signals an end to drum practice.

Read much?

My husband and I are both avid readers. We read ourselves to sleep every night so imagine my distress when I discovered that I couldn't buy a book on my Nook when I was out of the United States. My husband was happily downloading one book after another and i was OUT fo reading material.

The first thing I did when we returned home was buy a Kindle.

The young Reinas

Dancing in the streets!

I think that every male in Bahia plays the drum.

Pa rum pum pum pum, Rum pum pum pum

I am not a fan of loud noise but the drummers of Bahia have made a dent on my resistance. There are hoards of drummers in every parade. ... And the rhythm of their drums draws me in and holds me spellbound and leaves me longing for their return.

We lived in Bahia for a little over a year. Part of that time we lived in an apartment near the parade route and an intersection where they would block off the street and bring in speakers the size of Volkswagens and play till 3:00 AM.

The canned music from the speakers was a little much but … Oh the drums!

We now live in a much quieter San Clemente and I miss the drums.

Tauga Treasures

Tauga crafts

Tauga nut is also known as vegetable ivory. It is truly a marvelous material. When it is undyed it has the translucent luster of fine ivory. Sometimes it is smoked to a warm carmel color, but usually it is dyed. It takes dye beautifully and produces intense colors.

Carving tauga nut is often a cottage industry. There is also a more commercial aspect to the art and colored beads and ornaments are produced by the thousands. Rings, earrings, pendants, necklaces and bracelets abound at the Malacon.

Saddles for sale on the Malecon

Cotacatchi and Quisapincha are known for their leather crafts but that didn't keep a nice display of handmade saddles from appearing on the Malacon.

The Malacon on a holiday

Eat, Drink & Shop
Eat, Drink & Shop

Eat, Drink, Shop

Any holiday seems to generate a street market on the Malacon. People from all over Ecuador meet here to buy and sell everything from tauga nut jewelry to handmade saddles. There is lots of music and laughter, cold beer and softdrinks and street food.

It is not everyday that you see a stripped dog!

Bye, Bye Bahia

After hanging out in Bahia for about ten months we are going to take some time and explore the rest of the country. We will be spending time in the Andes and probably Vilcabamba, Loja, Zaruma, Cuenca, Azogues, Quito, and points north.

This is all just a device to avoid Bahia during the rainy season.

We'll be back soon! Bahia is just too pleasant most of the time to stay away for long. 

I'll be creating new blogs as I find places that might be attractive retirement or recreational destinations.

Menu item -- Bleeding (by the jar) ........only $12.00

God help the mono-linguistic!

Bleeding? What exactly is a jar of Bleeding? Answer: Sangria!

As you may well know, translation is not an exact science.

My husband and I are making our way in a largely non-English speaking country with the translator on my I-pod and it is working out pretty well.

I also loaded a Spanish to English Dictionary and an English to Spanish Dictionary onto my Kindle and I love it!

The people here actually do want to help you. They will even refrain from laughing when you speak Spanish like a 2 year old .

Logic and reasoning go along way to making sense out of a menu that some restaurant owner has gone to great expense and effort to translate into English. It is almost always helpful though it can be a bit baffling at times. A $12.00 jar of bleeding almost had me stumped when my circular thinking kicked in and I realized that what we had here was a jug of Sangria! ( Spanish for blood ).

Not everyone is born speaking English. So, don't expect to find it spoken widly just because you happen to be here and you are an English speaker. I am told it is easier to learn Spanish than it is to learn to speak English.

The people from Bahia in particular, and Ecuador in general are kind, sharp, and helpful.

Golden Treasure

Loving Bahia de Caraquez

Travel Tips: What to expect if you travel to Ecuador

$11.45 in groceries

What $11.45 buy in Bahia

I thought you would like to see a typical haul from the market.

1. 10 grapefruit

2. 1 dozen eggs

3. 1 liter of milk

4. 4 tomatoes

5. 4 onions

6. 2 lbs potatoes

7. 2 lbs strawberries

7. 1 hand of fairy bananas

9. 2 cantalope

10. 1 head of lettuce

11. 4 apples

12. 1 pound of shelled fresh butterbeans

All for a grand total of $11.45

Taxies patrol the streets drumming up support for the President

A Bit of Political Unrest

September 30, 2010 - On September 30, 2010 there was a police strike in the capital of Ecuador, in response to a piece of legislation that would have apparently cost the police some of their salary and benefits. Someone threw tear gas at the president and surrounded the hospital where he was taken for treatment.

Well, one thing led to another and the airport was closed, tires were burned in the streets, banks were robbed and who knows how many small acts of terror, vandalism, revenge, and petty crime occurred.

As a result the whole country seems to be holding its collective breath while these events shake out.

So what I am keeping here is my personal diary of events as I see them. I am writing this so my friends and family back home will know that we are all right and have no expectations of being otherwise.

October 2, 2010 - The crisis seems to have abated if not evaporated.

Last night Phillip staayed in and I went out, a woman alone in a coiuntry supposedly in crisis, I walked to Coco Bongo where I met up with friends, we sat around a table and chatted until hunger struck then we walked about 7 blocks to a restaurant and had a liesurly mean on the pation with a gentle breeze being the only signs of movement. After dinner we walked back to Coco Bong and had a little wine and a lot of interesting conversation, then I hitched a ride with a neighbor back home.

Today the crisis seems to be forgotten in Bahia and is rapidly being forgotten in the rest of the country. And life in paradise returns to normal.

Well now! The night bus from Quito made it to Bahia.

The night bus from Quito has a reputation for being robbed in route so we see this as encouraging news.

Columbia and Peru have reopened their borders.

If the rest of the weekend is quiet we may leave for points still undetermined on Monday morning.

October 5, 2010 - All things are quite and have been for several days. We are packed and ready to set off tomorrow morning. Wish us luck!

Tsunami Warning!

Ecuador's President Correa took strong measures in face of the threat of the tsunami warning and ordered coastal residents to higher ground.

We left our accommodations at Coco Bongo Hostal and drove to Mindo, just 60 K west of Quito, for a break in the heat as well as some seriously high ground.

The ordinary citizens of Bahia took the situation seriously and shops and other businesses, including banks, closed. This was nice because it gave the employees of the businesses the chance to prepare themselves and their families for any eventuality.

As it turns out the only anomaly experienced in Bahia was a torrential rain. The tsunami was a no-show.

More hubs about Ecuador and my poetry sites gives you the grittier side of Ecuador. Things you should be prepared to cope with. arealistic budget for living in Ecuador. to see the lovely town of Baños for a look at Cotacachi. gives you a look at the Valley of Longevity for a look at Bahia de Caráquez, a beautiful and peaceful (except for the parades) beach city. for a comprehensive view of Otavalo’s famous indigenous market for a look at this famous gold mining city. This one is a work in progress as we will be returning to Zaruma to explore the possibilities of using it as a permanent base. to see many of my favorite photos taken in Ecuador with commentary. for pictures of some of my favorite places in Ecuador with commentary. to see some interesting talismans I have come across in Ecuador. to take a closer look at the Malecon during a holiday. to discover the beach that becomes a road at low tide. for my best poems.

Bahia Memories


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      DoveFreexrolo 2 years ago

      I think this is interesting and do not see posted often. This is great information.

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      DrELD 4 years ago

      Hi Donna,

      I came across this by accident, and am glad I did. I will not be down during my normal November time, but rather closer to FIN DE ANO.

      See you then!

      Evan D.

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      niki 5 years ago

      We will be sailing to Ecuador in August and plan to stop somewhere along the coast to stay, enroll our children in school, and enjoy enjoy ecuador until May or June. We have four children 14-7 years old. Where can I get information on the schools in Bahia or places nearby?

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      Scott 5 years ago

      I seriously suggest anyone wanting to retire or live in any Latin country should read a book entitled 'Don't Stop The Carnival" by Herman Wouk.

      It is fiction but really hits some points. I have lived in several Latin countries and the Caribbean on and off for about 10 years.

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      Cindy Thompson 5 years ago

      There is crime in Bahia. Yes, I know, there is crime everywhere! But, I have seen some info on the net about how the crime in Bahia is practically zero and I want to warn others that just isn't true. Last week my friend and I were assaulted on the beach in Bahia de Caraquez by two men, one brandishing a gun, the other a knife as they robbed us. The police were called -- that did no good. After this happened to us, we learned of another expat couple who had the same thing happen to them. The hotels don't tell you where not to go (i.e., on the beach at the end of the malecon past the kioskos), the police are ineffective ... My hope is that this warning will prevent someone else from being assaulted and robbed.

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      taylormarie28 5 years ago

      Hi Donna,

      I am moving to Ecuador with my boyfriend in September until that following March. We visited in March to take a look around and fell in love Bahia. It was hard to talk to people about renting while done there due to the fact we hadn't set a date on when to come. I read in one of your posts about an apartment for 300.00 a month for rent though. I was wondering if that was still a possibility to rent or if you had any other connections for cheap places to rent?

      Looking forward to talking with you,


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      Dawn 6 years ago

      I will be spending July in San Clemente and am hoping to take Spanish classes - can anyone recommend a Spanish teacher to me? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

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      Donna Suttle 6 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      Please reduce this post to lowercase. Otherwise it will be removed.

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      Donna Suttle 6 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      I have never been to the hospital, the only time we needed medical assistance in Bahia we used a clininc that was conviently located next door. I can tell you for sure that it won't be far from anywhere in Bahia. It is a small land area with a relative low population. Perhaps someone out there can give you better directions.

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      freddikins 6 years ago

      A group of us will be coming in April to provide medical services at the hospital in Bahia. My husband and I will stay afterwards to look at property along the coast. I have been looking for the actual location of the hospital, and can't find it. Can you tell me where the hospital is in regards to the city? Is there anything else located near the hospital? Is there a secondary school 8th/9th grade nearby?

      Johnny E - would you be interested in having our group rent your house? It would be obviously a short-term rental, but would be cash for you. Email me if you would like to talk more.

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      Donna Suttle 6 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      I am not a technocrat but sometimes I do get frustrated with our system. It is part of the infastructure of our condos but sometimes it does get slow. What we nhave now is faster and better than it used to be. Also power outages can throw the whole thing off line. There is a company in Bahia that does the service over the phione loines and that seems to work pretty well. Please bear in mind that until we moved to Ecuador we were living off the grid in New Mexico and the only way we were able to get a reliable connection was to install a satallite dish.

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      John 6 years ago

      Thank you very much! Yes, that is like Mexico: it is what one wag termed a "barking dog culture." :-) Actually, the most unpleasant experiences were loud music being played by neighbors at any and all hours without concern for anyone else. Or someone might be cleaning his car and leaving the door open so he could hear the radio at full blast. This can largely be avoided by choosing your neighborhoods very carefully, but in some small towns it may be unavoidable. I have know several people who simply had to move to another town or even return to the States or Europe. Another factor is lack of zoning. You might buy a nice property, but then a bar or metal shop or mechanic opens a shop on the empty lot next door. Again, careful attention to the environment is crucial. I found that good earplugs were the key to good sleep as regards dogs and roosters. As for car alarms...patience, resignation, good humor.

      Regarding the internet, do you have access to dsl speeds or is it pretty slow? How about reliability and blackouts?

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      Donna Suttle 6 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      I live at Vista Azul in San Clemente. Internet service is included in the package so I don't know prices I quote are current or not. In Bahia I have heard prices from 20.00 to 50.00 per month. Maybe someone from Bahia can be more precise.

      Noise level? Roosters, dogs, and car alarms are EVERYWHERE in Ecuador. Vista Azul is quiet (I never hear a rooster here but one could step in to fill the void at any moment.) Traffic is light and the noise from that is minimal. I found Bahia to be fairly quiet most of the time.

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      JohnD 6 years ago

      Hello! Thanks for the great information you provide. May I ask about internet connections in Bahia--speed and cost. Also, are such services available in San Clemente? Last but not least, how about the daily noise level? Can one find quiet surroundings (festive days aside) where neighbors are quiet and conscious of not playing loud music, and so on?

      Thank you!

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      Donna Suttle 6 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      You are welcome to use these photos.

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      Donna Suttle 6 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      My only contact with medical care was a doctor who spoke some english and took extermely good care of my husband in an emergency. The whole thing including 2 days in his clinic, 2 iv bags, and tests wea only $320.00. There is not a large population of Ecuadorianas who speak English but they are becoming more and more availabel everyday.

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      Jerry 6 years ago

      How good is the health care situation in Bahia? Is the Hospital reasonaly up to date? Do some of the doctors speak english?

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      Dan Locke 6 years ago from Guayaquil, Ecuador

      Thanks very much for the pictures... if I give credit to you, can I use them on

      I live in Guayaquil currently but love to go up to Bahia as often as possible. Do you know the Piolis of Vista Pacifica Homes up north of Bahia?

      Now I see that you are going to be settling in San Clemente! How nice! Do you know Bernie Person or the DeCheff's? And I love Meier's place. I forget the name of the development... the Palm Azul?

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      Donna Suttle 6 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      In places like Bahia de Caraquez, Quito, Cuenca, Otovalo, in fact anywhere you go in Ecuador you will find places where gringos, and ex-pats gather. It is here you will make contact with a world of interesting people. It is through your contacts with these people you will begin to meet Ecuadorians. The Ecuadorian women are warm and wonderful and not opposed to dating older men. I don't think it would be easy for a man to be lonely in Ecuador.

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      Brian Moody 6 years ago

      I enjoyed the posts I have read. I am a single man 44 yrs old. Wanting to re-locate from the States. Can you give me some advice on nightlife and people to meet(girls) I would like to meet someone special and enjoy a life there.

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      Donna Suttle 6 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      Uli, I'll put my library at your disposal when we return.

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      Ulrich Zacharias 6 years ago

      Hi Donna and Phil,

      I hope you have a good time in USA and we will see you back soon. I have taken some Pictures of your website here for my page.. you have more Pictures like from San Clemente, San Vicente....and so on?

      All the best from Cleo and Uli

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      Donna Suttle 6 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      Flip, we are in the usa right now and will return to Ecuador on Nov 23. so give us a call when you arrive. Suzi has our number, right now I can't remember it. Hope to see you soon.


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      Flip 6 years ago

      Hi Donna and Phil

      I am finally visiting Ecuador once again. My fiancé, Jeannie and myself will be leaving Australia on Holloween for a nine week holliday. After a few days in Chile, we fly into guayaquil and then stay in a rented beach house near Olon. The rent expires on December 5th and will probably visit Bahia and the communities in the Andes for our final three weeks. It would be great to catch up again. Your blog is excellent.



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      Thomas Schors 6 years ago

      I am so glad to have stumbled onto this website. My name is Tom Schors (pronounced Shores) and I've been spending many hours reading about setting up a 2nd home outside of the US, and just recently, in Ecuador, and I would like to explore from the coast to the highlands. Bahia de Caraquez appears to be an ideal place. And, my next problem was finding a place to stay for 30 days or so without breaking the bank on my limited income - I am retired. From what I see Coco Bongo is the ideal place, at least I hope so, and I have already sent an email to Susy.

      I haven't signed up yet, but I hope to attend the International Living "Living in Ecuador" conference in Quito on Nov 10-12, or is that really necessary? Can I get all the information I need if I just come to Bahia de Caraquez? If I make the trip (I'm from the northern part of Alabama, just south to the Tennessee state line - Huntsville, AL.) I will definitely spend at least 4 weeks in Ecuador. I don't know what my plans are right now, but I'm single and I really don't like traveling alone. So I'm hoping to get someone to go with me, or again is that really necessary? Could I pair up with someone else who may be traveling alone, or even other couples?

      Looking forward to hearing from you and thanks for any assistance and information you can provide. My email address is

      Also, anyone else who reads this post and would like to team up with me, I'd be glad to hear from you.

      Tom Schors

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      Lainee 6 years ago

      How about Internet? I am a web developer and have the ability to work remotely.

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      Carl Wescott 6 years ago

      Great writeup on Bahia and area. It was nice to meet you a few months ago. Hope to see you again soon.

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      donnakays 6 years ago

      Well, Hello! Nice to hear from you. Will you be returning to Ecuador anytime soon?

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      irina & Mike 6 years ago

      It was a pleasure to meet you Donna and Phil! Thank you for your help. See you soon. Irina & Mike

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      Donna 7 years ago

      There are several ways to obtain resdency. It is really pretty simple. Are you retired, if so it is blindlingly simple. We used Gaby at the lawyer whose link is on this page. She had our residency completed in 40 days during which there was a change in the law so she had to start over. People who seek to do their own are going to waste a lot of time and spend alot of money. It was cheaper and easier to just let Gaby do it all. I know people who did it on their own and it took more than 2 years.

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      Fay 7 years ago

      Hello Donna & Phil I believe this is your blog/page - my son has just arrived in Bahia (fora one year stay) and is already in love with it after just 3 weeks - i read your information with interest and note you have applied for residence and are buying property and your insight is invaluable - we had originally intended to retire to Costa Rica and have some land however i do believe we should do more homewrok and perhaps this is an alternative to consider - Can you advise what the requirements are to obtain permanent residency?

      Thank You for your shared knowledge

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      Donna 7 years ago

      John, check my updated hub for a link to a good lawyer. She is handeling our purchase of a townhouse condo in San Clemente as I write this. I believe that health insurance costs about $500.00 a year (that is not a typo).

      Groceries were running us about $50.00 to $60.00 a week (including my husbands addiction to Coca-cola) and cleaning products, anything you might toss in a grocery cart.

      John, this is another world. The words "reputable builder" do not compute. And three weeks out of the year there is no quiet place on the coast due to Carnival. Late Feburary or early March. Walking distance is subjective but taxies are cheap. If you are a serious shopper the answer is 60 km to Manta.

      We paid 79,000.00 for a two story, two bedroom townhouse with a terrace on the roof. This includes reverse osmosis treated water, back up electricty, gated community. Since we haven´t moved in yet I can´t give you a better idea of costs. I can tell you that a few blocks from us you can rent an airconditioned apartment for $300.00 per month. AND I WOULD STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU RENT BEFORE YOU BUY!!! Read the above sentence repeatedly. You really need to get it. Ecuador is not for everyone.

      My recommendation would be that you find a way to take a month in Ecuador. If you want beach I believe that Bahia and the vacinty is the best option as far as cleanliness of the city, ease of living, and safety are concerned. There are a lot of English speaking EX-pats in the area and major shopping is only about an hour and an half away by car. I know that most people who come to Ecuador don´t buy cars but I am glad we did.

      If you move up the coast toward Esmeraldes or down the cost past Salinas health and safety become more of an issue.

      If you do come to Bahia post a note in comments and we might see you at Coco Bongo, unless we are traveling at the time.

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      John 7 years ago

      Thank you very kindly for your most appreciated help Donna!

      The more I read about Ecuador the more I like it and is currently trying to estimate my expenses for a modest living here (I am not a wealthy guy)…

      How much should I budget for my Health insurance, e.g.?

      You mentioned “San Clemente seems to be in a micro-environment as well with many days that are overcast in Bahia being sunny in San Clemente” I love when the Sun is shining and will probably be as happy in San Clemente as you are Donna!

      I will be looking for a small condo (no more than 1000 sq. ft. of living area) of quality construction (!) from a reputable builder somewhere in a quiet neighborhood within walking distance to the publicly accessible beach and shopping. How much should I budget for such property? Condo fees? Property taxes?

      Other living expenses you can think of: groceries, electricity, water, TV, Internet, etc.?

      And a huge problem is how to find a reliable real estate agent and independent attorney to handle the legalities?

      As always any information and advice would be appreciated very much indeed!



      Feel lost with all these questions… It is a HUGE change in my life!

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      Donna Suttle 7 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina


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      vicente franco zambrano 7 years ago

      EXTRAÑO MI TIERRA,cada temporada mas hermosa,inigualable como siempre,le pido a mi dios que la proteja igual que sus habitantes,tengo parte de mi familia alli.en algun nmomento ire a visitarla estoy tan lejos de mi patria.los quiero mucho bahieños¡¡¡ VIVA MANABI CARAJO!!!

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      Donna Suttle 7 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina


      1. I would say that the mosquito problem is fairly mild. Our doctor told me that as long as you screen your windows there is very little danger of catching a mosquito born disease. I haven't noticed any overt mosquito abatement programs in the area. That doesn't mean they don't exist. We walk a good bit after dark and haven't been bitten.

      2. I have no information on the sunny days per annum. during the dry season overcast days are more frequent. During the rainy season the skys open up and the days are sunny and bright. I have a tendency to seasonal depression due to a lack of sunshine but have noticed no symptoms in Bahia.

      3. Humidity seems to top out at about 95% and the temp seldom gets above 85 during the rainy season.

      4. The crime rate seems to be low. Most crimes in Ecuador are property crimes with petty theft topping the charts. We like to walk around town in the evenings and even when I walk alone I don't feel threatened. The locals embrace foreigners warmly. We feel quite at home in spite of the language difference.

      5. The tap water is not safe to drink unless diarrhea is a major component of your weight loss program. Bottled water is readily available in 5 gallon bottles for $1.50.

      6. While in Bahia we experienced a small tremor that resulted from an earthquake east of Quito. to my understanding this was the first and only activity since the earthquake. The earthquake that hit Bahia only toppled one building, the Italia Hotel, and there were no fatalities from the quake. The fatalities came from a mudslide that inundated the poorer section of town.

      7. The appliances we use in the states plug right into Ecuador sockets and work just fine. The supply is subject to rolling blackouts when the rainfall in Columbia has been low. It is pretty easily dealt with using back up generators. We have purchased a town house in San Clemente which is just 10 miles south of Bahia that has back up generators and filtered water in place. San Clemente seems to be in a micro-environment as well with many days that are overcast in Bahia being sunny in San Clemente. Your requirements for your medical equipment are standard in Ecuador exactly the same as the US.

      Hope this information is helpful.


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      John 7 years ago

      Looks like a very nice place to live: happy people with smiling faces everywhere!

      I am trying to compare Pacific coast of Mexico with Ecuador coastal areas (between Manta and Bahia) in order to decide where to spend my golden years and would be very thankful if you could please take your time and answer a few questions for me, please. All and any comments, suggestions are very welcome too!

      1. Are there any problems with mosquitoes in Bahia, especially during the rainy season? Do the authorities fumigate mosquito-infested areas?

      2. Many pictures in this report show dark, gloomy skies… How many sunny days per annum, on average, do you have in Bahia?

      3. Does it get very humid here? I mean how do you feel when it is +30 Celsius and humidity is about 80%?

      4. How would you describe crime rate in the city? Do the authorities in control of the situation? How, in general terms, do the foreigners treated by the local population?

      5. Is it safe to drink tap water in Bahia?

      6. Is this area still seismically active (Bahia was leveled to the ground in 1998, as far as I understand)? If it is, what constriction techniques are used by the developers?

      7. Is the power supply stable (extremely important for me)? Is the standard the same as in the States: 110 V / 60 Hz? What is the maximum current can I draw from the wall: I need at least 15 Amperes for my medical equipment?



      P.S. Coastal areas of Mexico sure look nice, but a bit too expensive for me: real estate market and the cost of living especially…

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      dksuttle 7 years ago

      Apartments go for about $40,000 the same or less for houses of adverage quality. I have seen houses as low as 15,000I will have to answer you further once we return to Ecuador in early MArch to be up to date. We just purchased a townhouse at San Clemente for $79,000.00 but that is pretty high for realestate in Ecuador.

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      mteran 7 years ago


      sounds good.

      question... are apartments expencive to buy/, is real state expensive?

      is ther a university or college the economy up or down?

      sorry tomany questions



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      Donna Suttle 7 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina


      We rented a two bedroom house a block from the bay for 300.00 per month. The best plan is to check into Cocobongo and let the local network go to work for you. It may take a weel or two but while you are at Cocobongo you will make some valuable contacts.

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      dksuttle 7 years ago

      First ... we have found two really reliable and trustworthy lawyers. One in Quito and one who is setting up an office in Bahia. Both are women who are of high integrity. Both have performed services that were successfully completed with no unnecessary steps. Unfortunately we are in South Carolina and their contact info is in Bahia.

      There are several agents in Bahia that can help you find property in the area. I would want to do some research before I recommended any of them. They are only useful if you want real estate in the coastal area around the Bahia area.

      We live in the Zuni Mountains near the Ramah Navajo Reservation.

      We expect to return to Ecuador in March. If you happen to be in the area around Bahia drop a comment on this page and we'll buy you a drink.

      We are settling in San Clemente which is about 20 miles from Bahia.

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      Diane 7 years ago


      I'm new to this hubby and I are thinking about Ecuador as a possible retirement home and it's always good to get feedback from people who are more knowledgeable about the "reality" of the place. We have two pieces of property in Costa Rica, and were considering building there, but the cost of living has really gone up we're looking elsewhere. Ecuador seems to have a lot of what we're looking for in terms of quality of life, pace, cost of living, people, etc. I've found that no place is perfect...each country we've looked at has it's problems...however, we have to weigh the pros and cons and see what is the best option for us.

      If anyone has a reliable realtor source, we could use some names of folks we can trust to help us find a home and to get us a good bargain. Also, if anyone knows of a reliable lawyer to help us with the legalities, that would be helpful, too. We are planning on coming down for several months in July of 2011 and renting an apartment. We'd like to travel around and check things out for ourselves, but would like to have the realtor and lawyer to back us up if we find something we like and want to invest in.

      Oh, and dksuttle...where do you live in New Mexico? I lived in Santa Fe for several years then moved to Roswell, NM for a job...lived there for 10 years. What took you to Ecuador?


      Diane and Paul

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      mteran 7 years ago

      how can i get inf. an a flat or apt. by the beach ( any idea how much it will go for)

      Are any realators (corredores)?


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      Donna Suttle 7 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      Glad to be of service!

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      Cecile  7 years ago

      Much help from the posts.

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      Donna Suttle 7 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      You will have to come see for yourself. What Bahia doesn't have Canoa does and it will be a lot more accessible once the bridge goes in. Scheduled opening is November 3rd, 2010.

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      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      What an amazing place! It sounds ideal for a vacation spot or second home away from home. Thanks for all of the beautiful photos and descriptions!

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      Frank 7 years ago

      Loved Bahia and the people as well. Magic. Back in Florida now. Friends Tripp and Maya of the yacht club biz are missed greatly. Thanks for a wonderful site.

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      aggie 7 years ago

      i am in bahia, staying at the coco bongo. stop on by! i would love to meet you.

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      Angela 7 years ago

      Great info. Husband & I are looking at early retiring to Ecuador within a year from U.S. Like the looks of Bahia area. Will keep watching your site for additional tips.

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      Judy 7 years ago

      First week of September...hopefully around the 2nd or 3rd. Really excited to return..we loved living there but had other things we wanted to do. Hope to meet you there! Would be great to find place on the bay.

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      Donna Suttle 7 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      I can point you to the young man who helped us find a two bedroom house for us at $300.00 a month. We are currrently in a five bedroom apartment that is also $300.00 a month. When do you expect to be in Bahia?

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      Judy 7 years ago

      My husband Kurt and I are returning to Bahia after 5 yrs!! We can't wait!!! We are staying at Suzy's place.

      She was not there when we I am looking forward to meeting her. We will be looking for an apartment to rent for 6 months Sept-Feb. Would like at least a 2 bedroom so if you hear of anything let us know..will be there Sept 2. Hopefully some of your old friends are still there..I know Tripp and Maye and can't wait to see them. Thanks and hope to see you in Bahia!

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      Donna Suttle 7 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      Let me know when you are in town. Suzy has the coldest beer in Bahia.

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      Donna 7 years ago

      At present we are renting a five bedroom partially furnished apartment in downtown Bahia for $300.00 per month. That may give you an idea aof what to expect. The property in question is being brokered by a man named Wayne who you can contact through Suzi at Coco Bongo (also the best place for English speakers to stay in Bahia).

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      pacificswimmer 7 years ago

      great info about bahia. i am interested in ithe 300 hectares you are talking about. where is it in relation to chirije? i am moving down there in december and looking for a rental in the san clemente-bahia region.

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      Donna 7 years ago

      The first guide book I picked up listed Esmeraldas as warm and balmey which they translated to "hotter than hell". I believe it was a Lonely Planet or moon book and the later editions did not contain that discription. I only know that I groan every time someone suggests we head north.

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      Kathy & Grant 7 years ago

      We are Spanish speaking and looking for a great retirement place - are thinking of Mompiche or Esmeraldas although Bahia de Caraquez is intriquing as we will eventually buy a boat. Does anyone know the Esmeraldas area - is it always hot and sticky? Should we look closer to Bahia? Thanks

      Kathy & Grant

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      Donna 7 years ago


      We are back in Bahia for a six month stay. Hope to see you on your return.

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      Flip 7 years ago

      Hi Donna & Phil

      Still in Australia trying to sell my condo on the beach. I will return to Ecuador as soon as it is sold. I am still teaching ESL for the education department until that time. I bought an engagement ring and other emeralds at the Emerald trade center in Bogota the day after I saw you in January on my return Down Under. Thanks Phil for the emerald lessons! Hope to see y'all soon.



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      Donna 7 years ago

      email me when you hit Bahia. If we are in town we could share a drink. If you plan to spend time in Bahia I would suggest Coco Bongo Hostal near the Malacon. English spoken, good breakfast, clean rooms.

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      Patrick 7 years ago

      A terrific read Diana. I am grateful for the words you have written and photos you have shared. We plan to drive the coast for thirty days beginning in the middle of August. After reading your site we will plan to spend ample time in Bahia.

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      Donna Suttle 7 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      Bahia is great. You might also look at Canoa, a little more of a party town with lots of singles.

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      Diana 7 years ago

      Great info about Bahia. I am seriously considering a visit to Ecuado, and looking for an area safe for a single expat and Bahia seems ideal. My future goal is to reside in Ecuador with an income business.

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      Donna Suttle 7 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      We are at home in New Mexico. We will be returning to Bahia sometime in June. Will you be returning to Bahia anytime soon? We would love to see you again. Our son and daughter in law joined us for three months and had a ball. we toured the Andes. They fell in love with Banos (something that is easy to do) and want to return there on their next visit. Please stay in touch and let us know when you will be in Bahia next.


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      Flip 7 years ago

      Hi Donna and Phil. I'm still in Australia but will return to Ecuador, hopefully, sooner rather than later. Say hi to suzie



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      Donna Suttle 8 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina


      The property is between Bahia de Caraquez and San Clamente on the beach. Memory fails me as to which of the beach photos above are the exact property. Take a look.

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      Spocko 8 years ago

      Hi Donna,

      I posted a question 5 months ago but did not hear back from you. It was regarding the 300 hectares. Can you help me locate it on a map? email - toddco at

      Hope you can help, thanks

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      Alexis Villagran 8 years ago

      Yes, after Leonidas Plaza and before the site known as Kilometro 8. Properties in front of the Isla de los Pajaros (Birds Island)

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      Donna 8 years ago

      On the river near where they are building the bridge?

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      Alexis Villagran 8 years ago

      Great page. I live in Maryland and I am from Bahia. I have a property by the bay which is 3 1/2 miles from Bahia downtown. Did you ever check that part of the town?

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      Donna Suttle 8 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      We have rented a house a block from the beach in one direction and three blocks if we walk the other way so we aren't looking at realestate right now. Check with Suzi at Coco Bongo Hostal. She seems to have a handle on the local situation. Also the best place to stay in Bahia is her hostal.

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      Pg 8 years ago

      I too am interested in retiring with my husband to a beach property in Ecuador, and we are returning to look in May, so if you have any leads.....!! Thanks for this great website.



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      hippydee 8 years ago

      Great pictures! Very interested in learning more about your discoveries of life in Ecuador. Thinking of visiting in mid 2010-late 30's couple with two young children-and possibly making it a regular place to vacation, possibly move to one day. Find it incredible one can live there on $600-800 a month!? My dad is 75 and always up for an adventure; I think we'll have to invite him along on our trip this summer! We live in the polluted Ohio Valley Region (in So. Indiana) and are currently scouring the globe for a low polution, low cost destination in which to part-time live...sounds great!

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      Spocko 8 years ago

      I intend to return to the coast to find the right property for me, so your offer to post real estate info is very interesting to me. An $8,000 house is very cheap, I'll assume you meant $80,000. Where, specifically, are the 300 hectares? Eager to learn more, thanks.

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      Donna Suttle 8 years ago from Ecuador, New Mexico, South Carolina

      If anything it is getting stronger.

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      Robert Pfromm 8 years ago from Lees Summit, MO

      We lived in Bahía for 5 months in 2007 and have a lot of very fond memories of this little town. It's too bad it was hit so hard by the 1-2 punch of the earthquake and El Niño, but it still has a lot going for it.

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      Incense Goddess 8 years ago

      Hey Donna! (testing) This is really a very nice website you've put together! Beautiful. I will send a link to my family.