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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cuenca Weather Humidity Reading AFTER 24 Hour Sunny and Dry Period (7 of 8)


This will probably be our last humidity reading.  If you’ve been following along you can see it is quite humid and moist in Cuenca, and with no ventilation built in to the cement homes it can create a breeding ground for mold if you do not take special defensive measures against it. 
BTW, the condensation on the windows in the video was at 7am in the morning, before anyone took showers or ran hot water in the kitchen, etc...

It certainly is not a deal-breaker for anyone wanting to move to Cuenca but it is something that is NEVER talked about up until now. Well, now ya know.  

Coming up: Photos of moldy buildings in Cuenca and our solutions to mold in the house and our conclusions to this series on Cuenca Ecuador weather. 


           

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ecuadorian Paradise, Land of Contrasts: Love it or Leave It…


In this place referred to as the earthly paradise of Ecuador, or “retirement haven”, there are so many contrasts.  And I’m not talking about little insignificant things. 







Where Have All the Toilet Seats Gone?

Well, I was walking around the Cuenca mall the other day marveling at the amazing new commercialization of a third world; nice new stores everywhere, great lighting, nice plants, expensive shoes, etc. and then oops, what happened to the toilet seats? 

Somebody please tell me how much does it cost to put up a mall?  My son’s guess is $25 million dollars.  It’s not an educated guess, probably much more.  So, was somebody trying to save a few pennies by leaving off all the toilet seats in the restroom?  And what about the toilet paper rolls? There are no toilet paper rolls in the stalls either; you have to get it all at once before you go in. Your calculations can be over but you won’t want to be under…This is not some dusty dive in old town.  This is a big time modern commercial mall and the place otherwise sparkles.

UPDATE: September 2013. Guess what? Went to the Mall Yesterday and used the little girl's room and they have toilet seats now! Yahoo!!

 I keep pondering what the reasoning might have been when the plans for this mall were being drawn, and how come nobody noticed while it was being constructed?  Maybe it was intentional?  Well if you were to judge by the fact that the food court prices are three to four times as high as outside of the mall you wouldn’t think it was a cash flow problem.  Oh, and while I’m on a roll, how come the janitor (in the men’s room) is always a young woman?  Am I just modest? Because even after a year I’m still not used to that. Riddles of riddles, keeps my mind active.  My sense is that there’s gotta be a good reason.  

Saved by the Ecuadorian Lady

Ecuadorians are some of the nicest people I have ever met on the planet.  A perfect example was when an Ecuadorian lady told the other lady that cut in front of us in line at the grocery store, -- that we – the gringos, mind you - were in line first.  I was totally amazed and let out an uncontrollable smile.  This I would have never expected.   What a welcome surprise, and just when I was getting worried that I might have to say something to the cutter myself. Do I risk the ugly American label? No, I was saved, by the nice Ecuadorian lady.

The Dark Side of Year Round Spring Weather?

We’ve all heard the story of the perfect weather in Cuenca, which is why I find it interesting that nowadays the retirement press seems to have toned it down a notch.  I keep seeing this new terminology, “moderate weather” now, instead.  But nobody says anything about the mold.  Well, when there’s not enough sunshine, and plenty of moderate weather, throw in lots of rain, you get…Mold.  Cuenca is a moldy city.  We noticed this while doing a humidity experiment, since we’re normally healthy as oxen but for some reason, not in Cuenca.  Not for the faint of heart.

And Then There’s the Wall

What’s your beef? I hear you saying.  Look I enjoy moderate weather just like you all.  I love walking around and looking at the pretty trees with their bright colored blooms of yellows and pinks and reds.  They are so wonderful to look at, unless you’re walking by any of the several urine soaked walls around town.  Kinda overwhelms the blooms, know what I mean?  It never ceases to amaze me how I forget to repel myself all the way to the other side of the street when I’m coming up to a wall.  Ahh, paradise, it’s easy to forget you’re not in it when walking around in the retirement haven of Cuenca Ecuador. 

Avoiding the Gringo Tax

Of course nobody moves across continents just to look at spring blooms and to enjoy moderate weather.  Yes, it’s all about the price isn’t it?  Throw in a lower than where you live price and that bakes the cake.  Unless of course, you don’t speak Spanish and you consider paying more than the locals, just an inevitability, like death and taxes.  Oops, somebody told me the other day that some “Jesus” guy had said long ago he conquered both of those. Now there’s an odd thought.  But for us mere mortals, we should just “suck it up” and pay the gringo tax, right? Those of us that don’t come from the perimeter metro areas of the northern country will find prices the same or higher than back home. They’re softening the blow; they’re calling it “sticker shock”.  Should we stay or should we go?  

Helping folks figure that one out has become somewhat of a specialty of ours, and it’s a popular one at that, judging by the nice folks that write us privately to tell us so.  Thank you to all of you.  We are writing a free report on how to avoid the gringo tax, how to bargain for non Spanish speakers. There are some quirks to bargaining in paradise that we had not previously been aware of. We will give it away to all the Do-It-Yourself- Cuenca Landing Guide owners, as a show of thanks for your support.  

Some people are flabbergasted at the thought that anyone would want to leave the freest and best countries in the world for some third world so called paradise.  What’s up with that?  Is that for real? You’ve heard the school of thought that says “happiness is within you” or “the kingdom of heaven is within you” i.e. you take yourself and your attitude with you wherever you go.  Home is where the heart is, blah blah blah, well you might want to bring a bit of rhino skin with you.  It will help when you’ve been waiting weeks and then months for the cover plastics to come in for your new Ecuadorian Paradise identity card.  Oh yeah, those finally came in, but don’t leave your rhino skin home just yet, I’m almost  certain by next week it will be something equally suspenseful… gotta run, the sun is shining…



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Who Says Frugal Folks Can't Enjoy Life!

Here we are enjoying another relaxing, fun day in Salinas Ecuador. This time we're soaking up some rays in the pool at the Hostel we're staying at. Diamond of the Sea Hostel was a great, frugal find in Salinas; there were more frugal hostels in Salinas but without swimming pool and WIFI.


                  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Relaxing Day Shopping on the Beach in Salinas Ecuador

Have you ever sat on the beach and shopped at the same time? The last time we shopped on the beach was when we were  in Mexico in the early 90's. Ecuador beach resorts are not any different. There were probably about 10 or 12 different vendors coming by selling things from hammocks to Ecuadorian traditional foods. I would have loved to have the two lamps in the beginning of the video, but we did not want to carry them on the bus all the way back to Cuenca! Enjoy the Video.


             

Monday, June 25, 2012

Dry and Sunny Cuenca Day! Weather Humidity Experiment (6 of 8)

What happens when you mix a dry day with a sunny day? Lower H-U-M-I-D-I-T-Y levels, especially outside. Warmer Cuenca weather means we can open the windows and allow the warmer, dryer air into the home. The last part of May and the first part of June when this experiment was started was beautiful. Only a few rainy days in the first two weeks! Even so, humidity levels still remained quite high in the home. Coming up in the next several weather videos will be one more humidity reading, and on the heels of that will be photos and video of mold growth on the buildings in the city of Cuenca, and finally some weather facts based on experiment readings and more facts based on our findings...so stay tuned!


            

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Why We Chose to Move to Ecuador

Periodically our readers ask us "why we chose to move to Ecuador". Well, a few days ago I accidentally stumbled upon this wonderful article which talks about family values of the Ecuadorians and it will give you a pretty fair idea of why we chose Ecuador. It's not the only reason, but it is one of the major reasons we chose Ecuador.


Equal parts family tradition and economic necessity, most grown children in Ecuador stay close to home


Living with one's parents until age 30 is not appealing to most North Americans. At 18, many teenagers say goodbye and leave the nest. Suddenly, a new life starts away from family, friends and everything one has known until that point. This is a coming-of-age moment that most U.S. and Canadian youth consider to be a given. But what is a custom for North Americans is horrifying to Ecuadorians and other South American families. 

"I just turned 28 and still live with my mother and sisters," said Lorena Torres, a Quito native. "It's weird to move out before you get married here. Why live by yourself when you can be with family?"
 The importance of family in Ecuador comes before all other things: money, sleep, work. In many cases, brothers, sisters, cousins and parents all live in the same building so they can be near one another. When children go off to college, they live at home and commute every day. Most universities do not even have dormitory facilities as an option for students, and the idea of a child or sibling moving far away for a job opportunity or a change of scenery is uncommon. 

"My family would be so upset if I decided to go to college in the United States," said Jorge Ramirez, a student at the University of San Francisco-Quito. "Of course they want me to experience the world, but moving out is not an option for me." 

In the United States, the success and interests of each individual are highly valued. An aspiring doctor may move away from small-town America in order to pursue his or her dreams, and a struggling artist may move to New York City to exercise his or her creativity with others who have similar interests.
Many parents of college students understand and encourage the pursuit of all opportunities, and children can feel trapped if forced to stay in one place. The extent to which love is exhibited in American families is very different from South America. 

"When I graduate, I am moving straight to Barcelona to teach English," said Jessie Montalo, a student at Boston College. "(My parents) can't wait to visit me." 

Every day around 1:00 P.M., Ecuadorians leave their jobs and reunite with their families for a large meal and pleasant conversation. This time is built into everyone's daily schedule. "Family" consists of immediate, extended, adopted, in-laws, second-cousins, half-sisters, everyone. Houses are constantly filled with visitors stopping by, and many homes have extra rooms for overnight family sleepovers. 

"Nothing is more important than family here," said Marcia Amaquina Logacho, an Ecuadorian culture professor at the University of San Francisco – Quito. "Ecuadorians take pride in their country by taking pride in their family. As long as the family is healthy and living, we are happy. The idea of saving time in one's day for family is extremely important. In the U.S., I feel like you try to do that, but it doesn't always work out. Life is much more fast-paced and goal-oriented. But here, it's part of the culture to include family in everything we do. It's been ingrained in us for many centuries, and now it's a part of life." 

Logacho teaches foreign exchange students about the differences in Ecuadorian culture in comparison to their own with an emphasis on understanding the South American way of life. Her goal is not to teach anyone that one culture is better than another, but to begin a dialogue for students to compare and contrast freely, she said.

For Americans, familial love is shown through the encouragement and pursuit of excellence and success, said Jamile Tellez, an Elon junior studying abroad in Quito. 

"After coming here and seeing the importance of family, it makes me reconsider our relationship and interactions at home," she said. "I think there may be a lot left to discover, and I can't wait to see them again and show them how much I've changed." 

Credit: By Katie Moran, for the Elon University campus newspaper, The Pendulum,  http://www.elon.edu/pendulum/

Saturday, June 23, 2012

We Are Now Officially the "Discover Cuenca Blog"!


We Have a New Blog Address. We now have a new domain name for our Discover Cuenca Blog. It is http://discovercuencaecuador.com/
 
What does this mean for our subscribers? Well, nothing has changed. All of our followers will still receive our blog posts in their emails or other feed readers they are subscribed to.

The old address still works and will redirect readers to the new domain name above. 

Nothing has changed and you do not need to do a thing. But you can, if you like, update your bookmarks or favorites with the new blog address http://discovercuencaecuador.com/

Thank you for your readership and support! 
 
Blessings,
Frank and Angie

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ballenita Beach is Nice!

While in Salinas we went to Ballenita a couple of times to see what it is like, and as you can see from the video it's a nice beach; very picturesque and it has a wide beach area. Ballenita is about 10-miles North from Salinas and about 5-miles from La Libertad. Enjoy the video. Please scroll down past the video to see more of this fabulous beach!

          

Ballenita Beach - Day 2

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Diamond by the Sea Hostel in Salinas Ecuador

Diamond by the Sea hostel is not right on the beach but it is only two blocks from the beach and malecon and is walking distance to shopping and restaurants. The price was a good value compared to some of the other hostels that we checked out in Salinas. As far as amenities go, Diamond by the Sea is great for the budget traveler because you can still enjoy everything Salinas has to offer; it is located in the tourist area of the Malecon. It was a cute, clean hostel with WIFI included in the price and a swimming pool! We only had a few negative things to say about this hostel. Watch the video to see what they are.  Would we stay here again? Yeah, we would. 


          

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cuenca Ecuador Weather Facts According to Humidity Readings (5of 8)

It's still day four of our Cuenca weather humidity experiment, but this is our second humidity reading for this day, June 3, 2012. We've had a nice clear, sunny day in Cuenca and we wanted to show the difference in  humidity levels after five hours of pretty full sun and having doors and windows open in the house. Big difference -- the problem is Cuenca experiences way more cloudy days than sunny days, especially during rainy season. We're heading into winter now, where we're seeing less rainy days, but it still is quite cloudy a lot of the time --This is what the weather is like living in the clouds of the Andes Mountains; it is beautiful even on cloudy days.


           

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Salinas Bay Ocean Tour Boat Ride

When in Beautiful Salinas Ecuador, Frank and I took a tour boat out into the bay area of Salinas and Chipipe. It was a calm ocean ride and very picturesque to see the landscape of Salinas from afar. We met up with some really neat looking birds and the day was sunny and warm; we both like the weather in Salinas.

Salinas has no shortage of condo rentals, that's for sure. Stay tuned for an upcoming video on what you can get for $1,000 a month on the Salinas beach front. We certainly did our rental homework in the 3-weeks we were in Salinas. It's still not as expensive as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, but it comes pretty darn close, and this is Ecuador! Yikes!!


           

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cuenca Ecuador Weather Humidity Experiment (4 of 8)

Here we are on the fourth day of the humidity experiment in Cuenca Ecuador. What we have found out is even though it may be a nice clear sunny day the humidity levels do go down outside, but stay quite high in the house; however, humidity goes down somewhat when we open all the windows but this can be hard to do on those Cuenca chillier days.

Stay tuned for some facts about Cuenca Ecuador weather that Frank will be talking about in the next few videos, plus photos around the city of Cuenca of mold on various buildings. By the end of this experiment, if you haven't figured it out already, you will come to know if Cuenca is humid or dry, damp or arid, whichever you prefer. Plus we will offer more solutions that are not discussed in this article on how to deal with the mold issue.

For those of you who are just coming on board with our experiment on humidity and mold in Cuenca, here's an article on the possible health risks of living in Cuenca. This article will give you an idea of why we are making these observations for ourselves and for our readers and viewers.


             

Sunday, June 17, 2012

La Libertad Beach and Condo Area Nearby the Paseo Shopping Mall

Hi folks! Ok, in this video Frank and I walked from the Paseo Shopping Mall  (nice mall)  to the condominiums that you can see in the distance from the mall; which is about four or five country blocks. This area of Salinas is called "La Libertad". The beach is pretty, but kind of small. There are only about seven or eight condo buildings and the day we went there were very few tourists on the beach or on the malecon.

Besides the mall and the tourist area of La Libertad there is not a whole lot over here in La Libertad.


             

More from La Libertad 
We took a Taxi from Salinas to La Libertad.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cuenca Weather Humidity/Mold Experiment (3 of 8)

This is part 3 of 8 in the experiment on humidity levels outside and in the house in Cuenca Ecuador. We're heading into winter, which is somewhat dryer weather here. Even when it does not rain in Cuenca the humidity levels seem to be quite high, especially in the house, and that is with several windows open. Photos coming towards the end of this experiment. Thank you for following along.


          

Friday, June 15, 2012

El Paseo Shopping Mall in Salinas (La Libertad) Ecuador

In this video, Frank and I took a bus from Salinas (about 15-minutes) to La Libertad, which is just another area of Salinas. La Libertad is where the big Hiper Market is located. You can find the same kind of items and household goods at the Hiper Market as Wal-mart.   In the next video will take you to the beach/condo area of La Libertad.          
              

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cuenca Ecuador Weather Humidity/Mold Experiment (2 0f 8)

Ok folks, here is part 2 of Frank's Cuenca Weather Humidity and Mold Experiment. What has changed is it rained and so the humidity levels went up a bit. Even so, the humidity levels have been staying quite constant "in the house", whether its sunny out or if it is raining....and that is with several windows cracked open. We have noticed that the mold growth (in the house) still grows back but not as fast when the windows are left open during the day. This can be difficult to do when it is chilly outside. Stay tuned and follow along with this experiment to see what changes develop.


             

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cuenca Ecuador Weather Humidity/Mold Experiment (1of 8)

We previously wrote an article about the moisture in the air and the mold growth in our home and how it was affecting our health. Towards the end of the article we offered our solutions to the mold issue problem that is prevalent in Cuenca.
Our article on the Cuenca weather has become one of our most popular posts simply because many retirees are moving to Cuenca or are thinking of moving to Cuenca and are concerned about this issue, and they should be.
We’ve had several folks write in asking us about the weather and what we do about the mold. Some of our readers wanted to know if it was dry or humid in Cuenca.
We decided to do an experiment in search of the facts about Cuenca weather, humidity and mold so please follow along with us through our 8 part series (might be more) on Cuenca Ecuador Weather Humidity/Mold Experiment. This video is 1 of 8.
                 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Frank Really Missed His Pesto When We Were in Salinas!


What does pasta, basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil spell? Pesto!! Pesto is one of Frank's favorite dishes. Not only is it easy to make but it's very healthy. Frank missed his pesto so much when we were in Salinas that he asked the hotel management if he could use the kitchen to prepare some pesto and boil some pasta and they said "yes"! This was not a hostel with a shared kitchen, mind you, it was the hotel kitchen! LOL -----   It sure helps that we were staying in their hotel.


                

Monday, June 11, 2012

First Impressions of Salinas Ecuador by Frank and Angie

This is our first impressions of Salinas. This video was taken on about day 3 of our three week adventure in Salinas and surrounding coastal cities. Stay tuned for more beach front rental videos, boat rides, Frank cooking pesto in the Hotel kitchen, Paseo shopping mall and much, much more from Salinas Ecuador!  Please scroll down past the video to see all of our Salinas adventures!!

            

Walking off the Beaten Path of Condo Alley in Salinas.. Walking Along the Malecon in Salinas Ecuador Salinas Ecuador Beach, Here We Come! Healthy at Salinas Beach Ecuador Furnished Rental in Salinas Ecuador: Rent by the W... Travel Safely and Comfortably by Bus to Salinas fr... Ocean View Hotel in Salinas Ecuador Frank and I ventured clear over to the other side ... Frank Really Missed His Pesto When We Were in Sali... First Impressions of Salinas Ecuador by Frank and ...
El Paseo Shopping Mall in Salinas (La Libertad) Ec... 

La Libertad Beach and Condo Area Nearby the Paseo ...
Salinas Bay Ocean Tour Boat Ride
Diamond by the Sea Hostel in Salinas Ecuador

A Relaxing Day Shopping on the Beach in Salinas Ec...
Who Says that Frugal Folks Can't Enjoy Life!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Gringa Expat Rents Nice Apartment in Cuenca for $200! Part 2)

This is part two of our interview with gringa expat, Karina. In this video Karina talks about her new life in Cuenca, what she loves about Cuenca, and of course her nice, new apartment she rents for just $200. For those of you who have not seen part one of this video, click here.


               

Friday, June 8, 2012

Gringa Expat Rents Nice Apartment In Cuenca Ecuador for $200! (Part 1)

In this interview (Part 1 of 2) we show our readers that honest Ecuadorian Landlords will still rent to gringos at the Ecuadorian rental rate…even in Cuenca!
Our purpose is to encourage younger families and those on a smaller retirement income that it is still possible to start a new life abroad and live well in Cuenca Ecuador.  However, anyone can do it if they are so led. If interested in finding a local priced rental click here!
            
                 
Yes, it’s still possible to rent from Ecuadorians at Ecuadorian rental rates!!! But, as we show in the video, you will not find these lower priced rentals going to an English-speaking rental agency. In fact we know personally most of the rental agencies that speak English will raise the rental price when they see a gringo coming or hear a gringo accent. 

You probably will not get these rental rates by staying confined to the gringo cafés and English-speaking hot-spots in Cuenca. You probably won’t find these local rentals by demanding 24 hour security and river views, but you might get these amenities as an added bonus, like Karina did, as seen in the video above.

As shown in the video, our friend rents in a decent Ecuadorian neighborhood, at the Ecuadorian rental rate and lives in a nice (1,500 sq.ft) 3 bed/2 bath apartment. Sorry but she did not want us to take photos of the inside of her home, but it's new, has a view, and is nice. 

The Spanish speaking resources we list in the DIY Guide have local priced rentals as well.  But, you may have to weed out the ads that are targeting gringos (pricing to foreigners) and those that cater to the gringo demands such as river view +24 hour security guard, 5+ bedrooms, 4 baths very large places (near 3000 sq. feet) in some cases, and furnished w/elevator.  (See this video with real estate broker, Macrina Serano ). To be sure, you will not find all that for the local price and you shouldn’t expect it.

 As we discuss in the guide, however, you should always negotiate, never just pay the asking price.  I know everyone always says that, so we will be issuing a free ebook soon on how to do just that.  Buyers of our DIY Cuenca Landing Guide will automatically receive this negotiation ebook for free.  This is to thank you for your support of this blog and to add value to your patronage and readership.

Cuenca Has Different Priced Rents Depending on Your Needs and Wants
There’s different priced housing for different types of needs and wants and that is what it all boils down to.  

Remember now, Karina has both the secure building, plus the views and her rent for a nice three bedroom two bath apartment in Cuenca is $200; she met her needs and wants through going local; she rents at the local rental rate; she has learned a bit of Spanish in the nine weeks she has lived here and she has made some wonderful Ecuadorian friendships, and that means a lot to her. See video for more.

Here is part two of this interview with Karina

If you want some assistance with finding a locally priced vacant long term rental see http://300dollarcuencarentals.blogspot.com/

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Love of Soccer (futbol) in Cuenca Ecuador


Ecuadorians love playing futbol. It is an outdoor sport that the whole family gets involved in, even mom and dad. Our neighbors are often seen playing futbol out in the front of their house and our son Brandon joins in on the game as well. Rain or shine, which here in Cuenca can often be sprinkling or raining, you can see families in the parks, front yards, school grounds, beaches, and in the roads kicking a ball around.
Anyone who knows anything about Latin American culture knows that futbol is just a variation of soccer and it is a game which uses a soccer ball, not a football. They call it futbol because you are kicking a soccer ball around and trying to get it into the opposing goalie. It is a fun ball game that helps families and friends enjoy time together, which is a good thing.
Fewer households own computers or video game consoles in Ecuador and so the younger generation is usually outside enjoying the fresh Andes Mountain air and getting some exercise. We often play soccer with the children at the children's home on Saturday. They love playing futbol.
Deportivo Cuenca – Professional Football Team
It’s not all fun and games, however. Cuencanos and Cuencanas take professional futbol (Deportivo Cuenca is the Cuenca team) very seriously, we are told. Regrettably the crowds in the stands, if Cuenca is losing, can even become, let’s say, unruly and a little bit offensive with their language; if you don’t understand Spanish this is a good thing. If you understand the language, you might be somewhat put off.
There are 201 football clubs in Ecuador so that kind of tells you how popular this sport truly is. Deportivo Cuenca is in the Primera Categoría for the 2011 season. There are seven Cuenca clubs affiliated with the Professional Football Association of Azuay.
Cuenca Football Stadium Weather Forecast
Futbol is so popular in Cuenca that they have a weather forecast online http://www.myweather2.com/Football/Ecuador/CD-Cuenca.aspx just for the football stadium!
Notice the humidity levels on the chart; this means that on cooler days it can feel damp and chilly and will need a sweater, and on warmer we’ve worked up a sweat just walking around when its only 72 degrees outside. The weather chart goes on to say that in June there is an average humidity level of 73% and that on the higher side of humidity levels , coupled with sunnier days in June - caution is advised for active people.
Quote: Given average maximum temperatures and humidity levels caution is advised. Fatigue is possible with prolonged exposure and/or physical activity for those in high risk groups of possible heat disorders (see heat index for more information).
What does that mean to us? We always bring a hat and plenty of water so that when the sun is out we can take care to not over expose ourselves. And when it is damp and chilly we put on a couple of sweaters and jackets, which we always have handy in our back packs.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ocean View Hotel in Salinas Ecuador

We stumbled upon this hotel by accident. It's a wonderful hotel with swimming pool, restaurant, WIFI, etc. The views were wonderful! And the price wasn't that bad either. Still, as frugal as we are we only stayed here a couple of nights and found a nice hostel (video coming soon) with a kitchenette for a better rate for the longer term vacationer.


             

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Salinas Ecuador Point (Mar Bravo)

Frank and I ventured clear over to the other side of the point of Salinas one morning. From our terrace you can see far off in the distance and you can even see the ocean, but when we walked over there all you could see was desert, no ocean. There was a road that went to the beach but it looked like about two more miles to the ocean and we we're tired of walking under the sun so we headed back. This other side of the point is called "Mar Bravo" and there is nothing out there but a few homes and sand with sage brush. We did see a house for sale, listed a few weeks ago, on OLX.com in the Mar Bravo area for $25k.

                

Monday, June 4, 2012

Healthy at Salinas Beach Ecuador

We’ve been to the beaches of Ecuador twice now and each time, after about three days our persistent Cuenca sniffles completely cleared up. We attribute this to the fact that the sun shines almost every single day and there are no mold issues inside the hostels and hotels that we were staying at or anywhere that the eye could see.
This time we’re in Beautiful Salinas Ecuador where relative humidity is about the same as, or a little higher than in Cuenca according to humidity readings for both areas and online weather forecasts.
(More on this later …so stay tuned to this blog for updated weather/climate conditions in Cuenca EC.)
Salinas is the driest of the coastal beaches with an annual rainfall of about 23 inches. Ouch! Although Salinas coast has a rainy season, it still does not rain all that much. In the three weeks we were in Salinas it only rained, which was actually only a trickle of rain, one time. Because of the lack of cloud cover, the rest of the time it was sun, sun, and more sun. Forgot what that was like, here in Cuenca. Saying that the sun is strong here in Salinas is like saying the Grand Canyon is a hole in the ground. You don’t want to be walking around under it in the afternoons.

Ecuador Coast at Rainy Season
The first time we went to the beach we were at the central coast of Ecuador during rainy season. It rained almost every day and our persistent sniffles still dried up. We attribute this to sunnier days that can actually dry out the air with the effect of less prevalence for mold and mildew to grow.
Humidity levels are a bit higher on the coast of Ecuador than in Cuenca but it is warmer with longer, sunnier days which help to dry things up, even your lungs and nasal passages. Besides that, swimming in the ocean and getting salt water into your pores is good for you and actually heals sickness, not only that but just breathing in salt air every day is really healthy. The best way to truly absorb good ole vitamin D into your system is through pure sunshine and the best place for that in Ecuador is at the Salinas playas!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Furnished Rental in Salinas Ecuador: Rent by the Week or Month

This is one of the rentals that we had an opportunity to take photos and video of.  It's off season right now (May) and so there are more rentals available. We still think this particular rental is asking too much. Remember: always negotiate the price of rental you are considering, whether you live in Salinas or Cuenca. Be a wise and diligent gringo.   
                          

Friday, June 1, 2012

Travel Safely and Comfortably by Bus to Salinas from Cuenca for non Spanish Speakers

Okay, you moved to Cuenca Ecuador, but you're still going to visit the beaches of Ecuador for vacations, right?
There are two ways we travel to Salinas for a vacation from Cuenca. We take a van service to Guayaquil and then a bus the rest of the way to Salinas, or we take two buses the whole way there. Travel time from Cuenca to Salinas Beach is anywhere between 6 ½ to 8 hours, so it is best to be prepared. This article will list some tips for traveling safely and comfortably to the coast from the Andes of Cuenca.
Cuenca has a van service that costs around $12to $14 per person. This video is our first trip to the central coast of Ecuador and details our travel itinerary from Cuenca to Bahia de Caraquez
NOTE: We did not take the van the second time we went to the Ecuador coast and we’ll explain why we chose not to take the van below.
The vans can be comfortable and they do have air conditioning for once you get out of the mountains. The vans are equipped to carry 7 passengers, plus the driver, so you will be traveling with other people. This can be a good thing or not so good thing, depending on what kind of people you are traveling with. The ride can be comfortable or it may not be comfortable.
Some people may take up part of your seat, (this happened to us) some people might snore loudly (this also happened with us) some people may giggle and laugh the whole way, and some people might be intoxicated, or you might be traveling with people who keep to themselves and are enjoying the ride. The van takes about 3 to 3 ½ hours to get to Guayaquil.
TIP: The vans don’t like to stop for bathroom breaks so don’t drink a lot of water or coffee the morning you leave. They will pull over to the side of the road, however, if you persist.
Once in Guayaquil take a cab to the bus terminal (terminal terrestre) for $2 dollars. There are people standing around outside of the van office that will direct you to a cab. Don’t forget to enter the word “terminal terrestre” in the google translate and click on the little audible icon, so you can hear the pronunciation, if you don’t speak any Spanish.  
From the Guyaquil Terminal Terrestre you take a bus for the two hour travel to Salinas. Frank and I took an executive (ejecutivo) bus with Cooperative bus line. Guayaquil bus terminal is huge; it’s like an airport, with lots of ticket terminals. There will be men standing around calling out where the buses go, listen for “Salinas”. Buses leave every hour so there is not much waiting around.
After paying you will need to go to the third floor, where you will look for the numbers of buses, your bus number is printed on the ticket.
TIP: Never leave your bags unattended and watch your wallet; there are wallet snatchers that like to come up behind you while you’re busy and grab your wallet out of your back pocket! Frank said he felt someone come up behind him and try to snatch his wallet when he was busy paying for our tickets, but the wallet is hard to get out of his back pocket so the thief was not successful.
Ladies, do not hang your purse up on the hooks in the bathroom stalls, or you might get it snatched. Fanny packs are also not good to travel with as they are easily noticeable to thieves and do not really deter thieves from cutting them right off your waist.
TIP: Angie does not carry a purse when she travels. It is best to buy a small thin wallet that has a strap, which you hang around your neck and then under your shirt. No one knows it is there but you. Put different denomination bills (ones and fives) and other pocket change in your pants pockets in case you need money, so you’re not revealing your neck strap wallet.
The bus we usually take is called Reina Del Camino and cost around $8 per person plus $0.25 cents tax. The buses are comfortable with air conditioning and sometimes a bathroom for going number one only. LOL. You will have to ask for the key to the bus restrooms.
Why We Choose to Take the Bus Rather than the Van to the Ecuador Beach?
The bus travel for us was more comfortable than the van ride because we have our own seats and no one was snoring with alcohol breath right next to us, like in the van. Unfortunately, the snoring man who sat next to Frank in the van, the first time we went to the beach, was so huge he also took up part of Frank’s seat so the ride was quite uncomfortable….a little too close for comfort. This is why we have decided to take buses all the way to the beach. It really can be more comfortable.
TIP: Do not stow anything on the bus in the overhead compartments—it may get stolen. Frank and I always keep our back packs by our feet. I have another small carry on that I stow underneath the bus. They will put a number tag on your luggage and then give you the number. When you arrive at your destination give the man your luggage number and he’ll give you your bag.
There are no public buses or vans that we know of that will take you all the way to the beach. They only go to Guayaquil. So, if you decide to take a bus from Cuenca to Guayaquil the bus terminal in Cuenca is across the street from the Cuenca airport.  

The Cuenca bus terminal is easy compared to Guayaquil, well it’s a lot smaller! There’s always helpers yelling out destinations and then directing you to where you need to go, so you won’t feel lost if you don’t speak Spanish. You can buy your tickets right then and there and get on the bus to the beach! Enjoy yourself and stay safe while traveling.
Stay tuned for our article on what Salinas Ecuador is like…plus see our new video Salinas Beach playlist about our adventures in Salinas and surrounding coastal cities.