10 Years of Blog Archive

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Bahia de Caraquez – A Sleepy Little Beach Town that Needs Woke Up

So what do you think? After watching the video, do you think Bahia looks sleepy and sort of like a ghost town?


To be fair, the city center area does have more people bustling about than the beach area. There are the produce vendors selling fruits and veggies where the Mercado is. BTW, they are working on the building of the Mercado, so it was pretty much in disarray when we were there.

And there are the people, who own restaurants and little shops opening up their businesses.

And there are the trikes and taxi’s wondering around looking for fares. 

But the beaches are deserted.


  1. Thanks for the video. It saddened me, because I know what is about to happen to that land.

    Bonita Springs, Florida...1975...look at Bonita Springs in Florida now...Pelicans now fly around with wounded beaks. I know a man who takes a pliers to pull fish hooks out of those beautiful creatures. And those little Pelicans will actually fly a circle in the sky to come back and thank him.

    Setting strange and ugly buildings in such a gorgeous land only pushes the indigenous people and animals away, and in retrospect kills the land and the animals/people that depend on that land. I am very sad.

    I lived in Bonita Springs, Florida when there was only one fruit/vegetable stand. It is long gone now. Think it might be a Wallymart of sorts these days.How I loved the honesty and simplicity of a one stand fruit/veggie shop.

    Gracious for sharing your trip!

  2. Undoubtedly the locals wouldn't want Bahia to "wake up" - but good luck with that bass lead track ;) This is probably the most foreign Ecuadorian phenomenon to foreigners. If life is quiet and there's little money around then that's just the way it is. I think if people are happy like that then good for them. Many foreigners I know who live in quiet towns say they came here to retire, yet it's easy to tell that they long for more. That's what makes Cuenca so ideal and special for those who still can and want to enjoy a more interesting life.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip, and many thanks for your insights!

  3. Stray Feather... is that you in the last pic? ;)

  4. Bahia looks boring. Quiet is one thing, dead is another.

    If I were looking for somewhere a bit warmer than Cuenca, I would start looking at places south and southwest of Cuenca (particularly in the Yunguilla Valley).

    There are too many individual places to mention, although...

    Santa Isabel looks like a nice town half way between Cuenca and the coast -- around the city of Machalla. Machalla has a population of a quarter of a million people.

    They also have one or two gringo conveniences, too, such as a new mall.

    Remember, in Yunguilla Valley -- which from what I'm reading starts about 30 - 45 minutes SW outside of Cuenca -- the climate is warm enough that oranges and bananas just grow naturally -- right on your own land if one is lucky enough to have an orange tree, etc. already planted. It doesn't get much more Frugal than that.

    It looks like Machalla -- that's just about all the way to the coast -- is a three hour drive -- from what I'm reading. Now whether that turns into 5 or 6 hours on a bus from Cuenca, I couldn't tell you...

    My guess is that it will be very hard to beat Cuenca for the atmosphere and street life -- but maybe somewhere in the Yunguilla Valley might be better.

    Another thing struck me, too. If where you are in Cuenca is a bit cool, is it possible that another part of town has it's own little microclimate -- maybe with more sun exposure -- that would be a bit better?! I think this is worth looking into before making any moves. Maybe even the Banos of Cuenca.

  5. Personally, I didn't come to Ecuador to retire, and even if I did I would never want to spend it doing nothing indoors. I thrive on being in an environment where I can participate. Dozens of towns in Ecuador (and elsewhere in the world) are also "boring" to me - but not to the locals. Respectfully, many don't have the means or the mind to venture out, they stay where the family is established, and generally they are more content than us. Heck, many elderly British folk have never traveled 20 miles to London! Naturally, foreigners who intend to settle in Ecuador must find what to them is a suitable locality, but still it's most enlightening to see things from a true Ecuadorian perspective.

    I think to some degree no matter where we end up a day will come when we will not be content. That's when we must face the formidable (no, exciting!) task of 'making' a life for ourselves.

  6. This isn't a lecture on sensitivity training. It's an assessment of how attractive various locations in Ecuador are to expats in general.

    Now Bahia has an objective problem. It was really developed with the intent of being a seaside resort -- that at one time really had a good number of permanent residents.

    That's why there are lots of condos as you look around the place. Obviously they weren't built to be empty. What happened is that in 1998 and 1999 Bahia experienced an earthquake, and then there were a terrible mud slides and a good number of people lost their lives.

    Now after that -- the town experienced a mass exodus of residents. Bahia has not recovered from that exodus. As a result it is place that isn't one exactly one thing or the other.

    The locals that own hotels and restaurants clearly don't like the fact that Bahia is empty. It's just an unfortunate consequence of a few natural disasters.

    If Bahia were a sleepy fishing village without pretense, no one could fault it for being quiet.

    However, one look at all of those condos and the boardwalk -- and one can see that Bahia aspired to be something more at one time.

    Now personally, I would rather look at a sleepy fishing village than an overdeveloped ghost town -- however, there's nothing funny about cab drivers and trike drivers looking around for fares that will never return.

    That's why, sometimes, it is more important to be able analyze a situation, rather than simply look to pass judgement on others.

  7. I'm pleased for the sake of those who are unaware of the situation in Bahia that now from your last comments they will understand that the city is not dull without reason. However, as I intimated, many towns in Ecuador are somewhat similarly stagnant where for all intents and purposes they should be thriving. Countless multi-million Dollar businesses make no more than a few Dollars a day. While disconcerting, Ecuadorians are remarkably resilient and tolerant. But I caution foreigners who intend plowing large sums of money into realty without proper judgment. There are so many incredible opportunities here besides *real estate* and the pursuit of immense financial gain. But that's another story.


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