Anything further back than three rows you are out of the Salinas tourist zone and would be considered walking off the beaten path, until you get to the Paseo Shopping Mall, which here you’ll find it is a bit more touristy with expat enclaves.
Frank and I have always walked off the beaten path in Salinas without issues; however, we always walk during the day time hours. A viewer did leave a comment on one of our “off the beaten path” videos in Salinas, saying to stay out of the area we were in, calling it “no man’s land”; it was somewhere on the other side of the point by the airport.
There are a few more neighborhoods in Salinas that local homeowners are trying to improve for the foreign invasion. They are putting out “community watch signs” and fixing up a few of the homes, hoping to rent out their homes at tourist prices; many of the ads now say, “close to Supermaxi”, hoping to put a $500 rent price on a $200 home.
|Salinas 4 or 5 rows back|
In the Manta tourist zone we walked all over the place and felt safe. Manta’s tourist zone also has a good police presence; it was well kept, and we felt very safe walking around during the day. We even walked off the beaten path, all the way over to the Mercado (not the central one) in the Tarqui district. It seemed a bit dodgier, but it was morning and we had nothing on us but a few bucks to buy some produce with. We also had a pretty good sized fish lunch with the best aji sauce we've ever had right across the street from the Mercado for $3.00 dollars. See the video below.
Manta has a fairly good police presence in the tourist areas, and there are always a lot of people milling about and we felt fairly safe, but once you walk away from the touristy areas you’re basically on your own.
In the tourist zone of Bahia, most local homes are painted and updated, money permitting of course. This is a good tell-tell sign that the community cares about their neighborhood and will help watch over everyone else, which actually deters crime considerably. Although we were told to put our camera away when we were walking outside of the tourist sector in Bahia.
We felt safer walking off the beaten path in Salinas and Bahia than in Manta. Manta is a bigger city and we did not see a very big police presence when we walked off the beaten path. Considering that, we felt the winner for safest bigger-sized beach town in Ecuador was a tossup between Bahia and Salinas. But that’s just a comparison.
Both Salinas and Bahia seemed to be quite safe during the day for a (bigger) beach city/town. Still, because there is a bigger police presence in Salinas, it might be ahead of Bahia for being the safest (bigger) beach town in Ecuador out of the three, especially when off the beaten path.
TIP: This assessment is relatively speaking. In no way should you ever be off your guard in any area at the coast. The best way to stay safe on the Ecuador coast, no matter where you live is to stay alert, blend in and integrate, stay oriented, don’t be too trusting, and acquaint yourself with the local neighbors in the area you decide to live in.
FYI: At night there is no one on the beaches anywhere on the Ecuador coast.
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