A Moving Decision Part II

I have gotten some nice feedback and comments from my original post regarding making the move to Ecuador so I decided through Joe’s urging to write another article on this topic. This one will cover some of the issues with moving to small towns and things some may have concerns about. Our experience is from our small town. Your mileage may vary! First I am going to post an email that I sent to folks I have been communicating with regarding this exact subject, that email will show in italics and I will add comments in plain text.

….The one thing you really need to know about places like San Clemente, San Jacinto, Puerto Lopez and Puerto Cayo, Las Tunas etc is they are really small towns…are very basic, rustic and actually look rundown…coming from the US we found it to be a real culture shock looking at buildings that were not painted, block work that did not have a skim coat on it, wires hanging all over the place, rusted steel rods standing straight up to the sky on the top of the buildings, no glass windows, fences with barbed wire or broken glass topping them, homes made from bamboo…

Below are some photos taken from several different areas showing just what I am talking about.

Wood and bamboo house on the beach in Puerto Engabao

Broken Glass tops the wall around our rental house in Playas

Bamboo and palm frond houses in San Jacinto next to unpainted walls on a dirt road

Unfinished block walls

Bottom story looks to be brick with a concrete cover, top floor is wood – note dirt road

This upper porch is in need of some TLC

Folks start fires anywhere at anytime. In Playas you could call the fire department (los bomberos) and they would come and put it out. But in the smaller towns this is just how folks take care of overgrown vegetation and some even burn other items like plastics and used toilet paper…

this happened at least every few weeks across the street from our rental in Playas

Most of the mercados (outside public markets) do not have refrigerated storage for their products.  You will see pork, beef, chickens and goat almost all hanging in the open air. I have purchased many things this way and neither Joe or I have had and problems. But…this is yet another thing that you need to be aware of. Also, nobody refrigerates eggs.

Fish, seafood including clams and mussels are sold from table tops not refrigerated in the Playas Mercado

These are just some of the things you will find in these rural towns …if you require nice restaurants, shopping malls, thing to do and people to see, these small towns may not work for you…remember we lived in Dolega Panama for almost 4 years before coming to Ecuador. We found that we liked laid back, small town living out of a tienda type places…but the infrastructure in Panama was worlds ahead of Ecuador, the US was there for many many years and their phone system, water and electric were copied from the US…yes I do like bigger food stores but mostly we eat out of these smaller places, the public mercado and now the folks that deliver right to our door…that is a bit of a “get used to” thing if you are going to Publix and shopping for all your food…just a warning so you come here with open eyes…If you spend a lot of time in the frozen food section or rely a lot on prepared processed foods…..oops!  Frozen foods are either nonexistent in our local markets or the tiniest section of the supermarkets in towns near us.

Places like Salinas and Manta (I have heard that Crucita and Bahia are a bit bigger than our town also) are more up to date, have more shopping, Super Maxi and Mi Commisariato for your food shopping and other things to do.  Here you would go to Portoviejo which is around a 1 hour bus ride each way, bigger town with two small malls – more shopping but not like Cuenca from what I understand.

Our idea of a swell time is not to spend a lot of our time commuting to and from better shopping opportunities. Someone in Panama told us they figured out that for them, consumerism was a disease, and that since living in Panama they were almost cured!

I would suggest that you go to one of the smaller towns and stay at a budget type hotel, basic not something posh!!!  A lot of places allow you to cook and use their refrigerator so that you can get a feel for how it is to live out of small tiendas and buy your fruits and veggies from a truck..,you can see how small the rooms are, the bathrooms are and get immersed into life in a very small town, you can eat at the local restaurants and use the bus to get around to the different areas…if you tried this for a week you would see how you feel about the reality of this type of town and lifestyle…just a suggestion but by doing this you would have less Surprises in the future!!! Of course the more money you have the more able you are to insulate yourself from the local lifestyle…the less you have to change or adapt……The Accidental Tourist comes to mind, where with enough money and planning you won’t even know you’re here! But then, why are you here?

The critters and how they are allowed to roam free were a big surprise to us. While driving down a highway at pretty good speed you will most likely come upon several herds of cows, goats or even pigs walking along the side of the road or even crossing the road. Burros and horses are left to fend for themselves like the pigs and dogs in some areas.

These pigs were walking down VIA Data in Playas

I took this picture of my burro friend from the cutouts in our fence in Playas

This scorpion was sprayed by Joe when he found him in our bathroom in Playas

This weeks uninvited guest, Senior Bat here in San Clemente

You need to think about what are your minimal requirements for an area and a house. Here you most likely will not find central hot water, that means you will have a suicide shower (warm water on demand shower head), with only one bathroom that is pretty small compared to US standards, no hot water to your bathroom or kitchen sink, a cistern for your house water with a septic tank for your waste water and with this rental no washer or dryer and no laundry in town … water pressure is very low and slow. You cannot drink the water, you cannot flush toilet paper and this rental does not have any furniture except two beds and two plastic chairs and a oven/range — there is no refrigerator and no yard with a very small porch right on the street. That is the reality of this area…and even if you wanted to rent something better you probably could not find it in this town.  What do you expect to do with your time, what would you like to do? We really don’t know you but coming from the US the reality is so different from what International Living has been telling folks that I just want to be sure you know what you are going to find…My friend Amy has her mother with her from the states right now and she is in total shock at how folks live in much of this country…It may not shock you to see it but it might shock you to think about living here in the midst of it……..

Let me know what you think about what I have said so far….my blog is what I see after being out of the states for a good period of time, living in rural areas with low standards of living…it is what Joe and I have evolved to over those years….

Nancy

PS I am not trying to sway you either way on Clemente or any other town, just want you to know what the reality is in these little towns. We love it but again it is not for everyone!!!  I think you need to look at many different areas and this will show you what place fits you both the best! Go and find your dream.

The folks I sent this email to were not to happy with me, I did not know them except through a few very general emails and was informed that they were pretty seasoned veterans of rural, third world situations…and from their response to this email they were pretty offended at what I said.

Let me say this for everyone out there, I write what I see, I write about what I feel is important, I write about life here through MY EYES. I try very hard to take a great deal of pictures so you can all make up your own minds at what you see. I also take a great deal of time to reply to each comment and every email. I go into a great detail and have tried to be open and honest about my observations. I do not get paid nor do I write for anyone except myself. As I have said in the past I will not try to sell you real estate, rent you a condo or sell you Avon — I do this because when we moved from the US there was very little first hand information on the internet to help make us feel comfortable about such a big decision.  I cannot tell you if Ecuador is right for you and will not make your decision for you or try to dissuade you from doing so yourself.  But please do not be offended if I try to show you how life really is here.

Next I cannot help you sell or buy property, there are folks here that handle these things, I am not a tour guide, cannot supervise your guardian and housekeeper because my Spanish is basic, rudimentary at best. I do not know the laws of Ecuador that is why we hired and paid for an attorney to handle our Visa Process and the purchase and closing of our home. I will gladly pass on names, email addresses and telephone numbers of folks that I have worked with and that have done a good job for me. I cannot be responsible if your situation did not turn out the same, I do not get paid when I refer you nor do I look for Expats to refer to people I have worked with.  I write a blog again because it makes me happy to put our experiences and photos in some order. I like looking back and viewing photos of friends that we have made and places we have visited while on this life journey.

Blessing to all who follow our little adventure. I hope to have more photos and less pontificating in the future!

47 thoughts on “A Moving Decision Part II

  1. You could of not described it better, I have lived in Central America and unfortunately or fortunately some small towns are still the same even after many years, limited shopping, hot water, oh I remember all too well, you know Nancy it is going back to basics not a complicated life and oh is that worth a million bucks, but you have gone out of your way to be explicit on the way of life in your small town and if folks get offended oh well they have got two choices get over it or get over it.
    I miss you my dear friend and I am proud of you and Joe.
    Love,
    A

    • Hi, Ana thanks so much for taking the time to read our blog and especially in giving your experiences as well. Be well, N

  2. Hi Nan,Great blog today. I can’t imagine someone being offended at this tell it like it is story of true life as you see it and want it.
    I’ve read and enjoyed all blogs and most replies since finding you. I think that Maryanne and I met you and Joe when you first came to Salinas.The two of us are coming back to Salinas the first of Oct. and are planning on seeing you again or as the case may be, of meeting you. Amy is a dear friend of ours also and we are looking forward to seeing her and Juan Carlos and his lovely mother Paquita. Keep having a great life. Corkey

    • Corkey, Thanks for your comments. I am not sure if I met you and Maryann while we were in Salinas, I am sure if I saw you again I would remember. Joe and I will not be visiting Salinas in the near future, working on the house and garden will keep up pretty occupied. I hope to see Amy when she comes to visit, if we can get her to take a few days off and make the trip up the coast. Enjoy your time in Salinas, we truly did. Nancy and Joe

    • Hi Vicki, thanks so much for your comments and for following our blog. I hope to continue to post what I see and feel. So far San Clemente has been a wonderful experience, I think Joe and I will be accepted as these folks have been so warm and caring so far. blessings, N

  3. I am drawn to your blog because you are straightforward and do not try to oversell the adventure. I also like that you find beauty and joy in things that others might miss. Please do not feel as if you need to make any apologies, and please do not change a thing! Thank you, again, for all of your efforts.

    David

    • Good Morning David, your kinds words touched me. I get so many positive comments but I guess I am a perfectionist in some ways and want everyone to approve. Or everyone to like me. That must be some sort of character flaw. ha ha And you would think by this stage (age) in my life I would be over needing that type of superficial approval…but I am not and admit it. Thanks again. Nancy

  4. Great blog, Nancy. You are not being unkind, you are telling as you see it. It is not for everyone, but you and Joe have accepted the reality of it and are really happy. I think that is lovely. Certain publications are not showing a true picture of what to expect and people come here with expectations that are not realistic. Thanks for you honesty. Great blog. Hugs, Patricia

    • Patricia, I am so happy that we met, you are a real sweetheart. Thanks for your comments and being such a cheerleader. Be well my friend, Nancy

  5. I have read all your blogs entries over the last month or so. Not sure if we will drop everything and move but it inspired us enough to plan a two week vacation in October. We will be passing through San Clamente at some point and would love to maybe grab a “big beer.” We live in a small Montana town so I can’t get you any green curry paste, but I think I have some unopened red or panage from our last trip to California. Are you particular?

    • Harlan, not sure if I want to be responsible for anyone “dropping everything” and moving here. ha ha If we had a comfortable lifestyle in the states, free of financial worry, we would not be here. We are making the best of insufficient financial planning from early in our marriage. Good financial planning and good health would have allowed us to live in comfort in the US. Unfortunately or fortunately (depends on the half full or half empty concept) for us we had neither and attempting to live on Social Security was a joke. So we are here, trying to make an enjoyable retirement and we feel that we made the best choice for us. I guess the key to every new situation is to go into it with an open mind and open heart. Nothing is perfect, you need to accept the good with the bad, make the good you focus and work around the bad. All in all our experience both in Panama and Ecuador has been exceptional, the people have made the biggest impression; caring, giving, warm are some of the things I can say about them. I know that we spend 12 years in a beautiful neighborhood north of Atlanta, in all those years the neighborhood changed so much we only knew one family when we left. Here we know all our neighbors and we plan on being good neighbors for this pueblo. Please email me when you have your plans made for your Ecuador Adventure we would love to share a Cold Big Beer with you! Cheers, Nancy

  6. Hi Nancy and Joe,

    I can attest to your candid comments, observations, and perspectives on life in Ecuador. While the country has several towns that are well developed with comparable America-style amenities, the majority of the Ecuadorians live in the conditions you have described.

    The real-estate purveyors would not paint the same picture to prospective US expatriates, since they are in there for the money, conducting seminars, tours, etc. in a controlled setting, and parlaying a few selling points like cost of living, nature, peace, tranquility, nirvana, etc. The infrastructure that Americans are commonly used to is lacking and underdeveloped in most of Ecuador. And in this country, while the direction of progress seems correct, progress and action is painfully slow.

    You are correct in pointing out that those who have the money and wish to live in Ecuador can do so and be comfortable if they reside in the major developed cities like Guayaquil, Quito, Cuenca, Salinas, etc. There they are able to insulate themselves from the realities of true Ecuadorian conditions.

    But those with limited finances who expatriate to Ecuador will experience the conditions you described.

    I have been visiting Ecuador for about 10 years now and own a vacation property in Salinas. Over the years, I have traveled all over the country to gain some perspective on living there. I am a resident New Yorker (over 25 years) and do not think that I would be willing to give up my lifestyle here to live in any part of Ecuador. While I feel a temporary comfort in Ecuador’s cities, I feel that I am so out of touch with the rest of the world when I visit. Perhaps because I am not ready for such a change. So I enjoy my vacations there (my wife is Ecuadorian) and I am happy to return to my life as a teacher in New York.

    To conclude, I would say that for real estate investment purposes, Ecuador is not good. For living there, make sure you have some money to alleviate the culture shock, and think long and hard before you do it. For business purposes, there are ideal opportunities to make a lot of money in the bigger cities, especially in retailing. For an adventurous and cost-effective vacation with a rich variety of options, this country is ideal but allow yourself at least 2-3 weeks to start.

    Leon

    • Leon, thank you for your candid observations. I hate to see folks, sell everything in the US only to move here and be totally unhappy with their decision and turn around and move back because as you said the culture shock of living outside of their comfort zone. Have a wonderful day, Nancy

  7. Hi there, I have been reading your blog for quite some time and this is the first time I have commented. We (my husband and I) have traveled all over Ecuador looking for the right spot. Your advice is spot on. We looked for a place in Clemente, and know Pat & Freddie. Your blogs have been real and down to earth. Keep writing, I love it!

    • Thanks Jo Ellen for your kind comments. Patricia and Freddy are two of my favorite people right now…looking at the before and after pictures I know you totally understand that. Plus they are now our friends, I know that I can call Freddy and he would stop everything to help us the same goes for Patricia. Good friends are hard to find and harder to keep, I hope to be a good friend to both of these lovely people. Nancy

    • Good Morning Lisa, thanks for your comment…You are not going to believe this but I think the bats have followed us to the new house…N

  8. Nan: We began reading blogs lquite a while back and rapidly focused on Cuenca because that was whereour interest was. We have, however, followed your adventures from your days in Salinas simply because you share such a candid and interesting snapshot of what you see around you in daily life. Keep up the simple honesty. You said so many things well in today’s entry, we lost count. As fellow bloggers, however, we especially appreciate your summary of your role and intent as a blogger to your readers. It was candid, frank and not without some sage wisdom. Keep writing and keep pursuing your dream so well. Life is sweet and sweeter yet when you make the best of what you have. thank you for for that constant reminder.

    Roger and Suzanne

    • Dear Roger and Suzanne, thank you from my heart for your kind words. I get frustrated thinking I am overdoing the cautions about living here, but then feedback from folks like yourselves who are also living daily with the differences in the cultures let me know that I am just “telling it like it is”. Blessings to you both, continue to enjoy your paradise! Nancy

  9. Nancy,
    This was an excellent, well thought out post.

    For a variety of reasons, we’ve decided to stay in the Yucatan rather than jump ship and move to Ecuador. However, I do like to read some of the blogs written there and yours is one of them.

    I would live in California if I could have even half as good a life, but it isn’t possible. However, I think many people come with stars in their eyes to Latin America, thinking “it’s just like (insert name of NOB country) in the fifties, or sixties” . Three years seems to be the cut off point. The first year, everything is new and exciting, the 2nd year, some stuff bugs you, the third year you either make your peace with reality or you move on.

    I was talking to a friend about food and how much we spend. She said that she spent way more than she ever did NOB. Of course, they want Frosted Flakes not Zucaritas, and Bisquick biscuits not ones made from scratch. I confess it isn’t an issue for us since we don’t eat grains.

    Speaking of not eating grains, you would be amazed at how many people look for the gluten free junk food and pay an amazingly high price for imported products. But that is another conversation altogether.

    Our electric bill is about us$15 a month while many of my fellow ex-pats spend ten times that. We don’t have a/c and our pool doesn’t have a filter etc. We’ve gone native even in this city of a million people. More native than some of our Mexican friends. LOL.

    As for answering questions, sometimes people want to know your opinion, sometimes they are seeking validation for their preconceived notions. Often, I spend a long time trying to answer email and never ever hear back from the person, or they are unhappy with me and berate me. Other times we end up with a good correspondence.

    Wow, this is turning into a blog post on it’s own, sorry.

    regards,
    Theresa

    • Hola Theresa, I see that you and I could be “sister bloggers” with the same concerns, issues and frustrations along with the excitement, love and joy. I love writing the blog, I get so much out of the comments and knowing so many new people just because they follow along with our little life (Helga and Charles and my dear blog-friend Marson you know I am talking about you). You made a great point about the “validation of ones preconceived notions” that is true, instead of being open to new thoughts they have taken one-mans opinion and made it their mantra. I will continue to write it as I see it and pray that God grants me the wisdom to be open and honest in my views. Blessing to you Theresa, have a wonderful weekend, Nancy

  10. Nancy, have been reading your “notes” for quite a while, and do think that you are 1) extremely knowledgeable, 2) very candid, 3) write like a professional, and 4) have a great personality and nice smile! my bad for not having said all of these things earlier.
    we, David and I (Elke) are on our way to start our “let-it-all-hang-out” retirement in EC this November. We start with a beach rental in Curia, and hopefully find something more permanent, somewhere on the coast. You are so correct when you say that most people coming from anywhere in the States will have a culture shock. I admire you and Joe for the tenacity to choose your life style, and although I have not lived in the States for the past 13 years, and David for the past 5, we are not in a 3rd world country, Germany is pretty high on the state-of-the-art ladder, and would find the small village syndrome difficult. But, as you mention, that’s us and you guys are you!!!

    we arrive Nov 1, and come with four legged dependants — perhaps we can visit you and compliment you in person! carry on — you ROCK!!! (anyone who says differently is nuts!!)

    • Elke and David, Thank you so much for all your kind words, hearing I ROCK at 60 is pretty cool! I have never heard of Curia or Lacuria, where is it and how did you find out about it. Sounds like a small town and from what I can see down by Salinas and Playas!!! I wish you the best with your move, coming from Germany is going to be quite a trip. Hope it goes smooth so you can start enjoying your new home in Ecuador. Nancy

  11. Hi Nan, I have lived in Cuenca for the better part of 3 years and only come to the coast for whale watching. What you describe is completely accurate from what I see and while I could never live on the coast I admire your sense of spirit and adventure and I am thrilled you two are so happy. I tip my hat to you for telling the truth about life on the coast because International Living sure is not.

    • Good Morning Valerie, thanks so much for you kind comments. We are having the time of our lives here, glad you are loving your time in Cuenca! Nancy

  12. Thanks for the ‘lay it on the line’ info. I’m looking forward to our travels throughout EC and especially down the coast. I will probably end up in a coastal area of larger population, at least in the begining (near Salinas, Manta, or Bahia).
    I’ll be following your blog for all the info I can get before coming down.

  13. What a great blog! My wife and I have been living in Cuenca for about a year, and have been to the coast a few times. Your description seems accurate from our limited exposure. We are loving Cuenca, and that was a good choice for us. IN terms of rural Ecuador, friends of ours recently moved from Cuenca to a town about an hour south of Cuenca. One unexpected culture shock for them was the poorer treatment of animals (dogs in particular) because of limited financial resources of the townsfolk. As dog lovers, they are finding that hard to witness. The second culture shock has been the amount of garbage around, and how it is common for the townsfolk to dump it right into the river, where it is eventually washed out to the ocean. They are finding lots of differences between rural Ecuador and urban Cuenca, let alone the differences between North America and Ecuador. But they are adapting. For us, we have been following your blog forever, and continue to enjoy your “telling it like it is.” Keep up the good work.

    • Good Morning Garth, Thanks for your comments. We saw many dogs in Playas that looked bad, underfed, sickly and some in Salinas as well but here in San Clemente most look in pretty good shape, well fed and taken care of. On our block we have three dogs that seem to be the “block dogs” not sure who owns them, no ribs showing, shiny coats and very protective of our street. I have seen them chase people off the street but not once even when we were first looking at the house did they bark, growl or try to attach us. I guess they felt comfortable with us, on the other hand they do not like yellow taxi’s, most folks on bikes and strangers…they love my scraps, especially anything pork or beef, will come in the gate and take a drink from a plate of water I leave out for the birds, sniff around, water a few of our trees ha ha and leave again.

      We also saw a great deal of garbage floating down the Guyas River into the sea in Playas, at first it was because of the heavy rains several months back, but when the rains stopped the garbage did not. It was so sad to see light bulbs, plastic containers and bags of all shapes and sizes, syringes, cut tree trunks, bamboo poles and wood with nails protruding from it all floating in the water and deposited on the beach….we seldom went into the water for fear of being hit by something. I will tell you how impressed I have been with our beaches here in Clemente and Jacinto, what you find are a few shells, some of those Blue DEVIL Jellyfish, many live sand dollars under the sand, some rocks from the cliff and very little garbage…I hope it stays that way. Now if we could get the people to stop dropping their trash on the road it would be perfect. I go outside our gate every few days and collect candy wrappers, chip bags and miscellaneous trash only to find more the next morning. I hope this generation figures out it is easier to put it in a trash can than to harm a sea animal because of their bad habits! The fishermen here seem to be very respectful of the ocean, I think they understand that their livelihood and that of the next generation of fishermen depend on them taking care of the ocean to ensure there will be good fishing in the future. N

  14. Nancy, It is good to see pictures and hear reality as you see it. Int Liv does push Ecuador as THE place to retire. Wanting little USA on the cheap…well that is kind of self-serving. Americans complain often about immigrants keeping their culture and language while living there. Why should we be different in any country. We should make an attempt at their language and live their culture. Judy I’ve just started to read and learn, but have read horrible stories of foreigners complaining about how locals express their dislike for a slower paced lifestyle.

    • Hi Judypat, well we really have had wonderful experiences with the locals in both Panama and Ecuador, our Spanish is basic at best. But we smile, try to be kind and friendly with all that we meet. It has worked for us, yes there are those that have a problem because we do not speak the language but they are few and far between and we actually stay away from folks that give us a hard time. We are old, our ability to learn is not what it used to be, but most folks are more than willing to try and help. I like this pace, we would not be happy in a big town with the rush rush attitude, we left that behind when we left the state, tranquillo is better for both of us. N

  15. Nancy, I think your blog is absolutely wonderful. I assume most locals are very appreciative of our willingness to try new things, like learning Spanish. I work with the deaf. Their world of communication is somewhat limited to those that know sign language. When teaching hearing adults sign, I reassure them the deaf will appreciate any effort they make mistakes and all. My aging brain can’t remember my bits of Spanish that I use only once/yr.

    I am very happy you and your husband have found the place to lay down roots. Also am glad you found that young doctor who fixed up your sinus infection. When you said, …”maybe Ecuador isn’t the place for us” I was sad. Then I read the next entry. Yea for you two.

  16. Nancy
    Thanks so much for the honest insight on your blog. Like many, we are also doing research on living in Ecuador, however, we have children (5,8,10). And where much information is available on Cuenca, less is available on the coastal communities, esp regarding families of ex-pats. I am also terrified of buying into some of the less “honest” people touting moving to Ecuador (Salinas, San Clemente). It seems like newcomers like us can easily be taken advantage of when it comes to renting property.
    We have decided it is VERY important for our kids to learn about other cultures and lifestyles, as well as become fluent in Spanish. I speak Spanish good (not great, but strong rudimentary knowledge of the language) and I know it could be a fantastic experience for our family.

    If you have any useful information about other families in San Clemente, or Salinas I would greatly appreciate it.

    Lastly, although I have read most of your posts, how would you weigh the pros/cons of the 2 above mentioned towns?

    Best regards

    • Greg, Thanks for your comment and questions. Let’s see where to start. When Joe and I left the states our daughter was almost finished with college. Our big sadness, once we settled in Dolega, was that we did not have our daughter with us to enjoy the simplisity of life in Panama. I give you and your family a great deal of credit for having the courage to leave the US with small children. I feel the simple lifestyle of these countries allows for children to grow up like I did in the 50’s and 60’s with LESS, less is good, less teaches us how to play with a rolled up ball of tin foil instead of a $500 game system, less allows for a childs creativity to blossom, you see where I am going. I applaud you for your ability to see past the “things”.

      I know of only a few families that moved to the Salinas area with younger children but we have been gone from there for over a year now and things change so there may be many others that we do not know of. I would suggest that you join Facebook and then friend Ecuador Expats it currently has over 1500 members and you can ask questions there. I honestly do not know of any young familes in this area of San Jacinto and San Clemente…the expats are retirement age like Joe and myself.

      Salinas is a bigger town, with La Libertad within a few miles, giving you more oppurtunities for shopping very close. Guayaquil is a 1 1/2 hour bus ride and if you can’t find it there you will probably not find it in Ecuador. San Clemente is a very small town, no food stores except for small tiendas, you need to go to Portoviejo a 1 hour bus ride to find a mall, big food store etc. I loved Salinas and we are totally enjoying our first several months in San Clemente, there are good things for both areas. I guess it all depends upon what you and your family are looking for in a hometown. If you want Expat children for your kids to be around you would have a better chance of that in the Salinas area.

      Please email me at hammock11@hotmail.com if you have other specific questions, have a great day, Nancy

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