Saturday, March 28, 2015

Five Reasons to Love Salinas

For years we've been hearing from our friends, the kids that we teach and from our Ecuadorian neighbors how wonderful Salinas is and the old refrain, "You're going to love it there." Well, I was skeptical because I also heard how it's not so great six months out of the year. There are so many conflicting stories, so we decided to check it out for ourselves. Surprise, surprise, surprise...I loved it.
Here's why:

Reason #1: It's sunny. I guess that's not a big surprise. We're heading into the rainy season in Cuenca and after five days of rain, I'm ready for a change. Salinas showed us its sunny side all five days, so much so that I forgot all about Cuenca and that four letter word R-A-I-N. Blue skies, white fluffy clouds, warm ocean waters, and a beach umbrella and I'm one happy camper.

Salinas Yacht Club
Reason #2: It's modern. I already pictured the high-rise condo buildings because I had seen pictures on the Internet, but what I wasn't expecting was a modern mall, new and modern bus station, a beautiful new airport, and a Mi Comisariato that makes MegaMaxi pale in comparison.

Reason #3: People walk around in shorts, flip-flops, and bathing suits -- even in the grocery store. Can you imagine if you did that in Cuenca? It reminded me a lot of Miami; there's no dress code. You roll out of bed and onto the seashore.

Reason #4: Restaurants. I thought we had a lot of restaurants in Cuenca. Oh my goodness, we dined at the Italian Gourmet on pizza night (Wednesdays) -- all you can eat -- for $5.00. Yep, you heard me right...on the terrace with a gentle breeze and great conversation. It was perfect. Right next door was the Common Grounds Waffle House. In fact, there were so many restaurants, I simply stopped counting.

Reason #5: Sunsets. I guess it's no surprise that I love sunsets (I'm a California girl) and we saw plenty of those during our stay. In fact, we stayed at El Faro Hosteria and the owner, Gabriel, took us on a tour of Chocolatera at sunset and I was almost ready to sell our condo in Cuenca and set up house in the lighthouse. It was simply breathtaking with the ocean waves crashing against the rocks, the pinkish red skies and the blow holes spraying water like a geiser. Gabriel was kind enough to show us all around Salinas, including the yacht club where he's a member and I decided Salinas wouldn't be a bad life!
La Chocolatera
Blow Hole at La Chocolatera

Sunset at Chocolatera
Sunset at El Mirador
La Puntilla
We stayed at El Faro (The Lighthouse) in a tropical paradise with exotic flora and fauna, so it was easy to fall in love with Salinas. Who wouldn't enjoy a private beach and garden filled with every type of bird imaginable and listening to wind chimes? As soon as my head hit the pillow every night, I was out for the count. After the second day, I decided I wanted to apply for the job of groundskeeper, so I could hang around a little longer and pay for my room and board. By the way, if you want a great place to stay -- away from the crowds and noise of the Malecon -- then El Faro is the way to go.
El Faro Private Beach

The Lighthouse

Dining Area
Pathway to the Ocean
As much as I loved our stay in Salinas, I don't think I could live in an air-conditioned society full-time. We had that life in Miami, Florida and after three years, I wasn't so fond of it. It's a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there. And, unfortunately, mosquitoes adore me. They lick off the Off Spray, call their friends for a mosquito party, and I'm the honored guest. I came home with welts the size of sand dollars and now I'm recuperating with Calamine Lotion all over my body. I look like a pink leopard. I'm not sure what it was because I've never been devoured like that before and we go to Puerto Lopez every year.

I understand the attraction to Salinas -- the resort city of Ecuador. I would like to go back (as soon as I heal from my bites). But I think my pictures of the sun, the surf, and the ocean will have to sustain me through April and May.

In the end, I'm so thankful for Cuenca's weather without the need for air-conditioning and bug spray. I love Salinas, but only for a visit!

Until next time...hasta luego,

Friday, March 20, 2015

Weather in Cuenca

If you wonder where I've been, I've been writing--just not blogging!

I'm revising the book, 101 Questions Answered on Cuenca. I've uncovered so much material that it really can't be considered a revised edition any longer, but rather a second edition. And my commitment is to keep it updated every month because I never want to go through this much work ever again.

Also, since it's been raining all day in Cuenca, it's perfect writing weather (for me anyway). I gain a lot of inspiration when it's pouring outside because I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. When the sun is brilliant with blue skies and fluffy white clouds, who wants to stay indoors and write?

Not me!

Anyway, next week we're taking off for Salinas (we've never been there before) and it's supposed to be beautiful and sunny all week, while it rains its little heart out in Cuenca.

That leads me to the question of weather in Cuenca, which is one of my favorite subjects. Cuenca is very forgiving in that regard. You forget about the rainy weather when the sun is shining; it's like Cuenca casts this spell of amnesia over us.


What rain?


Before I get into specifics about the weather, I'm going to share with you the truth. I don't know anywhere else you can live in the world with an average temperature of 68.5 degrees for a high and an average of 48.6 as a low. You can tell I'm working on the weather question in the book, can't you?

All these years when everyone has been saying Cuenca's highs are in the 70's and lows in the 50's; they really mean to say that the average yearly high is 68.5 degrees and the average low is 48.6 degrees with an average yearly rainfall of 34.57 inches. The city that compares to that perfectly is Camanche, Iowa (34.57 inches of rainfall). The average number of rainy days in Cuenca is 179.

Why am I going into such detail?

Well, mainly because there seems to be so much controversy about the weather. Highs in the 70's and lows in the 50's have been thrown around for so long, I think we've come to believe it.

Today I'm setting the record straight: it's an average high of 68.5 degrees and 48.6 degrees for an average low. From now on, I will refer to the weather in Cuenca as high 60's and high 40's. That has a slightly different ring to it -- doesn't it?

This is what Cuenca's weather looks like this week: You can check it out for yourself at For rain it's 90-100% likely through Tuesday, March 24th and only 60% chance of rain through Sunday, the 29th (Palm Sunday). That's why we're leaving town (sunny days in Salinas all next week).

I was going to write out the entire year of highs, lows, sunshine and rain, but I thought it might be better if you took a look. Click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page. I realize that nothing is 100 percent accurate, but I've been recording daytime highs and lows in my calendar for the past five years and I've gotta say it's pretty spot on.

So what's the big deal? It's only a couple of degrees here and there. Well, it is a big deal to me. I've been throwing out average temps of 70's and low 50's since we moved here because that's what I've been reading since we checked out Cuenca in 2009.

I realize that we live in the subtropical highlands near the equator, so our temperatures would be downright hot and humid if it weren't for the elevation of Cuenca (approx. 8,300 feet and 8,200 feet in some areas), but I intend to be more accurate in my weather reporting. In fact, I just might blog about the weather forecast every day (how boring would that be?). Then again, I would have a year of accurately reported weather from a boots on the ground source.

Today weather looks like this from; the most accurate place I've found for the weather in Cuenca.

Until next time...your Cuenca weather correspondent is taking a break!

Light Rain
Light Rain
13.7 °C
Feels Like 13.7 °C
Wind from SE 
Gusts 0.0 km/h
Today is forecast to be MUCH COOLER than yesterday.
High 13 | Low 10 °C
60% Chance of Precip.
High 12.9 | Low 12.9 °C
Precip. 189 mm

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