Found a new place to shop

This Sunday, Mary, an Ecuadorian neighbor, Leo and I went to shop at Charapoto. It is about a 20 minute car ride away. It is East of the beach area in an agricultural area. We found out that there is a man who has a white van that carts people back and forth from our area to Charapoto. Now we can check it out. Since it was my first time and Leo’s second time, Mary came with us to show us the ropes and make sure we did not overpay.  I loved Charapoto, so typically Ecuadorian. The town closes a couple of streets to cars so the vendors can set up shop down both sides of the streets. We went a bit late, we left home at 9:00. The good part is it was less crowded, but the bad part was that the pickings were slim, especially in the meat and fish area. I prefer to buy my produce, fish, and meat in the open markets. It is fresh. I fell in love with a place like this in Playas. It was open everyday, but this one is only big on Sundays. There is one in Arenales nearer us on the busline on Saturdays, but it is not as big as this one and the produce is better looking in Charapoto. Our friends Jill and Sy have been going there for quite a while, but they have a quad and can get there. Now that we know about the transportation and we have the driver’s phone number, we can go each week. The transportation in the “cab” was $2.00 each way for the two of us.

The shopping area was right beside a park and in front of  the local church. Beautiful setting. Mary said that the park has been recently rehabbed and looks much better. I was taking pictures and a man yelled and wanted me to take his picture. He was thrilled that I did.

Man wanted his picture taken.

Man wanted his picture taken.

The shopping is fairly inexpensive compared to the stores and of course fresher. A bag of about 1o tomatoes cost $1.00, a bunch of cilantro $.25, a bag of about 5 heads of garlic $.50, 2 lbs of potatoes $1.50, a bag of onions $1.50, fish 2 lbs $3.50 a lb., 2 lbs of white cheese blocks $2.25 lb. Below is the man slicing the fish and a kid sing to the shoppers.

You can buy just about anything in Charapoto, because they have lots of stores that we did not really explore yet. We tried to buy freshly baked bread, but they were out of it. We were able to buy ice cream cones from a street vendor.

Street vendor selling ice cream.

Street vendor selling ice cream.

Mary and I had a cone and Leo decided to go Ecuadorian and get his ice cream in a bun.The bun is slightly sweet, but is mostly like a sandwich bun. A lot of people here eat ice cream on the bun. The ice cream was very good. Very soft. It had a  few flavors winding through it like vanilla, chocolate, and coconut.

We saw the white van and headed there to go home. We had a good experience seeing a new place to shop, one we liked a lot.

Below is a video of the sights at the market.

11 Comments
  1. The video was wonderful. My husband and I just went to Ecuador last month and fell in love. We stayed in Manta as our base and went to Bahia, Crucita (looked for you!), Canoa, San Clemente to name a few. We loved Bahia. We are going back in June to check out Playas. Can you give me your thoughts about Playas? We are both 53. Thank you!

    • Hi Lexie, Oh my goodness, I am so sorry we did not meet up. I am curious, how did you try to find us? Did you find where we live, but we were just not home then? I am glad you liked Ecuador. Well, you know from the blog we love it!!
      You or anyone who comes this way, email me or contact me on the blog to tell me when you will be here and at least you can get a beer or wine and enjoy the ocean view or even lunch if I shopped recently enough or you give me a couple of days notice. How did you like Crucita? Manta? What did you like especially about Bahia. (personally the fact that it has a recently built Commissariato there interests me.) We lived in Playas for 6 weeks and we would have stayed if we had found a long term rental that we both liked or that would take a cat (which we had at the time, it since passed). How long are you staying? If it is a month again, I would reommend renting the top floor of Casa Iguana. We stayed there and liked the location on the Malecon. It is 2 blocks from the commissariato (I was spoiled). The best part is Wendy and Neil from Canada who live down below the top apt. She is so friendly, will take you under wing and you will feel like you have lived there all your life. But then again I am social and love going here and there and she will show you all of it. You will meet all the other expats, too. You can see what we did, when we moved to Playas if you read the section called Honeymoon Part 1 on my Blog. It is all about our stay in Playas. If you do not want to be so social, Joanne, is at 5 mile and has rooms to rent. She is a few blocks from the beach. It is more quiet there. You can get back and forth to town or the Mall by bus or cab. In the middle of Playas on the Malecon, as in any Ecuadorian coastal town, it is noisy, but we are not light sleepers, so we loved being in the action.

      When we first moved to Crucita, I was homesick for Playas, especially the shopping convenience, but I am so happy with the social life of the expats and the fact that we have an Ecuadorian family here that we can get together with to experience the Ecuadorian Culture helped ease that transition. Now I do not want to leave Crucita. Portoviejo is our first shopping place and Manta is our second shopping place which we access by bus.(Not 2 blocks away). We just got our residency completed in Manta, but have to go to Guayaquil to get our cedula. Since it is near Playas, we are going to visit probable this week coming up or next week. I am looking forward to seeing our old friends and the new expats that have come to Playas since we left. Is there anything specific, you want to know about the place that I may not have mentioned on my blog about Playas?

      Are you going to rent or buy here? I am 71, so I don’t think buying seems smart for us, because our kids don’t want a house in Ecuador and it will be too hard to sell. We like living on the beach and we have seen the wear and tear it causes and we would just as soon the owner pays for it, not us. At your age, you will be here for many more years than we will, so buying would be a good option. Just don’t pay asking price and if you can buy from an Ecuadorian you will do better price wise if you haggle. The expats pay way too much, put more money in and can’t sell at the end. There is a lot of inventory here and the sales people or gringos with property do not give you the right idea of course. (Just my observations). By best advice is do not buy anything at first. Rent for a year in the town you like. Ask around about property. Go door to door and see if they want to sell and how much. Find out the problems in the town. A little visit doesn’t always reveal everything at first. To get more ideas about buying, read Domenick, dombuon@gmail.com (he has a blog about buying and selling).but don’t take anything as gospel. In Playas, Christine has a house for sale, but she would rent it I believe. I have no idea how much it is or if it is a good buy. I remember that I loved her house, mostly for the outside. (The outside sells me) We wanted to rent it, but we had to keep her dog until Wendy could take it when Wendy’s new house is built and I had a cat and did not feel comfortable with dogs. Ask Wendy about the house. She’ll probably show it to you because she and Christine are friends. I believe Joanne’s place is for sale also. Again, I do not know if it is a good price. Just throwing out the little I do know.
      Check out Ecuador Playas on Facebook Groups, and Wendy Graves on facebook. Wendy and I became email friends before I moved to Playas. Wendy and some of the Playas Group are closer to your age.(We forget we are old, not that it has mattered since we got here). I hope this has helped somewhat. Ask me anything you want and I will try to help if I can. Joyce

      • Hi, thank you for emailing me back so quick!! When we were driving around Crucita I was actually just looking around to see if I saw you guys anywhere! I kept asking, “do you see Leo and Joyce” like I knew you personally! 🙂

        We must not have been anywhere close because we didn’t see any houses that looked like yours at all.

        • We live out of Crucita proper. We actually live in Las Gilses 10 minutes north, but they call this area and even further out Crucita. In fact, a friend, Red, from Playas is here and took a hotel in what he thought was Crucita (advertised as such) but he is in La Boca, the end of the area they still refer to as Crucita. It’s a $5.00 cab ride home at night when he can’t get the bus. We pay $2.00. We are out in the quiet area of town, but near enough that we can get in to see friends by bus, tuk tuk, or cab and near enough for them to come and visit. In Crucita proper, the homes are on the other side of the Malecon by the beach. Out here, we are right on the beach out of our gate. That’s why you did not see our house. You didn’t see us walking around town, because we rarely do walk around there. We go into town for restaurants or to visit at someone’s house. The people who live in town do walk around, though. If you had seen a gringo, you could have asked about us. I think everyone knows us, now. Hope you enjoy your visit to Playas. Joyce

  2. How far away is a rural area? Can one rent a small, inexpensive place on some land and if so is it difficult to get to town/shopping area without a car?

    • I Jan, I am not sure what is rural for you. I feel like my house is rural-out of town 3 miles. If you are willing to ease up on North American standards, you can get places for $300. My friend lucked out and rented a house for $350 right on the beach down from me. They were asking $500, but she talked them down. It has good bones, and she painted the inside and build a bamboo fence around it at her expense. But at that price, it was worth it. Another friend pays $350 right on the Malecon (beach street) for a condo. Not rural, but Crucita is a very small fishing village and not far from rural really. It depends on what town you live in as to bus transportation, tuk tuks and cabs. Here the bus comes down this road every 15 minutes (most of the time) and there is a lot of rural for about 6 miles or so to La Boca and the bus goes to La Boca. We take the bus from here to Portoviejo which is our shopping place (a real city).The bus ride takes from 1 hour to 1.5 hours depending on the time of day. We have little tiendas (little stores) here and there nearby to fill in for shopping and I like the open markets that I have figured out how to get to. Were you considering Crucita? Do you particularly want rural or did you say that because you thought it would be cheaper? Also, do you follow Frugal Frank? He finds rental for you $300-400 in Cuenca (city). He charges a flat fee of under $400. He has videos on YouTube. Check him out. He also has videos of coastal towns, but his view is from a short visit, so he really doesn’t know the places. The best way to find out about a place is read a blog from that area. That’s what I did. Well, I didn’t read one about Crucita because I didn’t find one, but the blogs give you an idea of what your life MIGHT be like. That’s why I write mine. It’s not great literature, but it does tell you what I do most days. I am pretty social because that’s what I like, some people here go out less than me because they choose, to. Some people I haven’t even met, because they are not out with groups. So we are all different, but there are many options for lifestyle, so that’s good. The expats in this town are friendly and they are friendly in Playas Villamil, as well, but those are the only two towns I have lived in and I love both. If you give me more info, I will try to help any way I can. Thanks, for reading my blog. And if you get to Crucita, write and let me know you are here and we will make plans to get together for sure. Joyce

      • Joyce, Thanks so much for replying! I do like rural just because I love land and nature all around me, but if it is a small town atmosphere I might like that too, especially as I get older. I don’t like big towns or cities to live in. We are in a popular town near Atlanta Ga that has grown so fast and I sit in traffic so much of the time – I’m ready for some peace! I am social, but I like some peace and nature too. And a village might be good for me, especially if I could find a place on the beach I could afford! $300 or so will probably be what I have for rent, and I am used to roughing it so I am glad to hear that might be possible! I have very simple needs at home. I do like to go, though, so it sounds as if with the bus it is very easy to explore surrounding areas and get to places. The open markets with fresh food sound so wonderful!

        I am just learning about this area so don’t know a lot about what is available. I just read about Crucita and it sounded lovely. It will be very helpful and enjoyable) to follow your blog. I have just in the past several months begun to think seriously about moving out of the U.S., so I have a lot to learn, and I agree, following blogs is where to get the ideas of what life could be like there. If you know of any others I could follow, I’d love to know! I will google an see what I can find. I’ll find Frugal Frank first! Thanks for the tip on that!

        Just one question at the moment – is it difficult to bring pets with you? I know you said you had a kitty at one point.

        It would be great fun to get together someday in Crucita!

        • Jan, Another area to check out is Playas where I lived before. I have a bunch of stuff about life in Playas in Honeymoon Part 1. You could live NEAR the beach in Playas for $300 ish and back a little from the beach here in an Ecuadorian Home, just a little rough by US standards, but fixable. Very nice group of Expats, some Ecuadorians that lived in the US. I met 2 of them this week when I was there. Very nice! I know 1 single woman there and 2 single men.(expats).

        • Jan! I’m from Atlanta too! We just got back from Ecuador and absolutely loved it. We went to the coast. We also have 2 golden retrievers so that is high on our list of questions.

          • Hey Lexie, fellow Georgian! We live in McDonough, actually, but just minutes from Atlanta. Yep, those furries are our special children. When we got our last dog, ,my daughter was only 14, and she said, “Who gets him when we move out?” She and I want a Golden, too, but our place now is very small and we have two cats and three dogs so we couldn’t get a bigger dog. I wish it wasn’t so complicated to take them with you, but they are worth it.

            Joyce, it would be really nice if I moved down there and finally met my husband! I’ve never been married but always wanted to. I was the only girl in my little private (church) school class who mostly wanted to be a wife and mom and I think I was the only one who didn’t get married. I think it is great there are so many ex-pats to help you figure things out if you need a little guidance.

          • Jan, I am glad you and Lexie found each other as a contact. You can find out what she experienced when she was here last and tell you about her trip in June to Playas. The more info the better. As I mentioned before, it is good to get many points of view, since we are all not alike. Meeting a husband here would be interesting for sure. You never know when you will meet one. I had been divorced for 10 years, raising my two kids in FL and Leo moved from Venezuela to Miami and moved in next door. Who knew? I was the first person he had ever spoken with in English. That was 31 years ago! Life’s twists and turns make life interesting.

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