Puerto Cayo, Ecuador

Welcome to Gina & Doug's Journey - Join Us on Our Adventure!

April 29, 2018
April 24, 2018
Pedro and two of his sons, Cristian and Elvis, continue "cleaning" our hillside. We are preserving many of the large cactus growing on the property, but unfortunately, some must go. In this photo, Pedro is about to take down this large cactus with his machete....

4/24/18: The more standard procedure in Ecuador seems to be "burning" the weeds and branches when you clear your property. We did see trucks hauling away waste from another property being cleared near where we are living - but that's in "Gringolandia", so it was probably for a North American.... these piles on our land only took about 10 minutes to totally burn. See more photos in the slideshow above.
Burning on our land

Nadine & Martin
4/24/18: Two of the "volunteers" (on a Workaway program here at Casa Anna) love to hike, and have been out to our property several times. Nadine & Martin are from Bulgaria, and we have really enjoyed getting to know them. Here, we couldn't resist trying to get a photo as they started back toward the beach to enjoy some fresh seafood at one of the beach cabana restaurants!

4/23/18: Our first bloom on the canna that Doug started in a pot on our patio... wherever Doug goes - a garden is sure to follow!

Little Mango and Avocado Trees
4/23/18: Never waste a perfectly good seed from the fruit you eat! Mango and avocado seeds planted by Doug are now little trees - awaiting transplantation to their new home atop our little mountain!

4/23/18: And thanks to our neighbor down the road, Sam - who owns Jardin Suiza (Swiss Garden) - who gave us a couple starts from some of his plants. When asked what the name of the beautiful flowering plant is, Sam said he didn't know, it was given to him by a friend - so, for us, it is just being called "Sam's Plant"!
Sam's Plant

Shucking Beans
4/25/18: Back at Casa Anna - Doug bought the most colorful beans I've ever seen from Fernando off the produce truck that comes twice a week.... the pods were beautiful shades of green to pink, and some of the beans were actually pink! Not sure what kind of beans they are - but they tasted great....

April 17, 2018
With the help of Paulo, and our two "macheteros", Pedro and his son Cristian, we are slowly (but carefully) clearing our hillside in order to begin our building project - everyday we can see more and more of this beautiful piece of land, and are beginning to be able to imagine this being our home!....

4/16/18: To the south of Puerto Cayo is the fishing/tourist village of Puerto Lopez - Doug's favorite destination for the handmade toquilla (straw) Ecuadorian caps!
caps from Puerto Lopez

4/16/18: Today the fisherman came by selling his catch - lobster! These warm water lobsters (sometimes called spiny lobsters) have no claws - but the tail meat is sweet and delicious.... $5 per lb. These 3 cost us $10!

So, on "tax day" in the U.S., we celebrated being in beautiful Ecuador with fresh lobster that had been swimming in the ocean until this morning! Here, Doug is "dispatching" the creatures into his brew of fresh herbs and boiling water - what a fantastic dinner we had!

4/19/18: The brush that has been cleared is stacked in piles to be burnt. This is the normal way to clear land in Ecuador - you see burning all the time, but it never seems to get away from them! We've been told it's a skill they have to learn.

4/19/18: On the way home from the property, we investigate another source of local seafood that we were told about. Those fishermen who sell some of their catch usually operate out of their homes. We went by and were offered this 2-3 lb. red snapper (for $2.50/lb - we paid $5) - and these large shrimp for $5/lb. Had the snapper for dinner - wow - unbelievably delicious.
Red Snapper and Shrimp

2 lbs, - only $6
4/21/18: Today when picking up some beer at our usual shop, they told us they had some "small" shrimp - $3 a pound! So even though we still have several meals left from the ones we bought with the snapper, how can you resist a whole sinkful of shrimp (not so small in my opinion!) for only $6!

Still working on clearing enough pathways to see what the lay of the land actually looks like! The property is covered with huge stands of cactus (probably some nearing 100 years old by looking at the size) - so we want to make sure we clear the land very carefully to preserve the beautiful plants already there!....

April 12th -Doug's "little garden" beside the terrace of our current home - it's growing like crazy in pots, ready to be moved to it's new "big" home on the hill!....

If you've wondered what we were talking about when we mention a "moto-taxi".... this is it! One of our favorite drivers, Junior, just got a brand new taxi, and he's very proud of it! It's a beauty....

The purchase of our beautiful oceanview land in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador is complete! Doug was finally able to "get his boots on the ground" - and with the help of our friend and gardener, Paulo, the two of them cut a trail to the top of the front hill... and finally got a view of the Pacific from our future homesite! We love it....

March, 2018 - So, we have been enjoying life here in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador for about 2 months now- it's already half way through March! Time really does fly!

We have been busy trying to open an Ecuadorian bank account (which is a little more difficult for a non-Ecuadorian) - but finally got that done after two trips to the bank in Manta, and two more to the branch in Jipijapa (about half an hour by bus from Cayo).

AND.... we are close to completing the process of buying a beautiful piece of land here in Cayo - with a gorgeous seaview, and a great ocean breeze.

Puerto Cayo,Ecuador
Puerto Cayo,Ecuador
We still can't believe we found a tract of 2 hectares (between 4-1/2 and 5 acres)... seaview, consisting of two hills approx. 100 meters off the main coastal road - about six blocks from the beach. Here, Gina and Luis (our good friend from Cayo) navigate the "back" hill. The "front" hill is behind us, with an even better view of the ocean than the one we are climbing.

Puerto Cayo,Ecuador
From the back hill, looking right (towards the north) from the last photo - the village of Puerto Cayo can be seen from here.

Puerto Cayo,Ecuador
Looking toward the south from the rear hill....

Puerto Cayo,Ecuador
Puerto Cayo,Ecuador
View looking towards the southeast, and the east from the back hill...

Puerto Cayo,Ecuador
Looking towards the northwest towards the center of Puerto Cayo.

Puerto Cayo,Ecuador
Puerto Cayo,Ecuador
Looking towards the ocean to the west, and the back side of the front hill where we plan to build.

Puerto Cayo,Ecuador
Looking towards the ocean to the west, from the road that leads to the property. The highway is where you see the taxi.

Below: looking back to the east toward the front side of the front hill. Two trees at top of hill are approx. where we would like to build.

Puerto Cayo,Ecuador
Puerto Cayo,Ecuador
The property is bordered by a small river to the southeast, and the road to the property on the northwest. (If you can read the measurements, they are all in meters, not feet!)

Puerto Cayo,Ecuador
First place we've ever lived where the fishermen come to your door with fresh seafood for sale! This particular day, he had fresh shrimp - $5 per pound - and so big there were only 9 shrimp to the pound! Yes, the fishing villages of Ecuador are seafood paradise...

Another spectacular sunset!!

And one more....
Visited with "Sam", who lives a couple blocks down the road and who owns "Jardin Suiza" (Swiss Garden). Guessing he has 3 to 4 acres totally full of beautiful plants and trees. At the top of the hill, at the back of his property, he has a little rental house with the terrific view you see behind us. We believe this should be similar to the view we will have from our property!

Puerto Cayo, Ecuador

Adriana (a volunteer in Anna's "work-away" program) has been here for several months with her husband, Renzo. They are from Toronto, Canada, and Adriana does beautiful artwork, as you can see here!
Gina & Adriana

Fantastic Hamburger
In case you think there is nothing but seafood in Ecuador... they have a very lean type of beef, which makes for the best ground beef! So this night it was hamburger and french fry night - the Ecuadorian twist is the fresh baked roll topped with coconut! DELICIOUS!!

Our moto-taxi driver, Juan Carlos, is also a futbol player whose local team has trouble raising the money required to register for tournaments. So Doug and I, with the help of Adriana the artist, made this little donation box for him to hang in his taxi....hopefully his passengers will contribute for the team! Donation Box for Juventud Caliente

Maracuya & Pitahaya
With the wonderful fruit so abundant here, Doug loves "juicing" everything he can get his hands on! Here he has some maracuya (passion fruit) and pitahaya (dragon fruit) ready for the juicer.

Juicing operation in progress! Doug's new juicer

Villa Bella Vista - Puerto Lopez
March 15th - We traveled down to Puerto Lopez to help our friend Choi celebrate her birthday. She and Diego were spending a couple days at a lovely villa on a hill overlooking Puerto Lopez.

For lunch, the four of us went to Gina's new favorite restaurant in Puerto Lopez - Rico's Bar & Grill. Great food, and a wonderful outdoor garden dining area at the back of the restaurant.
Rico's Bar & Grill

Rico's Bar & Grill
They make wonderful brick oven wood-fired pizza - delish! Also sushi, chicken wings, a variety of wok stir-fry dishes, etc.

Saturday, March 17th - On the way home to Manta, Diego and Choi stopped to spend the afternoon here with us in Puerto Cayo. Here, beneath the wonderful owl painting on our front porch....

Choi, Doug & Gina

Puerto Cayo beach - Diego & Choi.

Puerto Cayo beach is just covered with the most beautiful little (and big) stones which wash up with each tide. Blues, greens, onyx looking stones - all washed smooth by the ocean. Here we are on a stone collecting mission!
Not so many seashells on this beach, so instead we are now collecting rocks!

And with us on our expedition is our trusted friend, Woody.... one of several dogs here who have found their way to a new home here at Casa Anna!

See photos from our arrival in January, 2018