La BellaWhen we reached Ecuador, we had around 3 spare weeks till we could start the first payed job of our trip. As we had too less money to continue traveling around the country, we decided to settle down for a while and find a relaxed volunteering position near the coastal area. After a few mails we found a great place to stay in Crucita, or more precisely in La Boca, which is a small community of Crucita located at the northern shore of Ecuador. We lived together with Mike, a very welcoming pensioner from the states, in his two story house around 10m from the beach. In return for board and accommodation in a spacious room with ocean view, we cooked the meals, did the shoppings, practiced Spanish with Mike and took care of the well being of his dogs Moose, Maya and Esther. We had plenty of free time, to explore the surroundings by bike, relax on the beach, play with the dogs and visit other close places like Canoa, Bahia and Montañita. If you are interested in staying around Crucita or you're searching for a laid back place at Ecuadors coast, you should have a look at Mikes profile.
Crucita is a coastal town in the Manabí province, located between the provincial capital Porto Viejo and Manta. The center of Crucita doesn't offer much to experience, except of a few shops and bars. It might be a good and reasonable location for beach vacations with its long coastline and mild climate all year long. On the foot of the town is a hill which functions as a pretty good viewpoint and starting platform for the plenty paragliders, which the city is kind of famous for. Half an hour of sailing over the coast and a city will coast you around 30$ including equipment and pilot. Another popular activity is whale watching, which is possible from June till September, when 2000 - 3000 Humpback whales pass Ecuacdor's northern shore. To see them it's the easiest to hire one of the local fishermen in the Harbor. For 15$ they will take you on a round trip, if you come in a group you might avoid to wait for further guests till the boat takes off. We even heard that some of them give you a no see no pay insurance, but its probably like the most things in Ecuador a matter of negotiating.
The more interesting site of our stay was the rural area, in which we lived near the little town. Several relaxed and laid back communities are spread all over the coastline, around the center of Crucita and on the way to the next bigger cities. You will find everything you need for your daily life, starting from vegetable and meat stores, small shops and weekly markets. If not there are big supermarkets located in Manta or Porto Viejo, both around half an hour away by car. In the campo, how the people call the countryside, you can get extremely cheap fruits and vegetables. They have usually a really good quality since most of them are harvested in the direct surroundings. There is also plenty of fish and seafood, which you can buy freshly caught at the shore from the fishermen or in the various stores in the villages.
The best of all is the relaxed vibrations in the small pueblos - full of hammocks, bamboo houses and friendly people. The landscapes are tainted by colorful rice fields, exotic trees like mangos, cactuses or coconut palms as well as endless, empty beaches. One of the problems is the pollution around Crucita. Poorly many beaches are covered in plastic and metal trash, often even broken glass in the sand so watch out where you step. Another thing you should take care of at the beach are the portuges manowars, these small blue jelly fishes are appearing often near the shore after high tide and the touch of their tentacles can be very painful for several hours. The number of crimes is reasonable and is mostly limited on theft, burglary or brawlings between the local communities. In general it's a save place, like the most villages in the countryside. For a living in or around Crucita it might be a good idea to think of a few safety measures to protect your property, but just from passing by we didn’t experienced any dangerous situations during all the time. An actually dangerous thing is the traffic. Like the most places in South America, Crucita is also packed by motos and most of them drive like there is no tomorrow. It's truly insane, the rest of the road users are no better but Mike told us, that he was involved in 5 different accidents caused by motos in his 3 years of living in Ecuador.
Anyway, Crucita is a good place to visit and we enjoyed our stay that much, that we even extended it to 5 weeks in total. The big expat community proves that it's also a good option to live the easy live while being retired. Come along and get mesmerized by beautiful landscapes and tranquility.
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