*About Playas and the Surrounding Area

First of all, let me tell you about Playas, our little beach and fishing village on the Pacific Coast of Ecuador.  Its Chamber of Commerce claims that a United Nations study found that Playas has the “second best climate in the world.”  Although I have never been able to confirm the authenticity of this claim, from nearly 14 years of living here I can tell you that we do in fact have an amazing climate.

There are basically two seasons: rainy and dry.  The rainy season occurs roughly from December to April, which is also the hottest time of the year and vacation time on the Coast of Ecuador.  The wonderful thing about Playas, is that when it rains it almost always rains at night and clears up in the early morning with the sun coming out to deliver a clear and sunny day.

During the dry season, roughly May to November, it almost never rains and it is sunny almost every day, but not as hot as during the rainy season, and it cools off nicely at night.

We swim at the beaches in Playas 12 months of the year, with a water temperature that ranges from tepid to cool.

Our central beaches are crowded on weekends only during the tourist season and holidays (Carnaval in February and Easter Week mainly).  However, there are nearly10 miles of beach, and if you want more privacy, that is no problem.  The beach directly down the road from our home, which is about a quarter mile from the center of town, is virtually a private beach during the week for most of the year.

Playas, the town, is the opposite of plastic or touristy.  Most businesses are family run and most people make their living from fishing.  Food and meals are unbelievably inexpensive.  Ecuadorians eat their main mail at mid-day, and most restaurants serve a fixed menu “almuerzo.”  At the better restaurants you pay two US dollars for a hearty soup and a main dish that will usually consist of fish, shell fish, beef, pork or chicken, along with the ubiquitous rice and perhaps some salad.

Another specialty is “arroz con menestra,” which Ecuadorians love.  Doesn’t that sound better than rice and beans?  But the bean stew is delicious, made with a variety of beans, including lentils, and it is served with chicken, beef or pork.

But if you are a seafood lover, than in Playas you will be in Heaven.  Sea bass, sole, and mahi-mahi are the main catches. Shrimp, lobster, crab, and other shell fish galore.  You will not believe the size of the oysters, which can be as much as 8 to 10 inches in diameter!

And I have never had more delicious charcoal broasted chicken than our friends Maria and Alicia serve at their Pollo Salsero hole in the wall restaurant downtown, a local favourite.

Playas also boasts of its numerous small family-run bakeries where you can sample a variety of baked goods and daily fresh rolls.

What more can I say about Playas?  I love this little town, with its fruit and vegetable market, tropical fruits (papaya the size of a small watermelon for a dollar; mangos 10 for a dollar in season, etc.), its quaint central park where children mix with iguanas who live in the trees, youngsters and grown men playing pick-up soccer in the streets, and its lazy and informal ambiance.

We do also have a night life with half decent bars and discos, and there is even a casino on the main drag (two cent slot machines!).

Along the beach-walk you will find dozens of artisans hawking their hand made jewellery, clothing and other handicraft items.

A ten minute drive from Playas and you are in Puerto El Morro, where you can dine on the pier and take a boat tour of the mangroves and Bird Island, and flirt with the dolphins while your at it.

From our home you can walk or drive to surfing beaches that attract surfers from around the world; and if you want to have a world-class board sent home to you, they are made right here in Playas.

Guayaquil is a two hour bus ride away.  There you can enjoy the benefits of urban culture, including night life, botanical gardens, theatre, dance, music, film, museums, and numerous art galleries.

The mineral mud baths of San Vicente are a 90 minute drive from Playas.

Further up the coast from Playas are some of the worlds most interesting archaeological sites and museums that display some of humankinds oldest ceramic discoveries.


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