We have been in Salinas for a bit over a month now. I have noticed so many differences between here and other places we have lived and wanted to share our experiences.
Lets take buying a plant for instance — they don’t use pots they sell you a plant in a black plastic bag. Cost for a big beautiful asparagus fern $4, house plants around 2 ft tall $2 – $2.50, a large palm $8 and a 30 lb bag of soil $1.70 all 5 plants and soil packed in a cab and delivered and unloaded to our apartment for $3. Internet seems to be slow but at least it does not go out for hours at a time. The cost is $34 per month. Here in Salinas we do not have power outages in Puerto Lopez every day the power went out for a few hours and in Dolega we had our share of the power cuts as well but what was worse were the power surges – you needed to have surge protectors on everything especially your refrigerator. Let’s talk thunderstorms we saw our share while living in Miami but nothing to compare to Dolega it would shake the house and Joe and I would bring chairs and sit in the hallway away from the windows after unplugging everything in the house. Salinas and Quito have a water system like in the states. Puerto Lopez has no water of it’s own and it is hauled in by trucks each day. You cannot drink the water and must use bottled water for cooking, brushing your teeth etc. You have a cistern in P Lopez and must remember to have it filled or you could find yourself without water. The sun does not shine every day in Salinas, this time of the year, it’s bright and it does not rain but the sun may be out for several hours 2-3 days a week and 2 days full sun all day the rest of the time it is nice, warm but not tanning weather but that does not stop you from going into the water. Veggies and fruits, are inexpensive especially locally grown items like strawberries $1 a pound, blackberries, papaya $.30 for a nice size, pineapple $1 for a large and many other tropical fruit and veggies. We found most basic vegetables were available in Panama but if you wanted mushrooms, brussels sprouts, asparagus or anything a bit out of the ordinary you could not find them often and when you did they were very expensive. The above list is found locally at very inexpensive prices: white mushrooms $1.50 a container, .626 kg which would be almost 1 1/3 lb. container of asparagus $1.90 and brussels sprouts .81 looks to be a pound are just a few of the items I purchased this week.
We were told that toothpaste in Ecuador was $5 a tube – that is not a fact, what we found was Quito, P Lopez and now Salinas you can get almost any brand of toothpaste at a reasonable price. What is most common is Colgate and the cost is as low as $1.50 a tube or if it is for sensitive teeth maybe as high as $3. Don’t buy it on the malecon as the price will be double these shops are for the tourists go one block off the malecon and you can find good prices. Bathroom tissue in Panama was $2.35 for a 4 roll pack equivalent to Scott’s here I get Scott’s brand in a 12 pack for a bit over $4.
Telephone local service is $6 a month with .01 cent a minute for local calls, .02 cents a minute for the region, to call cell phones is .145 cents a minute. I opened a PO box yesterday it was prorated for the balance of the year to $12.50 in January I will pay $20 for the year. No home delivery of mail in Ecuador I think you could get overnight or express type mail delivered but I have not looked into that yet. I understand that if a package is over 5 pounds it must go through customs in Guayaquil where you must pay customs fees and pick it up yourself but if it’s under 5 lbs it will be delivered to our local post office with no customs fees.
Clothing shopping here compared to Panama is better for us because I can find sizes that are similar to the US. In Panama everyone seemed to be shorted, thinner and both Joe and I could not fit in any of the clothes.
Going out to eat is very inexpensive we go to Cevichelandia which is around the corner from our apartment, for lunch we order almuerzo which means lunch for $2.50 each we get a bowl of shrimp soup, a plate of fried fish, rice, a few pataconies (twice fried green plantains) and a salad with a glass of fresh fruit juice. Dinner ranges from $3 for a fish dinner to $4 to 6 for shrimp and there are street vendors that sell many different items for a few dollars or very nice expensive restaurants where you can get great steaks. It just depends upon what you are interested in.