Welcome to Puerto Amistad, or the “Port of Friendship” in Spanish. We hope you come to visit us, but we have to warn you; Bahia is a "sticky port." You may find it hard to leave here once you've arrived. We're a case in point.
Our property, previously used as the ferry dock, had been abandoned and had become nothing more than a place where some drunks slept at night. It was filled with cans and bottles and stuff from the debris collected by the street sweepers. We had to rebuild all the pilings and beams as well as the sea walls and retaining walls because they were damged from the earthquake and lack of maintenance. We essentially had to redo the entire structure. Everything was repaired, rebuilt or at the very least, repainted.
Initially, the original business plan called for us to mostly operate the marina with a small grill serving hamburgers and hot dogs. Customers then came to us and said we needed to offer a more expanded menu. Now we've become known as the go-to restaurant specializing in steaks, seafood, and classic American food, and Maye is amazing in her ability to plan a custom event to recognize a special occasion.
The ground-breaking ceremony was held December 21, 2004. We offered our initial shore services (namely our excellent showers) in March and the first happy hour shortly after. The inauguration (Grand Opening) was celebrated on the 23 of September, 2005. Currently we have 22 massive moorings, a nice dinghy dock, a gorgeous restaurant and bar, a five star bathroom, showers, laundry, and an administrative office. We also have DirectTV in the bar so you can watch the Super Bowl or CNN if you have to have a news fix.
Our goal was to create a place that was friendly and secure, in a place that is friendly and secure, and I think that we've accomplished this in Bahía. In other words, we didn't have to create a bunker enclosed place to leave your boat secure. Bahía is probably the safest place for you personally, and for your boat in South America! The second thing we wanted was a place the ordinary cruiser can afford, so we charge work hard to provide an excellent service at a good value. We want as many people as possible to come, stay a long time, and enjoy the town
We certainly hope that you come and visit.
Bahía de Caráquez is located just 36 nautical miles South of the Equator on the estuary of the Rio Chone. Puerto Amistad is located inside the estuary and boats are extremely well protected from ocean swell in a quiet anchorage. Bahía is a quiet tourist town that primarily caters to the middle and upper class of Quito that have vacation condos here and that visit during holidays. Bahía has amazingly mild weather and a low crime rate, so you can be sure that you and your boat will be safe during your stay. For those of you familiar the "Andy Griffith Show," I like to say that Bahía is Ecuador's Mayberry.
You maybe thinking that because you're on the Equator that the weather is hot, sticky, and buggy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Since you'll most likely be coming from Panama and/or Costa Rica, you'll be in for a very pleasant surprise.
Here in Bahía, there has never been a hurricane or tropical storm, and lightning is extremely rare (The locals say lightning has never struck the ground in Bahía!) Bahía is in a dry tropical belt only about 60 miles wide; there are cactus growing on the hills here! As a result, you won't have mold growing on the walls of your boat as it does in Panama and Costa Rica. In the last couple of years, during what they call the rainy season, we have averaged an hour or two of light rain in the evening PER WEEK.
The average daytime temperature during the months of November through April is about 85 degrees with moderate humidity. For March through May temperatures are in the low 80's. June through October we have very low humidity and daytime temps of 70-75 degrees. In addition, the daily sea/land breeze pattern means that there's almost always a pleasant breeze. If you decide to stay later in the season (April-October) you'll find yourself reaching for a light blanket at night. It's great sleeping weather!
The people of Bahía are the real treasure. Nowhere else in my travels have I found people so open, friendly, and willing to help. Although they are from very humble backgrounds, you won't feel panhandled and taken advantage of like you may have experienced in other countries. You'll feel safe and welcome walking the streets of Bahía; you'll likely have people trying out their few words of English as you walk down the malecon.
Things to Do
There's more to do than just work on your boat :)
- Beaches - There's great shelling at Canoa. You may even stumble across a pre-Colombian artifact washed up on the shore.
- Surfing and hang-gliding in Canoa (15 miles up the coast)
- Check out the Eco-projects
- Whale watching
- Bird watching
- Shrimp Farms
- Rio Muchacho
- Isla Corazon
- Horseback riding
- Take Spanish classes
- Of course you'll have to take a trip to the Andes!
You'll find Ecuador an inexpensive travel destination, plus they use the U.S. dollar as their currency.
The prices in the local restaurants, and also the rest of Ecuador, are very low. You can order an Almuerzo (the most for the least) which included soup, salad, rice, beans, with fish, meat, or chicken, and a fresh juice for around $3. A large beer (600 ml) costs $3 in most places.
To get someone work on your boat, expect to pay $10 perday for laborers, and $15-20 per day for journeymen.
The fresh fruits and veggies available in the market are great.