June 15 – July 11, 2016
Our 3 weeks stay in Puerto Cayo is one of my top 3 favourite work exchange gigs to date. Three reasons:
- It’s a private property, not a hostel. Omg no more dealing with messy, at times overprivileged millennials.
- We had our own room (cabana style)! No sharing bunk beds with other volunteers yay.
- Work was light and easy. I didn’t mind cleaning the entire house, including toilets (gasp!) because it’s the kind of house that is fun to clean (double GASP! PS: it’s only fun because it’s not being used by about a hundred sloppy backpackers who don’t a give a shit about orderliness and cleanliness). I never thought I’d say those words but yeh.
Not to mention work was only 4 hours every day – from 8am – 12nn – with Saturdays and Sundays off.
This workaway gig was actually a shot in the dark. I was looking for a place somewhere along coastal Ecuador (except in Montañita area because we wanted peace!) so I messaged each ones I liked. Two of them said yes but then a fellow volunteer in Huanchaco (who just came from coastal Ecuador) told us that those 2 places, despite the good reviews written on their page, were not actually very ideal. He suggested we find another place so we did.
Best. Decision. Ever.
When I saw Anna and Steve’s page I said to myself I would really love to volunteer there but their page did not say if they had availability during the month we wanted. Still, I dove head first, sent an email anyhow, and hoped for the best. Luckily they said yes!
Anna and Steve are Canadian couple (well a Canadian and a British to be specific) who chose Ecuador as their retirement place. They sold everything they owned in Canada, packed their stuff, and moved to the tiny, little fishing town of Puerto Cayo. The thing is, even though Puerto Cayo may be tiny, it is at least an hour or two away from the nearest big towns for whatever necessities they might require which worked for them well, obviously.
Their property is a dream property. Beachfront house with a huge garden at the front, big yard, spacious sheds for anything and everything home improvement related.
Some afternoons, when the sun is out we took strolls along the shore admiring all the beachside properties that seemed to be expanding each day. There’s a LOT of expats in Puerto Cayo.
To us though, the best part was the kitchen. Imagine, we had our own albeit outdoor kitchen. Our own utensils, our own appliances! Needless to say JC had a blast concocting and perfecting recipes (despite our meagre budget lol) the entire time we were there. Some stuff might be too expensive for us but seafood, banana, flour, and some vegetables, those we can afford.
We also did a lot of baking such as banana breads, brownies, and simple chocolate cake that we consumed either as snacks in the afternoon or snacks when we went to nearby towns for a day trip excursion during our days off.
Mike, the couple’s right hand/property manager, even treated us to a Netflix movie (and popcorn!) one Saturday night.
A day before we left, we woke up to the sounds of circling frigates and people’s excited voices.