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Jama is Remote and That’s How They Like It

Jama is not that many miles north of Bahia de Caraquez but it’s miles away in state of mind.

As Gary and I pulled into town on our 4-day coastal cruise, I could instantly see why our friends Leroy and Shirley are so smitten with this area and why they are happy despite giving up their hillside home and gardens in gorgeous Vilcabamba.

Vilcabamba is heaven on earth for many and Leroy and Shirley were very content there.  But respiratory problems began to plague Leroy and on a trip to Jama he suddenly felt like a new man.  He could breathe again and his energy returned.  it wasn’t long before he and Shirley had pulled up stakes and moved to Jama permanently.

A smiling, energetic Shirley picked us up in town and confidently maneuvered her way along the dirt streets.  She says she can’t do without a car or she’d have to do without a lot of things she and Leroy need.  Jama is very small and she has to travel to larger towns to find certain foods and other necessities of the good life.

We passed a Jama worker in his shop and were blessed with sweet smiles from his daughter.

Leroy and Shirley’s property is reached via this road which links Jama to the town of Matal on the coast.

At first they decided just to rent but rentals were scarce.  They ended up in a rental house made of cane, which shocked Shirley.

It wasn’t long before they were the proud owners of a new beach-front house.  Next they bought a 2-story house on ten idyllic acres outside Jama.

View from their house.

They both got to work and in only three years have created another paradise, even better than the one in Vilcabamba.

Shirley designed and supervised the building of the stone terracing and plantings.  Since Leroy used to build houses in the U. S. and Shirley is an extraordinary gardener, the property was soon molded to their desires.

They had a lot of natural beauty to work with.  This is the breath-taking early morning view from our bedroom window.

Mature coconut palms already grew along the driveway up the hill to the house.  And now red and peach hibiscus are growing everywhere.  Shirley cuts branches from her hibiscus, sticks them in the ground and they grow like crazy.

The property had a very well-constructed home already on it, along with a large commercial building that they have converted into a guest house.

This is Shirley’s outdoor kitchen, where she does most of her cooking.  She and Leroy are eating much healthier.  Coconuts, papayas, lemons and other fruits are always just a few steps away.

It’s hard to get well-made sandals in Jama.  Leroy was thrilled that Gary’s new sandals were the very brand he and Shirley had been researching on the internet.  I’m kinda glad they didn’t fit him or Gary would have been barefoot for the rest of our trip!

One of Leroy’s beach neighbors has a post office box in Jama and he’s a member of Club Correos.  As a member, the neighbor can have packages mailed to a post office box in Miami and then air mailed down here.

Members’ shipping cost is $4.90 per pound for up to 4 kilos worth no more than $400 USD.

www.correosdelecuador.com.ec

Jama and coastal living very much agree with Leroy and Shirley, as evidenced in this picture.  The rest of us retirees should have it so good!

Ultimately neither of them have regretted the decision to move, although Shirley admits that in the beginning she wondered what in the world she’d gotten herself into.  However, seeing Leroy’s health improve so dramatically was worth the inconvenience.

They have a great house at Coco Beach, an ocean-front development a few miles away.  And they want our readers to know that it is available for rent.  Here’s the link if you are interested in contacting them or finding out more about the rental.

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One Comment

  1. My trail has gone from Jama to Cruzita to Manta to Cruzita to Jama and now Cruzita/Manta/Cruzita. (Art Exhibition) We have been like passing ships in the night!

    I enjoyed this great post about Leroy and Shirley and Jama as well as te ones about Cruzita.

    El Matal has a post-painting competition next weekend if you happen to be coming back through the area! http://playamart.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/it-started-with-one-light-pole/

    Sorry I missed the opportunity to meet you!
    from Cruzita,
    Z