11.08.2009 - 26.08.2009 28 °C
The original plan was to fly back to Brazil, and spend our last couples weeks relaxing on beautiful Brazilian beaches. However, our diminishing funds, and lack of time convinced us that Ecuador would be our best option, one it would be half the cost, and two, it was way closer to Peru and easier to get to! So we got seat sales on flights out of Lima, direct to Guayaquil which is the second biggest city in Ecuador after the capital, Quito. Our early flight meant that we would get into Guayaquil, in enough time to take a bus that same day and arrive in Puerto Lopez. Our hot and humid arrival into Guayaquil was very surprising. Ecuador's economy crashed in 1999 and they were forced to abolish their own currency, the sucre, and take up the American Dollar. Many protest occurred, presidents resigned, yet in the end, the American dollar won out, even if that meant increasing poverty by 60-70%. So we had expected to see poverty everywhere, but when we arrived, all we saw was a beautiful airport and bus station, fancy cars, and a thriving metropolis. They've been putting a lot of money in to Guayaquil, in hopes to make it more attractive to tourist and it's definitely working! Funny enough, all the Ecuadorians we saw were well dressed, and well kept, and seemed to be much more "Americanized" than the last few countries we'd been too, more stylish and up to date. The poverty was definitely not apparent to the touristic eye.
Our flight went smoothly and it was easy to get a bus that cost us all of $4.50 for a 4 hour drive. No air conditioning mind you, and I thought the bus might fall apart, but it got us to Puerto Lopez safely. Puerto Lopez is a small town located right on the beach. There is one strip lined with bamboo restaurants and hostels, and that is pretty much it. It's a small fishing town, known for whale watching which was particularly busy while we were there since it was high season. Whales come up to the equator from the Antarctic to give birth and feed before heading back so there are lots of families swimming around the specific. Since our weather wasn't that great on our second day, we decided that we would take a whale watching tour in. How spectacular!! In all my years, I have done some whale watching, but have never seen anything like this! We ended up following a family, mom, dad and baby, for almost 2 hours. Apparently only males jump, and females are bigger than the males so we were lucky to see that the baby was having a grand time playing in the waves, jumping and doing 360s out of the water, flapping its fins, and singing along, it was amazing. Mom and dad followed along and you could closely see how massive the animals are! They can be 15 m long, and get up to 40 tons! Incredible! So we spent a great afternoon on the boat intrigued by the family of humpbacks and then headed back to relax and have dinner. We only got one day of sun when we arrived, which was nice to relax and enjoy, but we thought we'd take our chances and move more North in hopes of better weather. So our last evening, we went to a unique and traditional Italian restaurant for dinner, heading back to our hostel with our shower curtain for a bathroom door, packed and were ready to catch the first bus in the morning to Canoa.
Canoa, is about 600km north of Puerto Lopez and has one of the widest, and most beautiful beaches in Ecuador. We were excited about what it would bring and so made our way on the crappy bus, stuffed with locals, and everything and anything you wanted to buy. Every stop you made, which was a lot since it wasn't a direct bus (even though they told us that), meant they'd stop on the side of the road to anyone and everyone that needed a ride. At the same time, people, mostly kids, jump on to sell you everything under the sun, from drinks and food, movies and cd's, markers, jewellery and even underwear! It got pretty annoying in the end, since about 6 hours in, we realized that by direct bus, they meant we'd go all around the bay and it would take us almost 3 extra hours to get there. Certainly another test of our patients but we eventually made it at a decent hour, in time at least to find a great hostel on the beach and have dinner while enjoying the waves and sea salt smell. You'd be surprised how warm the Pacific Ocean is near the Equator! It was like a bath, so we made it a habit to go frolicking in the waves almost every day, sometimes twice a day! Again, our weather was mediocre, but usually the clouds cleared away in the afternoon to give us just enough sun for one day! We ended up staying at a hostel called CocoLoco (loco means crazy in Spanish). It was all we needed though, again right on the beach, with hammocks on our balcony overlooking the ocean, with our own private bar. We even had a pet dog, Pino, that always slept on our balcony. Since we spent almost 10 days there, she really took a liking to us. So much so, that she would follow us everywhere, to the beach especially, and protectively bark at anyone getting to close to us! So funny. So our days were spent eating a fabulous breakfast at Cafe Flor every morning, and then heading to the beach or sitting in hammocks. We really enjoyed such a relaxing and wonderful time in this place, where we could swim like dolphins all day, and our only worry was what delicious seafood meal we would eat next! Tough life And the seafood was to die for, absolutely mouth-watering with portions to suit a King. We couldnt' ask for more!
Although most days were spent reading our many books and lazing by the water, we decided to take one afternoon and go horse back riding on the beach! How romantic.....or maybe not. It ended up that the owner of the horses (who also ran the hostel) gave us a few tips to control the horses and then let us go on our own. Only in South America! Our horses were so stubborn, mine in particular would only go one way...back home! And in the meantime, Sebastian's horse is getting vertigo from the ocean water and so he has to jump off thinking that the thing is going to fall over. While my horse is trotting as quickly as she can home, it's hopeless to try and get her to turn around to see if everything is ok with Sebastian. Sebastian made it back safely, a mile behind me, even if it wasn't exactly romantic, it made for a good laugh!
But of course, time flies when you're having fun. So before we knew it, I was counting down the hours before I would have to hop back on a bus (this time executivo) and catch my flight out of Guayaquil to Sao Paulo, Brazil. I decided I would leave early to get back and get organized for school. Sebastian on the other hand, decided to stay and use the original flights, and is still enjoying his time in Canoa, before he heads to Lima for a few days and then back to Brazil to catch the flight to Calgary.
So much travelling, in so little time. 3 months is definitely not enough time to do and see everything we would have liked, but we cant' complain. We had wonderful adventure and made memories that will last a life time!
- The day we arrived at the hostel, the son of the owner was having a Birthday Party, one of the best birthday parties I've ever seen! Puppet show, face painting and even pony rides! Every kids dream!
- While I was waiting to catch my flight, I had a little lunch. There was a little surprise in my lasagne however, a small rock....ummm
-I currently am in Calgary, heading to Edmonton for school. Sebastian will return in the next couple days and is enjoying his time gallivanting around Lima!