For the first time in my travels through South America I was about to have a “travel partner” through so called “Ruta del Sol” – Ecuadorian Pacific coast. My travel partner Caleb is a Mexican guy who was my first CS host in Quito and who decided to take some vacation in his job in order to spend some nice time on the coast and make me a company. Honestly, after two months travelling alone I was not that sure if it´s a good idea, however, after the whole trip through the coast I have to say, it was an amazing idea!
We spent about one week travelling though the coast up from “Canoa” down to “Montanita” in a more relaxing, vocational style rather than real backpacking way. For the first time in my travels I stayed with Caleb at hostels and hotels rather than in houses of couchsurfing´ hosts, we were eating in nice restaurants, sunbathing and relaxing all days long on empty but beautiful beaches. Doesn´t it sound like an ideal, ordinary & typical vacation? Well, it was perfect just not ordinary.
After taking the night bus from Quito, arriving to “Canoa” around 05:00am, checking-in in nice “Rutamar” hotel and getting some short sleep, we were about to discover the beauty of this small village and its beach. I don´t know if it was a coincidence, destiny and or just my famous luck, but we bumped into two tourists Chris and Emilie who I knew from my last day in Banos and who actually were my “first tourists” at my new job in ANINGATRAVEL agency. The following three days we spent together, drinking wine while watching amazing sunset in Canoa, eating “ceviche” in fine places, dancing reggeaton and bachata in a beach bar of Canoa, travelling 7 hours and taking four different buses from Canoa to our next destination Puerto Lopez (yeah, Ecuadorian transportation has a lot to improve), and much more…
After getting to “Puerto Lopez” (finally!) we found a nice hostel close to beach, had nice dinner, booked a day trip to “Isla de la Plata” (after some negotiation over price we paid 35 doll) and met interesting “hippie” street sellers who made our “welcome to Puerto Lopez” unique. After spending some time talking to them, we decided to make fire on the beach during the night. Imagine – beach, fire, sound of sea waves, stars, beers, Ecuadorian guy playing guitar and singing nice reggeaton and bachata songs, dancing, company of Ecuadorian and even Colombian “hippie” people, complete mental relaxation … – perfect, right?! Well this was our first evening in Puerto Lopez town…
The following day was dedicated to exploring “Isla de la Plata” or so called “small Galapagos or Galapagos for the poor” because of the same fauna that can be found in Galapagos. The boat embarkation started in Puerto Lopez port around 09:00am and it took us around one hour to get to the island. The first impression on the island – dry, small, no green vegetation, abandon – however after three hour walk with a tour guide in a small group of 6 people, I found out it was not that abandon and lonely. The island is inhabited by beautiful protected species of birds so called “Aves de patas azules, patas rojos, nazcas & frogatas”. Honestly, I don´t know the correct name of these species in English but maybe the pictures of them will help you to figure it out.
After three hour island exploration we got back to the boat where we were served some sandwiches for lunch and went for snorkelling, swimming and off boat jumping. Again, I don´t know if it is because of my luck, but after short conversation with captain I got the opportunity to spend the rest of the trip on the top of the boat where it was ideal to watch the whales!!! And again we were very lucky because we got to see two male whales “fighting” for a female whale, an amazing “show” with whales that I have seen for the first time in my life and that I will never forget.
After our successful arrival to the port and even after my boat driving (yeah, the captain let me drive his boat) we went to hostel to get changed and afterwards went for our last dinner all together. After dinner Caleb and me said good-bye to Chris and Emilie who were heading back to Quito and the following day Caleb and me had plan to move on, too so I went to say good-bye to “my hippie people” who taught me how to make various animal imitations out of palm tree leaf (ex. Grasshopper) and gave me some small good-bye gifts to remember them (flower made out of palm tree leaf with my name and a small guitar made out of rod again with my name.) This small act of their hospitality and friendliness meant a lot to me and helped me realize how happy and lucky I am and that people should be happy for the “small things” that cross their everyday life and everybody should enjoy these special moments of happiness as much as possible and not take them for granted!
Caleb´s and my “move on plan” led us to “Los Frailes” beach located half an hour north of Puerto Lopez which is part of protected natural park “Machalillas”. Los Frailes is an amazing, beautiful, almost empty beach with clear sea and white sand surrounded by cliffs. Spending around six hours of “nothing doing”, sunbathing, swimming and relaxing was exactly what we needed.
Our next and at the same time last destination of Ecuadorian Pacific coast was popular beach town “Montanita” which is famous for its parties, crazy night life, cocktail street and easy access to drugs. Caleb and me decided to explore the viewpoint “Mirador de Olon” and its abandon beach which was located around 5km out of Montanita. After coming back from Olon we spent our last night by drinking mojito and cuba libre in “cocktail street” of Montanita where Caleb drew a sketch of me and him as a small good-bye gift. Afterwards we talked for hours in our hostel hammock and led “philosophical” conversations about life, travelling, what makes us happy, … Nice end to the nice vacation…
This week spent on Ecuadorian Pacific coast in a company of “mi mexicano” and new friends in a more vocational rather than backpacking style made me realize that although travelling on your own has its great advantages, it is always good to share your experiences and happiness with someone you are close to.