A Travellerspoint blog

You can lead a horse to water...

but it's bloody hard work!

semi-overcast

Luckily we managed to jump of the bus before it passed right through Otavalo as no one bothered to announce we were there. It was dark by now so we got in a taxi and quickly found a nice hotel on the Plaza de Ponchos, a prime location because this is where they have the big arts and crafts market that we wanted to mooch around. We ate a quick burrito each and then called it a night.

When we woke up in the morning the market was being set up and there were lots of colourful things on display, we were both eager to have a look.
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First things first though we wanted to sort out a horse riding excursion and so we went in search a tour agency. Otavalo is a really nice little town, much more picturesque than anywhere else we visited in Ecuador.
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It has clearly benefited from the tourist trade and shops, restaurants etc are geared in this direction but it hasn't detracted from its appeal. It also has a lovely location, in a valley surrounded by lush green hills which provides the perfect backdrop.

After walking round the whole town we found a tour agency offering horse riding and went in to enquire. Two main options were described to us which varied in difficulty and as I haven't ridden a horse for years and Adam has only been on one once we were looking for something on the easy side. The one we were considering involved riding for about three hours each way with the aim of reaching a mountain lake, which from the pictures looked lovely. We decided to go away and have a think about, i.e. discuss in private how much we were willing to pay. When we returned later it was closed so we decided it was time to have a look around the market. There were lots products made of llama/alpaca wool; jumpers, ponchos, hats, scarfs, and rugs. Also a lot of jewellery, some of which was very pretty but we were both immediately disappointed when we asked how much things cost, it was so expensive! This put a slight downer on the experience and we just bought a couple of tiny things that we thought were the right price. Later in the afternoon the tour agency was open again and once we'd agreed on the right price we booked to go the following morning. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and feeling a little bit apprehensive about what it would be like to be in control of a horse, we were both hoping for ponies!

In the morning it seemed that the weather wanted us to remain nervous for another 24 hours because it was raining heavily. Neither of us could see the point in sitting on a horse in the pouring rain, also we wouldn't be able to see anything as the clouds were so low. We trudged up to the tour agency and ask if we could put it off a day which they said was fine. It was Saturday and this is when the market is at its biggest and it spreads through out the whole town. I felt really sorry for all these people setting up there stalls in the rain, it was pretty miserable. We didn't let it put us off either though and had a look at what was on offer. We ended up buying some really lovely, soft alpaca blankets and then later on in the afternoon we bartered hard for a couple of paintings we'd had our eye on, we ended up getting them for half the original price so we were pretty pleased. I just hope we like them as much when we get home! The rain didn't let up all day and so we spent most of our time huddled up in our room only popping down to get some grub from the little food stalls. When we went to sleep we both had our fingers crossed that the sun would be out tomorrow.

Our luck was in, the sun was shining down from a bright blue sky with only a few scattered clouds. We hurried out to get some breakfast and then waited at the agreed spot for our horse riding guide to appear. He was about half an hour late and we were beginning to wonder if he was going to show at all but finally Antonio appeared. We thought it was going to be a bit awkward to begin with because he seemed to be a man of very few words, all of which were Spanish but he warmed up through out the day. We all got in to a taxi which took us to a small village out side of town and here there were four horses tied to a couple of fences.
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Two of them were quite big and the other two were on the smaller side. When I was directed to the large brown one and Adam to the large black one our nerves kicked in which is never good when you're about to get on a horse. Nevertheless we got our foot in the stirrup, swung our legs over and we were on, this is where the fun began.

For about the first twenty minutes or so I thought it was going to be impossible. Neither mine or Adam's horses would do as they were told and Antonio was giving us no instructions apart from which direction to take, which always seemed to come too late and even this was proving too complicated. In the end though I managed to get my lady (I never quite caught her name) under control, she was pretty head strong all day but I think by the end we came to an understanding.
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Adam's horse, Negro (Spanish for black) on the other hand was a different kettle of fish, a bit too headstrong and so he and Antonio periodically swapped mounts through out the day. One of the little horses Antonio had started out on was much more laid back, in fact a little on the slow side but much easier to handle.

We made our way along a serious of well trodden paths until we reached a small look out and from here we could see down to San Pablo Lake.
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We dismounted for a little bit of a break and it was good timing because just after about five or six kids on bikes zoomed down the path we were about to take. From here on things got a little more tricky. All the rain the day before had made for very, very slippy conditions and we took a very narrow foot/bridal/bike path with trees on either side. It was pretty steep in places with lots of mud and exposed rocks.
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I was leading the way, followed by Adam and Antonio was at the back. I obviously couldn't see but Adam said quite often the horse would loose their footing, their hooves slipping this way and that. It took quite a lot of coaxing at points to get them up these treacherous ascents but we all made it in one piece. Although quite often we were impaled on overhanging branches and Adam's sunglasses were knocked off.
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Finally though we came out on to a cobbled road and we were on the final stretch before we reached the lake. None of the horse liked walking on the cobbles as they didn't have shoes on.
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So they criss crossed across the road in the search of the softer grass, it was pretty slow progress.
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We tried to get them to trot but they'd only do it for short bursts. I don't think Adam enjoyed it much anyway, he found it pretty excruciating. It was all worth it though when we reached Lagunas de Mojanda, a beautiful, sheet of glistening water nestled in amongst the mountains.
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There were only a a few other people there so it was really quite peaceful. We climbed off the horses and left them to have a well deserved munch on the abundance of grass. Then we took in our surroundings for a little bit although we couldn't really do much in the way of walking, my legs didn't feel like they even belonged to me any more.
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There was a small tent sent up with a nice man and woman inside who had some food and drink for sale. We had a corn on the cob each, a cup of coffee and then we both had a couple of sips of some home made tequila that Antonio asked for. Pretty strong stuff and I don't think drinking it could ever be considered pleasurable but it was interesting to try. Soon enough it was time to remount which my legs really did not appreciate!
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We both kind of presumed that we'd be going back a different way as surely the ascents we'd made would be far too dangerous when they became descents. Apparently Antonio did not think so though and we turned off the cobbled road just where we'd entered it. Adam was back on Negro whose plan of action to tackle difficult sections was to get them over with as quickly as possible and as now Adam was leading I just saw him bouncing about in the saddle trying to rein Negro in as they disappeared out of sight. During one of these bronco style moments he lost his sunglasses for good. Soon after this he swapped with Antonio. My horse was a little better and I managed to get her to take things pretty slowly although she did slip completely over on to her side at one point luckily I didn't get crushed and she was up again in an instant. Despite the difficulties and the fact that neither of us really had the skills to do what we were doing, I was having a great time. It definitely got the adrenalin pumping. That said when we finally reached the little village about two and a half hours later we were both definitely ready to get off, the pain was really kicking in.
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We waited for a bus down in to town and chatted to Antonio a little more, it was easier now we weren't all on horse back. He explained that he was speaking Quechua to the people in the village, I wasn't sure if the Andean language would have changed as we got further north. Then we told him a little about our trip and home a bit. He was a very, very sweet man and it had been a really good day. Once we were back in town we quickly went about buying some food before heading back to the hotel. We would be leaving Ecuador the next day and this had been a great way to finish our visit but we were sore, tired and in need of sleep.

More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 16:29 Archived in Ecuador Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

In the Middle...

locating the equator

sunny

Leaving Mompiche was made a bit tricky as there were no buses, thankfully though a man with a pick up gave us a lift up to the main road.
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Here we hailed down a bus which took us to Chamanga where we immediately boarded another bus to Pedernales. The Ecuator is meant to cut through Pedernales so after a bite to eat we went off in search of a monument which is meant to mark its location. Unfortunately though none of the tricycle drivers understood what we were asking for and conscious that we still had quite a distance to travel that day we had to give up the hunt. Instead we decided we would visit a more significant monument in Quito. The next bus took us as far as Santo Domingo and here we bought a ticket for Machachi where we intended to spend the night.

As this intended last bus of the day sped along we began to get increasingly concerned that it wasn't going to stop in Machachi and when I saw a sign which said “best cakes in Quito” I knew we had gone to far. It was now about 8pm and we were knackered, we tried to explain our annoyance to the bus boy but he just pointed us towards another bus which thankfully was going to Machachi. The fourth bus of the day took us to our destination and it only took an hour so it could have been worse. After wandering aimlessly around the dark streets without passing one hotel we managed to get our second pick up of the day to take us to a hotel. It was actually a pretty good find, the room was spacious and relatively cheap. With our stuff stowed in the room we hurried out to buy a whole spit roasted chicken for dinner from one of the numerous Pollo Asado restaurants. We must have consumed over a hundred whole chickens between us on this trip!

Our reason for being in Machachi was to see the Volcan Cotopaxi which is meant to be a perfect snow capped cone. You can climb it if you like or visit the national park which surrounds it but it turned out to be a very expensive trip and we could find no clear information about day trips. In the end our first day in Machachi was spent lazing around. I was absolutely knackered and in need of a lazy day. We walked in to Machachi to buy some food and it was a pleasant enough town but it didn't seem in any way geared towards tourism. We had considered visiting a tour agency to get some more details about trips to Cotopaxi but we couldn't find any. In hindsight we probably should have caught the bus to Latacunga, a town about 30 minutes further south that day because the sky was fairly cloud free which is rare and there would have been good views of Cotopaxi from the bus. Instead we went the following day which was cloudy so we didn't see anything on the way there.

We stayed one night in Latacunga, a fairly scruffy town and not as either of us had imagined. The descriptions in the guidebook seemed to have been a bit off the mark as far as Ecuador was concerned. For this reason we found ourselves very uninspired and couldn't muster the energy to do much exploring in Latacunga. We walked along the busy shopping streets a little bit and ate a massive bowl of fish soup for lunch but that was about it. In the morning it was a little clearer and so we walked out of the centre in the direction we guessed Cotopaxi to be. We saw some distant hills but no sign of the massive volcano which the guidebook said was 'much in evidence.' In the end we gave up and went to catch the bus to Quito. Thankfully we had a little better luck here as we did spot it out of the window, not quite as impressive as we'd thought but we were glad we'd seen it.
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Unfortunately the next hour or so was a bit stressful as we realised we'd left Adam's mobile, with my sim card in it at the hotel so we had to jump off the bus and return to Latacunga. Luck was on our side and the honest hotel employees handed it over and finally with all our possessions we were on our way to the capital.

Neither of us were really in the mood for a big city and so we decided we would just visit the equator monument which is just outside Quito and then move straight on to a town called Otavalo about two hours further north. Getting to the monument was really time consuming as we had to catch a local bus from the south to the north of the city and it took us a while to figure out the slightly confusing system they have in place. On the up side though it did mean we got a whistle stop tour through the centre which actually looked quite pretty. When we finally reached the northern bus terminal where buses to Otavalo left from we were forced to take a taxi to the monument as it was beginning to get quite late.

The equator monument was surprisingly busy as there seemed to be some kind of promotional function in progress.
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It was built before GPS and is actually about 150m off to the South. After finding a quiet spot away from the crowds we snapped a few photos ignoring the slight latitudinal error and then the hunt for the true equator began.
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There is another monument which was built after the invention of GPS but you had to pay extra to get in there so we just looked through a fence and anyway according to the GPS on Adam's phone it's in the wrong spot.
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He really wanted to get his phone to say Latitude 0.00 but we were on the clock as our taxi was waiting and as we would find out later when he demanded extra money for us being all of three minutes late he really was counting the seconds. I went back to show the taxi driver we were aware of time while Adam went to find the equator according to his phone. Which he did although we both agree their GPS might be a little more accurate!
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Back on the northern fringes of Quito we were quickly zooming along on a bus bound for Otavalo.

More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 16:12 Archived in Ecuador Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

More Mediocre Beaches

and a million more mosquitoes

sunny

There was no way we were going to make it to Atacames in one day, not on the route we took, so we were forced to spend the night in the nearby town of Esmeraldas. It is the capital of the province which shares its name; one of the poorest in Ecuador. This didn't become apparent until the next morning though as we arrived by dark and took a taxi straight to a hotel. However there were indications that it was a slightly dodgy place, for example the security guard outside the hotel holding a massive machete. In the morning we only explored a tiny part as we went in search of food. From what we saw it is a bustling town with lots of market stalls set out along the streets but if you look closer there were the tell tale signs of poverty. A number of beggars, crumbling buildings and dirty streets.

After a quick take away breakfast we went back to the terminal and hopped on a bus to Atacames. It is 25km away from Esmeraldas and is a party spot for Ecuadorians during the high season. We weren't totally sure what to expect but I had images of high rise buildings and a good atmosphere. Both of us were intrigued to see how Ecuadorians enjoy the sea side but we were a little bit unsure when we arrived as the town seemed quite run down and it was a bit walk to the beach. Here we did find a number of hotels, some nicer than others and a lot of bars/restaurants. After wandering up and down a bit, avoiding the men trying to direct us into certain establishments, we found a room in a nice hotel which had a pool, a bit of a novelty for us.

We settled in and then went out to get some lunch. I had a fish ceviche and Adam tried a ceviche made of concha, a shell fish in a kind of black goop which didn't make for the most visually appealing dish but Adam said it was nice. Our appetites satisfied we walked a long the very busy beach and watched some of the kids body boarding, the waves were much better here. Neither of us felt very enticed to sit there with the masses for long though and we ending up opting for a swim in the sand free pool instead. Then we spent some time in the room enjoying the a/c before popping out for some dinner. Things seemed to be heating up at the beach side bars but it didn't really seem like our scene and it was likely to be pricey, Ecuador just isn't that cheap.

The following morning we decided a quieter beach experience was what we were in search of and so we caught a bus to Muisne. You can only go so far on the bus, you then have to take a very short boat ride across the estuary to reach Muisne Island. On the island we jumped in to a moto tricycle being driven by Ricardo who chatted away as he took us down to the beach. He explained that he could take us on a little trip to see the mangroves in the morning and once we had found a cheap room we agreed to go at 8am. Muisne beach is very undeveloped, there are only three hotels and we were certainly in the most run down but it had quite a nice atmosphere. The beach itself is lovely and it has a very local feel about it. Once we'd dumped the bags we went to get some lunch and on the way out we enquired about a deep sea fishing trip we'd seen advertised on the board in the hotel. The guy we asked looked a little unsure, as if this enquiry was made very rarely and in the end told us it was $80 which immediately took it out of our price bracket. Adam was a bit disappointed.

Thankfully lunch wasn't too expensive, was really tasty and served to us on the beach. Very nice. After lunch we headed back to the room and then Adam went in the sea for a quick dip as the sun set.
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I was nursing some sun burn and was therefore avoiding exposing my sore skin. It was lovely to sit there though on such a peaceful beach and watch the sun, glowing like the embers at the end of a fire, glinting off the waves. Then to top it all off a cow walked right in front of me, I like cows.
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We returned to the same restaurant for dinner as there wasn't a lot of choice and we chatted in broken Spanish to an Ecuadorian man and also a French man who'd been living in Ecuador for a number of years. It's a shame we couldn't have had more of a flowing conversation but it was nice none the less. The Ecuadorian man was quite tipsy anyway so I don't think it really bothered him. Back in the room it was another stuffy night under a mosquito net with no fan.

In the morning Ricardo was there to take us down to the mangroves. We headed off along the sand until we reached the end of the beach, where the estuary met the ocean. Firstly he showed us a small shrimp farm which basically consisted of a number of ponds. He explained that they start growing the shrimp in a laboratory and then transfered them to the ponds. They are then fed until it's time to harvest them with nets. After this we headed towards the mangroves and there was a bit of confusion as Ricardo really only spoke Spanish.
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He seemed to be saying if we went in amongst them we would have to go waist deep into water/mud and so we began to take off our clothes so we would just been in a swimming stuff. Then I'm not sure what happened but he seemed to change his mind, like he wasn't really expecting us to be up for it and we just went in a little way. This was probably a good thing because we were only in there for about two minutes and the mosquitoes were ferocious, they were biting us all over. We hurried out and Ricardo seemed a bit sorry, he explained there were very few the day before. Not being able to really go in to the mangroves brought the tour to an abrupt end and we were soon in the tricycle on our way back. Although Muisne was nice we were quite conscious of time and it wasn't the sunny beach with crystal water we were looking for. That was hopefully awaiting us in the north of Colombia with its Caribbean coastline which we were both eager to reach and so we decided to leave Muisne after the tour. Ricardo gave us a lift back to the dock and from here we could have caught a boat to our next destination of Mompiche, which Ricardo seemed eager to organize but the prices were too high. Instead we were once more on the bus and we had to change at a junction called El Salto. Here a massive policeman of Afro-Caribbean descent with huge muscles, bigger than either of us have ever seen, let us sit in his little office while we waited. We chatted a bit, mainly about how there were no street dogs in England but that we liked them, I think I will miss seeing doggies running about the place.

We did have high hopes for our final beach stop in Ecuador but unfortunately once again our expectations were not met. We arrived on a Sunday afternoon so it was quite busy but we couldn't exactly see the big draw to this particular beach/place. We found a room after a bit of trudging through sand and resigned ourselves once again to a sweaty night under a mosquito net with no fan. We headed out for some lunch which was alright and then went in the sea for a bit of a splash about. The sea was really coming in though and by the time we got out there was basically no beach left. We went back to the room for a while and I wrote some of the blog until our tummies alerted us to the fact that it was dinner time. Wanting a bit of variety we tried to go to a different restaurant but they just shook their heads at us so we returned to our lunchtime haunt. The woman looked pretty disgruntled about having to serve us and although Encocado de Cameron was on the menu I was informed it was not available. Still we had some quite nice garlic prawns and rounded the evening off with a couple of tasty jugos naturales (natural fruit juices) from a street vendor. They put condensed milk in them though so they're not as healthy as you may like to think but yummy nonetheless.

Sleeping was not only made difficult by the stuffy conditions but also a loud group of people decided to gather outside our door and play music all night. We later realised that one sub group had chosen to stay up all night because they were catching a really early bus. I love how considerate other people can be. Suffice to say we were a little grumpy by morning and were ready to move on again in search of some peace and quiet.

More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 15:49 Archived in Ecuador Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

I don't like Crickets..

I love cameron

sunny

Our next stop was Bahia de Caraquez which the guidebook described as an “Eco City” full of organic gardens and tricycles or eco taxis. We planned to have a short stop here before heading on to Canoa, one of the best beaches in Ecuador. Our first impressions of Bahia were not that great, we got a tricycle to take us down to the waterfront and we walked along until we found a hotel, there weren't many to choose from. It was Sunday so there was a slightly sedate atmosphere with almost all of the shops being closed. Our hotel was a bit rough around the edges but it seemed ok for a night, or so we thought. After settling in we walked back down to the water which is where all the people were hiding, enjoying the Sunday sun and splashing about in the water. One side of the city sits on an estuary and the other faces out on to the Pacific. We had another Ceviche and then a popsicle before heading back to the room for a while.

It was while we were sitting in our room that we began to notice the cricket noises which were resonating around us. I found it a bit disconcerting but Adam seemed to think they were in other rooms and there wasn't much to worry about. So this is what I did and soon enough it was time to go out and get some dinner. We found a lovely little shrimp restaurant, which was fitting as this area is one of the main produces of shrimp in the whole of Ecuador and the setting sun was burning, bright red in the sky as we munched them down. After dinner we walked slowly back along the waterfront again and then stopped in at the supermarket to pick up the usual water supply, it'll be nice when we can drink directly from the tap again. Back in the room we got ready for bed and were sleepily watching tv when something shot, erratically across the room. A cricket. I then spotted two more on the curtain which Adam had already noticed but hadn't mentioned because he didn't want to alarm me. However it was now too late and began to have a bit of a panic. I knew there was very little chance I would be able to sleep knowing there were at least three crickets loose in the room. Adam managed to catch the visible ones in a tub and throw them out the window which relaxed me quite a bit and we attempted to sleep. We were in separate beds and as I lay in mine I could hear another cricket rubbing it's damn legs together, it sounded like it was coming from behind Adam's bed, so I took my torch and went to investigate. Sure enough there was a hole in the wall and I could see another 3 crickets huddled in there. Unfortunately I woke Adam up while cricket hunting and he wasn't too pleased. Luckily there was another bed for him to move to so he wouldn't have to sleep with the insects. To put my mind completely to rest we stuck the plastic tub over the hole with duct tape and with the chirping muffled we went to sleep.

In the morning we were up early and firstly we removed the tub, we were leaving so I didn't care if the crickets ran rampant once more. Once out of the hotel we quickly jumped on a car ferry which goes over the estuary, it is free for pedestrians. While on the boat a guy asked us where we were going and when we said Canoa he told us where we had to go to catch the bus which was nice of him. It was only a thirty minute ride to this seaside village and we were quite pleased when we arrived. Although it is probably the most backpacker orientated beach we visited in Ecuador it is definitely one of the best. It is a popular spot for surfers which draws in the westerners but generally the atmosphere is pretty laid back. We ended up staying a little back from the sea because the hotels right at the front were a bit too pricey. Our room was nice though and the hotel was pretty quiet which is what we like.

I have to say that we didn't do a whole lot while we were in Canoa apart from eat, sleep and sit on the beach a bit. Our hotel was owned by a nice guy called Napoleon who had lived in Queens, NY for about four years so his English was very good. He ran a little off license from the hotel which was open at night and we purchased a small bottle of rum from him on the first night. On the second night we were enjoying a nice meal, I was sampling a local dish called Encocado de Cameron which is shrimps cooked in a coconut sauce, when an English couple with strong south London accents turned up. There was no one about to serve them straight away, just some kids watching tv and the waiting seemed to annoy them. Finally one of the children looked up and they asked if there was a set evening meal. The child went off to check and at this point they almost left but she returned just in the knick of time and told them yes so they sat down. Once in her chair the English girl sighed and said, in her strong accent “that was f*cking hard work!” It made us both smile and cringe at the same time.

We spent three days in total in Canao and on the third day Adam hired a body board for a couple of hours and played around in the surf. He kept getting washed further and further down the beach and some times I would completely lose sight of him. I was always happy when I'd see him and the bright blue body board resurface. Apparently it was really hard work and it didn't seem like the ideal conditions to be body boarding or surfing as it was too rough. The next morning it was time to move on once more, we said our goodbyes to Napoleon who couldn't offer too much advice about how we should get to our next destination of Atacames. It would end up being an incredibly long day.

More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 15:18 Archived in Ecuador Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Our Big Catch

you're welcome Captain!

sunny

Neither of us got much sleep on the bus to Tumbes and we stumbled off, bleary eyed at about 6am. We were then confronted with two options, we either wait a couple of hours for a bus direct from Tumbes to Guayaquil in Ecuador or we get a taxi to the border and get an earlier bus to Guayaquil from there. As we were now awake and eager to make up for time lost in Chiclayo we decided to take the cab. After about an hour or so of bureaucracy we were on a bus on our way to Guayaquil, a city in the south of Ecuador. This journey took about five hours and as both of us were eager to get to the beach we decided to jump straight on another bus. This next journey took another five hours or so and music at a ridiculous volume was blaring the whole time, needless to say we felt a tad zombie like when we arrived in the small, seaside town of Puerto Lopez.

We walked down to the sea front and attempted to find a hotel with a view but were disappointed when it was more expensive then we'd been expecting. People had been telling us Ecuador was cheap but so far this didn't seem to be the case, not when they wanted $30 (the US Dollar is the official currency in Ecuador) for a room. As we continued our search we were approached by a guy who spoke English and he directed us to a nice place, which although away from the sea was pretty and all of the rooms facing in on a flower filled courtyard. After settling in all we wanted to do was get some dinner and go to bed, so we quickly went up to the market for some cheap fish before calling it a day.

Unfortunately for us it was not a very good nights sleep at all. We had a pathetic excuse for a fan which circulated a pitiful amount of air, certainly not enough to penetrate our mosquito net which was ill-fitting and seemed to have holes in it as we were still getting bitten. Our sleep was therefore fitful as we sweated buckets and were awoken by furious nipping. In the morning we struggled to pull ourselves out of bed, in fact the whole day was pretty lackadaisical.

Puerto Lopez is a nice enough little place but it was described in the guide book as a sleepy fishing village and so we imagined there to be very little tourism. In reality, although it is quieter than some other beach side destinations, it does seem to have found itself on to the gringo trail. One of the things we wanted to do during our visit was go on a boat trip. The English speaking Ecuadorian man from the previous day had managed to get in a quick mention about the different options. The first was to take a trip to Isla del Plata which sounded very similar to our visit to the Ballestas Islands in Peru. The second was to go to Isla Salanga and enroute do some fishing and snorkelling. The Salanga trip was cheaper and sounded a little more interesting, plus Adam was dying to do some sea fishing. So we arranged this on our first day in Puerto Lopez, buying it from a man with only one hand which made him look a bit like a pirate, it seemed fitting.

The following morning after yet another bad nights sleep in our sweat box we went down to catch our boat. We weren't sure how many people would be going on the trip with us and were pleasantly surprised when we found out we had the option for it to be just the two of us, which we jumped at. We were introduced to our captain, who went to bring the boat closer to shore and then we waded out before heading off south down the coast.
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After watching some massive waves crashing against some rocks we went out in to deeper water and were handed a couple of rods.
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Apart from the little spot of parana fishing we did in Bolivia, I had zero angling experience and had never even held a rod.Adam had more experience and both he and the captain showed me what to do, so after getting to grips with how to let the line out and reel it back in we dropped our hook and bate into the blue and sent it down to pretty much the bottom. At the beginning it was quite hard to tell whether we had caught anything or if it was just the hook getting caught of the sea bed. While we were still getting to grips with it the Captain was catching his fair share. Soon enough though we both got one and it was really quite a thrill to pull a decent sized fish out of the ocean like that. My first one we decided to throw back but it seemed to be shocked or stunned because it just floated on the top of the water and in the end a bird swooped down and had a spot of lunch courtesy of me.
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We caught several more fish before we set off towards the island. When we were a little way off shore Captain shut off the engine and lowered the anchor. He then handed us some snorkelling gear and pointed us over towards the rocks and said the best fish were over there. When we got in the water we realised there was a pretty strong current and we watched as the waves hit the rocks. We both quickly came to the conclusion that the best fish might be awaiting us over there but so was imminent death or some kind of mutilation. For this reason we just snorkelled near the boat for a while. Unfortunately the water was too deep to really see much but we did some bright blue fish. I couldn't help thinking at any moment we were going to see a big dorsal fin which kinda took the edge off.

After snorkelling we joined a few other boats anchored just off the beach at Isla Salanga and jumped over board to swim to shore. We tried to swim for a bit but the waves bashed us into the sharp shells and stones at our feet so we scrambled out and lay on the sand for a while. Soon enough though the captain was waving us back to the boat and so off we swam again. Back on the mainland we watched as what appeared to be the captains wife eagerly collect our catch, we hoped our labours were tasty, we wouldn't have minded sampling them! We quickly forgot this though as we had a lovely Ceviche for lunch, probably the nicest style so far with meaty fish in a lemon juice soup. We then spent the rest of the day relaxing, we would be moving north up the coast in the morning.

More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 14:56 Archived in Ecuador Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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