Wednesday, Dec 28, 2016

Today we are having an outing to Canoa. It is a cool, easy vibe surf town north of Bahia and it was devastated in the earthquake. Most of the buildings were old, made of concrete and weathered wood, and stood two and three stories tall. It looked like over the years many buildings had been patched, propped, and painted over. When the quake hit so many buildings crumbled to the ground. Since then many, many people have worked, and continue to work, to set Canoa right. Today we are going to see it.

Outside the gate at the Cottages, leaving for Canoa

Road running along the ocean where we are staying

Our journey started at 11:30 am. We left the Cottages and walked the three blocks to the main highway.

canoa and bus travel

Waitin’ on the bus

We waited on the side of the road for a passing bus to come by and take us the 45 minute plus drive to the Bahia bus terminal. Our luck is good because within 10 minutes a bus drove by and picked us up.

The bus fare from San Alejo to the Bahia terminal is $1.25 per person. All the seats are full, so we stood in the aisle and hung on to the overhead rail for dear life while the bus careened around the curves of every hill. When we arrived at the bus terminal in Bahia it was probably a 30 minute wait for the next bus to Canoa.

We got on that bus and paid another $1.25 each. This time, we each had seats! This bus stops at the “terminal” in San Vicente, a small town across the Chone river from Bahia. The “terminal” is a dirt parking lot with a few vendors set up. It works. We waited for a bit here, then headed back onto the main road.

The bus stopped and picked up more passengers at nearly every block on the main road as we passed through the town of San Vicente . This was at least a 15 minute process before we were on our way again at a reasonable clip toward Canoa.

When we arrived at Canoa our total travel time since walking out the gate at The Cottages was two hours. It is probably a $30 taxi ride from San Alejo to Canoa and we could have saved nearly an hour if we had gone this route. I have decided it is the better way to do this trip, and next time, this is how I will go.

Canoa looked really good. All of the damaged buildings and ruble had been removed, and only clean empty lots remained where buildings once stood. After the earthquake, many artists began painting murals on the sides of buildings that remained. It adds a nice and colorful touch to the community.

Mural Art

More Mural Art

We grabbed an almuerzo at a restaurant across the street from the beach. The sun is out in full today. The great ocean breeze, along with the roof above us, is keeping us nice and cool in the open air restaurant. Our soup contained a couple of shrimp with their eyeballs still in tact. Melody wasn’t having any of that action, believing your food should never look back at you. We suggested she try chicken feet in her soup next time and see which she prefers. 😉

Chase and Easton tired of their pics being taken

After lunch we hit the beach! The waves were coming in fast and furious. Chase and Easton rented a couple of boogie boards and headed into the water. I rented a nice cabana where I could sit on a beach lounge chair, buy a cold cerveza from a passing vendor, and enjoy the pacific…then I jumped in and tried body surfing the waves! I didn’t last too long.

It was a terrific afternoon and by 4:30 pm we were ready to make our way back to the Cottages. As we walked to the bus area, the boys wanted to try some street food in Canoa. Grilled pollo, carne, chuleta, and verde banana all on a skewer. Pretty delicious.

Gettin’ some street food

The bus ride home was long but we all had seats so it was pretty chill after a long, fun day on the coast.

canoa and bus travel

Looking out the bus window riding back to San Alejo