Friday, Feb 1, 2019
It has been a great week visiting with my sister and brother-in-law. I have really appreciated how much they enjoy Ecuador. Again, it makes me see it with fresh eyes. My sister describes the beach, the sunsets, the climate as magical. It is hard to argue that when this is what you are experiencing…
Fresh Coconut Water is a Favorite
Welcome to Olon
My brother-in-law Ron is a foodie. He loves trying new foods. When we were on the beach a woman came by selling some fish in a peanut paste, squeezed lime over top, served with rice. It all came wrapped in a banana leaf. Ron was on it faster than you could say pass the aji.
On another day Ron couldn’t pass up an oyster ceviche made fresh to order right on the beach. As a bonus, the vendor served it in a ceramic bowl (and returns later to pick it up).
I took them to my favorite steak place, Lido’s, in Montanita one night. Sitting at our table on the beach, sand under our feet, we got to eat some of the best beef you can find in Ecuador while watching an amazing sunset. Many people were out that evening pausing to take in the magic.
We jumped on the bus to visit Los Frailes in the Machalilla National Park. The bus ride over the hill from my house to Puerto Lopez did not disappoint to provide a true Ecuadorian bus ride experience. Coming home I swear the bus was actually on two wheels rounding the corners. When rounding the corner on one curve, another bus went zooming by in the opposite direction. My brother-in-law Ron was next to the window and he said it was so close his life flashed before his eyes. Such is life on the bus in Ecuador.
The ride was worth it though. The beach at Los Frailes was as welcoming as ever. We rented some umbrellas for $4 each to give us some shade on the white sand. The water was cool enough to be refreshing, while warm enough to never want to get out. For much of the afternoon Lori’s and Ron’s head could be seen bobbing on the surface of the water similar to how the pelicans float.
After an afternoon at Los Frailes we headed to Puerto Lopez for a cold beer and some food. No food or beer is allowed on the beach at Los Frailes, so it does limit how long I want to stay there. There was a cab waiting at the beach. It cost $7 to take us into Puerto Lopez. When we arrived we found a beach restaurant to sit and relax and look out over the bay.
I wanted my sister and brother-in-law to see Ayampe but I gave it a couple of days since it would involve another bus ride over the hill. This time however the driver was very tranquilo. When we arrived in Ayampe no one was the worse for wear.
My friend Michelle, who I met up with in Chile over Christmas, was coming through Ecuador. She joined us, along with my friend Terrye, to enjoy the day in Ayampe. Michelle has stayed in Ayampe before and she suggested we walk the beach to Las Tunas. I have never done that yet, so I was having a new experience right along with my sister and brother-in-law.
I love the beach in Ayampe. There is a lot of drift wood washed up against the dry shore line. When I am on this beach I can feel a thousand miles away from anything. The beach between Ayampe and Las Tunas has a similar look and feel.
It took us about an hour to get to Las Tunas. Along the way I only saw three people after Ayampe. I’m still in awe over the level of seclusion that can be found on these beautiful beaches of Ecuador.
When we arrived in Las Tunas Michelle suggested we eat at D’Jinmy. It is pretty much the last thing on the north beach of Las Tunas. As we approached all the chairs were in the “we’re closed” position against the tables under the cabanas on the beach. I was worried the restaurant was closed and I was starving.
We walked through the small garden that surrounds the restaurant building and found it opened and ready to serve us. The food here was excellent…from the ceviche, to the corvina a la plancha, to the comotillo entero, every mouthful was spectacular. This is a must eat place while in Las Tunas…AND the beer is icy cold. So refreshing after an hour walk along the beach.
Isla de la Plata
What do you do when visiting Ecuador and you don’t have time to go to the Galapagos? You go to Isla de la Plata to see the marine and land animals that are similar to the islands of the Galapagos.
We caught the boat tour at the dock in Puerto Lopez and zoomed across the smooth surface of the morning ocean to the island.
A “grasshopper” hitches a ride on Michelle waiting to go to Isla de la Plata. Along the way a small pod of dolphins decided to play alongside of our boat.
I have been to this island once before in the winter. Although very warm, it was no where near unbearably hot. I never understood why when I asked people what they thought of Isla de la Plata, almost the first words out of their mouths were, “It’s hot.” On this day I totally understood, it was 100.4 degrees Farenheit.
While stopping in the sparse shade of this tree (below), our guide pointed out what was above our heads looking down at us. Can you see it? He assured us it was not poisonous.
Fortunately, after walking the island, the tour continued with the boat stopping alongside the island shoreline for us to swim and snorkel in the ocean. What a welcome relief the cool water was. Many of us dove and jumped off the top of the boat into the water.
It was slippery on the roof of the boat and one could easily hurt himself. The captain didn’t have a care in the world about it. I love this easy going aspect of Ecuadorian culture. Be responsible for yourself…no attorneys here to help you. 😉
The sunsets have been spectacular the entire week. Each one a work of art in its own special way. The coast of Ecuador continued to amaze and deliver a truly magical experience for my sister and brother-in-law this week. I am grateful for their visit and the time we had to experience together the many things coastal Ecuador offers.