Posted by: jimndianne | December 20, 2009

Beaches in the area south of Manta.

15 – 18 December 2009 Ecuador

Had quite a bit of catching up to do after having little or no access to Wifi on the northern coast so here goes. Hope my notes and my memory serve me well…

Our friends, Annie & Peter from L.A. California, decided to hire a rental car so we went shares in it with them. The Howard Johnson Hotel was very nice and we had separate rooms so it all worked out well. Sitting right on the edge of the cliff-top just outside of Manta, a large port city, we had stunning views each and every time we

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looked out our window or ate our meals with them on the terrace outside the dining room. Large sea birds could be seen constantly flying by on cruise control, a group of eight or more in formation, first flapping their wings, then gliding for a time right along the tops of the waves on the lookout for a tasty morsel.

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We tried many times to capture these groups on film but more often than not by the time we had the camera at the ready they had flapped on by. There were pelicans too, but brown ones, unlike the white ones we were accustomed to on the Gold Coast. There were many small fishing craft as well, always accompanied by a flotilla of pelicans bobbing about alongside the boats and hoping for a handout.

With Peter behind the wheel, we set off down the coast to see what we could find in the way of nice places to live. The road was very new and with scarcely another car on it, wound its way through a number of small fishing villages before moving slightly inland for a time. The terrain changed dramatically from being extremely dry and brown on the coast to magically becoming bright green and lush jungle as we followed the winding road southwards. A one point we stopped at a real estate ‘Vendre’ sign (For Sale) on the fence in front of a most unusual house tucked just up a little within some trees.

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A caretaker and her family indicated from their own small home nearby that we could enter and look around the house. As the photos show, it is quite round, of three storeys and with also a kind of games room underneath open to the air. There was also an outdoor oven (a type of chiminea, or pizza oven). The house was in good condition and consisted of a kitchen and living room on the ground floor plus a

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bathroom, the first floor had a bedroom with four bunks and another room with a double bed with a bathroom between the two rooms. Upstairs was probably the master bedroom but there was also room for several more separate beds on the same level. It appeared to have been used either as a B & B or as a rental property. After contacting the agent we discovered its price was $89,000 and this included the main house, the caretaker’s house, 5 garages and 8,000 sq. mtrs of land!!! We will be following up on this one.

From there the road finally wound out of the jungle and down into the beach area once again, passing through Puerto Cayo, which we liked, Puerto Lopez and Ayampe,

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where we drove to the top of a hill and admired the wonderful view all around. Here and there were some attractive dwellings, well made, some Hostels and all built for the views.

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Although we had hoped to reach Salinas we realised we would end up driving home in the dark to decided to stop for lunch in Montanita. This proved to be a really delightful

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little surfie village (the best on the coast for surf so we hear), with its many cafes, clothing shops, dirt roads, thatch roofed three storey hostels and hippy folk with their home made jewellery for sale on every street! Stray dogs wandered past and sat nearby hopeful for a handout of food or at least a scratch under the chin as we sat and ate our huge deluxe burgers at a corner cafe

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outdoors. That is Peter in the chair with me and Annie on the road. Of course I could not resist the friendly animals and sneakily fed them bits of my leftovers. It was a real eye-opener there, young men with their surfboards heading back to their rooms and rastafarian types with long dreadlocks and beards and a number of young American girls, too, in mini dresses dodging the dog poos as they walked along the narrow streets. It all reminded us so much of our many visits to dear old Bali, Indonesia.

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The surf was not magnificent but there were plenty of boarders out there.

The return trip to Manta was fraught with problems as we somehow missed a road sign and ended up on a road we did not recognise at all, far from the coastal one we’d come down on! It was by now very dark but eventually, after stopping and asking the way many times we found the correct road and arrived back in time to grab some dinner at the hotel before heading to a very welcome bed!

We all flew back to Quito the next day on Icaro Airlines once again, took a taxi to the Sheraton where Annie & Peter thought they had a booking but somehow it had not been registered. A decision was made that we’d all go up to Cotacachi (they had not yet seen it) so we hastily made a booking by email at a great little place there, the Hostal El Arbolito, where for $35 a night per couple we’d have a great room each, with bathroom. Booked a rental car again and drove the two hours back up to Cotacachi again arriving in the dark and missing a turnoff once but no matter, here we are back up in the clouds once again and it’s raining hard! Tomorrow will be fine though!


Responses

  1. Hi you two, What a great adventure you are having. Your tales are so interesting. Please keep it up. Wishing you both a very happy Christmas and New Year.
    Cheers Kay


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