Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Yay beaches!! Montanita, Puerto Lopez and Isla de la Plata and Canoa

I had been waiting for this for a long time...beaches! Our first stop in Ecuador was montanita, a surf town that was pretty touristy but had a good vibe. Since we arrived the sat before Easter Sunday the prices of everything were doubled and we were lucky to find a double room with bathroom for $10 each per night. We went to this hostel run by a Spanish woman and when she told us the price for her hostel we were like there anyway you can do us a deal? and she told us about this room that her family members had, the best part was we had the whole place to ourselves. We ended up staying two nights. Something about Ecuador I didn't know until 2 months ago was that they us USD as their currency which was weird but made it easy to figure out prices!
The montanita beach was a strange one because during high tide it would go all the way up the beach to where the streets started so sitting on it during high tide was not possible unless you rented a chair for $5. The waves were some of the highest ones I have ever seen (remember I'm coming from the Jersey shore here) and watching the surfers on them was amazing.
Next we went up to Puerto Lopez to see Isla de la Plata or 'Poor Man's Galapagos'. The island is named that because 1. When the natives looked at the island during a full moon all the bird guano would 'glow' like silver and 2. it's rumored that Sir Frances Drake had lots of pillaged goodies from the new world in his boat but was getting pursued and need to go faster so dumped all the treasure around the island so he could get away. Not sure which one is the true one but prob the bird poo one. The beach in the town of PL wasn't too nice but the waves much calmer than in montanita so it made for happier swimming, not just getting tossed about the whole time. We booked at island tour for $30 and the next day got on a boat with a family of Spaniards to head out. A boat had just come in with the days catch which included two big swordfish so all these people and sea birds were milling around looking to buy/steal some fish. The hole tour was just ok. Most of the trails on the Island were closed and all the birds were flying around the island so you couldn't really see them. We did see two blue footed booby's up close, one little fledgling that was standing on a stump flapping his wings practicing for flying saw us and immediately came up to us very curious. It was cute. They have no fear of humans because it's a protected place. After the tour (which was all in Spanish even though we were told it would be both, nick was not happy) we got to go snorkeling around the island . All the birds were flying above us and diving into the water for fish, it was pretty cool. We only stayed one night here in Puerto Lopez (we found a hotel for $3 a night! very basic), there is a national park next to it with nice beaches but we didn't end up going.
Our last beach stop before heading inland was Canoa. It took us 7 hours and 3 buses to get to it and it's not even that far away from PL on the map! This place was prob my fav because the sea was so warm and calm to swim in and the town was way better than Puerto Lopez. We found a nice hostel across from the beach where we stayed one night, two days and just enjoyed the beach.

sunset on montanita

night time on montanita

yummy fruit salad breakfast!

boat to take out to isla de la plata

sea birds flying around the island

on the island

the curious fledgeling booby


fish we would snorkel with

view from hostel in Canoa

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