After one of the longest bus rides we arrived on an overnight bus to Puerto Lopez. I’m not talking about long duration, although it was 9 hours, but long because the seats were so crammed together! Piet and I were the lucky winners of the two best seats in the house that came with two screaming children packed on top of their parents already crammed laps behind us. This meant it was a game of non-stop hair pulling and tambourine drumming on our heads among the massaging feeling of knees and feet kicks into our backs. To say when we arrived in Puerto Lopez we were exhausted would be an understatement.
We were the only gringos to get off the bus here and so the three tuktuk drivers who were sleepily waiting for us jumped all over us. At 6 in the morning we were in no mood to negotiate so we took the first one into town who knew where our hostal was. Well we showed up on a very quiet main street to a fully locked front gate and the only action was the bustling fish market across the road. Everything else was locked up so we both looked at each other like what the heck do we do now. Lucky for us a local woman was walking by and saw us looking a bit amiss and so she ended up yelling for the owner to wake up because we were waiting outside. I don’t think the owner was overly happy with this but who knows how long we’d have actually been waiting before she came out as the gate stays locked all day for safety reasons.
Our room is simple, ok really simple. It’s a bed and then there’s a bathroom with get this- a shower curtain for a door. I’m not even sure why they bothered with the shower curtain because it was clear!! But the kitchen was clean and the place was quiet and we met a lovely couple from Spain so we were happy.
So as we said, our hostal is located right across from the fish market. I know what you are thinking, “ewe” “gross” “how smelly” but really we haven’t noticed a fishy smell at all from our place. But once you walk across the road to the tables of people slicing and dicing the mountains of fish, shrimp an octopus you get that smell you’ve been missing. If you get up nice and early, like we did when we went for our runs on the beach, you get to watch the fish market come alive. All the boats come in with buckets full of fish and sell to the local vendors and restaurants. You should have seen the insane amounts of vultures circling around and around in the sky waiting for someone to drop a fish. I’ve never seen so many massive birds like that all in one area. It was definitely a sight to see.
The beach here is decent but I think what we loved most was wave jumping. They’ve got some pretty fantastic size waves that come barreling in close to shore so you’d often find the two of us running, splashing, jumping through one wave after another. Once we were fully satisfied (and exhausted) we’d relax back on our towels and watch all the crabs on the beach dig their holes. It was pretty neat to watch them all come out when it was nice and quiet but as soon as someone started walking by or we made a movement they’d all jump back into their holes as fast as possible.
In Ecuador, especially along the water they have these really great lunch specials called “Almuerzo” for $3-4 and it usually comes with a drink some sort of seafood soup with veggies and a plate with rice, plantains, a “salad” (or what they think is a salad as it usually consists of lettuce and a sliver or two of tomato) and some sort of meat. It’s a pretty great deal and they are easy to find all throughout the restaurants.
The Hard Part
Unfortunately, as many of you can comprehend traveling isn’t always the easiest on your body and I ended up getting fairly sick from something I ate or drank- perhaps the "Almuerzo” from earlier that day? I’d say that we’ve been fairly lucky so far being 2 months in and never having gotten sick so far. Well it was a good 3 days of fevers, light headedness, low energy and all that fun stuff that goes along with it (clear bathroom “doors” and all) before we decided that I couldn’t fight off whatever it was and gave in to taking one of our prescription meds we had taken along with us for this very reason. Happy to say I am on the mend but unfortunately because I was out of action those 3 days we ended up missing a trip to one of the top 3 beaches in Ecuador Los Frailles.
All in all, It’s a good place to spend a couple of nights and easy to connect to from the major cities but really there wasn’t too much else that kept us wanting to stay any longer than we did. Although, the sunsets are pretty stunning!
Next Stop: Montanita