Located just 30 minutes north of Montañita but you’d swear you were miles away given the difference between the two beach towns. Ayampe was a welcoming break of peace and stillness that we so much desired after our week in Montañita. Some may call this a sleepy little town but we absolutely loved it. If you are coming to dine in new restaurants every night and hit a different bar then you’ve come to the wrong place. Ayampe is where you come to get some peace and quiet. To focus on practicing yoga and work on your surf skills. We rented a small one bedroom place right off of the beach and went to sleep each night to the sound of waves crashing on the beach. Talk about a white noise to put you right off into dreamland.
In Ayampe there are 2 corner stores that sell a couple of fruits and vegetables, a few snacks and necessities but that’s it. If you want to get a wider variety you have to take the bus North to Puerto Lopez to get meats and a wider selection of goods. This suited us fine for the first few meals as we ate salad, after salad after salad (Piets favourite). It definitely started to get a little lackluster so we dined out at a couple of the local restaurants. We were told we had to try the “Corviche” from Ayampe as people from all around Ecuador came to eat it at this one restaurant. Well let’s just say we were a bit underwhelmed at the taste of it. Corviche is a deep fried ball made out of plantains and stuffed with a mushy texture of peanut butter and some sort of seafood, in our case it was a couple of pieces of shrimp. It’s often served with limes and a spicy sauce which we found very necessary as the corviche itself didn’t have much flavour without it.
Our favourite was a Mahi Mahi Tuna burger from a small restaurant that overlooked the beach. We ended up eating there twice, on the balcony watching and listening to waves roll in at night. We can’t help but stop and think to ourselves how lucky we are to enjoy moments as simple as these. Something like this, that we have been doing often on our trip down the coast is easy to take for granted. We both have to remind each other that it won’t be every day we do this so we try and take it all in as much as we can.
During our week in Ayampe we spent most of our days at Otra Ola, a café/yoga/surf/spanish school run by a fellow Canadian couple. Otra Ola is this really cute organic café that has these delicious homemade muffins and Kombucha!! For those of you who know me know I love Kombucha and used to make my own back home. This is the first time I’ve come across it in our travels so to say I was more than excited was an understatement. It’s the little things like this that make you miss home sometimes.
Our days started off with an hour and a half of yoga at Otra Ola. The yoga is done in the café, underneath a huge palapa. The best part is they provide you with the mats and equipment so that you don’t have to tote around your own supplies while you are traveling. The instructor was amazing and catered to beginners like Piet to the more experienced yogis. The best part was opening my eyes at the end of yoga after our "savasana" pose to look over at Piet who had had a cat crawl in between his legs and relax back with him. It was way too funny of a scene that I had to get up and snap a couple of photos. I swear animals migrate to us- we often find one or two dogs who follow us around town or who come and hang out with us as we are relaxing on the beach.
After yoga, depending on the tides we usually had a few hours to relax before heading out to go surfing with Ryan. We’d lather up our sunscreen, throw on our swim trunks and rash guards and carry our surfboards walking barefoot to and from the beach. One of the best feelings for both of us is when we were able to catch a wave and were able to ride it all the way into the beach. It puts a huge smile on your face when you feel that sort of accomplishment.
Ryan was an awesome coach who helped us develop a comfortable ease on the board that helped us to start catching more and more waves on a regular basis. We even got to the point where Ryan was giving us smaller boards- and in my mind that’s reason enough to celebrate! Piet and I were even able to time a few waves where we rode in on together (before wiping out and nearly taking off each other’s heads). I don’t think we’ve been this sore for a while. It’s amazing the workout that you get from yoga and surfing- paddling and battling the waves, not to mention the epic wipeouts, definitely challenges your body but we wouldn’t have had it any other way. I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up back in Ayampe to perfect our surfing later on in our travels. We were lucky enough to have Ryan as a coach, a photographer and a videographer who put together this amazing video for us!
Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay much longer as we’ve had flights booked to Galapagos for 2 months now so we had to leave the peace and tranquility to head to the big city of Guayaquil. Fun fact: We were saying the city name so wrong that people would literally laugh in our faces when they finally figured out what we were trying to say! haha whooops We stayed in El Manso Boutique, a cute little place just off the malacon that has an awesome café that specializes in organic and vegan food. We were lucky enough to enjoy some live music and entertainment while testing out some of their specialty meals before we headed off to our next destination.
Next Stop: Galapagos