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Goodbye to the Ecuadorian coast

Puerto Lopez and Guayaquil


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The morning was taken up with having breakfast, having one or two drinks and a game of cards on the beach, checking out of our various hostels and having lunch (I had shrimp ceviche). Then we went back to Guayaquil via Santa Elena. We didn't get back until after 7pm.

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One full day left in Guayaquil now, before I leave Ecuador.

Posted by 3Traveller 03:36 Archived in Ecuador Tagged coast beach hostel ceviche ecuador puerto_lópez ecuadorian_cuisine Comments (0)

Whale-watching and Isla de la Plata

Isla de la Plata and Puerto Lopez


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Day trip to Isla de la Plata, but before we arrived there we did some humpback whale watching! It's a bit of a cliché, but they are so majestic. We loved the way they rise right out of the water before plunging down again. We saw lots of spray coming from their blowholes, too, and once when I and two others had moved to the front of the boat, two or three of them appeared right in front of us very close to the boat. It was exhilarating seeing creatures so large so near.

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Once we arrived at Isla de la Plata we split up into two groups; one went on a long walk and the other one did a slightly shorter one. It was extremely hot and sunny and I'd forgotten my hat, so I went for the slightly shorter one.

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I was really happy already, because of the amazing humpback whales, but then my day got even better because I saw lots of Magnificent Frigatebirds (or Great Frigatebirds - not sure which of the two they were, but both types have red pouches beneath their beaks that inflate like balloons) perched in bushes. I'd always wanted to see them and they were the one type of bird I didn't manage to see on the Galápagos Islands which I had really wanted to. We were able to get so close to them, I managed to get some good photos.

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We also saw lots of blue-footed boobies and some pelicans. The boobies were just standing on the ground beneath bushes. They were extremely tame; not tame because they have got used to humans, but tame in that they haven't learned to fear us.

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With one pair that we saw, the male demonstrated part their courtship display - he lifted his feet up and down and then picked up a stick to present to the female as a nest material. Isla de la Plata isn't nicknamed a 'Poor Man's Galápagos Island' for nothing! The other group also saw some red-footed boobies.

Once we got back to the landing point, we got back on the boat for some lunch - a cheese roll, a tuna roll and some pineapple and watermelon slices - before going round the coast of the island for a bit to do some snorkelling. While having lunch we saw three green sea turtles around the boat.

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Unfortunately there weren't any in the snorkelling place, but we still got to see lots of fish. We got into the water straight off the end of the boat, not from a beach.

After changing clothes back in Puerto Lopez, we went back to the same restaurant where we'd had lunch the day before. This time, as I had promised myself, I had the fish with peanut sauce, which was just as delicious as I'd hoped. I'd raved about the lobster so much to everyone the day before that this evening one or two of the others tried some of their own. They also thought it was amazing.

We moved on to a beach bar on the sand after dinner and had a few drinks. I had a couple more of the Coco Loco cocktails.

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Eventually, pretty late, we headed to bed. On the way, I noticed something I remembered seeing in Montañita at the staff Christmas party; hundreds of little birds perched all along the telephone wires along and across the street.

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Posted by 3Traveller 02:44 Archived in Ecuador Tagged birds night turtles pelicans coast beach ecuador puerto_lópez explorations blue_footed_boobies frigatebirds ecuadorian_cuisine tropical_fish whale-watching isla_de_la_plata extreme_weather Comments (0)

Puerto Lopez: Sun, sea, sand and amazing seafood

Guayaquil, Santa Elena and Puerto Lopez


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The day after I arrived back in Guayaquil from Quito I was off again, this time on a weekend trip to the coast with several of my colleague friends. The plan for the weekend was to go whale-watching, as Puerto Lopez is well known for this, visit Isla de la Plata to see some of the same wildlife and terrain you can see in the Galápagos Islands and go snorkelling, eat seafood and generally relax on the beach.

I can take the credit for the idea of coming here, because I had planned for a while to go whale-watching here on my last weekend in Ecuador (as July and August are the best times of the year to go whale-watching) and made the suggestion to the others that they might like to come as well. They were all really up for it. As luck would have it, today was a public holiday in Guayaquil (the Founding of Guayaquil), so no classes, and they managed to get a day of holiday for the school the next day as well, so they had the whole weekend free to join me on the coastal trip. I'd already finished working, of course, so I didn't have to worry about getting days off work.

We met up at Guayaquil bus terminal at 8.30am, where we had some breakfast at the food court. We couldn't get one of the direct buses to Puerto Lopez because they were all full, so we had to get two buses. The first one went to Santa Elena. The road there was the same one we took to get to Punta Blanca for the Queen's birthday party last year at the house of the British Consul; that had been my first trip outside of Guayaquil, so now it felt like a full circle, also going along this road on my last trip outside of Guayaquil. The Santa Elena Peninsula is very dry (I think it may have its own microclimate), almost desert-like with uninhabited open expanses of dry earth, covered with parched-looking bushes, on both sides. In the sunshine it was quite picturesque in its own way.

From Santa Elena we got on another bus to take us up the coast to Puerto Lopez. This road runs right next to the sea in many places. It runs through little fishing villages with small blue painted boats pulled up onto the sand. As we approached Puerto Lopez we went through some forest. We were now in the province of Manabí.

On arrival we split up briefly to check into different hostels. Some of us had booked places and others hadn't, but everyone found somewhere quickly. Puerto Lopez is a small town so we were all close to each other. Three of us were in the same place, two others were next door and the others were only round the corner.

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As soon as everyone had settled in, we all went out for lunch together at one of the many seafood restaurants lining the road running parallel to the beach. Like them all, the place was cheap, but the food was genuinely fantastic - I had one of the best meals of my entire life there; a whole lobster cooked in a coconut sauce containing chopped vegetables. It came with a side of rice and patacones (slices of fried savoury plantain). They'd cut the lobster in two so that the meat was easy to dig out of each half. It was unbelievably tasty, and for only $20... The lobster was the most expensive thing (I had decided to splash out a bit); the other dishes were nearly all below $10. 'A' had a fish dish with peanut sauce which she said was absolutely delicious. I made a mental note to have that the next day.

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We'd started lunch quite late, so by the time we finished and then moved on to the beach, the sun had gone in a bit. I read on the sand for a bit and then it was nearly sunset, so I didn't get in the sea. I settled for a paddle instead.

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We moved straight from lying on the sand to sitting on it at a beach bar, one of many lining one section of the beach. We had a few drinks; I had a Pina Colada and a cocktail I hadn't tried before called Coco Loco. Condensed milk, coconut milk, rum, grenadine and crushed ice, with coconut shavings on top.

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For dinner we went back to the same restaurant, but I was still so full from lunch I didn't have any food; I only had a Caipirinha cocktail.

Posted by 3Traveller 02:04 Archived in Ecuador Tagged coast beach hostel buses cocktails ecuador puerto_lópez explorations ecuadorian_cuisine Comments (0)

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