Ecuador, part 5 – Puerto Lopez

I’m falling way behind on writing, not because of lack of wifi or anything like that, but because life in Puerto Lopez is just so incredibly laid back. Ill give you a quick chronicle of the last 3 days just to catch up.

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On the first morning I headed down to the beach and checked out the many small fishing boats that were now beached above the high tide mark. Buyers wandered from boat to boat, checking out the catch of the day as ice merchants distributed their goods to keep everything fresh. There seemed to be innumerable types of fish out on display and the restaurants in town take full advantage of this. More on that later.

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After a wonderful and lazy lunch – ceviche of course – I walked a few kilometers to the far end of the beach where very few people go, except for surfers accessing the best break. Here I went for a swim. It may sound like a simple thing but I realized that its not often that I get to swim in the ocean. In BC, the ocean is just too damn cold to be enjoyable but here the water is just cool and refreshing and I spent probably an hour floating in the waves and reliving childhood memories of playing in the surf in Ocean City. In fact, it was so enjoyable that I’ve made swimming a mandatory daily occurrence. After that I ambled back to town as the sun reached the horizon and marked the end of a great day. Like I said, life in Puerto Lopez is pretty relaxed.

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On day 2 I jumped on a tour boat headed to La Isla de la Plata, dubbed the “poor mans Galapagos”. Although the Galapagos sound pretty neat, it’s fairly expensive and a little beyond the scope of this relatively short trip. The 1 hour boat ride was fun and I was happy that I didn’t experience any seasickness on the choppy open water.

On the tour there was an American who spoke no Espanol, and I honestly wondered how he even got this far since virtually no one speaks English in Ecuador. He kinda clung to me, which concerned me a bit because he walked with a cane, slowly, and I really wanted to hike as much of the island as possible. He also brought no water and no sunscreen to this shadeless, dry, and extremely hot island. Ultimately, I split off with a small group of Ecuadorians and our requisite guide for a satisfying fast-paced 2 hour tour that showcased hundreds of blue footed boobies, thousands of frigates (birds), and various other unique species. When the tour attendees regrouped, the American was thoroughly sunburnt and pretty badly dehydrated, bumming sunscreen and water from anyone he could talk to via charades. Our day concluded with an ultra-relaxing and refreshing hour of snorkeling with tortoises, schools of flat fish, and the odd manta ray before the hour return trip to Puerto Lopez.

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On day 3 I jumped into a moto-trike for a short ride and 1 hour hike out to the rocky headlands of Playa de los Frailes, generally regarded as Ecuador’s most beautiful beach. Unfortunately, the dozen tourists in this somewhat limited area detracted from the experience a bit for me, and the rocky beach and rough surf wasn’t drastically different from the beaches I see regularly in BC. What I really like are the long deserted strips of soft sand with palms lazily waving in the wind. Luckily, just around the corner I found a secluded cove that was perfect for swimming and I bobbed in the waves for an hour, watching birds ride the rising wind currents over the cliffs to either side of me. It totally salvaged the day for me and made the trip out there very much worthwhile.

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After the hike out, a lawyer from Quito and his family were kind enough to offer me a ride back to the outskirts of Puerto Lopez, which I gladly accepted. He was absolutely shocked by what a lawyer can earn in Canada and I could see the gears turning in his head. After we said our adioses, I took a shortcut to the beach and followed the sand highway back to town as the sun set. Really, would this ever get old?

Now you’re caught up!

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