After four weeks of cramming my brain with conjugations and the subjunctive mood it was time for me to depart the seaport of Manta and head to the beach for a little rest and relaxation. With a little trepidation but more excitement, I bid Camila and Nelly farewell and it was off to Canoa on the central Coast of Ecuador. Canoa is a little tourist/fishing village with several “beachy” hotels and, of course, lots of great seafood. More importantly though: there are a lot of hammocks in Canoa. I love hammocks…they are the epitome of R&R and I have been dying to lie in one since I arrived five weeks ago. So, armed with a book completely in English (that was not my guidebook or my grammar book) and two complete days to do nothing…I checked into the Hotel Bambu for a couple of nights.
Hotel Bambu – Canoa, Ecuador
As you can see from the pictures…November is not exactly the best time for sunny and bright beach weather in Ecuador. This is probably OK however…if it had been sunny I probably would’ve fried my pasty-white-girl-skin a delightful shade of scarlet. What Canoa lacked in sun it more than made up for in beachy charm (and edible sea critters) and some good photo ops.
All too soon it was time to go and I decided to spend one night in the eco-city of Bahia de Caraquez so as to catch an early bus to my current location of Cuenca in the mountains. To get to Bahia from Canoa one needs to take a passenger ferry like this one:
to get across the Rio Chone. Bahia has declared itself an eco-city and while I’m not entirely sure what that means I can assure you that it was, until that point at least, the cleanest place I had yet been in Ecuador. You see, in Ecuador there is trash everywhere. Everywhere. There appears to be no organized method of garbage collection and consequently people just throw their trash wherever they wish. On the bus ride to Canoa a girl reached across me and threw a bunch of plastic water bottles out the window. Naturally the anti-litter American girl in me was appalled by this. It’s really a shame…the beautiful landscape of Ecuador is forever marred by this unfortunate occurrence. In Bahia I stayed in a very charming, ocean-front room with balcony for the grand sum of $20 and managed to make it to my early bus on time for the trip to Guayaquil…the bus changing point enroute to Cuenca.
To get to Cuenca I needed to change buses in Guayaquil…the largest city in Ecuador. I had heard from multiple people that the Guayquil bus terminal is nothing short of a nightmare so I was slightly concerned about the said transfer. As it turns out, there was no reason to be concerned…people in Ecuador continue to be friendly and helpful and multiple people pointed me in the direction of where I needed to go…one nice man even walked me directly to the bus company that would take me to Cuenca. Nice people in Ecuador. Very nice people.
I made it in one piece and had the good fortune of meeting a nice Dutch couple on the bus whom I’ve been having dinner with here in the great city of Cuenca for the past several nights. More on the Dutch couple and Cuenca to come later this week…a beautiful city is Cuenca. So far, my favorite place in Ecuador.
Once again, I have become concerned that I’m failing to properly educate my dearest Extravaganza readers so will leave you all with a few facts about Ecuador.
3 Extremely Intriguing Things You Did Not Know About Ecuador
The Panama hat is actually of Ecuadorian origin where it is known as “Sombrero de paja toquilla.”
95% of Ecuadorians are Roman Catholic….though Mormonism and other protestant denominations are gaining popularity.
Ecuador’s largest exports include: petroleum, bananas (world’s largest producer), shrimp, flowers (roses especially), and other primary agricultural products (including coffee). The coffee is especially ironic considering here in Ecuador we drink 100% Colombian instant. Ick.
Rio Muchacho basin – Canoa, Ecuador
Beach in Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador
Tags: 8 - Ecuador, Canoa, Cuenca, hammocks