After leaving the dizzying heights of Machu Picchu & Cusco, we bussed to Guayaquil in Ecuador; this was broken up with 2 days in Lima as 2 long bus rides at over 20 hours each were not a pleasant prospect. This did give us chance to rest between the journeys, and have one final catch up lunch with Ian and Susan before they headed back to the UK.
We crossed the border into Ecuador and were immediately hit with the wall of heat this country is famous for. Ecuador translates as Equator in Spanish. (I didn’t know that until my translator informed me). We stayed one night in Guayaquil before heading up the Pacific coastal road to see the lovely beaches we’d been promised.
We had about 3 weeks until our flights to Galapagos from Quito so we knew our time frame and aimed to see as many lovely coastal fishing villages as possible.
Our first beach town was Olon, about 3 hour bus ride out of Guayaquil, although very peaceful (being the off-season) it was almost like a ghost town, we were even the only guests in our hostel. So, 3 days later we upped sticks again and moved to the next town up called Ayampe with the intention of staying 2 or 3 nights before continuing up the coast and making our way inland towards Quito.
However, the beauty of not making plans too far in advance is that if you find a little spot of paradise, you don´t have to move on & if you find a hell hole, you can jump ship quicker. And with Ayampe, paradise was found.
Ayampe is a simple little community with dirt roads, half a dozen little restaurants, two or three corner shops. It was the closest I’d felt to “remote” on this trip. Our hostel still had all the amenities we required including wifi to stay in touch and for Ruth to be able to work so it was not isolated but still very tranquil.
After spending the first day wandering the little town for a place to stay, we chose Cabanas de Iguanas, run by a Colombian family who welcomed us into their home with open arms. This was an idyllic setting just 1 block from the beach (as most buildings are here) set in a beautiful tropical garden full of fruit trees, hummingbirds and colourful flowers throughout.
We really did have our “holiday” in Ayampe, as after 4 months in mostly landlocked or Andean countries we were itching for some soft sandy beaches. And the beach here in Ayampe did not disappoint, indeed it was golden & sandy, ideal for lazing on with a book, having a splash in the warm Pacific Ocean, grabbing a surf board, chasing crabs on the shore line, looking at wierd rock pool creatures.
Nearly 3 weeks lazily went by in hammocks, made some lovely friends there and like I said, this is the beauty of not planning too far in advance.
Most days all we could hear were just the ocean waves and the hummingbirds in the tropical garden surroundings. Total serenity. We loved it here, the only way we would ever want to leave is if we had to be somewhere even more special to visit, like say the Galapagos for example…