26 April – 3 May
The aftershocks seem to be over for most bits, meaning I can finally head to the coast! I have been looking forward to this for a long time and after spending most of the past weeks in the mountains I cannot wait for some sun, sand and surf. On my way to Montañita the landscape changes dramatically as we cross high mountains, a national park with beautiful scenery, the biggest city in the country, banana- and rice fields and finally drive along the coast for the last hour of the busride.
I get to Montañita just in time to enjoy a wonderful sunset at the beach. Frank, Jose and I spend the night having a few drinks in the hostel’s garden before heading to town to play some pool and to check out Montañita’s nightlife. Due to the recent earthquake though, there are hardly visitors in town so things are rather quite.
After one day of chilling at the beach and enjoying another sunset, Frank and I rent two bicycles to head down the coast and to explore the neighbouring fishing villages as well as some very quite local beaches. We have a yummy seafood lunch with ocean view including prawn soup, a fresh lemonade and battered fish as the main. Life really cannot get much better than this.
Even though we don’t manage to get up at 7h00 to catch the best waves in the morning we rent a board and enjoy some good surf a little later. Since I have not been on a board in 2 years, my surfing skills need a little update so the first session rather feels like being inside a washing machine than anything else. However, after a few hours, things are progressing and we really enjoy the breaks here at the country’s best surf beach, even though my entire body gets sunburned and pretty sore.
Montañita used to be a tiny little fishing and surfing village back in the days. Nowadays though, it’s all about targeting and meeting the needs of thousands of backpackers from all parts of the world, meaning you can only find hostels, bars, restaurants, souvenir shops, tour operators and street food/street cocktail places in this little village. It must be crazy most of the year but right now it is very quite due to recent events, which is both, very tranquil and enjoyable but a little strange at the same time as many places are literally dead. One day passes by after the other just chilling on the beach, surfing, enjoying the hammocks at the hostel and watching sunsets. It feels good just to chill out without doing too much for a few days.
On our last day, we have one of the best surf session in the early morning before Frank and I check out a little village called Salango, 30 minutes north of Montañita. It has a pretty and very quite beach framed by rough cliffs that call for some snorkeling. Unfortnetely, the visibility is extremely poor so it’s hard to see much even though it is a sunny and incredibly hot day.
We head back and watch one last sunset on the Ecuadorian coast. My stay here in Ecuador slowly but surely comes to an end after spending exactly one month in this exciting and very diverse country full of surprises and adventures. I have really had a wonderful time here, meeting great people, strolling around interesting markets, wandering through colonial cities, hiking dramatic trails, mountainbiking volcanos, surviving the jungle, visiting the middle of the world and surfing perfect waves.
Muchas gracias Ecuador, and goodbye for now…