We spent a few days in Atacames doing nothing but hanging out by the beach, eating ceviche, and wandering along the beach/bars at night. It was a lot of fun, really relaxing. Our next stop was Canoa, we had to take 3 different buses to get there which in total was about 7 hours I think.
Canoa was a much sleepier version of Atacames. There wasnt loud music blasting all day, and there werent bars lined along the beach, but there was ceviche and a huge beach to spend the day at. We spent the first night in a hostel, made breakfast in the morning, then checked out and into a campsite around the corner. Camping has been a lot of fun the only thing is that theres never a place for us to just be. So we end up occupying random places, usually restaurants. We spent the day on the beach but it was kind of cold (we didnt really see sun all along the coast, it was nice in Atacames, just not sunny. Canoa was nice but got cold later in the day), so we moved to a restaurant and spent the evening reading, getting drinks and food, and just hanging out there til we wanted to go to sleep. We decided to move on to our next stop the following day because it was the middle of the week and there literally wasnt anything happening in Canoa. It was a nice town though, would have liked to spend more time there in the sun /when it was livelier.
Our plan was to spend a night camping on a beach near in Machalila, but when the bus dropped us off there we found out it was closed. So we hopped on another bus towards Montanita (another beach town further south), we had to connect to another bus which ended up being the same bus we were originally on... everyone recognized us and it was kind of embarassing because Im sure they were all wondering why we got off when we did. Anyways, finally made it to Montanita after another 3 buses totalling 8 hours.
We spent a week in Montanita. Loved everything about it except for mosquitos that ate us alive. We spent one night in a hostel because they told us there was hot water (which there wasnt). Moved the next day to a campsite which was the coolest campsite weve stayed at. There were a lot of people there, 2 hammocks, clean bathrooms, basically a luxury campsite.
Montanita is an awesome little town. Its pretty much a beach, one main street, and a couple streets perpendicular to it. Lots of artisanas, lots of tourists, but everyone was awesome, super friendly. Even just after a couple days of being there we would walk down the street and run into new friends. We actually ran into two Spanish dudes we met in Atacames so we ended up making Thanksgiving dinner with them at their hostal. Their hostel was super chill and the people were good fun so Star and Maddy moved there from the campsite and I followed suit after another night of camping. All in all Montanita was basically the same things we had been doing all along the coast just in a different place... lots of ceviche (had it everyday, at first we were going to this one place that was superrr cheap, ceviche for 4 dollars and daily special meals for only a dollar fifty. Then michelle went to the bathroom and saw things a customer doesnt want to see in a kitchen so we stopped going there...), beach days (although not very sunny, but the water was soo nice), and just lots of chilling in general. We were going to go snorkeling one day but we woke up too late, and we were supposed to go horseback riding but the guy stood us up twice, and the third time we stood him up. We made chocolate chip cookies to sell one day, spent 14 dollars on the ingredients, made a round of 17 cookies then went out to sell them and the girl who worked at the hostal told us we werent allowed to use the kitchen to make things to sell. But she let us sell the ones we had already made so we made a grand profit of 1 dollar each. But then we got to eat the rest of the cookies we made for free so cant really complain.
Trying to think of other things to report.... nothing too exciting has happened though. Weve basically just been enjoying our last days together. We left Montanita yesterday and are in Cuenca now, a city more inland. Michelle ran into her friend Drew in Montanita so he came with us here. Were parting ways on Friday though, Drew and I are headed to Mancora and Mich Maddy and Estrella are headed to Banos and then Quito before flying home looking forward to a new experience but definitely gonna miss my travel buddies.
Today we actually woke up early (730) and made it to the bus station to catch a 9am bus to Ingapirca, the biggest ruins in Ecuador. Originally inhabited by Canaris but taken over by the Incas.. we got a guide for free and it was really interesting. The ruins were beautiful. Its amazing what people hundreds of years ago created. It was a two hour bus ride there and back, and on the way back there was a hugeee thunderstorm, like visible rods of lightening, crazy loud thunder, and lots of hail. It was crazy but by the time we were back in Cuenca it had subsided so we managed to get some much needed food without getting drenched. The rest of the day weve just spent hanging out. We went in search of a film festival but couldnt find it so ended up just going to a restaurant then a hookah bar. And now Im here.
Its really hard to translate everything Im seeing, experiencing, and learning through a blog. The people Ive met and the kindness and friendliness theyve shown is indescribable. The way people live here is so different than at home, life isnt about making as much money as possible or being the best, its about meeting people, learning new things, doing what satisfies you and ultimately just living life. Life is so much simpler and easier to enjoy. Im only halfway through my travels but even now just thinking about home is crazy. When I went to South Africa I had more culture shock coming back home than going there, and I know its going to be the exact same but even more so when I come home in 3 months. Its gonna be weird. But I am stoked to go to my favorite food places, we talk about the food we want from home a lotttt.