A Travellerspoint blog


day 108

mancora --> quito

The past 3 weeks at Kokopelli in Mancora were indescribably relaxing. Everyday was beautiful and sunny, there was one bad day and that was only because it was cloudy. Work wasnt work at all. It was making drinks, eating food, talking to people, and occasionally making drinks and ordering food for them. When I didnt have work I would spend the day by the pool, at the beach, or in my favorite hammock at the Loki hostel down the road. Perfect weather, amazing people, not a bad life.. The nights were fun, at Loki and Kokopelli there were events almost every night like beer pong, trivia, power hour, or just parties. After the hostel bars would close everyone would go to the beach where there were a few clubs.

Louie flew into Quito on Christmas night and the plan was to leave Mancora late Christmas Eve/Christmas morning to meet him at the airport but that didnt end up happening. I went to get my bus ticket on the 23rd and the guy at the office told me there were no buses running on the 24th or 25th.... eek. Was a little nervous about how things were going to work out, but I went back the next day and the woman told me that of course there was a bus leaving on Christmas. It actually ended up working out pretty well, had one more day in mancora and was able to spend christmas with friends rather than on a bus.

The bus ride turned out to be one of the best ones Ive been on. Got on at 11pm, passed out, woke up at the border two hours later, was the first person to get my passport stamped, got back on the bus and fell back asleep (apparently after me the computer got screwed up and it took an hour for the rest of the bus to get their stamps), woke up at 6am in Guayaquil to change buses, fell back asleep, woke up when we stopped for a meal around 1030am, then fell back asleep til we arrived in Quito. There was a Dutch couple on the bus that also left from Mancora so we did everything together and amazingly the hostel they were going to was one street away from mine so we were able to share a taxi.

Now Im with Louie!! Pretty exciting, I cant believe it. And I cant believe Lauren will be down here in two weeks as well. We didnt do anything last night, we were both pretty tired, just got food, played a game of pool (hard to decide who is better...), then went to sleep. The hostel we are at, Vibes, is pretty cool, there is a huge lounge area with a massive TV, pool table, fooseball, and bar. The only thing that was shitty was this Russian dude who hogged the computer the whole time. I will refrain from ranting although its really hard to resist. He was soo annoying.

Anyways, today was kind of stressful because we had to figure out our next move. The plan was to go to Banos for a couple days, then head to Montanita for new years, then stop in Mancora on the way down to Lima. Well apparently the volcano in Banos can erupt at any time so we could potentially be evacuated at any time. And Montanita is where everyone is going to for New Years so if you dont have a reservation you probably wont find one. Scrambled to find one with no luck, then decided it wouldnt be worth it to try and go anyways... literally going to be 5000 people on a beach/in a town that consists of.... 3 maybe 4 streets? So we figured we would cut our losses and just go straight to Mancora. Finding a place there online has proven just as difficult, but the chances of things working out there are much more likely. So thennn we had to find a bus. We went to three different offices, none of which had a ticket to where we wanted to go. Stress levels were rising but the fourth place we went to had a bus for us. Thank god. So bus tickets are booked for 9pm tonight.

AFter figuring that out we went to TeleferiQo which is a 4000 m high viewpoint of all of Quito. Quito is hugeeeee, it stretches for ages. It was beautiful. And now we are back at the hostel killing time until our bus tonight.

Im so stoked to go back to Mancora !! Should get off the computer, dont want to pull a Mr. Russia

Posted by alexascamp 13:36 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

day 79

ecuador coast

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.

Posted by alexascamp 19:12 Archived in Ecuador Comments (3)

day 68

lima, mancora, ecuador

The bus ride to lima suckeddddd. It was about 21 hours total. We picked the front 4 seats on the bus because those tend to be the best ones.... of course the one time we actually get them they turn out to be literally the worst seats. Reclining the seats made the bottom of the seat slanted so it was really uncomfortable, and the whole drive was windy because it was through the Andes. Didnt matter to the bus driver though apparently because he was whizzing around the curves. But we finally made it.

We only spent one night in Lima. Maddys friend Amanda is studying there so she and her roomie showed us around. Star and I were still recovering from the busride basically the whole time we were in Lima. The others went out in Barranco, we slept for like 12 hours. They ate delicious ceviche, we ate kinda gross potatoes and chicken. They went to a water fountain garden, we watched TV.

Next stop was Trujillo, a beach city like 8 hours north of Lima. We got there early morning and took a taxi to Huanchaco which was a sleepy little beach town about 10 minutes away. Great place, really relaxed, literally all there is to do is go to the beach. Our hostel was right across the street from the beach so we dropped our stuff there and spent the rest of the day at the beach. And taking pictures with people who were fascinated by us. Met some pretty cool people, including a couple from Cape Town who had some great travel stories. We only spent one night at the hostel, but it was pretty much our base the whole time we were there. Watched the election there with the receptionist who was wasted and freaking out about Obama losing. Then left our stuff there and went to camp on the beach. Right after we set up our tent a po came by and told us we couldnt camp there and we had to go to theend of the beach, so we literally just pickd up the tent and walked ten minutes with it to where we could camp. Woke up and got surf boards from the hostel, but it wasnt very successful. The waves were way too powerful.

We went from Trujillo to Mancora (took a while to find a bus though, almost had to spend the night in Trujillo), which was AMAZING. It was actual paradise. Beautiful weather, incredible hostel literally on the beach. So much fun it was hard to leave. Small town otherwise, basically one main street. Really chill vibes. We were there for 3 nights but we didnt do too much besides sit by the pool during the day and go out at night. Literally every day we said we were going to do something, go see the turtles, go surfing, go to the lighthouse to watch sunset, but none of those things ever happened. We were toooo relaxed. The hostel we stayed at was really nice, it was only 12 dollars a night but would have been at least 50 or 60 in the states. The people there were cool too so overall it was just a really fun time. Best story was Maddy and a homie getting encountering police on the beach that made them pay 100 soles (like 40 bucks) only to find out after that they werent real police. Michelle made friends with basically all the artisanas there. Lots of cheap beer and delicious cheap food. My nose ring fell out. Star and I dominated at beer pong. That pretty much sums it up our time there.

From Mancora we took a 16 or so hour bus to Quito. We stayed with Mich and Stars family there for a couple nights. Awesome people, great family. So generous and kind, they treated us too well. Made us so much good food... arroz con leche, plantan chips, soup, ceviche, empanadas. We stayed with their tia, who lived below their prima and her family. Every night their tio Hyme would come over to hang out and be on his blackberry. We went out one night with two other primos which was a lot of fun, besides the creeper who would not stop bothering me. Quito is like a big version of Cusco, definitely has more ofa big city feel. So much traffic. It was beautiful though. The weather was so unpredictable. there was sun, clouds, rain, thunder and lightening, humidity, the works. We spent the first day just chilling at the house. Next day we went with their tio washington and tia judy to the thermal baths. Or at least thats where we were headed, but the road was closed so we went to el mitad del mundo instead (3rd unsuccessful attempt to go to thermal baths, clearly we are not destined to go). The equator was cool, but it wasnt the actual equator, which was interesting. The real one is apparently a lot less touristy. The third day we were there we explored Quito, went to the Presidents Palace, wandered some of the craft markets and went to la ronda to drink candeleza, a warm drink which was interesting. We had hot wine later that night which was delicious.

Now we are making our way down the coast. We are in Atacames now, got here last night. Checked into a hostel acros the street from the beach. There are bars/cabanas all along the beach. Constant loud music, huge beach, lots of people. The water is soooo nice, we went in last night and it was legitimately warm. It was a fun but long night, we didnt wake up til 2 today. Went straight to the beach to get ceviche which was so delicious. And now Im here. Its so hot. Its not that sunny, just hot. Gotta get off the comp, been on for toooo long. I cant believe ive been here for 68 days. Time is flyinggggg

Posted by alexascamp 14:16 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

(Entries 1 - 3 of 3) Page [1]