Blogs from West, Ecuador, South America


South America » Ecuador » West » Puerto López June 16th 2014

My last week working at Hosteria Mandala was much more relaxing – Chantal returned from Switzerland and then Maja got back from vacation. I had my mornings free again. Since the tides shift 20-40 minutes later each day, I checked daily charts to plan the best time for dog-walking on the beach. A few times the ideal moment came before 7:00 am so, since I was generally awake anyway, I’d set off for an early morning stroll. When it’s low tide at that hour the broad stretch of hard-packed sand is full of walkers and joggers. Fun to see so many folks from the village turn out to take advantage of nature’s free gym! The downside of a.m. beach walks is the profusion of pesky sand fleas – I guess they wake up ravenous. Even wearing ... read more
cone of shame
Is it suppertime yet??
Doggie Dinnertime!

South America » Ecuador » West » Guayaquil May 3rd 2014

Sorry there haven't been any blogs for a while. We took a trip back to the States to get our taxes done, go through everything we left at our son Joe's house and of course visit as many friends as we could. It all started with a three and a half hour "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" through the Cajas National Park to get to Guayaquil for our flight to Miami. We were in a van with four other travelers and the driver. He makes this trip twice a day, so he doesn't waste any time. Cuenca sits at 8,500 feet elevation in the Andes Mountains and Guayaquil is at sea level, but you have to go up to 13,000 feet in the park before you descend down to the coast. We left at five PM, so ... read more
Waiting for our flight
Coming into Nashville

South America » Ecuador » West » Puerto López April 25th 2014

This is my 12th or 13thstint as substitute manager at Hosteria Mandala and this job continues to delight and challenge me every day -- never a dull moment - surprises around every corner! Even though it's supposedly low season, the hotel was completely full for my first three weeks back. Once they've arrived, many of the guests decide they want to stay longer than they originally reserved. Sometimes they have to switch rooms to make it work, so I shuffle incoming reservations and move folks around, the giant hand-drawn reservation sheets becoming a jigsaw puzzle with me struggling to make the pieces fit! It's the second time I've been sharing the job, which means my mornings have been free and I've taken full advantage of them! The first two weeks I had to make three trips ... read more
Reunion of Old Friends
Playa de Los Frailes
Marianne & Nena

South America » Ecuador » West » Canoa March 2nd 2014

To give you some background on the journal below we were volunteering at a ranch in Ecuador in exchange for a free place to stay. We were only required to work 2 hours per day. The ranch had recently been purchased by an English couple who needed people to look after the place until they were able to return from England. I absolutely loved my time at the ranch! March 30th, 2013 This morning we had a lovely breakfast of fried potatoes with onions, peppers and scrambled eggs, it was delicious. After breakfast we all agreed to forgo our 2 hours of work today and go to the beach in Canoa. We walked down the very muddy road to the paved road where we found a local woman waiting. She informed us that the bus had ... read more

South America » Ecuador » West » Canoa March 1st 2014

Ecuador ist das zweitkleinste Land des Kontinents, doch die Diversität hier ist unglaublich. Im Westen des Landes, an der Pazifikküste treffen sich die Fischer und Surfer an den traumhaften Stränden, in der Mitte sind die Anden mit aktiven Vulkanen über 6000 M.ü.M. und im Osten die gewaltigen Regenwälder mit Flüssen, die in den Amazonas münden. Genau so unterschiedlich wie die Landschaft ist auch die Bevölkerung, die in den jeweiligen Regionen leben. An der Küste geht alles ein bisschen länger und ohne Stress, die Hitze drückt und man liegt lieber in der Hängematte als sich ums Geschäft zu kümmern. Die "Serranos" (Bevölkerung aus den Bergen) sind dagegen konservativer und geschäftiger. 25 % der Bevölkerung sind "Indios" und leben ihre Kultur auch weiterhin, während es vor allem in Quito schon ganz westlich zu und her gehen kann. ... read more
Juampis Rockkonzert
Schweizer Spassgesellschaft :-)


South America » Ecuador » West » Guayaquil January 9th 2014

January 6,7,8 - 2014 Travel day from Isla Isabela by speed boat and the usual taxis, transfers etc to the Baltra Island airport through Puerto Ayora and on to Guayaquil. In hindsight, had we known, a better option would have been to take a small plane directly from Isla Isabel to Baltra. ( no need to revisit Puerta Ayora and a shorter travel day with fewer transfers and no 2 hour speed boat ride ) Arrived safe and sound in Guayaquil for nice dinner and a little rest. We can recommend a great restaurant – The Coracol Azul. Great place a short walk from the Oro Verde Hotel we stayed at. Great Hotel. First Class ! Tuesday we spent in Guayaquil. Took a long walk to the river and the “ Malecon” that follows the riverside. ... read more

South America » Ecuador » West » Canoa December 16th 2013

After 7 weeks of Spanish classes completed I was ready to explore a bit more of the Ecuadorian coast. I was fortunate enough to meet a lovely girl called Tatiana from Guayaquil the day I arrived to Montañita and over the past month and a bit we have stayed in contact and met up a few times too. It worked out quite well because she was working all of November but had December free as she is changing jobs but in the new year, she fancied some time on the beach and I was ready to finish Spanish classes so we decided to see some different places together. The first place we went to was Salinas in the south, Taty had been there before so that helped with finding a hostel etc.. we arranged to meet ... read more
Jetski time
Libertador Bolivar
Sea views

South America » Ecuador » West » Montañita December 15th 2013

So after returning back to Montañita from my weekend in Quito tired was not the word! I had taken the last flight back to Guayaquil and stayed the night in a hotel but got up at 4am to catch the 5am bus with the intention of going to my Spanish lesson as soon as I arrived....not a chance! I got back and could barely open my eyes so skipped class and went to bed for a few hours. Once I woke up I went to get some food when I bumped into Cam in the street near the hostel so said hello and went for some lunch together to catch up on the past few weeks. I had met Cam in Canada back in October and when I said I was heading to Ecuador to learn ... read more
View from Spanish School
Loki Hostel - Mancora
Cam, Merel and Dave

South America » Ecuador » West » Montañita December 2nd 2013

So I am now back in Ecuador 15 months after my last visit. It took a while to arrive from Vancouver as I had to fly via Seattle and Miami which included a 14hr wait in Miami airport but I eventually arrived and I was pleased to see a familiar face of Veronica waiting for me who was my tour guide in the Galapagos last year, she kindly agreed to pick me up from the airport even though I landed late and at 1 in the morning. I stayed the night in a hotel before catching the bus to Montañita the next day. I arrived in Montañita and everything seemed familiar even though I had only spent a long weekend there previously. The only thing that was different apart from a lot more hostels and restaurants ... read more
Montañita Spanish School
Las Cabañas
La Playa

South America » Ecuador » West » Guayaquil November 5th 2013

Today we had the hostel staff call for a van to take us, our two pets and 13 bags to Cuenca. The first van that arrived might have been able to get 6 bags in it. I told them to not even try. About 30 minutes later they sent a much larger van, and we got everything in it except for the two animal crates, which we had to tie to the roof of the van. I did not like this idea as it made us targets. When we stopped for gas before hitting the major road we saw that the crates on the roof were not going to last for long, so we wound up re-arranging everything inside and made room for them. When we were traveling up into the Cajas Mountains I was really ... read more

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