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Published: April 7th 2008
I want to taste dirty.
We went hiking up this trail to get to a watchtower. Slippery as hell. It had just rained and the mud is as slippery as it looks. It has a nice sheen to it on the ground. A bit like clay in texture. Needless to say, there were a few mudfights, I tried to slide down on my stomach, and...things got messy. The title is a quote from an Alice In Chains song if anyone wants to take a guess at which song it might be. Anyone?
So, It's been a while. I've definitely neglected to write a blog on the trip down the Ruta del Sol for a long time. No matter. It's time. Let's see, where to begin. The Ruta del Sol is a large stretch of the coast of Ecuador that begins in Puerto Cayo and ends in Salinas. It's a big attraction to tourists and Ecuadorians, people from the sierra drool when they hear about it, and people on the coast...well, most get to enjoy it quite a bit. It has a lot of really, really nice beaches, most of the touristy beaches in Ecuador, though there's some in Esmeraldas and maybe southern, southern Ecuador too. Somehow Ruta del Sol gets all the credit beachwise though. More about Ruta del Sol...umm, it contains the famous beaches of Puerto López, Los Frailes, Montañita, and Salinas. Puerto López is where everyone goes to watch whales, as well as Isla de la Plata. Los Frailes is supposedly one of the most beautiful beaches in South America, a virgin beach that's very cool. Montañita is the beach where all the "hippies" hang out. Salinas...is just like...La Serena kind of. It's got a really, really long stretch of beach
First few months I was here. Dry as hell. I like the contrast with the next photo taken from almost the exact same place.
with modern hotels on it, and is really touristy. Yeah. So, we began in Crucita, which is like...an hour or two above Puerto Cayo, but no biggie. Crucita is a nice beach. Pretty long, and has some cool cliffs. It has some really big waves during the winter, as we found out when we got there. We got there, and there were these big waves and of course, body surfing being something that I really like, as well as Lukas, and Simon, and the rest, we decided we had to try to get up on some of those waves. So, we swam out, it was difficult, but we were good swimmers. We caught some of the waves, went out, we were tired, rested up, and then Lukas and I went out again to get out to where the big ones broke. We were swimming along, the waves towered above us, we dived under, even got up on top of a large wave and got a birds eye view of everyone, and finally got out to past where the broke. Lukas and I were swimming back, just about to get on a wave when we see this boat coming towards us.
To Ecuador in the winter
Hot, humid, and wet as hell. Quite a change from the previous photo.
Apparently everyone on the beach was freaking out, thinking we were going to drown. So...yeah. Needless to say, we got back to the beach on the boat and the WHOLE beach was there waiting for us. Some of our friends were freaked out, and...yeah....That was the end of any decent body surfing on the trip. What else, we were staying in Manta the whole time. Actually, I think we went to Manta first, then maybe got back up to Crucita the second day. Yeah. That's it. Manta is Ecuador's second most important port I think, right after Guayaquil. Lots of fish processing there, canning, stuff like that. Factories for coffee are right outside the city in Montecristi. Ah, we also went to Montecristi. Montecristi is the birthplace of Eloy Alfaro, the best president Ecuador has ever had, who everyone is crazy about. It also happens to be the place where the Assembly meets. There was a lot of crazy stuff happening there a few months ago when Correa, the president, and the Asamblea Nacional Constituyente dissolved the Congreso Nacional del Ecuador because the Congreso Nacional was really, really corrupt. So there's a very large building for that there as well
as a building dedicated to Eloy Alfaro. It's also THE town where Panama hats are made. Lots and lots of hats. As well as a lot of other crafts are made there. We stayed at a pretty cool hotel in Manta. The beach did have quite a few rocks in the water, so it wasn't really a bodysurfing beach unfortunately. It was cool though. What next, after Manta we headed down to somewhere near Puerto López and Machalilla National Park, a very outdoorsy kind of place, little open cabins, no screens, mosquito nets, stuff like that. The hotel had its own stretch of beach, really nice, and there was some island off in the distance. It was pretty cool. The Park was amazing. We went to Los Frailes, which is this amazing virgin beach. It was sprinkling, and humid, and the water was amazingly cool. The water also had a really nice blue color. It was a bit strange being the only ones on the beach, but definitely fun. We also got to go hiking up to a vantage point on a hill overlooking the ocean and the other bays of the park. Unfortunately, the rain and humidity had turned
This is like, the principle touristy beach of Manta I believe. I like this photo a lot. It was kind of a darky, really windy day. Gloomy is the word.
the mud into a really, really, really, slippery path. Kind of dangerously slippery since there were places where there were pretty steep drops. Yeah. The mud definitely spawned some interesing experiences. Mud fights, my shoes built up a layer of mud on the bottom about 2 inches think, so it was like walking on platform sandals. I also attempted to slide down one of the wetter looking parts. It didn't work quite as I hoped, but it was fun all the same. We also had the opportunity to visit the Isla de La Plata which was off the shores of Puerto Lopez. It was like, an hours boat ride out, and then it was like, 3 hours of walking and an hour of snorkeling. The walk was pretty fun. There were lots of birds, and caterpillars. The seals were no shows. Snorkeling was quite fun, I'd never done that before. There was some coral on the bottom and lots of little colored fish. Pretty fun stuff. Let's see, we didn't see any whales, wasn't the season. Ha. After Puerto López it was a string of beaches in one day, it was Olón, Montañita, Salinas, and then onto Guayaquil, which isn't
Hmm, Italian sailor thinking about someone he lost at sea as the wind ruffles his hair...I don't know. I have 3 photos like this of different people and I like them.
technically part of Ruta del Sol. Needless to say, I didn't see much of the beaches we crammed into that one day. I didn't like that, but whatever. In Guayaquil it was off to a more modern hotel, something similar to what you'd find in the US, like Holiday Inn or something. We went to a discoteca one night, and then visited some of the more touristy sights. Quite fun stuff. I'm really out of more stuff to write here. A lot of the trip was more like...you had to be there, no big stories or anything. A large part of the trip was just about being with friends I hadn't seen for a long time, talking for hours at a time, relaxing, hanging out. The beaches are really amazing, but I can only describe so much. So yeah, that was the trip. Let's see, it was raining like crazy when we got back. The streets really flood when it rains. Sometimes there's like a foot of water in the downtown area. Patricia gave me the wonderful demonstration of how to kill and prepare a pigeon. That's about all. Oh, and the crazy obsession with sweeping stuff in Ecuador. Yep.
This is a virgin beach in the National Park Machalilla. I guess that this beach is one of the best in South America. The Park itself has loads of archeological sites as well. Pretty cool place.
Well, another blog coming shortly, if I can ever load the photos. Take care ya'll.
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