Having spent almost a year traveling Mexico and Central America, we have had our fill of beach time and since we left Colombia, our desire to be on the coast is minimal. So we debated if we would even visit the coast of Ecuador. Since the country is small (in South American standards) and diesel cost $1.03 a gallon here, we decided we might as well check it out.
We spent our first night boondocking on a beach where it was just us and a few fisherman. It was peaceful, but very cool and grey. We were visiting during Ecuador’s winter, and even though we were close to the equator, the water was California cold. In fact, the misty cool weather reminded us of the beaches in California in the winter.
Machalilla National Park
We woke up the next day to sun! Wanting to take advantage of the nice day we headed to Machalilla National Park, where the beach Los Frailes is, supposedly one of the prettiest in Ecuador. One thing that surprised me was how dry the coast was. I was expecting the coast to be more lush and tropical, but is had a desert feel to it. I am sure during the rainy season it is much greener.
After our sunny days in the national park, we headed to our final coastal stop, the whale watching city of Puerto Lopez. September is peak season for migrating and breeding humpbacks, and this bay is famous for its whale watching. It also has one of the most beautiful camp grounds for overlanders that we have been to yet. When we arrived we were happy to see four of our Swiss friends were there, so we got to spend a few days whale watching together, sitting around a campfire at night overlooking the bay and celebrating Marcus’s Birthday.
One day a group of us went whale watching. It took over an hour to see our first whales and we were all getting worried we would not see anything. Suddenly we started seeing two whales breaching over and over. It was difficult to take pictures because it was so amazing, you did not want to look through the camera. We all just sat there with our mouths open in awe. Sam got a few good ones of the whales jumping, but no picture can capture the emotion of seeing these massive, beautiful creatures throw themselves out of the water. It was another memory that will stay with me always.
For the last few weeks we have been going back and forth on if we should go to the Galapagos. September is not the best time of year to visit, the cold water currents are flowing and the seas are rough. There is also more fog and rain. In Puerto Lopez we finally decided that we would regret it if we did not go so we agreed if we could find a cheap flight we would go. I found airfare from Guayaquil for $250 a person round trip. It was so cheap, we looked at each other and said, LET”S DO IT!
So get ready for our next post on the spectacular Galapagos islands!!!!