Arriving in Ecuador, we were greeted by grey skies and humid weather, we were out of season so we were told the weather wasn’t going to be great. The bus dropped us off at Guaquill late at night, we’d read in the lonely planet book that it was a dangerous place, numerous robbings at the bus station, people taking your cash after withdrawing from the cash point (the usual basically). Anyway we didn’t have a clue where we were staying, luckily we bumped into an English backpacker, and basically hijacked his night, asked him where he was staying, then jumping in a taxi with him.
We didn’t see much of the city only from what we saw from the back of a taxi, as the next morning, we were up early and back to the bus station to jump on a bus to the coast, to Montanita.
Montanita is notorious for its surf and its party town atmosphere. After a four hour bus ride we arrived, and trudged down the main road with our bags to find our accommodation. The place was a traditional Ecuadorian house, made completely of wood, and basically felt like it was going to fall down at any moment, but it was near to the beach so was perfect for two nights.
During our stay we’d made contact with lottie and Jirin, and they were on our way to Montanita to meet us. On their arrival we moved to new accommodation across the way, right on the beach, where we had out own outdoor space and cooking facilties, so we could all chill and watch films, play cards and drink together – it was a nice few days. Tom got a surf board and I soaked up the very intermittent sun.
From Montanita we all went up to Las Tuna, about a 30minute bus journey North, Lottie had managed to bag some free accommodation off someone they’d met and we were able to camp on the premises, close to the beach… Las Tunas is a very small, non-touristy town, so it was nice to be in good company, and we wiled away the hours, drinking and eating… and the boys surfed.
On our final day in Las Tunas we took a bus ride into Puerto Lopez, as we needed to book our bus tickets to Quito for that night. The town was an active fishing port, with huge amounts of catch dropped onto the beach, sharks, tuna, you name it, it was on that beach.
Saying a fond farewell to Lottie and Jirin, we jumped on our bus, an 8 hour journey to Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Arriving on the south side, we then had to navigate the trolley (an electric bus) into the centre, hard work when you have all your bags. Anyway after an hour, we got off and walked to our hotel. I’d caught a nasty cold, so I wasn’t up for doing a great deal, so we used some of the time to catch up on work. We visited the old town, with its colonial buildings and buildings which scattered the mountain sides. We also got to try a ‘Llapingacho’, a potato like pancake filled with cheese, it was delicious!
Leaving Quito we headed to Banos, located at the foot of the Tungurahua volcano, famous for its waterfalls and hot springs. Still feeling poorly, I was good for nothing, having checked into our hostel, Tom nipped out and brought back a pizza and went to the pharmacy to stock up on tablets to hopefully make me feel better. After a walk around the town to take in the sites, we picked up a bus to take us to Riobamba.
Now from what we read Riobamba was supposed to be a lovely university town, it was far from that! The accommodation we stayed in wasn’t particularly nice, and their wasn’t a great deal to do, we were going to do the famous ’nosebleed’ train – one of the highest trains in the world, however further research revealed it was a major tourist trap and not very good, so we decided to forego the idea.
After a night in Riobamba we got a bus to Cuenca, another town famous for its colonial architecture, we mainly used the time to catch up on work and get on top of things, however we manged to take a look around the old town, albeit raining, whilst indulging in some delights from the local pandereria. We then booked onto an overnight bus back to Peru, back to Mancora – it’s up their with one of the worst buses we’ve taken, potholes made up the entire road and the bus driver insisted on driving like a maniac, safe to say we got no sleep, as our heads were thrown around like a rag dolls.
Ecuador doesn’t fill us with fond memories, as we had nothing but bad things happen to us. On the bus there, Tom lost his kindle, then when leaving Quito on the trolley, my phone was pick pocketed out of Tom’s pocket, then the next day on a bus journey, someone pulled my bag from under my seat and stole 300 dollars, whilst I slept from being ill. That said, we just wanted to hot foot it out of Ecuador as quick as we could, so I am unable to give a true representation of Ecuador. Hopefully, knocking on wood, that’s our bad luck streak over with.