Last weekend, I visited the coast of Ecuador. Another WorldTeach volunteer, Jessica, and I left on Friday morning and returned to Riobamba on Monday evening. Long weekends are one of the blessings with having a late start date at our teaching site. It took 8 hours to get to Manta by bus, but was worth the long ride to experience the beach and the warm weather that goes with it. Also, I had an amazing day on Sunday, which I will tell you about shortly. There are two other WorldTeach volunteers living in Manta, Bridget and Angelika. Just like us, they are staying with host families. So, we gratefully stayed at the homes of their host families while we were there.
On Saturday, we visited the beach and swam in the ocean. For those of you who aren’t sure, it’s the Pacific Ocean. 🙂 (By the way, if you would have asked me a year ago what ocean was next to Ecuador, I probably would not have known.) The beach was fun and I even got a coconut to drink . . . and eat. Check out the picture. After you buy a coconut, the vendor cuts the top off with a machete so you can drink the coconut water with a straw. After you finish drinking, you take your coconut back to the vendor and he cuts it apart and gets out the “meat” for you to eat. Mmm . . . it is tasty, I must admit.On Saturday afternoon, Bridget and I relaxed at the house of her host family. In the early evening, we started talking about what activities we could do the next day. A few hours later – after a trip to an internet cafe, the bus station, and an ATM – we had a day trip planned to Isla de la Plata. Our plan was to leave Manta on a bus at 4:00AM, so we needed to head to bed early.
We arrived in Puerto Lopez bright and early on Sunday morning after our 2 1/2 hour bus ride. Shortly thereafter, we found a tour company and bought tickets for our day trip to Isla de Plata leaving at 9:30AM. You can click on the link to learn more about Isla de la Plata. However, it is also known as “The Poor Man’s Galapagos Island.” While the island was wonderful, I have to guess that The Galapagos Islands are much better. Regardless, we had a super day.
We took an hour boat ride to the island, which was amazing. I loved feeling the wind on my face and seeing the waves all around us. Next, we went on hike around the island to see some beautiful and rare birds living there. There were two species of birds present on the island: Blue-Footed Boobys and Fragatas. (As a side note, the name “Booby” is thought to originate from “Bobo” the Spanish word for clown.) The Blue-Footed Boobys were all over the place! As you can see from the pictures, the birds were always protecting their young . . . either eggs, day-old babies, or month-old babies. Look closely at the pictures to find the baby boobys! 🙂
After our hike, we had lunch on the boat and saw some sea turtles. This is the best picture I could get. After that, we snorkeled in the ocean. This was my favorite part by far! The fish in the ocean were amazingly colorful and beautiful. Here is a picture of some of the fish when they came to the surface. Unfortunately, this just gives you a glimpse of the incredible sights I saw underwater. If you’ve gone snorkeling before, you understand what I mean, I am sure.
Next, we took the boat ride back to Puerto Lopez and headed back to the bus station. At the bus station we found a bus going back to Manta and embarked on our 2 1/2 hour journey back to Bridget’s house.
There is one last thing I feel you might like to know about some bus rides in Ecuador. While on the bus, it is quite common for people to frequently get on and off the bus selling food and other items. For example, I saw people selling watermelon, pineapple, chicken, empanadas, bread, corn on the cob, water, juice, soda, and jewelery. So, here is a picture of the corn on the cob I bought. I figured that there aren’t enough opportunities in my life to buy corn on the cob on a bus, so I decided to take advantage. Now it’s your turn to answer the following food question.
- If you were on a bus ride in Ecuador, what favorite food would you most want people to sell to you? What would really hit the spot? (Reply to me in a comment please!)
As always, thanks for reading my blog and for being interested in this journey in Ecuador. Have a wonderful day! 🙂