Plenty of surf but no sun in Canoa

Yesterday was a long, uneventful travel day, in spite of sleeping in and missing the 6:00 bus (doh!). No worries, we caught the 7:00 bus instead.  It took 9 hours and 3 buses to travel 340 km from Mindo to Canoa, via Santo Domingo and Pedernales at a cost of $10.50 each.  This was 99% bus time as we connected immediately with each bus – with no more than five minutes to spare each time – pure luck on our part I assure you.  Turns out the buses we took were doing the “milk run”, stopping in every single little town along the way.

This was a great opportunity to see the landscape change from the tropical cloud forest of the foothills, to flat, fertile farmland as we approached Santo Domingo.  We saw fields of banana trees and other fruit trees that we did not recognize. As we approached the coast, the land became hilly again but was still very lush and tropical.  At the coast, the land transformed to arid terrain.   We passed by forests of bamboo trees and noticed that almost everything is constructed from bamboo in rural areas – houses, fences, and furniture.

We caught a glimpse of life in  the small villages and the rural countryside. The following photos were taken from the bus along the way.  Notice the motorcycle in the second photo below carrying a family of four:  young daughter in the front, father, and mother in the back holding a baby.  This is a common scene everywhere.   After a while, all the towns and villages started to look the same.

We arrived in Canoa at 4:00 in the afternoon, well before dark.  I must admit that every time we are dropped off in a new town, my reaction is always the same – oh my god, now what?  The photo to the left is one of the main streets of Canoa.

This is a sleepy, laid back town at the best of times; it is now off season and the town is virtually dead.  There’s a handful of gringos in town, but not enough to keep all the businesses open.  Most of the open air shacks on the beach are closed up and won’t open again until November when the holiday season begins.

We didn’t have a hostel reservation this time, although we had researched a few hostels ahead of time.  It would have been helpful if we had written down the names of these places.  As we made our way towards the beach (many hostels were on the beach) we were trying hard to remember the names – was that Baloo or Baboo?  Coco something or other?

Didn’t matter as once we reached the beach, there was an abundance of hostels to choose from.  We looked at a couple – carrying all our gear limited our ability and desire to spend much time looking at different places – and settled on CocoLoco, a hostel that oozed cool but was perhaps a little low on comfort.

The hostel owners were taking advantage of the low season and were doing some renovation work and repairs to the place.  There’s a few other guests – a group from Poland and a few Americans.  The owner, Elizabeth, a native Alaskan, bought this place four years ago and has settled here with her family – husband, eight-year old son and a six-month old baby girl, Sophia .   When we arrived to look at a room, she had just made some yummy hors d’oeuvres and insisted we try them out – I’m sure that was her tactic to lure us into choosing her hostel.  Well it worked!  Elizabeth’s warmth and hospitality won us over, and we didn’t regret our choice for a minute. I’m going to show her how to make my pancakes tomorrow morning – that’s the kind of place this is.

Our room is on the second floor, in the corner.

This is the view from our balcony:

Today we explored the town (took about 10 minutes to walk the whole town) and the beach.  We have eaten seafood fresh from the sea for every meal since we arrived – delicious!

It has been cloudy ever since we arrived, and very windy.  But the temperature is comfortable – probably low 20’s celsius.  We thought it would be warmer, maybe when (if) the sun comes out it will warm up.  The temperature of the ocean is like bathwater.  We’ll have to go for a swim tomorrow, and I’m thinking of taking some surfing lessons.  This beach is reputed to be an excellent location to learn to surf – there is no rip tide, the waves are not too big and are always present.  Tonight the moon is out, so we’re hoping for a sunny day tomorrow.

Category: Ecuador, South America
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2 Responses
  1. Connie and Yves says:

    Hi guys! Very cool hostel in Canoa! You must love it there. How did your pancakes turn out? I’m sure they loved it. Did you manage to surf yet? I’d love to hear how that turned out. All’s well here in Ottawa. Loving your blog and checking in every day. What kind of seafood have you been having and how much does it cost you? I’m just amazed and what you pay and what we charge at Red Lobster. Hope to hear from you soon. Take care.

  2. Christina says:

    Hi Connie

    Haven’t been surfing yet – will probably do that next week. Chris doesn’t want to do it and I can’t talk him into it so it’ll just be me. We’re also planning to go horse back riding next week with the owner of our hostel. She has a ranch outside of town and takes people out on rides that go through some little villages and then you return along the beach. Doesn’t that sound great! Last night we ate mahi mahi (a tuna steak), with salad and mashed potatoes for $5. Most meals cost about that much in this town. We’ve been eating lots of shrimp too – all for the same price. And you can’t get any fresher – the local fishermen return from sea at the end of the day and then walk to the restaurants along the beach to sell their catch. Glad top hear you guys are all doing well in Ottawa. Give a hug to Ryan and Renee for us.