Just south of Puerto Cayo lies Puerto Lopez. It was a larger, busier town than Cayo, which seemed like a ghost town. We enjoyed walking along it’s beach (also peppered with litter) and it’s very nice pier and eating at our favorite cabaña, Cafe Normita. Each little cabaña had hammocks to lounge on and enjoy a cocktail or fresh jugo (juice) or batido (a fruit and sweetened condensed milk smoothie). We went to Cafe Normita so many times the waitress knew our names and they enjoyed passing Miss P around. The girls are quite popular wherever we go in Ecuador, and the Pacific Coast proved to be no different. I even saw several Ecuadorians snapping photos of our little muñecas (dolls).
We also explored some of the area between the two towns, specifically Los Frailes and Agua Blanca. Los Frailes is a crescent shaped beach that is part of the Machalilla National Park which meant it was a much cleaner beach. I sat with the girls on the beach while Cory further explored the rocky shore below the cliffs. There were colorful sea urchins, crabs and coral. The entry to this part of the park was free and it is definitely worth visiting just to enjoy a nearly litter-free beach.
Miss E briefly went for a swim with dad but she was unimpressed with the waves. As she came running back to me she stopped and seemed to spit on her arm. I was puzzled by this action until she told me daddy was going for a quick ‘spit’. I said, “I think he meant a quick dip.”
The other stop in Machalilla was at Agua Blanca, a natural sulfur spring. Now, I’m not much for bathing in a stinky pond, no matter how much it helps your skin, but there was much more to this place. The cost is $5 per person (the girls were free). Our first stop was a small archaeological museum. The are is rich in archeological findings dating back to 1500-2000 B.C! At the museum, Julio, our guide greeted us and explained many of the artifacts to us in Spanish, some of which I actually understood. He then stayed with us, guiding us across somewhat difficult terrain, including steep dirt steps and a nearly dry riverbed. Of course I picked that day to forget Miss P’s baby carrier! We also got to see some of the excavation site, the local village of bamboo huts, and the sulfur spring. Cory and Miss E took a dip while Miss P and I rested in one of the hammocks. There were many animals to see that Julio pointed out to us. From local farm animals, like chickens, horses, goats and cows to wild animals, like lizards and birds galore. If you’re a bird watcher, this is the place to go!
As you can tell, the coast is rich with history, culture and scenery beyond just the beach. There was so much for us to explore and enjoy.
Here are a few more photos from the surrounding coastal areas.
Miss E is just like her mommy, leery of public restrooms. We have a portable potty and she will ask to use it sometimes in favor of the public bathrooms. Cory happened to pull off at this lovely overlook when she requested a bathroom break. Not too bad a view.
On our way home we took a different route down the Ruta del Spondylus, formerly the Ruta del Sol. I’d say my favorite was the area surrounding the hip surfing village, Montañita and the Ayumpe rainforest. I wish we’d had time to stop and photograph and explore the area but eight to nine hours is a long enough trip! Further south it felt as if we were in a dessert. There was nothing but the brown of the dirt, a few yellowed leaves on the plants and the contrasting blue ocean, that disappeared behind us as we drove east toward Guayaquil.