20.04.2012 - 28.04.2012 30 °C
The cure for the dog tiredness we've had seems to be Puerto Lopez. We're finally at a point where we feel refreshed and ready to challenge ourselves once more.
It didn't start out like that though. We got to Puerto Lopez on April 20th, finding it less of a sleepy fishing village and more of a small town, despite the fact this is the low season for tourists. The coach ride from Guayaquil went through slums and shanty towns, dentist signs offering free extractions (if only I'd waited til we got here!), and then through the most gorgeous, lush forests that wouldn't look out of place as the background to a King Kong remake. Of course, I mean the first half, not the NY skyscraper bit...
After hours of awe-inspiring jungle panoramas, we finally got to the coast and saw the beautiful sea and sandy beaches beckoning. The hostal was a short walk from the bus stop, and looked the part. Cabin with own balcony and hammock, check. Sea view, if you stood on your tip toes at a certain angle, check. The traffic noise was bad though, wifi wasn't working and although the cockerel crowing seemed romantic at first, after being woken up by the damn thing every hour from 3am onwards meant we weren't seeing the benefit. Plus the room was pretty steep price wise for the area, so we moved on after a couple nights to a more competitive place across the road.
That solved the price side, as wells as the issue with insects dropping from the ceiling that the previous place had but not the serenity. We were about to give up on Puerto Lopez, when after a sunset walk to the quieter end of the bay, away from the main strip of bars and restaurants, we found a hidden gem. Hostal Monte Libano had wonderful rooms, kitchen and fridge for guests to use, a beautiful terrace with hammocks directly in front of the sea, where the sound of the tide gently soothed you, but most importantly, it's run by the wonderful and incredibly hospitable Maria and her family.
For a while, we were the only guests, and we got a chance to share a meal with the family and get to know Ecuador better. It was brilliant. We're still here for a couple more nights, and the hostal is now full of people but it's still far and away the best place to stay in Puerto Lopez. I don't think I'll ever forget the place and the generosity and friendliness of the people.