Beach Hopping and Border Crossing

We just couldn’t get enough sun and sand in the Galapagos, so after flying back to Guayaquil, Annie and I hopped on a bus and headed along the coast to the small beach towns of Montañita and Puerto Lopez. Montañita is a coastal town approximately 3.5 hours from Guayaquil and is a surfing mecca blessed with the country’s best waves and lively nightlife.  We scored an awesome cabana that was set into the nearby hillside overlooking the beach.  Thanks to the Waldkirch’s for the great cabana digs from our honeyfund! Annie and I enjoyed swimming and sitting on the beach people watching.  There was a constant parade of vendors selling everything from bootleg DVD’s to lamps to delicious baked goods. After Montañita, we headed to Puerto López for a couple of days.  Puerto López sits on a fishhook bay and is known for whale watching, especially this time of year.We took a boat trip which included guaranteed whale sightings, lunch, and a short snorkeling trip.  After only about 15 minutes on the boat, we spotted a mother humpback whale and her calf!  We’ve never seen a whale before this trip.  The whales must have known this because they decided to give us a wave with their fins when we arrived. The calf was very entertaining to watch – it jumped out of the water (unfortunately no picture) and swam directly under our boat, splashing some people along the way.  We quickly found out how hard it was to capture good photos of the whales when they surfaced. The sheer size of the mother humpback was incredible.  It was amazing how easily they could glide through the ocean on their way north to Columbia. The whale watching trip really was a blast.  Thanks to David, Amy, Noah and Simon Brown for the honeyfund – it was an amazing experience!

From Puerto Lopez, we took a bus back to Guayaquil to make our way to Peru. Instead of suffering for 28 hours on the direct bus to Lima, we decided to make one more beach stop.  The border crossing from Ecuador to Peru seemed pretty straightforward except that it was hot, packed and swarms of bugs were flying around our heads.  While waiting in line, the power went out and we stood there in pitch black darkness clinging to each other and hugging our belongings.  Annie worried we were going to die in this “ninth ring of hell.”

There is always light on the other side and luckily the other side was Máncora – our first stop in Peru.  We arrived pretty late that first night, so we spent the night in dorm accommodations.  The next morning, we splurged and upgraded to a beach front cabana for the next couple days. Máncora is a vacation destination for Peruvians and is also known for its good surf (and the most delicious empanadas we’ve ever had).  In the summer months, waves can reach three meters.  I rented a surfboard for two hours to catch some waves with the locals and it only cost 10 soles (less than $4). After three small beach towns, we’re headed to the big city of Lima!

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