The main attraction here in Puerto Lopez, is the Isla de la Plata, which they also call “The Galapagos for the Poor”. Some friends of Cosima’s told her that the diving was amazing and that is what we came here for. Unfortunately, it being low season, diving was only possible today, Saturday. It delayed a little our travel plans, but we decided to wait anyway. We have been hanging out and recuperating our sleepless night in buses. The following day, we ended up going to the beach to surf, because believe it or not the water is nice and warm! At first I did not want to go in, but I was convinced and taught how to surf! For a first timer I think I did alright, I managed to get up on it twice in less than an hour! Then at night we were meant to go out to renowned Montanitas, beach surf and party town, but we both did not feel like it at all and stayed in.
Yesterday, we went to the National Park Machalilla that is nearby and visited the indigenous community that live in Aguas Blancas. We visited the archeological museum and had a guide to show us around. They have 3 different climates, a desert one, a dry jungle, a and a tropical “humid” jungle (that’s where the monkeys and toucans are ahahaha). We saw some nice flowers, a laguna, some lizards and several species of birds.
We had the best drink ever as well. It was recommended by our friend Julio in Otavalo. He told us to try the “batido de aguacate” which is milk avocado shake. It sounded weird at first, because usually we think of an avocado as a vegetable, but here it is more like a fruit..it is absolutely delicious and suuuuper easy to make! Definitely bringing it back toCanada!
Finally today was the day we had been waiting for. It took a long time to get organised and leave, then we had a one hour boat ride before arriving to the island. On our way, we saw dolphins and whales. It was the first time I saw the whales swing their tales in the air like they did, it was really cool. The water was about 22-23 degrees, not as warm as theCaribbeanthat’s for sure. But going down, it was very clear, and there were so many schools of colourful fish, it was impressive. Then as we swam along, we saw many turtles. The most impressive though, were the 7 meter long MANTA RAYS! These marine animals make you feel so small and swim so peacefully and beautifully. We counted nine I think in total. The instructor was telling us that Puerto Lopez has the largest amount of them, more than double than the Galapagos! It was incredible, and to end the day we saw a shark! It was really cool, visibility was good and we were both really excited about our day. Then it was time to travel toCuenca, it was looking to be a long night with a few bus changes. On one of the buses, we asked if there was room for 6 people, we had met 4 girls fromSpain. The guy ended up saying that there was room…little did we know that 5 of us would be sitting in the front cabin with the bus driver! Ahaha. Fun ride tho!! Arrived inCuencaat about3amand decided to go to a hostel and get a few hours of sleep!