Expat Friends & Exploring Ecuador

A good companion shortens the longest road.  Turkish Proverb

Our travel companions had lived in Ecuador for four years as expats before moving back to the US, where we first met them. Returning to Ecuador for a visit in 2006 and 2007, we traveled with them both times. During that period we were able to experience the country through their eyes as well as accompany them as they revisited old friends and favorite locales. We couldn’t have had better guides or companions.  After spending one night in Manta, Ecuador, and visiting the local fishing families the next morning, we drove along the beautiful Pacific Coast taking in the views. The advantage of renting a car allowed us to go at our own pace.

Pacific Coast Ecuador Pacific Coast Ecuador

It wasn’t a particularly clear day, but we headed for Puerto Lopez for lunch. Robert, our friend wanted to eat spondylus which is the meat from the spiny oyster and this town was noted for it. Local fishermen harvest it from off the coast, sell the meat and then the shells are turned into beautiful jewelry. Whale watching is also a tourist attraction along this portion of the coast.  The street became wider as we entered the Malecon area and numerous restaurants spilled out onto the side walks.

Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

After a scrumptious meal of ceviche, grilled shrimp, spondylus, (Robert was not disappointed) fried plantains and rice, all topped off with cervezas, we took time to stroll through the shops. The town was quiet, not much activity, so hoping to make a sale from us gringos was their priority. Today, spondylus is on the endangered list and can not be served any more.

We then headed for the Alandaluz Ecological Tourist Center near Puerto Rico. This is where we would spend the night. I had read about this place in Moon’s Handbook of Ecuador. It was described as being an environmental friendly establishment with composting toilets, solar hot water, organic gardens and a full recycling program. I like the self-sustainable and ecologically sound philosophy it was touting plus it had even received numerous awards.

The large private bungalows were constructed from bamboo and the roofs were thatched. They had their own verandas outfitted with bright, colorful, hand woven hammocks, each overlooking the gardens or the ocean. Ours was ocean view.

Bamboo Cottage

The dining room was in a separate bamboo building with a high, geometric, round ceiling. Each seating area provided its own cozy, intimate, atmosphere. Probably the best meal I had in Ecuador was here: we chose corvina (sea bass) with peanut sauce. Turning in early, the pounding surf was all the medicine one needed for a good night’s sleep.

Hosteria and Dining Room

The next morning we were served pancakes with homemade mora (black berry syrup).

Wearing slickers, we walked down to the beach. Pure solitude. No one around but the four of us. Empty palapas dotted the beach.


In the other direction were the magnificent cliffs, formed by the seas.

Ecuador's Rocky Coast Ecuador's Rocky Coast

Being a shell collector, I found none. Instead, I picked up and came home with numerous smooth turquoise rocks that had washed ashore. They remind me of fun, laughter, good times, good food and lots and lots of driving and exploring beautiful Ecuador, together.

Robert & Paula

Robert and Paula

Next stop on this road trip is Salinas, then Guayaquil.

** In preparing this reminiscence, I looked up the Alandaluz Ecological Tourist Center and sadly, it doesn’t seem to be in business anymore. If anyone reading this post knows anything about this, I would like to know.

All photographs by Ron Mayhew.

About travelerlynne

Traveler. Writer. Retired Educator.Traveling on and off the beaten path with my photographer husband. Volunteering locally as well as in Haiti and Tanzania, an enriching and humbling experience. A sun lover! Shelling, boating, fishing and watching sunsets. Growing mango, banana, key lime,and pineapple.Making smoothies and chutneys. Enjoying family and friends! Savoring each new day!
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22 Responses to Expat Friends & Exploring Ecuador

  1. hey!
    nice post! of course i was sandwiched in that rental car with you in spirit! sorry, i don’t know anything about Alandalus, but will keep my ears open for info.


  2. Love the post. Heres my story about our hilarious travels in Ecuador. http://www.atruetalltale.wordpress.com

  3. Your travels are amazing, and the pics take us right there !!!

    • Thanks, Valarie. These trips are fun, sometimes grueling, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Don’t know where the next adventure will lead us. Thanks for your friendly, supportive comments.

  4. Dianne says:

    What an opportunity to see the country with an expat. This is another trip on our list of To-Do’s.

  5. terrytrekker says:

    These are excellent photographs of your travels off the beaten path. You seem to be a seasoned traveler and trekker! Congratulations! 🙂

  6. Madhu says:

    Traveling with friends who know the place must have been extra special. Those cliffs are truly magnificent Lynne. look forward to reading about the rest of the journey.

    • Travel companions that know the area made all the difference for us. Being just the four of us allowed for flexibility that one wouldn’t get from an organized tour. Both ways of traveling have their merits, though.

  7. Lynne, I love coming along on your travels, and this one was superb. Especially the sea bass with peanut sauce dinner in the lovely high-ceiling-ed hut, and then a peaceful sleep soothed by the sounds of waves. Beautiful!

  8. Thanks for coming on the trip with me, Marilyn. Our rental car was full of armchair travelers.

  9. Kavita Joshi says:

    Great shots..thanks for sharing n visiting my blog dear

  10. You’re most welcome, Kavita.

  11. restlessjo says:

    Trading memories, Lynne. That’s the heart of blogging for me.
    Love those blue boats and the exquisite cliff face. Such a shame about the eco village. It looked fabulous.
    Great quote. Beautiful writing.

  12. Thanks Jo for your lovely comment. Yes, we both seem to enjoy trading memories. That’s what’s so unique about blogging our travels.

  13. vbholmes says:

    I’m an incurable vicarious traveler and so enjoy reading of your adventures and viewing Ron’s photos. Keep the travel prompts coming, Lynne–perhaps I’ll get to some of your treasured spots.

  14. I hope to keep traveling and to keep writing. However, I enjoy the challenge of poetry through your writings… how you construct and weave a story into concise images and then add the twist at the end, something I am dreadful at. This is the beauty of blogging. Sharing!

  15. I keep hearing so many wonderful things about Ecuador, Lynne, I hope we can make it there someday soon. Those bungalows alone sound like such fun accommodation. 🙂

  16. It’s a beautiful country and has so much geographical diversity: rainforest, cloud forest, snow capped volcanoes, etc. The Galapagos is a real treat. You and Shaun are young yet. You have plenty of time. 🙂

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