A Travellerspoint blog

Two Sleepless Nights & our arrival at Puerto Lopez

We were supposed to check out of Colonial House on December 29th but ended up leaving the evening of December 28th in order to take the express night bus to Puerto Lopez otherwise we may have had to forfeited our first night's stay in Puerto Lopez.

Unfortunately some of the staff and guests at the Colonial House were up until 3:00 a.m. in the morning, even though quiet time was supposed to be 11:00 p.m. Tom had gone down to speak to the staff person manning the reception around midnight but the staff person said that the party would be winding down shortly - it didn't. Tom tried to sleep on the hard sofa in the room next to us but couldn't sleep and I tried earplugs....they didn't help. When we went down for breakfast the next day we spoke to the owner who was shocked and another gentleman who spoke Spanish translated what we were saying and also confirmed that the evening before there was indeed a loud party going on. The owner was quite dismayed and we received an apology from the staff member who was one of the people who was partying. My concern was that we were going to be leaving on a long bus ride later in the evening and that would make for 2 limited sleep nights in a row. Not good!.

Overall we enjoyed our stay at Colonial House. We would go back again. The Lonely Planet comments on the backyard, stating that it could do with some upkeep and they are correct. However for us, it was only a meeting place and a time for us to split a beer or two in the afternoon and then be on our way back to our room or to do more exploring. We liked the vibe at Colonial House and it was (other than our last night) stress free. The staff was very helpful in assisting us in getting our transportation to Puerto Lopez and also helpful in getting us around the Old Town of Quito.

BUS RIDE TO PUERTO LOPEZ

The bus tickets to Puerto Lopez were $14.00 each. The bus was newer and left the terminal at 9:00 p.m. and arrived in Puerto Lopez at 5:00 a.m. on January 29th. Tom slept most of the way, I hardly slept at all. The ride was very bumpy and a couple of times my body bounced back and forth as if I were in a car accident....like whiplash. I actually had bruises on my arms because I was jolted so much. Regardless, Tom and I were on an adrenalin rush when we arrived at Hosteria Mandela. Hosteria means hotel. It was still dark but the security guard let us in and we sat outside until 7:30 a.m. Even though we intitially could not see the beach, the sound of the waves rolling in was relaxing. As the sun rose Tom started taking pictures of our surroundings. The beach was right in front of us!!! and it was beautiful!. At 7:30 a.m. we registered and stored our luggage. We had access to a place to change and freshen up if we wanted to, but our first line of business was to get something to eat. We had also read that there was a fish market and we were told that today, in the morning would be a good day to see it as with New Year's just around the corner the fish market would be shut down for a couple of days. So that is how our morning started in Puerto Lopez.

We were able to check into our bungalow around 130 p.m...but in between our arrival time and the time we actually checked into our room, I found myself dozing off a couple of times which is something I rarely do even if I am tired.

Once we had brought our luggage into the room and organized ourselves I changed into my swimsuit and immediately went to the beach. The beach was not deep, no big waves and there were no stones in the water which was nice. The remainder of the day was spent relaxing. I stayed near the water and swung in the hammock at the private cabanas made available to the guests of Hosteria Mandala and read a paperback. Doesn't that sound heavenly? Well, it was. While I was reading at the beach, Tom went walking and got himself orientated to the town.

Needless to say it was an early night for the both of us, but we did not sleep well in spite of being very tired. Tom woke up in the middle of the night feeling very sick and thirsty. Myself, I could barely move I was so sore. It had been a long time since I had been in so much pain. One thing I knew for sure after feeling this awful, is that compared to years ago my pain is much better managed.

Both of us were in bed all day. I finally forced myself out of bed around 2:00 p.m. I was determined to find someone who could give me a massage. I remembered seeing a couple of signs the day before when we first arrived. Tom remained in bed. I walked the whole strip of Puerto Lopez but some of the shops were closed and I couldn't find a place to have a massage. I decided to have a fruit bowl with yogurt, museli fruit and a cup of tea. It was delicious and hit the spot. I then started to head back to our bungalow and guess what? One of the stores was open and they had a massage sign. I went inside and was told to hang a left at the next intersection. So I did just that. I couldn't see any shops open but there was a lady outside of one of the hostels. I tried to ask her (remember I don't know Spanish) if she knew where I could get a massage. As luck would have it she was the massage lady! We negotiated a price of $25.00 U.S. for a 1 hour massage even though I knew massages were being advertised for $20.00. Hey at that point in time I just wanted to feel better......It was one of the best massages I have ever had! I think the lady must have known how sore I was as she worked through my muscles because before I left she gave me a hug and kissed me on my cheek...well at least that's what I think.

Anyways, I made my way back to our bungalow feeling better but still sore and I was exhausted. I think walking the strip and back was a couple of miles long which didn't help matters much so when I arrived at our bungalow I went back to bed; Tom was still in bed - he got up a couple hours later and had a bowl of chicken soup at the restaurant in the hotel which he said was delicious and a meal in itself. I remained in bed; he climbed back in bed. We spoke for a bit and determined that Tom had gotten sun stroke - all the symptoms were there and me it was a bout of very bad pain brought on by that bumpy bus ride. We both also recognized that the 2 sleepless nights, too much sun for Tom, the bumpy bus ride for me and the both of us trying to do too much helped create the perfect storm for a 24 hour sleep feast. We realized we were trying to take on too much, and as much as we would like to do this and that, we have to pace ourselves better. This was a common theme we discussed throughout our trip.

Fish market Puerto Lopez

Fish market Puerto Lopez


Fish market Puerto Lopez

Fish market Puerto Lopez


Puerto Lopez Fish Market

Puerto Lopez Fish Market


Puerto Lopez fish market

Puerto Lopez fish market


Fish market Puerto Lopez

Fish market Puerto Lopez


Fish Market Puerto Lopez

Fish Market Puerto Lopez


The size of those prawns!!!

The size of those prawns!!!


What we saw when the sun rose on Dec. 29th

What we saw when the sun rose on Dec. 29th

Posted by Rhondalee 17:00 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Puerto Lopez and Hostaria Mandala

There were 2 reasons why we decided to go to the coastal town of Puerto Lopez. First, based on the weather reports and what we read about Puerto Lopez's weather we determined that Puerto Lopez would probably have the warmest weather that we would experience (WRONG) and we also wanted to go to Isla De La Plata, also known as "The Poor Man's Galapagos"where we read there were many blue footed boobies. Puerto Lopez is a small fishing village along Ecuador's coast. The population is 16,000 people. The Lonely Planet says Puerto Lopez is a ramshackle town, and really from what we saw, there isn't a lot to do, and for most, perhaps 3-4 days would suffice. But we spent 7 days in Puerto Lopez and there was a buzz in the air as we arrived in the midst of high season and the town's people were busy preparing for New Year's Eve. The streets were lined with paper mache figures which were going to be burnt after midnight. More on New Year's Eve later.

HOSTERIA MANDALA

Hosteria Mandala is 18 years old and was built from scratch by it's multi-lingual owners. When we arrived we also noticed that the entrance to the Hosteria was accessible via a ramp and there was an accessible washroom and shower. In addition, there were also 3 big, friendly dogs that lingered around and enjoyed all the ear rubbing they could get.

Hosteria Mandala is actively involved in community initiatives. For example, they were selling t-shirts and 100 percent of the proceeds were going towards the purchase of a portable X-Ray machine which would be used to determine the injuries that animals such as sea lions had incurred from boat propellers.

At the Hosteria each guest is assigned a bungalow which is named after a particular marine animal (and the key to your bungalow was also in the same shape). Ours was "Puplo" (octopus). And our bungalow took on a Puplo theme.

Everything at Hosteria Mandala was efficiently organized. For example, you could pick up a clean beach towel from one bin and when you were finished you dropped your towel in another bin. Likewise,you could get a hammock on one of the shelves and take it to hang up at the private beachside cabanas.

The food at the restaurant was delicious and was priced fairly compared to the dishes and beverages served in town. We ate in both the town and at the restaurant at Mandala. I had a caprese salad one night with the most yummy cheese. Another night I had ceviche served with popcorn and fried plantains. Tom had a minced meat meal one night and another night he had pasta bolonese.

Hosteria Mandala

Hosteria Mandala


Dolphin carving

Dolphin carving


Beach in front of Hosteria Mandala

Beach in front of Hosteria Mandala


On our way to the bungalow

On our way to the bungalow


Foliage and flowers on our way to our room

Foliage and flowers on our way to our room


On the pathway to our bungalow

On the pathway to our bungalow


Signage guiding us to our bungalow

Signage guiding us to our bungalow


Part of our varandah

Part of our varandah


Puplo Bungalow Hosteria Mandala

Puplo Bungalow Hosteria Mandala


Here's our bungalow

Here's our bungalow


Bathroom door

Bathroom door


Bathroom in Pulpo theme

Bathroom in Pulpo theme


Signage to our bungalow

Signage to our bungalow


Key to our bungalow at Hosteria Mandela

Key to our bungalow at Hosteria Mandela


Puerto Lopez

Puerto Lopez


Main drag

Main drag


Hosteria Mandala Restaurant

Hosteria Mandala Restaurant


Cerviche came with...

Cerviche came with...


A taste or pizza - Puerto Lopez

A taste or pizza - Puerto Lopez


Puerto Lopez

Puerto Lopez


Dusk at Puerto Lopez

Dusk at Puerto Lopez


Me in Puerto Lopez

Me in Puerto Lopez

Posted by Rhondalee 17:00 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Rough Estimate of costs incurred in Quito

Accommodations at Colonial House including breakfast and the odd beer. $150.00. U.S Taxi Ride from airport to Colonial House 30.00. U.S. Dinner for 4 nights including beer. 60.00. U.S. Admission into church and Basilica tower 8.00. U.S. Taxi ride to get bus tickets. $10 each way. 20.00. U.S. Taxi ride to bus terminal. 10.00 U.S. Bus ride to Puerto Lopez $14 X 2 28.00. U.S. Laundry. 5.00. U.S. TOTAL $311.00 .U.S.

http://colonialhousequito.com/booking.html

Colonial House, Quito Ecuador

Colonial House, Quito Ecuador

Posted by Rhondalee 17:00 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Preparing to exit Quito (for now)

On the morning of the 28th Tom and I decided that we would visit the Basilica and try to climb the clock tower. The entrance fee was $2.00 p/p. It was beautiful. We walked up to the 2nd level and visited the 2 souvenir shops. Wow! I wanted to buy ton of stuff. The alpaca capes were very reasonably priced - around $20 -$45. Hats and mittens were less, and beautiful scarfs were like $5.00. I picked up a scarf and we decided that when we were back in Quito we would purchase some gifts for ourselves and others.....can't wait! After visiting the gift shop we walked up to the 3rd floor. From that floor you walked over a rickety bridge, then you had to climb up a flight of metal steps on somewhat of an incline. Once you did that, you were outside and very high. There were 2 more flights of stairs to take but the difference was that you were outside doing this, like as in, you could see how high up you were. I chose not to look. When we made it up to the top of the tower, we were at eye level with the two clocks. I videoed some of this expedition and we also took lots of pictures. Once we arrived back on ground zero we went into the church which was another $2.00 p/p. It was stunning. But there is a part of me that says with all this wealth, why isn't the Church doing more to help the poor. We had planned to go back to our room and take a break then do some more walking but when we arrived back we were told that it was tough to find tickets and our best bet was to go to the bus terminal ASAP. So that became our priority.

We had originally booked our accommodations in Quito with a check out date of December 29th, however we inquired about transportation a couple of days before we left and found out our best option was to take the bus the evening of December 28th to Puerto Lopez. It was an 8 hour non-stop ride to Puerto Lopez, meaning that we would arrive at our destination at 5:00 a.m. We hoped that we could leave our luggage at the hotel until our check in time of 2:00 p.m.. In order to get our bus ticket we had to take a 30 minute ride via cab to the bus station. It was huge and very modern. Our taxi driver came in with us and do all the talking. We found out later on, that we were very lucky to have gotten our seats as there were only 4 left.

Getting to the clock tower

Getting to the clock tower


Clock tower of the Basilica, Quito

Clock tower of the Basilica, Quito


View top of the Basilica, Quito

View top of the Basilica, Quito


A view of Quito from the top of the Basilica Quito

A view of Quito from the top of the Basilica Quito


View of cathedral - Quito

View of cathedral - Quito


Some of the stained glass work

Some of the stained glass work


Stained glass Cathedral Quito

Stained glass Cathedral Quito


Cathedral - Quito

Cathedral - Quito


Cathedral Quito

Cathedral Quito

Posted by Rhondalee 17:00 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

5 DAYS IN QUITO

During our ride into Quito which was about an hour long, we could see many buildings with lights on them nestled into the hills. It looked different but at the same time quaint. Later on we would see in the daylight how hilly Quito is. By the way, transportation is very reasonable. Our hour long ride from the airport cost us $30.00.

We stayed at the Colonial House Hostel just on the outskirts of the old town. We had a double bed and our own room. We did not need air conditioning in Quito. The room was very basic, no TV, and really for the price who could complain about $25 US a night (well, actually did have a complaint, but more about that later). We also paid $3.50 each for breakfast which was a good deal. We had granola, yogurt, fresh rolls, coffee, juice and eggs every morning. We think the jam was homemade. Regardless, it was delicious. Every morning we could hear the blender start up, and we knew it was freshly made juice being prepared. I opted out of the eggs for the last 3 days of our stay. We also had access to filtered water for which there was no charge.

For the entire time we were in Quito we did tons of walking and believe me when I say the streets were up and down, they were! On average, 3x a day we headed out from the hostel to go into town and especially the first day it was a challenge for me to make it back to our hotel without having to stop to get my breathe. Tom, wasn't having as much trouble as I was because he loves to walk. I think I did pretty good though, especially considering we were adjusting to the altitude. In fact, as soon as I disembarked off the plane I experienced shortness of breathe and Tom felt nauseated. Overall the side effects were minimal and within 24 hours we were fine.

On the first day, Christmas Day we walked around the old town just to get our bearings straight. We saw many landmarks but did not know their history, and initially we did not know what some of the landmarks were. We just knew the architecture and woodworking was so intricate and beautiful. Many of the stores were closed due to it being Christmas. We could not find any restaurants open so we took a taxi to the more modern and touristy area called the Mariscal. The Plaza Foch is the focal point where there are several bars/restaurants. Tom had a burger and a pint for $5.00 and I had a traditional Ecuadorian soup in a cream sauce with avacodo which was around $6.00. The total cost by taxi there and back was $8.00. Needless to say, when our heads hit the pillow that night, we slept well.

Colonial House Quito, Ecuador

Colonial House Quito, Ecuador


View of Quito from outside our hostel

View of Quito from outside our hostel


Basilica in Quito

Basilica in Quito


Quito landscape

Quito landscape


Lady of Quito

Lady of Quito


Lady of Quito from a distance

Lady of Quito from a distance


One of the two backyard bunnies

One of the two backyard bunnies


Backyard brew

Backyard brew

Posted by Rhondalee 17:00 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

(Entries 26 - 30 of 32) « Page 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 »