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.