Two Gringos in Ecuador

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by swdirtrider, Feb 9, 2021.

  1. swdirtrider

    swdirtrider Adventurer

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    Taking a swim turned out to be quite refreshing and just what we needed before the remainder of the day. It would be one of our longer days since we wanted to see and do everything. Picture quality isn’t great since it’s clipped from the drone video, but you get the idea.

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    #41
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  2. swdirtrider

    swdirtrider Adventurer

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    The hike back to the bikes was just as rewarding as the hike in. But we were both ready for lunch after our visit with nature. A bit of refreshing coconut water and we were off. The hour of pavement spent under the shinning sun was warm and relaxing. Traffic was light and curves were plenty. It was a quiet ride, both of us truly taking in the beauty of the countryside.
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    Hosteria la Isla proved to be the most photogenic stop on our trip. It was recommended for lunch and the suspension bridge to this small “resort” and restaurant was nothing short of spectacular. Again we were the only ones here for lunch so it gave us the opportunity for some beautiful drone footage. The grounds were immaculate and lunch was fantastic. Thus far chicken or fish was the meat of choice. We were saving the fish for the beach.

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    Being in what seemed to be such a far away land, and having kids of our own, it was amusing to find kids down here playing Grand Theft Auto, just like our own. It was that immediate realization, that despite how different it might seem at first, we really are very similar. Like many Americans, we came into this trip unsure of what to expect from South America. All the stories of drugs and cartels has many people afraid of these incredible countries. But thus far we were blown away with the hospitality and warmth that everyone had shown us along the way.
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    After lunch we would begin the longer portion of this day. So far we had only covered about 70km. At home this would typically feel like an incredibly lazy day, but we were having the time of our life. Small towns and villages dot the main roads, and it’s easy to stop and enjoy the surroundings. We knew this afternoon would need to be focused on covering some miles so we could make the beach before sunset.
    #42
  3. Essbee

    Essbee Been here awhile

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    What an amazing place! Just love the woodwork on those cabins. Takes 'rustic' to a different level.
    #43
  4. swdirtrider

    swdirtrider Adventurer

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    We broke up the long afternoon with two quick stops. The first was the little town of Puerto Nuevo. The smell of fresh baked Pan de Yuca, or Yuca plant bread, filled the air as we approached town. This quaint little place seemed to be the spot to pick up a quick snack for motorists traveling this section of highway. The local kids flagged down motorists for their fresh baked sweet bread as we made a quick stop for water, bread, and a look at the map. Besides the bread, they also had a sense of humor in their bakery!

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    Continuing west we were deep into the afternoon as we approached the seemingly chaotic town of Pedernales. This beach town is known for being the “Wild West” of Ecuador. It’s a bustling place full of dust, heat, and vehicles of all shapes and sizes. The majority seemed to be motorized rickshaws and trucks. It was an opportunity to grab some cash at the ATM before heading south for Canoa. Thankfully the ATMs have an English option for our lack of Spanish skills. Road signs weren’t a major priority in this place, so I might have taken us the wrong way down a few one-way streets. That’s on the video!

    Quick stop at the Banc
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    The final stretch of the day sent us 80km down the coastal highway. Just north of Canoa we ventured off onto a dirt path that took us along numerous shrimp farms that line these coastal waters. We watched the men finishing up their days on the water as continued into the setting sun. It seemed everywhere you looked in Ecuador, the people were productive with their days. We had traveled 300km today, it was quitting time for us as well. And what a welcome sight the Canoa Beach Hotel was.

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    #44
  5. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Effin' awesome @swdirtrider! I'm an avid hiker too and try to get out at least once a week during the winter months. Can only imagine how amazing it was to hike along those trails and find those pools. Did you guys encounter anyone else on the trails or did you have 'em to yourself?

    Love the shots of the falls into the pools - would be tough to leave after jumping in (assuming you guys did).
    #45
  6. swdirtrider

    swdirtrider Adventurer

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    We spent over 2 hours hiking and swimming. We were the only ones the entire time. That was pretty much the theme throughout the entire trip unless we were in a bigger city. It’s a great time to travel in Ecuador. Tourism is way down, and the locals are so happy to see you.
    #46
  7. shojac

    shojac Adventurer

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    What restrictions did you have to go through to travel to Ecuador
    #47
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  8. swdirtrider

    swdirtrider Adventurer

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    We traveled to Quito on January 11. The restrictions at that time were a negative COVID PCR test 10 days prior to arriving in the country. We used this website to keep up with any changes.
    https://ec.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-ecu-2/
    #48
  9. swdirtrider

    swdirtrider Adventurer

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    Canoa is an amazing little beach town. The sun had set, the temps had cooled, and we were ready for drinks and dinner. You know it’s a great hotel when the bar doubles as the front desk, the bartender checks you in, and takes your drink order while you clean up. 10 minutes and a quick shower and we were back to paradise. Hands down the best margarita on the planet in the most chill environment.

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    Tonight’s dinner was fish, freshly caught that afternoon. Full disclosure, I’m not much a seafood person. But I wasn’t about to travel this far and not try new things. The blackened fish came highly recommended from the only other couple in the bar. That was backed up by our awesome bartender (who I sadly forgot her name, next time I’m bringing a journal). And it didn’t disappoint, it turned out to be my favorite meal of the trip. Turned out to be Sea Bass, yum!!
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    As the night continued we chatted with the ExPat couple about living in Ecuador, life in the States, and numerous other things. It wasn’t long before we discovered; half way around the world, in this tiny beach town in Ecuador, we had a mutual friend. So with the help of modern tech, we FaceTimed a truly stunned buddy. For the second time today I witnessed first hand just how small the world really is.
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    Today was an incredible journey from the Cloudforest of Mindo to the beaches of Canoa. As we reflected on the day, it felt like we were worlds apart from where it began. Ecuador looks relatively small compared to other countries, but it’s filled with every changing adventure. And we were about to find that out. Tomorrow was planned to be a relatively easy day after the long ride of today.
    #49
  10. scurry0

    scurry0 Adventurer

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    Bartender's names were Marguerite and Lillian. If you need any other help just ask:)
    #50
  11. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Thank you for the update @swdirtrider, what a killer place to end the day's ride. And anyplace that checks you in while serving you a drink (or taking your order) is tops in my books. Super cool you ran into a couple of ex-pats with a mutual friend; that's just nuts man. Did those folks say how long they'd been living in Ecuador or anything about what it was like giving up US citizenship?

    Blackened sea bass sounds absolutely fantastic, and good on ya for trying something like that if you're not into seafood. One of the best aspects of a trip I took down to Baja was the fresh fish and seafood - seriously miss the tacos de pescado from several of the places I stopped during the ride.

    Look forward to your next update man. Supposed to get an inch of rain over the next two days and there's still frickin' snow in my driveway. Effin' winter.
    #51
  12. Bt10

    Bt10 Long timer

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    Thanks for posting, exactly what I want to do also!
    #52
  13. wellcraft

    wellcraft Long timer

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    So I have a question, what's your budget for this trip? I know airline fees vary depending on your departure location but hotels, food and bike rental should all be pretty fixed costs. I'd like to plan a trip like this in 2022 but first would like to have some idea of a budget. Thanks
    #53
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  14. BSUCardinalfan

    BSUCardinalfan Been here awhile Supporter

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    Ecuador Freedom lists the prices on their website - lodging, bike rental, and about half the meals are included. Non-guided trips are very reasonable, if I recall correctly a 7 day trip on a bmw 800 is around $2500 or so, give or take. You would need hotels before and after (figure 100-200 per night) and flights, which right now are about $400 out of atlanta.

    my wife and I were considering the 4 day 3 night tour which runs 1000-1300 per bike - and you get 10% off for sharing a room.
    #54
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  15. wellcraft

    wellcraft Long timer

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    Thanks I just looked at their website and guided tours are pretty expensive, $6500+/- for the 12 day tour if you rent a mid size motorcycle. If I were to travel to Ecuador I would prefer to spend as many days riding as possible so I can see as many roads and scenery as possible since it would probably be my first and last trip to Ecuador. I don't speak the language and I'd more than likely be traveling solo so the best and safest option for me would be a guided tour. With the self guided tours do they coordinate hotels or is that up to you? Have a great time and keep sharing your ride report.
    #55
  16. swdirtrider

    swdirtrider Adventurer

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    I will try to give a general idea of what I spent. Like you said, the majority of the the trip is included with the bike rental (bike, rooms, all breakfast, and I think 2 dinners for us)

    - Bike rental - $2500
    - Airfare - $500ish
    - Hotel (Hotel Finlandia) in Quito - 2 nights for us at $59/night as of this morning
    - We typically spent $30-40 on food and drinks a day. We certainly could have spent less. So about $400 on food.
    - $10 a day in gas. $80 total
    - I bought gifts for people at home $100
    - 100 Roses for my wife $175
    - Cab to and from Airport $25 each way

    We spent 9 days and spent about $3900 total. I was pretty loose with my money, so I’m sure that could be brought down about $500.
    #56
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  17. swdirtrider

    swdirtrider Adventurer

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    The self guided tours do include all hotels and a planned route. Since your going alone I suggest talking to them about your options.

    Court Rand is the owner and also active here on Advrider. He’s a great guy!!
    @CourtRand
    #57
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  18. wellcraft

    wellcraft Long timer

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    Thanks for the cost breakdown, much appreciated. If I go I'm not going to go cheap and try and save every penny, nor will I throw money away but I'll spend enough to enjoy myself. I wouldn't mind doing a self guided tour but being that I'm retired and single my riding buddies just don't have the time or freedom to travel like I do. It's always much safer and more fun to ride with someone than riding solo.
    #58
  19. mercurydog47

    mercurydog47 Been here awhile

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    I did a 12 day self guided tour back in 2018 and Ecuador Freedom Rentals set up all the hotels and had them well marked in the GPS which was extremely helpful. I am not sure how you would find some of the hotels without the GPS, without spending a lot of time thrashing around on the wrong streets looking for your night's lodging. The crossings of the Andes are very daunting if it is raining because your visibility is extremely compromised by the rain in your face. We also had bike to bike communication which was extremely valuable for staying together in uncertain places and for just plain ordinary entertainment. Go, have fun. Ecuador is the best.
    #59
  20. mercurydog47

    mercurydog47 Been here awhile

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    Like you, I am retired and my colleagues don't have the money or the time to just pick up and go. Perennial problem. Also at my age (74) I find a lot of my friends are on the DL for anything like a motorcycle ride.
    #60