05.07.2010 - 07.07.2010
So we made it, with a 12 hour busride form Otovalo, Ecuador to Atacames. We took the north route, through Ibarra and out to San Lorenzo, near the border of Colombia. It was interesting to say the least. We had to change busses 3 times. San Lorenzo is very poor, and has an interesting population. It´s all African people, who I think are decendents of slaves. The music is way different, and played everywhere. It´s called Rumba. It was a beautiful, downhill drive all the way to San Lorenzo from high in the Andes Mountains. At San Lorenzo, we changed busses and had about 4 hours more to the city of Esmeraldas, Ecuador. That was the most culturally interesting part of the ride. Most locals used the bus service, including schoolchildren as young as maybe 5 years old (on their own, riding the bus from school for an hour or so!). Kids here are way, way more self-reliant, and seem much older than in the US. From there we changed busses again, for about a 30 min drive to Atacames. We are staying at a place owned by a Swiss lady called Chill Inn. It´s pretty nice, and a fairly new place. The beach at Atacames is really nice, and it´s clearly "the place" for all Ecuadorians to go for a vacation. The Malecon (walkway along the beach) is spectacular. It´s lined with bars, clubs, small stores and markets. All the taxis here are what they call mototaxis or conservativas. They are modified motorcycles with a cart you ride in, either on the front or the back of the bike...sort of like a 3-wheeler. The plan here is just to hang out and enjoy the beach. Tomorrow we are planning on heading out, south, I think (as long as we can find busses)...there´s a part of the coast highway that doesn´t show a road, so we may need to go inland. I could definitely spend a month or so here, it´s really cheap and the weather is absolutely amazing. Today I may head south about a half-hour to a town called Sua, just to check it out. You can look down the beach to the north and see the city of Esmeraldas, and south and see the town of Sua. We can go deep see fishing and whale watching for 5 hours, at a rate of $20 per person. Anyway, you can check out where I went by looking at my travel map. I´ll try to upload a couple pictures of the area too for you all to see.