If youíve found Guayaquil to be a little too industrial for you, then consider heading up the coast a bit for a quiet getaway in Ayampe, Ecuador. Itís a sleepy little beach town where youíre just as likely to share the beach with a couple of donkeys and the occasional chicken as you are the locals. Itís a hit with hardcore surfers to enjoy the specific waves the area has to offer, and popular with Ecuadorians wanting to get out of the city for a bit.
Getting to Ayampe took us a while.
While traveling to Ayampe from Guayaquile by bus can be challenging, it can be done. Itís also an interesting way to get a peek into local culture and see some scenery you might not be able to otherwise. This is how we traveled, and while it took longer than expected, it did provide us with a cultural experience we cherish. That being said, we nearly didnít find our hotel because we got dropped off just after dusk and there were no streetlights in the area. Headlamps prevailed however, and we managed to make our way.
We stayed at the Turtle Cabanas, referred to by some travelers as the Tortuga Hotel.
Iíve written a review of Cabanas La Tortugas previously, but suffice it to say we found it to be a charming establishment, even if our entry was a bit rough. The hotel menu was affordable and pleasant enough, the price was right and we enjoyed having a stretch of quiet time on a sleepy beach after the chaos of getting ready for the six-month trip. As beaches go, it isnít necessarily comparable to some of those in the Caribbean or South Pacific. But it is a pleasant break from the city and hanging out at the Turtle Cabanas was a superior value for families, couple and solo travelers alike.
The pace in Ayampe is quite slow.
Other than surfing and beach strolling, your activities are limited to swimming, booking a boat ride and hiking around the area for travel photo opportunities. In other words, bringing a book or two is a good idea. As far as accessing civilization for internet, money changing and running across other travelers, youíll need to head to nearby Puerto Lopez. Itís a little on the dirty side, but there is more going on there and your grocery options are slightly better than at the little hut in Ayampe where you can buy water, powdered Tang and potato chips.
All in all, Ayampe isnít necessarily the type of town youíd fly all the way from North America to see, but itís worth a few days to unwind from the fast pace of a longer trip and to get a peek into the rural coastal life of the Ecuadorian people who live there.
Photo Credits: These pictures of Ayampe, Ecuador were photographed by the Trek Hound team. You can access them for use in online publications through the creative commons agreement on our sister site, Pictures of Travel Places.