Ayampe, Ecuador

A surfer in Ayampe  

A smattering of restaurants and guesthouses dot Ayampe’s spectacular shore. Not much in the way of a town this place is all about healthy living, with a strong emphasis on surf, yoga, and tranquility.

It’s easy to assume that in a few years time Ayampe could grow into something much bigger than it is today, as it already becoming somewhat of a buzzword on the backpacker trail. We suggest to get here soon, while it’s still got all the charm of being a place entirely infatuated with it’s coast. It seems that in Ayampe as long as the waves roll not much else is needed.

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Places to Stay:

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  • La Tortuga: This is a lovely option for staying right on the beach. Individual cabanas are simple but clean and comfortable. The place also has a great two story restaurant which is one of the best places in town to take in the beautiful sea views.

Things to Do:

  • Day trip to Isla de La Plata: Touted as ‘the poor mans Galapagos’ this tiny island won’t disappoint. A day trip includes a hike on the completely uninhabited island where you have the chance (and a very good one indeed) of seeing blue footed boobies, nesting frigates, and Nasca boobies. In the afternoon you’ll get to plunge into the nippy waters for some incredible snorkeling where sea turtles, giant manta rays, and a plethora of colorful fish can all be seen. During the months of June to September whales surround the coast and seeing some during the boat ride is practically guaranteed.

photo-2Blue footed boobies on Isla de La Plata

  • Visit Los Frailes Beach: Easily one of Ecaudor’s most beautiful beaches, Los Frailes is white sand and crashing turquoise waves. The main beach is easily accessible by mototaxi from the main road. From here it is easy to walk to the other beaches where you may find yourself completely alone surrounded by incredible rock cliffs and ocean. Catch a local bus from Ayampe, which will cost you a dollar, and then admission to the park is free! Thank you Ecuador for making nature accessible, as it should be!

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 7.49.56 PMStunning Los Frailes beach from above

  • Surf: Ayampe is known for it’s surf and getting out on a board is a must while you are in town. There are plenty of places that rent boards as well as places that offer classes for all levels. If you are looking for a serious instructor with a strong passion for all things surf head on over to La Buena Vida and ask for Keith.
  • Yoga: Otras Olas an adorable café not only offers homemade peanut butter cups they also have one and a half hour yoga classes most morning starting at 9. While you do your down dog you’ll be motivated by the sounds of the ocean at your back.
  • Spanish Classes: Otras Olas also offers private Spanish classes for those wanting to brush up on their skills. Just pop by the café and arrange as many hours as you prefer.
  • Explore Puerto Lopez: This dusty town, about twenty minutes from Ayampe, doesn’t offer much but it as interesting glimpse into a traditional Ecuadorian fishing village. Take in the blue boats bobbing on the harbor, same some fish slathered in peanut sauce, and get some cash if your running out (Puerto Lopez is the closest atm to the city of Ayampe).

IMG_1563Boats on the sand at Puerto Lopez

Getting There and Away:

  • You can catch a bus from Santa Elena, the ride with cost about 3 dollars and takes an hour and a half.
  • Alternatively if you are coming from Montañita the ride is quite simple, either hop in a taxi or on any bus heading north.

Where to Head Next:

  • Montanita: This party hardy town is about as opposite from Ayampe as you can get. So if you’re ready to turn the volume up about ten notches head to the raucous shores of the coasts party town.
  • Cuenca: The cultural capital of Ecuador this city has got it all. If your looking for a bit of sophistication this city only five hours from Ayampe is a great choice.

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By Tyler Protano-Goodwin

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