16th to 20th April

Wednesday 16 April

We arrive at Mancora at 7h. We’ve just passed by a wind farm and the oil region of Talara, full of small pumps (caballitos). Mancora is still sleeping but we manage to find a place for breakfast. 5 minutes leaving the bus, we realize that we forgot one bag inside the bus. Quickly, we go to the office of the bus company, and can reach the driver. He’ll return the bag this evening, when he passes back by Mancora.

We then go to the place of our Warmshowers, Ismael. It’s at Vichayito, a village a little South of Mancora. We follow the old Panamerican road, that is now covered with dirt and sand. There are small hotels all the way. We’re amazed by the pelicans and other seabirds we meet.

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In fact, Ismael is not here, but he has a room prepared for us! idyllic, in a wooden hut, upstairs, with palm trees all around, and a view on the beach and the sea.

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We go back to Mancora for lunch, again some ceviche, and doing some shopping. And we finish the afternoon with a bath in the sea at sunset. Unfortunately, the water is totally brown, so we cannot see anything of the marine faun.

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At night, we go again to Mancora, to have dinner, and we finally get the bag back.

Thursday 17 April

Today, we get up early, but with motivation: we will learn surfing! At the surfing school of Mancora, we have one hour individually with a teacher, and then can practice the whole day with the surf. The waves are relatively small, but if we take them with enough speed, it’s enough to be carried by them, and we can reach the shore! After this hour, we keep practising with the surf. But it’s not that easy: if the teacher is not here to push the surf, we do not reach the sufficient speed to take the wave, and we never start. Apparently, we can start taking the waves correctly by ourselves only after one month of practise! it’ll not be for today.

After lunch, we practise again. The waves are still relatively small, and there is wind! and as we have big surfs, they tend to drift away easily in the wind. It’s a lot of efforts to reach the place where the waves appear and keep there. So we quite quickly return to the beach, and rest in the afternoon.

Unfortunately for you, there are no pictures or videos of these shameful moments…

Friday 18 April

Another rest day in Mancora. Finally, we’ll take the bus tonight to Guayaquil in Equator. And as it is Semana Santa here (Easter), there was no choice to go earlier.

We spend the day resting, working on the computer! and the evening arrives very fast. One last bath at sunset, enjoying the waves, and we leave Mancora definitively.

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The bus is supposed to arrive at 23h. Half an hour later, we are still waiting. Apparently, the bus had a problem, left the previous city some time ago, but we don’t know if it’ll go correctly, or it’ll break down. Finally, the bus won’t come.

As many people want to go to Guayaquil, like us, they decide to re-route a bus that was going originally to Cuenca towards Guayaquil. And the people already inside the bus? They are told to leave it, that another bus for Cuenca will come soon and pick them up. Finally at midnight, we leave for Ecuador. They even did not charge anything for our bikes!

We arrive at the border two hours later. It’s hard to wake up!but we need our full attention. It appears that we did not pass through the migration office when we entered Peru. The stamp on our passport is only from the police. Obviously, when we passed the border, three weeks ago, the officer told us he was the good one for migration. So we now have to go back to that border to get a migration office stamp on our passport, and get registered in the system! But the officer here is nice: he can do a regularisation of our case. It’ll cost us 25 S./ per person. And the process is the following one: you give the money to the officer, he puts it in his pocket, forgets about the lack of registration, and stamps the passport. At the booth nearby, we get our entry of Ecuador stamp without problem.

Saturday 19 April

We get up when the bus arrives at Guayaquil, at 7h. The night has been short. Today, we will go to Playas, a beach resorts in the South West of Guayaquil, some 100km away. So we load the bikes, and get ready to leave. In Ecuador, they use as currency the US dollar, very good, we don’t need to change money here (we always have with us some dollars, in case of emergency).

The city of Guayaquil is very wide: we need some 15km to cross it and reach the highway going to Playas. The highway has an emergency lane on the right, and very soon, there is a bicycle lane following the highway. It must be one of the first bicycle lanes of the region, because we see many cyclists here, even some police on bicycle. We are surprised to see a huge number of traffic regulation agents on the highway: every kilometre, there is a guy, with yellow jacket and a red flag on the side of the road. What are they doing? Is it useful? Is it only for Easter weekend?

Most of the day, we are on the bicycle lane. It’s a very enjoyable ride. The vegetation around us is mainly equatorial, we see many butterflies, birds, and even an iguana.

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We meet Guillermo, member of a cyclist group in Guayaquil. He will come with us till Playas, to show us the road. During a break, in the middle of nowhere, we meet Lizbeth, a Belgian girl doing an internship in Equator. She came here hitch-hiking to visit some friends, but was not able to find the route to go there, so she’ll return to Guayaquil also hitch-hiking.

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We arrive in Playas around 17h. We had a few raindrops on the way, but no rain although the weather looked threatening. Alexandra, a friend of Mick, will receive us in Playas, in a kind of condominium next to the beach. As she is not here yet, she has let the keys to a neighbour for us. It’s perfect, as soon as we arrive, we can go to have a bath in the water sea. The water is delicious.

Alex and her husband Andres have a Labrador, Lucas, at home. I don’t think his role is to keep the house: when we enter, he comes joyfully to great us. This dog is full of energy and requires a lot of attention.

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Sunday 20 April

Alexandra and Andres arrive in the morning. We go to have lunch together, in one of the best restaurants of Playas. The chef, Juan Ostras, is a former chef on a cruise. From outside, you can’t see anything special. But inside, the food is really good. They make exquisite dishes with all kinds of seafood. And Juan Ostras is very friendly.

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In the afternoon, Andres and Alexandra drive us to a nearby village, Puerto Morro, from where we can take a boat, to go to see the dolphins! The boat goes through the mangrove. The trees of the mangrove are endemic, nowhere else can the same specie be found. On the way, we see children collecting shells: they are in the water with a long pole. They go under the water to collect the shells, and use the pole to come back to the surface.

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We soon arrive to a place, where other touristic boats are patrolling. And here they are: several dolphins come regularly to the surface to breathe. Generally, you only see two or three fins arriving together at the surface. But sometimes, you see more of the dolphins. And we even see a dolphin jumping out of the water! The dolphins use to come here in the mangrove to find food.

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And sorry for this time, we did not take any video. Don’t be frustrated, you still can extrapolate from the pics 😉