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Los Frailes Beach

Written on: Tuesday September 25th, 2007

A journal entry from: Kevin and Julie's RTW

Location: Los Frailes Beach, Puerto Lopez, Manabi, Ecuador

Author: Julie



Included in our Parque Nationale Machilla pass was access to the beach Los Frailes located 10 Km north of Puerto Lopez. It is described as in our guide book as being "one of the best on the whole pacific coastline". Looking out our window that morning, we saw actual hints of blue sky. Not wanting to miss out on such a rare resource in September in Ecuador, we hailed a mototaxi with our friend Kate, negotiated a ride of a 6$ return trip and boarded the little motorized rickshaw. Out of town we went, along the same highway we had taken days earlier by bus. Carefully pulling over slightly every time a bus or car passed at full speeds. We watched as the dry landscape of scrub bush passed us by and made the acquaintance of our new friend from Calgary. At the entrance, we flashed our park pass and continued on to the parking area. We set a pick-up time of 4 PM with our driver and quickly headed down the trail, watching small lizards scurry away in the hot sand at the sound of our footsteps. Then, we were there. The beach is a half-moon shaped, hemmed in both sides by large cliffs, and with loud crashing waves. The sand is gold colored with dark shiny flecks of mica. It was an abosultely beautiful sight! There were a few people there, spread out from each with everyone wanting to have their own little piece of heaven. We set down beside friends from Swizterland we had met the day before and just watched the waves in silence for minutes. Kevin and Kate couldn't wait any longuer to get into the water and headed out towards one side of the beach where the waves were slightly gentler. They tried to snorkel but the waves stirred the sand too much and the visibility was non-existent. I laid down and enjoyed the feel of the sun on my skin for the first time in weeks. The hours passed, we talked, we joked, we snacked, and we rejoiced at being in such a heavenly place. I finally got so warm that I needed to cool off and headed off into the waves with Kevin. It was so much fun to jump over the waves, then head out further to body surf them back in. Our bathing suits filled with sand in the most uncomfortable places. Every time we shook it out, the next wave would come along and fill it right back again. The afternoon passed in perfect idyll and 4 PM came much quicker than any of us wanted. We would have stayed longer but that was the time the park entrance closed, why not 6 PM we thought as we drove away.

Back in the city, we made plans with our Swiss friends Maryan and Alex to try out the Italian restaurant Bella Italia around the corner from our hostel. Walking the gravel street to the entrance we did not expect to see what we saw next. Passing a bamboo screen, into the back yard of the little house, we entered a beautiful outdoor restaurant with glow lights everywhere, tables with candles, and a gorgeous garden. We quickly ordered a spinach soup for me and plate of antipasto for Kevin along with a liter of red wine to share with the girls. Everything was as delicious as it looked and we quickly ate and shared our plates with each other. Next was our main course of vegetable pasta for Kevin and a lasagna with bechamel sauce for me. Heaven on the lips! After endless plates of rice and beans, a plate of pasta tasted so good. We spent a couple of hours at the restaurant chatting about our lives, where we worked (or didn't), our countries, and our past travel experiences. It was a wonderful night and we exchanged contact information before Maryan had to leave to catch her overnight bus to Quito before catching a flight back home. Alex had one more night in Puerto Lopez before heading on a bus to Peru to begin her next leg of her trip. This would be the first time she would be travelling by herself and she was excited to begin. It's always interesting to meet out traveller's that are as excited or as passionate as we are about travelling. Hearing stories of wonderment, beauty, bad times, scams, and human nature is alway good to be something we want to hear. The human experience of the world!

That night we fell asleep quickly thanks to a belly full of good food, one too many glasses of wine and the heat of the sun still warming our skin.