Machalillla National park – Isla de la Plata $40 per person
Apart from the whales and mantas, Puerto Lopez is also known for Machalilla National Park and Isla de la Plata (also known as the poor man’s Galapagos). Due to not seeing much on our dives and not being able to afford the Galapagos, we decided to book a tour. We spent the whole day walking back and forth trying to find a company who had space for the following day but everything was fully booked, so the next day we winged it and stood on the pier asking tour companies if they had any cancelations. No luck. As we started to head back I decided to ask one more company. Cha-Ching we were in. We quickly paid up and joined the tour group on the boat to the island.
Puerto Lopez was never a planned place to go, It all stemmed from that drunken night out in Quito where we met Dr. Roberto and his wife Bernes. In the process of getting totally shit-faced and after only an hour or so of meeting them we had agreed to go and visit them and they could show us round the town. They told us about a hotel that's always taking on volunteers so when we arrived we went to check it out and the owner Maria said she could host us for a week or so in return of helping out at breakfast and doing some light gardening. Sweet.
So I'm all up for a bus journey here and there but I seriously think they're making me delusional. To start with all I dream about when I'm on them is snow. I know this is really bad considering I'm on the other side of the world sunning it up but I really miss the white stuff. This then leads on to endless day dreams about becoming a professional Freeride skier and blah blah blah. Anyway my latest daydream took me to Alaska where I was casually hanging out with all the contestants of last year’s Freeride World Tour. Not only was I chilling with them I was presenting the FRWT Journal. I'm sorry but Hersha Patel just doesn't strike me as the kinda gal who shreds, I feel like they need someone with a little more passion. Oh wait, me. Yeah I'd be perfect for the role, and with this I drifted off in to my little bubble of imagination whilst we headed to Baños.
Quito was a really cool city. Although there's not heaps to do there, it's surrounding areas are packed with activities. We got there pretty late so jumped in a taxi to a hostel we found using the Lonely Planet South America guide book. As soon as I stepped foot in Vibes hostel I had a good feeling about it. We checked in to our room which had no one else in. Score ! Then as we were about to head out for some food and then we bumped in to an English lad called Greg. He had been in Quito for a few days so he decided to join us in finding a bite to eat. Turns out food in Ecuador is crazy cheap ! Like $2/3 per meal.
The next day we got up and headed in to the old town of Quito to be top tourists. This was a 15 minute walk from our hostel. Now, I hold my hands up when I say, I can't for the life of me navigate using street maps. Mountaineering maps no problem, Orienteering at school, I rocked that shit. A simple street map following lines. Useless. This doesn't mean I don't try and fail every time though. So with that we followed my sense of no direction and ended up taking around an hour to finally find the old town. Normally Jordan gets mad at me doing this but we happened to stumble across KFC so I was let off the hook.