Saturday, June 8, 2013

Manglaralto and Montañita: Pacific Coast

 We found a website, while we were in Panama, called HelpX.net.  It is a work exchange site, mostly for volunteer work in many different countries around the world.  Working for a place to stay, and possibly some meals would potentially help us reach our destination without spending all our money...

After joining the site, we found "Tagua Lodge" in Manglaralto, that was looking for a couple volunteers.  We exchanged emails with Luis a few times, and set up a time to come out to the coast and try it out.  Excited for the opportunity, and to have a place to stay for a bit, we booked it through a lot of Ecuador to get there.

Back on the Pacific again, the last time for us was in Santa Catalina, Panama...It's June, and it's very gloomy out, reminding me much of back home this time of year.  It's very comfortable temperature though, not too hot or humid, and not too cold.  We have been volunteering at a hostel for the past week, helping build on to two unfinished rooms.  Manglaralto is awesome.  It's small, very little vehicle traffic, and everyone is very friendly...The only downsides are, obnoxiously noisy loudspeakers placed several places in town, that are constantly blaring with a local man's voice, yelling out dollar amounts that families have donated...And, there are many people selling things via motorcycles and small trucks, also with loudspeakers, yelling out "Camaron," and "muy rico queso!"  It's a little ridiculous, but those aside, Manglaralto is just what we've been looking for.  It looks like we'll be helping out for another week or so, and looking forward to it...Luis and Cathy, the owners of the hostel, are super nice, and we couldn't ask for anything different.  It looks as if after we are done here, the road will lead us towards Peru...

Montañita on the other hand, is totally different.  It lies just 10 minutes north of Manglaralto...It is an interesting place.  Sort of reminds me of a mix of several places I know so well...Like a cross between Carpinteria, CA, and Dominical, Costa Rica.  Something like that...It's a beachside town, full of bars, cocktail carts, tourist memorabilia, and street food.  It costs $1.50 to take a cab from Manglaralto, and we've now been a few times, to eat and to check out a little of the night life.  Worth a visit, but not for everyone, especially if you're looking for some peace and quiet. 

"El Tigre," sells cocktails on the street right by the beach in Montañita


So far, we love Ecuador.  It's a mellower vibe than Colombia, while still having similarities.  Most things are cheap, especially if they're domestic...Anything imported costs three times what it is worth!  People here are friendly, and the weather, has been great.