Hitching to Puerto Lopez.

Puerto Lopez is described as a more chill Montanita.  For this reason, I was expecting an even smaller town but Puerto Lopez is much larger.  Its waves are smaller and so its gringo population is much smaller.  But it has a beautiful beach and super tranquillo.  Perfect place to lay low for a couple days.

My new friend Abby talked me into hitchhiking the hour long ride north (it wasn’t a hard sell).  We stood on the main road just past Montanita for a solid twenty minutes.  Plenty of people were honking their horns for us, but Abby has learned discernment when hitching in South America which means no young men and a preference for pickups were one can sit undisturbed in the back.  The situation looked bleak and we agreed to hop on the next bus.

Just then, a white pick up with a whole bunch of older men in suits stopped.  Abby and them quickly talked.   Where are you going?  Puerto Lopez.  Something something arriba.  Hmmm, what to do?  We hopped into the pickup.  Turns out they weren’t going all the way to Puerto Lopez but dropped us off at a small ‘town’ 20km shy.  The driver kindly explained he was actually not even going this far but he didn’t want to drop us off where he was going because it was a bit dangerous and we wouldn’t have gotten a ride.  What a sweetie!  Anyway, no problem because another pickup pulled over even before the first driver had turned around.  Once again, Abby and I were smooth sailing on our way to Puerto Lopez.

Abby recommended perhaps the sweetest hostel I’ve stayed in yet, Hostal Monte Libano, and so we quickly dropped my stuff off and went to explore the town.

For me, exploring the town means eating the food.  Initially, I was a bit weary of Ecuadorean cuisine.  The almuerzos typically have a lot of white starchy foods–rice, yucca, potatoes.  But I’ve branched out and learned that there’s a whole lot more goodness down here.

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First, Abby was gracious enough to stop for yet another tres leches.  This time chocolate.  Mmm.  The cake was like chocolate pudding.  Not what I was expecting but two spoons up.

Then there was the surprising and new Colombian frozen yogurt place.  Our host whipped together natural frozen yogurt (w/o sugar), milk and frozen fruit to make a delicious smoothie.  I think I might have sampled all the flavors in my two days.  Yum.

A beach town means fish, so at least one of my lunches had to be ceviche.  I sat next to a motortaxi and we both ate every bit on our plate.  I don’t know the name of the place but it’s on the far corner of the market and the ceviche was scrumptious.  Karina y Carlos were super fun to talk to.  Definitely recommend it!

Last but not least, street food.  Ice cream from a smiling vendor (Abby, I finally found her right next to the frozen yogurt place.  Phew!), the familiar and salty meat on a stick, and something new–platanos deep fried with dough and a piece of cheese.

OMW, I must have gained twenty pounds this weekend!

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