A very short ride, about 20 mins, just south of Puerto Lopez and only 30 minutes north from the surfing, backpacker party town of Montanita, you will find delightful Ayampe. It can be reached by bus along the Ruta del Sol with ease and even easier grab a shared (unmarked) taxi. It cost me $1.
Ayampe is a little bit of paradise. It is a wee village of about 400 inhabitants, and it has for the most part been left alone. The beach is serene, long and vast, and clean! The water is blue with gentle waves coming in. It is so tranquil. There is hardly anyone here, with the exception of a few surfers, many of them women and after that remains only a few other tourists.
Ayampe is one of those places that I experience and I can’t believe places like this still exist. But they do indeed as I have come across quite a few hidden gems along the way over the years. When i do find a place such as here, I am in awe that my wanderlust has taken me here. I am humbled and grateful to be in such a place of serenity and beauty. Yet I am proud to be here, on my journey, my path.
Ayampe is by far the most peaceful place I have stayed in Ecuador. I wonder though how long Ayampe will last this untouched and unscathed, this quiet? There is great potential here. I sense that Ayampe is becoming more noticeable, and once noticed, it cannot help but be appreciated. It is beautifully raw. It is extremely calm. There are only 3 restaurants, all open at varying times it seems. Two small tiendas (shops).
There are enough accommodations of cabanas to go around for sure, all quite quaint and cute. I am staying at Cabanas de la Iguanas, where I have a top floor cabana. A very spacious room that would sleep four and a balcony with a hammock of course.
The property is filled with luscious gardens and birds chirping and singing constantly including hummingbirds. It’s dreamy; I awake to the songs of countless birds each morning, sometimes it is like a choir. Ecuador actually has the most species of birds, at 1600 species, per square mile. Behind Peru and Columbia, it is third for the number of bird species but the land is much smaller than either of those.
The nights seem to cool down here to a comfortable temperature for sleeping, it’s wonderful. There has been no beer or alcohol allowed to be sold or served for the past 3 days due to the election weekend. That has now ended officially, thankfully. Being such a small town though, I was happy to find the attitude relaxed and the restaurant was serving beer, even with the restrictions. I found this gorgeous Italian place set in this appealing bamboo courtyard with delicious pizza and pasta, and beer. Where did it come from? It was perfect.
Days can be spent here wandering the beach, watching sunsets, surfing, laying in a hammock, scouring for rocks. The rocks on the beach here are alluring, lots to choose from.
After my few days here of absolute bliss, and my many days on the coast, I am now headed back inland to the mountains again. I am off to Neverland. Go to my travel map to check out my journey from Ayampe to Neverland. It may be a couple of weeks before my next blog entry but stay tuned.