December 4, 2011 — We headed off to the Pacific Ocean at Playas, Ecuador. Yay, finally the beach! Our dear friend Elena picked us up early morning and the five of us–Fred, me, and our guests from the States, piled in for the 5-hour wild ride up and over the Cajas and through busy Guayaquil. Wild, I say? True, we’re from Colorado and we ARE used to mountain driving….but, oh my — and Elena says she drives very slow compared to her father and son! All I can say is: this blog entry was almost entitled: “Mutiny In The Andes”* Seriously, when tires screech on every curve, you get a bit concerned.
In all fairness, Elena did actually get us to Playas safe and sound, and through crazy Guayaquil as well. Incidentally, us Americans had to explain to Elena what the word mutiny meant, so on our way back to Cuenca, Elena slowed way way down — a comfortable return trip for all!
The 5 of us fell in love with the town of Playas. The beaches were wide and empty, plus the weather was great that time of year — a jacket was even needed at night. The waters at Playas are warm, the town is small and we felt very safe. The taxis are even quaint. They call them tricis and we paid no more then 50 cents to a $1.00.
In January, February and March, however, it’s a different story in Playas — not only does the heat kick up along the coast, but the tourists swarm in as well. The highway to Playas makes that rather easy, as it’s been widened very recently, less than 2 years.
Elena made the arrangements for the Hotel Rey David to be our home for two nights. The costs was $20.00 per night for a room with one bed. It was a very modest, little hotel right across from the beach and from where the artisan-venders sold their goods under tents along the ocean-front avenue. The rooms were very simple, yet with satellite TV and AC, but no hot water. And unfortunately, the restaurant across the side-street blared their Latin music until nearly midnight and tons of mosquitoes managed to find their way into our room! As a result, they pretty much ate me alive on our second night. I kid you not, I was just about covered from head to toe, while Fred — nada!
One of the fun things that Elena planned for us was Banos San Vincente. About a one-hour drive east of Playas, sits these thermal waters and a very large mud bath. It’s an old place but not one to be missed! The entrance fee was only $2.00, the eucalyptus and mint steam room was $3.00, the messages were something like $5.00, and the large mud pool was included. Yep, a very cool place to go.
The little city of Salinas was also inviting. We made a quick run there, as Elena wanted us to at least see it — a little Miami.
The pictures really say it all! None of us wanted the trip to end, as we really had a blast and loved the coast.
*PS: This blog post was originally entitled: Aqui, Alli, Alla — in a different blog of mine. Those confusing Spanish words became such a joke and gave us so many laughs throughout this trip, hence the title. Just had to mention it here.