N: 2°53′50.69″ W: 79°00′16.13″
Sadly, the jungle week is over. With pain in our hearts we leave the fantastic Ahuano. We sail by ferry over the river, drive 4 hours through the mountains and fly from Quito to Manta. There we have arrived slightly in shock… Manta is an industrial coastal town and does not look particularly attractive at first sight. We exchanged the jungle noises for noise from cars, air conditioners and dogs. Fortunately, during this week Manta also proved to offer a lot more than first anticipated! On Monday morning it turned out that we’re having lessons from Marielisa this week. We will learn a lot from her, so the lessons fly by!
Monday afternoon we discover the city and walk to the beach. If you think Ecuador is lagging behind the times, then you’re really wrong. After Quito, Manta also has a shopping mall so big and luxurious, you can hardly believe it! At least I’ve never seen this luxury in the Netherlands. On Tuesday we cook cerviche, a typical dish of the coastal region. This cold tuna salad with Patacones de platano was incredible, even for someone who doesn’t really like fish i thought it was very tasty!
Unfortunately, the trip to Montecristi fell apart due to the weather. The guide at the Cuidad Alfaro museum talks so quickly that I couldn’t follow it at all and outside the streets had become rivers. We decide to leave the place that founded the iconic Panama hat for now as the rain was just too much. Ecuadorian beer drinking is the best alternative plan for this rainy afternoon/evening especially when combined with another local specialty, pan de yuca.
Manta has already become a bit of a home and the free afternoons on the beach are a nice change of scenery. On Friday, Parapenting in Crusita is scheduled. It was a super fast run down the mountain and before floating up between the birds in the air! The view over the coastline is beautiful and you really do feel the freedom. We dive into the high waves a little later in the afternoon and drink milk from the coconut… What a good day! In the evening it is time to pack the backpack, because on Saturday we visit Isla de la Plata (also called mini-Galapagos) and then travel right to the last destination of this travelling classroom.
Isla de la Plata
At Isla de la Plata we take the largest possible walk too see a lot of birds. Here live among other people the blue-footed gents and the frigate bird. It is so funny to see a bird with blue feet and these large frigate birds have inflated red necks to impress the females. The views over the cliffs went on forever and thus we could see hundreds of birds in the air, well worth the long walk. To cool off from the walk we dive into the water with the snorkel, because there is also a lot of things to be seen lurking below the surface. But unfortunately time is up, we have to get the boat up and go back to the mainland.