Ecuador, March 1, 2012: Quito to Puerto López
Today’s travel goal: get to the beach. Seems simple enough, but it ended up being more trying than expected, particularly for the boys who shared a total of 12 hours behind the wheel on the challenging Ecuadorian roads. We left Quito around 9:30am. All was going well until we ran into a road block at a toll point around 11:15am and were told nobody was getting through until 12:30pm. We’re not sure why, but we assume it had to do with cleaning rubble from landslides off the road ahead. After a quick huddle we opted to try an alternative route, as sitting and waiting for more than an hour didn’t appeal to any of us. However, after finding ourselves on a terrible, bumpy back road that would have gone on for miles and done who-knows-what kind of damage to the car, we opted to turn back and wait it out. Amazingly, we were let through exactly on time, and we were on our way again, albeit slightly more irritated than before, having been set back more than an hour on our already long day of travel.
Oncoming traffic on our way to the coast
We drove through a lot of jungle roads and numerous sad little towns, as well as some larger, still kind of sad looking towns. The roads were not well-kept, with occasional landslide rubble piles popping up and causing us to swerve. To make matters worse, toward the end of the drive, after it had gotten dark, the skies opened up and it began to pour. This made the driving scary, hard-going and yet kind of exciting at the same time (says the girl in the back seat). Despite the rock slide rubble, the roads were pretty new and well-marked (shocking given previous experiences), but the weather conditions made them treacherous.
Luckily, we arrived in Puerto López unscathed and found a hostel fairly easily. Nothing great, but it wasn’t gross either. All restaurants were closed at this hour, so we made a dinner of crackers, cheese, pickles and beer. Dinner of travel champions.