We made it to Ecuador! Thanks in part to Tame Airlines and their cheap Wednesday flights into Esmereldes (because that’s the stop-over to The Galapagos), Dave and I arrived in the beach town Atacames on Wednesday after a short taxi ride from the nearly deserted Esmereldes airport.
Finding our hotel was somewhat difficult, as none of the roads are named, and apparently Atacames sells more hotel rooms than coconuts and fish soup combined. With the help of some locals, we were able to find our hotel, which didn’t exactly live up to its photos online. Plus, the owner was able to jack up his prices for Carnival – the weeklong holiday that comes before Lent – from $16/night to $60. Nonetheless, we were on the beach!
What to do in Atacames?
After the first day, having wandered through the less-touristy parts, eaten typical fish soup (encebollada) for breakfast, and strolled the stretch of Pacific coastline, we decided to turn to the internet for touristy Atacames gems that we had perhaps overlooked. Though, according to Fromers and Lonely Planet, Atacames specializes in three things: seafood, alcohol and beach relaxation. So, when in Rome, I suppose. On day two we tried the favorite local beverage – Capariñas, which are like mojitos minus the mint, and originally from Brazil. On day three we got sufficiently sunburned and tried some toasted coconut.
All in all, not a bad time at the beach. But, like the guidebooks say, don’t expect a whole lot to happen.