day trip to Isla de la Plata

note the feet on this blue-footed boobie

note the feet on this blue-footed boobie

typical view from Isla de la Plata

typical view from Isla de la Plata

blue-footed boobie in its natural habitat

blue-footed boobie in its natural habitat

sunset from Puerto Lopez

sunset from Puerto Lopez

After catching the bus from Manta on Monday, we took a breath-takingly beautiful two hour bus ride (we’ve come to refer to them as CBs – chicken buses due to their sometimes occupants) along the Ecuadorean coast south to the small village of Puerto Lopez. Here we found a little paradise at the Nantu Hosteria, a hostel across the road from the beach. Nantu means “moon” in Shuar, the language of an indigenous group from the Orient in Ecuador. A sign here says that “the beauty of the moon invites you to relaxation and romance.” With the moon full or very near full, we are trying to meet this goal! We arrived in time to make reservations for a day tour the next day. We then had a most delicious fried shrimp and papas fritas (french fries) dinner. Early the next day, we got up and took a day trip to Isla de la Plata (known as the poor man’s Galapagos). After an hour’s boat ride with 11 other tourists (only one other spoke English besides the guide and 2 were German), we dropped our shoes in a large group bag and waded ashore. (It’s a good feeling when we understand the supposedly English speaking tour guide better in his native Spanish than in his second-tongued English.) After putting on our hiking boots, we took a two hour hike around the island. We saw blue-footed boobies, red-footed boobies (only about 20 couples on the island), frigates, tropicbirds, a Peruvian meadowlark, and pelicans along with some amazing views. Then we boated back to a snorkeling site, which felt so good after the hot weather hike on the island. We also caught a glimpse of a “tropic whale.” Arriving back in Puerto Lopez, we ate at the same restaurant–you guessed it, more shrimp–and watched another amazing sunset. We are preparing to meet our good friends from Richmond, Jimey and Kathy, tomorrow for a trip to the real Galapagos Islands. We are ready now…

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