About: Caro volunteers as social marketer at Montañita Spanish School. Back home she is freelance marketer and she travels a whole lot!
Montañita’s little brother
I’m in Montañita for seven weeks weeks allready to volunteer and learn Spanish at the school. Montañita is perfect for that. I decided to go on a weekendtrip to see something different and ended up going to Montañita’s little brother, Canoa. A very nice beachtown five and a half hour up north. You get there by bus and the trip costs less than ten bucks. So if you have some days off I would say; GO, GO, GO to Canoa! Read here why, how and when to go.
How to travel
At the busstop in Montañita you’ll get the advice you to take a bus to Manta and from Manta to Canoa. DON’T do this… I got some inside-information that saved me about two hours of traveling. I took the ‘green’ bus from Montañita to Jippijappa, pronounced as ‘hippie happa’. Busses in Montañita go by color and when I asked which bus to take to ‘hippy happy’ they still put me on the right bus. From Jippijappa you’ll take a bus to Portoviejo and from there you hop on the last bus to Canoa. Transits are super easy and busses run regularly.
Why go to Canoa
Canoa is one of the cooler places in Ecuador to me and it is known for a perfect surf and beautiful beaches. I visited the place when I traveled South America four years ago and I wanted to come back during this trip sor sure. I love the kind people, ‘tranquilo’ surfvibe, beautifull beaches and a perfect, little amount of party at night. The cocktailbars and foodstands are open day and night and the coconuts are served nice and cold. Surf, yoga and beachvolley are on every day which is perfect if you enjoy an active lifestyle. Canoa is perfect to renew my energy and see a different scenery.
Also an important note; It’s easy to practise your Spanish in Canoa. The people are chilled enough to take the time to communicate with you and your Spanglish accent.
Wheatherwise I would visit Canoa between November and June. The sun will be out every single day. In case you like to surf go in November, in this month you find the best swell. Culture-wise I would say, go soon! Canoa has been hit by a earthquake 1,5 years ago. For me, coming from Holland where nothing ever happens, it was interesting to see how the last signs of the earthquake are still visible.
So, a little nearby history
On april 16, 2016 Canoa got heavily striked by an earthquake. My newmade friend whom I met in Montañita, told me about how he lost the business he worked on for years in a few seconds of earthshaking. The people of Canoa are still working on reconstructing the village. The story of my friend gave an extra dimension to my weekendtrip and the resilience of community really touched me. It’s good and interesting to be aware of this big happening in town while you visit. It makes Canoa is a very special place to visit at this moment. I’ve noticed that Canoa changed after the quake and the image of Canoa is a bit different as well. Canoa was a pretty intens surf-partytown before. Now it’s more quiet and less touristy in town but earthquake or not, Canoa definately have not lost it’s good vibe!
Tips & Tricks!
I stayed in a very recomendable place called Shangri La. It’s a bit out of town and a ten minute walk from the fiestas, very ‘bueno’ if you like to chill and sleep without noise. A private room only cost me $ 12,50 in low season. The food and especially the typical food from Namabí provice, is beter than everything I tasted in Ecuador so far.
Especially the seafooddishes, made insome kind of curry are incredible. I ate homemade icecream from an organic farm at the only iceshop in town. During the day I went out for a surf and played a few games of chezz with some guys on the street and I danced my ass off at night!
So, if you are a beachlover, surfer, sunlover or foodie like me and you’re looking for a nice trip when you stay in Montañita for a longer time, Canoa is definately a cool place to go to. Don’t miss out!