Third visit to Ecuador. This time with a text blog as well as videos. Here is the video site
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Viktor's Day Tour to Olon and other Towns

Today we took a day trip up the coast with Viktor Tchernikov. He is a Russian educated in the Ukraine and has now moved to Ecuador to live permanently. Viktor basically works full time with his tours.

Viktor's tours Salinas

He had a nice new car that worked well for our travels. AC and he could even connect his phone wifi so we could use the connection for email if we needed. All part of the package. If you are thinking of contacting Viktor you should first become a member of the Facebook group called Salinas Stuff. You will find him advertising his trips there.

We first went to a place called Punta Faro in Ballenita because that was a location I had seen in 2012 when they were constructing the complexes. I wanted to see it now and also wanted to see the ocean view with the lighthouse in front.

Punta Faro in Ballenita
Front wall and ceramic logo for the complex

Punta Faro in Ballenita
Back view facing the ocean
Punta Faro in Ballenita
This photo is from an ad a couple of years back.

Here is a link to a video I made in 2012 when I viewed the construction of the first three units of this complex. I was impressed then and that's why I wanted to go back. I tried to find it last time I was there too but got lost on a wrong turn only a few blocks away, even though we did find the more common beach in the photo below.

We also went to a more commonly known location a few hundred meters down the coast where there is easier beach access and you can see Salinas and Libertad. From here you cannot even see the lighthouse just up the coast. Even more reason I would still like to get a place in that condo as it is very private and unknown.

Ballenita beach
From a beach near Ballenita you can see Salinas

Then we directed Viktor to Colonche which is the location of the oldest existing wooden church in Ecuador. Construction began in 1700 and it survives today. More renos have taken place since I was here in 2013 but it is still an operational church.  Here is a link to see a video I made on my first visit to the Santa Catalina de Colonche.

Santa Catalina de Colonche, Ecuador

We did not see the caretaker so we were unable to climb the bell tower this time. If you go there be sure to watch the video first so you know a bit about the church. 
From there we drove up the Routa del Sponylus past shrimp farms, shrimp laboratories, cabanas and small towns. We stopped to buy fresh baking in a town where they claim to be the undisputed bread republic of Ecuador. 
We visited the ancient archeological town of Valdivia (3500-1800 BC) where all the archives seem to centre around the goddess of love. All the stuff you buy are copies although there are plenty of authentic bits around you could purchase if you ask. Good luck with that as you could end up being arrested on the way out of the country. 
Further up the road we found the Valdivia Marine Park.  Here you can see a couple of sea turtles swimming around in their pool looking at you through the windows. Several land turtles have their enclosure. We saw several species of fish and other marine animals and there are even two or three blue footed boobies wondering why we were there. This may or may not be the same organization that we visited a few years ago. But previously there were many rescued animals and we saw none of that this time. Here is my video from a few years ago. It will open in a new window so you can come back here.

I walked out back towards the ecological area nearer the ocean. While there I found three freshly hatched turtles that would not have lived had not I given them a head start and lifted them to the ocean. There were several other dead turtles around who had not made a successful trek to the water.  The mother had laid eggs too far from the ocean. She had even gone over a large sand dune away from the ocean and the little guys had no chance in today's high heat to make it. Some is better than none.

Further north we came to Montanita. This is the hippie surfing town of Ecuador. Our plan was to come back there for dinner so we kept driving northward to Olon.

Montanita surf town

Montanita surf town

Only a few kilometres up the road we stopped at the iconic church on the cliff. This is a bit of a multi religion tourist stop that appears to be ready to crumble with the cliff it is build on. The architecture has features that give it the look of a large boat. There were repairs ongoing to the interior but enough was open to large wood carvings in the working church and awesome views of the Olon beach below.

Olon Ecuador

Olon Ecuador

We soon arrived at Olon. The long beach was the best so far in Ecuador. Surfers, swimmers and sun worshipers enjoyed the expansive reaches of the sand. We walked a while and then decided we were too hungry to wait any longer for lunch. The plan was to come back after lunch.  

Olon Ecuador

Back to Montanita to a place called Tiki Limbo Restaurante. Victor took us to this place as they speak Spanish and English and have food that he considered safe to eat.

Montanita surf town

Victor went to visit with friends while we ate dinner, but came back later and we had the waiter take a photo of us.

Tiki Restaurante, Montanita

We ordered pasta and burgers and fries. The lemonade, beer and chocolate coffee milkshake provided the refreshments. I guess we were not as hungry as we thought. None of us ate all we ordered. They were good burgers although a bit too salty which is the norm here. The chocolate coffee was the best.

Tiki Restaurante, Montanita

After the meal we spent time walking the beach, walking through the street vendor shops and people watching. By the time we had finished we decided we would not return to Olon but instead head back towards Salinas.

We came back through Libertad and drove up the Libertad malecon. People were everywhere as it was the weekend and about 5:30. The kiddie section of the beach was full of swimmers and the food kiosks had lineups waiting to purchase.  Quite different compared to when we walked through in the middle of the day a few days ago. It had looked deserted.

Libertad malecon

We got home just after six. Just in time to take a few photographs of the sunset from our seventh floor apartment on the Salinas malecon.

Salinas beach sunset

4.4 Km walking