We decided we wanted to have a few days relaxing on the coast of Ecuador. We checked out of the Alston Hotel in Quito on Tuesday 2nd November at 9pm. The bus station was just a 5 minute walk from our hotel, so we were able to just walk there. We had read about many buses that go to Manta from Quito and the best reviews were for Panamericana buses, so we decided to go with them.
The 9 hour bus journey from Quito to Manta cost us $10 each. The bus was extremely comfortable with reclining seats. They also play a movie on the bus, which is in Spanish and they give you a drink along the way.
We were a little nervous about the bus journey, as we had read so many nightmare situations, where people had their bags stolen. We just made sure we were extra careful, keeping valuables in our money belt and keeping our back packs on our knee. The big bags go under the bus and you are given a tag too show that’s your bag. Luckily we had no problems what so ever, and we arrived the next morning with all our possessions!
The bus drops you off at the Panamericana bus office in Manta, which is just a 5 minute walk from the coast. We hadn’t booked a hotel, so we had to go looking for a hotel. This wasn’t such a wise idea, after spending a whole night on a bus and not getting much sleep. We finally found a really nice hotel, that was above our budget, but we decided to take it for the night, as we were so tired. The hotel was called Los Almendros Hotel and Spa. The room was $70 a night for a double room. This was way above what we wanted to pay, but the room was extremley nice, so I guess we just couldn’t resist!
As soon as we got into the hotel we crashed. It was so nice to be in a comfy bed again. We slept for about 5 hours. Once we woke up we decided to take a walk along the coast. The beach was just 5 minutes walk from our hotel.
There are lot’s of restaurants and shops along the sea front. We took a short walk, but didn’t go too far as we were still feeling fairly tired. Our first impressions of the coastal area at Manta, were just ok. There is quite a lot of rubbish around and the sand was no where near as nice as some of the sands we’ve seen on this trip! However it was nice to be away from the hustle and bustle of Quito.
We stayed in Manta until Sunday 7th November. We spent our few days there just relaxing by the beach. We moved to another hotel called the Albatross Hotel on 5th November for 2 nights. This hotel was just $40 a night and had a swimming pool. I’d definitely recommend this hotel. The staff were extremely friendly and the rooms were basic but very nice and clean. Also we were just 5-10 minutes walk from the beach and it was great having a swimming pool in the hotel.
We also watched a parade in Manta one day. I’m not sure exactly what it was in aid of, but it seemed to be a parade for different regions in the area. They had a beauty queen for each area, leading the parade.
We got a bus back from Manta to Quito on Sunday 7th November. We then got a flight on Tuesday 9th November from Quito to Lima. When you leave Quito airport you have to pay $40 per person to leave the airport. You are not told this when booking flights, in fact the flights say ‘all taxes included’. We flew with LAN airlines to Lima. The flight was 2 hours long, leaving at 9.15am.
When we arrived in Lima we got a pre-paid taxi from the airport to our hotel in Miraflores. We were checked into the Kusillus Hostal, 30 minutes drive from the airport. This area is very built up and is the main tourist area of Lima. It is in a great location, right by the coast.
We will write more about our time in Lima very soon.
We are currently in Cusco, Peru.
Ruth and Paul