Canoa, Ecuador - Polarsteps
Canoa, Ecuador, is well known for it surf conditions, beaches, and paragliding opportunities. I don't surf, but what I've heard is that the 10-mile-long beach has a perfect break (whatever that means) for beginners and great surf swells (again, I have no idea what this is about), all year round. Canoa is a tiny town of maybe 7000 residents. There is no supermarket and no ATM, for those you have to drive/bus/taxi south about 15 kilometers to San Vicente. I noticed that while getting fresh fruit was no problem, as there is much grown in that region of Ecuador, getting good, fresh veggies in Canoa was not so easy.
Sometime before 1638 the Spanish invaders found the area and named it Pantagua, and the residents ran away to the mountains. Then in 1638, the town was refounded, again by the Spanish, and the name changed to San Andrés de Canoa. At about that time, the native population returned to the town. In 2016, there was an earthquake that pretty much destroyed the town. They rebuilt the town to be a tourist destination with beach-related sports and ecological areas as a focus of redevelopment. There are many hostels and hotels in Canoa that range from $10 per night and way up from there.
Being that I was there for only 2 nights I didn't eat at many restaurants, but I will say that Charly Bar is one of the best. It's also the place where you're likely to find English-speaking people, such as the group of seven from the US and Canada I met. They weren't tourists, but rather they live in the Canoa area, two of them have a farm outside of town, another has a beach house, and the others live in a condominium. I also met another woman from the US who lives in Canoa. I met her at Charly Bar. Then when on my walk around town, I met a couple who are from Minnesota and spend the Minnesota winters in their home in Canoa and the summers back up north. They have a couple of houses, one of which is being expanded with rooms to rent.
I stayed at the Hostal Rutamar, an eco-hostel built by the owner out of wood and bamboo. It's a great place to stay, just 2 blocks off the beach so the cost was very good at $15 a night. At the hostel I hung out with people from many countries - a woman from Italy but living in London, England; a woman from Holland; A man from Argentina but living in Canoa; a man from Scotland but living in Australia; and a woman from Germany. They all spoke English so we were all able to have some very interesting conversations.
So, my impressions: I enjoyed Canoa, but found it to be too small to spend too much time there. The lack of a supermarket and an ATM were definitely negatives for me. The climate is very good. The daytime is in the mid-80s F (high 20s Celcius), while the nights see a temp around that averages 72° F (22° C). Combined with the sea breeze, relaxing on a hammock in the shade is the way to pass the days.
My South America Journey