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At the end of January, 2013, I travelled to Ecuador for 2 weeks. The first week was for whitewater kayaking in Ecuador’s amazing rivers, and the second was for board surfing in the ocean and hanging out at the beach. I was extremely excited about going, but I had never been to South America before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I had a great time and am now trying to figure out how I can go there every year.

I’ve wanted to go kayaking in South America for years now, but never seemed to have the time, be healthy enough, or figure out the logistics. Last Fall I decided that I was going next year no matter what. I found out that a friend of mine was already planning on going with Small World Adventures (SWA), a kayak guiding service. I jumped at the chance and booked my trip with them that night. They provide an amazing week. Everything is taken care of: lodging, food, shuttles, river levels, everything. I’ve never kayaked so care free in my life before. My friend posted a very detailed trip report about our kayaking adventures.

My journey through Ecuador

The first day I flew into Quito (blue) from Seattle. The flight takes all day, but going through Houston was actually easy. The next morning, SWA drive us over a 13,500 foot pass to Borja (red) where they have their Cabañas Tres Rios lodge. We stayed there 2 nights, then headed over to Tena (green) for 2 nights for some warm weather and warm rivers. After that we came back to Borja for another 3 nights, then the kayaking portion of the trip was over and back to Quito. Most people flew back to the US the next day.

I flew to Guayaquil (turquoise) and took a 2.5 hour taxi ride to Montañita (yellow). I spent a day there and couldn’t stand it. It’s a very overcrowded town and its infrastructure can’t keep up. So, upon the recommendation of SWA guide Greg, I headed up to Canoa (purple). It was 250km away and took over 6 hours by bus and taxi. There I stayed at the Canoa Beach Hotel, which was run by an US expat and had just opened 2 months earlier. It was amazing and I highly recommend that hotel and the town of Canoa if you want a relaxing beach vacation in Ecuador. The surfing wasn’t big, but they were the cleanest waves I’ve every surfed. I had a return flight scheduled out of Guayaquil, but there was no way I was going to taxi or bus back there just for a flight. Instead I took a 6.5 hour taxi from Canoa directly to Quito, completing the circle.

Overall, the trip was amazing. I wasted some time and money figuring things out, but I had fun experiencing everything. I hope I can go back every year for a week of kayaking and a week of surfing. Next time though, I’m going to fly from Quito to Manta and back to maximize my beach and surfing time.

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