Mark was determined to convince me that it could be done in five hours! And guess what? He was right!
This is how we did it:
We took TAME Airlines (total of $167.56 for both of us) to Guayaquil. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at Juan Valdez Cafe at the airport in Guayaquil after a 45 minute plane flight and then took a $3.00 taxi ride to the Terminal Terrestre (bus station). Actually the bus station looks more like a shopping mall with buses on the side.
|TAME Airlines to Guayaquil|
|Juan Valdez at Guayaquil Airport|
|First Floor of Guayaquil Bus Station -- CLP #83|
|Tickets for the CLP -- hang on to them. They will collect them on the bus!|
|Terminal Terrestre in Guayaquil -- Shopping Mall with buses on the side|
|Thoroughly modern CLP bus line with movie and snacks|
|Luggage retrieval tags for CLP -- hang on to them!|
|Crazy Montañita where most everyone gets off!|
|We always enjoy the people watching in Montañita.|
|And more passengers get off at the popular Montañita.|
|End of the Road -- Olon (a few kilometers from Montañita).|
|Olon Bus Station (final stop).|
From Olon we waved down a taxi (total cost $20) to take us approximately 50 minutes to Puerto Lopez, right to the doorstep of the Mandala Hosteria. Our taxista was so warm and friendly; he gave us a talking tour as we passed by several points of interest. You can also catch a bus in Montañita (the green one) that will take you to the new bus terminal in Puerto Lopez. But our goal was to see how fast we could make it to Puerto Lopez. It was just a little bit past noon when we arrived at the Mandala. I was in shock! We did it (one day -- 5 hours).
Since we arrived so early I was confused the rest of the day. I kept thinking we needed to eat dinner when we hadn't even eaten lunch. Of course, I wanted to head right to Los Frailes (20 minutes north) because it was a sunny day. Normally during June, July and August it's overcast, cloudy and very few sunsets. However, because of the El Niño effect, there was sun every day, gorgeous sunsets and no humidity. In other words, it was paradise!
|Private Beach at Mandala|
|Our balcony overlooking the Ocean -- Galapagos Suite|
|First of many sunsets at Mandala|
|Mandala's Private Beach|
|Entrance to Mandala|
|View of the Ocean from our Balcony|
|Los Frailes from the Mirador|
Connie & Mark