An open-ended adventure by Ralf
Currently traveling
  • Day17

    Home Sweet Home Cuenca

    August 21, 2021 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Made it back home to Cuenca after another round about 6h highway ride from Quevedo. Actually, pretty boring roads until the entry of Cajas National park. Lots of traffic on the highway put me into the situation to overtake lots of vehicles, especially the loaded trucks. Felt in these situations and in the steep parts of Cajas that the 411cc of my Royal Enfield Himalayan could be better pushed to 650cc when fully loaded to give more power…

    Was super cold this time in Cajas as I rode through pretty late in the evening from 4pm to 6pm. My winter gloves were not enough, would have needed extra hand protectors or heaters.

    Summing up this journey, I mostly enjoyed the riding still through Cajas with this amazing landscape and turns around as well as the parts between Montanita to Manta as well as the off beaten track from Mompiche to Atacames. I saw lots of new places on the coast, met friendly people along the way and tasted delicious seafood 😋.

    It is definitely a different way of travel with a motorbike than by car or bus, but I enjoyed it as long as I did not need to ride the super long exhausting last two days with each 6h nearly only highway. Sometimes I felt especially my lower back itching but I hope to clear up this issue with putting my steering bars higher with an extra part that is being shipped over from the US currently.

    In the end I found my new home Manta as well, scouted already my future apartment and look forward on moving there pretty soon 😎. New adventures coming up soon! The 🏄‍♂️ in Manta should be good!
    Read more


    Happy Birthday Ralf! All the best wishes from Germany! Micha


    Thanks a lot Micha 😊

  • Day15

    Heading back home

    August 19, 2021 in Ecuador ⋅ ☁️ 26 °C

    2 weeks are over and I covered all the way from Guayaquil to Esmeraldas - I feel now it is time to get back to Cuenca and really look forward to it seeing friends and the known environment.

    Doing the trip back from Esmeraldas in a two step approach in two days with each round about 6h of driving. Made it to Quevedo - a business town which no note able sights. I met a friendly Ecuadorian guy in the hotel I stayed in and he helped me with some issues with my phone contract. Later on went out for dinner and drinks with his friends and ended up introducing me to Manabi liquor (Cana Manabita), Ecuadorian drinking games and lots of fun 😋.

    Unfortunately, had one of the worst nights in my life afterwards (not alcohol related , I know how to handle that 😉) as obviously a fish soup I ate on the way for lunch was not good - had literally no sleep and puked all night 😔. Luckily found a doc that examined me and rehydrated me with an overnight stay in a private hospital - I felt well taken care of me and my private room was quite decent with Wifi and TV.

    I met literally at every place nice people on the road, but I think I need a hub to live in, where you feel comfortable. Traveling every 1-3 days is too stressful for me on the long run. I might consider though a Nomadic lifestyle, but with stays of minimum 1 week and rather open on the other end. It is too much effort unpacking and repacking your bike every couple of days.

    With my purchased combination of saddle bags and top center bag from Nelson Rigg I am pretty happy . Good quality and enough space for my needed things. Just the strapping creates some manual effort which cases do not have.
    Read more

  • Day14

    Biking off the beaten track - Atacames

    August 18, 2021 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    On my way up to Esmeraldas I found out there is not really much to see in Esmeraldas and the nice beaches lie outside of the city. Therefore, decided to stay one night in Atacames, the beach town famous for its beach bars & weekend party spot for Quiteños.

    I took the longer beach route from Mompiche over Muisne to Atacames with my bike off the beaten track (which was recommended by my hotel in Mompiche - always great to get some local advice 👍) and loved the windy roads through rainforest terrain. There were not many people on these roads (you should not be scared of this 😉) and probably many of those small fisher villages never have seen a guy packed up on a motorbike according to the looks I received 😅. The condition of the road was overall great (seems that one was freshly paved), but there is also a part dirt road. Especially note able was Playa Escondida, a private land (5 USD entrance fee) with beach and possibilities to stay there in lodge style houses as well as camping options. I just went beachside with my bike, had a look around and could avoid paying the fee after talking with the relaxed guards 👌. Seems like a place off the beaten track with good relaxed vibes 😎.

    I have been in Atacames on a Wednesday night, which was rather quiet as usual during the week. Made the most strange encounter of the whole trip through when a guy in the street started talking German with me. Then he insisted to have more German communication with me and practice his German. As nice guy I said ok let’s go and have something to eat. I encountered then that he had obviously psychological problems as he was talking with non existent persons in the room 😳…after the dinner gave a short farewell and stayed for the rest of the night in the hotel trying to avoid re-meeting him in the streets 😅.

    Atacames itself has a nice wide beach, swimming though was not possible due to high waves 🌊. It seemed for me during the week it is rather a family than a party spot.

    For living this is a pretty small holiday retreat, where I lack the infrastructure and as well would be annoyed I guess after a while by the tourist crowds.

    Stay: Hotel Rosmarg - convenient located right beach side. Has everything needed but still pretty basic for 25 USD per night (small room). The staff was rather helpful for Ecuadorian standards 😉.
    Read more

  • Day13

    Relax time in Mompiche

    August 17, 2021 in Ecuador ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

    Stayed two nights in the small surfer and fisher town Mompiche - definitely worth a stop if you want to relax and destress. And the beaches are getting better and better still 😎!

    Met an Ecuadorian guy in the hallway of my hotel and he greeted me in German “servus” (which means hello)…I was surprised and thought damn I still have the German looks 😜…in the end it turned out he spoke with the hotel owner and got the info from there, so I can sleep well again 😅.

    Mompiche itself has a beautiful beach, but what was even more stunning was the beach on the nearby island Isla Portete which you can reach by a 15 min car ride & short 1 min boat transfer and is a definitive must visit!

    The locals were super friendly in Mompiche as well and got easy in contact with the relaxed surfer crowd…ended up having beers with them until 2am in the night 🍻.

    There is a huge population of vultures as well living in Mompiche - they looked like giant bats when they were circling in the air, impressive sight.

    For living it is still too quiet for me and also the internet bandwidth lacks here for digital nomads. So rather a weekend retreat.

    Stay: San Antonio Suites (25 USD for me only, but actually stayed in a 3 bedroom suite) - my place was with superb sea view and balcony to relax on, simply beautiful. The owners even drove me with their car to the nearby island - gotta come back there!
    Read more

  • Day11

    Canoa - short overnight stay

    August 15, 2021 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Travelled today round about 2-3 h up further north from Manta to the small beach town Canoa.

    On the way I found beautiful nature (dry forest, trees looking like out of a Tim Burton movie…) but was too lazy to stop and take pics 😉. Was a pleasure driving through that environment, on the other hand the streets are getting more difficult to drive on as further north I make it due to the worsening quality. Luckily I have a good all terrain bike at hand 😎, which I definitely recommend for making this route!

    Arrived pretty late in Canoa and was lucky finding a place to sleep in Cocoa Inn (20 USD per single) due to public holidays in Ecuador. The view of the terrace on the ocean was really nice, got a safe parking spot and the people super friendly 👍…even though the weather turned out pretty cloudy.
    Read more

  • Day10

    Manta - my new home?

    August 14, 2021 in Ecuador ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

    Spent 3 nights in Manta, the capital of the Manabi region and well known for its many beaches and wild parties.

    To cut it short, there were no parties as all clubs and bars have been closed down due to the pandemic, but I found really nice friendly people, awesome beaches, great weather and all amenities (malls, doctors, etc.) you need from a bigger city without feeling overwhelmed. Made overall a great impression on me and I checked already apartments right on the seaside - they are expensive for Ecuadorian standards, but where can you find an apartment fully furnished right next to the beach with awesome views for 700-800 USD?

    Was great catching up with my German buddy Alex and his GF Kata, who showed me around the city and helped me with searching for the right flat 👍. Right next to their place got in touch with locals playing the tabletop version of Parchís, which was my addiction during the pandemic…reinfected now 😜.

    Stay: Casa Latina (18 USD for single) - good value for money with safe parking and coastal breakfast for only 2 USD more. Ask for the second floor if you are tall like me.
    Read more

  • Day8

    Nature pure on the way to Manta

    August 12, 2021 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Travelled today up from Puerto López to Manta - was a pleasure driving those windy streets along the beautiful Ecuadorian coast 😎!

    I stopped at several small beaches and towns and have to conclude that all of them had something unique and were pretty. Maybe also an effect of the clearing up skies since Puerto López ☀️. This region definitely underlines the assumption as more north you go as more nicer the weather gets!

    Especially note able stops were Los Frailes beach in the same named national park - really a beauty 🖤 - and San Lorenzo - where a 20 min walk leads up to awesome view points at a lighthouse on a mountain ridge!
    Read more

  • Day7

    Whale Watching in Puerto Lopez

    August 11, 2021 in Ecuador ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

    It is the season now for spotting whales on the coast, therefore I took this trip out on the sea for an affordable 25 USD (can recommend Rosa tours) and was lucky to spot a whole family (2 patents and one baby) 🖤. In New Zealand could see only one animal at that time, so I consider Puerto López a very good spot for whale watching!

    For sure pics and videos never can give you the real experience, but I can tell you it was very relaxing and peaceful seeing those giants of the sea gliding together through the water.

    We could spot the tail and as well, which is quite rare as the guide told us, the head of them. Furthermore, found these blue legged seagulls nearby.

    I skipped the chance to snorkel (which is included in the tour) as I was already freezing on the boat at this time of the year - German pussy 😉.
    Read more

  • Day7

    Relaxation in Puerto lopez

    August 11, 2021 in Ecuador ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

    Stayed two nights in the small fisher village Puerto López to chill out and recover after Montanita’s party 😉.

    In fact Puerto López provides a bunch of nice beach bars, but none of them were populated during the week. They told me though on the weekends and especially during vacation time these will be crowded!

    Enjoyed though super delicious sea food right at the beach, ran along the seaside and took a whale watching tour (will write a separate post about that impressive experience). Puerto López is also the entrance to the famous Los Frailes beach, one of the nicest remote beaches in Ecuador.

    Extra note: This town has more Tuktuks than cars 😅 - which is something special for the coast, I have never seen a Tuktuk in Cuenca.

    Really nice windy roads leading from Montanita to Puerto López, was a lot of fun driving 😎…even though the streets showed more often holes to curve around. Something I have not encountered around Cuenca.

    For me this seems like a decent place to relax for a weekend, but too quiet for living around here. Also the infrastructure is lacking here, e.g. illumination in the streets at night or I could not even buy chewing gum in a couple of stores I checked out 😳.

    Stay: Tuzco Lodge (25 USD per single) - a well equipped (pool, sauna, etc.) and managed lodge place with very friendly staff. Not directly at the beach side but due to that location very quiet. A clear recommendation!
    Read more

  • Day5

    Riding the Spondylus route up north

    August 9, 2021 in Ecuador ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

    Heading to the sunshine and up north the famous sightseeing route along the coast line of Ecuador from Salinas to Esmeraldas, the so called Spondylus route.

    Covered the way to the famous party town Montanita and stopped for a lunch beachside in Ayangue, a small beach town, which was packed though due to public holidays. The weather is still clouded and even had heavy rainfalls in MONTAÑITA the last days, but I hope the skies will clear up soon more north 🤞. Happy that I packed a sweater 🙂!

    The roads from Salinas to Montanita started rather boring with lots of traffic lights breaking the rhythm, but became more interesting once you get out of the city: You can ride in sight along the beaches 😎.

    Had a nice party night with Ecuadorians I met at my hostel and made the night to day! That’s how MONTAÑITA rolls 😎!

    Rested afterwards well with chilled out beach walks and got in contact with more nice people - in Montañita really everybody seems laid back and having a good time - love it 🖤!

    I like the Montanita vibes, but currently cannot image there living. A weekend is fun, but everyday party would annoy me pretty quickly I guess. An option might be though to find a place in the nearby town Olon, which is just a 10min taxi ride away and super quiet in comparison. Though you might lack the infrastructure there.

    Stay: Paka Loro, next to the party mile (30 USD during vacation time for a single, afterwards 15 USD). Can be noisy at night due to the near bars and clubs, but super central location with a good value for money.
    Read more

    Great journey Ralf [Bruno Ceccato]


    Nice pics friend. Enjoy your journey! [Diana Arévalo]