Just back in Quito after three days on the beach near Manta at the Atamari Resort. Getting there and leaving were a bit of an adventure, but the lodge was in a great setting at the top of a cliff with a great pool.
We flew in Guayaquil and got a transfer with a rather crazy driver. He had a propensity for spending far too much time in the oncoming lane, and surely must have gone through at least one set of brakes a week! Our journey with him ended short of the lodge when the only access road was blocked by a protest at a small beach town. This was a blessing in disquise!
The protest was over the closure of the local fish plants due to contamination of waters in the area.
We were allowed to wheel our luggage along the road past the protest, but no vehicles were allowed to pass. On the other side we were met by another (much better) driver. We arrived at the Atamari and had two and a half great days of relaxation there. The birding was pretty good and it was fun to watch the constant parade of vultures and frigatebirds that passed by at eye level.
After lots of cloud and some rain in the mountains it was great to enjoy some nice heat and sun at the resort. Here is a sunset just for you Ethan!
I would be amiss not to mention the return journey from the lodge to Quito. We decided to get a transfer to the Manta airport which was only a two hour drive. Our driver was supposed to arrive at 5:30 am but was late... and yes it was the maniac who had brought us most of the way from Guayaquil... a recipe for stress to be sure. The two hour ride was terrifying at times as he hurtled around corners at high speed, several times almost hitting a horse... a mule... a dog... and finally we were sure that a pig was surely toast. However a screeching four wheel skid saved the porkers appointed date with the bbq for another day. We both were massively relieved to arrive at the airport and bid this idiot goodbye! The flight on Tame to Quito was a smooth and comfortable contrast to this and we now are happily relaxing at the Sheraton.