Ecuador - The banana capital of the world

Trip Start Oct 20, 2009
Trip End Jun 23, 2010

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Where I stayed
Oro Verde (Green Gold 5 Star Hotel)

Flag of Ecuador  , El Oro,
Saturday, February 13, 2010


As it turned out, I needed the extra day at Piura, as I had a tummy problem and could not have ridden the bike. So I slept most of the day and caught up with some pod photos the rest of the time.


As we travelled through the most northerly part of Peru we found it to be quite tidy and green. Rice seems to be the crop of choice here, alternating with sugar cane. The rice paddies look iridescent, the green colour is so bright. The young people planting the rice, would stand up and watch us riding by. I felt like they would like to trade places with us. Perhaps they were a little envious of our freedom and ability to travel on such nice bikes.

We rode 392 kilometers today and crossed the border into Ecuador. At first appearances Ecuador looked very inviting, no garbage on the sides of the roads as we found there is in Peru. We found it really strange, after clearing customs in Peru, that their counterparts in Ecuador were situated some 5 kilometers away at the side of the road in a marquee, with no indicator that we had to stop there. We drove past them on the other side of the road, and wondered if that's where we had to clear immigration. But, as nothing was clear, we rode 4 or 5 kilometers down the road, when a young fellow on a scooter chased us down and told us we had to go back to the marquee for the police to clear us through immigration.

After clearing immigration, customs was a further 5 kilometers in the opposite direction, where we had to present ourselves and our motorbike documents. Despite the information we have received from the internet and through the Lonely Planet guide, warning us that this was the worst border to cross into Ecuador, we found this to be untrue and it was in fact quite easy with friendly and efficient officials. The reason for all the different departments being miles apart, is because they are currently building a new Immigration and Customs building, and as yet, it is unfinished.

As we entered into Ecuador, we noticed growth on the power lines. Not just little bits, sometimes the whole line would be covered in a hair like growth which gets its moisture from the air. It looked so weird, at first I thought it had been put there to bring the lines to the attention of drivers with tall vehicles. I was sorry I didn’t capture it on a photo before we moved out of that area, because we didn’t see it again as we rode further into Ecuador. (I was afraid to stand still, in case a creeper entwined itself around me and I was never seen again.)

We thought we’d just motor down a little further to Machala and check in to a Hotel, but it was over 40 kilometers before we found the first hotel, and we had experienced  a torrential downpour, before we reached the lovely Oro Verde five star Hotel. Pity we had to get wet, we had done so well today to dodge the rain even with the threatening grey clouds. Oro Verde means Green Gold, meaning the banana crops here.

The Oro Verde was just the ticket for a nice relaxing bath and a good meal in the Hotel Restaurant. It was a tad expensive, but the beautiful bed made it so worthwhile. It must have been a double king size, with 4 pillows across. Des and I had to take our phones to bed with us, so we could ring each other if we wanted to get together.

The gardens were magnificent, and although we didn’t make use of the mammoth pool, it was beautifully laid out outside our windows. As close to the equator as we were, made for a warm damp climate, and everything grows with such intensity and vigour. The flowers are brilliant colours and abundant. Many plants have the most enormous leaves I’ve ever seen. The garden snails are a meal in themselves. Big and plentiful.

Several cops took advantage of their status to give Des the third degree in the car park of the Oro Verde Hotel and quizzed him with all kinds of questions about the bikes, how they came to be in Ecuador, where we had been and where we were going. Des said they were just boys, but at his age all officials look like youths.

Another couple approached, and Des asked them if there was a Kawasaki mechanic in town. In no time at all, Lou was in a car being driven to the local mechanic, who very kindly came back to the Hotel car park to look at Lynn’s 500KLE Kawasaki bike which had been stalling at the most inconvenient moments. It was quite frightening for her. The mechanic cleaned the carburetor, as this is what Lou thought was the problem, and Lou with his Pidgeon Spanish explained to the mechanic, the symptoms, and the mechanic, in his Pidgeon English said "Si signor, it’s the air filter" which he then removed and cleaned on the spot. There had been some pollution, sand, moisture and choking smoke issues in some of the towns in Peru. Thank goodness Lynn has had no problems with stalling since.

I have to say, riding through Ecuador is not for the faint hearted, as the local drivers are very aggressive and appear to have little regard for their own safety and the safety of others on the road.  Motor bikes are the lowest on the rung, and are treated with indifference.

We found overtaking on blind corners common practice, and if there was an on-coming car, they would try and push us off the road. The busses were the worst. Nothing stops the busses. I was worried for my life every time I saw a bus in my rear vision mirror, and quickly made moves to get out of the way. 

There are large speed humps in the centre of towns to slow the traffic down in the villages. The trucks and busses have to go at snail’s pace over them, and it is sometimes an opportunity for us on the bikes to overtake at these humps, before the heavy vehicles gain speed again. However, in Ecuador vendors set up their ice cream coolers, drink stands, bread baskets or any type of small stall, on the mid line, on the speed humps, and try to sell to the slowing traffic. This looks so dangerous to me. These people are standing in the middle of the road with loads of oncoming traffic and no protection, and the drivers always seem to be in a great hurry.

The US Dollar is the local currency in Ecuador.
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Miguel on

Hi Des and Jenny! You made it already are in ecuador. When you enter Guayaquil, don't forget to go downtown to the main plaza and sit in a Park bench. Enjoyable unless an Iguana "goes to bathroom". Another interesting place to visit there is the "Malecon 2000" (= esplanade) . Ecuador Shrimps are a Must.

Joe leeuwrik on

So far so good.
Enjoy your little free time.
Love you all a lot.

Hamish on

you are so funny mum. phones in the bed. " the man" given dad a hard time danm...

ivanna on

wow that is wonderful im from australia i want go to ecuador i saw ur pictures and ecuador is really amazing i think better than peru

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