We asked for a hotel recommendation and they pointed us to the Sea Garden Hotel. They said the owners spoke English and were fun to talk to. We never met them.
We did find a clean, comfortable room, somewhat rustic, but with the best shower of the whole trip; three very friendly dogs; a delicious breakfast; and a tiny three-display-case "gift shop" that I raided with gusto. At check in, I was asked "alto o baja" and I knew that Tom was weary of climbing stairs, so I said baja. In retrospect, he may have been asking price instead of location, in which case I may have answered differently, but Tom was grateful for the lack of stairs.
Olon definitely wins the prize for best beach; it's long, wide, clean, and walkable. But every rose has its thorns, and Olon's is Bermuda grass. Solid Bermuda grass from the high-tide line to the street behind the houses. And I'm allergic to Bermuda grass. Olon was the only place in Ecuador where I had a stuffy nose.
But what a gorgeous beach!
It even has the tide pools on Tom's wish list.
And beautiful beachfront houses!
Since part of our drive was on the Ruta de Spondylus and the spondylus (thorny oyster) is a big part of the area's history, we'd been looking for a shell to take home. As we ate our last breakfast in Olon, we noticed a spondylus shell on the table and asked if we could buy it. The couple, neither of whom spoke a word of English, couldn't quite believe what we were asking. Why on earth would we want to buy a dirty ashtray? But they showed us the shells they had and we chose one. I don't remember how much they charged us for it, but it wasn't much.
When the transaction was complete, the man mimed stubbing out a cigarette. I shook my head "no" and mimed holding something at arm's length to admire it. At that, he shook his head, shrugged his shoulders, and walked away chuckling. It's not the first time anyone thought we were crazy.
We left Olon on Monday morning, heading for Guayaquil and the trip home. We went right to the airport to return the rental car, and then put ourselves in the capable hands of Jorge Lopez. He picked us up at the airport, bedded and breakfasted us, and returned us to the airport in plenty of time for our flight home. What a relief not to have to read any more maps!
I can't recommend Jorge enough. There's a write-up of his services and contact information here:
And so to home. Southern California. Oceanside. Where the strawberry fields are freshly planted and the nights are starting to get cold. Snuggling under the blankets and dreaming of Ecuador.