A month in Playas

General Villamil Playas although is a coastal town in Ecuador, was a mystery to me. I didn’t go there much when I lived in Ecuador, but through one of my best friends, Henky, who is also Ecuadorian and lives on the Gold Coast, I had heard so many stories of good waves there, especially during the month of May.

When planning our time in Ecuador, we definitely knew where we wanted to be at during May. Next thing to sort out was finding a place to stay.

It was thanks to Henk again, that we got in touch with this nice couple who let us rent a small suite that they usually lend to family and friends. That was our little home for the month. This suite was  in the best spot in Playas, a private neighbourhood called Cascol, own by several families that have been going to Playas for decades. This neighbourhood is so privileged because it is really close to many of the best breaks so we didn’t even have to drive anywhere to get good waves, we had them all walking distance.

The neighbourhood gets busy during the weekends when all the owners of the houses come from Guayaquil to relax and enjoy the beach, but from Monday to Friday, the only people there, were the guards or maids that came to the houses to clean and maintain the gardens. There are a few families that do live there but not many. During that month, we weren’t the only outsiders staying at Cascol. There was also a couple from America, Dane and Jocelyn, renting a house there. They were also keen surfers so we shared a lot of surfing sessions with them and it was great spending time with them.

It was an amazing month. We had waves almost every day and almost all the time, we had the waves to ourselves. We surf one of those spots the most. This wave is called Olas Verdes (Green Waves) and it was the kind of wave that gives you lots of room to practice and get comfortable. It’s not too scary or fast but it does have some power, so it kept us entertained.

Playas is the beach closest to Guayaquil and Guayaquil’s main river, the Guayas, flows all the way from the city to have his sea mouth near Playas. This makes Playas one of the most polluted beaches in Ecuador, so apart from surfing, we picked up bags and bags of rubbish everyday from the beach.Here is where we started making our mats from the bottle caps we found in the rubbish, so we kept ourselves really busy most of the time.

We also did a few trips to Puerto Engabao. This is another beach in the area, a fishing port, where we have some really good friends that live there; Daniel(Ecuador) and his beautiful Swedish wife Nadja and little daughter Suniva. They own a hostal called ”Hostal Puerto Engabao, Surf Shelter”, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hostel-Puerto-Engabao/383981581654999 and it’s the place to stay, if you want to share a few days in this beautiful spot.

Engabao has a fun wave and it’s just a very rustic town, full of fishermen, donkeys, cows, chickens and pigs, with beautiful sunsets and a long beach. We also went to visit our friend Helena there; this crazy inspiring free spirited surfer girl, who decided to swap the cold winters of Sweden for the sunny days in Ecuador and is now slowly but surely building her own little piece of heaven in Engabao, using a lot of recycled materials and living a more simple but happier life in the company of her cat, dog and new acquired chickens.

Other friends that we were lucky enough to spend some time now in Ecuador and especially while we were in Playas, were Roberto alias Patachon and his girlfriend from the Netherlands, Fenja. I knew Roberto from years ago but hadn’t seen him in probably 9 years. We met again and we clicked immediately because, they were also planning a big trip, not in a sailing boat like us, but in a kombi (a Volkswagen kombi) called “El Verde”. We shared the same views on life and the same desire to live a more simple life, with less complications and things, more connected to the rhythms of nature. We shared a love for the ocean and surfing and Fenja, like me is also into yoga and meditation. We had an amazing time with them, always filled with laughter and funny stories. We missed them dearly now that they have left Ecuador to start their adventure. At the moment they are in Peru but they plan to continue driving south and who knows where they’ll end up. If you would like to follow them on their adventures please visit Fenja’s blog called navigate on trust http://www.navigateontrust.com/ .

It was a fantastic month. At the end of it, we were surfed out and happy.


Author: Isabel Romero

founder of Mingas por el Mar

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