We have been going to Canoa for mini-vacations for over four years now and we have taken visitors and friends there numerous times. We purposefully go to the tourist/surfing mecca on off-peak days to avoid the crowds that flock to the beach on holidays. We sit on the empty beach and watch surfers catch the evening waves.
This works out well for us, but most of our visitors have never seen Canoa when it is filled up with happy beach goers.
We like to go to Amalur Hostel to celebrate Valentine’s day as long as the holiday does not coincide too closely with Carnaval. During Carnaval Canoa is just a little too crazy for our liking. This year Carnaval came earlier in February so we went up from Friday to Friday the week following Carnaval. We spent Sunday – Valentine’s Day – peacefully playing Mexican Train Dominoes and eating ice cream cake at Amalur, but it seems that many people decided to make the holiday a family beach day.
Early Sunday morning bus loads of beachgoers started to arrive from Chone, Tos Aguas, Santa Domingo, and other places even further away.
From the roof-top of Amalur you can see that the central futbol field turned into a huge bus parking lot.
The vendors were prepared for the crowds and proudly displayed their hand made items.
But, most of the crowd this Valentine’s day consisted of family groups intent on spending a day at the beach. The day was only partly sunny, but that did not seem to matter to the people who happily played and rested on the beach that day. Most groups rent a covered canopy area for the day.
Vendors also line the beach with boogey boards and surf boards for rental use.
I walked down to the beach at low tide to see what everyone was doing.
The beachside restaurants were filled and everyone seemed to be having a great day.
And vendors also walk the beach selling agua de coco and helado.
One thing that may seem unusual to most North American beach goers is that most Ecuadrians do not bring blankets to the beach. I remember many trips I took with my children to the beach. It seems that I spent untold hours trying to keep the sand off the blankets.
Ecuadorians do not worry about such things and simply stretch out in the sand.
We have lived here long enough to adopt most of the Ecuadorian customs. Later in the week Mary got a few pictures of me using the “no blanket” approach to tanning on a nice sunny day. I like to dig a small hole in the sand to allow room to breath.
And there are no messy blankets to shake out!
Anyway, Valentine’s Day came and went and many families enjoyed the day on the beach at Canoa. The sun poked through the clouds just before sunset to bid everyone a fond farewell.
Life is good in Ecuador!