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Canoa

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For other places with the same name, see Canoa (disambiguation).

Canoa is a pleasant, laid-back fishing village on the Pacific coast of Ecuador in the Manabi province. Popular with travellers and yet not over-run by them, it's an excellent place to chill-out for a few days on the beach or practice your surfing skills.

Get in

Every 30 minutes there is a bus connection for south with San Vicente, Bahía de Caráquez or Tosagua. From Bahia 4 busses daily leave to Quito (two in the morning (6:30AM, 9AM) and two in the evening).There are now direct buses to Quito and Guayaquil to and from Canoa. There is also a bus route up the north coast to Pedernales.Sundown Inn web site has excellent maps of Canoa and the region.

From 2011, new bridge "Los Caras", bind San Vicente with Bahía de Caráquez and not necessary the boat or ferry (Motor and walkman).

Do

  • Surfing: Canoa has some nice surf to learn or perfect your skills. Surfshop Bahaya (one block from the beach) rent out shortboards or longboards (no intermediates) for about $5 per halfday.
  • Parapente or paraglide and recently an American has setup a school Fly Canoa [1] which offers several courses. If you don't have time or the desire for this there are also inexpensive tandem flights available so you can get a taste of flying.
  • An adventure company Canoa Thrills recently opened at the Surf Shak. They organize paragliding, kayaking, surf lessons and rentals, custom swell specific surf tours up and down the coast, whale watching tours, kayaking cave tours and much more. Stop by the Surf Shak and speak with the team about booking a trip.
  • Beachcombing along the beautiful beach at Canoa can be quite rewarding as some beautiful tropical sea shells wash up. One annoying aspect of the popularity of the beach is that, like any popular Ecuadorian beach it often has a lot of rubbish on it at the end of each day. (Canoa itself is known for its ecological pride, but the rubbish is washed in from other coastal areas. You can avoid making this worse by avoiding plastic bottles.) Even if you are not staying at Hotel Bambu, they will give you one free cocktail if you fill a bag up with rubbish - you can fill a bag quite quickly and it's a free drink and a great way to keep the beach clean, so everybody wins.
  • Take a trip to Rio Muchacho Organic Farm. [2] They offer 1-3 day tours with activities including horse treck to howler monkey forest and waterfall, making chocolate and coffee from the bean, making necklaces, bowls, and rings from natural materials, and lots more. They also offer volunteer programs for the farm and ecoschools. You can get more information on Rio Muchacho or other tours in Ecuador at their office in Canoa which also sells fair trade items.

Learn

  • The Canoa Spanish School is a great place to learn Spanish while enjoying the beach. It is located at the Sundown Inn on the beach just south of town. You can get a 4-week program with private beachfront room, all meals and 80 hours of private tutoring for around $800.

Buy

  • There are several tourist shops in Canoa
  • There is ATM, but you must take the bus to San Vicente or Bahía to Banco Pichincha ang Banco de Guayaquil offices.
  • There were very Internet access sites in January 2013

Eat

  • Restaurante Genesis, Javier Santos #306 (main road), has cheap and decent fish dishes. They may try to get more money out of you by bringing more (or more expensive) dishes than what you ordered.
  • Jixsy (where the main road meets the beach) has good prices and food, including non-fish dishes. The staff is very friendly and will go out of their way to make the dish you want. Good vegy options.
  • Costa Azul (opposite Jixsy), is recommended against. The menu lacks variety, and they couldn't manage to cook edible rice. The staff and owners are also known for having an attitude.
  • Hotel Bambú (see Sleep) serves excellent crèpes all day. Keep a lookout for the pumpkin soup. Also try the pasta.
  • Pizzeria Sunset Beach (one block from Hotel Bambú) has reasonable food, but is a bit expensive.
  • The Surf Shak', on the malecon, is a great North American style restaurant that offers burgers, pizza, spaghetti etc. The food is the best non-Ecuadorian in the area and the prices are quite reasonable.

There is now an ATM in San Vincente

Drink

  • The happy hour (5:00pm till 6:30pm) in Hotel Bambú (see Sleep) is a good place to meet other travellers. The mood is very relaxed and during this time you get a "2 for 1" deal on cocktails ( 2 of the same type for the price of one).
  • Freedom Ecuador Restaurant & Bar, 12.5 Kilometer San Vicente-Canoa Highway (On the beach, 1 mile south of Canoa.), +(093) 099552418, [3]. late. Located on the about 1 mile south of Canoa, Freedom sometimes has a bit of an atmosphere for those looking to escape the noise of Canoa. The food menu is the bland. Free wi-fi, free pool hall, dance hall, Arabian-style lounge areas, outdoor lounge area, free hookahs, and a projector scren for movies and sporting events. Drinks are $1.50 for a liter of the native Pilsners or Club beers. Wine and cocktails are also offered. Great food, great prices, great live entertainment if you are in your eighties. average.

Sleep

  • Hotel Baloo [4] is probably the quietest and most laid back place in town, away from all the obnoxious loud music that you will find on the beach closer to the busy end of the town. Prices go from $7 to $15 per person (approximately), depending on room and and how many occupants. Great steaks on Saturday night, also pork ribs and langostinos (Lobster). Free WiFi and pool table as well as reasonably priced laundry service.
  • Hotel Bambú, [5] is right on the beach. It rents out bamboo sheds, cabins or hotel rooms or you can pitch your own tent. Besides accommodation there is a restaurant (good food, but a bit pricy) and bar. If you fill one of their large (not small!) bags with trash from the beach you get a free cocktail. Furthermore there is a pool table, table tennis, free wi-fi, laundry service and surfboard rental. Prices vary from $4.00 for the bamboo shed till $20.00 for a double hotel room with private bath.
  • Posada de Daniel is four blocks from the beach in front of the park. The bus from Pedernales goes past the door and stops one block away. The bus to San Vicente also stops one block away. Groups may be able to bargain down to $6 pppn; the typical price is about $8. There is a pool table, Internet cafe, cable TV, small swimming pool, laundry service and surfboard rental. Rooms are private cabañas with private bathrooms, comfortable beds and air conditioners.
  • Sundown Beach Hostel, [6] about 2 km south of town is a great place to stay and relax outside the noise of main town. Nice beachfront rooms, some with balconies, for $5-8 per person. They also offer Spanish lessons.
  • Hosteria Canoa, email: ecocanoa@mnb.satnet.net or canoa@hosteriacanoa.com. Has hotel style rooms with A/C as well as individual cabins with three single beds and a seprate bedroom with a queen. The nice pool is in the center of this Hosteria with the beautiful and somewhat secluded beach a short walk away. Good food, drinks and views from the upstairs restaurant.
  • Hostal Coco Loco on the beach has great views from every room, comfortable cheery rooms, hot showers, and a communal kitchen. Highly recommended by lonely planet as well as fellow travelers. The Alaskan owner is friendly and outgoing. Still, many travelers are concerned because money spent here does not go to Ecuadorians. Dorm beds $6 USD and privates from $15. Stop by and ask the staff and enjoy a 2 for 1 cocktail during happy hour, 7 till 8pm.
  • Coconut Hotel, Canoa, [7]. The Coconut Hotel has new owners and is offering Stand Up Paddleboard lessons along with Hatha and Vinyasa Yoga lessons twice daily. Hostel and private rooms available from $10 to $25 a night. Food and drink service available, as well as board and bike rentals.
  • Green House Surf Canoa. is a long term hostal that offers short and long term surf camps. Housing, meals, and surfing lessons are included in all packages. The hostel also offers touristic excursions, Spanish lessons, and volunteer opportunities as well.
  • Canoa Beach Hotel, [8]. Newley opened in December 2012, is a relaxed 10 minute walk south down the beach from Canoa. This Ocean Front Hotel features Ocean View, Air Conditioned rooms with Balcony and WiFi. Pool with walkover bridge, swim up bar and a water fall coming out of a gigantic caldron and hammocks are hung near the pool. The full bar features micro brewed beers on tap (These are brewed locally just outside Canoa by “Roche’s Brewery”), as well as house specialties such as Mojito’s, Margarita’s, Caipirinha’s and of course Piña Colada’s. And now, a great new Restaurant with fish, chicken, hamburgers, fries and some of Greg’s specialty recipes.
  • Camping Iguana, Canoa, [9]. Camping Iguana offers affordable cabanas and camping in a relaxed atmosphere just one block from the beach in Canoa right behind Pasada Olmito. Bring your own tent, rent one, sleep in a dormatory or in a comfy double bed cabin. Price range $3.50 (camping) to $14 (cabin). Outdoor kitchen and wifi.

Stay safe

Use common sense, do not take valuables to the beach. Do not walk alone on the beach at night.

Get out

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