Rio Muchacho is nestled in a small valley on the tropical coast of Ecuador,15 minutes from the popular beach and surftown of Canoa. Canoa is increasingly popular with travellers, but still very laid back, with mostly unpaved streets, and a long stretch of clean sandy beach that ends to the north in lofty cliffs. The days here are sunny and relaxed, the waves are perfect for surfing, and the sunsets are spectacular.
What can you do there?
For starters you can rent surf boards, take surf or yoga lessons, or grab a refreshing drink and set up shop down by the beach. When you get hungry you'll find plenty of restaurants along the beach and in town. Menus are similar and almost all serve seafood dishes like ceviche (seafood cocktail) or arroz con camarón (savoury rice/shrimp). At low tide you can take a horse ride or walk to the northern cliffs, where there are caves to explore. Please be aware that exploring the caves requires an adventurous spirit and awareness of the tides. Only go at low tide.
Happy hour is great for cocktails at sunset time. The town becomes vibrant on Friday and Saturday night, when a handful of beachside bars fill up with locals and tourists dancing to Reggaeton or salsa booming from outdoor speakers.
Our staff can also book biking tours. The tours let you explore around town and the surrounding countryside. We also arrange paragliding experiences, run by an American woman, which give you stunning views of the coast and mountains. Another great activity we offer close to Canoa is a half day trip to Isla Corazon. The heart-shaped island Corazon is a protected nature reserve, and consists mainly of mangroves that provide a home for many beautiful birds. A tour will allow you to cross through the island by boat to spot frigate birds, herons, crabs, and if you are lucky a boa. Watching all the birds gather in the trees is quite a sight.
Where to stay
Canoa was hit very hard by the earthquake of April 16. Due to the coastal town’s infrastructural damage, a great portion of its hotel capacity was lost. The town is much quieter than it used to be, as many of the locals are now living in refugee camps in the hills outside of town while they wait for relief and housing development. However, over the past few months we have seen Canoa bouncing back, along with its hotels, restaurants and nightlife. The beach is lovely during the day and at sunset, as it is now less populated due to a drop in local tourism. If you’re looking to contribute to earthquake relief in Ecuador, the best thing you can do is visit and patronize. Canoa is full of restaurants that serve delicious seafood and bars that offer sunset happy hours. Visit, stay in a beautiful beachside hostel, and enjoy the unique cuisine before coming to Rio Muchacho for a tour!
Here at the farm, we receive visitors as late as they come. However, if you feel more comfortable staying in Canoa before heading to the farm in the morning, here are a couple hostels we recommend:
- Hostel Coco Loco: A beachside hostel across from some of the best restaurants in town. Coco Loco offers shared and private rooms, WiFi, a full bar and inexpensive meals. Rooms start at $10/night.
- Posada Olmito: Posada Olmito is a laid-back, beachside hostel with hammocks, a fire pit and a bar. Olmito does not have WiFi but offers delicious and cheap meals in a wonderfully friendly environment. The hostel offers both private and shared rooms, with either private or shared bathrooms, and space for camping at $4/ night.
- Amalur Hotel and Restaurant: Amalur is a family-owned hotel known for its delicious vegetarian food and drinks in an open-air, secluded environment. The hotel offers WiFi and very clean private rooms with private bathrooms. Amalur is centrally located and across the street from the municipal library and Sunday farmer’s market. It’s worth a visit even if you don’t stay! Rooms start at $15/night.
- Canoa’s Wonderland: Canoa’s Wonderland is a very clean and large beachside hotel, also located on the South end of the beach. The hotel offers WiFi and meals.
Please tell the hostels they were recommended by Rio Muchacho!
Keep in mind
Canoa does not have any ATM’s, and the closest place to find one is San Vicente, which is 20 mins down the road ($0.50 bus; $8 taxi). Bahia also has ATM's.
Although Canoa is generally safe, it’s best not to arrive late at night without prior arrangements. Canoa is significantly smaller than Bahía, there is no taxi service in town, and it's likely you won't find anyone around to give directions in the middle of the night.
Safety in Canoa
What to be careful of
- Gringo hunters (people looking for a relationship to take advantage of).
- Walking on the beach at night.
- Leaving things on the beach while swimming.