Canoa is a good place to take surf lessons in and as surfing is something I have never done before I thought it was time to learn how to do. I booked my first surf lesson through Amalur where I stayed. They also have surf boards for rent. The surf instructor was Cedric, a Frenchman who lives in Canoa, and he is also a good friend of Lorena and Diego at Amalur, so they could tell me I would be in good hands. A surf lesson was $15 (June 2012).
It started out well. I began with practicing to find the right position on the board when lying down, and then to turn, still lying down. When it was time to learn how to stand up I of course fell in the water many times. It was not easy at all. Then I didn’t fall of immediately but stood wobbling on the board, trying to find the balance. I fell of near the shore where the water level was shallow. As I fell I stretched out my hand as a reflex and as the sand was soft the hand got twisted in a strange angel. It got swollen and I realized I couldn’t move the wrist. We went back to Amalur and Cedric and his son were very kind and drove me to the hospital in Bahía, where I later found out that I had broken the wrist. The bone was completely broken and a bit out of position. At the hospital in Bahía they couldn’t help me further, so the next day I had surgery in Portoviejo and got two pins in the wrist, to hold the bone together and in the right position.
This happened just after a few days in Ecuador and it was not fun at all to begin a seven week backpacking trip like that, but it was just bad luck and it can happen anywhere, anytime.
The small fishing town of Saint Vicente is about 1/2 hr away by bus, south of Canoa. It is quaint with a small outdoor market where you can purchase live seafood and fish as well as a variety of fruits and vegetables. This town has a small regional airport, Los Perales, that offers weekend flights to Guayaquil and Quito. It also offers ferry services from its bay across the Chone River to Bahia de Caraquez.
If you'd like to fly on a paraglider but do not want to go through the hassle of taking the one-month course, try the tandem option. You basically become the pilot's "Fanny Pack".
Since Canoa is a favorite spot for Paragliders and Hang-gliders, you will most certainly find someone witrh a tandem sail and a harness. Just ask around in Hosteria Sol Y Luna.
The tandem ride usually goes for about US$ 20.00, which includes a ride up to the hill. The ride up to the hill is a feat in itself, and is only reachable with a capable 4X4 vehicle. Take a good pair of shoes, as you will have to do some running for takeoff and landing.
You will land on the beach in fron of the Hosteria Sol Y Luna Hotel. Chances are after the flight, you will have found a new passion. Happy Flying!!
Canoa is not too crowded; during December it is peaceful and relaxing. The beach invites you to explore the rocky formations located on the north side of the beach, where there are many caves. The water is clear and refreshing alluring you in for a swim.
During our visit to Canoa, we came across Hosteria Bambu... It is a resort offering cottages with or without private bathrooms. Its location is on the north side of the beach. You can spend time here by eating at one of the many outdoor tables, or drinking a refreshing drink or enjoying real "coffee" at the bar, (it is difficult to find a restaurant along the coast that would sell anything but instant coffee!). The place also has pool tables, ping-pong and other recreational activities for entertainment.
While in Canoa try the Paragliding. It is run by an certified American guy who takes you up for a tamdam flight about $30. This has to be one of the best ways to get a sunset view of Canoa. You can find him at Hostel Coco Loco. For those who wish to stay longer you can gain you pilots license in about 3 weeks....
The surf is not world class in Canoa but it has great waves for learners and the water is always warm. Many places rent boards and you can find an instructor in town for lessons. We used Mark at Coco Loco and English guy, $10 per hour.