This is a great bike ride to do on your own to explore and take your time to visit some of the island. Although you have to pay for the bike hire and perhaps the taxi, there are a lot of natural places to visit for free along the route. We paid about $15 each for our bike and grabbed a 4×4 taxi to take us and the bikes up the road to Muro de las Lágrimas. It’s possible to cycle there, but it’s a steady uphill route and in the 30+ degree heat, we were definitely not up to it! We got the taxi up, and then cycled slowly back, stopping off on various points along the routes. The dirt follows the length of the coast, with the beach on one side, and lakes, plants and woods on the other.
So, starting at the end point where the taxi dropped us off, was Muro de las Lágrimas (the Wall of Tears). It’s not a beautiful sight, nor is there much to do, but it’s definitely worth a visit. Amongst the cacti, look out for the odd giant tortoise roaming around – they are hard to spot, but you can hear them rustling as they walk. The site of the Muro de las Lágrimas used to be a prison, up until 1959, where Ecuador would banish its most dangerous prisoners to a sentence of harsh manual labour. Hundreds of them died due to the hard work, dehydration and poor living conditions. It was the prisoners who built the wall with their bare hands, and it is said that there are ghosts still haunting the place. At the time when we visited, it was extremely hot and arid, so it does put some perspective on what these men were exposed to. If you have the energy, it’s definitely worth walking up the steps to the viewpoint, where you’ll see miles and miles of dry stark land full of colourless cacti stretching out from the coast to the volcanic mountains inland. It’s an impressive sight, but a sad thought at those who built the Wall of Tears.
We continued on our bikes, stopping along the way at various small beaches. There was one in particular that had iguanas all over the path. They look quite menacing so we had to tiptoe around them quickly so as not to disturb them. When we go to the beach, though, it was a beautiful spot. There were mangroves to give you some shade and there were only a couple of others there, so it was lovely and quiet. It’s a great place for a swim too, although try not to get nervous by the small sharks swimming at the shore!
Along the road, if you take one of the paths to your left, there are many small lakes and ponds for you to visit and lovely shady spots to cool down in!
We did the trip in about 3 hours, stopping at maybe 6 different spots. You could easily take even more time if you wanted to spend the whole day out, relaxing at the beaches and taking a picnic. It’s a lovely place to go and enjoy the natural surroundings, on your own without the need for a guide or a tour group.
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