The collection of dusty roads that make up this tranquil retreat are home to a number of excellent accommodations, one of which is Cabañas La Tortuga. We spent three nights at the beach-side resort to sample the atmosphere, catch some waves and unwind.
La Tortuga is actually now split over two sites. Right on the beach, you have the main resort where you'll find the individual red-brick bungalows, the restaurant, pool area, games room and some other hang-out spots. The suites, where we stayed, are a couple of minutes walk away set a street back from the beach in a quiet spot.
As Ayampe is so small, both these accommodation options are ideally located; you're never more than a few minutes walk from the shop, restaurants or the beach.
This was the nicest room we stayed in during our seven weeks on the coast; it was close to perfect.
An incredibly comfortable king-sized bed set in a large cool room which, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows, was perpetually soaked in sunlight. As is common throughout Ayampe, the quality of craftsmanship present in the wooden furniture was superb and really added an element of luxury to the room.
The bathroom was gifted with one of the best showers in Ecuador, and the beautiful carpentry continued to include a solid wood vanity area.
It is clear that someone has gone the extra mile rather than take the cheap option.
Outside the room, we had our own private patio area facing rows of colourful flowers, banana trees and ripening chilli plants. It felt a little like a New York hipster cafe with it's red-brick walls and distressed wooden table and bench.
WHAT THEY DID GREAT
La Tortuga has been under new management for the last few months, and Julio is doing a fantastic job. From the moment we stepped through the door he was attentive, polite and charming, providing all manner of useful information about the resort, town and even on our future trip around his home country of Argentina.
Both of us absolutely adored having a swimming pool to hang out in, whilst Andrew was also happy to find a pool table to play on in their games area. At the front of the main resort, there was also a slack-line and cute little benches from which to watch the ocean. Basically, you won't be bored in the afternoon.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER
In all honesty, we would change very little from our stay at La Tortuga. The wi-fi connection at the suites was out over the weekend, but an engineer was working on it first thing Monday morning.
Other than that, we both had no complaints or issues.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Ayampe was the most expensive town we visited on the coast of Ecuador in terms, of, well everything. This is largely motivated by the owners and locals wanting to resist any attempts to turn the town into a mini-Montañita. Part of this strategy therefore means maintaining prices at a level that restricts just anyone flocking to the area.
Therefore, we were surprised that, for $50USD, our suite at Tortuga was of much better quality than the equivalents we had seen and stayed at in Montañita. Of course, as this is a resort-type complex rather than a hostel, you have to factor in that there's no kitchen for guests (although breakfast is included), but we were still very happy.
If you're a couple looking for a bit more romance and privacy, then we'd definitely recommend the suites over the bungalow. With the bungalows, you'll still receive a private bathroom, private patio area and be closer to the beach, but the suites were of a higher standard.
SO, WOULD WE RECOMMEND LA TORTUGA?
Absolutely. The prices are on par with the rest of Ayampe, but the standard of accommodation is superb. The surf is just outside your door, it's quiet and you have the choice of plenty of social areas and things to do within the resort.
ROOMS, PRICES AND AMENITIES
On site, you will find a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, games area (pool table, ping-pong and cable TV), slack-lines, sun-loungers, massage and spa service, tour service and beach access. Wi-fi is available throughout. These facilities are available to anyone staying at the suites or the cabañas.
A suite or basic cabin for two costs $50USD, including breakfast. 'Super' cabins with seaviews are $60USD for two, again including breakfast.
They also have family cabins available, which can host groups of 3-4 people at $25USD per person.
Prices reduce by $5USD per person in low season (May-June and October-November).
Our stay was provided free of charge so that we could experience La Tortuga. As ever, all photos, opinions and spelling errors are our own. For more information on why you can trust our reviews, click here.
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