We didn’t choose Ecuador for our next destination, Ecuador chose us. Not knowing much about the country, nor knowing what to do there, we intuitively clicked on the ’purchase ticket’ button. The Pandemic and all the different restrictions in different countries pushed us to the edge of the world; to a continent that OX has never set foot on.

With just a PCR test to enter the country, no Visa required, and up to a 6 month stay for most nationalities, we were convinced. So instead of having a specific plan, we just went with an open heart and a thirst for new experiences.

We started our Ecuadorian experience on the edge of a rainforest in La Reserva Manabi, above the charming beach town, Ayampe. For a whole month, we stayed with a conscious community of artists in a place called ‘Wild Child’. They are deeply rooted to spiritual practices, artistic expressions, movement and bamboo architecture.

During our time in Ayampe, we realized that a lot of expats decided to stay in this town since the Pandemic started. There are no COVID fears, but instead, a community that are positive and alive with so many activities. And since it’s a small town, with not even an ATM, everything you do or add to the collective would be embraced! This created a magical environment for all souls to express, play, and give love.

Here in Ayampe, you won’t find a high population, large neon signs, non-stop music, and stalls selling souvenirs. Instead, you’ll find a handful of dusty streets lined with colourful flowers, the smell of Palo Santo in the air, and an automatic feeling of peace, silence, and tranquility.

After a month in the forest, we decided to move next to the beach and open a ‘Be Social Club’ pop-up! The location of the resturant was in ‘Otra Ola’; a relaxed surf, spanish and yoga school, just 30 steps away from the beach. Ryan and Vanessa are a beautiful couple that started this dream business back in 2010. They were hosting a 200hr Yoga Teacher Training at the time with ‘Om Yoga Center’, who were based in Cuenca. So we had the honor to cook for the group and community. As well as supporting Ayampe’s amazing carpenter/surfer/fire spinner, Lucas, who created our sign and table!

We fell in love with Ecuador, and decided to stay as much as we can. We ended up living there for 6 months, fully embracing the versatility of the country. Our friends and family also decided to visit us during the last 3 months, which made our experience even more magical.

Overall, Ecuador had so much to offer; from the Coast, to the Highlands, to the Andes Mountains, to the Amazon, and the stunning Galapagos Islands. But most of all, a humble and safe environment for one to simply live life. The natives call Ecuador the belly button of the world. Let’s all just think about that for a second.