It was after 9 pm, it was already few hours after dark and we were approaching Sundown Beach Hotel from the beach. After all day spent in bus from Quito, shitty dinner in one of Canoa restaurants and about 45 minutes walk in sand with all our baggage on our backs, the atmosphere between the two of us was not very pleasant.
My head was full of questions – will someone rob us here and steal all our belongings? Will there be someone still up to accommodate us in the hotel? Will they have a room for us, as we are arriving one day earlier? Do they really have our reservation? Will we like it there?
Finally we reached the hotel. Fortunately there was a group of people sitting around one table in the garden. They seemed that they were having fun. Until one of them spotted us. All of a sudden every was looking at us with terrified expressions in their faces. Two strangers, with backpacks one head higher than themselves, coming at night from the beach… That’s not something seen every day! We froze and stared at them staring at us. For a little while there was a total silence. And then one of them jumped up and said: “Hola, buenas noches, can I help you?” I asked if this really was Sundown. “Yes, and you are Veronika?” he replied.
It turned out that the person was Juan Carlos, manager of the hotel, and even though he was expecting us next day, he, together with his wife Maria Elena very promptly arranged our room and a while after we were sitting with them at the table with a beer in our hands and chatting with all these strangers, who would soon become our friends.
Home away from home
This was the first night of out almost five weeks long stay in Sundown. The hotel became our second home, we found new friends with whom we enjoyed many nights out in Canoa or just sitting, talking and drinking beer in our garden. Even though we were complaining about the extreme heat, too warm beer, slow or many times not working Internet, sand flies, mosquitoes and other biting bugs, no air-conditioning in the rooms, not very frequent room cleaning, robbers on the beach and exhausting Spanish lessons most of us stayed longer than originally planned.
Sundown is not a typical backpackers party hostel. Even though the rooms are cheap (check rates at their website), many backpackers tend to stay right in Canoa, whilst Sundown is about 20 minutes walk from the village. Most of the people stay long-term and take those ridiculously cheap Spanish classes. It’s the mixture of nationalities, all age groups, single, couples and friends and even families what makes Sundown unique and people stay longer. Almost every night the same phenomenon appeared – two or three people were sitting outside and someone came with his own chair. The circle around the table organically spread without a single word, until another table had to be added next to the first one. During the time we spent there, we did not notice any major problem or misunderstandings, as it seems that Sundown attracts same minded people who are open to different points of view. I believe that these people are those who will feel like home in Sundown.
On the other hand – if you are looking for big parties rather than nice long chat, need good Internet for your work, want to be alone and don’t want anyone to talk at you – you should probably look for something else.
Info – how much does it cost?
We stayed in a budget room without balcony but with a terrace shared with other rooms. As we did not spend much time inside, the room was sufficient for us. We paid 13,50 USD per night for the room.
Unlimited purified water is 3 USD per person per week – it’s cheap and saves you much trouble bringing bottles from the town.
Use of a kitchen – 1 USD per person per day.
Beer – 1.75 USD for a bottle.
Coca-Cola – 1 USD for 0.4 litre.
Optional meal plan (breakfast and big Ecuadorian lunch cooked by Maria Elena – advised for first days of your stay until you make all needed grocery shopping) – 8 USD per day.