LIVING ECUADOR: OLÓN VIBE






THE ECUADOR VIBE

The Ecuador Vibe: OLON – SANTA ELENA

Olon is located in the northern part of the Parroquia Manglaralto in the canton and province of Santa Elena, on the Ruta del Spondylus or Ruta del Sol. A recognized territory since 1982, Olon is made up of beautiful beaches and a well preserved 5780 acre tropical rainforest. Only 60 miles (195km) from Guayaquil and 16 feet (5 meters) above sea level the terrain is relatively flat with slight elevation facing towards the Chongón-Colonche Mountain Range. It is made up of almost 2 miles (3km) of beaches and features the Blanca Estrella de la Mar Sanctuary which is built on the top of a cliff. Olon has recently gained popularity because of the tourist boom from the nearby town of Montanita.


How to get there:

There are a few different transportation options to get to Olon. These include personal vehicles, taxis, or buses which are always running on the “Ruta del Sol” and make frequent stops. The distance from Guayaquil to Olon is 110 miles (178 km) and takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes driving along La Costa/E40 – Ruta del Spondylus/E15. From Salinas to Olon the drive takes around an hour and a half with a distance of 45 miles (72 km) along the Ruta del Spondylus/E15. Lastly, if you want to get to Olón from Manta the distance is 94 miles (151.2 km) driving along the Ruta del Spondylus / E15 with a time of around 2 and a half hours.


Where to stay:

Cozy and comfortable rooms, swimming pools, and all the basics needed are the benefits of staying in Olon. This not only encourages tourism but motivates many people to make Olon their home. The 4 most recommended places to stay in Olon suggested by locals and tourists are:

  1. Rincón de Olón

  2. Casa Olonche

  3. Cabañas de Olón

  4. Hostal Surf Olón

Where to eat:

In the area of the “Ruta del Sol” where Olon is located, the fusion of different foods makes the restaurant choices very unique and diverse. The following 5 restaurants are highly recommended for their food, desserts, and coffee:

  1. South Indian Restaurant

  2. MOMO

  3. Rasimar

  4. Almacigo

  5. La Churrería (for the best pastries)

  6. Olón Espresso (for the best coffee)


What to do:

Olon has many different options for things to do including sports, yoga, horseback riding and more! Surfing is the most popular sport in this area and there are many places to learn, including the highly recommended ESCUELA DE SURF OLON. The beaches in this area are beautiful and also great for learning to surf since the waves are the perfect size for beginners. If surfing isn't your style, horseback rides and hikes are available through the magnificent rainforest of “Las Cascadas de Alex.” Lastly, yoga lovers will enjoy a stop at VIKARA LIFESTYLE for peaceful yoga classes and retreats.

Population

For many years Olon has been known as a fishing village, popular for its harvest of shrimp larvae. In recent years though, Olon has taken advantage of the large tourist population, increased agricultural activities and craft production. A bamboo craft center has since been built in Olon for selling artisanal products.

The town of Olon is a large producer of Guadua cane, a type of bamboo found in the center of the continent. It is a fundamental raw material, native to Ecuador, that is used to build fences, houses, and furniture.The corporation Noble Guadúa has its headquarters in Olon and is made up of 115 producers from half a dozen communities in the Santa Elena province. They work to increase the value of the material in order to give back to the participating communities.

In addition to Guadua cane, Olon also produces Tagua which is used to make surfboards and other artisanal crafts. Due to its large area of agricultural crops, production of bananas, tomatoes, cassava, peppers, cotton, and corn are all important products both for sustainability and economic development of the local community. Tourism started in the area around 20 years ago but has increased significantly in the past 10 years due to increased investments in hotels, hostels and community living areas. This has benefited the natives of Olon both economically and by being able to relate to tourists, learning about their customs, and ways of life. Additionally, there are approximately 280 people who work in security, cleaning, control of the beaches and town in general, as well as beach lifeguards.


Adapting to a new way of life

Tourists that have decided to make Olon their home confirm that it has been the best decision they have made. They have all the comforts and necessities that a big city offers but instead get to wake up next to the ocean everyday!


If you ask anyone, “What is it like to live in Olon?” they will all give you the same answer… The wonderful hospitality and welcoming environment from locals puts everyone at ease. The love for the environment by all and protecting nature is what gives Olon its beauty. And lastly, foreigners and locals alike see it as a safe place with great future business prospects.