The Unforgettable Birthday

The Unforgettable Birthday

Jetty Ambassador Jamie DeWitt recently took a trip to Ecuador for her 40th birthday. Read about her memorable vacation below. 

"There were quite a few requirements I had for this trip. We spent a good year going around and around about where to go for my birthday. I wasn’t budging on three main things; warm water, consistent waves, and somewhere I have never been. We talked about so many different places and settled on Ecuador mainly because it hit my three requirements and since we only had a week it was close enough that the travel days wouldn’t eat into our trip much. Here we come Montañita!

We left Orlando Monday morning at 6:30am, quick layover in Miami then right into Guayaquil Ecuador. We landed on the last day of Carnival so rental cars were scarce, we had to collect our bags and find our driver who would take us to the offsite rental car office. Well, he arrived in the car we were renting, except it wasn’t the hatchback I booked, it was a tiny sedan. How are we going to fit TWO board bags our bags and THREE humans in this car to get to the office to do the paperwork??? Lucky we brought straps so one board bag went on the roof and we squeezed in. Our driver climbed in the crammed back seat and just yelled directions to Jonathan in Spanish while I translated what he didn’t understand. Oh, and now it’s raining. Paperwork done and we are finally headed out of the city to the beach. I studied the directions prior to arrival and I had my phone on international so I could use my maps, but our location dot was not showing up so it was hard to pin point us on the map once we got going. By now it’s pouring and there are no street signs but somehow we made it to E40 the highway to the beach. After driving for a bit we are realizing that the highway now has stop lights and we are getting into a not so great area. We think the road split and somehow in the pouring rain and flooded roads we got off the highway and are now deep into a very different part of town at dusk. I tell Jonathan to keep driving as I desperately search the map for a landmark, I see a hospital after about 40 mins of being lost, and we are able to navigate back to E40, back on track. We looked at each other and I said, “well if we can do that we can do anything!” Jonathan seemed to think what we just went through would be a great corporate team building exercise.

Our hotel in Montañita was really nice, right on the beach with a good sandbar out front and just far enough away from the noise of town. We woke up the next morning to super fun chest high waves so we walked down to the point and paddled out. In the excitement of waves and the overcast morning, we failed to put sunscreen on for our 4.5hour session on the equator. Not the most brilliant move and a few days later we were crispy lobsters paying the price for that. I’m 100% sure I have never been burnt so bad in my life.

Our week in Montañita was pretty mellow. We surfed multiple times everyday, ate some really good food, saw cattle on the beach in front of a night club, and explored a few other towns. On my birthday after breakfast on the beach and a morning surf we went up to Ayampe, then Las Tunas, and to Olon where we surfed at sunset then had dinner.



Leaving the following Monday we were considerably nervous about getting lost in the city again and possibly missing our flight. However the drive went great and we didn’t get lost returning the car. We got to the airport a bit early and checked in, got to check our carry on bag (remember this part for later) for free because our flight was full. We head through security and get our passports stamped. With time to kill we end up wondering around in the Duty Free shop for almost an hour. Well, when we exit Duty Free it sounds like our names are being called over the PA system. So we go find out, but it’s loud at the gate, she’s speaking too quick for me to understand and she doesn’t speak English. So they just shuffle us to this side door emergency exit and say “inspection” and point down this scary staircase. Downstairs we are in a bright room next to the tarmac. There’s only one other passenger, a couple baggage guys, two inspection agents and a police officer. They lead us to a back room. The only thing in the room is a table and Jonathan’s suitcase. They search it. At this point I’m kinda freaking out. I’ve been to a lot of countries and been searched but never like this, it seemed different. The inspector closes the bag and tells us, “second inspection.” So now I’m surly thinking we are going to jail because the first inspection was him planting something in the bag and now this police officer is going to find it. Halfway through the second search dogs on the tarmac start going nuts. The police officer closes the bag and tells us to go. We bolt for the stairs and I look back to everyone who was just searching us running out to where the commotion of the dogs was. We run up the stairs and come barreling out the door back into the terminal, but that’s not the end. A security guard approaches us. He is speaking Spanish but I am able to communicate with him. He has been looking for us because there is a problem with our bags. I’m thinking, again, seriously… He proceeds to show me security footage of myself and asks if it’s me. He says we have to go downstairs to have our bag inspected. I’m relieved but now I need to tell him we already did that. Side note; I can speak Spanish enough to get by but I can only speak in the present tense. In this case I can’t tell him I’m going downstairs because I’m most certainly not going back down there. I need to tell him that I just was downstairs and already got inspected. So I dig deep and manage to convey that to him and he understands. He proceeds to tell me he’s been looking for us forever and asked where we were to which I reply Duty Free, he laughs and was away.

We board the plane and head home. Customs in Miami was a whole other nightmare, but lesson learned, do not enter the country through MIA.

This trip was memorable to say the least. Would I go back? No, but not because of anything that happened, there are just too many places left on my bucket list that I haven’t been yet."