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Published: June 18th 2013
Papallacta Hot Springs
Right outside our door!
I made it back alive from the jungle!! Ecuador has really been amazing so far. After we left Quito we took a public bus up to Papallacta Hot Springs which was incredible- probably my favorite thing so far. We stayed in a beautiful hotel where we could literally take 5 steps out of our rooms into the hot spring pools. The grounds were green and gorgeous with beautiful flora. It was a picture-taking haven! There was also excellent hiking nearby and I couldn't get enough. The trails were right alongside a waterfall and I spent quite a bit of time exploring the area.
On Friday we headed down to the Amazon area to stay in a family Homestay. The accommodations were very basic- a bamboo /wooden hut with no electricity! We slept in mosquito netting although luckily they were actually not swarming the areal. At least it kept all of the other critters out. Besides, I've been covered in DEET for 4 days and that has probably also helped!!
We did several hikes with our huge "wellie boots" into the jungle to learn about all of the plants they use and how they hunt for food. It's amazing how
sustainable life can be in the middle of nowhere! Of course it was wet and muddy and at times hot and humid. Thankfully the boots made it easy to walk in those conditions. The scenery was beautiful and green with a constant sound of running water nearby.
After the family taught us about different cultural aspects (matrimony, jungle doctors, ceremonies, beliefs, etc) we headed out for a waterfall climb. This time I wasn't just walking alongside, I was IN the water! The hike/climb was again awesome and breathtaking. We walked in the banks of the water eventually climbing three waterfalls using nothing but a rope!
Moving on to a jungle lodge about an hour away, we entered back into the world of hot running water and electricity. The place was along the Río Napo with views straight out from our lodge. This time we did a night walk with flashlights to see all of the spiders and hiding creatures. Lol- it really wasn't as bad as it sounds. BUT! We DID see a huge tarantula at the lodge! Yikes- it made your skin crawl even from far away!
On the last day we visited a nearby local
community and then we took a canoe boat down the river deeper into the Amazon jungle to an animal refuge where we were finally able to see some of the animals in the wild (although still a bit controlled)!
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