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Published: February 27th 2012
Quito > Tena > Banos > Riobamba > Guayaquil
So far Ecuador has far exceeded any expectations we might have had about the country. The people are super chill and go out of their way to help, always with a smile, and the landscape is ridiculously beautiful, I have never seen a country this green.
But to start off....the plane ride from HELL!!!!!! So Van to Houston was no big deal, minor layover in Texas, then we get on the plane to Quito. All seems OK for the first minute, then the devil baby from hell in the seat right behind us starts to let loose. Teri and I look at each other thinkin just our luck, hopefully she (satan's spawn) will sleep. NOT. Imagine a consistent baby cry for the whole flight. On a normal flight, tolerable; this was no normal flight. After an hour of taxiing on the runway and sitting in line for take off, the captain gets on the speaker. "Um, we are 24th in line for take off, we are going to turn around because we may not have enough fuel to make it to Quito
if we sit here, sorry for the delay, when it rains it pours i guess, thanks for flying Continental". Not enough gas, WTF, well good thing they turned around I suppose. Now, add another hour of taxiing, add another hour to fuel up, an hour to go back to the runway, and finally 4 hours late we take off (plus 4 additional hours of devil baby's wailing i might add). To slap us on the face while down, the flight was crazy turbulent, like white knuckle on the ole armrests turbulent. So we arrive in Quito now at 3am, thinking our airport transfer we booked was obviously no longer waiting for us and we would have to go it alone in Quito, but as a testiment to Ecuadorian hospitality, he was there with a glorious sign that said Mr. Kalyn...hell yes!
So now about EC. Quito was OK for a large city. We stayed for 2 nights and walked around Old Town which was actually super cool. Old colonial buildings and cobble stone streets, neat. But its a city, and we are not here for that. Our original plan was to go straight to Banos, but that
weekend being Carnaval, everything was booked as far as we could tell, so we headed off to the Amazon, to the sleepy city of Tena, smack dab in the humid jungle. Carnaval was evident, people everywhere dumping water on people as they walk by and just all having fun. It was pretty cool. We scored a decent room and booked a trip white water rafting the next day. The rafting was killer, even better because it was Teri's first time. It was a Class III/IV trib of the Amazon with super fun huge waves, and amazing jungle scenery on the 26km drift. Having rafted before in Canada, I am aware of certain saftey standards invloved, those were completely dismissed, and often, outright ignored. Our guide was fun, but tried to dump us at every cost, aiming for every rock possible with a huge grin on his face. This made the trip, it was super fun!
So we killed one more day in Tena, then went to Banos, a mountain town famous for it thermal baths and volcanic activity. Banos was so cool. We spent 4 days there cause we liked it so much. The highlight however was
renting a go cart, and driving it down the Ruta de las Cascadas (Road of the Waterfalls). The falls were crazy beautiful and the scenery again was unbelievable, just look at the pics, they can explain better than words.
So from there we headed over to a larger town called Riobamba. We went there, on the word from some travellers we met in Tena, to go and see Volcan Chimboarzo. We did. This so far has to be the highlight of the whole trip. With Riobamba sitting 2800m above sea level, we took a van to the top of the volcano to 4800m asl. Breathing was definitely an issue, like big time. We then hiked up to a little mountain climbers refuge to our top altitude of 5000m asl. A 1km hike took about 2 hours because you had to go super slow to be able to breath. Being cloudy we didnt get to see the top of the volcano, but it was no biggy because where we were was killer, it looked like we were on the moon. Awesome. We walked back down to the van, had a quick bite to eat, then got on our
mountain bikes and biked all the way down to 2500m to the town of Ambato. This bike ride took us down the volcano, stopping to see all of the wild Vicunas (small members of the llama family and the cutest animals ever) and eventually through the MOST BEAUTIFUL river valley either of us had ever seen, ever, with no exaggerations. We biked 54km (dont assume we are like super fit atheletes, it was all downhill, perfect for our lazy asses), through small mountian villages and canyon after canyon after canyon. Killer.
So now we are in a super hot, humid, large city called Guayquil because it is where we jump on a plane to go the Galapagos Islands, thats right, the Galapagos, the place that has been number one on my list of places to go since i was a kid. So tomorrow, we fly to the islands and stay for a whole week. No doubt my camera will be in overdrive!!!
So ya, this place is amazing. To be able to go from Quito, to the Amazon, to the to chill mountian towns, to the top of a volcano and now to here
waiting for the flight to the Galapagos, all in a week or so has been amazing. Stay tuned for a write up from the Islands. Miss you all.
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