Our tour of Ecuador was short but jam packed. We had an early wakeup call every morning to a tasty breakfast waiting for us. The accommodations were special. If we had stayed in the same places on our own, we would have spent much more than the cost of the tour.
Heading up the Napo River in the Amazon to our beautiful lodge, La Casa del Suizo overlooking the Amazon River.
It was 93 F degrees 64% humidity when we arrived at the eco lodge. We wore long pants and sleeves with a bit of deet to keep the insects at bay but didn't notice many around. We had a fan but no air conditioning. Fortunately, the clouds rolled in. The thunder and lightning was great to watch and cooling.
In the afternoon, we visited Ahuano and a local Quechua community interpretation center to learn about their way of life first hand. It was hot, humid and the rubber roots kept us sweating.
Getting down in the Amazon. When the Shaman invites you to dance, you can't say "no".
In the morning, after a canoe ride we hiked in the Misicocha Private Nature Reserve for approximately two hours while viewing the beautiful flora and fauna up-close. The Amazon rainforest is the world's largest ecosystem, we saw the innumerable species of tropical plants and insects on our hike. And enjoyed the views as we crossed suspended bridges and fly through the jungle on a short zip line basket ride.
Our crazy friends.
We hadn't had enough hiking in loose rubber boots. We took one more hike in the afternoon straight up the side of a mountain. If that wasn't enough, we strapped ourselves in heavy straps because they said anyone could do this and we could stop anytime we would like. "It was just a Canopy Tour". On my fourth difficult task, my foot got twisted in the rope and I had to ask for help. While I waited for a guide to make his way to me, I wondered if my foot was going to get cut off. I had to make my way across the next 4 obstacle before finishing. There was no way to slow the zipline and the only way to stop when I turned was to hit the tree or the guide. The guide looked softer but still had a thud.
Using the blow dart gun.
We took another hike in the jungle on a cooler morning. We tasted tiny ants that tasted like citrus. Actually, Mike did but didn't taste the citrus.
We did taste the roasted larva. I didn't like it but Mike liked the bacon taste. I must have missed it.
After the hike, we (Mike) had an opportunity to ride a balsa raft and float down the Napo River. The guide encouraged jumping in the river since there was a low probability of anacondas and alligators in this part of the river. I took one for the team and took pictures from the motorized canoe.
Our hike to the waterfall was a pleasant gradual climb.
Ecuador's mountains are so steep that there are waterfalls around every corner. We have been so fortunate with the weather. The rainy season starts October 1 but we were fortunate to have mostly sunshine.
After the hike we visited several artisans along the way.
Hacienda la Cienga, one of the oldest historic haciendas and former monastery.
The local Indigenous group ran the monks out once they started moving into their properties.
Mike found this caterpillar that we didn't touch as we walked the grounds since the guides repeatedly reminded us not to touch anything. He informed Mike that the spines would have caused a lot of discomfort for a while when he was shown the photo.
You've got to love a place that makes a fire in your room after an amazing dinner and leaves hot water bottles under the covers and chocolates on the pillows. It got chilly at night but the fire and hot water bottles kept us cozy all night.
El Pailon del Diablo or "The Devil's Cauldron", one of Ecuador's most beautiful waterfalls.
The hike to the bottom was long but even longer on the way back up.
It got noisy at night. We had to sit to sit on the porch and listen to the music at 1am.
A good place to lay our heads after a busy day. Overlooking a volcano and Puerto Lago.
Everyday was full of activities as we visited a rose farm and many artisans and markets while staying in beautiful hotels and inns. It was great having someone watching out for us. We had forgotten our passports and some money in one safe But the guide was able to contact the hotel and guide with another tour group and got them to us. Crisis averted.