Saturday, June 17, 2017

Through their Eyes - Ecuador Part I

For Summer vacation, we packed our bags and we went to Ecuador. Right after I bought the tickets we had to decide, where to go in Ecuador? The Galapagos Islands is perhaps the most popular destination there, but after lots of research, we concluded that the Galapagos Islands was not going to be it for us (at least not this time around).

You see, we enjoy independent travel immensely and to visit the Galapagos, you must go with an organized group (the government solution to keeping the area from being overly exploited). On top of that, the prices are crazy high (being that the tours are mostly geared toward foreign visitors). So, we decided to be contrarians and do our own thing. Ecuador has a lot to offer besides the Galapagos Islands so, we narrowed our area of exploration to the Central Sierra and off we went.

So, enough preamble, I leave you with some pictures from our adventures in Ecuador.

We started our trip by splurging and staying in a Hacienda... It turned out to be the best decision we made... The altitude, (oh, that evil altitude) hit us once again - one of us for a whopping two hours... that child shall remained unnamed - our time there was perfect to get used to the altitude and enjoyed everything the Hacienda had to offer.
Here are some of the fun things we got to do:
Walking around the Hacienda and taking in its beauty

Lots of lazing around... Reading with a side of canelazo, yum! The kids completed 3 books on this trip... Not a record, by the way

Hiking in the sub paramo moorlands. The Hacienda is located on the foot of the magnificent Cotopaxi volcano
Can you see how altitude affects these kids?... I rest my case...

Petting all the farm animals

Cotopaxi standing tall in the background.

V made a friend... This horse followed her around... It was so cute

We learned about the life on a working farm:

Milked cows and fed their babies.

V and I took a cooking class. We learned how to make delicious Canelazo, Empanadas and Aji... They were some of our favorite things we tried in Ecuador.

Went horseback riding. The scenery is just stunning - We spotted lots of condors.

Ate delicious food, made right there on the farms with products produced by them. It was a great way to start our adventure. Thank you Hacienda El Porvenir

We took a drive to the beautiful Quilotoa crater lake. We took a hike around the rim

This place is stunning!

Next stop, Banos...

Banos is a lovely little town at the foot of the Tungaranhua volcano. A great location among soaring green hills streaked with waterfalls. A perfect place to spend the next few days

We visited La Casa del Arbol. We had so much fun here, swinging at the edge of the world...

Drove the Route of the Waterfalls (Ruta de las Cascadas)... Named after the many waterfalls peppering the Pastaza Valley. So much fun at every turn.

We tested our nerves by zip lining over Cascada de Agoyan . What a thrill!

Took a tarabita (rickety cable car) over El Manto de la Novia waterfall (Bride's veil)

We found fun things to do on the other side
Continuing on the Route of the Waterfalls... Hiked down and then up to El Pailon del Diablo (Devil's Cauldron) such a fun adventure.

Once we reached the bottom of the waterfall, you start your accent to the last viewing platform through the so-called grieta del cielo (heaven's crack). Literally you crawl and squeeze through really tight spaces to get there. Once there, you can get right underneath the waterfall itself, so fun!
Once down, we walked on the wobbly suspension bridge to get a different view of the waterfall

A few other scenes from Banos and surrounding areas

Basilica Nuestra SeƱora de Agua Santa

Not pictured... Enjoying the thermal baths after a day of exploring. It was a lovely time indeed.

That's it for now. Coming up next, Puyo, Quito and its surrounding area.

For more pictures of our family travels, go here
Follow our family adventures on instagram at planandplay

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