Our Galapagos and Amazon Adventure!
Doing our Ecuador research!
Once we decided that our next vacation was going to be to Ecuador, Jim and I started to search for a Galapagos Islands vacation packages and other travel booking services for Ecuador. As we kept reading some interesting facts about Ecuador, we found out that in Ecuador´s mainland there were many other activities. Since the Galapagos Islands vacation package kept being a priority, we got in touch with an Ecuadorian local Tour Operator to be able to find out what was going to be our Galapagos Islands vacation cost and found out additional fees that were not included in a land and sea active Galapagos package we were interested in signing up for.
Galapagos and Amazon Adventure!
After finding out that mainland had so many things to do and since our tour to the Galapagos started in Quito and ended in Quito, we decided to combine the Galapagos with the Amazon region and also signed up for an Amazon adventure tour from Quito, which definitely was appealing to us from the very beginning since we thought the Galapagos and the Amazon jungle where going to be two, totally different and once in a lifetime extraordinary experiences. In fact, we realized that not in many places we will be so close from one place to the other within a two-hour flight from Quito to the Galapagos and only a three and a half hour ride from Quito to the Jungle which we thought was amazingly perfect.
Awesome Mindo cloud forest!
So there we were, in Ecuador by the end of March. Since we had a free day before going to the Galapagos Islands the next morning, we squeezed in a Mindo cloud forest tour package Ecuador which was recommended in many of the Ecuador traveling books we had checked, as an awesome green destination. Next morning we had an early flight to the Galapagos, (smooth flight).
Galapagos a once in a lifetime experience!
Once we arrived, we were picked up from the airport by the person who was going to be our tour leader while visiting the Galapagos. So our Galapagos in Ecuador adventure had begun. From the moment we arrived, we were delighted. Let me tell you that from the 25 countries Jim and I have been to, we had never seen landscapes similar to this. A well balanced and easy going ecosystem from the moment we arrived, it was already exceeding our expectations.
We spend 6 days and 5 delightful nights at one of the paradises on earth. Our tour was a land and sea active tour which every day we either went kayaking, snorkeling or hiking as part of some of the many activities we did every day, by the hand of an excellent local guide (Hugo) who was very knowledgeable about plants and animals from the three islands we visited.
Making a long story short, snorkeling in the Galapagos once you put your head in the water it is just fascinating you wish to stay immersed in such a thrilling aquarium forever.
Ecuador Amazon Adventure
Next thing we knew, we had arrived in the Jungle of Ecuador for our Amazon adventure experience, which at the beginning we felt a bit intimidated but thrilled at the same time. So many Hollywood movies we had seen in the past about the jungle and its scary wild stories not knowing what to expect.
Once we got there all these thoughts were gone, we arrived in Puerto Ahuano where a motor canoe was ready to pick us up and take us to the ecolodge we where going to spend the next three days.
We had arrived in one of the most diverse places on the planet. At a glance, we were surrounded by a vast nature wide rivers and simple friendly locals who barely spoke Spanish they mostly speak in their local dialect Quichua.
Our visit was full of new experiences we visited several communities and learned how they prepare the yucca beverage, their typical music and dance, our faces where painted as warriors with a pigment taken out of the inside of a fruit called Achiote and we where ready to learn to hunt with a long blowgun and the darts (which by the way was very fun)
Also, we did a hike towards a small elevation learning about some animals on our way we spotted a small Boa snake and wild pigs lots of ants and a tarantula. All this exploration we, of course, did with a local guide, which makes you feel very well protected. We learned about many medicinal plants used by the locals and some ancient huge trees.
A wild animal rescue center in the Jungle?
The next day we had the chance to visit a rescue center in the jungle. Which at first we didn’t understand how can wild animals be in a cage in the jungle at an animal rescue center. We were explained that these animals at this rescue center were taken away from people who kept them as pets so they never learned to hunt by themselves. Therefore, this animals will never be able to be set free again into the wilderness since they depend on a human to feed them. Sad but true.
The last day, in the morning hours we had a lot of fun doing a river tubing and were ready for our trip back to Quito. Which by the way was a scenic trip that goes across the eastern Andean mountain range of Ecuador before arriving in Quito.