We are now in Ecuador! We will visit some of the most beautiful cities in the country and discover what nature hides in exploring the Galapagos and the Amazon (among others!).
- Day 130 – Thursday 9th of May 2019 : First steps in Cuenca
- Day 131 – Friday 10th of May 2019 : Walking
- Day 132 – Saturday 11th of May 2019 : Kushi Waira or a wonderful day
After a horrible bus night (see story in Peru), here we are in the beautiful city of Cuenca. Cuenca is a city in the southern Ecuadorian Andes. This city is very famous for its colonial architecture as well as for its craftsmanship. It makes the famous hats “Panama”.
We decide to go to our accommodation on foot because there are too many people queuing for a taxi and it is not very far in fact. The streets are deserted but we feel the atmosphere that reigns and we like it. We see beautiful buildings, very pretty churches and a beautiful place.
We arrive at the hotel; an Argentina welcomes us (it was immediately captured in his accent!). She is very friendly and offers us a better room than the one we had booked. The building is typical of the city, a central patio, a wooden staircase, a glass roof at the top. It’s very pretty, it has cachet. We settle in, we rest and then we will have breakfast. This time we are served because we have nothing to eat. She prepares us a good breakfast that gives us even more desire to sleep. So we decided to take a nap … two-three hours, just to recover a little lack of sleep (especially for me because I did not sleep at all).
Unfortunately when we wake up it’s raining. But no choice, we get ready and we go out to eat for tonight and tomorrow at the market.
On the road we smell the good smells of bread. We will find a small bakery that makes cakes … we crack of course!
The market, which is called 10 de Agosto market is very nice. There are superb fruits and vegetables. The meat section does not want to cons, we see the meat is not cool and is exposed to everything that hangs. As we want to buy a lot of stuff we decide to come back later and have a look at the museum before.
We pass in front of the Sombrero Museum (Panama) so we’ll have a look around. We see the phases of making hats and we can see women making them. There is a huge shop that sells all forms. They are very beautiful ; Quentin is trying to crack … to follow.
We then go to the Museum of Aboriginal Cultures. This museum contains thousands of ceramics, pottery and other objects from various Ecuadorian cultures. He is very nice. We have some information about different cultures too and why some of the objects were made in such a way. They provide a very complete booklet in Spanish but we would have needed the night to read everything.
We then walk in the streets, looking for craft shops but we will not find anything very crazy. On the other hand we find honey too good and … chocolate!
After the ride we decide to go to the market. We buy something to make a great breakfast and a meal tonight (but we will not eat … we ate too much cake …). The bakery in front of the market also makes some kind of chocolate loaf, Quentin made it clear to the lady that we will be back tomorrow!
We go back quietly then we will rest until the next day.
This morning we decided to discover the city by doing a “Free Walking Tour”. We find the guide on the main square. It is beautiful, it gives a better impression of the city (although with the rain we already found it pretty).
The guide will explain some things about architecture (he will say that some buildings are French style but we will not understand why), colonization and we will go to the market to taste typical dishes.
After this short two-hour tour we decided to go back to places we had found pretty and we took the opportunity to enter some houses to discover the architecture. The buildings are very beautiful, they all have kinds of patios inside.
We will go to lunch at the market, Quentin would like to taste the pig that cooked for 8h … he will feast! I’ll just potatoes (I’m not very hungry) … and chocolate: D The rain will start to fall (and we did not take our coats) so we’ll wait for it to calm down before leaving the market and go back to get our coats at the hostel.
After recovering what to cover, we decide to visit a museum. There are many explanations about the different cultures but there is far too much for us to stay focused until the end! In this museum there is also an archaeological site and an aviary with beautiful birds. We will spend two hours walking in the garden and enjoy the sun that has returned.
After this visit, we decide to go to new streets and to walk along the river before returning. On the road we will taste a specialty: “huevitos” (it’s fried dough … very good!).
Back at the hostel we will watch a movie before going to bed.
After 30 minutes taxi from our arrival at Kushi Waira. This community is one of 12 families who have tried to preserve their traditional values and to be discovered who want to know more about Cañari culture.
We are welcomed by Alfonso. He is very happy to receive us and invites us to discover the itinerary of the day in his traditional house. His wife, also very smiling, and dressed in a traditional way, brings us a small glass of “Canelazo”, which is a traditional liquor to welcome guests, made with alcohol from sugar cane and spices.
After this warm welcome and Alfonso’s explanations, we begin the walk to go up Ingacuca and Hurcu Achapana: the sacred mountain just behind the cottage and from which we can see the valley and the surrounding mountains. Alfonso explains that in their culture they all have a small plot of corn (they grow without pesticides). We see big houses a little scattered. He tells us that it is the young people who go abroad and build big houses, but unfortunately these people are no longer interested in their traditions and that is why they try to make sure that the children of the village and others elsewhere know the culture and try to preserve the traditions.
We then follow a path called ” Jambiñan ”, which means path of medicine in Quechua. Alfonso will show us some of the 150 medicinal plants of the small mountain that serves as a pharmacy. He will explain their healing properties, and how they are used (infusions, inhalation …). We will find some plants that we had already seen in Peru in the Amazonas region. These plants have been used by the inhabitants of the region for thousands of years, well before the Spanish colonization.
He will also show us that on some trees we can find dozens of other plants. Winds carrying pollen on trunks. We will also see that some plants can grow in different ways in the same environment.
At the end of the path, we sit on a bench and Alfonso asks us questions about religion, how the church is perceived in Europe etc. Questions that left him feeling resentful about colonization and how it had happened. He explains why nature is so important to them. It’s really very interesting.
After these reflections, he invites us to take off our shoes and to meditate with him and to practice the rituals dedicated to Taita Inti (the sun), Mama Quilla (the moon), Pachamama (mother earth), Kuillurs (the stars), who are the Gods of Cañaris. We must first reach out and stand up straight to receive the energy of the Tierra Madre; close your eyes, out of respect for the ‘Tierra Madre’ and then inhale through the nose and exhale through your mouth to purify our body. We then make movements with our hands and feet, then jumps. Alfonso will tell some words in Spanish that we will repeat and play instruments.
After this moment of unique meditation, we take another path that will lead to a part of the Inca Trail (“Ingañan”) that leads to Cusco in Peru. From there we can see the valley and the different colors that the earth takes.
We find the wife of Alfonso, still smiling, and this time it brings us the traditional meal, which is called “pampamesa” in Quechua. Alfonso spreads a white sheet on the grass on which he will lay the various dishes (“pollo criollo”, “mote casado”, “pepa de sambo”, “aguitas aromaticas” …), his wife serves us the and before we start breakfast we recite some words to thank the “Tierra Madre” and we pour some water on the ground to share with her.We find that the meals in Ecuador are composed of a lot of corn, in all its forms.
We take this opportunity to discuss with them all sorts of things (contraception in Europe, the fact that they are never sick because they have a rhythm and healthy food, medication in Europe etc …).
After this very good meal, we return to the cottage where Alfonso will show us and we will demonstrate many traditional musical instruments. He explains to us that they manufacture them in the village. He is part of a band called ” Kikintaquina ” which means ” Our music ”.
After this musical demonstration, his companion joins us to show us traditional dances, while he plays music. We will be invited to dance with her and share this nice moment.
We will then go all together in the garden to play the game of blindfolding the person, turn it on itself and then let it seek the musical instrument hidden with a stick. Once found, if the person dances well, she wins the musical instrument. We managed and left with a pretty flute.
We then return to the house and there Alfonso and his wife brings different stones to grind which are used to prepare flours and sauces. He shows us how to use it and we imitate it and taste what we have prepared (we mixed the flour with sugar cane, it was very good, and soaked pieces of cooked corn (“mote”) in the spicy sauce).
We come out and they propose to us to do a ceremony with plants to purify us and remove bad waves. We extend our arms and close our eyes while Alfonso recites words in Spanish, turning around us with a ceramic pot in which aromatic plants burn; then while he recites other words, his companion “strikes” us with bouquets of plants (which smelled very good); then Alfonso wrap up the ceremony by playing a wind instrument.
The day at Kushi Waira will end with this ceremony, and we will leave delighted with this meeting.
Back in Cuenca, we will go for a walk and have a big sweet snack before going back to the hostel.
- Day 133 – Sunday 12th of May 2019 : Waste of time
- Day 134 – Monday 13th of May 2019: Ingapirca
- Day 135 – Tuesday 14th of May 2019 : Last day in Cuenca
That night I slept badly because of all the corn I ate the day before (and probably because of the brownie, ice cream, the slap and the jam roll … but that’s less sure: D). So not too want to move more lack of bowl raining ropes.
It takes half an hour to get motivated to go for breakfast. After that and some skype calls we go to see villages with markets and crafts outside Cuenca.
We walk a good half hour to the bus terminal, we climb on a super kitsch bus that takes us in 2:30 to the village of Sigsig. First big disappointment, there is just a market of fruits, vegetables and meat, and the panamas shop is super far. So we take the bus to Chordeleg, a village that we hope will cheer us up.
Once arrived, we stay wet because the rain is still present, and again, big disappointment (thank you backpacker): food market and not really craft. We expect to see hammock manufacturers but in fact there will be only five or six who will duel in a few tiny tourist shops. This village is famous for its gold and silver jewelery … which is sooo far from our style. We decide to eat at the market. There is a nice surprise, we will eat very good typical dishes for only 2 USD the menu! The ad of a magnum at dulce de leche made us want to crack … suddenly we find a magnum with hazelnuts in a jewelry shop (look for the mistake). Fatigue will make us wander through the city telling nonsense and laughing. After this superb ride we decide to return to Cuenca; not even want to go to another village see the orchids for fear of being disappointed again.
Back in Cuenca, we take our tickets for Quito (in 2 days) where we will meet Clement and James (too hasty !!!). It’s Sunday, the city is not busy but there are some shops open. We are looking for a cheese maker that we had identified to make sandwiches for tomorrow (if the weather is correct we would like to go for a hike). The cheese costs us an arm (10USD … but hey, we’re French, we need it). After this hole in the wallet we decide to go back to the inn and wait for tomorrow. Tonight again I think we will not dine (we have never dined actually since we arrived in Ecuador, too much sugar and fat in the day …).
Today we will visit Ingapirca. This archaeological site is 2h30 from Cuenca by bus, so we get up early.
For the record, it is the most important and best preserved pre-Columbian archaeological site in Ecuador. This site is located in the province of Cañar. It was built by the civilization Cañari, then the Incas came to conquer the region and seized it. They then built the Sun Temple, which is in the center of the site, and it became a major religious, political, scientific, military and administrative center. The temple was built with volcanic green stone and is located on an oval slope whose main axis is oriented almost exactly in an east-west direction, where the light illuminates each angle, so as to fulfill its function cult-administrative. It is between the 20th and the 21st of June, the day of the summer solstice, that the sun reaches its highest or lowest point in the sky, and that the duration of the day or night is the maxim of the day. ‘year; it is then celebrated Raymi’s feast in the archaeological site. The Inti Raymi, the sacred festival in honor of Taita Inti, or Father Sun, is celebrated around this archaeological complex bringing together hundreds of people who celebrate various activities such as the election of Ñusta, folk dances and music Andean salons, gastronomic and artisanal.
We go to the terminal, we find the bus, we get in, then we doze for 2:30.
The site is pretty and well preserved indeed. We will have a guided tour of less than 45 minutes. After the visit there are some things to see in the valley; so we go there waiting for the bus. It is not very crazy but it makes us walk a little. After the walk we see that there is a museum, we will be the only ones to visit it; it’s a shame because it’s quite interesting, we learn a lot about the Incas in Ecuador.
We are hungry but there is nothing to eat and we will not arrive before 16h in Cuenca. There are cookies whose color tells me that they are a little outdated … but they crunch they so it goes!
Most of the time we will sleep on our way home. Once in Cuenca we will get our breakfast tomorrow in our favorite bakery (its breads are too good!) And we fall for bread stuffed with cheese …
We return to the hostel to rest and tonight we cook great sandwiches toasted cheese too good, with eggs and peppers … luxury!
Tomorrow is our last day in Cuenca and we will take the bus at 11pm for Quito so tonight it will be Netflix and big sleep.
After a nice sleep, skype calls and a big breakfast, we decide to go out. We are not really in a hurry because the bus to Quito is only at 23h …
We wanted to go back to the Pumapungo museum because last time we could not see the reduced heads. There you probably wonder what I’m talking about 😀 So I explain. In Ecuador, in the Amazon and not far from Cuenca, in the tribe of Jivaros (or Shuars), to avenge a person, it was attacked duel. Once the enemy was killed, he was decapitated and had his head reduced after approval of the tribune leader. The purpose was to imprison his mind to protect himself from his vengeance, to appropriate his strength and qualities. Sometimes the families of the victims were also decapitated and suffered a reduction of their heads to avoid revenge. This practice continued until the 1960s! Some heads were sold at the Cuenca flower market to tourists! Some collectors and museum managers have made small pleasures …
Shuars believe in three basic spirits:
• Arutam – literally “vision” or “power”, it protects men from violent death but also ensures their survival.
• Muisak – the vengeful spirit, it surfaces when a person protected by Arutam is murdered.
• Wakani – innate to every human being, it is he who survives after death in the form of “steam”.
Once the head decapitated, what’s next? It’s very simple, to use the explanations of a website: “The scalp is incised on the median line, from the dorsal surface of the neck to the anterior line of hair. The two halves of scalp are detached with bare hands. The skin of the face must be dissected in one block. To facilitate detachment, the bones of the face are delicately broken. The detachment of the skin is done using sharp bamboos, shells, flint blades. The eyebrows, the nose, the lips, the ears are carefully preserved. A successful tsanta (head reduction) should look like the victim in his lifetime
The “mask” is soaked in a decoction of berries for almost two hours, an extension of this treatment may cause hair loss. At the end of this stage, the skin is dark and rubbery, and the size of the head has been reduced by half to one-third of its original size.
The “mask” is returned to be able to scrape the flesh still possibly attached to the skin, then it is put back in place and the incisions of the neck are sewn. The eyes are then carefully sewn and the mouth is set with wooden pegs, the chountas. It is to block the road to avenging spirits. The face and the two halves of the scalp are sewn in the same way. The skull is then thrown to the river as a present to the deity pani, the god anaconda. The tsantsa then presents itself as a kind of bag, open on what was the neck.
The final operation is to fill the tsantsa with heated stones. The stones are inserted one by one by the neck and continuously turned to avoid burning the skin. When you can not insert any more stone, hot sand is introduced to fill the spaces (this step will have to be repeated regularly). Coal is rubbed on the outside of the face to give it a certain seal and to be able to shape the skin. The superfluous hair is burned and the tsantsa is hung over a fire so that it is solidified and blackened. A heated machete is applied to the lips to dry, after which the three chountas are removed and replaced by strings. These processes can permanently eliminate evil spirits, by continuing the retraction of the head.
On the last day of the manufacturing week, the head is taken to the forest for its first celebration: a hole is made on the top of the skull, a double kamai is inserted and attached to a chounta inside the head, Thus, the tsantsa can be worn on the warrior’s head, bringing him his personal power, his arutam (strength, courage, wisdom …). The more tsantsa the warrior has, the more power he has. “. That’s it, good ap!
After this beautiful visit we decide to go visit a museum that we had seen on the road. It was in fact the restoration of the magnificent house of the famous poet, diplomat and university Cuenca, Remigio Crespo Toral, built in the late nineteenth century. It was really well reconstructed, the furniture, clothes and decorations were really beautiful. There were also many vintage cameras with some great photographs. The house faced the river and downstairs there was a terrace with a cafe. So we decided to stop for a snack … we were so hungry! (The brownie and ice cream were great with a beer and a hot chocolate …). We had to stay a good time there. We took the opportunity to plan a little three days in Quito, including two with boys.
After this little gourmet break we went to buy small figurines that we had spotted in a shop, then made a small stop at the bakery (we took bread rolls for tomorrow morning in case of hypoglycemia on the bus and the Bread to make it toast tonight with lots of cheese in it … light what!).
We will spend the rest of the day at the hostel while waiting for the bus.
- Day 136 – Wednesday 15th of May 2019 : First steps in Quito
- Day 137 – Thursday 16th of May 2019 : Friends!!!
- Day 138 – Friday 17th of May 2019 : Visiting Quito & shopping
- Day 139 – Saturday 18th of May 2019 : Walking around the city and overnight bus
After a great night on the bus, we arrive completely exploded in Quito. The terminal is super big; we go for bus tickets to go to the Amazon with the boys on May 18th.
We decide to take a bus to go to the accommodation because it is only 0.25USD. We pay in a machine and there we arrive on a kind of platform where hundreds of people line up to get on the buses. We do not understand anything. We ask for help and once in the right row we get on the bus and there … it’s horror! Peak hour ! We will spend an hour in this bus of misfortune with all the people who push, argue, crash. When we have to go out I scream ” PERMISO !!! ” but nobody moves. Quentin who had put his backpack on the ground galley. So no choice, I urge that we are two with big bags and I go into the pile. I’m really less and less tolerant with fools: someone wants to go out, you push yourself, and if you have to get out of the bus then you come home! someone is having trouble going out, you do not care in front of you! People are stupid. It’s like people in hostels: there is a room in front of a common area, you shut up !! or this American too stupid who at 5am made his eggs by whistling and putting his music loud (it did not last long because I was careful to calm …). People are stupid, it’s a fact.
We arrive at the hotel sweaty. It’s super cute. The girl was waiting for us (we booked at least 10 nights at home so they got lost in reservations). We are lucky because we have the room away.
So we unpack everything (not in fact I unpack everything, as usual … Sonia, if you read this sentence it was written for you :D). We rest a few hours and then we go out. We are surprised because in less than 15min we are in the city center.
We pass a small shopkeeper who winds a strange thing that looks good, so we taste and it’s good 😀 (potato filled with eggs and chicken). We decide to eat at the market but big disappointment, it is not busy and super expensive (everything is relative: 6USD the dish but we thought pay $ 2USD menu). So we head to the central square and we find a nice little place with two dishes good for 2USD (happy!).
We walk, the streets are very cute and colorful, we recognize the Spanish influence. It’s pretty small actually. So we take the opportunity to visit three churches.The first being La Iglesia de El Sagrario. It is a church dating from the 16-17th century. It is colonial style and has a beautiful wooden door. Inside you will find huge woodwork and a very pretty dome.
The second will be one of the most important of the city: Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesus. This church dates from the 17th century Latin American Baroque style. St. Gregory College and University, of which she was a member, formed the headquarters of the Society of Jesus in the Spanish colonial empire. It is considered one of the seven wonders of Ecuador and is one of the most visited monuments of the city of Quito. Its facade has been carved in Andean volcanic stone; inside we find an impressive work of wood. The woodwork is covered with gold leaf (this is what makes it a breathtaking impression when you come inside, it’s very surprising). was built in 1605 by the Jesuits, who were expelled from the royal audience of Quito because of the edict of exile decreed in 1767 by Charles III, King of Spain. Its construction lasted approximately 163 years and was abandoned until 1794. After being entrusted to the Camilo brothers, the company of Quito was restored to the Jesuits in 1862, with the authorization of the president Gabriel García Moreno. This monumental architectural work has been the subject of an integral restoration process since the earthquakes destroyed important structures such as the tower in 1868.
The third church we visited was The Church of San Francisco. This building dates from the 16th century; its construction began in 1550, sixteen years after the foundation of Quito by the Spanish conquistadors in 1536, it was completed around 1680. “The excavations carried out in the church of San Francisco revealed pre-Inca and colonial treasures. almost two blocks, making it the most important of Quito.
For the little story, There is an interesting legend with the Indian Aunqui Hualca, son of Hualca, partisan Rumiñahui, who was in turn general armies of Inca Atahualpa The Indian, in a phase of misfortune, was welcomed by the Spanish Hernán Juárez to whom he served loyally, and from then on the Indian was renamed Francisco Cantuña.
Cantuña set about building the atrium of the San Francisco Temple, but his time was short and it was difficult to finish within the allotted time. So he made a pact with the devil. Cantuña would give him his soul in exchange for the construction of the atrium. The work was delayed for one night and Cantuña did not stop praying to the Virgin for fear of being taken to hell. When the demon appeared, the atrium needed a stone. The pact was therefore canceled and Cantuña was released. To this day, the San Francisco atrium is missing a stone.
According to some theories, the church of San Francisco was built on the palace of Huayna Capac, the eleventh and penultimate ruler of the Inca Empire. According to the chronicles of yesteryear, the verbal traditions and testimonies of the Spanish conquerors themselves, in what is now called the historic center of Quito, Inca temples were built. In the area of Panecillo or Yavirac, was the famous sun temple adorned with gold and silver that Huayna Capac brought back from Cuzco.
In the skirts of the Pichincha was the Inca Capachuasi palace, a building decorated with avenues of flowers and fresh flowers. To date, the sector retains the name of Toctiuco. Near the previously mentioned palace, where the church of San Francisco and its convent are now, were military buildings and houses of the main curacas and orejones of the Empire. In addition, what is now the Plaza de San Francisco was thousands of years ago, because before the conquest of Inca, a great Tianguez, that is to say a market, the very one that was the principal of the whole northern region of the Andes.
Huayna Capac was the successor of Tupac Yupanqui and in love with Paccha, daughter of the last Shiry, merged his great empire with the kingdom of Chinchasuyo, the northern part of their domains. In this, he rebuilds the temple of the sun, establishes his palace and directs the Tahuantinsuyu empire.
“On the death of Huayna-Capac, his body went to Cuzco, while his heart was in Quito, accompanied by what he had most desired of his life: his beloved Paccha, his beloved son Atahualpa and the city of his comfort that he had stolen the old seat of the Incas.
After these visits we continue to stroll a little until our appointment with Leon from the blog Tout Ecuador. We want to meet him because he helped us a lot in organizing Ecuador and also gave us the contact of our guide for the Amazon.
We have an appointment in a bakery downtown (it surprises you: D). We ordered a few things in the meantime because we arrived super early. At 16h it is not finally Leon who arrives but a young man (of our age, whose name I have forgotten but extremely friendly) who arrives smiling. We will spend two hours discussing our program. He will give us lots of advice and good addresses.
Around 18h we return to the hostel where we will not fizzle.
Today I’m excited because it’s the day that Clement and James arrive to spend holidays with us 😀 I cannot wait to see them.
After taking our time, we decide to visit the foundation of the famous Ecuadorian painter Gayasamin, whom we did not know. This painter decided to make his house, his collections of religious works, and pre-Columbian accessible to the public.
We take a cab to go because it is a bit far. The driver is very kind and offers his services for the other days suddenly we will call him. We arrive at the house of painter. Beautiful place at the top of a hill overlooking the valley. In the garden there is a rather ugly, cubic, gray brick building which is a secondary museum. The house is very beautiful, patio and outdoor pool. We have a guide to visit, his English is not very clear but he does not have much to say special because we will spend 20 minutes watching an interview of the painter explaining the why and how of his foundation. There are plenty of statues of Jesus, religious paintings and Ecuadorian pottery and ceramics. The most interesting will be to discover the works of the painter. They are really great! It’s Cubism like Picasso but much more beautiful and more worked. We have a real crush on the artist (as we had one for Pablo Neruda in Chile). After visiting the house, we go to the weird museum. In fact, it is quite impressive inside: there is a large central dome with paintings and a large empty cylinder in the middle that allows to see the lower floor. We will see immense paintings of the artist on the theme of death and sadness. It’s creepy but it’s very well done.
After this great discovery we go to visit the neighborhood of Guapulo, considered a bohemian neighborhood because of its artists’ studios and cafes. We arrive by taxi, taking a street that slopes steeply (and that we later remake …) in front of the church of Notre Dame de Guapulo. She’s cute. It’s hard to see the bohemian side because there is not much. Small houses on a hill and in the background of big ugly buildings, but a beautiful view of the valley.
After going up the street and trying to discover unusual places (that we will not find), we leave on foot in the neighborhood La Floresta: hipster and bobo. We stop nibbling something in a vegan cafe (vegan cakes I do not validate, it lacks something … eggs maybe!). The neighborhood is nothing special. There are some restaurants (vegans) here and there. Quentin had spotted one who made homemade dishes with fresh and local products. We decide to go there. Beautiful address; the restaurant is very pretty and it’s very good (good beer, lemonade and cakes). After this second break we decide to go back quietly because Clément should arrive. Good timing, when we arrive, he is doing his check-in, so I jump in his arms! I am too happy to see him again !!! We get ready and rest a little then we decide to go for a little tour in town. Clement is brought to taste the stuffed potatoes we had tasted the day before. We go through places we have not seen yet, enter new churches and end up in a restaurant we were advised.
After the meal we decide to go back. James told us he wanted to go to a bar on arrival (23h …) but the bars close to 1am max (and not much). Clement is dead at once so we decide to wait for him at the inn. Today is his birthday, 40 years it’s a party!
Eventually James will be a little late and arrive after midnight. Too happy to see it !!! he has a big beard now. Finally, as it is too late, we will not go out tonight; on the other hand, James had planned a plan B : bottle of tequila too good freshly bought in Mexico City in case of closed bar.
We sit in the common room and start the bottle telling each story until two o’clock in the morning!
Oups, with the boys around I never get a chance to write what we did on the day… 😀
Same here… 😀
Amazonie : Parque nacional Yasuni
- Day 140 - Sunday 19th of May 2019 : Rocafuerte
- Day 141 – Monday 20th of May 2019 : Parque Nacional Yasuni
- Day 142 – Tuesday 21st of May 2019 : More wildlife !
- Day 143 – Wednesday 22nd of May 2019 : Paiquinapi
- Day 144 – Thursday 23rd of May 2019 : Back to Quito
After a night in the bus we arrive at the bus terminal of Coca … at 3:30 in the morning. Obviously it’s me who slept the best! Nice experience for James and Clement …
There are some people at the terminal, most are homeless. There is a friendly guardian who watches over everyone. We put our things on seats and then we pass the time: Quentin reads, Clement and I do internet and skype, and James … poor James. Yesterday’s meal seems to have turned his stomach upside down … he will spend his time in the bathroom. The poor, he always hurts his foot and has trouble walking.
We wait. We read misread (again) the messages of Fernando, who said to take a bus at 21h to arrive around 5am because the boat was at 7am … so we wait until 6:15 to take a taxi.
It is super hot and humid, it feels sticky. The day gets up slowly and lacks a bowl to bring us a torrential rain! It rains heavily, we see the ground flooding, the water slams the ceiling and the noise reasoning throughout the terminal. We all look at each other hoping that it calms down and that it is not like that in Rocafuerte!
We put all our rain gear and we go in the first taxi for the “port”. Ten minutes later we arrive, there are some people. We are queuing for the tickets. An old gentleman asks me if we are going to see Sifuentes (Fernando) and tells me that our places are reserved. There is a blonde girl in the tail; I ask her if she joins us for the tour she said yes. She looks very young and not very talkative so I do not insist. The girl at the counter is not at all friendly; we pay her we take our tickets and then we wait outside. James reads the inscriptions on a sign to pass the time.
We will embark on time. The boat is long, not very big and very low. They put tarpaulins to prevent the rain from getting inside. It’s good but suddenly we feel locked up and we do not see anything outside. There is a lady coming up with her dog … he is wearing a diaper! We are laughing. Quentin and I will sleep a lot on the way but the boys will have more trouble. Halfway we stop to eat in a village: chicken, rice, beans. I advise Clément to avoid eating beans (not to end up like James) but he will eat them and suffer the consequences later … James has no appetite (normal) but we have the slab ! I throw myself on the chicken he is too good!
The captain reminds people with his siren. It is always ugly outside but the rain has calmed down. A little plastic is lifted to bring in air and light.
A few hours later we arrive at Rocafuerte, the last town in the area before the Peruvian border. Fernando and his wife Leysa welcome us with a big smile. They did not understand that we were four (they also misread the messages). The hotel where we will stay in the evening and right in front of the shore; they show us the way. The blonde girl is accompanied by her boyfriend who looks even younger. We put our things in our rooms and we find Fernando downstairs who explains the program. He tells us about the price of the tour with amounts a little out of focus so I remind them that we had agreed on a price (which has not changed suddenly it’s good); on the other hand they made the same price to others … I spent ten years negotiating for us not for others … in short … we pay. He asks everyone for the size of the rain boots (yes, everyone laughed at me, I was right!) And get pairs for everyone.
We’ll do a tour of Rocafuerte … what a ride! It will take us 10 minutes. The guys want beers but on Sundays they do not sell (we will sell them anyway but they will have to drink them at the hotel). Clement sympathizes with the two other young people and we invite them to have a drink with us on the terrace of our rooms.
After this little drink everyone will eat except Quentin and I who are not hungry. We watch a movie and then sleep.
Everyone ends up for breakfast down the hotel. Nothing crazy but it feels good to eat. The two young people look friendly but do not make too much effort to speak in English so it annoys me a bit because I feel that James will feel excluded. It sucks me a little too much actually, I eat and I go back to finish my bag. I am really less patient with people who are not trying hard.
Fernando and Leysa arrive super smiling. We all go down but Clement is missing … it’s his turn to be sick … Fernando laughs saying that there is always one in the groups that is slower than the others.
Fernando introduces his crew members: Marta (who will help cook) and Freddi (who will be multi-task). Both are very discreet and shy. We board the boat to which is attached another smaller but not covered.
Fernando explains all kinds of things on the way; we will see the border between Peru and Ecuador before heading to Yasuni Park. He will stop putting down the crew list at the office (four years ago tourists were lost with another guide for 2 days and the soldiers had to pick them up, so as not to repeat the same everyone must be registered before sinking deeper into the jungle). After the service we change boats, we all go in the smallest with him; Marta and Leysa will stay in each other and head to the camp faster.
It is superb, we sail quietly on the river, we see all kinds of trees and we hear all kinds of noises until Fernando asks Freddi to stop. He saw something. He begins to scream (he makes imitations of animal sounds quite convincing). We look everywhere and there, between the trees, he shows us a lazy !!! We are all excited! We did not expect to see them. It’s funny. He takes out his binoculars so that we can see better.
We take the road, still beautiful, and there we see several different groups of monkeys. They are very close, we will take our time to observe them. We are all even happier; Fernando tells us we are very lucky because usually to see so many animals it takes them several days!
A little further we find girls; obviously the path is blocked. There were heavy rains during the week that moved small islands of plants. So we all try another way. Same problem but not the choice we have to go through. Freddie and Fernando try to clear with machetes and boats. The path clears a little. They talk to each other … Freddi and Marta do not look at all reassured … Fernando back, takes the momentum m, and here we understand: it will go into the pile! Three, two, one … motor deep down, eyes staring at his target he rushes and we scream all but we are all excited by this little adventure .. thirty seconds later we applaud, we went! Now it’s the girls’ turn. They take a long time to arrive. Leysa is at the controls. We do not see them but we hear the engine starts to rumble. Thirty seconds later they crossed the passage crushing even more the herbs. Marta is at the bottom of the boat, she had to have freaked out; suddenly we all laugh and we hit the road again. We are now in a lagoon where in the evening the caimans come to feed … not very reassuring!
We go to camp and no bowl, it is flooded! So they have a plan B but we must go through a blocked path. We are all super excited we too want to have a little adrenaline. After passing we arrive at the camp. He also had a lot of water but he is habitable. We go out and we begin to clear brush where Fernando tells us but Leysa makes us change places (women are in charge here) because it takes space for cooking. We clear the ground, we set up camp and tents, we try to cover the table that will be used for cooking and eating (and that is in the water). It will be luxury camping in fact, we will each have a mattress and a pillow! On the other hand the toilet will be shovel and hole for big commission.
After setting up everything we go with Fernando and Freddi to discover the lagoon and look for animals while Leysa and Marta prepare lunch.
The trees are reflected in the water is super beautiful! A few minutes later, Quentin spots something in the water that plunged and indicates the direction to Fernando. Freddi turns off the engine and steers the boat. We wait two minutes and there, a pink dolphin! Then another !!! We are excited! My chances of seeing were tiny! Fernando can not believe it! He tells us that it is his best lap and will call us until the end “los chicos de la suerte”. We spend well twenty minutes watching them dive and resurface. I’m too happy because in less than 4 hours I saw a sloth and dolphins. If I see a toucan and I meet arborigenes I will have seen everything I wanted to see!
We take the road, we see beautiful birds, monkeys (new), we hear the noises of all and especially the howler monkeys who reason in the entire forest.
An hour later we return to the camp; it smells super good! The girls made pasta (they read my thoughts) with a sauce too good with vegetables and fish. We are served a super lemonade house very refreshing. This is the luxury in the jungle! I do not regret choosing this camping option rather than the overpriced lodges. We eat our feet in the water, at the edge of a lagoon full of caimans and piranhas. What a life!
After this delicious meal we go on a boat trip while the girls will do the evening meal (it is 15h so say that the lunch and dinner are not spaced). Rebelote, we see lots of beautiful things! Too lucky the little gringos!
We come back, it’s dark. We all sit down to table, we discuss, it’s nice. The two young people do not make any effort to speak English so I try to make James understand what is being said. I translate as best as I can what Fernando and his wife tell us; it is difficult for my brain to listen in Spanish then translate in my head in French then in English then to revamp all in English. Doing this all day is super tiring! But for James and Clement, no soucy! Leysa prepares a typical Ecuadorian dish that we will never find in restaurants because it must be served directly hot: they are plantains crushed with a sauce without which have simmered vegetables and chicken (no one tells me more than you can not cook well while camping!). It’s super good but heavy! We ate barely three hours ago I’m struggling to finish my plate. Even the guys who eat super good usually are in trouble.
After this delicious meal, everyone goes back on the boat except Marta who will take care of tidying up. Tonight we go get the caimans! It makes me flipper … gringos on a small boat at the water’s edge in the night on the lake filled with caiman and piranhas … Clement and James do not care about me (they know that I am a chick in the background) . It is dark, the sky is revealed, the stars appear and the moon rises; its reflection shines on the water of the lake is superb and its light colors the sky is splendid. Fernando lights his super torch and sweeps the shore. We see small yellow balls that shine: caimans … there are several. He spots and we head for a bush to get closer to the animal. Fernado mimics the sounds of caimans (he really knows how to imitate all noises). Freddi cuts the engine, Fernando plunges his hand and the spring with a caiman baby in it !! He is too handsome and really not shy! He explains that he is a Negro caiman, shows us the colors on the skin, explains how he sees the night in the water, etc. He lets us touch and see very close then releases him; it’s extraordinary! We start again, and there he spots another. This time in his hand there will be, to his great joy, a blanco caiman, very difficult to find because they tend to be eaten by others. We look at it closely, caress it and release it. Fernande is super happy, another animal that he did not expect to be able to show us! We will see two more caimans before returning super happy this extraordinary day! Fernando thanks us for the day and we are all going to sleep with a smile on our faces.
This morning we all get up at dawn to go for a ride in the boat. We had to go for a walk but the haze has invaded the whole park! We do not even see the lagoon from the camp.
Fernando went to get the two other French people who have to join the group for one night with us; so in the meantime, we leave with Freddi and Leysa. She tells us all kinds of horrible stories to scare us of tourists who have been attacked by caymans or tourists who got lost four years ago that they went to get with the military … its stories go very well with the atmosphere that surrounds us: the mist surrounds us and the vegetation is reflected perfectly in the lagoon.
We take a walk, we see some birds and then dolphins! We are super happy! They are very close to us. We try to take pictures but impossible because they are too fast. In the distance we hear noises of engine: it is Fernando who comes back with both tourists. They look even younger than the other two. We tell him we were seeing dolphins, he can not believe it!
We all climb in the small boat to continue the tour with Fernando. We will see dolphins, a baby and his mom, new kinds of monkeys and birds. Fernando recognizes them even in flight and shows us in his book which bird it is.
After this walk we return to the camp where the breakfast will be served. It smells divine, they have prepared pancakes !!!! Foot! They are great!
We will discuss all together, we will learn who does what, how long each trip etc and also that they are all four quite young … For James it’s quite long because he understands almost nothing, no one speaks to him in English and he is at the end of the table … it makes me sad, and it annoys me that people exclude someone like that.
After this delicious late breakfast Fernando takes us on a jungle walk to see a tree with minerals as the animals come to eat. It is super hot and wet against the mist has risen and it is super nice! The weather seems to be with us.
We climb in the boat and then navigate in another very pretty part of the lagoon. James will stay at the camp because his foot is extremely painful.
We see monkeys and birds.
We get off the boat, walk a little. Tapir prints are still fresh. Two minutes later Fernando asks us to make no noise because in front of us, at the top of the famous tree are two macaws yellow and blue! It is superb! We look at them with the binoculars but they spotted us (Fernando tells us that it’s because of the flashy clothes of some of us … but hey with decathlon we do not have fifty choices!). It does not matter we will see other birds a little later, five or six little parakeets eating nutrients from the trees. We will observe them in silence. After that we will return to the camping lunch (the meals of the day are still too close!).
The girls still cooked a substantial meal.
After this lunch we all leave (James comes with us this time) to go for a walk in the jungle and try to see animals.
The boat ride is super nice again. Fernando hears the sounds of wild pigs. We listen, they are extremely close to us. We plunge into the jungle under the trees to moor the boat and we go down without making noises hoping to see animals.
James can not walk he will stay in the boat fishing piranhas with Freddi while we go for a ride of a few hours.
The circuit is on a loop. It is in this path that the other tourists were lost last time. Personally I suffer a little walk because of the heat and also because we will see no animal (I think we are too many and it was a big mistake on our part to accept others with us: we make too much noise while walking …).
We will see worker ants carrying pieces of leaves on their backs, there are thousands! I will also find a kind of super original white caterpillar with lots of hair. Fernando will tell us that she is deadly in case of allergies …
We will see endemic species of trees and medicinal plants. He will show us lianas and make us taste one of them (which once boiled becomes mortal); it will taste ants taste of ciron to others (I did not want to taste) and we will drink water of liana. After two and a half hours walking we find James and Freddi at the starting point. James tells us that Freddi fished the piranhas and that he did not manage anything …
We return to the camp quietly by re-crossing monkeys and dolphins! Definitely!
The kids play with the machete for a while.
The girls have not finished preparing the meal yet. Everyone goes to the table to discuss. I get in front of James because I know that young people will not make any effort to talk to him. The young person who arrived at the same time as us is even turning his back on him. They do not stop talking we start to get fed up. I can no longer hide my boredom and the fact that I do not really like them (it is especially their attitude towards James that annoys me). I can not participate in conversations and keep calm.
Tonight Fernando wants us to walk in the jungle to see insects … without me. James starts to get ready but I tell him that people will walk so I ask others to confirm on the boat. Nobody answers or I answer I do not know … the guide is behind you, ask damn it !!! James can not do it himself! I get angry and James is fed up with seeing them so he prefers to stay at the camp.
When all the others leave, it’s a calm !!!! It’s too good! I could not do more! Even girls in the kitchen are happy to be silent.
We go to our tents with James and I ask him if it’s ok and he confesses that it starts to drunk all these French who do not stop talking super loud nonstop! I agree!
I enjoy the complete silence to listen to the sounds of the jungle: screaming monkeys, birds and unidentified things in the water.
An hour later they come back … noisy (zero tolerance on my part I can not anymore). Clément and Quentin tell us what they saw: huge spider, toad with outsized dimensions and some other insects but not that much. They are rather happy so it’s great!
We brush our teeth; Quentin who feels dirty and stinks (it’s horrible even he can not stand their smell anymore) decides to go wash in the lagoon (at the edge of the water;)). Then after that everyone in bed.
Today we have to meet arborigenes, the Paiquinapi. I’m really happy because it will surely be interesting!
But before that we go on a boat tour to see birds. For this last day we will not be disappointed yet! We will see dolphins again! We will see monkeys, two red and blue macaws in flight and even more interesting, a bird that is extremely rare to see in the day, that even Fernando had never seen! He was excited! After this beautiful walk we return to the camp to have breakfast. Clement was too hungry (as usual!).
We then break our tents and bring our equipment back to the boat. After packing everything, we will meet the Paiquinapi community who live not far from Rocafuerte. On the road, young people are just talking, talking, talking … I can not do more! Two of them insult me with their way of talking (especially one who is very pretentious and snobbish). I can not anymore, so I decide to sit with Clement and James in the front because Quentin tries to ignore the noise and does not say a word.
That’s all right, I do not hear anything from the back and I’m with my friends.
We must return to the passage we took on the first day (and repeated several times as sick). The passage closed. Freddi tries to clear him while Fernando is beating him with the boat. A few minutes later the plants move. Fernando recoils … recoils … recedes … very far! We feel that it will be sporty this time! He takes his momentum and goes into the pile like a madman! We’re gone! We heard the branches crack and the plants bend under the weight of the boat. What an adventure! Everyone is getting tired (Freddi and Marta are laughing yellow). We continue the road, we spend one last time in front of some landscapes and then the Peru-Ecuador border. The village Paiquinapi seem to be on the Peruvian side.
Fernando makes a sign to a man dressed in a long blue tunic. There everyone thinks it’s to please us but Fernando will tell me later that they put this tunic on their clothes every day. Maybe the colored hat is not cons.
We go up to the village, we are greeted with big smiles and nice words.
Today we are going to prepare a traditional yuca flour bread that we will be making since the harvest of yuca in the earth.
We are heading to their garden. We see their wooden houses, very simple and elevated because of the rising waters. I ask lots of questions to the “leader” of the group and he answers me with a big smile. There are many children who look at us intrigued and a little timid; they are super beautiful.
We arrive at the garden; we must uproot the yucas. Quentin starts first then one of the girls and Clément and me. The young pretentious thinks only to make his pictures to the con the shot I throw (probably maliciously because I have no self control) he could also do something! Argh !!! In addition to wanting to do the interesting and lift the root like a nag he gave a blow in the face Quentin strong enough to break his glasses! Short.
We are happy with our stump because there are ten yucas in the same hole. Leysa will come to help us because it’s super hard. During this time others will clean the yucas and start scratching them.
After the harvest we leave all at the end of the village. One of the girls pats me on the buttocks, I feel she wants to play; so I start running after him and his little brother starts running around too. They are super happy and me too.
During a big part of the day we will all help to make the flour: remove the skin of the yucas, rape the yucas to make a paste, remove the water from this dough, sift the flour, make the bread. It was really interesting to see how to get some flour. It was quite long and tedious. Between each stage the children wanted to play with me, it was great fun; it made me want to come and do humanitarian work in a remote Ecuadorian community. Fernando explained to me that he had known these people for about fifteen years, that unlike other peoples of the region they were humble and generous. He told me stories that had happened with tourists and other ethnicities who wanted to enter the rooms of women … a bit scary. The Paiquinapi speak their own dialect and the oldest of the tribe do not speak Castilian. They try to teach it to the youngest in the village school.
After this great moment of sharing Fernando we repeat that it would be nice to give a contribution, a desired amount. He had mentioned me 10usd then he said in front of the other 5usd. The young people focused on the minimum amount not really thinking about the fact that these people had still opened their doors, spent time with us, shared their customs; and that we were quite privileged compared to other tourists. I had trouble with this stingy attitude … but hey, everyone does as he wishes. The money raised allows them to buy food for their families in Rocafuerte; what is the final 10usd for a European tourist? In short, everyone’s way of thinking!
We leave the village thanking everyone. Rocafuerte is only a few minutes away by boat.
We arrive, we say goodbye to Fernando and his team, as well as to the two young people who joined us yesterday (they stay a few more days) then we understand pretty quickly that the other two do not want to spend time with us, what suits us. We will not talk to them again after this moment.
We will ask for an overpriced room at the same hotel, this is the most expensive room we have paid for the whole trip and also one of the dirtiest. The manager is rude and knows that anyway we have no choice so we will pay.
We take the same rooms.
The boat that goes to Coca has just arrived. I’ll see if we have to pay the tickets in advance or us. The guy tells me no, and there is also another smaller boat that takes half the time but costs twice as much. I know it might interest the guys. Clément and James are desperate to drink a beer they will look in the small store while Quentin and I prefer to clean up and try to remove the horrible smells that stick to our skin.
When they come back I tell them for the boat. Everyone seems to want to take the fastest.
We will hang out all four on the balcony to chat and drink beers (and coke for me). The boys are hungry so I accompany them downstairs to discuss. Quentin prefers to rest. The manager and his wife (not sure whether it’s his wife’s remark) asks us what we are going to do next, but with such a contemptuous air that the discussion will finally be rather short. He tells us that the fast boat is not Thursday! Clement and James are decomposing because they had already put in the head to do only 4h of boat instead of 8h. We pay the night and ask for breakfast tomorrow.
We are going to look for Quentin because there is a karaoke nearby. Lack of bowl is closed … so the boys buy other beers and we go back to talk on the balcony until we are tired.
Wake up very early, the boat leaves at 6am and we have to have breakfast.
We all go down. The breakfast is simple and not that great. The boat has just arrived and I finished before the others so I say goodbye to people and I start to leave but the owner and his wife asks me to pay! I cannot believe it! The room costs an arm and they charge for a disgusting breakfast! In addition, three times more expensive than if we went to buy something next! We groan, we pay and we break. I hope that future tourists will not go home, they do not deserve this money!
We are queuing. There are others. The girl responds to my hello but not her boyfriend so it will be the last words exchanged with them.
We climb take place at the bottom of the boat then left for 8h crossing.
Finally it will go faster than expected. We’ll sleep a bit and then spend the last hours talking with Clément and Quentin. I asked them if I had been unpleasant with the others and they confirmed that yes 🙂 that I spoke to them super maliciously and that it felt that I did not like them! I felt a little guilty but not too much because I do not like when people exclude a person, especially if this person is my friend! The discussion made us laugh anyway.
After 8 hours of boat we arrive at Coca. It’s really hot here. We are looking for a taxi to go to the bus terminal. The driver tells us that we could have a bus at 15h. Once at the terminal we go for tickets with Quentin while Clément and James go to get food (it surprises you ? :D). Lack of luck, we arrive 10min too late, all the tickets we passed under the nose! So the next bus will be at 20:30 … We take the tickets and will announce it to Clément and James. As expected they are disgusted. James even looks at the flights but for us it’s out of the question.
After lunch they decide to go hang out at the pool. Quentin not having his jersey we decide to go to visit the museum that speaks of an Amazonian tribe who has died. The building is super modern and very nice; the museum is very interesting and quite well done. We will discover another style of funerary pottery. We had never seen before. After this visit we still have time suddenly we decide to go eat an ice cream next door while waiting to find the others at the bus terminal.
We are all around 19h; the boys come back with food (normal;)). They eat super fast then we leave to take the bus completely HS hoping that this night we will get to sleep!
- Day 145 – Friday 24th of May 2019 : Relax
- Saturday 25th of May 2019 : On the way to Galapagos!
- Day 146 – Sunday 26th of May 2019 : Bahia
- Day 147 – Monday 27th of May 2019 : Floreana
- Day 148 – Tuesday 28th of May 2019 : Snorkeling
- Day 149 – Wednesday 29th of May 2019 : Tortuga Bay
- Day 150 – Thursday 30th of May 2019 : Isabela
- Day 151 – Friday 31st of May 2019 : Goodbye my friends 🙁
- Day 152 – Saturday 1st of June 2019 : Lucky day
- Day 153 – Sunday 2nd of June 2019 : Los Tuneles
- Day 154 – Monday 3rd of June 2019 : Flamingos
- Day 155 – Tuesday 4th of June 2019 : Snorkeling
- Day 156 – Wednesdau 5th of June 2019 : San Cristobal
- Day 157 – Thursday 6th of June 2019 : Nice beaches of San Cristobal
- Day 158 – Friday 7th of June 2019 : End of the holiday during the holiday…
- Day 159 – Saturday 8th of June 2019 : Back to France for a week
After 8h of boat, 5h of waiting at Coca and 7h of bus, we arrive FINALLY in Quito; it is 3:15 in the morning. We slept a bit (except James) so it went quickly.
We take a taxi to the hotel. The driver has a rather special driving. The boys suspect that he has a bad vision (forget to stop before the turns, forget to stop at the red lights (all)).
Forty minutes later we arrive safe and sound at the hostel. We go to our room trying to make a big sleep.
We meet around 10am then we will hang until almost 13h (Clement hungry).
We would like to shop at the craft market so we decided to eat there. We find a super good fish restaurant.
After the meal, go to the market. Quentin is fed up even before entering (I love). This market is a labyrinth and it looks like the ali baba cave. They sell all the same stuff but you have to negotiate everything.
Two hours later we leave and we decide to go downtown. We stop to have a good ice cream in a chocolate shop and then we go for a drink in the central square. We had spotted a girl for Clement in one of the bars but unfortunately she was not there. We take our time, the night falls and it is a little cool.
After this short break we take a taxi back to the hotel.
Quentin and I are making our bags; James and Clement are trying to download the latest episode of Games of Throne. We meet again an hour later to go out and eat in a bar we were advised to make his own beers.
We take a taxi (no choice because of James’ foot).
The bar is great. In the back room there is a movie theater where they spend an old Chinese film a bit ridiculous. It’s nice but we’re still tired of the last 24 hours.
After the meal we return by taxi and then sleep!
We did not sleep much this morning. Quentin woke up at 4am and suddenly we had trouble going back to sleep.
At 5am we will shower and close the bag (we take a big for two). We go down to the common room to have tea and coffee while waiting in others. I take the opportunity to call a few people.
The taxi arrives at 6am, a small SUV driven by a woman. For once we get to relax in a transport! She drives quietly.
We arrive at the airport. We see that there is a special area for people going to the galapagos. We queue and we learn that we have to pay 20 USD … what for? They do not really bother here! We pay because we want to leave. We pass the luggage and security and then we go to a restaurant to have breakfast. 13USD eggs and bread and 5.5USd a little coffee … only James and Clement will take something! Quentin and I had planned on buying things that were too good in town yesterday.
We try to see the activities at the Galapagos (I sent them everything already but no one had looked at the time now it’s a bit tough to organize!). We realize that we have only four or five days together 🙁 and that everyone does not want to do the same thing all the time. Because this afternoon on arrival we will hurry to book the excursions that we want to do together before they leave.
It’s time to board! I make a quick call to Sonia and Sophie who have banana because they are on vacation! (I almost forgot the effect it made … mouahahah).
We have a stopover in Guayaquil but we do not leave the plane. I think the average age is 60, we must be less than 10 under 35 in the whole plane including the staff. Only Americans who look rich enough. It’s going to be the big fiesta at the Galapagos! 😀
The flight is fast enough. The sky was quite clear so we could see the Baltra Islands, Santa Cruz and Seymour. Water makes you want to jump in!
We landed and we spend an hour waiting in line to pass immigration and controls. Then we will connect bus ferry and taxi to our hotel.
The city is not very pretty but there are many restaurants and tourist shops, it is pretty well laid out.
We put our stuff and then we decided to go around the agencies to find the excursions we would like to do.
We start with the first of the street, the guy does not like us too much he tries to sell us anything. We move to the second; a lady welcomes us. She looks honest about what we can possibly see and tells us what we ask her. We ask him for each excursion and I negotiate as best as I can. She is nice so we decide to book everything with her. We all lose 400 € which lighten the wallet! We have all the important trips booked and transfers between the islands for less than normal. We leave happy then we decide to go eat something in the street next door. There are plenty of small restaurants but since it is 4:30 pm we do not have much choice. We stop in one that has lots of great cakes! After this gourmet break, James would like to see the diving clubs. The dives look great but 90 usd diving no thank you! So we will make an excursion while they go diving. The Galapagos is really super expensive! A real tourist trap! But hey we are guaranteed to see a lot of extraordinary things suddenly it was worth it!
We hang out in the shops, we walk on the main street and then we go back.
I’m exhausted so I drop everyone tonight; Quentin will be too lazy to go out. The boys will come out but much later the time to motivate!
A little quiet awakening for everyone (after ten hours of sleep).
Clément, Quentin and I go down to wish Mother’s Day to our respective mothers with the little internet that we were taking. We are all four on the terrace for breakfast and we start for our first excursion.
The lady greets us with a big smile (normal, yesterday she was given more than 1500 USD in cash). She tells us to follow a guy to go to the boat.
On the harbor we see a sea lion that gets the pill, and the coolest, sharks in the water! It’s the little sharks that come to hide from the big ones to avoid being devoured, and who come to make sardine buffets in front of the boats to the delight of tourists.
We wait about fifteen minutes then we go on a small boat with some other tourists.
The purpose of the day will be to see lots of birds and turtles.
First stop fifty meters, in front of the rocks. We see beautiful birds whose blue-footed boobies! We are super happy! There are also frigates, blue and red crabs, babies iguana, and sea lions. The day starts well !
We continue a little further and there we come down the boat to see a fault in which we will see two beautiful turtles. The landscape is super pretty with black volcanic rocks, cacti, birds and blue water.
The guide then takes us to a beach where we can see our first big marine iguanas. We are super excited because there is everywhere! It’s so great and too beautiful! We take fifty thousand photos and then we return to the boat.
The rest of the program will be snorkeling. The water is not as cold as expected. We will see a huge turtle too beautiful and big parrotfish. We will try to see rays and sharks but there will be none.
The captain then takes us to a place where, after a ten-minute walk, we should arrive at a sort of fault in which fresh water mixes with salt water and where visibility is “good”. We walk, James galley with his foot. We arrive, it is shielded world (it is Sunday and there are plenty of tourists). We jump in the water and start snorkeling. There are also big fish there and the rays of the sun come to plunge in the water and to illuminate the rock. This is the same kind of landscape that we saw during snorkeling in the frozen waters of Silfra in Iceland. We will spend a lot of time in the water then the morning will end on this beautiful exit.
Back in town, we go to the hotel to have a shower before going to lunch in the street next door. It’s super good and not excessive. The chef makes us understand that we should come back in the evening for dinner.
After this meal, Clement, Quentin and I go on another trip: lava tunnel, crater and giant turtles. The guide picks us up at the agency. He is really nice. We take the opportunity to ask him questions about mass tourism, the average salary etc. From what one understands, people are rich in Galapagos and live almost all of tourism.
We will start by going to see the two craters on each side of the road. It looks nice.
The second part of the visit will be to visit a giant turtle reserve, El Chalto. We walk quietly observing the animals. They are super beautiful and look pissed in their mud bath.
We will finish the trip by visiting a lava tunnel. Said like that, it looks so great! but in fact it’s a little naze. It’s a tunnel, it’s dark, it’s wet. But hey, it’s natural! At one point we will have to crawl to get to the end of the tunnel; little moment of excitement, woop woop!
We return to town with the guide and we ask him to drop us at a place where we could buy fruit. He drops us off and leaves and there Clement realizes that he forgot his phone in the car … it surprises you? not us So he goes to the agency and we try to find fruit … pineapple 8USD, no thanks! so we go back to the hotel. Clement will pick up his phone later.
James not being there and still having a little time before the night falls, we decide to go to the beach as we walk. The beach is not very beautiful and it is crowded; it does not make you want at all. So we decided to try another one a little further. Again, do not want to swim, however there are iguanas everywhere! it’s super cool ! we (I) do lots of pictures of iguanas with the sunset. We take our time and then we go home slowly.
We find James who has to go to the diving center. This morning’s snorkeling made her want to do a dive despite her foot pain.
We find him a little later then we go for a drink and eat in the street behind our hotel; it’s super nice, all the restaurants put tables in the middle for dinner. We settle in the same place where we ate lunch. We have a good time because there is an American next to us who fart a cable because the service is super long, and because the server is really not good. We will try to go smoke a shisha but lack of luck they do not have anything to smoke … so we end up in a super expensive bar where only Clement and James have a drink. After that, sleep!
This morning James and Clément go scuba diving to try to see manta rays and hammerhead sharks in Seymor. Quentin and I are going on an excursion to Floreana Island, 2 hours by boat from Santa Cruz. This island was a landmark of pirates.
We have breakfast together and then Quentin and I go to the agency. The lady takes us to another center where they gather all the tourists who leave for Floreana this morning. We will be 16! We all go to the port. We take a small boat to go on the biggest. It is horrible! Only a few lucky ones find themselves in the back uncovered. The others, including us, will be suffocating for 1h30. The boat goes to the bottom of the box and breaks the waves, the shocks move our bodies in all directions. Impossible to rest. Everyone’s nauseated, even Quentin who usually loves it!
We arrive at the port of Floreana, all muddy and exhausted. Nobody looks in a super happy mood! We are greeted by red marine iguanas endemic to the island! So awesome !
The guide takes us on a walk after taking a bus to tell us how people lived on the island before, and show us the landmark of pirates. We will meet giant tortoises. They try to reproduce the turtles that inhabited the island before but all disappeared because they were eaten.
The ride is nice but hey, it’s expensive moving …
We take the bus and he drops us off at a restaurant where we will be served lunch. On the menu fish and rice. Not bad but a little light for the price of the excursion! We sympathize with a Canadian and three Americans. The meal becomes more fun.
After this “wonderful” lunch we take the bus to go to the beach to snorkel. We have to walk ten minutes before arriving at the spot. It’s very beautiful ! The sand is white and the turquoise water.
We dress and then we go into the water. We will see turtles, sea lions, fish and Quentin a ray. After an hour in the water we go back to the boat, and this time we take a Nausicalm … There are plenty of iguanas, sea lions and a beautiful pelican.
By change I managed to get two seats in the back outside (people are disgusted mouahahah). There is an American who feels very bad to go. As we are super nice we give him one of our places and in addition he will be entitled to his little Nausicalm.
The crossing is long but less horrible than on the way. We do not get seasick and we have fresh air that whips our face.
We return to the hotel but the boys will arrive an hour later because they have returned earlier from their dives and wanted to see other things. They tell us what they saw: hammerhead sharks and a ray (not Manta). We look at their photos, they are top! Clément still had problems digestion and feels super bad. He falls asleep on the bed in a ball, without even having eaten! … he is really feeling bad. So, James, Quentin and I go to eat, we still leave him a message and we clear his bed (we are super nice as friends huh!).
We go to a bar that serves sushi. It is mega scam, we are a little disgusted (it’s my fault it’s me who wanted to eat more). But hey, we do not let down. We will end the evening on the terrace of the hotel with a magnum and beers, then sleep.
Quentin was wrong and set his alarm too early so we’re all up at 6am instead of 7am …
We go up to do some internet. I call mom farting a cable because of Pôle emploi and suddenly I fart a cable also because I make him fart a cable …
We have lunch together and then we go to the agency to look for our snorkeling suits. The lady brings us to the guide of the day. We will wait a little before finally boarding the boat. It is better than yesterday, but there are two people too, so we’re a little tight.
Today we will do three snorkeling. A first thirty minutes from Puerto Ayora called La Fé (still on Santa Cruz), two others at the foot of the island of Pinzon.
Clement still does not feel good today unfortunately. It is hoped that he will take the plunge to jump into the water with us.
The waves are quite big at La Fé, but the boat stops just after the rocks that stop them. We jump in the water, she is super cold! There is a lot of plankton which makes visibility a little bof, but we see tons of turtles it’s great! The fish are super big and all colors. We take our eyes full. At one point we venture to the mangroves where we will remove our palms to engulf us in a kind of coves where will be marine iguanas and sea lions. It’s really great, we are super happy. We give the fins and we continue to the boat, we meet new turtles on the road. First stage at the top of the top, we look forward to the other two dives.
We take the boat and pass next to an island called “the island without name.” James and Quentin suggest calling it Jessica Island, I find it pretty good: D It’s a rock in the middle of the ocean. There are some sea lions gilding themselves.
Thirty minutes later we arrive in front of Pinzon. It is a volcanic island on which live hundreds of giant tortoises that are found only there. This is why no one can go for a walk on the island and only snorkeling and diving are allowed.
We put on our snorkeling gear. Clément spends 20 minutes in the toilets before and motivates himself to come. He will have done well because we will see extraordinary things about the two snorkeling sessions: turtles, huge parrot fish, a huge multicolored lobster, sea lions, sharks, an octopus, rays of two kinds and many more things. We enjoy ! This trip was worth a two hour boat trip!
On the return to Puerto Ayora we will be even more lucky, dolphins will cross our route! Decidedly!
Back at the port, the boys will get dollars while Quentin and I go to drop the suits to the agency and then shower. Once at the hotel I realize that I forgot my bottoms on the boat! I go back to see the lady of the agency but in his eyes I understand that I will have to put a panties to swim the next few days … not certain that my beautiful merino panties appreciate the sea water, but hey, out of the question to go shopping in Galapagos!
The boys come back and James tells us he ate a magnum and bought a super expensive mega shorts. Clement seems to be a little better. We chill out a little then we decide to eat on the street with all the bougouis not far from the hotel. We will return to the same restaurant and we will still make fun of the server a little soft knee! Clement and James will fart the lobster! It looked too good (we tasted it was too good).
After the meal, as it is early, we decide to have an after party on the terrace of the hotel. We buy beers and magnums. It’s hard to get along, there’s a big group of Israelis screaming as if they’re alone.
After this last little pleasure we all go down to prepare our things and sleep.
Wake up early this morning because James and Clément leave on Isabela where we meet them tomorrow. I’m really sad because tomorrow will be the last time we will see them again before a year LWe get used to having friends, and talk about poo and other things not very Catholic all day long.
We go up for breakfast but the guy does not want to serve us because it’s not time. I think he sees Clement at the balls. I ask him gently (yes I can be kind to people who annoy me sometimes) but he does not want; after 10 minutes the girl who helps him arrives and he gives in. The boys are in a hurry, they have to leave to take their boat in a few minutes, and James, who always says he has finished his bag, will probably need 15min more to actually close his bag … boys…
The boys gobble their breakfast and go down to close their bags. I go down with them to say goodbye … I’m very sad, I take them in my arms and kisses them before they go to the port. I go back to finish my breakfast with Quentin.
After a little fright (we did not find Quentin’s passport), we leave to put our stuff in our new accommodation then we walk to Tortuga Bay, beautiful beach with lots of animals, so-called.
On the road we stop in a park with mangroves. It’s pretty and calm. We will see lots of pretty birds, lizards and even a baby iguana between two planks of wood.
We arrive at the entrance to Tortuga Bay. The girl from the office explains the rules to follow and then we walk well 30 minutes full sun in a path between cacti. There are birds and lizards everywhere. We are super hot, it is early but the sun is hot.
We arrive at the end of the sweaty trail. We fall in love with a beautiful sandy beach! We are amazed! It’s splendid ! The first one makes big rollers that crash in front of us and comes to refresh our feet. As it is forbidden to bathe here because of dangerous currents we continue to arrive at Tortuga bay. We will meet marine iguanas who try to take a maximum of heat on the burning sand. We arrive on the famous beach. She is not extraordinary but very pretty. We decide to go as far as possible where there is no one; close to the mangroves. We do not understand why nobody goes there anyway, who says mangroves says animals … in short, we ask ourselves. I put the feet in the water and there I think even an iguana in the water! I tell Quentin to hurry up. We look for it and there I see a shark! We are super happy. We wait for it to try to make videos. We will play to look for and wait for the shark for at least an hour. We will bask (actually cram) the pill and then, when the sun gets too strong we will pack our things. We have no idea what time it is but we are dying of hot weather. We sweat like madmen while walking. We go back to where we had seen the iguanas. The sea is too beautiful and gives too much desire. We have the right to swim here … We see iguanas in the water, we get all excited and suddenly we put our stuff and we go for a swim! It’s so great to see the animals swimming! We will stay a good thirty minutes until Quentin begins to feel he is crying.
We will return all the way back in sweat and full dodger and we will arrive at the hostel super late! We stayed at least 4h there!
We check in and we are disgusted because we had forgotten that we shared the room with two strangers. But hey, it was cheaper and it was only for the night. We shower and close our bags before going to get something to nibble before the center Darwin closes.
There is a small restaurant that makes a 4USD menu, we decide to test. It was simple and good so we are happy. We go back to bed hoping that the new roommates are not too noisy (they have not been J).
Departure early this morning to take the boat that will take us to Isabela where we meet the boys.
We prepare our affairs discreetly so as not to wake others. We have breakfast in the kitchen and then we go to the port.
There are plenty of people shouting names of people and boats. We do not really understand how it works. We ask a guy who tells us to go see another guy who tells us we are not on the list. It begins well ! He calls the girl from the agency, he takes us to see another guy in a corner that seems to recover all abandoned. Finally we will have a boat to go on Isabela, phew! We wait, we take a Nausicalm then we embark.
We manage to have a place at the back. I do not know if it is the Nausicalm that works great or if the sea was not that agitated but that in any case the trip passes quickly and I will sleep halfway.
We arrive, it is super nice, we see many birds including blue-footed boobies, the water is super clear … it’s great! We are super happy, we cannot wait to get off.
We arrive, we are charged a fee twice as expensive as what we read on blogs (bienvenidos touristas!). We have the balls but we are no longer at 10USD here! We see iguanas on the road to the hostel. It is not very law, 10min from the port. The cleaning lady just finished our room. She is perfect: calm, bright, big and there is only us inside! Lack of luck she tells us that there is no water because of a problem but it is being fixed … we will wait two hours before it is settled, it was enough difficult because we wanted too much to go to the toilet … in short, it is settled.
We see people in the room next door. I recognize them, it is a couple a little silly that we had seen in the bus that was crossing Chile-Peru (the kind of couple who spends his time cooing and making some pussies … a little boring for us, but they looked nice … we will not see them again, we just avoided them in fact).
After resting, we find James at his hotel; Clement went to hike the volcano we will do later. It is hard to find James but we get there. We decide to eat in a restaurant on the beach with a beautiful pontoon. The beach is beautiful and huge, the water is too beautiful. On the other hand the restaurant was good and moreover it was super expensive (and I still have the slab … it promises).
We finish eating and then Clement comes back completely out of his hike. As they do not stay long on the island, Clement would like to do a lot of stuff. He wants to rent a bike to make a part of the coast. So, since we’re not a bike at all, we let them walk around and we’ll meet them at night. For us it will be pillow and nap of two hours! On the way back to the hotel we went for a walk in the city. I put quotation marks because here it is very different from Santa Cruz. There is little animation, it is very quiet, everything is concentrated on a main street. The restaurants are super expensive (about 15USD the dish … but fortunately there are menus (three or four times more expensive than Quito)), supermarkets are overpriced (small pot of Nutella to … guess how much it cost … 15 euros!). Depressed a bit by seeing all this but hey, we expected! it is the game my poor Lucette as we say at home!
We find them to eat at night, they are happy with their bike ride and we our big nap. We will eat in a restaurant that looks not too bad (we are mostly attracted by MENU 8USD). The meal was really light, I’m still hungry (I’m so used to eating sweet and many since Clément and James are there that I do not even know if it’s really hungry). The guys spotted a karaoke the day before; as usual, we have to finish a stay with a karaoke. Yesterday they were alone in the bar … tonight we’ll be four! We arrive, it’s dark and there are lights of all colors. I ask the guy if we can sing. He is not super enthusiastic but tells us that yes (something is happening on his phone that concerns him). We order beers and nothing for me because he only has beers (James wanted a cocktail). He gives us the magic book with the songs, he weighs a ton that’s great! There are too many choices! We choose songs a little at random (we regret … to start 50cents, not obvious when we know that the chorus.The worst Shakira will be, too hard to sing so fast in Spanish). We’re having a blast! We even manage to make Clément sing and dance (he always cracks, even when he is tired). We will stay two hours in the bar to sing. An old man will come to steal the show to sing salsa songs but hey we forgive him, he made us laugh.
After this great evening we go to bed.
Last day all four. I wake up with a twinge of heart. It’s all too well to have friends with us, we get used to rotten jokes and the company of those who have missed us for already six months … in short, I’m sad.
We have our breakfast, without tea and coffee because we are not allowed to use the kitchen, but luckily with good cakes we found in a bakery with strange schedules held by an old gentleman.
Boys are offered to leave their belongings in our room all day as they have to check in this morning and want to go swimming. We find ourselves in an agency to rent palms then we go to the port, in THE spot of snorkeling (free) of the island. James went there yesterday and said it was great (sea lions, iguanas etc). We go all the way, we meet lots of sea lions making strange noises. We are too excited, there are some in the water! We change in two seconds and we go for a swim with them. They want to play too much. Clement dives and it makes them all crazy.
We will swim more than an hour. We will see lots of sea lions, turtles, pinguins and iguanas. It’s amazing to be able to see all this with a mask and a snorkel! We leave amazed! It was free and much better than other places we saw that cost us a blind. We decide to come back tomorrow morning even sooner with Quentin.
Clément is too eager to surf (he has been talking about it for days) so the three of us have nothing special planned we decide to join him on the beach. He will rent his gear and then take a taxi to go where he wanted to go surfing. The beach is pretty, but the waves are not crazy. He goes there anyway. Quentin is a little blah today, the sun has burst; he will read. James will look at his book on animals, and I will do pelicans and body surfing (more drowning than surfing). Clement does not take a lot of waves, one wonders why. He is the sportsman he will explain to us later. He is a little jaded but at least he will have tried. He offers me to try. It’s too hard ! I have zero muscle in my arms and my big back makes me lose my balance with the waves. We’re having a good time, especially James who sees everything from the beach and tries to film. Two hours later the taxi returns to pick us up (we gave him appointment).
We decide to eat next to where Clement rented his board. The meal is not bad but a little more it would have been cool. In any case it was very well presented. We do not have much time left before the boys take the boat. So we go to the hotel, they take a shower and it’s time to say goodbye … just write that I’m sad again … Big braces, and of course, as everyone suspected , I’m crying ! I cannot leave them, it’s too difficult. But hey, no choice they have to leave. I hope they will want to meet us elsewhere so we can see them again soon.
Quentin is exhausted, he will take a nap for two hours while I watch the videos this morning. I woke him around 16h, we had to go back to snorkel but we were lazy so we went shopping for sandwiches (we found the fake cheese in a supermarket) and then we return to the spot this morning and we will train a bit on the beach. After that we will return to eat before going to eat and watching Netflix, then, sleep.
This morning we’re motivated, we get up at 7am to snorkel where we were yesterday with James and Clement. We say that the sooner we get up, the fewer people and we may be lucky.
We go out, it’s gray outside, there are big clouds. Quentin tells me it rained yesterday but I slept too well I did not hear anything. We go backwards but we go. We arrive at the sport of snorkeling, we observe, we do not see anything for 5 minutes of the blow we are a little demotivated but we throw ourselves into the water anyway. Finally a penguin will point the tip of its beak two minutes later and it will be enough to wake us! We will see two penguins and lots of turtles eating! One of the penguins is attracted by the red filter of my goPro and tries to eat it. He sneaks on me suddenly it makes me swim like a big moron (no flippers so do not want to touch the rocks where there are fluorescent orange starfish with black spades). Too happy, we continue to swim, we are all alone. We say after 45min we go back to where we had seen the turtles and we come back. Our masks bought in Quito are really super bad quality, I see in as if I had not put my lenses! I look squinting and I see something long, flat and gray on the sand, a line! I scream at Quentin to come and watch her swim delicately. Too handsome ! We will meet the penguins and one of them will pinch my buttocks … he must have seen that there was food in it!
We return to the hotel after an hour of snorkeling. We are really happy to be finally motivated, we were super lucky this morning again!
We take our breakfast and I call my parents and grandma then we leave for a big day of ride in full sun. The sun is out and it’s already hot!
We walk along the beach for a good hour and we arrive at the entrance of the path that leads to the ‘muros de las lagrimas’. This wall is a pile of volcanic stones that the island’s former prisoners built forced and forced by local authorities who abused their power over them. Some have died of exhaustion and most certainly because of the heat. As it seems with Laura, ” it is a heat of bitch ”! we are dying of hot! I’m walking in bra … yeah #menfiche, and Quentin the shirt open. We were too hot and of course we did not get enough water! There are plenty of spots to see lagoons and the sea on the road, we keep them for the end (to save water). It takes a good hour to get to the wall. We’ll meet big tortoises on the road. It’s a wall but it’s weird to know how it was built. The guide at the entrance told us that there was a watchtower, it will go up and walk another fifteen minutes in full sun. We are exhausted but we come to the end. The view is very beautiful. We see the volcanoes, the ocean, the “city” and the verdant valley. We drink three drops and then go down. The return will be faster. As we have no more water and a few more days, we decide to come back for another day to snorkel.
We are too hot and the sea is right in front of us. So we decide to go for a dip; it’s too good !!! We bathe and we get slapped by the big waves for thirty minutes then we will return (and we will buy 6L of water) to rest.
At the end of the day we are motivated to go get the breakfast tomorrow at the grandpa. He is happy to see us and tells us some tips on things we would like to see. We thank him and we tell him tomorrow!
We pass next to a street overlooking the beach suddenly I ask Quentin if we can go for a ride. We go there and there we see lots of people huddled over each other taking photos. It intrigues us suddenly we approach and there we see babies tortus! It’s so wonderful! And of course, I did not take my camera … There are plenty of turtles and to go to the sea they will take a lot of time. Quentin tells me I have time to go get him. I rush ! I’m doing a sprint in Tongue, I’m sweating, I’m having trouble, people are getting fed up, I’m blowing like an ox but I can make the round trip (which seems endless to me because we are far enough from the beach) to time. It’s really too beautiful as a moment, we never thought we could attend an event like the Galapagos! Another lucky moment for the day. There is another thing that is preparing on the spot but we are lazy to go there so we go back and rest before the snorkeling day tomorrow morning.
New morning of snorkeling with a ride today. We are picked up at 7:30 to bring us to the agency. It’s a little ridiculous to pick us up in 4×4 while the agency is 400m … for people who want to be environmentally friendly it’s a bit overwhelming!
We arrive, the people of the agency are not mega kind and the others who do the tour with us look a little soft and not interesting … it’ll be funky! in any case we, we keep the banana.
The same driver brings everyone to the port (another 10min of won walk …). There are sea lions playing in transparent water, it’s super pretty. We meet other tourists who go on the same trip as us.
The sea is rough but we do not have seasickness. We will see a lot of blue-footed boobies and the boat will approach near a rock where dozens of birds will be taking the air.
An hour later we arrive in ” Los Tuneles ”. These are lava flows that have formed tunnels in which a beautiful marine ecosystem has developed. We will see lots of big turtles, fish, a ray. There are cacti that have grown on the lava, it’s quite pretty. The weather is gray it’s a shame because the water is transparent, suddenly it could have been even more beautiful! We are lucky there are some blue-footed boobies. We observe them. The guide explains a lot about them. It’s really a beautiful animal! We will have a good time in the corner and then we will take the boat for the snorkeling session. We will have to go big waves and the captain will have to be very careful not to hit the rock. It is quite precise as maneuver but we arrive at the desired place to anchor.
We put on our suits and we go to the water. The guide tells people to swim horizontally so as not to stir sediment and make the water cloudy; but of course people do not listen! We will still see seahorses, rays, huge turtles, sharks and even an octopus! Quentin will see a moray too! It was really nice even if at the end we started to get a little cold.
We go back on the boat, we drink and eat and then we go back to Puerto Ayora.
We will not move from the room when we come back, we are too tired … hard the holidays! We will still go out around 19h to get breakfast and eat something. End of the day 🙂
Come on let’s go and get up early for snorkeling! We have the head in the cabbage but we go there. It is a little more beautiful than yesterday but we still do not see the volcano we would like to climb, so we decided not to do it. It’s a shame because it is the second largest crater in the world but if you have to pay to walk we like to see something once up!
We arrive at the spot, we start. We will stay half an hour no more, we do not see anything interesting. We go a little disappointed but hey, we do not win every time! As it is still early we rest and then we go back to the beach. We will tour in an area with lots of flamingos and other birds. The path ends in a giant turtle protection center. These turtles are endangered and endemic to the island. People are trying to reform a larger population with the few turtles that remained on the island. We see small (who are already in their twenties …) and large. They are super pretty. We will spend a lot of time looking at them.
We decide to go swimming at the beach next door (I’m lazy to walk 30 minutes), we have two of tension. It’s hard holidays during the holidays! We change and we go in the water which seems to us super cold because there is no sun. As we are alone we decide to fart the jerseys and swim naked! We laugh well then we decide to get closer to the “city” where we will sit on the sand in front of another beach, the sun being out.
A wave will wake us wanting to wet us. We are even more tired than before … so we go back to the hotel to take a nap. In the middle of the afternoon we will return to the port to try to see animals. Only Quentin will go in the water, there is a group of German and Israeli super noisy … I prefer to wait on the bench. Quentin will not stay long, he will only see a turtle, a shark tail and some shrimps. It is high tide and there is a lot of current suddenly it is fed up. We decide to finish the afternoon on the beach next to where we will watch the sea lions play in the water.
We go back to shower and come out to eat before making a big sleep.
This morning we wake up a little later but we still go snorkeling in Concha de Perla, our favorite spot. It is still gray suddenly we do not regret not having reserved the volcano. It’s a shame not to do it but we’re already back J
The water seems clear enough, it is higher than when it comes to habit. We throw ourselves into it, it’s cool at first, because two young sea lions have entered the water! I can see them before they leave but Quentin takes too long to put on his mask. We swim side by side and we cross a huge line! She is circular gray and black and almost as tall as Quentin. We had already seen one like that but not as big! We look at it, we will cross it again with an iguana and a turtle. Almost an hour later we come back and go back to the hotel. I’ll take a two-hour nap while Quentin binds, I thought he was sleeping too.
We decide to go back to the beaches which are a bit far. We will walk for an hour in full heat, it is really too hot outside. We arrive at the entrance of the trail and the guide tells us that it’s good for snorkeling (the other told us the opposite last time). We will see. On the first sport the water is very high and there are plenty of iguanas piling on top of each other trying not to get wet. We go in the water but we walk and we take big waves that come from several directions at once, it is not super nice. So we decide to go elsewhere. There is a lava tunnel with water in it but it is super dark. Only Quentin goes there but he will come back soon because he tells me that the sound of big waves bumping at the end of the tunnel is pretty pinball.
We will see another beach, the playa del amor (yes the name is dreaming I know). The water is high there too but it’s a little better for dipping. We bathe for ten minutes because we miss drowning each wave and there are rocks down.
A little disappointed with this trip (we walked an hour to come suddenly we are a bit jaded), we pack our stuff and then we decide to return. We go back to the old gentleman’s bakery. As it is almost 17h, Quentin would like to return one last time to La Concha de Perla. We go quietly walking on the sand along the beach; it sinks 5cm at each step (it’s our sport of the day).
We arrive there already of the world. There are two Americans talking and one says “there are really too many Germans!” I’m tired and I too want to answer him ” there are too many Americans! ”. The Galapagos is 60% of American tourists, 30% of Germans, 8% of Israelis, and 1% of others (these figures are not official, I invented them;)). We know who comes from where the noises they make and their way of talking … and sometimes it’s pretty unbearable … but good on Isabela, except the evening in the restaurants, we did not cross many people.
I come back to my story. We go in the water. I’m Quentin to the place where we always see animals. I let myself be carried by the current that I believe weak. I realize that it is not, I panic like a kid, I try to turn back but I’m having trouble! so I panic even more, I miss drinking the cup, I swim like crazy breaststroke, crawl, on the back and after ten minutes I manage to reach the pontoon, completely breathless and panicked. I decide to give up and watch Quentin swim quietly. At one point I see 5 penguins in the water. I tell Quentin who tries to see them, then sea lions arrive. No choice, I go back into the water! Bad luck the go Pro we loose (I really bad luck with electronics!) And suddenly we can not take videos. Quentin will try again, I loose the case when I see these cons of Americans who come rushing on the penguins swimming like idiots in crawl! Bin yes make a lot of noise to scare the animals! fools ! I go back and guide Quentin every time I see something. The penguins come back, one of the cons of American rejects the water like a moron by diving and crawling, all the others follow and swim like animals to scare the animals … Quentin spotted him a turtle ‘other side. He looks at her and then comes back and we decide to go back.
After a good shower we go to eat. We will try another restaurant that is 1USD more but we will have more food. We leave happy because it was good but we ate too quickly blow are bloated. We can finish packing our bags, because tomorrow we leave the island, then we go to sleep.
We did not sleep at night, probably because of the early departure that worked us in the night. The boat leaves at 6am so we leave at 5:15 to the pontoon.
Once again we arrive and the girl of the agency did not do her job, she forgot to make our reservations. It bores us a little but hey we get on the boat. We can admire the sunrise, it’s nice. The crossing will last two hours. Quentin will feel a little bad, me it will go strangely.
Back in San Cristobal, it is 8am. We decide to have breakfast on a bench and display our wet stuff in the sun while waiting. Quentin is bad and he is very tired. He does not want to do anything so I wait until the end of breakfast to suggest that we do something like we have 5 hours in front of us before the next boat.
We decide to go and drop our stuff at the agency. The girl is not here … we wait. She arrives, I refrain from telling him for reservations because it pleases me to take my head for nothing. The people of the boats have already garlanded it I think. I told him that we have the boat just now and that we come back around 1 pm
We decide to take a taxi boat to Las Grietas. This is the place where we went to swim the first day: a canyon where salt water and fresh water mix and when the sun beats you can see the bottom, it is very pretty. We walk for 20min then we arrive at the spot. There are not many people, it’s calm. We swim calmly. Quentin wants to go to another pool but you have to climb or go into a hole so I wait, I do not want to hurt myself. People start arriving around noon. There are two idiots (Americans still!) Who want to go diving! but fortunately people are telling them not to do it because it’s dangerous (good sense zero). The big chubby guy found another good idea: getting into a hole under the water … he looked so stupid that I filmed the scene to show Quentin. He had no mask and snorkel and could get stuck like an animal in a trap and die … in short … he made my day!
After an hour of bathing we decide to change at the top of the canyon (because it’s ultra-armored) and try to dry our things. It is already really too hot. After we return to the boat taxi and we decide to eat in our headquarters Santa Cruz where it is good and cheap. I wanted to get myself an ice cream in a place where they looked good but was out of luck he had just closed; suddenly I fell back on a magnum.
It’s time to take the boat to San Cristobal. We will pick up our things. The girl tells us we take another boat (we suspect that she forgot to book and she went to book during our absence). There are not many people in the boat. This time there is a majority of Swiss-Germans. How do I know? Easy: the type has Swiss shoes (I have the same ones, ON Running, only the Swiss have some and French border runners) and his girlfriend has a hat COOP (Swiss supermarket). Two other girls come up and they all speak German. QED. The ride will seem endless because I am very badly seated. Quentin looks better. We took Nausicalm just in case. He gets all the waves in the face and gets wet but it does not bother him.
Two hours later we arrive. No taxi boat this time to bring us to the pontoon. There are dozens of sea lions in the water and on the sand. It’s more animated than on Isabela!
We go to our hotel. It is an inn run by a Swiss and an Ecuadorian. The lady receives us. She looks like a German Swiss. It explains everything and we can only confirm its Swiss side: everything must be done in such a way, at such time; there are papers in the room to explain everything, for sorting, for water etc. It makes us laugh. In any case, it’s clean! normal, it’s Swiss: D
We decide to take a nap but we will not be able to get up. Especially Quentin. I force myself because James arrived on the island and I would like to see him (the boat he had to take for his cruise sank two days before!) So they pay him his ten days of diving, with food and great hotel ). Lack of luck we will cross because the internet works super bad here. I will discover a great bakery with lots of cakes!
I go home, Quentin sleeps but I cannot do it; but no choice!
After 10 hours of well deserved sleep … too hard life … we get ready to go around the most beautiful beaches in the area. We only have one day on San Cristobal unfortunately we decided to snorkel and relax on the hike.
We have lunch on the terrace of the common room quietly, I meet José, the owner of the hostel who has a head too kind and who is adorable. I tell him our plans for the day and I make him laugh telling him to call the police if the two gringos do not come back before 18h. He tells me that normally we should see sea lions and turtles at La Loberia beach where we go in the morning. So we are happy, we start. We arrive after 45min walk; it is already super hot. We walk on the path which is very pretty: mangroves, sand, volcanic rock, the sea, lizards and one or two iguanas. We meet three people who leave and when we arrive at the beach itself, it is not the same; there are plenty of people! But only three pellets in the water. I’m too lazy but the water is transparent, turquoise, clear, and there is a sea lion in the distance … we change and we go into the water.
The sea lion is gone, there is a little current and no turtles … I decide to leave after ten minutes. Quentin will continue a little. I still sit in the water, the mask in my hand. I see in the distance a sea lion diving, I try to warn Quentin. The lion is sea passes him next and then disappears. Five minutes later, I turn and he is behind me, in the rocks. He looks at me and moves slowly. I feel like he wants to come to me. I draw the gopro and I warn Quentin. It does not bother, it comes next to me, it has not much at all, then it goes to Quentin like a torpedo. As I see it stays with Quentin I go into the water (there I am no longer cold and more lazy oddly!). We will stay with the little sea lion about fifteen minutes, he is very curious, and sticks to us. We are too happy as you must be aware; besides nobody has noticed and we are both with the animal. At one point, the sea lion approaches very close to Quentin’s head, he makes him a pimple on the tip of the tuba. I’m already preparing the joke I’m going to make to Catherine: D (Quentin’s mom). As we start to get cold we decide to leave leaving the sea lion to play with another couple. We will be stalling on the beach, super happy, and we will observe a couple of young tourists who take ten years to go in the water knowing that a baby sea lion wants to play! People are asking too many questions … we see an animal we go for it! In short, it makes us laugh. We decide to leave and eat in town (nothing crazy, a 5USD menu).
After the meal we go back to the house where I put my gopro to load before going to eat. We meet José, I tell him that we did not see turtles. So he tells me that if we go to Tijeretas we should see. So I answer him that if we do not see it I would wait for the settlement of account on our return (all this in my most beautiful Spanish … hum …). He is laughing and wishes us luck.
We leave, it’s even hotter. We arrive fairly quickly at the first beach. We would like to see 4 that are on the same coast. The first is nice: golden sand, small, full of sea lions, some of which are huge. We decide to go to the end and stop at the return on each beach. We pass the second after taking a nice trail. She is too beautiful, the sand is white and the water is beautifully clear. There are also plenty of sea lions (it would become almost boring: P). I would like to stop there but Quentin insists on going to see the one at the end of the path. We resume the path, there are very pretty points of view; the view is clear and you can see the rock where you can snorkel with hammerhead sharks in the distance (we’ll learn that at night, disgusted because it’s clear we would have paid a ride to do that!) another reason to come back !). We can see the bay of Tijeretas of which José spoke; it’s super nice, there are some people who snorkel in it. We continue the road then there, more beautiful path. The panel tells us to continue and the path becomes dirt, pebbles, spicy grasses, large volcanic rocks. I do not want to go at all because it’s super far and it’s just to see a beach (suddenly I moan and Quentin moan over me because I rattle him). It’s too hot, I have too much headache. I think back to this show I saw where idiots of journalists left without taking enough water in a place in Africa, super remote, and one of them died because of sunstroke … I wonder if we are being as stupid knowing that we have taken only two liters of water and that we have already made this mistake. In short, I groan silently. We walk on big volcanic stones in full sun for 45min. I understand why iguanas spend their days stuck to stones to keep warm, they are hot! We go on beaches but it’s still not good. Once arrived we can not anymore. We change. There are sea lions there too. The beach is nice but not worth it. There is another couple at the end but no one else. We will meet several people on the road coming back. Only Quentin will go swimming (I’ll dive because I’m afraid of the current). He will see a turtle and I would miss being attacked by a sea lion. Leaving the water we are attacked by flies that bite, suddenly it lifts us we decide to leave.
Rebelote, we get back on the road again but it goes faster on the return (Quentin makes me notice so I do not moan). We go to the bay of Tijeretas to snorkel. Only Quentin will swim, I really want to go on the other pretty beach but hey. So I’m waiting at the edge of the water. I warn Quentin when I see sea lions. At one point he makes me flipper, he swims too far and there are big sea lions that grumble (usually it’s an evil that does not want us to go on its territory and when it will pick you up in the water ended for you!). Fortunately Quentin notices it quickly enough and turns back. A younger sea lion rushes at him and surprises him. Two others who played with the tourists spotted me. Shit. They come, they go up on the rock. They are approaching. My reflex: get up, put my bag, go back … it advances, sniff my stuff … there I tell myself that I should have taken my bag. One of them choppe my tongue! he will put it in the water! suddenly I scream for someone to get it back (a nice Swiss will do it but in his eyes he was a little scared). Finally they will return to the water after sniffing Quentin’s feet … there is no hidden message in this sentence.
Quentin gets dressed and when he sees that I am a little disappointed not to have gone earlier on the other beach he starts to accelerate the pace. We arrive, the sun will soon go to bed. I am disappointed because I really would have liked to spend time here to swim. The colors of the sky are pretty. I see a turtle, suddenly Quentin goes to the water to go see her. I also crack, I want to swim a little (more beach before Tahiti what horror !: D). There are big sea lions in the water and on the sand. There are a lot of people who came to watch the sunset. We stay a bit and then we leave. We have to find James tonight, he wants to do a karaoke. Quentin is not more excited than that because there will be strangers with us.
We go back to shower, I try to contact James with the little internet we have. We meet José, I tell him we saw turtles! he is super happy and is laughing. I ask him where we could eat well; Tonight we think we’ll do the fools for our last night at the Galapagos, more for 15USD!
We will eat in a restaurant recommended by José (4USD menu super good … we will be far from 15USD ahah). As it is early we decide to go for a dessert panaderia and with their internet I can contact James. It will be found a little later with two types: an American relou and a Filipino nice. They sat in a rather chic chicos restaurant. We decide to have a drink on the spot that James will offer us. We discuss a little; the two guys do not seem to want to go to karaoke, dying from their dives and tomorrow they have to get up early. James, who is too kind and wants to please me insists that we go all three, but it is very bad at the foot of the coup we put it back on our return to Europe. We were really too lazy anyway. We say goodbye to James … I still have tears in my eyes … saying goodbye twice to one of his best friends in three days is horrible! We go back then we go to bed.
We slept badly that night. We get up early, we loop the bag. When we leave the room we meet Silvia and José who greet us. Quentin leaves with Silvia to pay and José takes me in his arms to say goodbye! I made him laugh I think. He is very happy to have welcomed us and we tell him we already want to come back and that we loved visiting the Galapagos. Another nice meeting.
Silvia tells us that we do not need to go to the airport so soon cat there is absolutely nothing to do there (I confirm). So we leave our things and go to have breakfast at the bakery. An hour later, we decide to go hang out at the airport, as we could not check in on the internet so we will be quiet.
We take a taxi then bah, we gande.
After a long flight, we arrive in Quito. We take a cab, there are a lot of people on the road. We are too tired. We wanted to redo the bags to see what I was going to bring and leave but eventually we will put our stuff and then we will go to eat at the pub we had liked (want pizza pesto!). After a good meal we go back to bed.
After making our last purchases so that I can bring everything back to France, I leave for the airport. I meet again for a last kiss that has just returned from the Galapagos and I say goodbye to Quentin, who will stay there, but he will not be alone, Marc-Antoine arrives on 11
So the blog will be in stand bye until my return to Ecuador! See you soon !
- Day 172 – Friday 21st of June 2019 : Otavalo
- Day 173 – Saturday 22nd of June 2019 : Goodbye Marco!
- Day 174 – Sunday 23rd of June 2019 : Inti Raymi
- Day 175 – Monday 24th of June 2019 : Back to Quito
After a trying arrival in Ecuador (the pilot could not land …), a short night, and altitude sickness I’m back to Quito! My few days in France have not been easy so I have a little bit of tension … but I have to motivate myself, today I will meet Quentin and Marc-Antoine in Otavalo, a small town 2 hours from Quito.
I prepare my things and go get me breakfast in a small bakery. I have to go up the street … my heart is beating fast and I begin to feel very bad; I feel that I am going to faint. I pay then I’ll sit a few seconds in the street before going back to the hostel. I meet again the Lebanese who squat for more than a month. They are happy to see me again! It’s funny they do not visit, they do all day.
I set off, I will take the bus to the terminal in the north of the city. I ask for my way and then I get on the bus. Almost two hours later I arrive at Carcelen but not at the terminal … I’m the only one on the bus. The driver told me that I was misinformed … I have to take another bus to go to the terminal; on foot it is too far, and anyway the city does not inspire me too much. So I ask a taxi that brings me there for 2USD. Indeed on foot it would have been a trot! I go to the ticket office I take my bus ticket and 5min later he leaves for Otavalo.
There is a film that passes: KONG, quite bad American movie, but it makes time pass. The road is super pretty, I find canyons, mountains, volcanoes. It is superb. I arrive in Otavalo two hours later. I go get the keys from a physiotherapist, then the secretary shows me the apartment of Magaly, our host. We arrive in the living room and there I see Marc in full communication with his little darling. So I jump in his arms super happy then the lady leaves us. Quentin is in the room trying to sleep … he had the good idea to drink stagnant water at the waterfall the day before … We are all happy to meet again. Marc wants to go to the craft market, Quentin is very happy that I’m here because I love it and he hates these markets. So I’m leaving with Marc while Quentin will have a big sleep.
Marc knows where to go, he knows the stands and what he needs, so I am. We laugh because he is super strong in negotiation! He says his price and does not change until the seller cracks. He had to give a dollar for the girl who sold the sweaters because she was super tough in business but it made us all three laugh.
After our shopping session we return to the apartment and we see Quentin who was impatient because we were still gone two hours! we did not see the time! fortunately the market was closing otherwise we would have stayed even longer I think …
We do some odds and then we decide to go see the famous party Inti Raymi for which we came to Otovalo. It is the festival that celebrates the “pachamama” or mother earth. This is a very important holiday for Ecuadorians.
After having three different pieces of information about whether or not there was going to be something tonight, and where and when it was, we decided to go to San Juan by cab to see with our own eyes; after all, they advertised San Juan on their posters! The taxi tells us that it is only 1.5USD; we are happy because it looked far … in fact it was 15min walk so we were well ripped off! We arrive in San Juan … nobody, nothing … We ask, we are told that tomorrow, perhaps, there will be something. Obviously nobody knows! We are disgusted and we decide to go back to eat in the market place. We will eat a typical dish and Quentin will watch us sipping a coke because he has a stomach ache. It is super early but we are tired (both we hike 5 hours and I chained transport), suddenly we go to bed … it is 8pm ….
This morning we are Saturday and on Saturdays in Otavalo there is what locals call “the animal market”. They sell all sorts of animals to … cook them … That’s something I absolutely wanted to see here because it’s very big. We had seen one in Cuenca, it was quite special.
We get up very early; Magaly our host comes to us to discuss it. We tell him that yesterday we wanted to see the party in San Juan but that there was nothing; she looked surprised.
We start at 7:30, we go to buy breakfast in the bakery downstairs; the boys know her well, they have already tasted a lot of things! We decide to eat while walking so as not to miss the market. I have a little trouble with altitude, my heart beats super fast and I’m out of breath; for them it’s a lot easier since now they have tons and tons of red blood cells!
We arrive on the place-said … hum … a football field, empty, not even a goat’s dung … we must go to the evidence, it was not there!
A gentleman arrives, he is very happy, shakes our hand and tells us that it is not there in another city now! We are super disappointed. Like yesterday, after asking several people where the party was happening, we had different versions, we decide to ask another gentleman where the market is. Similarly, he shakes our hand and tells us that it is not there and that you have to take a bus for 20 minutes … Bus + 20 minutes = we go back to the city to have a coffee!
We arrive in town, on Saturdays there is a very big craft market in Otavalo which overflows in all the streets. The paradise for tourists !! (So yes, I love it ! :D). We. Walks. We head back to the central square for a juice and coffee while watching the people. The sun breaks from time to time and come warm our faces. We laugh well then we decide to return to the market. I had the good (maybe a little calculated I admit) idea to leave my two sweaters Peruvian in France telling me that I would not need it anymore. But Quentin told me that I was stupid because maybe I would need it in New Zealand! So … I’m going to buy another one 😀 We go around and there is my happiness. Marc is preparing to negotiate for me (he is stronger than me, he is tenacious). We begin the fittings and there we realize that it’s the same girl as yesterday! She said nothing when she understands it has been recognized she gets tired and try to negotiate again a dollar more than my price and finally she will give. We still walk a little in the streets and then we decide to come back because Quentin still has a stomach ache and Marc wants to pack his bag because he has to take the bus to Quito around 13h.
We chill while Marc prepares his business then we return to the market lunch; Marc would like to taste the famous roast pig called hornado. After that we will take him to the bus. Another sad moment of our trip. We hug and kiss each other before he takes his bus to Quito.
Quentin and I are coming back; Quentin needs to rest. In the evening we will eat (I’ll be the only one to eat) roast chicken then go to bed.
This morning Quentin still feels a little smeared but he motivates me so that I can go to see the caldera of Cuicocha volcano. This circular depression, located in the middle of the volcanic complex dates back to 3100 years ago. The volcano is now considered sleepy. The lake is deep blue when the sky is cloudy and turquoise on a clear day. In the center there are two domes: Yerovi (the smallest) and Teodoro Wolf (the largest), formed by the peaks of four dacitic domes (which means they are formed by magmatic volcanic rock).
We take a bus for 20min to Quiroga then a thug offers us to bring us to the lagoon. He asks other tourists at the same time. This will allow us to pay less. With Quentin we climb into the open chest; a girl joins us. We talk and she tells us that today there is the Inti Raymi on the main square of Otavalo and it starts at 16h (according to the tourist office). We are happy, we will try a third time!
After ten minutes we arrive in front of the lagoon. It is already very beautiful. We ask the taxi to pick us up in three hours; Quentin wants to get some fresh air. We start the hike … I galley! I’m out of breath! I want to go faster but I can not! Fortunately it’s not just the climb … The view is superb. Too bad the weather is not with us. It is very gray and quite cool.
After two hours and a half of hiking we decided to go to a restaurant. Quentin will take his medicine: coca, and I will eat the sandwiches that I prepared with the leftover chicken.
We go back then we pass on the main square of Otavalo. There is a small stage next to the market. So, sure, there will be something!
We go back to rest a few hours then to 16h we decide to go out. Once again, false information! There is nothing. I ask a policeman. He tells me it starts at 7 pm … well … we come back. On the road we meet musicians and well-dressed people (dressed locally). I ask a lady if they will dance tonight and at what time. She replies that yes, at 18h! Damn then! We will never get there! We go back then we’ll see what time we go out.
We hang in front of the computer to book treks in New Zealand and make our visas for Australia. Around 18:30 we decide to go out, once the rain stops falling.
We arrive on the square … nothing … well, we feel that something is going to happen. We decide to go even a shot and Quentin proposes to take a snack. It makes me happy that he wants to remix! We wait an hour and we see nothing. The café overlooks the square. We decide to go down to see. At the end of thirty minutes people arrive near the square with their masks and musicians. They play the same air in a loop and all turn in circles in the same direction and then change direction by moving very slowly. They mimic the movement of the earth around the sun through this dance. We decide to get closer to the scene. There are people talking at the microphone, obviously important people. We are being poirot, thirty minutes, one hour, one hour and thirty … they are waiting for the musicians on the stage! But the musicians arrive at two by the hour because of their dance! We are getting fed up with standing up waiting. So we decide to leave. We will go through the streets where we will see all the musicians and dancers who are going to the stage. There are people of all ages, with or without masks, who revolve around musicians. It’s nice to see.
We go home slowly then we decide to go to bed, tomorrow we go back to Quito.
Today nothing too crazy, we return to Quito. We take our time this morning and then we go to the bus terminal. The trip will last 2 hours then we will have to take another bus to go downtown.
Back at the hostel, the owner greets us with a big smile and gives us the keys to the room. We unpack our bazard a little and then we go to the shoemaker for Quentin. Then we will have a drink in the main square. We wanted to visit a museum but as it is Monday, it’s closed! We will come home quietly and we will do some shopping to cook in the evening.
- Day 176 – Tuesday 25th of June 2019 : Mindo
- Day 177 – Wednesday 26th of June 2019 : Butterflies & hummingbirds
- Day 178 – Thursday 27th of June 2019 : Waterfalls
- Day 179 – Friday 28th of June 2019 : Birdwatching
- Day 180 – Saturday 29th of June 2019 : Last day in Ecuador
After a good meal this morning, we leave for the bus to Mindo, our new Ecuadorian destination. It is quite long but after an hour we start to enter the forest, it is splendid! Green mountains where we can also see waterfalls in turns.
Two hours after leaving the Quito terminal we arrive in Mindo. It is quite touristy but it looks cute and calm.
We go to the guesthouse and a little man welcomes us all perky. He asks us to register and pay. When he sees that we have four nights he becomes even happier, it’s quite funny. He gives us explanations on what we can do by talking like super fast but we catch the important words.
He lets us choose the room saying we must take care of people who stay long! So we take the largest room: D It shows us a great kitchen on the terrace with a beautiful view of the village and the mountains. This small stay promises to be top!
We settle in and then we go out to eat for tonight and drink (not drinkable water and Quentin is just recovering from his mistake of the waterfall).
We will then eat after the meal and an episode of netflix dodo! Tomorrow we will get up early to see the butterflies.
Ready for our 15min from the gym before having breakfast. With Quentin we decided to stop being (too) flabby … good even if his skin on the bones now … it’s especially for me!
Once the buttocks a little more bounced we will have our breakfast. We find two very nice Germans who we advised to go around the Amazon with Frederico.
An hour later, we set out to visit the butterfly farm. We decide to go walking. On the road we will see dozens of different butterflies too beautiful that I will try to take a picture.
Once on the farm, a lady explains the different stages of the birth of the butterfly and we enter the room where hundreds of butterflies fly in all directions. They are huge !! It’s impressive and super beautiful. Quentin takes them on his hands and his face, I will have to wait two hours to convince me to get there (it’s especially to see children have them everywhere without fear that made me feel a little ridiculous … ).
We’ll spend three hours in there! We are having fun ! in addition they have a garden that communicates with the forest and in which we can see beautiful hummingbirds.
After this great visit we leave to “rest”. On the way we see the schedules of the cable car for tomorrow and the guy is all excited because he tries to save a frog that is being eaten by a snake! Our first snake around the world! We watch him do the hero and then we continue our journey.
We decide to book an excursion for tonight: walk two hours to see the nocturnal animals.
Back at the hostel we prepare our lunch. As I had brought Nimes brandade we decided to have a little fun After this delicious meal, Skype friends and Quentin will take a nap in the hammock while I try to sort the photos … hum …
At 7pm we are picked up for the excursion. We spend two other couples including a couple of Polish super happy to meet us.
We are dropped in an unknown place, where we meet our American biologist guide. We walk in the forest and he finds us all kinds of insects, frogs (so small that we wonder how he could spot them! They are endemic to the region) … We will have the chance to see a bird beautiful multicolored perched on a liana and an opossum! At the end of the tour we greet the guy and Quentin discovers a snake! Another big excitement! We take it in our hands it is a bit scared (it must be Quentin’s beard). Another great day for both of us, we will have had a lot of luck!
Wake up earlier today because it’s going to be a big day. After a good breakfast and a skype call with granny who is operated tomorrow, we start.
We decided to take the cable car to start the hike, a couple had advised us to do it so we thought it could be great. We arrive at the place of the cable car. There is nobody and then a few minutes later a guy rushes; we are the first and suddenly they have to start the machine. It is an old school cable car but seems to work; the Swiss would have a heart attack I think! We settle down and go! The view is splendid! We see the mountain covered with forest, below us the top of the trees and, at some point we will see a beautiful bird flying below us! A little later we will see another, very big, who makes strange noises, rushing into a tree. We are super happy. Towards the end of the climb Quentin spots a toucan! We are even happier!
We arrive on the other side, we are told the way to go take the basket. It is a small open cabin that crosses the mountain between two ropes. The view is beautiful but less impressive than with the cable car. Once on the other side we are told the different routes. We will have some for a few hours. We go into the forest, we listen to the birds but we will not see them. The forest is really beautiful but it is too hot. We will see several waterfalls, not all extraordinary but it’s still a nice walk. We will have the chance to meet a hummingbird not fierce who will let themselves be photographed.
The Poles of yesterday will be recrossed with their parents. We will have to cross the river at one time to reach the last waterfall. For Quentin it will be fine, he will take off his shoes and put on his pants … I will finish in panties … the leggin is not practical …. Our walk will last 6 hours. We will be exhausted at the hostel but happy.
After eating, we will prepare food. In bed early tonight because tomorrow we would like to go bird watching in a lodge at 6:30.
Today we get up early to spend time in a private garden watching birds. We arrive on the scene, we are greeted with a big smile. The owner tells us that they have taken 20 years to get a garden so beautiful. There are trees of all kinds and sizes. It’s like being in the forest. You can only drive on the terrace and the balcony. In front of the lower terrace there are feeders for hummingbirds. There are a good twenty! Different species with different colors, it’s super pretty! From both sides they cut the trees to slip bananas. This brings in other types of multicolored birds. At the top of other trees there are clusters of bananas for birds that prefer the height.
We will spend 4 hours to observe the birds. Our patience will earn us the sight of toucans and a beautiful motmot (the one we had seen at night). We will see at least a dozen different species and several species of hummingbirds.
After this beautiful moment we go back to eat and to eat. The laziness will win us but by the end we will go out drinking hot chocolate and a hit. We will discuss our respective futures and then return to take care of our next stay in Peru, which is coming in two days already!
So sad, this is our last day here…
We wake up early to catch the bus to Quito. Mindo it was really nice. We will come back when I will do my humanitarian work in Ecuador I think.
We go to the bus, the two hours pass super fast. We go on another bus and then we arrive at the hostel three hours later.
Our room is not yet ready so we gland, we prepare to eat and we laugh while watching clips of the 80s.
When our room is available we spread out all our things and then we go to the museum. It is not very far and looks very interesting.
We will spend two hours. It will be difficult to focus on the panels in Spanish … We will discover new painters we like. Next door there is another museum with musical instruments and quite horrible pictures. We will be alone during our visit suddenly we will do a little foufous in (you could try instruments and the building was huge … I let you imagine …).
We go completely exhausted (we did not do much but we are HS).
Around 19h we decide to fart in the bar we like and to make a pizza with pesto and a huge burger. Of course after all that we will have too much stomach pain but we will be happy to have eaten too well: D
We finish our episode and then sleep! Tomorrow we are going to Peru!