Spotting wildlife all over Ecuador
After two full days on buses, we finally arrived to Riobamba, Ecuador. We met up with the Austrians Hansi, Lukas, and Alex for our last hurrah. We had plans to climb Mt. Chimborazo and do some other trekking, but due to bad weather none of it worked out.
Instead, we headed to Tena in the Amazon. One day we hiked trough the jungle then spent the afternoon climbing into, squeezing through and leveraging ourselves between a canyon with bats flying around our heads. That was a lot of fun and just scary enough. We spent a day in a community, and spent a full day white water rafting on class 3 rapids. Our guide was an Ecuadorian version of a California surfer dude, and really made sure we had an awesome time on the river. So much fun that both Hansi and I (T) got tossed out at different points and even our guide fell out at one point. It got us a little addicted to the idea of more rafting...
After that we headed to the capital, Quito for a few days. We took the cable car up to a super high beautiful viewpoint over Quito and did a 4hr gorgeous hike up to near the summit and back. Then it was time to say our final farewell to our new friends.
We did some more sightseeing around Quito then headed to Colombia for a month.
We headed to the coast, and hit Canoa first. It was an interesting experience trying to understand the Ecuadorian idea of a beach holiday. Tiny cocktail shacks on the beach with enormous speakers blasting reggaeton, all competing with each other for who can play the most obnoxious loud music.
Surprisingly it was still nice to enjoy the beach at the quiet end (you had to walk far down the beach) but 2 days was enough and we headed to Puerto Lopez. We found a nice place to stay and hung out for a few days enjoying a more pleasant beach town and home cooked meals by the lovely couple running the hostel. One day we took a boat trip to La Isla de la Plata, what some call a poor mans Galapagos. A lot of the animals, especially birds that live in the Galapagos migrate to a few islands down the west coast of South America including this one.
On the trip we saw 3 pods of humpback whales. It was magic, they were playing, flapping their flippers, and even doing amazing breaches. On the island we saw sea lions and huge colonies of birds including the famous blue footed boobies. It was nesting season so we got to see them in every stage of life from egg to adult. An amazing surprise was seeing manta rays jumping and flipping on the ocean's surface. I had no idea they could even do that. We were watching the thousands of frigate birds and I noticed a splash near the cliff side. We looked down and there was a manta ray jumping!
We felt like we had witnessed more than a couple scenes out of "Planet Earth".
After P.L. we headed to Montañita a party beach town. It was low season so not much of a party happening but still nice to enjoy the beach one last time before heading to Lima to meet up with our friends Josh and Caitlyn.