Sunday, April 1, 2012

Exploring Ecuador (Part 2)

The purpose of this blog post is to relate our experiences on a two week expedition in Norther Ecuador with my parents and 4 other friends from near Morrisburg, Ontario.  Our tour was set-up from Canada and included transportation, accommodation, guide and other services.

We met my parents (Age 82 & 80) in Quito.  They are truly world travellers and although it is a little more difficult for them to handle rough terrain they were ready, willing and able for everything else.  Jennie and I feel very fortunate to have family members and friends visit us here in Ecuador so we can share some of our experiences.  Please let us know if you would like to come.
We started our tour in the morning exploring colonial Quito followed by a trip to the "Middle of the World".
Later, we travelled to Banos de Ambato.  Sleeping under the lip of an actively erupting volcano was an interesting choice for an overnight stop.  The waterfalls around the area with the deep canyons were spectacular.
Our next day took us into Amazonia.  This was one of those "bucket list" things for me.  Although it was very hot and humid - I loved it.  
I particularly enjoyed the wildlife rescue centre.  Lots of birds ......
...monkeys and other critters.  It was a wildlife photographers paradise!
One of our four days in Amazonia was rained out.  When they say "rain forest" they are not kidding - Wow!  It did give me the opportunity to take some more photos of tropical plants though.  Great fun!
The heavy rain just added to the joy!

All-in all the Oriente was truly a highlight for me.  After four days we travelled from the heat and humidity of the jungle to the altitude and the cold of Pappallacta.  This pueblo is famous for its thermal spa.  It was almost like being in a Canadian outdoor jacuzzi in winter.  Hot water - cold air.  Very soothing.  The following day we left for the area near Otavalo, Cotacachi, and Ibarra.  We stayed at a Spanish Hacienda that has been in continuous operation by one family for over three centuries.  Hacienda Pinsaqui is highly recommended.  From here we visited the leather stores of Cotacachi, the indigenous market of Cotacachi and travelled by rail to Salinas from Ibarra.

One of our highlights was the hat factory near Otavalo ....
...visiting some of the smaller indigenous markets .....
 and Condor Park - a raptor sanctuary.
 I got one more stab at bird photography before we left Hacienda Pinsaqui.  Lots of hummers around.
In summary we had a very neat vacation with family and friends  It was great to explore other parts of this beautiful country of Ecuador.  Hope you enjoy the photos.


1 comment:

  1. Wonderful photos! Glad you enjoyed the northern part.. come back and visit us down here in Cuenca next time!