Despite its size, Ecuador is probably the world’s most bio-diverse country, crammed with an astounding variety of wildlife, birds and vegetation. Within a short time, a traveller can experience dramatic changes in scenery, temperature and altitude. Our Flightie Lindsay Slawuta geared up for an epic 8 day journey to the centre of the Earth with G Adventures and shares her experience with us:
A group of us had participated in an 8-Day G Adventures tour of Ecuador which highlighted Quito, a home-stay in the Amazon Rainforest near Tena, Banos, and Cuenca. The tour is normally 14 days in length, but ours was a whirlwind of fantastic sampling. The journey began with a trip to the equator, (which coincidently translates from Spanish to ‘Ecuador’) and it was there we were shown proof that water does in fact drain in the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere (compared to the Northern).
On our way to Tena for our home-stay, we stopped in the Andes in the middle of a fabulous cloud forest to enjoy some hot springs. It was relaxing to soak in the hot water surrounded by lush, tropical jungle, spotted here and there by vibrantly coloured flowers with low lying clouds that played peek-a-boo in the tree tops.
We were greeted traditionally with heavy rain upon our arrival to the Amazon Rainforest where we spent 2 days living with a local family.
We ate traditional national dishes that the family had been cooking for many generations, and hiked into the Rainforest to learn how the tribes used the land for their every need. This is where we were able to climb trees, eat live ants that tasted like lemon, and swing on vines like Tarzan.
On another hike, we charged on upstream along a creek; we climbed over rocks and boulders, clung to moss covered ledges, and used ropes to pull ourselves up 80 degree slopes and scale waterfalls. The reward for the physical feit was the small pool at the base of the largest waterfall where we all piled in and let the cold waterfall run over us. We left the Amazon by white water rafting which was a great and solid class 3 river, and a lot of fun. Warning: wear lots of sunscreen and apply even when it’s overcast!
The city of Banos offered a plethora of choice for extreme and mellow ecotourism; ziplining, canyoning, horseback riding, cable car & hiking to waterfalls, bungy jumping & canyon swinging, dirt biking, quad biking in the jungle, and that’s just to name a few.
From the majestic mountains to the active volcanoes, the icy glaciers to the raging rivers, Ecuador is chalk full of great ecological activities that will appease all nature lovers. It is an amazing experience and a great country to visit for eco-tourists and nature enthusiasts; I would go back in a heartbeat.