Posted by: | 20th Jun, 2011

Journey’s end

Since leaving Vancouver nine and a half months ago, we experienced many new places and made many new friends, and now our eyes were focused northward and home. Leaving the jungle behind, we journeyed toward Quito by bus but not before stopping for two days at the thermal bath resort of Papallacta to enjoy the hot and cold pools just outside our hotel room door.

Sally at Papallacta

We spent our final two days in Quito where we visited the Guayasamín Museum and his Capella del Hombre (Chapel of Man), walked and ate in the Mariscal neighbourhood and did some last-minute shopping.

Capilla del Hombre

El Mestizaje (1996)

Chocolate cake and coffee ice cream

On our last night we found ourselves in an outdoor restaurant taking in the local colour and watching Ecuador play Greece in a soccer match. We looked across the patio to find our friend Alex from the Galapagos. What a coincidence and a great way to end the trip!

Up at 4am on June 8th, we caught our flight and by 5pm we were at the Sea-Tac airport enjoying our first mussels and salmon in ten months. Oh yes, and while connecting through Houston, we devoured a pulled pork sandwich and a huge baked potato loaded with an assortment of artery clogging condiments.

Once home, we continued to reacquaint ourselves with the culinary delights of Vancouver… Chinese dumplings, Indian curry, Japanese sushi… everything we missed while away.

What next? We don’t know yet. Besides we’re still unpacking from this trip, and Sally has to return to work. We loved sharing our adventure with you and trust you enjoyed it too.

Hollow tree

Posted by: | 7th Jun, 2011

Welcome to the jungle

You know the jungle isn’t really such a scary place. The majority of piranha fish are vegetarian, an anaconda will only attack if you’re near its nest, and the frog that jumped out of the toilet is completely harmless.

Toilet frog

Those are some of the things I learned on our 5 day canoe trip in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Of course, being attacked by large ants on a night hike did raise some alarm, and there might have been a few squeals when a giant cockroach landed on the dinner table.

The Oriente or eastern part of Ecuador covers a third of the country’s area and encompasses the cloudforests of the eastern Andes and the rainforest or jungle whose rivers flow into the Amazon. We visited the Cuyabeno Reserve in the Northern Oriente which meant an 8 hour bus ride to the gateway town of Lago Agrio followed by a 2 hour bus ride to the bridge on the Cuyabeno River where we put in the canoes.

While most tour groups travel by motorized dugout canoe, we booked our trip with Magic River Tours for the opportunity to paddle the river and observe the jungle without the noise of the motor. The great part was that all the paddling was on flat water or downstream and that for the first two days we had a paddler from the community at the back of each boat. When it came time to travel upstream and for some of our evening excursions, we used a motorized dugout!

Just Roger

On the first afternoon, we paddled to the Magic River campsite (Tiger Pass) where the crew had set up our tents and prepared a beautiful candlelight dinner.

Candlelight dinner

After dinner, we walked through the forest using flashlights to see where we were going and to look for eyes in the darkness. Our guide Luis was a pro and showed us a scorpion spider, a tarantula and a kinkajou (a mammal related to raccoons and coatis). It’s quite possible that while we were straining our necks to see the kinkajou, the ants (mentioned above) hitched a ride on our pants.

The next morning, the crew broke camp with lightning speed (with us either pitching in or trying not to get in the way), and we launched the canoes for the morning paddle which I should admit included an hour of just drifting! We saw different species of monkey, including white-fronted capuchins, squirrel or clown-faced monkeys and monk saki monkeys, as well as a morage palm snake and a toucan or two.

White-fronted capuchin

Squirrel monkey

Monk saki monkey

Morage palm snake

White-throated toucan

When we reached the Laguna Grande, we transferred into the motor boat for the rest of the trip to the Magic River Lodge where lunch awaited us. There we settled into our rustic cabins (unsettling an insect or two) and had time for a swim in the river before heading back to the lagoon (and our canoes) in search of wildlife. There was more monkey activity and a few bird sightings, including an anhinga (snakebird), a huatzin (stinky bird) and a cormorant.


Huatzin or stinky bird

Neotropical cormorant

We also saw a couple of pink river dolphins (my reason for wanting to visit Cuyabeno) but I have no photos because they were far away and far too quick. We visited the home of an anaconda but she was sleeping so instead we watched the sun set over the lagoon.


The next day Luis took us on a three hour hike through the forest and shared some of his jungle secrets. He showed us the magic leaf for writing messages, the twigs that substitute as cigarettes, and how to make a basket from a palm frond. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to identify any of these plants again and would probably end up eating the pretty blue berries that are poisonous.

Secret message

Jungle cigarette

Making a basket

In the afternoon in the pouring rain, we went piranha fishing with wooden poles baited with raw beef. There were a few lucky people in our group who caught piranha but Roger and I wouldn’t last in the jungle; he caught a 3 inch minnow, and I caught nothing!

Piraña catch and release

The fourth day of our trip was my birthday. Last year I spent it at a villa in Crete. This year I spent the day in a small village (Tarapua) of the Siona people learning how they make yucca bread, the main staple in their diet.

We canoed downriver and then walked the path that the school kids use to get to the village. En route Luis revealed a few more jungle secrets, and we tasted the flesh around the seeds of the cacao plant. Yum!

Cacao pod

Upon arriving at the village, we met Maria who showed us how to dig the root of the yucca (or manioc) with a machete and then replant parts of the stalk for new yucca to grow. Next we peeled the yucca and cleaned the tubers.

Replanting the stalk

Washed and ready

Roger participated in grinding the yucca using a homemade grater (made from a piece of aluminum punched with nails). Maria then squeezed out the liquid using a device made from a plant. Finally the yucca was put through a sieve. The amount of water that is removed is crucial because nothing else is added to the flour to make the bread.

Roger grating yucca

Squeezing out the water

Sifting the yucca flour

The yucca bread was cooked in a clay pan on an open fire and tasted delicious plain and with jam. All of the activity took place in an open air kitchen owned by Hilda, one of our paddlers from the first two days.

Yucca bread

After purchasing a couple of bracelets from the local kids, we walked to our awaiting motorboat, stopping en route to see a scarlet macaw up close (someone’s pet). Later that day we were fortunate to see one fly overhead!

Scarlet macaw

When we passed the spot where we had left the canoes, we stopped and tied them to the back of the boat in a canoe train. After a brief rest at the lodge, we took the motorboat to the laguna to swim and see the sunset.

Canoe train

Palms at sunset

That night at dinner, there was a surprise! Roger had arranged a cake, which caused the chef some grief in finding the ingredients and having to cook it stove-top but the result was a lovely raisin cake (kind of like a bread pudding).

On our last day, we were up at 4:30 to motor to the Laguna Grande and transfer into the canoes to watch the sunrise and see the freshwater dolphins one more time. Then we breakfasted, packed up and motored for two hours back to the bridge from whence we came.

Heading back

What a trip! Our guide Luis was outstanding, sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for the jungle (having grown up in the Napo region), and the rest of the crew (Raoul the chef, Jesse the boat captain, and John Hayden the assistant) made our trip comfortable and safe.

For more jungle photos, see:

Posted by: | 3rd Jun, 2011


On the morning of the 26th, we arrived in the south of Quito and took public transit to the north end to meet our friend Luis from Galapagos for lunch. After a pleasant visit, we hopped a bus to Otavalo, arriving in time for a walk around town before dinner.

Otavalo is a busy market town with daily food and craft markets, and a Saturday live animal market. Our first day was Friday, and the town was relatively quiet giving us a head-start at the crafts market before the Saturday crush.

After a bit of shopping, we took a cab to Parque Condor, a Dutch-owned rehabilitation centre for birds of prey and vultures. We saw an amazing number of birds, including hawks, eagles, owls and the famous Andean condor.

Harpy eagle, harping

Barn owls

Andean condor

We were there for the 11:30am flight demonstration which was very entertaining as they flew several birds, including a Harris hawk and a black-chested buzzard eagle.

Harris hawk

Black-chested buzzard eagle

The most amusing was the Carunculated Caracara which had imprinted on humans and followed the trainer around like a needy child.

Carunculated caracara

Back to town for lunch at the market and more shopping.

Lunch at the market

That evening we had dinner with a mother-daughter team from England who we had seen previously on the train to the Devil’s Nose. It is not uncommon when travelling in a small country like Ecuador to cross paths with some of the same people you’ve met before.

On Saturday we visited the animal market before breakfast as the activity starts early. Hundreds of Ecuadorian farmers come to buy and sell chickens, pigs, cattle, rabbits, and cuy… you know, that North American pet, the guinea pig. The big difference here is that cuy is a national delicacy. I have not tried cuy yet, although I am under some pressure to do so.

Rabbits and guinea pigs

Cow for sale

Most fun were the pigs which can cause a huge racket when they are prodded or pulled, pushed or slapped to get them to come along.

In the mud

At lunch when we were trying to decide where to eat, we stumbled upon a restaurant that was showing the football match between Manchester United and Barcelona. What took us by surprise was that the loudest cheering was for Man. U.

We retired early on Saturday night to be ready at dawn for the 11-hour bus ride to Lago Agrio, the starting point for our Amazon canoe trip.

For more photos, see

Posted by: | 31st May, 2011

Quilotoa loop

The Quilotoa loop is approximately 200 km of paved and gravel road that winds through the spectacular landscape and villages of the Andes in the centre of Ecuador. Getting around the loop is part of the adventure, and while some travellers backpack between villages, Roger and I opted for vehicle transport.

En route to Quilotoa

Having just arrived from Baños, we started our trip from the bus station in Latacunga, a city on the Panamerica highway. With our suitcases, we squeezed into the back of the bus, climbing over buckets of produce to take the two remaining seats.

Ecuador buses are fantastic. First of all, there are many bus companies all with handlers who are looking for more passengers. At first intimidating, it proved to very useful to just show up at the station and find the guy yelling “Quito, Quito, Quito” or whichever destination we needed. Secondly, at every stop, vendors jump on selling their wares whether it’s chicken stew, ice cream or instructional DVDs. On this day, a well spoken man was regaling the passengers with the curative properties of a skin lotion that could be purchased for a dolarito (just a dollar).

The other thing I like about Ecuador buses is that you can pretty much get on and off wherever you want. We alighted at km. 49 beside a sign for our hostal and a pig.

Welcome party at Tigua

We stayed at Posada de Tigua, a working dairy farm that had been in the family for four generations. We were welcomed with a cup of hot canelazo, and shared a delicious lunch with a British couple who were just stopping through with their guide. There wasn’t a ton to do but we managed to while away the afternoon looking at the farm animals and reading.

Posada de Tigua

Roger likes pigs

The next day the owner’s son drove us up to the road to wait for a passing bus. Instead we were picked up by a work crew from Guayaquil on their way to a job in the next town of Zumbahua. From there, we hired a camioneta to take us to Quilotoa, famous for the volcanic crater lake.

Quilotoa crater lake

Laguna Quilotoa is beautiful from the top, and some people hike around the rim which takes six hours. We made our way down the steep path to the lake, and en route I slipped and landed on a rock. Painful though it was, I had fortunately only bruised a glut muscle and hadn’t broken my tailbone. Still it was enough of an excuse to hire horses for the ride back to the top. We might have done this anyway since hiking uphill at 3900 m is tough going.

After lunch, we had seen enough of Quilotoa but we had already paid for a night at the hotel. We knew that the town was without electricity (and therefore heat and water) because of a lightening strike and used this as a reason to check out of the hotel and spend the money instead on a camioneta to the next hamlet of Chugchilán where we booked into Mama Hilda´s, a charming hostel for two nights.

We had a cabin with a wood stove (appreciated at such altitude) and two hammocks on the porch from which I saw a booted racket-tail hummingbird (I think). Mealtimes at Mama Hilda’s are fun because you eat with the other guests, on our first night with a woman from Montreal now living in Quito and her friend, and a Dutch couple who had hiked from Quilotoa, and the second night, two guys from Oz, two gals from the US, and a German couple who had rented motorcycles and were riding through Ecuador (brrrr).

Hummingbird with long tail

We did a wonderful hike from Chugchilán that took us along a dirt road up through farmland, across a pánamo (high grasslands) ridge and back down into town. The scenery was spectacular and made all the more interesting with the cows, pigs, horses and dogs.


Cloud moving in


As I mentioned, transportation can be a challenge on the loop, so rather than take the 3am bus or ride with the kids on the schoolbus at 5:30am, we caught a ride with the bread man at 9am. Roger sat up front, not wanting to lose his Panama hat but I sat in the back of the pick-up for the unobstructed view. At one point, there were 11 people in the back, all villagers in traditional garb holding onto the rails as we went over the bumps.

The truck got us as far as Sigchos where we hung out until the afternoon bus took us to Toacaso, and then a camioneta to our hostel Quinta Colorada. Though rustic, our room had a fireplace, the meals were simple but delicious, and the family who ran the place were muy amable. Also a working farm, we enjoyed conversing with the llama and watching the pigs snuffle their slop.

Llama at hostel

For a day trip, we took a taxi to the larger town of Saquisilí, and although Wednesday is not a big market day, there was plenty to see. We walked by mountains of potato sacks, crates of tomatoes, truckloads of bananas, and saw papayas the size of watermelons. Lunch was fish and rice for Roger, and tortillas de mais for me with fresh coconut juice and achotillos for dessert.

Banana truck

After one more night in the farmhouse, we headed north via Quito to the big market town of Otavalo.

For more photos, see

Posted by: | 28th May, 2011


May 17 was a travel day from Alausí to Baños. Our bus dropped us off on the outskirts of Ambato where we hoped to catch another bus into Baños. Standing on the road beside us was a woman who assured us we were in the right spot and yes, that huge smoking mountain was the Tungarhua volcano and our destination.

Tungurahua smokin'

A few minutes later an older gentleman driving a vintage Toyota Corolla in need of a new muffler and possibly a ring job offered us all a lift to Baños. On the way we told him of the warnings to avoid Baños because of the eruption and heavy ashfall around May 2nd. He assured us this was exaggerated and that such activity from the volcano was normal. As we discovered, he was correct (for the time we were there) but the warnings had a definite effect on tourists as Baños was very quiet and businesses were suffering.

Our accommodation at Posada del Arte was excellent and located in a quiet corner of town near a small waterfall. That night we had an excellent meal at the Swiss fondue restaurant and over dinner decided to do the bike trip from Baños to Puyo.

The first leg of the ride was a nice downhill section and I should have clued in right away that something was amiss with my rented bike as Sally kept creeping up on my back wheel and using her brakes. Basic physics says that shouldn’t happen as I am much heavier. On the first uphill section I stopped to investigate a strange noise from my front wheel and discovered that both disc brakes were warped and dragging. Merde! I knew our ride would be an effort and this development would certainly add to it.

Our first stop was at the cable car over the river gorge to see the waterfalls Manto de la Novia. The total span is about 400 m. and is about 100 m. above the river. The local woman on the far side offered us a $3.50 lunch of fresh trout from her trout pond. It was too early for lunch so we thanked her for the offer and moved on.

Tarabita (cable car)

Next stop was Pailon del Diablo… the Devil’s Cauldron. Leaving our bikes in the parking lot we walked 1 km. downhill to visit the narrow but very powerful waterfall that created enough spray to make a permanent rainbow and soak you if you ventured too close. Sally crawled along the cliff edge to a point where she could partially stand behind the waterfall… a feat for which she was thoroughly drenched.

Pailón del Diablo falls


While the 60 km. ride to Puyo drops 850 m. there were several uphill stretches that had us gasping and our legs failing. Consequently, we did some walking in order to survive to ride to the finish. By the time we reached Puyo, we were pretty much toast and following a restorative beverage, we took the bus back to Baños. Arriving in darkness we decided to dine at our Posada and call it a day.

Taking a break

Next day was Spa day, a volcanic ash and salt exfoliation, lunch and hot pools at a location 500 m. overlooking Baños. The volcano obliged by rumbling and sending up clouds of ash and smoke we observed from our hot pool.

The next day we explored around town and had a surprise reunion with friends we had met in Vilcabamba the previous week.

Evacuation route

For a few more photos, see

Posted by: | 26th May, 2011

Train trip from Alausí

On our way from Vilcabamba to Baños, we overnighted in Alausí, and the next day took the three hour return train trip to Sibambe past the Nariz del Diablo (Devil’s Nose). The train drops 500 metres in 13 km as it zig zags down the canyon. In years past, the route went from Sibambe all the way to Riobamba, and the trip was a big tourist attraction as you could ride on the roof of the passenger cars. That came to an end when an unfortunate tourist was killed by some low hanging wires. Picturesque though the ride was, it would have been more enjoyable on the roof as the train travels at a very moderate pace.

Train trip to Devil's Nose

Wooden train


Our recommendation would be to arrive the day of the trip (the train goes at 8am, 11am and 3pm) and then carry on to Baños which has more to offer.

For more photos from the train trip in Alausí, see

Posted by: | 23rd May, 2011


Our hostel was perched on a hillside overlooking Vilcabamba with views to the high peaks across the valley. Downtown at the main square, local shops and restaurants mingled with new gringo cafes serving organic vegetarian meals and raw cacao shakes. Five years ago before Vilcabamba was written up in a U.S. magazine that extolled the beauty, tranquility and alleged longevity, property was inexpensive. Now there are at least three real estate companies, and prices have skyrocketed. Seeing long hair, baggie pants and loose shirts was like stepping back in time… anyone for a spirulina smoothie?

Actually I liked it there, as a lovely place to visit rather than settle. We reconnected with Galapagos friends, Alex and Katharine and made new friends at the hostel with whom we went hiking.

A tough climb

Fellow travellers

Hiking here means up – lots of up to make your pulse pound in your ears and your legs heavy with the elevation. However, no matter how high we went, no matter how precarious the footing, grazing cows were waiting at the top or had left evidence of having been there ahead of us. Not goats but cows.

Roger on the ridge

Mandango hike in Vilcabamba

This time of year is particularly beautiful because the rainy season is just ending, and the valley is carpeted in green from the river bottoms to the highest peaks. What constantly amazed us was the extent of cultivation which goes as high as a farmer can walk with a hoe. Imagine a patch quilt of shades of green that covers an entire mountain.

We met an interesting fellow named Yves who showed us his labour of love he calls Sacred Sueños which is an experimental organic farm he created from 10 hectares of scorched land on a mountainside above Vilcabamba. In addition to growing fruits and vegetables, Yves tends two milk goats from which he makes cheese to sell in town.


Eve and his goats

On the way back from his farm, we dropped down to the valley floor to visit a refreshing waterfall before the long walk back to Vilcabamba.

Indiana Jones

Too soon we had to leave Vilcabamba and head north to the central highlands.

For more photos from Vilcabamba, see

Posted by: | 20th May, 2011

Panama hats in Cuenca

After our short stay in Peru, we flew back to Ecuador to begin four weeks of travel on the mainland. Our first stop was Cuenca, a beautiful old city situated at the confluence of four rivers (cuenca means basin in Spanish). We stayed at a lovely B&B called Kookaburra Cafe & Accommodation located on Calle Larga, a main street that parallels the Rio Tomebamba.

Tomebamba River in Cuenca

The first thing we did in Cuenca was to leave town. It was a Sunday, and we wanted to see the market in full swing in the nearby city of Cañar. We opted for a full day guided tour that took us north of Cuenca to Cañar and then on to Ingapirca, a site of both Cañari and Inca ruins.

En route we learned a new way to cook pork. After scorching the pig, the cook scrapes off the black part and serves the crispy skin underneath with salt, aji (spicy sauce) and mote (corn kernels, also known as hominy).

One way to cook a pig

The market at Cañar stretched for blocks with people selling clothes, rope, blenders, flour, fruits and veggies, fish, meat, and of course, cuy (guinea pig).

Market in Cañar

Roger buying achotillo

Selecting a cuy

The archaeological site at Ingapirca is small in comparison to the places we saw in Peru but is the largest known Inca site in Ecuador. The Inca conquered the Cañari people in this area, and so the ruins are a combination of Cañari and Inca structures.

Cañar formation

Sun temple

The next day Roger was on the trail for an authentic Panama hat. You may not know this but Panama hats are actually made in Ecuador and were misnamed because of the shipping route through Panama. We visited a converted hat factory that is now a museum and learned that the hats are woven with toquilla straw and saw the machinery used to block or shape the hats. Roger found his hat at the shop of Alberto Pulla, and we think it was his grandson who served us.

Shaping machine

Alberto Pulla's shop

New hat

On our final day, we took a public bus to Cajas National Park west of Cuenca. Given the weather and the fact that we saw only one other hiker, we may not have picked the best time of year to visit Cajas. However, the landscape was stunning and yet another reminder of the diversity in Ecuadorian geography.



For more photos from Cuenca and the surrounding area, see:

Posted by: | 12th May, 2011

Inca and Chicha

On April 30, we left the Galapagos and travelled with friends Mike and Nicki to Cusco, Peru, the centre of the Inca empire and the starting point for Machu Picchu. After the heat and humidity of the Galapagos, the crisp mountain air was a welcome change, although it took a few days and several cups of coca tea to adjust to the altitude.

Roger on an Incan street

We opted for a three day tour to visit the Sacred Valley (along the Urubamba River) and Machu Picchu. On the first day, we stopped at a llama farm where we learned the difference between llamas, alpacas and vicuñas. Somehow I managed to offend a llama and can assure you that they really do spit. Yuck!

So much fun

Our guide, Miguelangel took us to the ruins at Pisac where we saw the agricultural terraces, the sun temple, and the skilled masonry of the Inca who could fit stones together so perfectly that not even a piece of paper can slide between them.

No space between stones

We lunched at Doña Clorinda’s where I tried the rocoto relleno (stuffed hot peppers) and a fava bean salad, and Roger opted for the lomo salteado (a beef stew).

Lunch near Pisac

Our final stop for the day was the town of Ollantaytambo, where we visited another Inca site with many agricultural terraces, beautifully carved polygonal stones, and a wall of 6 megaliths about 13 feet high. In addition to the carving and placing of the stones, what is amazing is how the Inca moved them from a quarry across the river a few kilometres away.


Orange lichen

After dinner and a night’s rest in Ollantaytambo, we were up bright and early to catch the train to km. 104 where we met Miguelangel and began a full day hike along the Inca trail to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) at Machu Picchu.

Hotel in Ollantaytambo

Roger boarding the train

En route, we admired the beautiful landscape and colourful orchids, and passed through the sites of Chachabamba and Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young).

Big orchid

Wiñay Wayna

By late afternoon, we reached the Sun Gate and lingered for a while to marvel at Machu Picchu below. Miguelangel led us down through Machu Picchu which took a while as we stopped for numerous photos. A bus took us to the town of Aguas Calientes where we celebrated with pisco sours and enjoyed another delicious Peruvian meal.

Posing at Machu Picchu

The next day we returned to Machu Picchu for a tour with Miguelangel who pointed out features (terraces, storehouses, water fountains, sun temple) that we had seen at other sites but on a much grander scale.

Sun temple

Machu Picchu

At noon we met up with three other friends (Len, Monique and Bill) who had just finished the full 4 day trek into Machu Picchu – another reason to celebrate with pisco sours!

We liked Miguelangel so much that we booked him to take us the following day to Salineras and Moray. Salineras is a saltmine run by the people in the nearby town of Maras. Saltwater flows from the mountain, and is channelled into an impressive array of salt pools where it evaporates and the salt is harvested.

Salt pools

Moray is a site where the Inca built circular terraces into several natural depressions and is thought to have been used for agricultural experiments.

Several depressions

We also stopped at a weaving cooperative in Chinchero where a Quechua woman demonstrated how they clean the wool with lather from a root and use natural dyes from plants and the Cochinilla insect. Although we don’t have a decent dining room table, we now have two beautifully woven table runners.

Making lather with a root

Weaving demonstration

Our final stop was back in Cusco where we sampled chicha, an alcoholic beverage made from corn. This bar served a variant made with strawberries called frutillada — in my opinion, an acquired taste.


On our last day, we visited Qorikancha in downtown Cusco, an Incan temple to the sun that was once covered in sheets of gold. The Spanish took the gold and built a church on the site. Over the years earthquakes have damaged the church but the Inca walls have remained intact.


After bidding good-bye to Mike and Nicki, Roger and I went to Sacsayhuaman on the northern edge of Cusco. This site has three massive zigzag walls with some enormous stones and an incredible view of the city below. Sacsayhuaman is still used to celebrate the winter solstice (called Inti Raymi).

Enormous stone at Sacsayhuaman

Anyone I’ve ever spoken to who has visited Cusco and Machu Picchu has only good things to say, and now I am one of those people. The mountain landscapes, the Inca stonework, and the brilliant colours of the Quechua clothing combine to create an experience of natural and cultural beauty.

For more pictures, see:

Posted by: | 30th Apr, 2011

Good-bye Galapagos

Today we left the Galapagos to start our adventures in mainland Ecuador and Peru. Living there was an incredible opportunity to experience a new language and culture in a place of unique natural beauty. It feels like it was ages ago that we visited the giant tortoise reserve in the highlands and ordered our first empanada. Since then, we’ve visited 9 or 10 islands, snorkelled with penguins, and eaten enough tuna and ice cream to last a lifetime. More importantly, we’ve met some fabulous people from around the world and shared the islands with friends from home. Below is a collage of our new and old friends having fun in the Galapagos.

This isn’t the end of the blog. We still have five more weeks to travel, so you’ll be hearing from us in Cuzco, Cuenca and Cuyabeno, and places in between.

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