A Travellerspoint blog

Chasing Waterfalls

After a couple of days in the hills above the town we decided to spend two nights in Banos. We had a craving for pizza and a hot shower. We splurged a little with the La Floresta Hotel, but it was raining and we didn't really feel like going on a long quest through the many hostals, hostels, and hotels to choose from. Today we drove along "La Ruta de las Cascadas" to see the many surrounding waterfalls. The drive took us through some long tunnels that felt like we were driving down mine shafts. Water streamed in through the ceiling and down the rock walls around us. We drove through the green canyon along the Rio Pastaza all the way to a gritty little town called Puyo. We missed most of the waterfalls on the way down, mostly because we were trying not to be run off the road or run over by a bus. We were determined to catch a couple of the biggies on the way back. We succeeded, but to view it up close meant an extreme hike filled with damp stairs. I'm beat.
IMG_0187

IMG_0187

IMG_0198

IMG_0198

Tomorrow we move on to Cuenca where I have rented us an apartment for three nights. Time to do some laundry :)

Posted by Pelham Family 16:21 Archived in Ecuador Comments (5)

On the Road!

So we took a taxi back to the airport in Quito to pick up our rental car. I’m really glad we didn’t pick it up right when we arrived. Navigating the traffic and narrow streets ourselves would not have been a good way to start our trip. After a very lengthy process of paperwork, all made more challenging by the No English factor, a Hertz employee put our bags in a cute little compact car and drove us from the terminal to the parking lot. We were thinking, “Well, it’s small but it will do”. When we got to the parking lot we thought we were just dropping him off, but he promptly took our bags out and set them next to a toy car. Hmmm…He started pointing out each nick and scratch, and by the time he showed us where the toy spare tire was located I caught on that THIS was our car for the next month. Shawn and Baylie kept asking how much it would cost for an actual real car, but I was too worn out from the marathon of paperwork I had just gone through to start over. Anyway, we are now tootling around Ecuador in a wind-up toy, which on the plus side is perfectly suited for all the narrow streets!

We started our journey south and managed to skirt around downtown Quito. The highway here is very new and the road signs are good, but we still managed to get lost almost every time we hit a stupid round-about. You enter this circle that has about five ways to spit you out and before you know it you are going the wrong direction. We did finally manage to make it to Banos, but we had very vague directions to the place I had booked for us to stay. Basically all we knew was that it was “8 km de Banos”. We tried to ask in town, but no luck. With some random driving on a combination of cobblestone, mud, and gravel “roads” we started seeing signs to Las Orquideas – success! It was a journey that paid off with the most serene and lovely place. Our room has stone walls, like a cave, and big windows that look out over a valley where clouds drift by just below us. It’s cool, wet, and very green. Tomorrow we go in search of La Ruta de las Cascadas to see the surrounding waterfalls.

Posted by Pelham Family 10:09 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

At what point do you heed a warning?

There is a point above this city called El Panecillo. It is topped by an impressive statue and is a popular viewpoint. The guidebooks say that the neighborhoods at the base of the hill are not safe to walk through alone and there have been muggings. I have read on various websites that tourists should take a taxi to the top and pay the driver to wait for you while you look around. They also say that security has been improved recently and police now patrol on the weekends...hmmm...what to do? Well, we are not alone - there are three of us. And by any measure we are not small people. We have encountered only the most friendly people since we arrived....I'm sure you can see where this is going. We started the arduous climb toward the beckoning statue. About halfway to the top we met a very animated group of older ladies cooking on the sidewalk who practically threw themselves in front of us to keep us from walking up the road. They pointed us to another set of stairs to avoid the neighborhood of robbers waiting just around the bend. At the top of the stairs we met another pair of sweet old ladies who insured us that the rest of the way was perfectly safe and a very peaceful walk. The top was bustling with tourists, locals, taxis, and souvenir stands which would not have seemed half as wonderful if we had just been deposited there in a vehicle. In the end, I'm glad we squared our shoulders, stood tall, walked with confidence and carried on. If my money is a little sweaty from being stuffed in my bra, and having my phone and credit cards in the waistband of my shorts was a little uncomfortable, the walk was worth it and in the end we did evaluate our personal risk taking limits. I love travelling.
IMG_0127

IMG_0127

(More pics in the gallery)

Posted by Pelham Family 11:02 Archived in Ecuador Comments (2)

The wandering has begun!

20150604_183012

20150604_183012


Ready for my five weeks!

After traveling all night, and sitting through a lightening storm on the runway in Panama for an hour and a half in a full plane waiting to be able to take off, we finally made it to Quito. In our exhaustion the ride through this huge city was a blur. The taxi was weaving through the dense traffic and the tiny, narrow streets forever, but we finally made it to our hotel 17 hours after leaving our house. We were greeted by the nicest ladies, but they had about three words of English between them so my fuzzy brain had to start searching for Spanish right away. We crashed for a couple hours of sleep then went in search of dinner. We are right next to the very lively La Ronda with tons of choices for eating, and also for staying up until the wee hours singing karaoke apparently. Thank goodness for earplugs!

Today we set off for Parque Itchimbia. We ended up climbing a million stairs and hiking up some of the steepest streets I have ever walked. Getting our traveling legs back!

IMG_0090

IMG_0090

IMG_0091

IMG_0091

Tomorrow I think we will find the Teleferriqo (cable car) and maybe ride the trolebus around for awhile :)

Posted by Pelham Family 12:42 Archived in Ecuador Comments (3)

A Little Later Than Planned...

South America - Finally!

Wow, what happened to last year? I wish I had put in some entries from last year's road trip to Vancouver. I guess I just didn't think it felt like a "real" trip since we didn't get on a plane. Dumb. There were plenty of great travel moments as we camped our way through Mt. St. Helen's, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood - you know...all the good "mounts" between here and Canada. Gorgeous scenery, more green than Californians know what to do with, Portland, Seattle, and some funky spots in-between. Finally to end up in Vancouver, where the original around-the-world journey began.

Well, that was 2014. South America is now finally in my sights. I never quite got over the fact that our original trip was over before making it to the place I saw as the end of the journey. I have been planning this trip to Ecuador for months. The obsession is building, the packing lists have been made, crossed off, and made again. Maps have been purchased, guidebooks have been read from cover to cover, and my traveling shoes have been replaced. Next week we fly to Quito for five weeks of rambling around a new country. I. Can't. Wait!

Posted by Pelham Family 20:56 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

(Entries 31 - 35 of 170) « Page .. 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 9 10 11 12 .. »