Friday, March 23, 2012

The Beauty of Ecuador

My best friend Amanda and I decided to forgo Thanksgiving with our families one year and travel to Ecuador for eight days. We didn't know a whole lot about Ecuador and we knew very little Spanish but we had a friend studying abroad there so we thought, "what the hell, let's go!"

We had an exciting time, although it was scary at times. We took night buses to make the most of our time which we later found out is one of the most dangerous things you can do. It rains practically everyday in Ecuador and the rain combined with the roads built on the cliffs of the Andes mountains are not the safest in the world. Plus, just like anywhere else, weirdos come out at night. Another scary thing was that there were no real bus stops, just street corners or seemingly random spots that the people just knew the bus would stop at.

Even though navigating the buses was a challenge, we had some great adventures walking the streets of historic Cuenca, hiking and white water rafting in the Amazon rainforest in Tena, and trying not to get too lost in Quito.

Cuenca courthouse
A family outside the courthouse. I love the mix of traditional and modern clothing.
A small town market near Cuenca. Aren't those baskets beautiful?
Left: The church is the main square of a small town near Cuenca. Right: Old woman at the market.
Viva Tena - visiting the rainforest
The work of a colony of leaf cutter ants.
Amazon spider!
Treats in the rainforest -- this tasted like sour candy!
My BFF Amanda and me, slightly blurry but still good.
Fungi of the forest. These little guys were teeny.

Part of our white water rafting trip was getting "facials" in a canyon.
An angel statue looking over the sprawl of Quito.
Left: Church bell tower in Quito. Right: The tourist attraction called the equator but it's not the real equator (lame).
Climbing church steeples. See that very top window on the steeple? We are looking out of that window in it's twin.


  1. Great post and beautiful pictures! That bug doesn't even look real?! It looks like some kind of little robot! I've always heard very mixed things about Ecuador via the blogosphere, but glad you guys had an awesome time there, and that you could get buy with minimal Spanish! (I speak zilch).

    1. Thanks Tom! The not-speaking-Spanish-thing was pretty hard. I knew Spanish vocabulary but I was learning French in college at the time and I kept getting the accents mixed up. I would try to say a Spanish word but it would come out with a French accent! It was terrible and no one EVER understood me. Thank goodness Amanda was there.

  2. Eeeeek that spider freaks me out! LOVE the fungi shot and of course the last one. I'm dying to get to Ecuador.

    1. Thanks Andi! The spiders were definitely freaky. I accidentally bumped one with my elbow and my skin had all these red bumps on it. I got so scared and immediately thought, "Oh my god, I am going to die! AHHH!" I was totally freaking out. I rushed over to the guide but he nonchalantly said it was no big deal and that the spider had just spit on me. SPIT on me???