So much for updating the blog more regularly so the entries wouldn´t be so long...here we go again!
We left Lima and took a night bus to Mancora. Our hostel was like a resort so we essentially just stayed there as not a lot was happening on the beach. Ralph was ill again so I spent that night meeting some canadians, australians and english people and running into the Pacific at 3am to catch some waves in the moonlight!
We then travelled to Vilcabamba in Ecuador. This is a quiet town where the locals are very healthy and live to over 100 and continue working! Ralph´s friend Luke appeared here so we went for a walk in a national reserve then played 35 games of cards over beers and mexican food in the evening before we got told off for being too loud and went to bed at 11pm.
Next we went to Cuenca. This is a beautiful city with lots of whitewashed and colonial buildings. After a walk around here, we headed on to Guayaquil. En route we drove through a national park which had the most spectacular views of the layers of cloud over the mountains. We immediately got on a bus to Montanita on the coast and this drive showed us how large and how many banana plantations Ecuador has - they were huge! Montanita was nice although the weather wasn´t as sunny as we´d hoped. We found 2 guys from the Inca trail here and chilled out with them on beds on the beach, and then bumped into Juliette from the pampas tour in Bolivia and visited cocktail alley and a reggae party with her and her sister.
We then moved up the coast to Puerto Lopez where we visited Isla de la Plata, an island 40km off the coast. This is known as a poor mans Galapogas as it has many of the same animals. We saw a pod of 20+ dolphins, blue and red footed boobies (birds that have bright blue or red feet, make noises like Ralph attempting to whistle and walk by sticking their feet all the way in the air before each step), a few albatross and pelicans surrounding the fishing boats. Really nice trip! We then got a night bus to Quito!
Eugh Quito. Disaster finally struck our almost unspoilt trip - stood on the doorstep to a hostel, 2 guys walked up and grabbed Juliettes sisters bag, pushed her and broke the bag and ran off with all her valuables. Thankfully no one was hurt etc it just made us very suspicious of everyone in Quito!
Quito isn´t the most interesting place really. We explored Old Town and climbed the towers of a church which did have amazing views of the vast size of Quito. We all went up a teleferiqo, a cable car up the mountain, to get a view of the city, however we ended up getting a coffee and cake at the top then heading back down as it was quite cloudy! Ralph and I then decided a day trip was in order, so headed off to Lake Quilotoa, a huge green lake in the crater of an extinct volcano. On the way we visited an indigenous family house and I held a guinea pig for a while (which will soon be eaten). The lake was incredible and we hiked to the bottom. On the way back up I rode a mule as the girl found it too scary, and ended up running all the way to top on this horse which was a little scary at times! The next day we went to Mitad del Mundo, the centre of the world at 0´00. Not much else to say about that place, just stood in the north and south hemispheres and didn´t know what else to do!
We then headed to Tena, and stayed with my friend Cass from University who now lives there. Here we went to a national park in which a tarantula fell out of a tree a metre away from us, monkeys were jumping over our heads in the trees causing branches to fall down all around us, and we saw a turtle riding on a caimen! We also went white water rafting which was amazing! It had been raining a lot so the waters were really high (went up 8 metres overnight) so the waves were massive! Sooo much fun and definitely something we both want to do again. That night we went out with Cass´ friends and went to a community fiesta and all had private dance lessons with the locals!
Because we didn´t want to stay in Quito again, we headed to Mindo afterwards. This is located in the cloud forest so its rainy, green and has low clouds dotted about. Its a very chilled out place and is really small and friendly. Its not quite on the tourist trail yet so prices are low too! Today we went zip lining over the canopy which was fast but fun, and then did a tarzan swing, which involves standing on a 25m high ledge, and stepping off. You then fall until the rope pulls and swing along like tarzan! After this we went tubing down some rapids and then visited a butterfly farm!
So we´re heading back to Quito tomorrow for a night then ending our South American adventure and beginning our Central America one!