From Quito to Lima
17.11.2009 - 15.12.2009
After leaving the Galapagos, we spent a couple of days recovering in Quito with PGD... Post-Galapagos depression. Missing all the wildlife.
Quito was pretty unexciting as cities go. So we quickly headed to the ´jungle´ in the far north-east of Ecuador, where we visited the Cuyabeno reserve which is in the Amazon basin, right on the border of Columbia. Did a 5-day "jungle tour" there. This involved 2 bus journeys and a motorised canoe trip from Quito.
It was a nice place to spend a few days, we generally toured about the rivers and lagoons by motorized canoe looking for wildlife. The wildlife was pretty hard to find, we did see a few different types of monkeys, lots of birds, some freshwater dolphins, an anaconda and even some tarantulas (in the roof of the restaurant!). Went fishing for piranhas one day. We visited the local village of the Sionas tribe where we met the Shaman (medicine man). The jungle adventure culminated with the bus breaking down on the way back to civilisation.
We then headed south to Tena, a nice little town on a river beside the jungle, also happens to be the whitewater rafting capital of Ecuador. Where of course we had to go rafting on a beautiful river in the middle of the jungle. Mike loved it, Rona was a bit scared as usual!
Spent the next week or so in the highlands of Ecuador mainly to look at, and trek in, the mountains and to see some of the local indiginous tribes in their traditional costumes going about their daily lives. We started off in Banos which is next to the live Volcano Tungarahua. There was a street festival on when we were there with people dancing in the streets in their traditional costumes.
We then headed to the Quilotoa area, which is at 3,900m. We trekked around the outside of Laguna Quilotoa which is a beautiful greenish blue. Great hike, shame about the altitude though which made it hard work trekking when you can´t breathe! The whole area has spectacular scenery and big snow-capped volcanoes. We would have liked to have climbed a volcano but since they are all about 6,000 metres this would have involved a serious amount of acclimatisation time so we skipped it for next time!
From the highlands we headed south for the Peruvian border on a long and tedious 24hr series of bus journeys. Stopped off half way down to visit Trujillo and the coastal town of Huanchaco, famous for surfing and where the local fisherman still use traditional reed boats. Kicked back by the beach for a couple of days before heading for the mountains again.
We were keen to spend some time in the Peruvian Andes, so we headed for Huaraz in the Ancash area. Spent 5 days there in our element mountain biking and trekking and generally admiring the beautiful scenery. Great spot.
The last stop in this section of the journey is Lima for a couple of days before flying south to Ushuaia, in Tierra Del Fuego, the very south of Argentina. This will be the final leg of our 10 month trip, we´ll be spending about a month and a half in Argentina and Chile before heading home to Sydney on 2 February.