Crossing Ecuador : Jungle, mountains and the coast

The Amazon

Taking advantage of Quito being quite central to everywhere in Ecuador my next trip (bus from the Quito Southern bus terminal) was to Tena which is a small city in the Napo province in the Amazon. The Napo is a river which later becomes part of the Amazonas so I wouln´t want to miss this part. The journey was slow and I don´t know why travelling by bus is supposed to be so dangerous in Ecuador. We went so slowly we took 5 hours for 170km. Fair enough, the main part was crossing the mountains so I guess we just couldn´t go quicker.

Tena is a nice little town. You have a cool veggie restaurant (tienda Ahimsa) just in front of the lake, some shops and path were you can go for a walk. I saw the most beauiful butterflies over there and really enjoyed my stay even so it was a short one. You can stay in Hostel Limon Concha which offers all you need and the owner is actually a German I found out when I got there.

The next day I went to a jungle track in the rainforest. As there are almost no tourists in the region due to the earthquake half a year ago, I couldn´t find a tour so I had to go there for myself. I got recommended to take the bus to Jatun Sacha which takes around 45 minutes. It´s a privately held ecological park which you can enter for a small fee and walk around for yourself. I have been to other rainforest national parks in other countires so I thought it wouldn´t be a problem.

First, when I arrived the entrance was empty, no soul there. Luckily there was a girl in the bus also entering the park as she is doing some research for her thesis. She said no problem, I should just enter and there would be signs to find the way back. I walked with her for a while but then had to separate. This was too much nature. Due to almost no visitors, nature got back it´s ground. Big spiders with its nets where all over, the path almost disappearing due to bushes growing. Ever meters I run into a spidernet I oversaw… and then I also got attacked by monster ants. I didn´t saw that I stepped into their road looking out for spiders so from one second to another they were all over my shoes and made their way up to my ankles and bite me. In this moment it just itched a bit – the worst just came a day after. If you see an ants road, make a big way around it… and even more if you are alergic like me. 😉

Anyway I had enough adventure and set up the bus to Baños the same afternoon.

The mountains

After a smoothe 3 hours bus ride I arrived in Baños, a town knowing for its many possibilities of adventure lying just below the volcano called Tungurahua which also gives name to the region. What I didn´t know when going there was that the volcano was active and due to explode any minute. When I was listening to people around it, it was all about where the next evacuation point is and so on. Not too comforting but I tried to forget about it as I read that it is quite controlled and the evacuation plans work quite well as this is happening every 5 years…

For eating there is also a great restaurant offering vegeterian food named Casa Hood.I ate there twice and was perfectely pleased.

I didn´t want to wait to experience so i also didn´t stay too long in that town. The hostel was also quie old and dirty so I don´t really want to mention its name here.

Anyways I coulnd´t do any of all the cool outdoors activites as my ankle and foot got swollen by the ants bites. Some of them got infected and bubbles raising, other parts just bulged. I ignored it in the morning and went up the mountain to one of the sightseeing points. Not a good idea. After that the swollen parts got worse and liquids started to come out of various points of the bites. I looked like Quasimodo and didn´t felt well… I went to the pharmacy, put some creme on and went to thermal bath el Salado anyways as this was supposed to be nice and I planned to leave to the coast that same day with the nightbus leaving at 22pm. I went. The hot water hurt, the other (cold and lukewarm) tanks heated by the volcano did actually good. Topic here with the locals: the volcano. The lady next to me confirmed that usually the water isn´t that hot, that it´s due to the high activity of Tungurahua. I was a bit relieved when I left that night.

I got instructed not to take any bag into the bus which I would´t want to keep on my lab as lots of robery goes on apparently on the night buses. I did as said, left everything below in the luggage part and put my coat over my small bag. That way I actually managed to sleep warm and savely till I got woken up only a couple of hours later by the alarming voice of the only other pair of gringos in the bus – they got robbed. I don´t know how but a part from that incident I managed to sleep basically the whole 9 hour ride. After that I had to change bus, was happy that all my stuff was still there and arrived in Olon 9 am in the morning after another hour in the bus.

The coast

The coast wasn´t what I was expecting. Well I hadn´t had much in mind, but I wasn´t expecting such a change. It wasn´t green anymore, nothing to compare with the Carribean. It is more looking like being in the desert. The beach is wide and big, perfectey for walking for hours.Which I did, and will do the next days. As there is not much else to do. Weather so far is cold, cloudy and sometimes it even rains. I will just have to sit this one out. I´m sure there will be some sunnier days coming soon. Hopefully. My feet, after 4 desastrous days, are getting better little by little. It´s itching a lot but I assume this is a good sign. Today was the first day it stopped to fester. So small animals and so much harm. Once again, nature wins over human. My fault stepping on their way.

Seeing the positive part, with my physical defect and the cloud weather I spend some relaxing days just walking around the beach, collecting some nice stones and shells and was even able to save a little seahorse I found to close to the shore. Of course there is much more to do, but this will be written on another day.

It is also supposed to be a good surf spot – so far I haven´t seen much surfers round. Hope this will change in the upcoming days. I planned to excercise a bit here…

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