Rainy Season in Ecuador

After the loud night next to the fair in Riobamba, to the delight of the children, we ended up next to some carnival rides again the very next night, this time in Baños. This village is known for its hot springs, which we visited, of course, despite ongoing rain. Since it was Sunday, the swim was less relaxing this time, but, in exchange, we experienced a typical, Ecuadorian weekend program, right in the middle of things and close up.
In the rain, the city wasn’t very inviting for anything else, so we headed further on towards the northeast – if it was raining so much, we could go into the rain forest right away. In Tena, we were able to spend the night at the Hostel Pakay Tours and also take an excursion into the jungle the next day. In a narrow motor boat, we went downriver and deeper into the jungle along the impressively wide brown Rio Napo, one of the largest source regions of the Amazon. Indians had a display of different kinds of animal hides and preserved animals on an island, and we were even allowed to try out a blowpipe for hunting. Then we could drift down the river on tubes, which is quite an experience in the middle of the huge amounts of murky water! Since you rarely have a chance to see lots of animals in the rain forest within a short time, we took a look at some of the original inhabitants in the Amazoonico, which is an animal sanctuary and shelter for illegally held wild animals, such as parrots, monkeys, anacondas, and even jaguarundis (not much bigger than a house cat) and ocelots. Unfortunately, most of the animals cannot be released into the wilderness any more because they have become too used to people and regard them as a source for food or go to them because they were caught when they were very young and aren’t familiar with free life in nature. Before our boat began fighting its arduous way upriver against the current, we saw a big group of squirrel monkeys in the trees directly next to the river. So, at least we got to see a few genuine natives in the wild!

Then we put in several days of driving to get further south since we didn’t have much more time for Ecuador before meeting up with my sister Natalie in Peru. We spent only one night in Cuenca, where we finally had an opportunity to try hornados at the market, similar to roasted pork with dumplings and very delicious! As we continued driving south, we could see how the pork is blackened by gigantic Bunsen burners outside in the morning and then grilled over a fire. In Vilcabamba, we were able to escape from the rain for a few days. This improved the mood of all the members of our family, and the bar at the beautifully situated Hostel Izhcayluna was also a pleasant change from our normal evening program.
The only way to get from Vilcabamba to Peru directly was to continue southwards along the increasingly poor road which had been cut into the slope. In lots of places, we were confronted with were bigger or smaller mudslides, and we finally wondered whether this road (which had meanwhile turned into a track) wasn’t going to simply end up going nowhere. But no, we reached the border crossing after a steep drive down to the river, and then we saw a lovely two-lane asphalt street shining on the Peruvian side. Wait a minute; wasn’t Ecuador supposed to be the wealthier country of the two? But before we were able to get a closer look at the conditions of the streets in Peru, we had to wait three long hours in the blazing hot sun on the bridge between the borders while the intranet problems at customs were remedied and the printer was finally adjusted and could print out our documents. The barrier gate was finally raised for us to pass through, and we are looking forward to exploring a new country – Peru!

This time, too, we have a few more private family photos for you – you can look at them here.


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