Written by dad.
Every time I think we have done the most amazing thing in Ecuador that there is to do, we end up doing something that tops it. Today began, with a great breakfast at the hostel: huevos rancheros with quinoa to allies delight.
after which we headed to “Wonderful Ecuador”, one of the numerous adventure tour companies that populate this city. For $7
each, we rented mountain bikes with helmets, Locks etc. since they couldn’t break a $20 at 830 am, they just gave us the bikes And said pay us later.
We began the popular Banos to Puyo ride. This ride descends to the edge of the amazon in its full 60 kilometers. We planned to do 20 k, just enough to see the waterfalls and take some hikes along the way. Our first excursion was at We boarded one of the canopies that traverse the canyon high over the river. ($1 for both if us).
The operator was kind enough to stop the tram a little ways before the falls so we could get a picture. The ride was quite a rush!
We then searched for the trail down to the river which we found with a little help from the woman operating the next tram over. All of these operations seem to run by families who also have small gardens, food concessions and more. You never know what you will find. This woman offer sport fishing in what appeared to be an over sizes koi pond filled with trout, and a little restaurant with trout served 5 ways.
At the bottom of canyon we found a beautiful little garden and viewing spot for the waterfall. Another small charge to enter, well worth it.
We then crossed the river on a small suspension bridge and hiked back to the top. We rode on eventually to the main attraction of this ride, el pailon
Del diablo. You cannot see this magnificent falls for the road, only hear it. The descent is steep and mostly stone steps
And when you arrive, you find another another entrance fee (again about a dollar). Up the stairs, is the falls.
The path up the falls entailed crawling on all fours through a cave-like section, and a twisting hoist up to the final piece. It reminded me of canyoning in Utah. There is a video on my Facebook.
And the final viewing spot.
Of course we were soaked by this time from the increasing rain and the spray from the falls. But to our great delight, back at the entrance just below we discover a blazing fire and espresso.
Unbelievable! And, while it may have been the whole experience, Allie and I agree it was the best coffee we have had in Ecuador.
This ride/hike has been the highlight of a highlight filled trip. I have never seen such dramatic natural beauty, and all in such a compact space. And while the people have created tourist attractions around it all, none of it is tacky or lame. The activities are serious fun and filled with incredible beauty. What a place. I only wish we had more time to do sme white water rafting and get to the amazon. But that will have to wait till the next trip! Enough for now; there is more to tell, but must pack and catch the bus back to Quito. There, Allie and I will part. I will be heading back to the US, and Allie to the farming community where she will volunteer for a few weeks. I will add some thoughts later on but will turn over primary blogging responsibility to Allie. As the Ecuadorians say: Chau!