A Travellerspoint blog

Quito to La Paz

The beginning

sunny

I hooked up my tour group on Friday, there are 14 of us travelling together with our guide from Quito to La Paz. We had a meal together to get to know everyone, most of the group are Australian with one other English girl, a few Irish and one Dutch.

Saturday was a free day in Quito so I went with my good friends Vivian and Oscar to Quilotoa, an extinct volcanic crater which is now a stunning emerald lake. It was an amazing drive through some of the poorst parts of Ecuador, the landscape was a patchwork of cultivated squares on impossibly steep slopes, we wound our way through rural villages where women were scrubbing their washing in the streams and even the smallest children worked on the land and herded the llamas and sheep.

LJ_287.jpg

The climb down into the crater took about an hour and we hired mules to take us back to the top, our mules were led by the most beautiful young girl named Alexandra. The lake was beautiful and changed colour every minute as we got closer and the sun came in and out of the clouds, depest blue one minute and emerald green the next.

LJ_290.jpg

LJ_293.jpg

LJ_296.jpg

LJ_309.jpg

LJ_320.jpg

LJ_327.jpg

We left Quito behind early Sunday morning and I slowly remembered the affect of altitude on a hangover. Not good. It took most of the morning to get to our luxury jungle lodge (so much for the ´basic´accommodation we were expecting - long may this continue!) no electricity but hot showers and huge comfy beds. Each thatched lodge and the paths around the grounds were lit by oil lamps. We had time to drop our bags before going on a walk around the area and dropped in to a local community to see how they pan for gold in the river and make pottery to sell in Tena, the nearest big town. They prepared a drink made from yucca which is traditionally fermented with saliva but with sweet potato for the tourists. The next day was action packed, a jungle trek in the morning, eating lemon ants and getting really wet. It was really interesting and our guide was good fun, pointing out the halluciangenic root used by the shamens and making hats out of leaves. He also painted each of our faces with a red berry mush which I was really paraniod wouldn´t wash off but it did, to find out how read on...

LJ_346.jpg

LJ_347.jpg

LJ_348.jpg

LJ_357.jpg

LJ_358.jpg

The next activity for the day was tubing, you basically sit in an inner tube and bomb down the river over the rapids hanging on for dear life while trying not to swallow the whole river. It was terrific fun and we all made it, crawling exhausted but exhilarated out of the water where we flopped on the beach and the guides served us our hot lunch (basic?!) Once we had recovered we took a boat ride down river to an animal rescue centre then headed back for more food just as the sun went down.

Next stop, Baños. We got the bus back to Tena and on to Baños, another stunning drive through the hugely diverse and spectacular landscape that is Ecuador.

Posted by lauraj 11:45 Archived in Ecuador

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

Great to share your adventure! sounds wonderful!

by mum-dadjok

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint