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Ecuador, first part

From Quito to the Amazon

sunny 25 °C

We flew from Rio to Quito on the 25th of September.
From the start, we didn't want to stay in Gringolandia area (La Mariscal), so that we could experience a bit more the real Quito and picked a hostel from our guide which was located a bit more closer to old town. Lonely Planet described it as one of the best hostels in the city; turned up to be completely the opposite. The staff was nasty and completely helpless: first, they changed the price of the room twice, and then they gave as a single room for two. The last day they decided that they had made a mistake giving us that room and had to change in the middle of the say. While our stay, many people were complaining about different things, some people came with reservation and all the suddenly there were no rooms available and many other crazy stories… The hostel was called Casa Bambú; it should definitely be out of all guides; it has been in the last two editions of Lonely Planet; however, since they do not update the information yearly and they do not physically visit the place, many people go there and get deeply disappointed.

Regardless the experience with the hostel, we had a great time in Quito. Old town is very pretty: there are several very interesting photo exhibitions to look at, the streets are perfect to wander about and the arquitecture is gorgeus. The beauty of its patios pervaded us!
We also visited the church La Compañía de Jesús, which is absolutely stunning, definetly worth a visit. It took 160 years to build it. Once you get inside, you understand the difficulty of the making. It is fully covered of gold plated motives and it has impressive pictures. A masterpiece.
Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesus

Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesus


Quito, old town. Pretty!

Quito, old town. Pretty!


Me and the gorgeous views of Quito

Me and the gorgeous views of Quito

After Quito, we travelled to Baños. I had found a child foundation that sounded very good and it was also reasonably close to Mera, where an animal center that Henrik found was located. So it sounded like a good option both of us.
Baños is, on another hand, very nice, in a good setting surrounded by mountains, makes it a good place to hike, cycle, do rafting, and for those who wish, do bungy jumping...

La Ruta de las Cascadas

La Ruta de las Cascadas


Crossing the bridge towards waterfall twins

Crossing the bridge towards waterfall twins


Laura under a waterfall

Laura under a waterfall


Cycling ruta de las cascadas

Cycling ruta de las cascadas

Huge hail storm on top of one of the mountains around Quito

Huge hail storm on top of one of the mountains around Quito


We visited the child Foundation, but it turned out to be a different thing from what I expected: it was the first library founded in the village; however, none of the kids who went there were poor; it is only a place to provide with books and do activities for the kids. The families even have to pay to have access to the library, and the place was sustained by the volunteers who would come and stay with them in a shared apartment. Although it sounded nice, it was not a place to help out or to make a difference on children with needs, but a place to develop your skills and put them in practice with the kids. It didn’t sound like the place for me so I finally decided not to work with them.

Henrik wanted to go to Merazonia, that animal center close to Mera, but simultaneously he got in touch with a guy that worked with another center somewhere between Mera and Tena; and he finally decided to go for this one. It sounded very professional; they cared a lot for the animal rehabilitation with the goal to release them finally.

We did two bike rides in Baños: la ruta de las cascadas and a ride to Mera. For the second route, we stopped in Rio Negro for lunch. That very same, all it was on news was the coup attempt to Rafael Correa (the president). Everyone would talk about the same thing and it was interesting to hear people's opinions.
We stayed in a lovely hostel in Baños, a family run place with a home feeling and good price: Hostal Casa Maria.

After three days in Baños we decided to head towards Puyo. There we took the opportunity to find out a bit more about animal centers, whilst I was waiting for a reply from another child foundation in Guayaquil.
Puyo has nothing special, except for a nice riverfront that has been recently built up. It is also the start point for trips into the jungle...
We also heard from an animal rescue near Puyo, called Paseo de los Monos and went and visited...the place was great, but the contact between the monkeys and the visitors was excessive. They had volunteers but they also allowed tourist to visit the place. There hardly seemed to be any rules, which made the place a bit unserious. Regardless, we did have a great time with the monkey felows!
Henrik, getting used to having monkeys around

Henrik, getting used to having monkeys around


The inhabitants in Paseo de los Monos

The inhabitants in Paseo de los Monos


Playing with monkeys

Playing with monkeys


The bush man

The bush man

After a couple of days, once I had received an answer from the foundation and Henrik had confirmed to start with the animal center, we said good bye to start our adventures separately.

Posted by hmontonen 19:52 Archived in Ecuador

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