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Entries about waterfalls

Ziplining during the day, thermal baths at night...

Baños


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A quiet and very relaxing morning today. First of all we wandered round town doing some shopping and looking at the sugar cane stalls and the men slinging and pulling around long piles of toffee-like mixture (taffy) from hooks at the side of shop doorways.

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While Dave was in a handicraft shop I suddenly thought of lighting a candle for Dad in the Basilica, so that's what I did.

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Then we moved on to one of several massage parlours lined up on the other side of the main square and had amazing hour-long full body massages for only $20 each.

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We left the place afterwards completely relaxed and ambled over to the Central Market where we had some lunch at a stall.

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Dave had seco de pollo, which he loved, and I had a delicious llapingacho, which is a plate of fried cheese & mashed potato cakes, a fried egg, fried slices of chorizo sausage, rice, chopped beetroot, shredded lettuce and a big chunk of avocado.

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At 12 we went on our next excursion... ziplining! The setting of this was spectacular, set in forested mountains close to Baños.

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On at least two occasions we ziplined from one side of a valley to the other. There were a total of six lines with a bit of hiking to get from each one to the next.

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On three of them we sat in the normal position, on two we got to lie in a 'Superman' position and on one we ziplined hanging upside down.

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It was all fantastic. Just to top it all off, as we returned from the final zipline to the where we'd been given the equipment at the start, we passed a house with four incredibly cute puppies who came up to us to say hello. I think they were Golden Retrievers.

After dinner and a game or two or pool we went back to the hot thermal baths to try out their evening session, which runs from 6-9.30pm. It was busier and more touristy than when we went during daylight - on that occasion we were the only tourists there. This time four out of five of the pools were open. We did several rounds of going in the hot one, then the bigger cold one, then the extremely hot one downstairs then the small circular cold one next to it and then back again to the hot one upstairs.

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After eventually leaving the baths we explored the waterfall area next door before going back to the hostel.

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We shared an amazing pizza there before going to bed tired but extremely happy.

Posted by 3Traveller 15:30 Archived in Ecuador Tagged waterfalls market basilica hostel dad dave banos ecuador ziplining explorations ecuadorian_cuisine freshwater_swimming thermal_baths Comments (0)

Carnival in the Amazon: waterfalls and caves

Puerto Misahuallí, Cascada de Latas, Jumandy cave system, Tena and Baños


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The first excursion we went on today was to a waterfall trail in the forest a short taxi ride from Puerto Misahuallí. We'd packed up our stuff and left it at the Reception hut before we went, because we had to check out by 12pm, when we knew we'd be at the waterfalls.

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The trail followed a river, passing some smaller waterfalls before reaching the biggest one at the end. There were several swimming holes on the way but despite the humidity we saved ourselves for the one at the end in front of the big waterfall. It took at least 45 minutes to get there. Twice we had to wade through the river rather perilously but luckily nobody fell in! They were at sections where it was more like a stream than a river, but the water was still very fast-running. We'd borrowed wellies from our accommodation so we didn't get wet.

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Once we arrived at the big waterfall we got into the pool in front of it as quickly as possible. The water was lovely, cool and refreshing.

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I floated on my back for a while and the view of the overhanging vegetation and rocks reminded me of the overhanging cathedral wall and vegetation at the Grand Hotel pool in Guayaquil. After a while I swam through the waterfall and stood up behind it. The force of the water drumming on my head and shoulders was tremendous.

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To get out, we retraced our steps; on the way I saw a couple of giant black & electric blue butterflies but they evaded all my attempt to photograph them.

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When we left the waterfalls we caught a taxi truck; it already had passengers in the front and back seats so we climbed into the open air back section. It reminded me of the only other time I've sat out on the back of a truck, in Koh Tao in Thailand.

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Once the taxi truck had dropped us off in Misahuallí town centre we had to run the gauntlet of foam again. I walked tactically so avoided most of it, but others weren't so lucky. They didn't stop at foam either, as 'E' found out with the yellow paint that got thrown on her...

As soon as we arrived back we only had time to give back the wellies we'd borrowed and pick up our bags before we got another taxi truck to our next destination... the Jumandy cave system. This entrance to the site has turned into a local tourism hub with restaurants and an open air swimming pool using riverwater, so before we entered the caves themselves we had some late lunch at one of the restaurants. I had an old favourite, seco de pollo, and a blackberry milkshake. A man with a wooden leg stumped past our table while we were eating - only the second time I've seen a person with a wooden leg in real life, rather than metal or fibreglass (whatever is usually used in the UK).

The caves excursion was exciting. Our guide was an indigenous local doing a job that apparently generations of his family had done before him. He said that when the Spaniards first arrived centuries ago, the Jumandy people hid in these caves for five months to escape them. He spoke only Spanish but luckily the others translated for me.

There was a river running through a lot of the cave system so we had to wade a lot.

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Right near the beginning there was a section where we had to wade up to our middles. Just beyond that was a short section where a line had been strung across and the water was too deep to touch the bottom so we had to pull ourselves across using the line instead. The others had given their valuables to the guide to carry across in a bag, but my camera was too big to fit. I had however cunningly put it in a plastic bag in advance, to keep it dry, so all I needed to do was tie a knot in it and zip the whole thing in my handbag. I ended up hanging my handbag round my neck and then pulling myself up and along to raise the bag up as much as I could. Only one corner of the bag got wet and the plastic bag didn't get wet at all. That was a very adrenalin-filled and exciting 20 seconds! It was like an exercise at the gym but with most of my body submersed in water and with the knowledge that if my grip on the rope broke then my camera might get soaked.

We had been warned beforehand that we would get very wet on the cave trip, so in our group we were all wearing our bikinis underneath our clothes and I was wearing my board shorts instead of trousers.We'd kept all these on after swimming at the waterfalls earlier.

Later on in the tour we had to squeeze through some very narrow sections of tunnel; we also passed by some stalagmites and stalactites.

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Near the end we came across a waterfall with a small pool in front of it - the guide said the water in it is considered lucky - whether true or not, it certainly was refreshing! It was wonderful. It felt slightly surreal to be swimming around in my clothes underground.

Instead of retracing our steps, we exited the caves at a different location. After stepping out into open air we had to climb up a steep slope of rocks before following a path round through some countryside back to the complex. It was now raining. We returned the wellies we'd hired, picked up our bags and some of us got changed; I didn't change because the the facilties had wet floors and were really dark and didn't have anywhere to hang anything up. We were also in a rush. I just wrung out my top and shorts and hoped I'd dry out naturally on the bus back to Baños.

It was past 6pm by the time we left and our tickets from Tena had been booked for a particular time so we had no time to lose. We flagged down a taxi to take us to Tena as quickly as possible. We had bought tickets in advance for a particular time. We arrived at Tena bus terminal just in time thank goodness. On our way out of town we passed by a large dusty volleyball court in the town centre; a game was being played under floodlights. It seemed to be the focal point of local activity in the town.

We arrived at Baños quite late but as we walked from the bus terminal to our hostel we saw that Carnival foam celebrations were still in full swing... once we had checked in and rested a little some of the others went out for a drink and dance, but one or two of us were knackered so we just went to bed. The ceiling of our dorm was painted like a sunrise, a nice touch I thought. I did however have a bowl of chicken pasta at the hostel's bar before I went to bed.

Posted by 3Traveller 11:35 Archived in Ecuador Tagged waterfalls hostel carnival banos ecuador explorations tena ecuadorian_cuisine misahualli freshwater_swimming cave_system Comments (0)

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