One of the most amazing places we have ever been combined with a huge chunk of our family and a luxury yacht…what’s not to love? An 8 day cruise around the Galapagos Islands was by far one of the best vacations I have ever been on. Alex and I loved the nature, the animals, the company, everything. And I’m pretty sure we weren’t the only ones if the guest posts by KathyB, Tommy, Matt, David, KathyO and Gail are any indication.
When Lauren and Ethan came to visit, we headed off to the Ecuadorian Amazon. Staying in wooden cabañas along an Amazonian river is a pretty amazing experience, especially when it’s combined with crazy jungle animals, a beautiful reflective lake, and a trip to an Indigenous community to learn to make cassava bread.
Alex hiked around the Quilotoa crater without me early on during our two years here. His pictures were absolutely amazing so I was pretty excited to make him go back a second time with me. His original pictures were clearer than the second time we went, but the view was still breathtaking as we hiked around the edge of the crater, admiring the lake within and the mountains surrounding the area.
The 5-6 hour hike to Papallacta is one of my favorites in all of Ecuador, even the time we got lost…and I swear I would like it even if the reward at the end didn’t involve amazing hot springs and delicious river trout. We’ve been to Papallacta a handful of times and I would go back again in a heartbeat. The hot springs are the best I’ve ever been to and even with the high price tag, a fews hours of relaxation and fresh air is always worth it.
Our friend Todd and his wife Lorena own a cute little B&B in the cloud forest town of Mindo. Just 1.5 hours from Quito, we’ve enjoyed the escape that the Dragonfly Inn allows on a regular weekend. The Dragonfly has great company and excellent food and we always enjoy a trip to the butterfly farm, a zip through the treetops or just reading a book in hammock. We are headed to Mindo one last time this weekend for a farewell and it will be a great last trip here in Ecuador.
February of our first year here in Ecuador, we headed to the coast for a little rest and relaxation during Carnaval. Our first night was spent partying it up in Montañita and then we did an about face and spent several days in the tiny town of Ayampe with a whole beach to ourselves. We are permanently spoiled from the amazing beaches in Honduras, but the solitude and chance to relax with good friends made for a great weekend even without crystal clear blue waters and white sand beaches.
For Alex’s 28th birthday, we spent a night at an old hacienda near the base of Volcan Cotopaxi. It was a huge splurge on our tiny pocketbooks and we were pretty nervous about it being worth it, but it definitely was. We happened to be the only guests at Hacienda San Agustin de Callo, once owned by a former Ecuadorian president and previously used as a traveling lodge for an Incan king. This made us feel like true royalty as we lounged in front of our many fireplaces, fed the resident llamas and ate an elaborate dinner in a room still surrounded in Incan walls.