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How Do You Have Fun In Spite Of Altitude Sickness?

  We both felt the nausea and dizziness of altitude sickness in the giant Andes Mountains, yet somehow enjoyed the incredible experiences we had in Ecuador. In fact, I had forgotten how sick we were until T reminded me long after the trip was over. Amazing that I only remembered the good stuff. Altitude sickness starts at about 8000 ft and we were often up over 10,000 ft. The highest point in the Andes is over 22000 ft. As air density drops, there is less available oxygen and hydrogen, so it feels like having the flu or a bad hangover … More…

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Ingapirca Ruins and Purple Fog

Don’t you just love the rhythm of that name – Inga pirca?   I’m not much of a history buff (T is), but the idea that a society existed in the 1600’s and that the buildings are still somewhat in tact amazes both of us.   Ingapirca Ruins, Ecuador…       On the right is the Inca Road that goes for miles and miles through the Andes Mountains.   At very high altitudes of 10,000 feet above sea level in a basin between mountains,  the views from Ingapirca Ruins left us standing with our mouths wide open.   The … More…

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Humphrey Bogart, Panama Hats And 50¢ Roses

 We were in Cuenca, a pretty little city, high in the Andes Mountains of central Ecuador, enjoying the town square. It had a European feel with cobblestone streets, Spanish colonial architecture and lots of brick.  Take note of the hats… Sipping some hot chocolate… Wandering over to another square… And then, here was a flower market. I was hoping we had found something I had read about – a dozen roses for $6! Contrary to a romantic nature, some of us do not like red roses, even if they do photograph well. T did find a lovely pale pink bouquet … More…

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Wildest Train Ride Ever!

  The train to the SKY… SKY… SKY…   Dennis, at www.guanguiltagua.com, who organized our car and driver for Ecuador, tried to tell us that we should come back to Quito through the mountains. I tried to tell him that I don’t really like mountains, nor windy roads that make me motion sick. Plus, we had read that the Andes are so high that people get altitude sickness. The altitude is extremely high, in the 10,000 ft range. Just what I need – altitude sickness and motion sickness.   No thanks I said. Once, twice, maybe half a dozen times, I politely said “No!”   … More…

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Car and Driver In Ecuador, Cheaper Than Car Rental

  Usually we rent a car and explore a country on our own. There is such a joyous freedom in being able to stop when you want and where you want, or take that little side road, or stop at that quaint little village.   This time though, after a few days in Ecuador’s capital, Quito, a week with an Ecuadorian family in Otavalo, and a week on the Amazon Riverboat, we decided to try renting a car and driver for our last two weeks in Ecuador. Mauricio at www.guanguiltagua.com came highly recommended on Trip Adviser, so we decided to do a … More…

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Staying With A Family In Ecuador

We love to host people from other countries in our home in Canada, and that’s how we met Fernando and Toa from Ecuador. Nothing tells you as much about a country as a home stay with a local family.   Sites like www.hospitalityclub.org, and www.couchsurfing.org and www.globalfreeloaders.com offer free stays of up to 3-4 days for travellers from other countries. You don’t have to provide food, just a bed for a few nights, and maybe some discussion about your part of the world. It’s really your choice how much help you can or want to assist. It’s a wonderful way to … More…

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Piranhaus, Pink Dolphins and Wild Parrots

  The Amazon Riverboat was a fantastic week, and it was definitely the highlight of our trip to Ecuador.          We went on excursions in the long canoe everyday, but we did not go swimming in the piranha lagoon! Everyone was invited to jump off the canoe and swim in the black piranha-infested water. Ricardo and Luis jumped in. Raoul, the (cute) guide, said the piranhas only bite if they are hungry, and they have lots of food. Later he told us there are sting rays and anacondas, but that they are only in the muddy bottom about six feet … More…

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Amazon Riverboat

  There were only six guests on the Amazon Riverboat so it was almost like a private cruise, and it was the highlight of our Ecuador trip. We can highly recommend the Manatee Explorer.   As we flew high above the clouds from Quito to Coca over the Amazon Jungle , we were astonished to see the mighty Andes Mountains poking their rocky heads up well over the tops of the clouds!     At the airport, we were met by a driver who took us to the dock. We had a nice break there watching the river and the boats and … More…

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Searching For Crocodiles By Flashlight In The Amazon

  Well, I have done some crazy things in the past, but this one about tops them all.   On a pitch-black night, in the middle of the Amazon Jungle, in Ecuador, we canoed on a swamp searching for crocodiles by flashlight, with a 12-year-old native Quechua Indian navigating.   We found one 7 foot female croc and one 8 foot croc, and 3 baby crocodiles.   A few of us had flashlights, so beams of light flitted across the black water, occasionally catching some weeds or a tree or some tall reeds. We were very quiet. It was taking a … More…

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