Ecuador Day 6: Quilotoa

Quilotoa Wow! This was one activity I was really looking forward to. All of the videos and photographs of this crater lake are so stunning I could not wait to lay eyes on it myself. And boy did it deliver! The water is a stunning blue. The hike in is challenging and offers new views at every switchback. We hiked, we kayaked, we laughed, we cried (hiking back up that is!). Then we had a nice lunch at Samay Kirutoa Lodge.

It was a long drive back to Quito, and most of us slept, but we had a HUGE wake-up call, and our scariest moment of the entire trip, when a man strolled into traffic and a whole line of cars had to brake to avoid killing him! It was truly terrifying, and thank goodness for Alex in shotgun and Victor in the driver’s seat for spotting it and stopping in time.

We rested for a moment at the hotel, then chose La Purisima for dinner. I was so glad we did! It had a local vibe, with lots of Ecuodorians having leisurely meals with dessert. The plates (the actual plates) were antique and unique and made us feel homey.  My food was delicious and we tried several appetizers before our entrees and a traditional dessert.

Ecuador Day 5: Cotopaxi

Our next day trip from Quito promised to be a cold, windy, snowy challenge. Today we would climb to the refuge house on the Cotopaxi Volcano, the second highest peak in Ecuador.

Victor picked us up in the van and we drove to the parking lot where we would stage our hike up the very, very steep ascent to the refuge at 15,953 feet. The trail was made up of very loose rock and ash and it was a real challenge to get a foothold. It seemed like every step I took up I slid two steps down. The wind nearly blew me right over several times, and the rain was soaking my pants.

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Ecuador Day 4: Mindo

Very Special Reunion: Tuesday was a very special day–it marked the reunion of Team Ecuador! Shawna and Chad flew in from Phoenix, and Meg and Alex flew in from Denver to meet me, John, Joe, and Lori. Victor came to fetch us at the hotel and we were ready to hit the road. We fit nicely in Victor’s passenger van. Alex, Shawna, and Chad are all fluent in Spanish so they helped Victor translate! It worked great.

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Ecuador Day 2: Ciclopaseo Fail

Sometimes even the best planning results in a fail. I was SO EXCITED to participate in the Quito Ciclopaseo, which is the 8 am-2 pm timeframe on Sundays when 30 km of downtown roads are closed to traffic so that bicycles can roam. But when we woke Sunday morning the sun was shining bright, and we knew we had to grab our opportunity to take the Teleferico: the gondola that climbs to the top of Cruz Loma. We had been warned that this is not fun when the weather is not good, and we would only have two other days to risk missing it.

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