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Gliding Around After Staying in the Jungle

Our time on tour where we stayed in a Jungle Lodge in Tena before heading to Banos to feel like we were flying and finally Cuenca our final stop in Ecuador


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We left Quito bound for Tena and the Amazon jungle. We had a six hour bus trip with our new tour group. We arrived in Tena and with the heat and humidity I instantly felt faint and like I was going to vomit! Thankfully this was short lived.

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We were off in a ute to our jungle stay for the next three days. We basically were stayed in a hut with a mosquito net.

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Our first afternoon after lunch of soup, rice and chicken we were off to see the river that joins the amazon, along the way we dodged ants nests and fought off the bugs. It was a relaxing face mask after that. The mud came from a small creek in the area which was full of minerals and great for your skin. We all looked stunning as we walked back down the road to our accommodation with the locals looking at us sideways.
The area we stayed in had minimal animals left in it. The main reason for this was the locals around had over hunted the area in the past. While there we saw plenty of bugs including a massive tarantula.

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The next day it was off to go canyoning over the waterfalls. I opted to stay behind and swim in the waterhole and relax in the hammock as I was still feeling under the weather from the day before. Lewis had a great time and came back saturated. That afternoon we went off to learn about the native plants and what makes up Ayahuasca. The guys explained the plants they use for diabetes and how they can find a cure for most things around the property. We also went panning for gold in the nearby stream. Sadly we didn't get any but we could see how the original process is painstakingly slow.

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Our final day in the jungle was full on. We started with going to the school and visiting the local kids. The family who runs our homestay is also run the school. Us staying helps get the funding to a level where they can do that. The kids range from 5 - 15 years old. We brought them food and I had balloons. The balloons were a massive novelty. When we showed them how to our throw them around in the air the planned game of football was side lined a little as the kids were more interested to play with the balloons.

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After an hour we were off to our next destination, the swimming holes at the end of the road. They were naturally made in a river. They were extremely chilly! We hitched a ride back to our camp and spent the afternoon learning how to use a blow dart and make chocolate. The chocolate was delicious especially with the bananas dipped into it.

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We learnt some of the traditions that are associated with the local people there....how marriage works, how Ayahuasca process works and the cleansing associated with it. We also learnt about how people become shaman including how they have tests when they are young and that you will know all you need to by the time you are 12!!! It was surprisingly relaxing spending time in the jungle and I could have stayed longer.

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Our next stop in Ecuador was Banos. A town famous for waterfalls, hot pools and adventure sport. We saw the masses of waterfalls on the way. The first afternoon I convinced Lewis to come with me to a swing...not just any swing but the swing off the edge of the earth. At a seismic monitoring centre there is a treehouse and a swing that goes off the side of the hill. We got there and I was a little disappointed. The swings have had the safety increased. The swing is on a bar rather than on the branch and slightly back from the cliff. It was still a great experience to swing over a valley with a volcano puffing in front of you. I was pretty happy.

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After a delicious pizza for dinner we had an amazing activity planned for the next day. We had both signed up to go paragliding. The weather held up so we were off to a hill range outside of Banos. It was crazily windy and cold. We discovered we would be doing a top landing...basically we would come back down where we took off. Lewis and I had the same pilot, Henry. A great guy who had done over 400 hours in the air.

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When it was my turn I was freaking out...my knees buckled and the wind was strong on the kite I was attached too and dragged me around a bit. We finally got into the air and the flying began. It was exhilarating and an amazing experience. I could see the numerous volcanos around us and had birds gliding under me. Henry was great and pointed all of the different areas out to me as we did tricks and swoops. I really didn't want it to finish. Lewis ended up landing in over 40km/hr winds and got a bit swept away when he landed. He also nearly ended up on a cow!

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We got back and it was tapas and vino tintos for dinner. We were all keen to celebrate our epic days of adventure. The dinner turned into going out and learning salsa.

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Our whole group was feeling worse for wear on our 9 hour bus ride the next day. There was minimal talk in the bus until about 5pm.

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Our last destination in Ecuador was a colonial town called Cuenca.It has a gorgeous old town. We spent the day exploring the churches and the beautiful colonial buildings. There was great street art scattered amoungst with it.

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For lunch we went to get Belgium Waffles in a park. It was the highlight of our day and was so relaxing in the park. The waffles covered in strawberries, ice cream and chocolate were delicious but the park also had numerous birds and llamas in it. It was amazing to see them up close. I understand the birds are there as they have been injured so it is a recovery centre.

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We also managed to find the rugby on in Cuenca...So we got to watch Italy lose to France. This was a highlight for Lewis. It was another big travel day the next day. Nine hours and a border crossing. But then we will be at the beach!

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Posted by chellebelle 13:04 Archived in Ecuador Tagged waterfalls chocolate jungle walks hot paragliding swing cold banos waffles massive ranges tena gadventure volcanoes! Comments (0)

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