Why Travel to Ecuador & Why You’ll Love It

We’re sharing our 8-day guided trip to Ecuador with Gate1 Travel! Postponed due to COVID, we finally made the trip to Ecuador and it was more than amazing! If you’re considering an Ecuador vacation all we can say is do it!! We did not go to the Galapagos Islands on this trip, but Ecuador has soooooo much to offer outside of the islands. And when you take your Ecuador vacation with Gate Travel you don’t have to think about a thing, you just show up and enjoy the tour, sights, experiences, and food!

We did so much and stayed in some of the most amazing resorts and haciendas in Ecuador during this week in Ecuador and can’t recommend traveling to Ecuador enough! In this episode we share our best Ecuador travel tips, detail where we went, what we did, and how much we spent. Spoiler: Ecuador is a very affordable trip to take!

On this 8-day Ecuador trip we explored:

  • Quito colonial district
  • The Equator! Visit to the middle of the world.
  • Shopping at Otavalo Market
  • The native history and exploring Peguche waterfall
  • Spa and thermal hot springs at the amazon Termas de Papallacta
  • La Punta Ahuano on the Napo River 
  • Hiked the Amazon Rainforest!
  • El Pailon del Diablo, the largest waterfall in Ecuador
  • Banos, Ecuador
  • Rose plantation in Ecuador

8 Seriously Amazing Days of our Travel to Ecuador- Episode Transcript

1 (41s):
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad podcast. Today, we’re talking all about our most recent squad trip to Ecuador.

3 (1m 6s):
I mean, what a great time that we had in Ecuador ladies, right? It was an O G squad experience Zeno’s with us, but most exciting and a little bit weird about this trip was that it was our first international getaway since COVID. And by that, I mean, outside of going to Mexico, which is our friendly neighbor to the south, we live right by, did a lot of that, but it was really weird being the first time flying to a new country since COVID so a unique experience in that. Right. But really, really fun time all around in Ecuador. Enjoyed it so much. Yeah.

2 (1m 35s):
Yeah. I did too. It felt so good to finally take a real legit trip. And it was great. I mean, I didn’t know much about Ecuador going into it. We definitely purchased based on the sale. And I, I didn’t say this to anybody before, but I was kind of thinking about it like, oh, we’ve already been approved. It’s going to be just like Peru. Why did I waste my money booking this? I should have went somewhere. I haven’t been before. And I was like, it’s going to be exactly like Peru. And I was really pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t just like Peru. It was very different. It was very cool. I learned so much about Ecuador. We got to go to many different aspects of the country. We didn’t even get to see it all. And there’s still so much more to see,

1 (2m 16s):
You know, every time I told people that we were going to Ecuador, it was like, why Ecuador? And kind of got that same response when we talked about going to China, why China? But it was one of those things where it’s like, why not? Why wouldn’t you go here?

2 (2m 27s):
Well, also when people would ask that, I didn’t even really know what to say. It was like, I don’t know. I’m just going, like, what are you doing in Ecuador? I’m like, I don’t know. I’m just visiting.

3 (2m 35s):
Well, one to throw out real quick, guided tour, shout out to gate one. This was another gate. One. Adventure had an amazing, amazing time with it. But yeah, I mean, Ecuador’s famous for the Galapagos islands. If you don’t know what the Galapagos islands are, it’s filled with a rich amount of life, sea life, bird, life pisses, where Charles Darwin actually came up with theory of evolution, just because of how crazy the life is out. We didn’t get to go to that. Our ventures and Ecuador included the Highlands and the Andes mountains and going into the start of the Amazon. So into the Ecuadorian Amazon. So we didn’t even get to see the Pacific coast. The Ecuador has, we were in the high lands by the volcanoes and into the Amazon itself.

3 (3m 18s):
So Ecuador a really cool place for nature. I mean, if you’re really into nature, Ecuador is a cool place. Has the volcanoes too. So I enjoyed it a lot, really awesome all around.

2 (3m 29s):
It was an eight day Ecuadorian adventure through gate one travel coming in at around $1,200 for the booking, which includes everything,

1 (3m 40s):
Flights, hotels, transportation, tickets to attractions, and the majority of our meals,

3 (3m 46s):
Breakfast every day, majority of dinners and lunches,

2 (3m 50s):
I really enjoy guided tours. You don’t have to think about anything. Everything is planned and it’s like really cool places. You stay really great food. The experiences are all put together for you. It’s awesome.

1 (4m 3s):
And like, if there is a day where they don’t include a meal, they’ll suggest places for you to go and get a meal. So you don’t even have to think about that.

2 (4m 11s):
Yeah. And the few times we did have to get meals on our own. It was always a struggle. We were like, where do we go? What should we order? What is this stuff in my hot chocolate?

3 (4m 20s):
I will say this though. The one thing, and it will probably get to it a little bit later, but just speaking of food as we are right now that I’m going to throw out my favorite thing about Ecuador terms of food. When we were, had to get stuff on our own, not that was included for us, which still was Ecuadorian, but not like out in the streets, if you will. And then local restaurants was the empanadas. And let me tell you this, when we got in Ecuador, do you know I have a Mexican taste for Savita here. It kind of let me down. But when I got those empanadas and Ecuador, I said to myself, man, these are way better than Mexican empanadas that I get. So give and take in the Latin world on what type of cuisines, even though they kind of have the same thing, each country has its own flair. And those empanadas and Ecuador are fire.

1 (4m 60s):
We’ve got lots of tips for you. Lots of tips, tips, tips, tips,

2 (5m 3s):
Tips, tips. Let’s give them the tip.

1 (5m 5s):
All right. So you may need to get vaccinated for this trip. And I don’t just mean COVID vaccinated. Yes. That was one of the requirements that you do show your vaccination for COVID-19, but they also recommended getting vaccinated for yellow fever because we were going to the Amazon and also for typhoid,

2 (5m 22s):
I did not get either one of those vaccines. Not because they didn’t try, but because my medical clinic couldn’t figure out how to do that, but they are recommended but not required.

3 (5m 32s):
Right? And so if you’re going to Ecuador and you’re not going to the Amazon or the Amazon region, you don’t need the yellow fever. Typhoid is a type of bacteria that you can get basically from eating dairy. So that one I don’t want to say is like a hit or miss, you know, roll the dice type of thing. But you know, if you want to play it safe, you can do the typhoid for that, regardless of where you go. I think a lot of places, unless you’re going to Europe, they always do recommend the typhoid, but yellow fever, again, specifically Amazon region.

2 (5m 60s):
You’ll also want altitude sickness medication, depending on where you’re going. If you’re going to be at a high altitude up in the Andes, like we were, it is helpful because you do get out of breath easily in that altitude, you could even feel a little ill, like some people on the trip did.

1 (6m 14s):
Yeah. And the biggest symptom that we saw, which is what we saw on Peru is like the tingling in your hands and feet then you’ll know you’re at a higher altitude.

3 (6m 23s):
Yeah. You’re up in the Andes. I think Quito was at about 8,000 feet, a couple of our hotels in places that we stayed we’re at 10 and 11,000 feet up in the mountains. So you will be high up there unless you are in the Amazon or on the coast. Ecuador is a very mountainous oriented country and very, very high up.

2 (6m 42s):
You’ll also want insect repellent, especially in the Amazon. You don’t want to get bitten up by mosquitoes or spiders.

1 (6m 48s):
Another really great tip is that Ecuador uses a U S dollar. So there’s no need to exchange any money. And they also use American plugs. So you don’t have to bring any adapters or converters.

3 (6m 60s):
Yeah. One thing I want to say about Ecuador using the U S dollar. So they definitely do, but it’s interesting in a way, because they will use change like our normal quarters, dimes, pennies, things like that. But also at the same time, they’ve made their own versions of that. So if you’re using whatever dollar amount that you are and breaking it and get changed back, you may get a mix of coins, American coins versus their coins. They spend the same on our equal value, but definitely spend that Ecuadorian change first because it’s no good here in the U S so do use that. And also I feel like this is every place in the world, except for the United States. The United States uses dollar bills.

3 (7m 41s):
Did not see dollar bills over there. Did

2 (7m 44s):

3 (7m 44s):
I never got a dollar bill back and change. The only change I got back in dollars were always coins. They were like the presidential dollar coins or the Sacagawea coins. I never got dollar bills back. Only dollar bills I saw were the ones that I brought.

2 (7m 58s):
I had dollar bills really

3 (7m 59s):
Well. It’s one thing I hate about traveling in other countries is I feel like a lot of the dollars are always in the coins and it just like weighs down my pocket a little bit. So expect that.

2 (8m 7s):
I love that aspect of

3 (8m 9s):
It. Well for a girl with a purse it’s not too bad as a guy

2 (8m 11s):
With a pocket money. Oh,

3 (8m 14s):
Okay. I thought you’re talking about the coins. And I was like, oh,

2 (8m 16s):
We even went to a ATM to plot some cash and they did not charge an ATMP.

3 (8m 21s):
Nice. Another really good solid tip is to visit during the dry season. Now the dry season is June to September. We happen to be there at the start of September. So we were still in dry season. Otherwise for the most part, our tour guide was saying reins pretty often and frequently around there. So if you don’t want to get wet or be in the rain and want good weather go during June and September

2 (8m 42s):
And some other housekeeping tips, you don’t want to drink the water drink, bottled water. It’s sold everywhere. It’s pretty cheap. And then, you know, we have to gave you the rundown on the bathrooms.

1 (8m 53s):
You gotta bring your own TP. TP is not guaranteed in Ecuador at

3 (8m 57s):

2 (8m 59s):
And shout out gate one because she would give us a roll of TP that we could pull off of as we’re getting off the bus to use the side of the road bathrooms. Cause she knew there would be no TP,

1 (9m 9s):
You know, and some of the bathrooms, they would have the toilet paper holder outside of the bathrooms, like before you even walk in. So like male or female to grab, but there’s like no privacy in that. Like what if you need more?

2 (9m 21s):
Yeah. You’re just like pulling down the whole roll. Like, oh,

3 (9m 24s):
That’s the one thing I just like, I so used to here in the United States, in another countries, I’m fortunate enough that when we travel, I really don’t have to go number two out unless like we’re in the hotel. Once in the hotel, it’s a different story. But in those public restrooms, it’s just like, man, like sometimes even when they have the attendance and you got to pay to use, which by the way, all of these bathrooms that are public are paid to use just like a lot of places throughout the world, except in the United States. They’ll give you like a couple pieces of toilet paper. And it’s like, what if you need more load me mean like a couple that’s crazy.

1 (9m 55s):
Do you have to pay for pile of

3 (9m 56s):
Toilet paper? I don’t know, but I remember what I remember. One of the men’s restrooms that I went into, I don’t know if you ladies paid attention to the prices that they had outside, considering our tour guide was paying for us, but they charged a specific price. If it was like men just using a urinal versus men needing toilet paper, they charge more

2 (10m 16s):
And you don’t throw the toilet paper in the toilet. You throw it in the trash next to the toilet,

1 (10m 20s):
Which is very similar to what we experienced in Peru. So now that we’ve wrapped up all of the tips, let’s talk about our first day, departing Miami and arriving in Ecuador.

3 (10m 31s):
Yeah. So day one was our departure. On Monday. We didn’t mention this except Brittany just kind of touched upon it. We did spend a couple of days in Miami because our flights from our tour were out of Miami

2 (10m 42s):
On a Monday morning. So we did the weekend before.

3 (10m 44s):
Absolutely. So we get to the airport and we’re ready for our flight. Super, super excited to get a stamp in our passport for the first time since COVID. And I just want to say here, we used our travel hack that we always talk about. We tell you, we will tell it to you. If you give us a five star written review, we got ourselves upgraded from coach to premium economy, had our own cabin on the airplane. Nobody pretty much in there. The seats were like two by three by two. We were in the two by the windows, much wider for the recline, had foot rests for us. Super, super comfortable. So again, if you want that upgrade hack, please give us that five star written review and screenshot it, send it to us and we will tell it to you, but what a way to start the trip in style, getting upgraded.

3 (11m 34s):

2 (11m 34s):
Oh, that was really nice. It was amazing. And so that was about a three and a half hour flight. So we touched down in Quito mid afternoon, maybe like noon-ish one-ish and are very sweet, happy gate. One tour guide. Is there waiting for us? Also, customs was very easy to get through like extremely easy,

1 (11m 53s):
Except for when we got someone pulled me to the side and I thought he wanted to look through my bag. So I put my bag up on the table and he was like, no. So then he like comes around,

2 (12m 4s):
Not just someone like a military dress,

1 (12m 6s):
Military dress. So he’s like, no, no. And then he asked me if I speak Spanish and I kind of do, but anyways, I told them no. So he was trying to ask me how much money I brought and I did not have the money on me. I only had like $50. So I said $50. And he looked at me like I was an idiot. And then he asked me again and I said $50. Cause that’s what I had on my person. And then he let me go. And I was like, that’s such a strange question to ask, but apparently there are like regulations of how much money you can actually bring into the country. So maybe I looked really rich.

2 (12m 44s):

3 (12m 46s):
So we landed, made it through customs minus Brittany’s hiccup. I feel like Brittany always has the hiccup and customs. Last time we flew internationally before COVID London. Something about Brittany is just a little off to those people I think is what it is. But anyway, I mean, Brittany mentioned this before, but before we get too far into day one and our arrival experience, I just want to mention what requirements there was to inter Ecuador on the day of COVID one, we actually had to show proof of vaccination. So if you plan to go to Ecuador or even a lot of places in the world right now, they do require you to show proof of vaccination. You need to bring your vaccination ID cards with you. Second, this wasn’t a requirement until about two weeks before we left at the start of September here. But they changed the rule.

3 (13m 27s):
And by they, I mean the Ecuadorian government, we now had to show a negative COVID test within 72 hours of getting on the plane. So 72 hours, three days. So we took our tests here in San Diego. We got our results back and they didn’t check it in customs, but the airlines now are attuned to the travel regulations. And before we could board the plane or even check in, they made sure that our names matched our flight information and our ticket information and made sure that we showed them a negative COVID test before getting on. So those are the requirements to get in. And I just want to throw that out there.

2 (13m 59s):
Perfect tip. That’s very important to know. And then we drove from the airport to our hotel. We were staying at in Quito, which was about an hour drive. We were staying at the Hilton cologne, Quito, really nice hotel. We got welcomed with delicious Blackberry juice.

3 (14m 16s):
It’s funny. You think it’s odd Blackberry juice, but Blackberry juice is a big thing in Ecuador. Every place we went had Blackberry juice. And let me tell you something. It doesn’t take us like blackberries that we have here in the states. And then when I eat them, I’m usually not like a Blackberry fan, but I loved their Jews and what was really good. I don’t know what they did of it. If it was like the juice with the Pope or they added something to it, but it had the texture of a smoothie. And I always felt like I was drinking something from Jamba juice when we had it. And that was like, one of the things I looked forward to every day was having Blackberry juice. Cause every day we got Blackberry juice.

1 (14m 47s):
So when we got to our hotel, our tour guide gave us a map and she was like, here are some places to eat around the area. Or if you want to go downtown to like the colonial section, here are some other places to eat. So she gave us some good recommendations and we were all pretty hungry. So we decided to eat right around the hotel area. We went to a place called mama chlorine and we had really, really great empanadas at this.

2 (15m 12s):
This was a traditional Ecuadorian food restaurant and the empanadas.

3 (15m 17s):
This is where the love of the empanada started. Let me tell you that we got shrimp ones. I think you got a cheese one and believe me, whenever we have the opportunity to get empanadas from here on out, we got empanadas and all different styles never failed to impress really, really good.

2 (15m 31s):
They were big. And you know, I knew Ecuador was known for empanadas going in, but I did not know they were going to be that big.

1 (15m 37s):
Yeah, they were really big and bananas. So we really enjoyed our linner. Cause it was like a lunch dinner situation. By the time we had gotten into our hotel and taquito, and then we decided that we wanted to walk from that area down to downtown and we wanted to visit a place called Vista Hermosa, which was a place that was recommended for us to eat at, but we didn’t want to eat dinner there. We wanted to go there because they had really beautiful views and get like dessert and drinks.

3 (16m 4s):
Yeah. So our first day here after the landing was pretty much a free day for us to do whatever we wanted. So our tour guide pretty much gave us those recommendations of what to do, what to see and said here have at it, the reason why is because not everybody that was on our tour arrived at the time we did, as a matter of fact, us four, because again, Zayna came with us. Plus two other people from our group were the first six to arrive in country. And people came throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening. So after getting those recommendations from our tour guide Giovanna, we were like, all right, we have to go to Vista or Mosa because she said, this is in downtown Quito, colonial district. And by colonial district, I’m talking to these old historic buildings that the Spanish built when they were colonizing and had control of Ecuador south America.

3 (16m 49s):
And it gives amazing views in this area, rooftop bar vibes, Kim got sold on that rooftop bar aspect of things. Yeah. So we had walked from our restaurant that we ate that for lunch to the colonial district and made our way to the top of Vista Hermosa. And it gave amazing views of Quito that we got to enjoy. They had the Spanish music and song flame create an audience. By the time we got there, it was close to sunset, really, really nice and unique experience.

1 (17m 16s):
So Jamal and I got dessert and then Kim and I also got hot chocolate. One thing that surprised us was there was something inside of our hot

2 (17m 23s):
Chocolate. It might’ve been cheese. It might’ve been tofu

1 (17m 26s):
Was definitely,

3 (17m 28s):
We don’t know.

2 (17m 30s):
It looked like tofu. It tasted like tofu, but it was cheese, cheese apparently.

3 (17m 35s):
Yes. Cause we even asked our server and he was like it’s cheese, but it was some type of weird cheese that they had

2 (17m 41s):
And then no flavor. And it was hard.

3 (17m 43s):
It was interesting. But minus that it was a great experience up there. The hot chocolate itself was good. Just the surprise inside. Doesn’t meet our local pallets that we have.

2 (17m 52s):
And this is where I learned to say, say survey Copa, Davino no Tinto, which means do you serve a glass of red wine? And they did. And I got it. And it was delicious

1 (18m 4s):
Red wine and your hot chocolate with

2 (18m 6s):
Cheese. Yes. All the drinks.

3 (18m 8s):
I just want to stress real quick. How much, if you’re going to go to Ecuador, I would recommend going to this place. Vista Alamosa squad tip There’s two locations. Originally, Brittany tried to route us to the wrong one. And we realized as we were getting close to going up a crazy set of stairs, that none of us wanted to climb. I was like, no, no, no. She said it was in downtown. This is going out in the other way. We Googled it found there was a different location to go to the downtown one. But the ambiance that you get being in a colonial district, overlooking the city, being high in the mountains itself, seeing the classic churches that they have there, it’s absolutely beautiful. And we got there around sunset time, really great ambiance experience for a cocktail or even just an evening, coffee tea, something like that.

1 (18m 55s):
And they do have heaters on the balcony cause it got a little chilly. They turn on the heater. It was perfect. Also on the rooftop, they had stairs up to another level and it looked like he could have like a private event in that area.

2 (19m 7s):
Yeah. There was even a table set up with like a heart of red rose pedals on the table. Like it looked like a proposal was about to happen there.

1 (19m 15s):
So it took us almost 40 minutes to an hour to walk there from where we originally were in Quito. But we decided to take a cab ride back. So we didn’t want to walk back in the dark ride. Back to her hotel was only $3 crazy.

3 (19m 27s):
That’s one thing I want to say about Ecuador is we only took this one cab, but from our communication with our tour guide Giovanna and other things, Cassie rides and Ecuador are not very expensive whatsoever. Granted, we spent a lot of time in the car because there’s traffic in the colonial district. It’s really like old neighborhoods. So was never designed for cars. Yet cars are driving in there. So he spent a lot of time, but distance wise is still relatively far and only $3. So really good deal on the taxis. If you need to utilize taxis and Quito, let alone Ecuador.

1 (19m 58s):
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1 (20m 46s):
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3 (20m 60s):
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2 (21m 12s):
All right, day two was going to The Equator. We were so excited for this, but that’s not all we did on day two. We woke up in the morning. We had not a buffet, but an included breakfast at the hotel gate. One at the beginning of every tour does like a welcome orientation, kind of a thing. Sadness circle. Yeah. It looked like an AA meeting. We introduce ourselves where we’re from, blah, blah, blah. Had more Blackberry juice. Very good

1 (21m 37s):
People are trying to outdo themselves like this is my 16th gate one tour. This is my 15th gate to her, but I have 10 more booked on top of it.

2 (21m 47s):
There were some gate, one diehards on this trip.

3 (21m 50s):
I don’t blame them. Get one as legit, by the way. I mean, this was Brittany and I’s fourth. Was it not? So we’re, we’re working our way close to being some of those people over there when we do the group circles again.

2 (22m 1s):
And this route of Ecuador was the first time they have done it since COVID so over a year and a half that they had trips pause. And so we were the first bunch to be back on the road with them.

3 (22m 14s):
Yeah. So these welcome meetings are really just one. So we can meet everybody that we’re going to be traveling with, break the ice, get more in touch and in tune with our tour guide. And most importantly for her to just kind of tell us what it is exactly we’re going to be doing. I mean, we all booked the itinerary, we received it. We know it. But just to hear her, tell us, Hey, this is the game plan. This is what we’re doing. This is what we’re going to be seeing. So it’s definitely a nice little orientation. And then, so we started off the morning after that breakfast and Blackberry juice and orientation, we did a tour of Quito. So they took us around, showed us the colonial district, explained a little bit more of the history and the buildings that we’re seeing. I mean, it’s awesome. Some of these buildings date back even to the 16 hundreds, most of them, 17, 18 hundreds, but really, really unique took us to an overlook place where we got to see the city itself.

3 (23m 3s):
And like Kim said, making our way to The Equator.

2 (23m 6s):
So along our tour of the colonial, we were able to see the Archbishop’s palace independence Plaza, the big cathedral, the presidential palace and bonus. We actually got to see the president of Ecuador in the flesh.

1 (23m 20s):
Like we were no more than 30 feet away from him, which would never happen in the U S

2 (23m 24s):
Oh, it was crazy. They were doing some like 200 year independent celebration for Ecuador and Latin America. And wow. He was just standing right there. Yes. So that was exciting.

1 (23m 37s):
And then we also went to a church and it was called luck company. They, Hey, Seuss church and it’s so beautiful on the inside. You can’t take any pictures on the inside, but it’s very beautifully gilded like gold interior everywhere. And it’s just really, really nice and impressive to just enjoy and walk around and got

2 (23m 55s):
Yeah. And something cool about gate one is that you’re not just taken on this tour and given all this stuff that’s included, you are getting a history lesson of everything you’re you’re seeing. So it was pretty cool. The background story of the entrance to this church where it was so gold, layered everything, and it had a really big sun painted on it. These were things that they did to the entrance of the church to attract the indigenous people to the church so that they would convert to Catholicism. So things like the sun and the gold and how the sun hit it and gleaned off of it would attract people there and would help the Spanish achieve their goals of colonialization.

3 (24m 32s):
Yeah. Very unique. That’s one of the things too that I like about guided tours in general is like when you go to someplace in Europe or someplace in Latin America and your experience in a city. Yeah. It’s cool to see the architecture of the buildings. And you may know like, Hey, yeah, this is a colonial district, but unless you’re actually getting the, like the true history and story behind it, it puts it in a different perspective that I think makes the tour more enjoyable because otherwise then you’re just going to a city to go to a city. And then if you’re not experienced or learning anything about it, then what does it do? But that’s just my opinion on it. And one of the reasons why I really loved the guided tour, so very unique experience in the colonial district itself.

1 (25m 9s):
So from colonial Quito, we actually hopped on a bus and we went to go visit The Equator. It’s this really big monument called middle of the world monument, but it’s not in the middle of the world.

3 (25m 20s):
Yes. So when they actually built this monument in Ecuador, this is where the official equator was to the best of their knowledge of doing mathematics and every type of calculation that you can do. Well once they built it few years later with the advancements of GPS and other technology, they realized that this monument itself is not even on The Equator. It is north of The Equator by about 200 meters, which means 600 feet. So in reality, based off of the technology people had, and having to figure this out with basic math of really where it is to be off by 600 feet is quite impressive, quite honestly, but this monument, they acknowledge it. Now. It’s not really in the real spot.

3 (26m 1s):
They know it, but it’s still a monument to go to that marks the equator. It’s the namesake of the country of Ecuador. Ecuador means equator in Spanish, right? So it’s a big, big thing for them. But I myself said to the girls, you know what, I’m cool with this. I love it. It’s here. Let’s take our photos, but I really want to go to the real equator. And I had read online before the trip that there is a place around, in that area where you can exit the monument Plaza that they do have, and you can stand on the real equator. So we asked our tour guide about this. She said, oh yes, it’s here. You could go there and do that. So we did that. And yet we found the location where it was, but we were unable to go and stand on the official line because where it falls now is on somebody’s private land.

3 (26m 46s):
They’ve turned it into a business you have to pay to get in, which is fine. We would have done that, but they said they don’t just allow anybody in. They require you to do it as a tour. And it takes about 45 minutes. So we walked about 15 minutes to get there. And we’re pretty much told that we can’t stand on the official equator, which was a major, major buzzkill for me. I’m not going to lie major buzzkill,

1 (27m 6s):
But at the monument of the middle of the world, they do have lots of shops. They have a lot of restaurants. You can get really good pictures. So it is a nice area to enjoy. And we did get a lot of group picks that were really nice. And we did eat at a restaurant there that looked out to the area. So that was really cool. And then from there, we drove to Otavalo

2 (27m 25s):
When we got to Otavalo, I was like blown away at the resort that we were staying at. It was on a lake across the lake was a gorgeous volcano that you had amazing view of the restaurant that we would eat at had windows right on the lake. You could go walk out onto the deck. You can sit on the swings out there. There were a bunch of swings everywhere. There was a huge swing that you can take a picture on. It was so picturesque, so cute. They had fireplaces in all of the rooms. Some of ours got lit, some of ours didn’t, But it was just beautiful. I loved this property and I was not expecting it at all.

3 (28m 1s):
I loved it too. I mean, these hotels, if you want to call them that, because I hate to do it a disservice by calling it a hotel, it was almost kind of like a little Hacienda in a way. And we had our own little Pueblo or whatever term you really want to use. Very, very nice building had the fireplaces, but there’s something to be said about the scenic beauty of being high up in the Andes mountains at the foot of a lake and a volcano. And you look across the lake and you see the top of a volcano. I mean, what an amazing experience in and of itself and just the scenic beauty. And I loved it, loved it, loved it because the whole grounds of the resort area were beautiful. We had time to go into that restaurant and bar area, get some drinks, look out onto the lake volcano, talk with people that are on our tour, get to know them.

3 (28m 47s):
Cause again, this is technically really the first official day. So a nice experience all around. And that’s where we started having some of the wine out there where Kim loved to practice her Spanish with the requesting a cup of red wine.

2 (28m 59s):
Yeah. We had our welcome dinner here, the official gate one welcome dinner. So we sat down in the properties restaurant. They welcomed us with this nice warm tea that was like cinnamon. And

1 (29m 11s):
It had alcohol. It

2 (29m 12s):
Had rum in it, I think. And it was really good though.

3 (29m 15s):
I thought it was just a cinnamon tea. And then our tour guide told us, oh no, there’s alcohol in there too. And it’s like, even better. Like this is good. Like it was good.

2 (29m 23s):
It was really good. The fireplace was going. And then we had our meal selection of our app, our main and a dessert.

1 (29m 31s):
Absolutely amazing. Is this the dinner where you got a little saucy and slurred your words on us?

2 (29m 37s):
Well, also a drink was included on top of that welcome drink that you got. So when they came around, I had, like I said, just learn how to say Copa Dave, you know, Tinto. But instead I somehow said Copa de Tinto Vento. It was so funny at the time. My God.

3 (29m 55s):
Well, because we were pre drinking before the included drinks with dinner too. So we were having a good time and making good use of our first official day on the tour.

1 (30m 2s):
So at dinner they asked, who wants their fireplace to be lit while we’re at dinner. So Jamal and I are like, yes. Everyone’s like, yes, yes, yes. And we get back to our hotel and we’re like, there’s no fire going. What the heck? So we just keep waiting and waiting and waiting and nothing happens. Jamal actually goes back out to make sure that they’re coming. They say they’re coming. And no one came by.

3 (30m 23s):
Well, yeah, because when we had gotten back to our room from dinner, so again at dinner, they asked us, do we want our fireplace lit, they’re going to send workers from the hotel to light it. When we got back to the room, we actually noticed that we had turned down service. They put a chocolate on our bed. We discovered something in our bed, very pleasant, surprise, Bolsa. They are , which means basically a bag of hot water. And it’s a rubber balloon. Pretty much. That’s filled with hot water. You have a little pouch that goes over it. So you’re not actually touching the rubber itself. It’s actually really cute, really quaint. And this is their way of heating up the bed. So I thought to myself like, okay, well they’ve been in the room. We’ve already told them that we want the fire.

3 (31m 2s):
They didn’t light the fire. So I find our tour guide. Who’s still in the restaurant and say, Hey, are they coming? She says, oh yeah. I said, okay. I just didn’t know, because we already had turned service. Like, no, no, no, no. They’re going to be coming. Nobody came. I even took my wine that I had left over from dinner. I was like, Ooh, I can’t wait to have my wine sitting in front of the fireplace. This is going to be nice. And I didn’t drink that cup of wine. Cause I was holding out for that fire that never came. Lo and behold, we wake up in the morning and Kim and Zana tell us, oh, how nice was that fire? It was like, you’re fucking with me. Right? And no one came for the party. Like, no, no, no, no. We have a buyer then. Sure enough showed me the burnt wood in there. I’m just like, we did not get a fire disappointment, but that Bolsa, the fire.

3 (31m 43s):
I am sold on that for life now. Great, awesome thing. We’ve just recently bought it off of Amazon. Can’t wait till it comes.

2 (31m 49s):
I loved it. We came in, our sheets were pulled back. There was a little piece of chocolate on the bed. There was a Bolsa de Agua Caliente in the bed. The guy came in shortly after pitched a fire for us. It was Supreme relaxation.

1 (32m 3s):
You know, the only thing that it was missing was an alpaca rug in front of the fireplace

2 (32m 8s):
Keeps saying that like, where how’d you get that in your head?

3 (32m 12s):
It’s an inside joke. We heard somebody one time say that it was one of their, I don’t want to say fantasies, but they really wanted to make love in front of a fireplace, on a rug and a roaring fire, a big roar in fire, on a road.

1 (32m 25s):
They wanted like a bear skin rug. But since we we’re out of the country, no packer

3 (32m 30s):
Rug. So that’s why she keeps saying alpaca.

2 (32m 33s):
Alrighty. Well now I know what you guys are into.

3 (32m 37s):
That’s why I saved the wine Kim and the fire never

2 (32m 40s):
That’s too bad. Cause my wine with the fire was really

3 (32m 43s):
Nice that it was okay.

2 (32m 45s):
Day three. Now we’re an Otavalo. And one of the biggest things that this place in Ecuador is known for is the auto follow market where the local people have handicrafts, a lot of blankets, tapestries, different kinds of arts and crafts that they sell in this massive market every single day.

3 (33m 2s):
Yeah. So we got to experience the market, but I think you jumped a little bit ahead, Kim. We forgot in the morning we went to the waterfall that was in the area. I hope I’m not butchering the pronunciation of it, but I think it’s called . Is that not how you say the name of the waterfall? Right. So this is again, up in the mountains. First thing in the morning, before we went to the market, we went here. Our tour guide was telling us that before the colonization, by the Spaniards of Ecuador in that region, this waterfall was actually a place that the indigenous people would go and it had some sort of spiritual purpose for them. Do you ladies remember what it was that she said that they did that

2 (33m 40s):
It’s twice a year on the summer and winter solstice. They want to honor the bad energy, bad demons, just as much as they do good. Because you know, they believe that there is this contrast in the world and you have to honor it

3 (33m 54s):

2 (33m 55s):
Exactly dark and light. And so every year on the solstice, thousands of people come from around this area and they have a seven day party basically. So you’re drinking the Cheecha, you’re playing music, you’re dancing and it’s 24 7. And it apparently it’s the same song and the same dance over and over and over again. And they go to this waterfall first to cleanse themselves, right? And then they do this party. And then that is where they end the seven days as well, clearing off the bad demons. And so it sounded fun. We weren’t there during the party.

3 (34m 27s):
If we’re there during the party, I’m rocking it by the way, I can tell you that. But the waterfall itself really beautiful. This area areas in a forested area has trails for you to follow. That leads up to the waterfall, not very far of a hike at all. I would say it’s probably less than half a mile round trip and an outright. Lady’s not very bad. So we did see the waterfall, our first waterfall siding and Ecuador up in the mountains. Really nice. And then we did make our way to that Otavalo market.

1 (34m 53s):
Yes, we then made it to the market. There was lots of things to buy. You could buy rugs, you could get your alpaca rug. If you wanted to

3 (35m 2s):
Pack a rug, Brittany is still on it. You

1 (35m 4s):
Can get handwoven, cloth jewelry, traditional goods. I personally bought a bookmark with a hummingbird on it. Cause that’s like the country’s animal that they talked about. And I also got a magnet that we’re going to turn into a Christmas ornament.

3 (35m 18s):
You forgot to mention you and Kim got matching beanies. I can’t wait to see you ladies, snow bunny, that aspect of those Ecuadorian beanies.

1 (35m 25s):
Yes. And there are made out of alpaca wool on the inside.

2 (35m 28s):
There you go. Just lay that down on the ground.

1 (35m 31s):
Big enough.

2 (35m 33s):
Yeah. They had tons of stuff. I really wanted to get a table runner, but they didn’t have the right size for my table. They have bunch of different like little toys and music, things and tapestries and shot glasses. And you know, all of that kind of like souvenir type stuff.

1 (35m 48s):
Lots of artwork. People were bargaining hats as well.

2 (35m 52s):
Yeah. Oh, and that’s a funny thing that I learned that Panama hat isn’t from Panama, it’s from Ecuador.

3 (35m 59s):
That was a unique story. And it’s became known as a Panama hat because they sold them there to avoid taxes and things of that nature. So what do you see those Panama hats? They’re really Ecuadorian, I guess. And there’s a reason why, but I don’t remember the story too much to go into full detail. And I don’t want to steer you guys astray, but realistically, I mean, I know you guys said that at the market really souvenir stuff, souvenir for us, but Otavalo really, I don’t think as a touristy area. So this is stuff and crafts that people really buy for themselves as locals to have that they need, you know, the beanies, the gloves, the tapestries, things of that nature.

2 (36m 35s):
Tons of blankets. I was very close to buying a blanket, but I didn’t end up getting one

1 (36m 40s):
That was very close to buying a scarf, but I did not buy,

2 (36m 44s):
We had lunch here as well after we were done shopping, we stumbled upon this little, I don’t even know what you would call it a

1 (36m 50s):
Little cafeteria. It

2 (36m 51s):
Looked, it was like a door you walk in. And then it was a hallway of different food hall.

3 (36m 56s):
That’s like their, basically their food court, but not like a big food court had like maybe five different vendors in there. Pretty cool though.

2 (37m 3s):
We got empanadas. These ones were made with corn set of flour and they were so good. It was like shredded chicken and cheese. Oh my God. They were so good. I really want one right now.

3 (37m 14s):
I’m all about the Ecuador. Nympha nada. I will tell you that. I mean, they were really, really good. So that’s where we had our lunch. We got to experience the waterfall of the market, but the real highlight of day three here that I think we were all super excited for way before the trip. As soon as we booked this itinerary, which by the way, we were supposed to go September of last year, it got canceled because of COVID went this year, September. So I mean, this one was a long time coming and we were all super excited for day three tonight, which was Termas de Papallacta. So Papallacta is a city, but the resort has built around these natural thermal hot Springs that we got to experience at 11,000 feet up in the Andes mountains. And my God was this one of the highlights, if not the highlight for me of the entire trip.

2 (37m 57s):
Yeah. I would have to agree. The scenery was so picturesque, huge mountains, the fog everywhere, the steam coming off of the gorgeous thermal pools that were literally right outside of your door to your room. Literally.

1 (38m 10s):
Yeah, we got there. We got some tea cause it was a little chilly out. And then we immediately changed in, in her bathing suits and hopped right into the thermal pools right outside our room.

3 (38m 19s):
It’s like, these are right there. Quite honestly, you know, you go to a hotel and you got to walk to the pool. If there’s a pool area. No, no, no. I didn’t have to walk anywhere. I stepped outside the porch of my hotel room and boom, there was a natural thermal pool. Now when we say natural, this is naturally fed thermal water. Clearly this is a resort area. They’ve done it up. So the pool itself is manmade not going to lie, but that didn’t take away from the ambiance of just sitting in those natural thermal waters, looking up at the mountains, the lush greenness seen the fog, like you said, and the clouds up in there. And that was really great. But the selling point of it also was later that they, this is a resort spa area. We had a spa package treatment that we got to partake in.

1 (39m 1s):
Yes. So we booked a spa package in advance and we had no idea what it was even going to include. And we were just like, sign us up.

2 (39m 9s):

1 (39m 9s):
Actually thought that we were going to have to go outside of the hotel. Like that was my initial thought. So I didn’t know what was really included, but when we got to the spa, we learned that it was a 30 minute soak in the thermal pools, a 20 minute experience in the steam room and then a 30 minute massage

2 (39m 27s):
Neck and back massage. And it was amazing.

1 (39m 30s):
And in between they would give us like these waters or juices and there was tea and areas to relax. So it was a whole experience. You were there for like an hour and a half.

2 (39m 40s):
They also gave us robes plastic sandals and a gorgeous shower cap.

3 (39m 47s):
I usually don’t look at and hats, but I’m not gonna lie. I rocked that Spock hat to the point of what I was going to say is that this was a real spa experience. There’s locker rooms, there’s robes, there’s massage tables. They even give you the locker keys that you need to hold on to the steam room. They had a whole bunch of eucalyptus in there. So you’re breathing in natural steam plus the helium properties of the eucalyptus for your lungs, really cleansing. This was a true spa experience that we enjoyed out here. And honestly, one of my favorite days, if not my favorite, as we get further on into the trip, maybe one day, I’m going to say it was my favorite also it’s competing, but this was a really fun experience at Termas de Papallacta.

1 (40m 26s):
I wish we had more time. Yes ’cause I could have used another day to soak lounge and get another massage and enjoy another spa package.

2 (40m 35s):
Yeah. And you know, that is, I guess, pros and cons of guided tours. The con is that you’re on a pre-created tour. So even though we would have liked to see another day, that’s not what the tour had in store for us. So unfortunately we did it, but when we go back for the Galapagos, we’ll be staying here again.

3 (40m 52s):
Absolutely. I would specifically come to Termas to Papallacta even if we went back to Ecuador to just go to the Galapagos, I would come spend some more time out here. But before we move on from day three and this awesome experience, I just want to throw a shout out to the awesome food that we actually had here at this resort for dinner after our spot treatment. I well, all of us, except for you, Kim ended up getting the local trout, which here in the United States, I don’t get trout because I know it’s usually stocked in the lake, whereas over there, I know it’s natural. It was so, so good. But you ended up, what did you get? You got the

2 (41m 25s):
Pesto pasta, which was really, really good. Yeah.

3 (41m 27s):
And let me tell you this, I’m not even just saying this, you know, when you go to other countries, Italian food can sometimes be like, eh, you got that. I was wondering what it was going to be. I tried yours. And I think that was maybe one of the top three pesto’s I’ve ever tasted in my life at this resort here in the Andes mountains. So on suspected.

2 (41m 44s):
Well, so had this place was famous for their keen loss soup and it was so fucking good. Oh my God. It was so good.

3 (41m 53s):
You know how I know it was good, Brittany liked it. And she doesn’t like keenwah

1 (41m 57s):
I think keen was okay. I think people over-hype,

2 (42m 0s):
It it’s over-hyped for sure. And I don’t like it cold,

1 (42m 3s):
So it was really good in the soup.

2 (42m 5s):
It was really good as like a brothy vegetable keenwah soup. It had some cheese in it. Oh my God. It was so good. And you know, we haven’t really talked a lot about food and Ecuador outside of the empanadas, which are everything of the sort, but in Ecuador, a lot of the food is meat and vegetables and it’s like broccoli and zucchini or potatoes and Yuca, but a lot of steak or chicken or Turkey or

3 (42m 33s):

2 (42m 34s):
With the vegetables. Right. You know, we’ve been having steaks and trout, all of the stuff that was really, really good. So the pesto pasta was really nice refresher. Actually, everything we ate in Ecuador was amazing.

1 (42m 44s):
It really was

2 (42m 45s):
Even this weird hot dog plate. I got it. It said sausage and fries.

3 (42m 50s):
Oh yeah. We forgot. That was at the waiter. Yeah. Sausage and fries. And it turned out to be some sort of fancy roasted hot dog.

2 (42m 58s):
It looks like a hot dog with like the ends turned out on it, but it tasted really good.

1 (43m 5s):
So we were really sad to say goodbye to Termas de Papallacta, but we were leaving to head should the Amazon, which we were all super, super excited about. And when we arrived at the Amazon, we actually had to get off the bus and onto these motorized canoes to get to our hotel.

2 (43m 21s):
The portion of the Amazon that we went to was called La Punta Ahuano on the Napo River. And this is one of the many rivers that feeds into the large main Amazon. But it was definitely Amazon vibes out there.

3 (43m 35s):
But yeah, so the Napa river doesn’t have the name Amazon, but this is one of the first tributary rivers that actually feeds into the star of the Amazon. So you could say that the Amazon river really starts with the Napa river at that point.

2 (43m 47s):
No, Paranas

3 (43m 48s):
No Paranas yes. So where we were at, we were at an elevation of a thousand feet above sea level. And so most of the Amazon is at sea level. So our local guides that we had out there cause our tour guide Giovanna, she stayed with us, but in certain places we have localized guides and we had some there and they were telling us, you know, at this level at a thousand feet, we’re not really going to find Paranas. And the water came in, which are kind of like the south American versions of alligators. If you don’t know what it came in is, was basically like an alligator, but smaller. And he even said, no Jaguars at this level, they’re usually in the low lands. So the wildlife that we could have seen was monkeys Sloss. We’ll get to the point where we did see a monkey on a hike or some of us did.

3 (44m 28s):
It was very well camouflaged, but we did end up seeing some sort of wildlife in that respect on it. But you know, we’re at the edge of the Amazon itself just getting into it. So you can see the Highlands of the Andes mountains. And we’re just right at the foot, getting into the Amazon and riding those canoes with all those trees around us on the river, you could see all the lush greenery, the canopies of the trees. And then we round the corner of the Napal river. And then you could just see our resort on the edge of the cliff overlooking. And it just got me so fricking excited to come up to that and be like, wow, we’re going to stay at this lodge on the river here in the Amazon. Crazy.

1 (45m 4s):
It was a really amazing property. When you get there, you have to get off the canoe. Then you go up a whole bunch of stairs. It’s a pill cause you’re on the side of a cliff, but amazing views. When you get to the top, you have the pool and the bar overlooking the Amazon. You go to your hotel room and there’s no window shear hotel. The hotel faces out towards the Amazon. There’s just a big screen. Then there’s a balcony with a huge hammock laying out. And you just hear all of the sounds of the Amazon, the running water, the birds, the insects, everything. And it’s just like, so serene to be there.

2 (45m 38s):
I initially thought, oh shit, there’s no AC, there’s no windows. It’s going to be hot as hell. But there’s a really big fan in there. It actually kept it really cool. I had no problem sleeping.

3 (45m 48s):
I was really concerned when we hit showed up because I feel like online, if I remember correctly, what I saw of the hotel, that gate one had shown for that, I remember seeing an AC and then we get there. And then like you said, no windows in the sense of, they’re not glass, it’s just screen, that’s put up to have an opening. So you get the breeze, but obviously keep the insects out. But at night it cooled down really well. I think if you got deeper into the Amazon, that probably wouldn’t fly, but I think we’re at that kind of, mid-level just getting in. But in enough that in the evening at cooldown really, really nice and it made it quite enjoyable to sleep, hearing all that. And I enjoyed the fact that there was no windows, quite honestly. Yeah.

2 (46m 26s):
You woke up to the sounds of birds and the water. It was really, really nice.

1 (46m 31s):
Yeah. We actually didn’t have cell service in our rooms and there was no Wi-Fis in the rooms. So after dinner at night, I would go out onto the balcony, lay in the hammock and just like taken all the sounds and the sights. And it was just really nice to relax.

2 (46m 44s):
It’s really nice to wake up to that. The sun’s rising. The sounds are getting louder.

3 (46m 49s):
It’s very peaceful and serene, but I also, other than how cool the rooms were really enjoyed, the resort area had the pool in the center, had the bar, the bar was an open bar. It’s not like it’s a closed in building. I mean, you have a little roof over you, but you’re sitting out on this deck area, really amazing ambiance all around. So when we first got to the hotel, we enjoyed our experience, exploring it, getting drinks, having lunch. But then our first day in the Amazon, we got back on those canoes and we wrote to a little island, not too far away where there’s actually still an indigenous tribe that lives there. So our tour took us to their homes and pretty much showed us the daily life of the indigenous people that still live out there in the Amazon.

3 (47m 34s):
And what an experience that is,

1 (47m 36s):
Well, what an experience even getting there because they told us you’re going to need to get some boots. So we all had to go down to this room, pick out boots and our size, get on the canoe with these boots, life, best, everything canoe over. And then we had to transfer canoes. Like we had to take a canoe and then we got to piece of land. We had to cross the land and then take another canoe. But on that piece of land in the middle, we had to cross some like mud and sand. And this is where the boots came in hand because it was like quicksand almost.

2 (48m 7s):
We almost lost Cena to

3 (48m 9s):
Yeah, yeah. Almost fell into it. I had stepped into it, but didn’t really fall in real like, oh shit. And I went around and yet, I don’t know why the majority of people still continued on that straight path that I had avoided and was falling into it. But that area that we had to get off on that had the quick sand is pretty much a little sandbar. So the river elevation at that point was rather low. So normally if it’s a little bit higher, we could just get right to where we need to go and exit, but it wasn’t the case. The river was a little bit low. So we had to stop at that sandbar. And then from that, sandbar had to catch other non-motorized canoes. That would take us in that little shallow stretch across instead of waiting through and the boot. So we got to experience that little aspect because the river was a little bit low, but just seeing and experiencing how people in this world, specifically indigenous people in the Amazon still live is quite humbling.

3 (49m 0s):
I mean, they’ve learned how to live that lifestyle over thousands of years, they know exactly what to use, to burn, to keep mosquitoes away. Exactly what plant does this to make them feel better in a certain situation, how to hunt and make, blow dart guns to hunt game. And we got to see them do that. I mean, it’s crazy, really unique, humbling experience to see how people still live and let alone want to live in this world.

2 (49m 25s):
Do you remember what they Bert as mosquito repellent?

3 (49m 29s):
I think it was part of a termite mound or nest. Yes.

2 (49m 32s):
Yes, it was. So there you go.

3 (49m 34s):
Yeah. If you’re out in nature and want to keep mosquitoes away, find a termite nest and burn that

2 (49m 39s):
I thought it was really interesting as we were learning about the K-12 community is that yeah, they still live in these dirt floor, kind of like huts that they make. They sleep in hammocks as a family. They have just one big stove in the middle of their home. They don’t wear shoes. You know, they live off the land still. They don’t have electricity, they don’t have frigerators, but yet to go to school, they still send their kids on a canoe into the main town to log on to virtual school because they’re not attending school due to COVID. And so it’s the cross between the modern world and the indigenous old way of life. It was so interesting.

1 (50m 15s):
It was also interesting to know that there is electricity on the island. Like one point they did adapt that there, but the people who ended up getting refrigerators ended up realizing like they don’t need them. They don’t use them in that way, but what they have held on to his television like that is there.

2 (50m 29s):
Everyone loves TV

3 (50m 31s):
Entertainment who doesn’t love TV,

1 (50m 33s):
But the island we went to with called Anaconda island, there’s about 60 families that live on the island as well. And there was no bathrooms. So you have to go in the river, near the river to help wash it away. And another interesting thing that we learned was there’s no intimacy in the houses. The houses are for the family. So if you want to be intimate, you have to find it.

2 (50m 54s):
You find that alpaca rug,

1 (50m 57s):
Leave alpaca rug down and find your place in the Amazon forest.

2 (51m 1s):
Very, very interesting. Just don’t lay your rug down in the same place. Someone just laid down their bathroom experience.

1 (51m 7s):
Yeah. That would not be good. So from there we learned a lot about the community and we went back to the hotel to try some local foods. They were sampling things out like tilapia and then also a larva. Do you guys remember that?

3 (51m 20s):
How can we forget?

1 (51m 22s):
So they had some different things that we could try and they brought out this live larva, two of them actually. And they were like big juicy rubs, like lion king status, you know, when they pull up the tree trunk and then there’s like, grubs, just,

2 (51m 37s):
They were wiggling and score

1 (51m 38s):
Me. And then they say like, does anyone want to try them? And yeah, I thought there were definitely going to be some takers on the trip to try it. No one was going for it. And so one of the locals picks one of the grubs up the larvacide, he holds it above his mouth and he just bites the head off and eats it, holding alive. And then she was like, we have one more anyone else. And so I was like, okay, okay. Okay, I’ll do it. I’ll do it.

3 (52m 4s):
It’s so funny because I’ve mentioned this many times before is like, I can look at Brittany’s face and know when she’s contemplating doing something or having some serious FOMO on her face. And I looked over and I was like, I can’t believe she has this much amount of FOMO of like, should I fucking eat this thing or not? But she got up volunteered and chomped the shit out of that. Didn’t she? Brittany

1 (52m 25s):
Sure did. Kim got a really, really great video from like the moment I picked it up, putting it in my mouth, chomping off the head. And then me saying it’s juicy. They still had a mouth full of,

3 (52m 39s):
But see, what’s funny is there was two of them. And you know, I guess Britney was under the assumption that other people would volunteer when she was done eating that. She asked her tour guide, how many people really eat that? And she said, not very many people if at all, but I didn’t want to eat it necessarily. Not because it was a bug, but something about me just killing something that’s alive. Even though I do eat meat. However, they did have those bugs and Marva that were cooked to try as some of the local cuisine. And I knew that I was going to eat the cooked version of it. And let me tell you something. The cooked version was bomb really, really good. Liked it. A lot. Barbecued had a nice little char flavor to it. So it was like, I don’t need to try the live version, but Brittany was the hero of our tour.

3 (53m 20s):
Everybody from then on, out called Brittany, the bug lady.

1 (53m 24s):
One person came up me after it was an eating it and was like, you’re my hero.

2 (53m 28s):
Oh my God.

1 (53m 30s):
But there are a lot smaller ones. You barbecue them up. They, they really shrink. They were very juicy when they’re alive and wiggly, but they say it’s a delicacy in it. It’s good for your health. And I’ve never felt better.

2 (53m 41s):
Well, that’s fantastic. Okay. Day five is at full day in the Amazon. This was the only day on this trip that we woke up and went to bed in the same place every other day. We’re go, go, go, bus riding all around today was all for the Amazon. So

1 (53m 56s):
We got to sleep in for like 15 extra minutes, of course,

2 (53m 58s):
And we didn’t have to pack our bags.

3 (53m 60s):
That was the most exciting thing. You know, as much as I love gate one and guided tours, I wish sometimes we had more time to stay in a hotel because I hate having to pull and pack a suitcase every day I could live out a suitcase as much as I don’t really like to do that, like to unpack, but to pack every day is kind of an annoying thing. So this was an enjoyable aspect of waking up and what a great way to wake up, hearing the river, hearing the birds chirping in the morning, still hearing that faint little bit of the insects kind of die off because the day is approaching. I mean, what a serene beautiful natural way to wake up, but what did we do? Day five ladies,

1 (54m 36s):
We took another canoe again to another island and we went to the Missy private nature reserve. And we did a two hour hike in the Amazon rainforest.

2 (54m 46s):
I guess you could call it a hike because we were stomping around and going uphill and downhill, but it was such a slow pace because every so often we would stop. And we learned about this tree or this plant or this frog that looks just like a leaf on the floor of the forest. So it was a lot of education, but it was all really interesting stuff.

3 (55m 3s):
Yeah. Very fascinating. What I really liked about this aspect of our tourists. So the hotel that we say that was the Casa de sways, all which is the house of the Swiss. And so this is a big resort in this area of the Ecuadorian, Amazon. So they themselves have purchased this land of that nature reserve that we had gone to. So nobody can venture and experience this area of the Amazon, except for us or people staying at that resort because it’s their own private land that they have in there, but they don’t develop it. They obviously keep it really, really natural. So again, we take that canoe ride. We get there, we start our tour and our tour guides who are locals to the area. Tell us all about the Amazon, you know, certain types of trees.

3 (55m 44s):
What they’re actually used for how to tell this leaf is good for this type of medicinal purpose or this or that. And coming across wildlife, like you said, those frogs. At one point we came across a monkey. That was very, very well camouflaged. Did any of you ladies see it? I know Brittany told me she didn’t see it. Were you able to see it? No.

2 (56m 3s):
You just see the trees rustling around and movement, but not, I didn’t see.

3 (56m 7s):
So it was hard for me to see, cause I was at the tail end with Zayna and CJ, as you guys were kind of moving forward. Cause you remember, they told us, Hey, stop. It’s there be quiet so we could see. And I thought I saw it as you guys had moved forward, but I was like, no, no that’s too camouflage monkeys. Don’t camouflage like that. But CJ took a photo with his camera and with his camera obviously was able to really zoom in on it. And then he’s like, oh, here’s the monkey. See? And then in the photo you could see it really well. Like, oh my God, this is definitely like a monkey. So I was like, that is it. And so then when I looked at, obviously pieced it together better for me, like, yeah, that’s the monkey. So it’s disappointing that you ladies didn’t get to see it, but so you need to really learn about how the forest really provides everything.

3 (56m 49s):
And they kept stressing that like this type of tree is good for this. This leaf is good for that. You get bit by a snake, this leaf, if you chew it and put on your skin will kind of draw the poison out. If you’re get cut, this one will coagulate your blood so that you stop bleeding as fast. I’m just like, look at all this natural medicine that’s out here in the rainforest. It’s so crazy.

1 (57m 10s):
Yeah. So we learned a lot. It was very, very educational, but there were also some fun points along this hike as well. Like there was a little basket zip-line, it’s like one person in the basket and you sit in it and it’s a little zip line across to get to the other side. It was really fun to do and you’re closed in. So it feels safe. And then there is also a suspension bridge that you have to cross and you’re crossing pretty much one person at a time as well. But those are really fun, thrilling things along the hike, as well as the educational piece of

3 (57m 40s):
Yeah. And those were things that they had to put in because it wasn’t the, Hey, let’s just put this in for fun. I mean, we needed that suspension bridge to pass the ravine and we needed the zip line basket in order to pass another ravine. So they put these in here specifically for the need of it, but such a unique and fun experience to be sprinkled in there with the hike.

2 (57m 59s):
And then once the hike wrapped up, this is when the fun really got started. So some of the trees they have out there makes this balsa wood. It’s very light and floats really well. They make rafts out of these bulls. So wood planks. And then instead of taking the canoe back, we just hopped on the raft and started flooding down the Napa river.

1 (58m 20s):
Oh my God, that was so much fun. So they made three different rafts. There was about seven to eight people per raft. And we had a really fun raft. It was like the four of us, Kim, myself, Jamal Zayna and then CJ and Billy who were two guys near our age. They were really fun. And then we had another couple on the raft too, I think in gen. Yep. And so we got to just float down and then the guide says, you know, if you want, you can jump into the river and you can swim alongside the raft. And so a lot of us got off the raft and we did that cause like, what other time can you actually say you’ve gotten in a river in the Amazon. So we thought that was really cool, but it was just really scenic and really beautiful and just nice to float down the river.

3 (59m 1s):
Yeah. I enjoyed this aspect of the day, a lot, like Brittany said, what other opportunity do you have to really float down a tributary to the Amazon river, let alone in a spot where you don’t really have to worry about what’s going to be in there. I don’t need to worry about being in an ice cube and J-Lo movie and having an Anaconda come up and chomp me or Caymans or, or anything like that. We were at a good spot where they’re like, no, no, no, it’s really safe to actually get in the water. Don’t worry about it. And so serene to just float next to the raft and just make our way back to the hotel that way. And one of my favorite times or experiences of the entire trip right up there with Termas,

1 (59m 39s):
We actually didn’t flow all the way down to a hotel. They actually got to a point where they put our canoes right next to the rap. And we had to hop from the raft back into the canoe because there are rapids right next to the hotel that aren’t safe for us to go through on the raft. So that’s what we had to do, which was very interesting because we transferred mid-water from the raft into the,

2 (59m 60s):
So then we, we got back to our hotel. We had our nice lunch there. Every day we ate their breakfast, lunch and dinner was a nice buffet spread Boothbay spread. It was amazing. And then after lunch we packed up again because we had afternoon excursions planned for the jungle.

1 (1h 0m 16s):
Yeah. So Jamal myself in Zena, we went to the canopy adventure park and Kim was originally booked on this as well, but she decided to book a different tour, more suited for her. But at the canopy adventure park, we had to take a truck ride to the base of a mountain hike, 20 minutes up to the mountain. And then there was an obstacle course in the canopy is that they’ve built. And so you have to be harnessed in you’re strapped in, you learn all about the safety of the harnesses and you go through two different obstacle courses, a lot of fun. Like there’s a zip-line, it’s like a ropes course almost where, although you’re strapped in, you’re like suspended high in the trees and you have to cross like a bridge or you have to jump from one side of a plane to another, or there’s a whole bunch of ropes that you have to like untangle yourself within.

1 (1h 1m 1s):
So it was a lot of fun and I definitely got bruised up, but it was an experience.

3 (1h 1m 6s):
It was definitely a fun experience. So this afternoon portion here with the canopy adventure park that we did what Kim’s going to talk about later that she did, there was another option. Also these were paid on options that you could do that weren’t included with the tour, but we’re at a reasonable price to add on. Otherwise, if you didn’t do anything, you’re staying back at the resort, which is a great option also because the resort is really, really awesome. But you talked a little bit about what we got to do in the canopy adventure park, Brittany. He didn’t talk about the chaos that ensued. When we first got there, after we made our way to the top of the mountain, you got a beautiful overlook of the Amazon area. You could see the river, they had this one nice deck area that they built, which is where we’re really supposed to sit and suit up into our harnesses.

3 (1h 1m 50s):
Obviously, you know, we’re up there. I know it’s the Amazon I’m looking around. I don’t see anything. I think, okay, we’re all fine. You know, we’re good. We can sit down here and do it. And so everybody did. And then all of a sudden we start hearing Zayna and Billy panicking and screaming a little bit. And we’re like, what? What’s going on? All of a sudden they disrupted some sort of bullet ant nest. And then the bullet ants start coming out all over the place, all over the deck, like biting them, getting on everybody’s backpacks and harnesses. And so it was whole debacle for a little bit. They’re really avoiding it because it’s not like, oh, these are just ants. These are really big ants. And if they bite you, they really fucking hurt. Like you do not want them to bite you.

3 (1h 2m 31s):
So that was our little ordeal, but eventually we got out of that area and went away and we were good to get up into the trees, but you gotta be careful up in those trees cause those answering those trees too. So if you put your hand on the wrong spot, you could get bit while you’re doing that ropes course. Also,

2 (1h 2m 44s):
When I realized what it was that we booked, I knew immediately I was going to change it. I didn’t even know what it was. We booked, I don’t like Heights. I don’t like adrenaline things. I don’t enjoy that stuff. So when I found out it was like a ropes course up in the air, I’m not interested. And I really wanted to see wild animals. So there were several different options you could pick. And so I switched it to the animal rescue, which was out in the jungle that also came with a Visit to a cow farm. So my experience was much more pleasant. We left at the same time we put boots on, we went in the canoe. I thought we were going to like a zoo, but we actually just went out into the jungle and we hiked up the mountain and it was all outdoors.

2 (1h 3m 26s):
Just a nature walk where you’re walking around. Some animals are in cages, some are not. But when we first got there, there’s monkeys everywhere, wild monkeys and all the trees, little squirrel monkeys, bigger monkeys, everywhere, just fling, fling, fleeing like everywhere you looked at, we couldn’t stop taking pictures. They were just everywhere. So that was really cool. And then we got to go around and see the parrots and the tape years and the Caymans and monkeys that were in cages that were hurt or they were trying to rehabilitate for some reason. So that was a really fun experience. Even saw wild jungle, turtles,

3 (1h 3m 57s):
Jungle turtles, interesting

2 (1h 4m 0s):
Big tortoises that were in the wild and then some in this big enclosure with water and stuff. So that was exciting. And then after that, we took another canoe to the cacao farm. And so we thought we’re going to a chocolate factory, but that was very dumb to think we’re in the middle of the Amazon are not going to a factory. It was actually just more of the people’s homes, where they were making this. So they actually grow the chocolate plant there. They showed us what it looks like when you open it up, the whole process it takes from roasting it to cracking it, to boiling it. She made a nice chocolate fondue right there with us. Yeah.

3 (1h 4m 36s):
Chocolate fondue. Yes. This is the first time I’m hearing about this. Yeah. You talked about the animal rescue, but I feel like summarizing the trip when we did our stuff. I don’t remember you telling us about this. You

1 (1h 4m 46s):
Told me about it. She got chocolate on her jeans.

3 (1h 4m 48s):
Oh, nice. Well, see, you heard the story. I didn’t hear the split. I’m enthralled by your chocolate fondue situation.

2 (1h 4m 52s):
Yeah. So the same day before we went to see the K-12 community, we were in their home with the big stove in the middle same situation we were at at the cookout farm. And I actually got to grind up the beans myself in the hand grinder. It looked like a little meat grinder. And then we cook it right there on the stove, add some sugar, add some plant that was like a lemon plant. You squish it up. And it brings out the fragrance very nice. Then she brought out a platter of fruits and we got to dip the fruits in the chocolate and have some of their tea, the cheetah tea that they make.

1 (1h 5m 23s):
Very nice.

2 (1h 5m 24s):
Yes. It was amazing. The

3 (1h 5m 25s):
Alcoholic one, you guys got it. Wasn’t

2 (1h 5m 27s):
Alcoholic though. No, it

3 (1h 5m 29s):
Wasn’t. Okay. I shouldn’t say alcoholic the fermented one.

2 (1h 5m 31s):
Yeah, I know. I think it was one. I only ferment a short time

1 (1h 5m 35s):
A two day ferment situation.

2 (1h 5m 37s):
Not a one week, but it was great. And everyone was going wild for the chocolate in what was actually interesting because like we said, this was the first route of this tour in almost two years since COVID. So they were testing out some things that they could possibly sell to tourists that were coming through. And they had ground up a bunch of the cacao beans and had them in small jars. There was only four of them. And those went so fast. Like there were tons of people in this tour that wanted it. They didn’t get it in time. And they had plenty of things to say about that, but they were selling them for five bucks and it was a little jar of rock a cow. And they were like, we were just testing this to see if people would want it. We don’t have any more. And basically now they’re going to be making a lot more of those because they know how much people want it.

2 (1h 6m 21s):
Did you get

3 (1h 6m 21s):
Your hands on it?

2 (1h 6m 22s):
No, I didn’t. And I wasn’t going for it either, but it was funny to see some of the couples, you know, who I’m talking to them.

3 (1h 6m 28s):
Yeah. I know. I was going to say you don’t even need to say it. I mean, with every tour, there’s always that one person or a couple that’s kind of, I don’t want to say the problematic one, but

2 (1h 6m 39s):

3 (1h 6m 40s):
That’s it. And I know exactly who you’re talking about right now without throwing out any names.

2 (1h 6m 44s):
Couple definitely provided some entertainment, but a little embarrassment as well.

1 (1h 6m 50s):
Yeah, absolutely. Well, I’m glad you had a really good time at the cacao farm and the rescue because now that you’ve gone more in depth, sounds really cool. If I were to ever go back, I’d probably pick that excursion over the canopy. I will say that, but I did have fun at the canopy tour. So after all of this, we ended up meeting back at the hotel, Jamal myself. Then I got back to the hotel a little bit earlier than Kim and we immediately got into the hotel pool and we swam because it was really hot out. Kim joined us at the pool later, and then we had a cocktail provided by gate one before dinner. And then we had an amazing dinner, probably one of the best meals we had at this hotel, the mushroom cream chicken was so

2 (1h 7m 32s):
I don’t even like mushrooms and I liked it. It

1 (1h 7m 34s):
Was so good. And then we had a drink with dinner and then they invited us for another cocktail at the bar after dinner. And then they invited in indigenous family who sang it in dance for us.

2 (1h 7m 47s):
That was really cool. And it was a total surprise to us that that was going to happen. And it was like 10 young women, 10 young men, and then the shaman family leader. And so it was really cool, the native music and dancing, and they even pulled us up on the dance floor with us. They were popping confetti, Jamal was getting down on the dance

3 (1h 8m 9s):

2 (1h 8m 11s):
It was really fun. And really cool.

1 (1h 8m 13s):
Yeah. And then at the end he did the healing energy.

2 (1h 8m 16s):
Oh yes. So he is a showman and there’s this tree that they use. I can’t remember what it’s called, but when you think of it in modern terms, you could think of like a hand duster, but it’s actually a tree with leaves and you shake it around and it makes a noise. Zena was actually one of the volunteers that went up there and he would like run it down her body and go and like

3 (1h 8m 37s):
Clean it away. It

2 (1h 8m 38s):
Would move it out of her body. And he went all over her body and made noises and did a little ceremonial thing. And it was really cool.

1 (1h 8m 45s):
Yeah. I wish I would have actually participated in that, but it was a perfect way to end. Now, our time in the Amazon from there, we went to bed and then we led into day six, which we left the Amazon and we headed to Banos.

2 (1h 8m 58s):
One of the biggest draws of Banos is a, another waterfall. The El Pailon Del Diablo. It’s the biggest waterfall in Ecuador. It’s totally massive. It’s a total tourist attraction. There was a ton of people here, but I think it’s worth it to face the crowds because as you hike down the cobblestone path toward the bottom of the waterfall, just gorgeous views, it’s just towering down. It’s definitely worth the experience to go see it.

1 (1h 9m 25s):
Yeah. And you have to cross the suspension bridge to get to some of the farther down path. And it’s crazy just the amount of people on the suspension bridge. But the views that you’re getting at the same time is quite the experience. There’s more than one entrance into this waterfall area. So there’s one area where you can get to that. There’s so much water coming off of the waterfall. It’s just drenching and soaking people. I don’t know if you guys looked down and saw the people in ponchos completely drenched, and we’re like, how do we get to that area? But you have to get there from the other side. So there are different ways into where the waterfall is, but definitely worth checking out, very beautiful cobblestone trail, suspension, bridge, and views of the waterfall.

3 (1h 10m 3s):
The waterfall itself is quite impressive. I enjoyed this experience very, very much. It is crowded. So that is the one drawback. And then they do say that no more than 50 people should be on the suspension bridge at a time, it looked and felt like a lot more than 50 people were on it and they weren’t regulated in it, but we took photos and apparently the girls did account and realistically there was never more than 50 people on it yet when we were there, I swear, it felt like there was at least 70 to 80 people on it, but we’ve done the count from our photos. And it looks like we were within regulation, but still a little nerve wracking to go that way from the direction which we did, which was at the top of the falls down. We didn’t do the second entrance, which was starting at the down and getting to the base, but it was still pretty cool to see from our side.

3 (1h 10m 45s):
And we definitely enjoyed the El Pailon Del Diablo waterfall. But after that, we did get to go more to the downtown area. We had a plan specifically, which was to go to this one place a little bit outside of Banos, which is famous in Ecuador for having that swing that goes over the Cliff’s edge that you can do. And our plan, because we asked our tour guide, will we have enough time in Banos to go there? She said, oh yes. You know, you can take a taxi, right. It’s 20, 25 minutes. And then we can do that, come back. But we were delayed for other reasons. So our time and Daniels was limited and we didn’t get to go do that one scenic swing experience in Ecuador. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just Google Ecuadorian swing.

3 (1h 11m 27s):
And I promise you, it’s going to come up. It’s here on the outskirts of banjos. So that was a little disappointing that we didn’t get to experience that.

1 (1h 11m 33s):
And you know, one thing our guide mentioned was Banos people think of bathrooms, but it’s also for bathing. And so this area is known for like the thermal baths in the area and people coming there to take thermal bath. So I don’t think banya was like bathrooms dirty, gross, you know?

3 (1h 11m 49s):
Yeah. There’s a beautiful waterfall that cascades right at the edge of the city. So you can walk up to it from the street. You can go there and put the water on you. They actually have the baths out there so that you can drink yourself with the water because it is something culturally that’s supposed to be cleansing for them and has a specific purpose in terms of the natives and the indigenous people before the Spanish even came. So really famous for that. Also.

1 (1h 12m 12s):
So from there we headed to Patato Hacienda Letha and this is another very beautiful resort hotel that we stayed at, their beautiful backdrop, gorgeous views of the volcano in the distance fireplaces. And every room this time we actually got the fireplace lit,

3 (1h 12m 28s):
Lit this time.

1 (1h 12m 29s):
And they had in the bathrooms, these really deep of bathtubs, all of the girls took a bath. I enjoyed my bath with a glass of wine, really, really relaxing bubble bath. They also put the bull sows de Agricola and they in the bed. So that was amazing as well. And the property was just absolutely gorgeous. So we really enjoyed our time at this property,

3 (1h 12m 53s):
But this Hacienda was really cool. Again, we’re high up at the Andes. We have a beautiful view of a volcano when the clouds want to be nice to us and we can actually see it. But this Hacienda was originally built in the 16 hundreds. Now it has had issues where it’s been needed to be refurbished a couple of times. So certain areas of it is not as old as the 16 hundreds, but that just gives you a time period piece of what this Hacienda looks like really old 1600 style architecture and an amazing experience and backdrop to being high in the Andes mountains. And this was one of the final nights that we had in a really nice final place to stay before we headed back to Quito, which was our last day.

3 (1h 13m 33s):
But one thing that I really enjoyed about this night in particular was the whole ambiance of it because in Banias we got wine and then we had nothing to do in that area, except enjoy our time at the Hacienda. And it was nice to just open that bottle of wine with everybody else who bought bottles or had alcohol and just sit and relax and enjoy the courtyard area, the scenery, amazing time and experience.

2 (1h 13m 55s):
Yeah. I was going to say that too. And I think that’s also something really pull about gate. One tours is you’re traveling with a group of 30 people for eight days. So you get to know these people, you’re talking to them every day, you’re hanging out with them. So you start to make friends. And I really, really enjoyed that. Drinking our bottle of wine on the deck of the Hacienda with a group of new friends, I was really nice.

3 (1h 14m 17s):
So moving on to our last day here, day seven, this is on Sunday. We left and started to head back to Quito. But heading back to Quito, we had a few stops that we made. One of them was to an indigenous community that are actually said to be descendants of the Incas. So this is a non touristy place, but we passed it along the way. And we met up with somebody who showed us how they live. So it’s not like the indigenous people in the Amazon region, but these are indigenous people that really didn’t have a lot of Spanish colonial influence. And again, descendants of the Inca ones and how they really farm and live their lives out in these rural areas of Ecuador.

3 (1h 14m 58s):
So it was a really unique experience to get to go see that. And we worked our way also to a Rose plantation. And apparently this is something that I learned. New Ecuador is a big rose producer. Roses are not indigenous to Ecuador, but they thrive in that climate. So they grow a lot of the roses that you see today, everywhere throughout the world,

2 (1h 15m 19s):
Is it that they thrive in the climate because there’s greenhouses all over the country that are meant for growing these roses. Yeah.

3 (1h 15m 26s):
A lot of places have greenhouses. It’s not like it’s outside, but I remember her saying something specifically also about the climate. So even though they are grown in greenhouses, like it’s still thrives in the type of climate that they have.

2 (1h 15m 39s):
Yes. And the one we got to tour was called rose success and it was really cool to learn like, you know, how roses are grown and seeing all the pretty roses and stuff. There were so many roses, but what’s crazy is that they produce the world’s roses. And so for Valentine’s day, they go crazy with production and they told us like how they stopped growth or speed up growth for different holidays, or like the Royal weddings when they have events, they all their roses from Ecuador and different preferences from different countries. And then it’s three tiny days between getting roses from Ecuador’s farm all the way to wherever it’s going in the world.

3 (1h 16m 12s):
Yeah. And I think that’s really why roses are expensive. Cause they were telling us how much it would cost to buy roses a dozen in Ecuador. And it’s not even over like $3, like really, really cheap. But I think when you buy roses, they’re expensive because they have that short lifespan window of how many days it can really sit and transit before they start. I don’t want to say to go bad because there’s still a shelf life by the time they get to their destination, but realistically three days. So I think the expense of your roses is the cost of shipping to get there, which is completely unique thought to me. But obviously it makes sense.

1 (1h 16m 45s):
Yeah. We also, while we were in the greenhouses, they showed us like, okay, your worker would be assigned these rows. And so they would know all of the roses and these rows and if there’s any problems, they have to submit the problem. And then they would troubleshoot what’s going on from like a foreign than like dumping treatments or fertilizers into the line to feed those specific roses. And they were telling us how, like the Asian countries prefer really bright colored roses with short stems where like in the Ukraine and Russia, they prefer very, very, very long stem roses. Like, you know,

2 (1h 17m 16s):
Going to the perfume industry. They want the really smelly racist.

1 (1h 17m 20s):
Yeah. So we learned a lot about roses.

3 (1h 17m 23s):
Well, it’s not even just roses. I think it’s really unique to get any sort of background on an industry because we’re all consumers of certain things, but really to see how something’s made and the process behind it, regardless of it’s roses or anything else is I think is always a unique experience to just kind of learn about it and was fascinating.

2 (1h 17m 40s):
And we kind of made our way back to Quito. We had to get a COVID test, but they had that all set up in the, again, Hilton, cologne, Quito, where we were staying. So that was really super convenient. The Blackberry juice was also good as we came back

1 (1h 17m 54s):
And we had a farewell dinner with everyone that we toured with for the last eight days.

2 (1h 17m 58s):
Yeah. That was really nice, like unlimited wine, which was cool. And then again, a three course meal with an app, a main and a dessert

1 (1h 18m 8s):
And Billy and CJ who came on this trip with us, they had bought tequila and they knew that they couldn’t bring the bottle home because it was already open. So they brought it to dinner. Then they were asking our tour guide, Giovanna, have you ever had this type of tequila? She had never had it. So they were like, we need a shot glass. We need some mindset salt. So they brought some stuff out for her and he poured her a stiff pour cause they actually didn’t bring out a shot glass for her. They ended up pouring it into a wine glass. And so he poured at least three shots worth in that wine

3 (1h 18m 39s):
Glass, on Julio Blanco.

1 (1h 18m 41s):
So she tries it, she goes, oh, that’s so strong. And she goes, okay, I’m ready for it. Again, we were shot. And then they ended up bringing out a whole bunch of shot glasses at the very end of the night. We’re all taking shots with her and the rest of the tour. Kim didn’t take a shot though, of course,

2 (1h 18m 57s):
But neither did Jamal.

3 (1h 18m 58s):
It started to not feel well. So that’s why I didn’t take a shot at that point in time. Well,

2 (1h 19m 3s):
I simply just don’t take shots.

1 (1h 19m 5s):
That’s untrue. We took shots in Mexicali. Yeah. But

2 (1h 19m 7s):
I don’t like shots. It’s not my thing. So

1 (1h 19m 10s):
It was really fun. Perfect way to end up the evening and say goodbye to everyone. It was a really great,

3 (1h 19m 16s):
Yeah. Some people had to leave that night. As a matter of fact to the airport, we were some of the fortunate ones that we were able to sleep and by sleep, I’m talking about three and a half, four hours before our early wake up call to get to the airport. So Monday was our departure day home, but all around, I just want to say the Ecuador gate one experience was really fun, really unique. I enjoyed Ecuador a lot, learned a lot and a great place for scenic beauty. Really, really awesome.

2 (1h 19m 42s):
I’m super happy with our trip. Like I would definitely go back to Ecuador. I have only great things to say about Ecuador. I would highly encourage anybody to visit there. Especially if you’re doing a gate one tour, I’m a big fan of Ecuador.

1 (1h 19m 54s):
Was it just like Peru?

2 (1h 19m 55s):
And it wasn’t just like Peru because yes, they have the indigenous people. And it’s, I felt like the indigenous communities were more in the communities that we were in versus out everywhere in the city. Like they are in Peru. The food was different, even though there were some similarities. So some similarities, but very, very different as well in the jungle. We didn’t go to the jungle in Peru. And so it was nice. It was really, really nice.

3 (1h 20m 16s):
So I know we’ve kept you guys for a long time. We have a little bit more it’s Kim’s favorite time of the week. We’d be remiss if we didn’t add this part on. So questions of the week.

2 (1h 20m 33s):
All right. We have two questions coming in. We asked our Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast. What questions do you want to know about Ecuador? And we got a few good ones. So Charlie and Liam are asking our first question and they’re asking, what was the most offbeat destination you went to that you’d recommend. But I think we know the answer to this one, definitely the jungle, because you know, when you think of off the beaten path, this is the only place we didn’t have. Good wifi connection or any cell phone data at all. And then just being out there where the local people are still very much living off the land very much off the beaten path.

3 (1h 21m 6s):
Yeah. I would say definitely the jungle, for sure. I mean, if you were to just cruise down that river, maybe you’d see indigenous people as you make your way into Brazil in certain areas. But I mean, quite honestly, going from where we were, if you were to just take that east, you could probably encounter nobody along the river also. So I mean that’s off the beaten path. Like that’s the start of the beginning of nothing but jungle all the way to the ocean and the complete opposite side from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

2 (1h 21m 31s):
And then Jamie Lynn is asking, do you need to be in good physical condition to take this trip?

1 (1h 21m 37s):
So I would say, no, not really. I mean, yes, you have to be active. But we also had one of the participants on the trip. She was 83 years old and she really rocked it. She was, she was definitely on a lot of the hikes that we went on. She was out exploring in the jungle. She didn’t do some of the more active things, but that was a good thing is that you could back out of something if you didn’t want to do it.

3 (1h 21m 60s):
Yeah. She was definitely an inspiration quite honestly, when I made three years old, I hope I’m traveling just like her still.

2 (1h 22m 5s):
She not only was 83, but she was so low on this trip. And she had just gotten there from another trip a week in Columbia. So she was killing

1 (1h 22m 16s):
It. I want to be her be her

2 (1h 22m 17s):
One. And obviously she was a little fragile and sat out of some of the things, but she just had the local tour guides in the jungle were young strong men who were guiding her along the hikes and stuff. And I mean, she did everything pretty much

3 (1h 22m 32s):
Definitely active, but definitely doable. Unless you have some sort of condition that makes it so that you can’t walk for a long distance or do something like that.

2 (1h 22m 40s):
Yeah. The only thing I was thinking is if you were in a wheelchair,

1 (1h 22m 43s):
I feel like even in Europe it would be hard to find places that are like wheelchair friendly or ADA compliance. So

2 (1h 22m 49s):
Squaddies, that’s our episode for the week. Thank you so much for tuning in.

1 (1h 22m 53s):

2 (1h 22m 53s):
Keep the adventures with us by following us on Instagram and YouTube at Travel Squad Podcast and send us in your questions.

3 (1h 22m 59s):
If you found the information in this episode to be useful, or if you thought we were just playing funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would it too. And as always guys, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes,

1 (1h 23m 12s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode, we have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you. The ice qualities

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