Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fun Day in Banos #3

While we were staying at Luna Runtun, we needed to use a taxi to take us from the hotel down to the city of Banos every day, so we used Rodrigo as our taxi driver every day.  His daughter, Patricia, spoke excellent English, so she was very helpful.  On Wednesday, they offered to drive us from Banos to Puyo along the Avenue of the Waterfalls.  But our first stop was at the zip-line.  First Pat, then me:

It was SO much fun!!  Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the canyon and river that we crossed during the ride, but it was really fun.  Then we stopped several times along the way to Puyo.

This is Rodrigo (our taxi driver and guide), his daugter, Patricia (our interpreter) and her 2 year old daughter, Emilia at the Manto De La Novia waterfall

Another shot of the Manto De La Novia (means Bridal Veil) waterfall

Next we stopped at Pailon Del Diablo Rio Verde--the next waterfall on the way.  But first, Pat made a new friend:

His friend's name is  "Boa Constrictor".  It was pretty cool, but I wasn't about to put that thing on MY shoulders.

From the top of the waterfalls

From the Bridge toward the waterfalls

Pat and I from the Bridge

Check out the old lava flow (we think it was from the Tungurahua volcano that was located several miles away) that we could see from the bridge

More stops along the way produced the following pictures:

A View of the Pastaza River from a bluff along the road

Patricia and Emilia at a Bird Sanctuary

A monkey that was running around free in the bird sanctuary

Another view of the monkey (he was so cute and mischievous)

A really cool ostrich at the bird sanctuary

A Macaw at the bird sanctuary (he sure made alot of noise)

This monkey was at a monkey preserve that we went to.  I didn't take many pictures because Pat was videotaping alot of the monkeys running around.  This was a prserve for rescued monkeys.  Some of them are being rehabilitated to go back into the wild.

This river was a part of the monkey preserve.  It was really jungle-like there.

All in all, we had a GREAT day.  It was a little bit exhausting, but we had a wonderful time.  Until next time, hasta luego!!  Sue

Trip To/From Banos-Ambato #2

We went to Banos/Ambato last week for a week.  We had a driver take us there and pick us up.  We took some really nice pictures along the way---both on the way there and on the way home.  Here are a few pictures along the way:

This is the oldest church in Ecuador.  It was established in August 1534 which is only 42 years after America was discovered by Columbus.  It was still in really good shape.

Here are a few shots from on our way home:

These guys were checking us out too

You see alot of animals tied along the road as they feed for the day

Isn't this gorgeous?  We kept seeing alot of these views

This is a picture of a town where half of it collapsed during a landslide.  You can see the rest of the town just at the edge of the cliff. 

This is a shot of the Devil's Nose Railroad.  I know if you can see it very well at the bottom to the left.  It is where the train backs up and goes back to Alausi where the depot is located.

This was a whole family involved in the harvest.  Last Saturday, people were harvesting all through the mountains.  Our guide told us that this would be the last harvest for the year (remember we are going into winter here now).

Another shot through the mountains

We were above the clouds

My last post of our vacation will be the day that we went into the jungle from Banos to Puyo.  If you ever get a chance, you should really try to see this part of Ecuador.  Enjoy the photos!!  Sue

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Banos/Ambato Vacation at Luna Runtun #1

Last week Pat and I went to Banos (what we call "Big Banos" in Cuenca because there is a small community outside of Cuenca that is also called Banos).  We had been trying to get there for the last year.  There is a beautiful resort up on the hillside called Luna Runtun where we stayed.  Check out a couple of shots as you walked out of our hotel room

It was like we were living in the clouds for a week.  The first few days were really nice.  From the beginning, we (especially Pat) were excited about seeing an active volcano called Tungurahura.  We were very lucky on the second morning that we were there.  It was clear enough to see the volcano that was located above the hotel.  Check out these pictures when we caught the volcano as it started to smoke:

Isn't that the coolest thing?  We thought we would see it again and again throughout the week.  But it was cloudy and cool for the rest of the week and we never got a better shot of the volcano.  It was a wonderful experience.  Here are some other shots of the resort.  It was a VERY nice place.


It felt like we were on top of the world.  We would strongly recommend it to anyone wanting to stay there.  The only thing that I didn't like was the rooms smelled alittle musty.  I think it was because we were staying on top of a mountain and it was in the mist alot of the time.  It was hard for the rooms to get really dried out.  The pools and the hot tub were a real treat!!  It looked down toward the town of Banos.  I'm sorry that I didn't take any shots of the town from the hotel..  It was really impressive!

I have decided to divide our trip into 3 different blogs so that I don't run on too long.  My next blog will show pictures of the trip to and from Banos from Cuenca.  I have some fabulous shots.  And my last blog will be of our day trip from Banos toward the jungle into a town called Puyo.  Hasta luego!!  Sue

Friday, March 30, 2012

Vilcabamba, Ecuador Trip - Part 2

After we got to our hotel, we decided to take a walk downtown.  It took us about 15 minutes and here are some pics from our walk:

Bienvenido A Vilcabamba!!  (Welcome to Vilcabamba)

Beautiful Mountains Everywhere!

I loved the look of these wooden doors.

Church in the Main Square

Carol sitting on the steps of the church

George, Me & Pat in front of the park

Park in Town

Another View of Park

George's Taxi Ride to Town

There were a few beggars in town

This dog was one of the worst beggars, but she was just SO hungry.  How could we resist that face?

Here are some pictures of Brian O'Leary's place.  It was really beautiful and it sat up on the side of the mountain with great views all around.

The building in the back is a hotel where you can stay.  The truck in front is what they use as taxi cabs in Vilcabamba.  After the cab driver took us up to Brian O'Leary's place, we understood why they need to use diesel trucks.  The roads are very muddy and somewhat steep.  The rooms that we saw in the hotel were very nice.

Fabulous views!!

Beautiful flowers and gardens were all around

Then on the way back to town, the taxi driver took us into a beautiful development (I can't remember the name of it) where he said mostly Germans and French lived.  Here are a few shots:

Look at this beautiful house

Common Area

Small ponies grazing next to the common area

Hot Tub in the Common Area

Awesome Pool with Unbelievable Views!  Makes you wonder why no one was in the pool, although it was the middle of the day in the middle of the week, so maybe the owners were working.

All in all, we had a wonderful time and look forward to returning in the future.  We would definitely recommend staying at Madre Tierra.  We also decided that when we do go back, we will stay for more than 3 days.  This time we left on a Monday and returned on Wednesday.  We think we would stay at least until Friday the next time.  That was a pretty rugged ride for such a short trip.  On our return trip, we took one of the Vilcabamba "taxi cabs" (which is really a diesel truck) instead of the bus.  It was still alittle bit rough, but it was much better than the bus.  But it was also more expensive.  The bus ride was $7.50 for each of us from Cuenca to Loja.  Then the taxi ride from Loja to Vilcabamba cost $15.00 for all of us (for a total of $45.00) and our return trip cost us $100.00 for all of us.  So we paid almost twice as much coming back, but it was much more comfortable and we could stop when we wanted.

Thanks to George and Carol for a wonderful trip!!  Sue and Pat