The best $80 I’ve ever spent in one day

The total comes down to:

1 night in a hostel – $7

Personal 5 hour tour from our hostel manager (he was obsessed with us) – $30

Zip line over a canyon/waterfalls – $10

Rappel down waterfalls – $30

A little bit of change left over for hikes to the cascades & a cable car – $5

 

Emilee, Kim & I are finally cashing in our prize from the Questival! We initially won the trip to Kilimanjaro, Africa but since there is a lot of armed crime going on in Tanzania, Cotopaxi felt it was unsafe to send 3 girls solo.  Which we totally understand and so they re routed us to The Amazon AKA Ecuador! This whole summer I’ve been waiting for this trip to happen!! &  now we are finally here! 

After three flights, we arrived in Quito, Ecuador. Be proud of us girls because all we packed was a Cotopaxi backpack! 

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Once we got out of the airport, we met the nicest cab driver named Milton. Luckily, he spoke Spanish and English so he told us everything we needed to know about Ecuador. He even said he could pick us up and then take us to the airport after our trip is over. 

The next day we went to a travel agency called “Happy Gringo” and they helped us plan our trip to the Amazon. They were such great help because Kim and I were told at Cotopaxi HQ that they wanted us to be creative on our trip just like how we were at the Questival. Uhhh…. Wait what? Well, we did get creative and we ended up on a bus to Baños, Ecuador! It was about a 3 1/2 hour bus ride PLUS add an hour of public transportation in the city before we got on the bus.  How could we pass that up when it was only 25 cents for a bus ride and a $3 ticket to Baños? We arrived in Baños (a city in eastern tungurahua) It’s known as the “Gateway to the Amazon.” (Thanks wikipedia)

We were soooo hungry when we arrived and immediately bought the first yummy food we saw.. Which was a street cart selling chicken/potatoes on skewers. LOL I ate 2. Oh and did you know that I didn’t have time to get my typhoid shots? Yeah…. anyways, I’m still alive! Baños is absolutely beautiful. From the mountains to the cute colorful streets, I was amazed by everything that I saw. 

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We checked into our hostal, Recuerdo De Baños, and we met a super nice lady named Rosa who spoke English and Spanish and we met the manager, Marcello.  We thought our night was over, but Rosa told us that she was going to some sort of hot springs… Whaaaaaat?? We crashed her party of one because why would we miss that?! The hot springs come from the Volcano Tunguruhua which is right in the city. They call the hot springs Baños de agua santas which means (Divine waters) These waters help detox your skin. When we got there it wasn’t what I expected.  There were a TON of people in speedos and shower caps.  HAHAHA So it’s a rule that you have to wear shower caps while in the hot springs. We looked ridiculous. The hot springs were at an amazing location, right by a waterfall. See pics below:

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Rosa is a sweet chica. She’s from Texas and she rode her bike all the way from Texas to Ecuador about 9,000 miles! WHAT?! I can’t even do that let alone run more than 5 miles at a time hahahah. One thing I remember her saying is: “You can’t think too much about things, you just have to go and do it.” Thanks Rosa. WE LOVE YOU. 

The next morning, we woke up super early to go on our personal tour with Marcello, our hostal owner.  He doesn’t speak any English but we made it work.  BUT during the middle of the night, I woke up to this LOUD BOOM sound and it shook our entire room.  I swear it was an earthquake.  I couldn’t sleep after that and then a couple hours later it happens again! Then the funniest thing happened in the morning. Marcello comes banging on our door at 7AM and screams “Chicas! Chicas! Mira! Mira!” HAHA so I guess he’s obsessed with the volcano that is right around the corner and has been studying about it for years.  It wasn’t an earthquake that made the loud noise, it was actually a volcano erupting. Marcello wanted to show us the smoke coming out of it.  It was HILARIOUS. But, also cool at the same time. 

We left for our tour and Marcello takes us to see the first cascades of the trip.  Baños is all about their waterfalls and they should be because it was absolutely beautiful.  We went on the sketchiest zip line cable cart to go over to the canyon to see the waterfalls. It was so cooooool! Then the workers asked if we wanted to do “superman.” Superman? AKA canopy zip line like Superman over the canyon.  Only $10? Okay! There were no waivers we had to sign and there was no line. So why not? Our vocab was throughout the entire day…. The zip line was soooooo fun! Definitely the best $10 ever spent. 

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I still think it’s so sketch that the little boy in the pics above was helping us strap into the harness and helped pull us back to land. hahahaha. After the zip line, we went on a hike to the “Cascade el Pailon Del Diablo.” Once we got to the top, the waterfall was so close to us, we got soaking wet! Here are pics to prove it:

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You can’t forget about the jumping pics!

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After the hike to the cascades, we decided to put our YOLO hats on and rappel off of waterfalls. Yep. For only $30, we had a personal guide who took us rappelling and it was so much fun. They provided us with shoes and a wet suit. The hike up was hard but it was definitely worth it. We met another group that was rappelling off the same water fall and they were friendly but we wanted our guide to ourselves to take pics hahahah even though the pics were so blurry, we still love our guide Alex anyways! Plus, Emilee was a pro for her first time. I’m so glad we went rappelling because it was such a blast, I still can’t get over it.

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So Cotopaxi wanted us to be creative and we accepted their challenge.  It’s been an amazing trip so far! Shout out to Cotopaxi for giving us this amazing trip! Since we are all graduated, it’s been such a relieving trip to get out of the United States and clear our heads before the real life begins. I still don’t know where I’ll be working, but i’m getting closer and closer!! Thanks for reading, I’ll update everyone on The Amazon in a couple of days! 

XOXO,

Liz

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