Typically planning a trip takes lots of time, money, details… etc. (At least that’s the way I have always known trip planning). For our first free weekend in Ecuador, we decided to take a weekend trip to Mindo, Ecuador: A cloud forest about 2 and 1/2 hours from Quito. At first, I tried to plan this trip as I have always known trip planning: you know, researching what to do, calling a hostel ahead of time, make sure everyone knows what is going on. However, after this weekend I realized that perhaps the best trips are made from the spur of the moment decisions. After this weekend, I realized that one of my goals for this semester is to just go, to travel without a finite plan, and go where ever life takes me.
So in case you want to know what I actually did in Mindo, rather than just hearing me rattle on about my new goal on trip planning (or lack of trip planning) while in South America, here is a little bit about my first weekend away. I must say, I am absolutely in shock about how cheap it is travel in Ecuador. Each hour on a bus costs about $1.00 USD. So it only cost us $2.50 to get to Mindo. We then went to a hostel that was recommended to us that only cost $9.00 a night which included an open porch, hammocks, games, and a beautiful view of the river and the copious amount of humming birds drawn to the feeders. After arriving we all split up into groups based on what activities we wanted to do. I went tubing on Friday and hiked to waterfalls on Saturday.
When I say tubing, if you are picturing a leisurely float down the river, scratch that out of your mind. Let’s just say that helmets, lifejackets, and guides were required. And Saturday, our hike to the waterfalls was preceded by a cable car ride over a gorge in the jungle. We then spent about three hours, hiking, and swimming in different waterfalls along the trail. The size and amount of force of the water as it pounds down the mountainside is awe inspiring. It makes you feel so small in comparison to the mountains and giant trees that loom stories above your head.
Overall, I would say it was a successful first trip. Despite my regret at letting it stress me out at the beginning of the week, I am so excited to have begun my travels across the country of Ecuador!
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<p>I am a junior Environmental Science Major with a Peace and Justice Concentration and Spanish minor at Villanova University. I love backpacking, traveling and new adventures. I am so excited to be spending the semester in Quito, Ecuador and I hope that these posts will help you experience the culture and beauty of life in South America through my eyes.</p>