As of today, we’ve been in Ecuador for three weeks. From the Amazon to the high Andes, I feel like I’ve visited several different countries within that time span.
In the Amazon, we stayed at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station for four days and went on a night hike through the rainforest, floated down the Tiputini river, and walked across the top of the forest canopy on foot bridges.
After a few days back in Quito, we travelled to Maquipucuna, which is situated at a higher elevation than the Amazon. Although it was pretty sunny during our visit, Maquipucuna is known as a cloud forest because of its elevation in the Andes Mountains.
Our group organized a trip to Baños, which is a town about four hours south of Quito and the outdoor tourism capital of Ecuador. With hot springs, canyoning, white water rafting, and so many other activities to cross off the list, two days in Baños was not nearly enough. We ended up hiking to the Virgin statue overlooking the town and soaking in the hot springs the first day. The next day, we trekked up to La Casa del Arbol, or “the swing at the edge of the world,” as some know it. The view was amazing, and the pictures speak for themselves.
Two days later, we ventured to Riobamba and Chimborazo, but for all I knew, we had actually traveled to the surface of Mars. I couldn’t believe we were even in the same country as the Amazon rainforest! Hiking up the frozen side of Chimborazo, we could almost touch the snowcap. From 80 degree weather with crazy humidity at Tiputini, to ice-cold wind and rosy cheeks at Chimborazo, I’ve started to realize just how amazing Ecuador is, with all of its ecosystems that are both extreme and extremely awesome.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I'm a sophomore from a small Midwestern university with one hand on my notebook and pen, and the other on "the big picture." As an International Studies major with a concentration in Environmental Sustainability and a student writer on campus, I love using my writing to connect the dots between my own life and the lives of people across the globe. I explore, I discover, I observe--and then I write.</span></p>