We ended the last blog at 5100m below the highest volcano in Ecuador. So of course, next stop was to be the ocean! We haven’t been to the beach in a while, and spent a week with other travel friends in the tiny town of Ayampe. We didn’t do much beyond reading, playing in the water and watching the sunset.
Drive to Cuenca
After a relaxing week, we headed back to the highlands. We are really mountain people at heart, so we wanted to get back up in there to hike and explore. We stopped at Nariz del Diablo, a series of switchbacks of a train track as it descends into a valley.
Afterwards we stoped at Ingapirca, our first Incan Ruins!
Then we spent a little over a week in Cuenca and surrounding areas. Cuenca is a nice city, not too big or small. We ate all the foods we miss from home, from pizza to pho, and wandered the old town for hours. We also explored some local villages. In Chordeleg, a town famous for silversmithing and full of jewelery shops, we bought new rings to replace the too big ones (and which Ben lost).
Cajas National Park
We also spent a day in Cajas National Park. We did a steep and muddy hike, where Rachel kept falling down and Ben ended up with altitude sickness. The pictures are nice, but the experience wasn’t the best. That week on the coast stole all that acclimation we’d accomplished!
We are off to Perú
From Cuenca we were ready to head to Peru. The drive through Loja, Vilcabamba and on to the border was beautiful. The border crossing La Balsa is tiny, and we woke the immigration officers up on either side when we showed up to get our passports stamped. We spent two months in Ecuador, and it really could have been more! Ecuador is a beautiful country. The hiking and camping were the best since leaving the States and we have lots of great memories to take with us!