On the road again, we just left Rio Bamba a few hours ago and are now heading for our last stop in Equador before heading into Peru. Today we’ll driving all day in order to get as close as possible to the border before setting up a bush camp. That way we can get to the border early tomorrow. Guess it takes a while to get two buses with 54 persons across.
Last night we spent on the hotel Tren Dorado just a stone throw away from the old railway station in Rio Bamba. We arrived in Rio Bamba on the afternoon the day before and there wasn’t much to do other than grabbing a meal, having a look around and go to bed.
Andreas, Johan and I went to a restaurant just around the corner from the hotel called El Delerio.
Nice little place with great food.
The three days between Otavalo and Rio Bamba was spent in and around Banos. Banos is known for wilderness and adventure tours.
We got to Banos around five and we set up our bush camp in the back garden of a spa hotel. They had a little lawn that just about fitted the two buses. Camping here was great since we got access to the showers, toilets and the pool at the hotel.
Around seven we were visited by some people from Geo Tours, a local company that arranged all kind of activities. From rafting and canyoning to horseback riding and jungle tours. I guess were was something for most people, and for those wanting other challenges out was not hard to find other operators.
I wanted to do canyoning, which I haven’t done since I was in Australia with Angela and Ant, and a two day jungle trek.
The first day I went with a few others to do the canyon. We were picked up at the hotel at nine together with another group that was going rafting and drove to the office where we got wetsuits, shoes and helmets. The hike to the canyon started from a place about 15 outside town. From there it was about a ten minutes steep walk to the top of the canyon. On the way one if the guides went of into a field of fruit threes and «borrowed» some fruit for us.
At the top we got a briefing on the equipment and what to do and not. Then we did our first small four meters repel. From there on it all went downhill, literary speaking, we had a great time repelling the waterfalls and the guides made a great job inn keeping us safe while making sure we got proper wet. The waterfalls varied in height from about 15m to 38m which was the last one.
The guides also had some fun running head first down the cliffs and locking the rope and asking people to post midway down the walls.
The last thing we did was a skids down the rocks on out bottoms. The guide on top fastened our safety hook to the back if our harness and secured our decent into a little rock pool where you could select if you wanted to go head first for a few meters until he stopped you to flip around for a safe landing.
We then walked for a few minutes back to there the trucks left us, changed into dry clothes and was then picked up and driven back to town. Back in town we got a free lunch and the we went back to the hotel.
The rest off the day I just relaxed, had dinner and went to bed early.
The second day we were picked up about eight thirty to start the two day jungle tour.
To the place where the walk started was about an hours ride, but it took longer because we did a few stops.
First up was a lookout point where you could have a look across the valley to a waterfall and for a dollar you could ride a cable cart across with a stop just before the waterfall and on the way back it did a short stop in the middle of the canyon.
The ride was operated by a local hippie, and the whole thing was powered by an old truck engine. Quite a site seeing this guy sitting by the gearbox operating the clutch and throttle.
The next place we visited was a sanctuary for monkeys, this place harboured monkeys that was recovered from peoples homes out from smugglers.
After having a look around drove to a small native Indian village and had a look around. Seemed to me like a typical tourist trap, we got to try a narrow blow pipe and you could buy some local bracelets.
Then out was time for lunch, we went to the lodge where we later spent the night.
The lunch was like the 1.75$ lunches we have had before, soup and chicken.
After lunch we rested short while before going into the jungle.
For the jungle walk we were divided into two groups of six and seven and the guides took us on slightly different routes through the jungle and to a nice waterfall. On the way our guide told us about the different plants, animals and insects in the jungle. We taste sour ants and plants, chewed on leaves that was mildly sedative among other things.
At the waterfall we got to swim for a while before heading back to the lodge and diner. For diner we got soup as a starter and then pasta with pesto, for dessert we go half a caned peach. It seems to me that caned fruit is consider as a delicacy here, it seems to be available as an option on many restaurants. Which is a shame since the local fresh fruit is so much better.
After diner there was a bonfire by the river and we say there drinking beer and talking until late. This was one of the best nights on this trip so far. Just relaxed and nice. I talked quite a while with Cecil, a girl that was travelling with us. At first I thought she was a guide bit it turned out she was travelling in South America. She did guiding in Canada where she lives and knew one of the guides from earlier.
The next morning we got up, had breakfast, got our rubber boots back on and headed our for a four hours jungle hike, this time it felt like speed safari we didn’t stop much and kept a good pace. About halfway we got down to a river, the guides put all the cameras in a dry bag and we started hiking upriver, we waded in water up to the waist at most, and then we had to swim the last bit. The waterfall was great.
We went back after a little while and headed into the jungle again, later we walked through some fields and we got to a lookout and had a look at the jungle we had been through. Then it was just a short walk back to the lodge for lunch. Lunch the second day was taco.
Before we got in the cars to go back we got to do a thirty minutes ride down the river in a canoe.
On the way back top Banos we got a puncture not a complete flat tyre but just enough for us to have to stop to fill it up. At the garage where we stopped we couldn’t find anyone for a while and the guides ran around asking for the owner. Eventually he came and we could continue back to Banos.
Back in town we had dinner and went to bed.
Three long happy days in Banos over and the adventure continues on the first leg in Peru.