I often ask myself ‘how did I end up here?’ The constant desire to keep on moving delivers us to places the imagination isn’t even capable of inventing and my eyes are in awe of the sights presented in front of us. My mind is baffled by the sheer amount of information it receives daily
Right now I am struggling to complete one sentence, as we pass the outskirts of the Ecuadorian Amazon. A seller has just jumped on selling coconut water and bunches of bananas, and we consume them passing the trees they had been picked from hours before.
And we are still 10 hour away from the official Amazonia.
I also find myself asking ‘what will we be doing next’ and this time it requires no answer. The long anticipated trip to the Amazon has begun…..
Departing Peru to Ecuador, gaining the 5th stamp on the passport for South America felt more exciting than any other border crossing so far. Way back when I decided to embark on this adventure Ecuador was always the country I imagined being in. Why? I have no idea as I had never met anyone that had been nor done any research about it. It just sounded exotic, like a place I could see myself.
So I had high expectations.
And I guess this proves to go with your gut instincts, as Ecuador (only 3 days in, when drafting this blog) is the place of fairytales.
Ecuador –the most bio-diverse country in the world
Ecuador Was the 3rd country in South America I had Couchsurfed in, and as always I found an awesome host.
Mario explained of the 4 world’s of Ecuador; the mountains, the coast, the jungle and the Galapagos. The wildlife, the underwater world and the volcanos. Also the seasons and the weather; being so close to the equator it experienced no winter.
All in all it is no wonder Ecuador is the most diverse country in the world.
His enthusiasm and patriotism was inspiring and made me so excited for what was to come.
He told us of a ‘wonderland’, a place untouched by the 21st century, a place of pure beauty. A town called Banos. (no reference to what banos actually means in English-toilet) it was home to the world famous swing on the end of the world and surrounded by active volcano's. So needless to say we didn't hang about in Guayaquil for much longer.
Welcome to Baños. Heaven on Earth
We jumped on an open windowed bus and rode up the mountains to view the many bounding waterfalls mother nature offered.
On one stop over we got on a cable car and almost flew into one of the waterfalls, the expected tranquil ride turned into more of an thrill ride but gave us the most amazing view of the gorge and the free flowing water.
The adrenaline had started now and we wanted more. So seeing someone fly over the stream and through the mountains at the corner of our eyes quickly caught our attention. We discovered you could canopy through the views we had just taken in, attached only to a wire for 1.2km.
There was no question about it.
It was such a crazy experience, the closest possible feeling you could have to flying. And the ultimate feeling of freedom. It felt like you were the only person alive and that the sights you saw beneath you had been put there purely for your personal enjoyment.
Returning back into the town we inquired straight away about the volcano we had seen in the distance which we had found out was still very much active. We managed to get a lift up to a viewing point on the back of a pick up truck and watched the beauty of Baños while the sun was kissing our cheeks.
Reaching the top was through a journey of sweeping hills, afternoon sun, and the huge active volcano towering above us. All topped of with one single tree inhabiting a tree house and two bits of rope off of it forming a ‘swing’ aka the swing on top of the world.
Now this swing was pretty dodgy, it was made using a metal bar,almost like a pipe, with two bits of rope tied with a simple knot. Every time it swang it hit the branches of the tree and let out a creaking sound as the rope slipped between the metal.
Something your parents would ban you from even looking at, let alone sitting on.
This may not gave been too much of an issue if it wasn’t swinging over ‘the top of the world’ and lead down to an abundant abiss guaranteeing death.
However, this failed to reach my brain, and fear was not even a consideration when excitement and adrenaline overruled.
Returning to your childhood years, this swing felt like the most exciting thing since those jelly aliens you kept in an egg, and jumping on was about as easy as deciding to buy toffee crumble.
The moment you realises you are floating on top of the world, and after your stomach has checked out what’s going on in your mouth, the euphoria takes over your body and your brain struggles to absorb the beauty.
When you are hovering above the abyss, you really could be the only person in the world. The clouds are below you and you are rivaling the heights of the mountains.
The risk of falling is high, but is no where near comparable to the experience of being on top of the world.
This is the best place I have ever been…..
Never wanting to return from heaven, we pulled our self away only because the truck driver was waiting to take us back to the town.
But I guess nature wasn’t done with us yet and it still had one last thing to show us.
A Volcano eruptttiinngggg
Banos is just one of those places. A place that takes your breath away at every turn yet continues to surprise you. It is defiantly one of top places I have ever traveled to. Maybe it has to be seen to be believed or maybe you just believe me. Which ever way. Go to Banos. Go to Ecuador. Your eyes will never see the same again.
See more of my Travels in Ecuador and around South America in my Travel Blog