Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Over the Andes to the Amazon

After 2 nights in Mindos it was time for our epic bus trip up and over the Andes to the first big leg of our trip the Amazon.  We left early in the morning as this bus ride was about 12 hours and that is exactly the amount of day light you get when you are right on the equator.  We climbed up and up until we reached the height of the pass at around 13,000 feet.

Here we got out of the bus for a photo opportunity, the air was noticeably thin if you walked very far it felt like you were in really bad shape and short of breath.  But it was very beautiful and rugged and there really was hardly any traffic on the narrow winding road. Back on the bus for the descent down to Lago Agrio (also known as Nueva Loja) which is at 980 feet. Though we were right on the Equator, up at 13,000 feet the temperature was cool and there was a fresh breeze, I would remember this fondly in the heat of the Amazon. Lunch took a spectacular nose dive, as it was what every you could buy at a gas station.

I chose fried salted beans, yucca chips, pork rinds and a cold beer! I can not remember the last time I ate so much salty snacks and it was not all bad. As we descended down from the mountains the weather got warmer and warmer until we arrived in Lago Agrio after dark, which steamy hot.  This is not a city I would recommend traveling to it is not very beautiful and apparantly not really safe. It is an oil town as this is the heart of the oil fields.

Lago Agrio

We were staying there one night before heading up the Amazon and we stayed at what was apparantly the best hotel in town, all I can say is we survived a night there.  The next morning my husband and I were feeling adventourus and decided to try breakfast from a street merchant next to the hotel.

There were a couple of very friendly women cooking plantain fritters topped with a fried egg.  There was also some meat that we could have had, but I was not that adventurous.

The egg was perfectly cooked and along with a cup of instant coffee breakfast cost less than $3.00.  Fortified we all got back on the bus for a further 2 hours.  the scenery was quite different than what we had been seeing up to this point on the trip, as was the temperature.

We were all glad to reach the end of this trip as we had all had enough of the bus and were excited for the next leg.  We arrived at a the entrance to Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve

Here we were met by 3 motorized canoes and 5 armed guards!

There had been a kidnapping in this area a couple of weeks before and so our lodge had provided the guards.  Any way I decided not to think about that, and we all piled into our canoes and headed up the Amazon.

As I commented to my boat mate it felt just like the jungle ride at Disney land! Let jungle ride begin.

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