Jenny was not able to go to the Galapagos. It was really sad not having her there. She was having a lot of trouble just trying to sit up in bed so maybe walking across the beach wouldn't have been a good idea.
Ariel on the other hand had an amazing time! Day one was spent walking along a beach called Tortuga Bay. The walk just to get to the beach wasn't so fun... "It was the length of like 10 football fields no joke" (Ariel's voice). Despite the long walk the beach was beautiful. We swam with some baby sharks and saw some marine iguanas catching a tan. Overall a great first day!
Day two was spent sailing to an island called Bartolome. It took about 2 hours and we walked to the top of the island and learned about magma rocks. Afterwards we went snorkeling. That was awesome!! We saw starfish, sharks and lots of coral. For lunch we had spaghetti which was really delicious. On the way back most of us laid at the front of the boat and took naps until we saw some dolphins swimming with us ! They were doing flips and tricks as we sailed. We also saw a whale, a sea turtle and a shark on the way back as well. Our nights were usually spent walking around the island and shopping.
Day three was spent at a farm where we saw tortoises and walked through a lava tube. The rest of the day we went on a tour and then went to a canal called Las Greitas. Here salt water and fresh water are mixed. Its about 12 meters deep and was really fun. On the last day we went to the Charles Darwin center and learnt about conservation methods for the Islands. We met Charles Darwin and saw more tortoises.
Thankfully Jenny was able to join everyone when we headed to the jungle. The region we went to is part of the Amazon jungle, but we weren't near the Amazon river. We left at 8 on Saturday morning and had a 9 hour trip to Puyo. Since we got there so late we didn't have time to do much so we got settled in, had dinner, and then relaxed in the hot tub for awhile.
The next day we went to a city called Banos. On our way there we stopped at a place and walked to a waterfall. It was beautiful! The hike back up to the bus was less fun... However next we got to go ziplinning! It was a lot of fun and had great views of the water. Next we went to a place that had basically a large basket that took you across the river and back. It was more exciting because we convinced Maria to go on it with us even though she is afraid of heights :) When we arrived in Banos our first stop was the bridge so we could go bungee jumping. Ariel and I didn't, but some of the guys took the leap. We had lunch and then time to walk around for a little bit. On our way back to the bus we stopped at the place called casa del arbol where Ariel went got to swing and we had some great views of the mountains in the distance. After that we went back to the hotel and had dinner. The food at the hotel was really great!!
On the third day our first stop was a cave tour. We put on our boots and hiked through the water and even got to swim in a waterfall inside the cave. After some lunch we headed to a town called Tena. In this town monkeys just roam around the town and sometime steal stuff from people! We loaded onto a canoe and headed to an indigenous village. They showed us how they prepare some traditional drinks and preformed a dance. Afterward we played with some of the local kids before heading back to town. When we got back we stopped to say hi to the monkeys and one of them stole Riley's hat! It was quite the hysterical adventure, but finally the monkey dropped it and Riley was able to get his back with a few extra bite marks in it. We headed back to the hotel and walked around Puyo a little before dinner.
Starting on the fourth day the hotel started to understand how much food the guys can eat and how much we all like bread so they started bringing us even more food for breakfast! Our first stop in the morning was to see some huge fish! They feed them chicken! We headed to another waterfall. On the way we made crowns out of a plant and got some mud masks. When we got to the waterfall we swam for a little bit and it started to rain. We had quite the hike back! Everyone was soaked, the guide was in the back, and the trail was basically a small river, but we finally make it back to the bus. We all stood it the bus so we didn't get the seats wet and headed to a place to change and have lunch. After lunch we visited another indigenous village to play with a monkey and hold a snake and got our faces painted. In the afternoon we made a lot of stops at various places to see alligators, coca, and some great views. The last place had an amazing view and hammocks that we chilled in for awhile. There was also a huge swing and that we all had a lot of fun doing!! After that it was back to the hotel for dinner and packing.
On the last day we had one activity before heading back to Cuenca. We went to another waterfall, but this time we repelled down the side of the cliff next to it! It was a little challenging but lots of fun. We went back to the hotel to change and eat lunch, and then we loaded the bus for our long trip home.
The rest of that week was vacation for us and all of Cuenca. On Monday we started our practicum! We have finished both our dance and Spanish classes!! Physiology still has another week, and we have 3 more weeks of history class.
In between our trips we had schedule as normal. Jenny has recovered from the surgery and is back to doing everything. For our student activity we went to Maria's house and cooked a pretty great dinner!
Sorry no pictures we had a bit of technical difficulties.!!
WE promise to add some in our next blog !