For our final thrill, we headed out Saturday morning down the Rio Napo on motorized canoes to explore the Amazon jungle! After a beautiful river ride past lush flora, we arrived at our first exploration site. We spent the next 3-4 hours hiking through a secondary rainforest with an indigenous, Quichuan guide, who stopped to tell us and demonstrate to us countless wonders of the Quichuan people and of the jungle (including how to scale trees, how to make animal poison which also can be drank by humans to kill parasites, how to call for help using a kapok tree, and how to make a shelter that will keep you dry for the night in 3 minutes out of a few palm branches). After our hike, we settled into our what would be our campsite for the next 2 days with a hammock nap. We spent the rest of the day learning more of the secrets of the jungle and its people, swimming in the river, eating wonderfully fresh and delicious food, and in general just enjoying each other’s company. We woke up early Sunday morning to a beautiful, sunny day and another yummy meal. We then took another enlightening and thrilling hike through the jungle, and eventually arrived at a small Amazon village, where we learned a bit about Shamanism and had cleansing rituals performed on us. The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent collecting firewood, tubing down the river, perfecting the art of blowing darts, and having a bonfire. We headed out on Monday morning and forged our way up stream in the direction of Misahualli. We made a quick stop at a museum, where we learned about indigenous methods of trapping animals and making music, and got to chill out with some ocelots and papagayos. For lunch, we received a lovely meal in an indigenous community, whose natives taught us to dance and prepare chicha from yucca. After that, it was a leisurely canoe ride back to Misuhaulli, a rainy pick-up truck ride to Tena, and a relaxing night spent in our hostal.
The Amazon gave us a gorgeous day on Tuesday for our final hurrah: white-water rafting. The six of us packed ourselves into a little inflatable raft, and with the help of our hilarious guide Roberto, had a thrilling adventure. We hurdled huge waves and screamed a ton and ate tuna-fish sandwiches and painted our faces with clay and laughed until our helmeted heads were ringing. Everyone had an amazing time, and we were all ready to eat a yummy pizza dinner after our exhausting, adrenaline-filled day. The next day, this morning, we woke up and rode for about 4 hours to Quito past alpacas, cloud oceans, beautiful mountains and mountain people. We are currently sitting in our hostel in Quito packing up our bags for the very last time in Ecuador. As a whole, we have very mixed emotions about coming home; we all feel that we have had the most incredible experience of our lives here, and we are sad to leave each other, this country, its culture, and its people, but we are also so excited to come back to our own houses, our own beds, and most importantly family and friends.
Thank you all for reading our blog, and we hope that it lent a bit of a window into our adventures throughout Ecuador.
Much love to all, and see you very, very soon!!