We said our goodbyes to Latacunga as we departed on our adventure to the Amazon.
It was sure to be an exciting day as it was also Jamie and Sydney’s birthdays! The highlight of the drive for many was the picturesque view of the tree-covered mountains and flowing rivers as we drove into the Amazon.
The only word to describe the groups’ first impression of our Amazon lodge was… incredible! As the evening drew on, candles were lit and a campfire was started (after all, there was no electricity). In place of windows, our rooms has screens. It felt as though we were sleeping outside, or as a few trip members commented in tree houses. On our balconies, there were hammocks that everyone enjoyed lying on.
That evening we celebrated Jamie and Sydney’s birthday with a special birthday cake and party snacks. We played some traditional birthday games, which included a very competitive game of musical chairs and a laughter game of “pin the tail on the llama.”
We began our next day assisting in various construction projects around the local school. Bailey, Jake, Josh and Emma all worked on leveling the ground for a teacher’s house and the rest of us went to a nearby beach to collect rocks which we transported back to the school so they could be used for construction.
That afternoon we visited Amazoonica, which was an animal refuge center. Here we saw various local animals, which was quite amazing. To get back to our lodge, instead of taking the canoes, we took a river tube down the river, which was a lot fun. With the current pushing us down, there was barely any need to paddle. We laughed a lot and really enjoyed the experience.
Our next morning began with service. One group collected rocks at the beach and the other prepared a tunnel so the water could drain properly around the school instead of flooding it. This was a rewarding experience for many of us because we felt like we were making a true difference for this school.
In the afternoon, we took a Quechua community tour, which was guided by a local man who showed us around his town. We got to try some local cocoa plant which is used to make chocolate, we learned how to use blowguns and even got to try the local cheecha drink. Ethan and Jake were both amazing at the blowguns and were able to hit the selected target on their first try. To get back to our lodge, some of us took the boat back and some of us the river tubes which provided the same laughs as yesterday.
And then the day finally came where we needed to leave the Amazon. We had all really enjoyed our time and were sad to say our goodbyes to the amazing staff at the lodge.
The bright side of one goodbye meant saying hello to the fabulous town of Baños.
We spent our first day in Baños white water rafting and had an absolute blast. Bailey, Mick, Skyler all showed great strength when it came to the balancing challenges posed by the rafting guide.
You will be hearing from us again soon!
The Westcoast Blogger