Waking up in the Amazon became very usual for us. The sounds of insects buzzing, birds singing and making various sounds, and the moist leaves throughout the lodge. This is exactly the scenario that happened 24 hours ago, but we did not realizenot a realize the diversity we would go through in one day. After an earlya early lunch of spaghetti and steak meat sauce, it was time to begin our trek. Leaving the lush rainforest was hard due to the routine we grew, but we were excited to drive through the mountains for one last time. Little did we know this would be the most interesting Andes visit of the trip.
It was a four hour drive to the Quito airport so we could get on a short flight to head over to the west coast beach of Manta. But roughly three hours in, we ran into a rather muddy roadblock. I woke up in the bus and wondered why we weren’t moving, I was told that we were at ain a standstill for twenty minutes. We finally walked down the road to investigate and we were shocked at what we saw. A brown, strong, muddy waterfall was crashing onto the road. One foot of slimy mud filled about twenty yards of the road, a tree was even in the middle of the road. Never did I ever think I would see a landslide first hand. At first we were intrigued and very invested in watching this landslide. But then reality hit and we realized we were most likely going to miss our flight.
Concluding our departure from theof the rainforest, the mountains did not give us the reality we expected. We experienced the usual beautiful roadside views filled with cloud covered mountain tops, lush hills, cows grazing, and steep cliffs. But we experienced a new addition to this ecosystem of a landslide. Due to this, we did indeed miss our flight. Arriving at the Quito Airport, we were devastated to hear that we missed the flight and reality began to set in. The only way to the west coast was to drive…a whopping 10+ hour drive. We quickly indulged in a salty American treat of Johnny Rocket burgers, then the drive began.
After a few hours of casualcausal chatter among the group, it was evident that sleep was settling into everyone. I was able to sleep subtly for about two hours then an interesting event happened. Being in the back of the bus, every tiny bump moved me around. When I was finally in a deep sleep we missed a speed bump and went over it very quickly. This bump sent me two feet into the air as I smashed into the ground. I scrapped my back, elbow, knee and got the wind knocked out of me. It hurt, I can’t lie, but Ben and I quickly shared a laugh after this event.
My incident in the bus kept me up till we arrived at our final sleeping spot of Cabañas El Manglar. We are now in the small beach town of Jipijapa as we experience the third and final world held within Ecuador, the beach. The cabanas are beautiful, quant, and very comfortable for our last few sleeps. A beach side restaurant sits next to 8 hammocks on the beach. The biggest difference in this ecosystem compared to the other two is the noise. Rather than the constant sound of wind, rain, birds and insects, all you hear is the serenading crash of waves. Sunsets are visible, theretheir is no rain, and the white noise of the great pacific is highly soothing.
Today, on our first day at the beach, we headed to MachalillaMachalilli National Park. We began with a short hike to the top of a peak with an awesome view. Views of crystal blue water, crashing waves, vultures, and frigates. After this we headed down to the water for a swim. It was a great time body surfing with the group, including Skipp. I have to say, he’s quite the water bug. The vibes were high and we had a really great time. Everyone was laughing and we enjoyed an ice cream after the swim. We built up an appetite and headed back to the cabanas. After a small speed bump in the Andes, we bounced back and made some great memories at the beach. Onto a great day of snorkeling and boating tomorrow!