In our final days of the Plus3 Ecuador trip, we were finally given some time to relax…well compared to the rest of the trip’s activities, at least. I wouldn’t exactly call our days on the west coast relaxing by most standards, but after how crazy this whole trip has been, it definitely felt like a step back, despite the days still being jam-packed with activity and immersion. As I wrote about in my last blog post, we started our time on the coast with a small hike and beach day which was definitely what we all needed. The next day, though, was a little less slow-paced.
We took a boat to Isla de la Plata (aka the “poor man’s Galapagos”) which was absolutely covered in bird poop, so much so that you can see it on the mountains and cliff faces from miles away in the boat. Interestingly, the poop actually helps fertilize the entire island, so although you may feel strange at first walking through an island covered in feces, it’s pretty easy to get used to. What birds are responsible for all this poop? None other than the famed blue footed boobie!
While I went into the hike thinking these birds were really rare (which technically they are), I saw hundreds just on a small one mile hike around the coastal region of the island. They were gorgeous, and our tour guide taught us so many things to identify the type, age, and sex (males have lighter feet and smaller pupils). After the hike, we even went snorkeling! Though I couldn’t name a single fish I saw, I had a lot of fun doing it, and saw some very pretty colors and gorgeous sites.
While on the hike in the dry area of the island, I found myself thinking how funny it was that I knew nothing about Ecuador at all before coming, and even while being here I have continued to be shocked in the biodiversity and cultures I have experienced all in one country. On the hike we were joking that Ecuador has every biome within its small borders, but it isn’t even a joke, just a fact that this one, small country contains worlds inside.