Times 3

Three is an important number in my life. I’m a triplet where I am one of 3, important dates in my life have the number 3, my sports jerseys always had the number 3, etc. As crazy as it sounds, the 3 in “Plus 3” is what initially caught my eye about this program. Given the name, I knew I was going to be taking three credits where I was going to learn a lot. I do think this is false advertising though. This experience was 3 times what I ever could have imagined. Combining the elements of the credits, cultural immersion, and crazy canoe rides, there is no way that the word plus could be representatives of this whole experience.

Me sleeping on one of the crazy canoe rides

Continuing on with my theme of 3s, yesterday, we got to experience the third and final geographic region of Ecuador. We started our trip in the highland region in Quito, we moved to the Oriente when we went to the Amazon, and we were finally able to experience the coastal region over the last couple of days. We stayed in a really nice set of cabins on the beach. We were able to see a couple of different kinds of crabs, tons of birds and very blue rocks all around the property. It truly was beautiful. It was just a short drive away from a nearby town called Puerto Lopez where we got dinner and shopped around a couple times.

Some of the boys from the trip walking on the beach

Yesterday was truly unreal. We had an early start to head to Isla de la Plata which is an island that is part of the Machalilla National Park. We had about an hour boat ride to get out to the island. On our way there, we saw a bunch of dolphins. They were putting on a show jumping up out of the water and swimming along side the boat. As soon as the island became visible, so did the birds. They were everywhere and in large groups. I honestly can not think of anything to compare it to because it was such a unique experience. We got off the boat to see giant sea turtles in the water and birds circling around us overhead. It honestly felt magical. Once we were on shore, we even got to see a baby sea turtle!

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After all of the excitement at the beach, it was time for us to begin the short hike to the top of the island. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I went in thinking that it was going to be difficult to spot the blue footed boobies. They were everywhere and I mean everywhere. They were sitting in the paths, in trees, above us, and everywhere else. We learned how to spot the difference between the males and females by looking at their eyes. My group continued on along the top of the island to see the Frigate birds. They were huge! They were in the middle of their mating season, so the males were flying around with their red chests puffed out. It was incredible.

Frigate birds
Blue footed boobies

After our hikes and walking around, we were rewarded with snorkeling! We saw another sea turtle, coral, and plenty of fish. The water was a beautiful blue and very clear. The water was also pretty easy to float in so we stayed out snorkeling for a while to take in everything we were seeing and to really appreciate our last day. This whole trip has been such an amazing way to get back in touch with nature. From the dogs in Quito, the spider monkeys with the Woarani, and the birds of the Pacific, each of the 3 regions offered us something new to remind us how incredible Ecuador and our planet truly is. Plus 3 Ecuador has had such a profound impact on me that I will carry with me wherever I go from here.

Hiking at Isla de la Plata 🙂

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