Only in Ecuador

Yesterday we went to the beautiful Isla de la Plata part of Machalilla National Park. Isla de la Plata is often called “The Poor Man’s Galapagos”. Isla de la Plata received its name meaning “Island of Silver” from the booby poop that covers the island. In the moonlight the white poop shimmers a silver hue making the island appear to be covered in silver. Isla de la Plata is known for its white sand beaches, crystal blue waters, biodiversity, and its large booby population that contains three different types of bird. To get to Isla de la Plata we had to take a one hour boat ride. On this boat ride we were lucky enough to boat through a large pod of dolphins. Our captain was kind enough to stop the motor so we could spend some time amidst the pod as they were seemingly putting on a show for our boat with lots of jumps and fancy swimming. On the island, we saw an array of Blue-Footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, lizards, and even a rare Masked Booby. Upon arrival to the island we were even blessed with seeing a nearly hatched sea turtle begin its crawl to the ocean. We even saw fully grown adult sea turtles. It was amazing seeing all of the island’s biodiversity in full through our wonderful hike of the island.

After hiking the trials of Isla de la Plata we were able to snorkel around the waters of the island. As much as I wished I was a good snorkeler, I have to admit I struggled quite a bit. I was unable to keep my air-pipe attached to my goggles so I had to hold it in my mouth and above the water. Because of this hassle I decided on snorkeling without my mouth piece. I believed that my new innovation was quite genius however, upon arriving back in the boat and sharing my knowledge I was told that “I was just swimming with goggles and not snorkeling” this was heartbreaking to hear. After snorkeling we began our one hour boat ride home. For some reason the water was extremely choppy and we hit many waves that would launch our boat into the air. Thanos and I created a game to see if we could catch the jump of the boat much like how people jump into the air while a elevator is rising to get that extremely jump. After getting back to Puerto Lopéz we had to get our Covid-19 test (a necessary step of returning to the United States). Thankfully everyone recieved a negative test. Following this we went back to our hotel had dinner and again went out to Puerto Lopez to experience Ecuador one last time.

This morning we awoke and went to Hacienda Victoria. Hacienda Victoria is a Cacao plantation that sells its beans to many chocolate manufacturers world wide. At the Hacienda we were given a brief overview of their company, history, and how they grow their beans. We were then given a tour of the fields, fermentation building, and drying areas. During our tour we were told how they ferment and dry the beans to the specific requirements of each buyer. As well as how they have begun discussions to try and produce their own chocolate. To finish off our tour we were able to taste their Cacao Liquor. The Liquor was extremely bitter as it was made from 100% Cacao with nothing added to it. This visit was definitely one of our best company visits. The two people running the tour kept it very interesting, quick and engaged.

Through our Plus3 journey we have witnessed everything I could have asked and more. From the hustle and bustle of Quito, to the peace and mud of the Amazon, to the relaxation and waters of the Western Coast. This journey was simply put amazing. I was able to experience so much more than I ever could have on a trip by myself. The glimpses I had of the culture and business life of Ecuador was some of the most genuine, sincere, and professional interactions I have ever had in my life. I will forever be grateful for these past two weeks in this wonderful place. It has taught me many new values, shown me new perspectives on life, and brought many great memories and new friends into my life. Ecuador is a great place that more people need to try and visit and experience in their life time. With that being said my time in Ecuador has sadly run out. Before singing out for the last time I would like to thank Skip Glenn (our wonderful professor), Rick Moslen (our travel advisor), Diana (our tour guide in Ecuador), and everyone else that helped us experience this wonderful place. I hope that everyone was able to take as much away from this trip as I did. See you later Ecuador, Ben out.

Sorry guys turns out our flight from Quito to Atlanta was delayed until tomorrow morning. Delta airlines has so graciously put us into the nicest hotel I have ever been in. We are staying in Hotel EB and will get a shuttle at 3am for our 7am flight to Atlanta. Life is good man. Only in Ecuador man.

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