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Old 01-25-2012, 08:46 PM   #76
troyfromtexas OP
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The Adventure Begins... Into The Amazon

I decided to travel to the Amazon. I had always envisioned that I would visit the Amazon from Brazil, but after talking with a few people I heard that it is more accessible, affordable and pristine to access it from Ecuador. Also, I plan to visit Brazil later in the year and hopefully I'll be able to make another excursion at that time. So instead of waiting until mañana (tomorrow), I thought to myself, there is no day like today (hoy).

My trip started with a short bus ride from Banos to a town called Ambato where I would connect with an overnight bus to Lago Agrio.


Pretty lujo (luxurious) this bus.


Like a disco ball on wheels. I watched a movie, then feel asleep. I awoke at about 5:30am just as we were arriving into Lago Agrio.



I was to meet my guide at the Hotel de Mario... me and a few other travelers as well. It seemed as if many tour companies use the Hotel de Mario as a meeting place.

At about 8am my guide Jorge showed up and said that we would wait a while, then leave at 9am for the selva (rain forrest).

Here is were the adventure begins. Click on the links to see stories from each day.


The Amazon Day 1


The Amazon Day 2


The Amazon Day 3


The Amazon Day 4


The Amazon Day 5
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Old 01-26-2012, 07:19 AM   #77
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Did you tell the Ecuadorians that they have to move the La Mitad del Mundo over about 100 feet? What a great adventure! Can't wait to get there myself.
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:06 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by Parcero View Post
Did you tell the Ecuadorians that they have to move the La Mitad del Mundo over about 100 feet? What a great adventure! Can't wait to get there myself.
It is mas o menos (more or less) correct. I think that they are aware. Thanks for following along.
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:53 PM   #79
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The Adventure Begins... Museo de Pumapungo


In Cuenca, I checked out the Museo de Pumapungo (aka The Museum of the Central Bank). There were a number of ethnographic displays about different people groups in Ecuador, but what I really found interesting was this display of wooden masks. If you look at them long enough, they appear to look back.







This last one isn't a mask, it's a tsantsa (shrunken head). Seems that the Shuar people group in the Amazon use to have a cultural practice of making tsantsa. When someone was murdered the way of restoring balance to the universe was for the offended family to kill and shrink the head of the offender.

For the full story visit Museo de Pumapungo
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Old 02-07-2012, 10:01 PM   #80
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The Adventure Begins... Inca Ruins of Ingapirca


From the town of Cuenca, I took a day trip to the cloud shrouded ruins of Ingapirca.

The ride was along a fantastic road...

That wound through the mountains and ascended to about 10,000 feet (3,000 meters)...

And passed by mostly farmland and a few houses.

The Canari civilization first built a city called Hatun Cañar on the site. Then toward the end of the 15th century, during the Inca expansion into present day Ecuador, the Inca built their city on top of the ruins of the Canari city and called it Ingapirca.

The site was built in the Incan imperial style of construction with a mortarless polished stone technique. This means that all the stones were carved to fit together perfectly without mortar.

The city is linked to the city of Machu Picchu via the Camino de Los Incas (The Inca Trail).

This area contained some excavated tombs.

This double semi-circle formation represented both the sun and the moon. Those are llamas grazing on the grass.

There was a sun temple...

That actually functioned as a sun dial.

And this was some form of solar or lunar calendar. It's a mystery as to how it actually functioned.

Outside of the grounds of the ruins was this stone pathway...

That lead to this rock formation...

Called the Cara del Inca (Inca Face). I passed it completely when I was walking down the trail, but then looked back and saw the profile of the face. This is a natural stone feature in the side of the mountain and was not carved.

A nice little walk around some ancient history.

For the full story visit Inca Ruins of Ingapirca
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Old 02-07-2012, 10:11 PM   #81
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the Adventure Begins... El Cajas...Sinking Into Paramo


Wishing to get back to nature, I traveled to a national park called El Cajas.

The park consists of mountains, waterfalls, rivers, lakes and páramo.

Páramo is an alpine tundra or moorland.

The ground is soft, porous and retains a high quantity of water like a sponge. If you step on the spongy part of the páramo your foot sinks. It is best to walk on the packed ground or scramble over the rocks.

The park is at altitude as well... 12,800 feet (3,900 meters).

I went for a hike. The vistas were pretty amazing. I didn't know what to expect, so I carried a pack with a med kit, sleeping bag, ground cloth, food and water. I had heard that clouds often roll in and can be disorienting. Since I was hiking alone, I wanted to take the right precautions.

There was low lying brush...

Ground coverage...

Cactus...

Flowers...

Plants and flowers woven together...

And this crazy forest...

With wrangling trees growing in all directions.

I crossed a few rivers

Passed by a number of lakes

Passed by more rivers

That were raging

And made a few missteps.

It's all part of the adventure. Check out this short video to see what it is like hiking in páramo.

I got a little bit lost, but eventually found my way.

The first day I spent hiking. The second day I spent fishing for natural trout. I hooked into a few, but released them.

El Cajas was a beautiful area and quite unlike anything that I've seen before. The park had some good trails. The terrain was rugged and the climate variable. While I was there it was sunny, rainy, cloudy, cold and warm... all within the span of a few hours.

For the full story visit El Cajas
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Old 02-07-2012, 10:15 PM   #82
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The Adventure Begins... Some Camping Supplies


In Cuenca I found this store called Accion Sports.

They had a decent selection of camping and fishing gear. I didn't want to add weight to my kit, so I decided to go ultralight.

I ended buying some Sno-Seal to weatherproof my boots ($10). It's something that I've been looking for for some time. I bought a compact fishing rod and reel combo with a few simple lures ($13). And I bought a tent footprint and tent spikes which I will use as a tent ($15). The tent footprint is basically a waterproof nylon sheet with grommets that I hope will make a decent lean-to cover. Perfect...light and inexpensive.
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Old 02-07-2012, 10:29 PM   #83
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The Adventure Begins... Looking Back...The Galapagos Islands

Wow... I've spent a month in Ecuador... time has really flown by. There is so much to see and do in the country that I still feel that I've just scratched the surface. Back in December my whole objective was to pass through Ecuador in less than 2 weeks so that I could travel to Peru to watch the Dakar Rally. Well... that didn't happen. There was Christmas and New Years and I went on some excursions and met some people and started having a really good time. I made a calculation of the mileage that I would need to ride and the amount of time that I had to travel to reach Lima, Peru by January 15th... and it just wasn't possible. But no regrets, I've experienced so many amazing things in the past month that it has all been worthwhile.

At the beginning of January I wrote a post about flight.

It was the beginning of a story about a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

It has taken me a while to process the whole experience and sort though my images, but now I'm ready to share the story.


The adventure began in the city of Quito. My first day in Quito I met Miguel Vinueza. Together we walked along Avenida Amazonas where there were a number of tour agencies. After talking with a number of agencies, I found an agent that could book me on a tour to the Galapagos Islands on a small cruise boat for 5 days that would leave within 2 days.

Two days later... I was waiting for a flight in the Quito airport.

After a short wait in the airport, I was in the air...

Flying over the clouds, ocean and finally reaching the islands.

For the full story click on the links below.

My itinerary would be...

Day 1: SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Day 2: SANTA FE ISLAND

Day 3: ESPAÑOLA ISLAND

Day 4: FLOREANA ISLAND

Day 5: SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:08 PM   #84
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Troy, just found your RR and got caught up. Looks like a lot a fun. Really aapreciate the detail. Great report !
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Old 02-08-2012, 04:39 PM   #85
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If you come back through Belize, let me know and I will give you a good tour of the country. I have been here for 8 years and loving central america. Hope you have a great trip. Rod
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:06 AM   #86
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great RR

hey Troy,
nice writing and pictures, just checked out your Blog too - well done - enjoy your trip and maybe see you in the south of Chile
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:17 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by rodrut View Post
If you come back through Belize, let me know and I will give you a good tour of the country. I have been here for 8 years and loving central america. Hope you have a great trip. Rod
Thanks for the offer. I was planning to visit Belize, but I've traveled there a few times. Love the country and the people. I would like to explore the country by bike if I have the opportunity in the future.
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:18 PM   #88
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The Adventure Begins... Riding South In Ecuador

I had some of the best roads and riding of my trip while traveling south in Ecuador.


The roads between Cuenca, Loja and Macara were newly paved, wide and twisty. The engineers had figured out how to make the twisty parts without blind corners. To boot, there was very little traffic. The weather was cool, probably around 60F (15C). I had to wear all my cold weather gear, but I was still comfortable.

For about an hour, I traveled through a stretch of pine forest. The area reminded me a little of east Texas or a certain segment in central Texas around the town of Bastrop. It smelled good too.

For the full story visit Riding South In Ecuador
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:22 PM   #89
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The Adventure Begins... Ecuador To Peru

I crossed from Ecuador into Peru.



Leaving Ecuador was fast and efficient. I decided to cross at the town of Macara. It probably only took 5 minutes. First a visit to immigration where they checked my passport. Second to Customs where it took probably 2 minutes. Basically they checked and kept my temporary permit.



The immigration office in Peru was amazing fast as well. I was the only person in line. I handed the immigration officer my passport, he put a stamp in it and handed it back.



I then proceeded to the Customs office. They made copies of my passport, motorcycle title and request for a temporary permit. They actually made the photocopies... how refreshing. They instructed me to buy temporary insurance across the street. Once I obtained insurance I was back to the Customs office. The officer checked a few things, compiled my papers and issued me a temporary permit.

All done, probably all within 15 minutes. No ayudantes. No bribery. That's the way to run a border crossing. Great job!

Peru, here I come.

For the full story visit Ecuador to Peru
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:29 PM   #90
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The Adventure Begins... Peru Revisited

A few years ago I visited Peru.

At that time I was traveling with my friends Susan, Kim and Raj.

We visited Lima.

Saw the catacombs at the Monasterio de San Francisco.

Traveled to the ancient empire of the Inca, Cuscu.

Where some traditional customs still exist along ancient stone architecture.

I happened to arrive during one of the most significant celebrations for the city of Cusco, the Inti Raymi or Festival of the Sun.

People from the surrounding towns travel great distances and re-enact a ceremony that depicts the mythical origin of the Incas. People from all over the world visit to see the event.

We spent a number of days hiking the Inca Trail.

And spent some time at Machu Picchu.

We visited Lake Titicaca and Uros where people live on floating islands made of totora.

And construct their houses, boats and other everyday utensils with totora.

We visited the small island of Taquile where the textile arts have been honored by UNESCO.

Then, we traveled to the "white city" of Arequipa.

Visited the Monasterio Santa Catalina

And admired the beautiful colonial architecture.

Ate one of the local delicacies Cuy (Guinea Pig).

And finished the trip with a flight over the Nasca Lines.

This time around I didn't want to revisit the same areas... I wanted to check out some of the areas in the north, coast and desert.

For the full story visit Peru Revisited
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