Monday, March 3, 2014

Ecuador´s Beaches, Parque Nacional Cajas, Vilcabamba

Ecuador´s beaches that I went to included Montanita, Puerto Lopez, Isla de la Plata, Canoa, and Mompiche. This is a view from a boat that Colleen, Patrick, and I went to on our way to Isla de la Plata....Ecuador´s poor man´s Galapagos. I started the beach with Montanita, which I don´t have any pictures from, followed by Puerto Lopez, Canoa, Mompiche, and back to Canoa for New Years.
This is a view from Isla de la Plata in Parque Nacional Machalilla. On this day we hiked a 5km loop called the Sendero Punta Escaleras and did some snorkeling.  On the island we mostly saw Blue Footed Boobies, one Red Footed Booby, Giant tortoises, and beautiful fish. Apparantly during the right season, you are able to see humpback whales, and dolphins pass year round, but unfortunetly we didn´t see any.
A picture of a Blue Footed booby, ready for departure.
Very Clownish birds, beautiful and very entertaining!!
Giant Tortugas seen from the tour boat.
Not sure what type of fish these are, but ended up snorkeling with them and seeing some coral reefs as well.
A view of the harbor at Puerto Lopez. Puerto Lopez is a fishing village and is becoming more popular becuase of Isla de la Plata and Parque Nacional Machallila. It was very entertaining hanging on the beach, watching locals surf and play beach futbol. Goal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
After Puerto Lopez, I went to Canoa to relax for the holidays. This picture is of me paddling out during the sunset on Christmas Day.  During my stay I tryed surfing for the first time and caught the first wave i tryed, but the waves were very small, drank lots of Pilsener, body surfed, and read books.  Canoa has a huge, long sandy beach, and a lot of surfers and futballers, and a great night life with bars right on the beach...mostly playing shitty music all day and all night long. The music was fun...depending on how much I had to drink. The more I drank the better the music became.
After Canoa, I went to Mompiche to meet my friend Gabby. Mompiche is home to black sandy beaches and a great point break for surfing. This is a picture of my home at the hostal I stayed at. I went to Mompiche for 3 days or so between Christmas and New Years, and returned to Canoa for New Years to meet with some friends from the farm I volunteered at.
This is a beach about 1 mile south of Mompiche. Very relaxing and not crowded. Basically chilled, and body surfed all day long with Gabby and Moritz.
This is a view from our Private Beach in Canoa. Ended up staying at the beach way to long, but a great time relaxing and partying for the New Year.
After the beaches, I decided to travel solo back to Cuenca for a night and then explored Parque Nacional Cajas for a day. This park is surrounded by 288 sq km of the high Andes, with more than 200 lakes. Polylepis trees are found here, which grows at the highest altitudes of any tree in the world.
Stunning mountains which lie 4000m to 4500m in height and maybe even taller. 
Beautiful views, with beautiful lakes and mountains.
Solo crooked picture taken from a rock.
After Parque Nacional Cajas, I went south to Vilcabamba to relax and do some hiking. Surrounded by peaks, Vilcabamba is known for the "Valley of Longevity¨ because some indigenous inhabitants are 100 years old and some claim to be 120 years old. I guess this is why foreigners, and vietnam vets don´t leave and are taking over the valley, just because they want to live forever. Beautiful surroundings but very very weird gringos in this town.  Some people claim to have seen UFO´s here, which is kindof a metaphor, because the foreigners seem to have been the real aliens.
This is a hike my friends Karla, Robert, and I did, hiking up a mountain and traversing to a waterfall.
A view from the top of the hike, with Vilcabamba in the valley below. More blog to be continued. Hope Everyone enjoys. Right Now I am in Sucre, Bolivia. Only two countries behind on my blog....haha.

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