Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Baños, Puerto López and Colorful Ecuador

After our jungle adventure we headed for the coast to spend some time getting some sun and sand.  On the way we stopped in a mountain town called Baños, to check out the most active volcano in Ecuador.  Other activities available are bike rentals for the waterfall route,  white water rafting, zip line canopy tours,  four wheelers and other buggies for rent and several scenic overlooks to hike or ride to.  The volcano was cloud covered the whole time we were there so we never got to see the top.  After a couple of days there we made our way to the coast and eventually to Puerto Lopez where we now reside.  The road from Banos to Puerto Lopez took us up over the Andes to around 12000 feet or more.  It was so windy, cold and barren that we had to stop and put more clothes and gauntlet gloves on.  Down toward the coast things warmed up a lot and we are back in light clothing.  We had hoped to soak up some sun but it stays overcast here all winter according to the locals.  At least it's warm.  This post will be picture heavy because it's been a while since the last post and the colors have been catching the cameras eye lately.  Captions where needed.  

On the road to Baños,  we saw this waterfall. If you look close there is a gondola,  so of course we had to check it out for a dollar each.

                  If you look close there are people toward the far end of the bridge.

                        Check out the Death Grip

After the gondola we took a ride up to an overlook to see the volcano and the town.  Banos is located at the base of Tungurahua and in the danger zone of eruptions.  It recently erupted on July 15th.
This picture is from the internet since it was cloud covered

We didn't see the top but we did see some ash cloud

According to Wikipedia:
The city is also a Roman Catholic religious center, as some Catholic believers say that theVirgin Mary appeared nearby a waterfall

                                 More scenes from above the town

    This kid was thirteen years old and carried this sack of oranges four km(2.5mi) up and down the mountain.  We guesstimated the sack to weigh 40 lbs.

Back in Baños the whole town seemed to have been spray painted.  One block in particular was a cinder block wall and was completely painted.  Here are pictures from the wall and other scenes from around town.

  Check out this crazy tree.  Don't know what kind it is.  The building in the back of it was pretty wild too.  There were sliding boards from the top.  It looked like it may have been some sort of amusement type park or water park but was gated.  I think it is a residence now.

Some of the locals around town

For four dollars you can eat a guinea pig.  A staple in Ecuador, a delicacy in Peru where I ate it before.

         Taffy is made here.  I guess they are famous for it because a lot of people make it.
           Stretch by hand, flip it back onto the wooden peg and repeat

Sugar cane candies and other treats are also big here.  This is only one row of vendors out of many around town.

        One of the buggies for rent.

Our ride to the coast took us past Cotapaxi

Then up over the Andes

Here are some random pictures on our way to Puerto Lopez

Puerto Lopez is a big fishing village that also runs whale watching tours from June to September which is why we are here.  We are going tomorrow so there  won't be any pictures in this post.  He are some things we saw around town while waiting for our tour to leave

     Fun with the fish-eye feature on the camera

                                                  Riding in the tul-tuk

          They don't have Corona here.

There seemed to be a lot of 10cent gum machines around so I started taking pictures
                    Small round
                 Large round
                   Egg shaped

And finally some colorful items on the street for sale

And lastly, this has been colorful,