A drive through paradise
If you were wondering if you should come to Ecuador and drive through the mountains to the Amazon jungle, my answer is the biggest YES I can possibly give (seriously, do this in your lifetime).
Our team left Quito for the next five days and headed to the jungle port of Misahuallí. At our debrief at the end of the day, everyone agreed that their favorite part was the drive down, but not just because of the views. Being in a bus for six hours with each other was filled with jokes, stories, laughter, and stops in rural towns along the way to get empenadas, the best food the Lord has graced this country with (that may be subjective, but you still need to try an Ecuadorian empanada). It is a lightly fried casing of dough around savory meat, fruit, or cheese fillings. Or if you’re Lindon Newberry, it’s a hot pocket but better.
To top off our trip down, we pulled off the side of the road, strapped on some head lamps and trekked through the Cavernas de Jumandy, the second largest cave system in Ecuador. Everyone braved swimming in the four large holes at the base of the waterfall inside.
We were fortunate to get to Misahuallí Saturday evening, just in time to attend church on Sunday morning. We walked to a small chapel in the middle of town where worship service is held every week.
Boat ride, chocolate farm, and the zoo
After church, day one in Misahualli started with a boat ride on the beautiful Rio Napo (the Napo River) that took us to a chocolate farm. We made our own chocolate and ate Cacao fruit, inside of which grows the seeds that ferment and roast to make our beloved chocolate.
The river ride also took us to the AmaZOOnica, a wildlife refuge in the Amazon jungle where we saw jaguars, monkeys, anacondas, crocodiles, tarantulas, and more.
Oh, and there are banana trees….everywhere!
Published by Kressa Phillips