Travelreport No 43, Ecuador, 2.12. - 25.12.2010
Tulcan -Otavalo - Quito - Galapagos
From the colombian border to Quito we need 4 days. Along the way - an exciting visit to the small town of Otavalo, where the tribal identity and tradition is still continuing. The men wear their white pants and long ponytails, women beautifully embroidered white blouses, long black skirts, head cloths and necklesses of golden blown-glass beads. Unfortunately most of the time the impressing snow topped vulcanoes are hidden in clouds. Famous "La Niña" brings more rain than normal to the northern region of south america.
In Quito we are allowed to stay with the warmhearted family of Steven and Maria with their gorgeous children Carlita and Ramon. How fantastic to experience so much kindness! Steven is also a good source of information because he cycled most of the area and the world. Visiting Quito reminded us of our visit 25 years ago. A lot of changes and developements can be seen, especially in the historic center, beautiful restoration is obvious. In the mordern parts you find shopping malls like in Europe.
A plane takes us to the mostly barren vulcanic islands of Galapagos, 1000 km west of the mainland in the Pacific Ocean. Famous through Charles Darwin, who visited here in 1835, and his observations led to the evolution theory. The unique animals are incrdibly fearless. Here you can watch blue- or red footed boobies feeding and breeding heir young, giant 200 kg turtoises wandering the cactus forest, and you have to be careful not to step on iguanas. The 8 day island cruise was interresting and the snorkeling fantastic. Countless colourful fish, seastars and even mantas can be admires, but the greatest experience for us was to swim eye-to-eye with sharks, rays, rutles and sealions.
Back in Quito the cycling on as far as Cartagena in Colombia is planned. About 2 more months we will be travelling in Colombia before saying good bye to South America.