Archive for the ‘Ecuador’ Category

3 Tropically Exotic South American Fruits

Tropical destinations remind me that everything grown isn’t exported.  There are more fruits than us four seasons dwellers know of.

Although those of us that don’t live in tropical zones can get imported coconut, mango, papaya and pineapple, there are other delectable fruits that we don’t come across.

Many say that fruit is the single best type of food you can eat.  Our bodies crave and love it.  I try to eat multiple servings per day.

While it’s easier when I’m situated in one place for a bit, I still manage  on the road, especially in the tropics.  There, I can’t help but notice fruit all over the place.

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Gone are the Hotel Nights That Include Breakfast

25,000 right.”

Actually it’s 35,000.  But that’s with breakfast included.”

I thought: Breakfast is nice.  I read somewhere online that it was 25,000 but . . .  Prices go up.  Bills need to be paid.  It’s not super easy to make a solid living off of running a little place of accommodation.

25,000 Colombian Pesos = $14.  35,000 is $19.50.  I shouldn’t have been spending that much each night in Manizales.  At the time I justified it being a good value because I had my own room and a home cooked breakfast was included.

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Haquillas, Ecuador to Tumbes, Perú: A Confusing Crossing

I was under the asinine assumption that the border crossing from Huaquillas to Tumbes would be ridiculously smooth like the one from Colombia into Ecuador that I’d crossed five weeks prior.  That super easy crossing conditioned me to think that my next land pass over would be equally as easy.  Oh how wrong I was.

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A Short Drifting Diversion in Riobamba

While drifting towards two volcanoes and a sunset, I was interrupted by a short woman who was standing under a tree’s branches that were hanging above the sidewalk.  She asked if I would please pull some leaves down from the tree above.

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Drifting Towards two Volcanoes and a Sunset in Riobamba

After spending almost two hours drifting in and around Riobamba’s center looking for a cheap hotel, I finally came across the Hotel Glamour.  It was the sixth place I’d checked out and the first that was equipped with wifi in the rooms.

Of the two rooms that were left, I chose the huge one that had a work table.  The other room on offer was only $10 but it didn’t have a window.  I always try my best to avoid musty, windowless rooms.  The big one was $15.  The man kindly gave it to me for $13 after I asked for that price.   I thought: It’s more than I want to pay.  But, the room is great and I’m really tired of looking at hotel rooms.  I have a vista of a snowcapped volcano to find before sunset and I’ve already used up way too much time.

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Termas El Salado in Baños

Minutes before arrival at the volcanically heated hot springs of Termas El Salado, I was able to see the smoking Volcán Tungurahua.  I thought: I don’t remember ever seeing an active volcano in front of my eyes.  What a pleasant surprise.  I was glad that I don’t take taxis unless I have to, as the walk rewarded me with a striking view.

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Hot Stone Volcanic Massage

When I think of the little town of Baños, the first thing that comes to mind is  therapeutic tourism. Besides allowing people to easily bathe in thermal springs, the town is home to well over a dozen massage parlors.

Considering I’d been walking past these massage service stores for a week, I figured that it was time to take advantage of the option that was staring me down.

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Bathing in Baños

After walking along a refreshingly misty and windy Baños street, I came to the Termas de la Virgen, one of a few thermal, public baths heated by Volcán Tungurahua.

Termas de la Virgen sits just beside –practically below– the Caballera de la Virgen waterfall.

After paying the $2 entrance fee I went in and glanced around in awe, finding five pools. They vary in water shade, size, and most importantly, temperature.

I was instructed to take a container, go to a changing room, put on swim trunks and place everything else in the basket.

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3 Cheap Vegetarian Options in La Mariscal

I’m not going to lie.  I’m not a full-fledged vegetarian.  That means that when there’s no other option, I suck it up and usually end up settling for chicken and or egg.  I even eat beef or pork when it’s served to me in someone’s home.  Recently in Colombia I had liver on arepas or corn tortillas while at a home in Virjinia.

As time goes on, I continue to like the idea of vegetarianism more and more.    Even though I’m not a fan of labels, for the moment, I’ll loosely consider myself a virtual vegetarian.

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Ipiales to Tulcán: A Fast and Easy Border Crossing

The hotel worker told me to walk to the park in order to get a better price on a taxi.  He told me not to pay more than 2,000 COP or $1.22.

While spontaneously getting my shoes shined for $1,000 COP or $.55 in the plaza, it started to pour.

In the cold mountain rain the lowest the taxi man would go is 5,000 pesos or $2.70.  As my bags would have been drenched had I stood out there much longer, it was a no-brainer to suck up the $1.48 extra.  I thought: If I were this man, I probably would have noticed that there were no other taxis, and that I had no rain covering on my packs.  I might have upped the price to 7,000.

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