Ecuador : Aug 23 - Sept 20 : Tena

12-14. September

Travelling from Termas de Papallacta to Tena 


Despite my grogginess, the next morning we hiked all the way back to the intersection and waited for a bus to come pick us up to bring us to Tena, in the Ecuadorian jungle. We waited for about 20 min until the next bus came, and after 5 hours sloping down from 3,800 meters to about 500 we arrived in the town of Tena where we stayed at XYZ, a hostel with an incredible deal of $5 per night for a private room with bathroom and TV.


The next day we went white wate-rafting in the middle of the jungle. It was a river that was relatively wide but very swift for its size, which provided for an even more joyful ride. Besides the guide and crew we had two American river rats from Virginia with us, escorting our raft in whitewater kayaks. This couple (XYZ and ABC) were spending over 6 months traveling the rivers of South America and found Ecuador to be especially inspiring. From our vantage point on the raft we were able to see them have a lot of fun riding out the waves of the river. We had a great lunch break, in a small hut by the river and the food was a lovely set-up by the crew. Later, I transferred into one of the kayaks and navigated the roaring river on my own.


Well, the river had me when I flipped trying to avoid a rock in my way. I had to exit under water and dragged the boat to shore before getting back into it. When we finally arrived at the exit spot we carried all the gear upstairs and waited for the truck to pick us up. It started to downpour on us as if the heavens opened all of its gates. I can’t remember seeing so much rain at the same time. But what was worse was that there was no toilet. I had been battling with my bowels all day long (on the raft) not letting it get to me. But back on land it was a little more difficult and I was happy to be back to the hostel.


[This is a playlist with several videos, click on the film strip button (next to the play button) to see all]

14. September


Well, the prognosis was that drinking the water in the mountains two nights before was a bad idea. I was hit by some very bad diarrhea. I would like to spare you the details, but it was not fun. I rested the whole reminder of the day in hope to get me travel ready again the next day as we were on a tight schedule to get to Banos and later to Riobamba to catch the train there. The next morning it didn’t look much better and we decided to delay leaving be a few hours. Luckily the owner of the hostel (a German) had some Imodium to spare and those helped alleviate the symptoms in the short-term allowing me to get on a 6 hour bus ride. That bus ride was rather uneventful and we arrived well and on time in Banos. I was still under the weather and kept to the bed for the time being but Alex had the chance to go explore. In a coffee place later that day we had dinner and Alex found a rather funny entry in the guest book (somewhat relating to the situation I was in.) but we can’t really repeat it here on this public medium, so if you interested in finding out just ask us directly, we are happy to share that little story with you.

[Click on any picture to view full screen slideshow]

14. September


While were experiencing a local Shamanic ritual, in Colorado our friends were welcoming...

caden luke garrison



thursday, september 14th


julianne & dylan garrison


15. September 

The train ride in Riobamba


The next day we went to Riobamba, and bought tickets for the 5hr train ride with the unique ride down what is called el Nariz Del Diablo (Devils Nose). In an engineering super feat, the tracks were laid out down the sides of very steep mountains to the bottom of the valley. As a passenger, you can experience this ride your self. In years gone by you were even allowed to sit on top of the train but because several fatalities (people falling off) and decapitations, this practice has been stopped. Also, we learned that it is quite common for the train to derail on its way down and it can take the crew hours to pop the train back on the tracks. On top of that, landslides are just as common forcing the crew (and passengers) to first clear the tracks with shovels before the trip can go on. Well, lets just see what it has in store for us.


We spent the night in Riobamba. I still rested most of the time but was feeling much better. The next morning we got up very early at 5:00AM to make sure we got a good spot on the train (You wanted to sit on the right side as the views will be much better) and the train left more or less on time. It was wonderful. It took us through neighborhoods, small villages, farmlands and you could see kids waving at the train or dogs chasing as it rattled through the country.


[This is a playlist with several videos, click on the film strip button (next to the play button) to see all]



next: Cuenca