TL;DR: Read about my first weekend in Ecuador. Traveled to Mindo, had the best pizza ever, ziplined for the first time, lost AND found my phone in the forest, toured a chocolate factory, hiked through a cloud forest, danced a lot, ate a lot more, and bonded with wonderful people.
We don’t have classes on Friday, so we took advantage of the full weekend to travel around Ecuador. Our first weekend we decided to travel about 2.5 hours to Mindo – a town northwest of Quito. We left rather early to arrive at the bus station 20 mins north of our homestay, and we arrived to find another group of people from our program. The ticket to Mindo was bout $2.50. We took a charter bus, and most of it was us gringos from the program.
Once we arrived, we made our way to our hostel, Cabañas Armonía y Jardín de Orquídeas. Sara, Marissa, Megan and I took the 4-person room on the first floor. Since we hadn’t eaten, we walked to the center of town.. a mere 3-4 blocks (this town is SMALL). We walked into a pizzeria, and were super excited to enjoy some delicious food.
^Sara noticing I’m taking a photo.
After lunch, we decided to explore our options for some adventures. We quickly decided to go ziplining. My very first time, and what an exciting day – for various reasons.
^Rachel, Sara, and Margot – all smiles.
^Me, Danielle, Marissa, and Kevin!!
^Me. At the end of a line.
The views were amazing. OMG. SO incredible. We did about 10 different lines, and we hiked up quite a bit. We each got to do some cool “stunts” with the guides – superman, butterfly, etc. I decided on the butterfly, and guess what?! MY PHONE FELL OUT OF MY POCKET. WTF?! Everyone sees go deep into the forest, and I can’t believe it. My zippered jacket… oh, darn. Wait until my mother hears about this.At the end of the ziplining, one of the guides offers to look for my phone – he said he knew where it fell because he saw something white – probably my Rice ID. I join him. For about 30 minutes, he cuts his way to through the forest. He ends up finding a black phone instead of a white one, so he says no luck. BUT it IS my phone!!!! GREAT! I lose my Rice ID, and phone case. Well, that’s okay. I go back with my group, and no one can believe he found my phone.
After our little adventure, we make our way to Mindo’s chocolate factory – basically what they are known for. We take a tour on how chocolate is made and taste test various kinds.
The chocolate tour was great, but we were beat after a full day of traveling, hiking, and ziplining. We went out for some traditional Ecuadorian food.
^Ecuavoli before we head back to our hostel.
That Friday, we went out to see if there was a Mindo night life. No surprise, but it basically is just a few bars playing Latin American music. We met up with the tour guides, and danced the night away. At the end, we made plans to go on a Cloud forest tour the following morning.
What a trek! ^Monique, me, and Margot.
We spent that night dancing some more, chatting with the locals (practicing our Spanish), and bonding some more.
Sorry for the long post, but it was such a beautiful weekend.
P.S. The guide found my phone case and Rice ID. What a miracle.