Adventures in Ecuador

Ecuador is one of the most beautifully adventurous places I’ve ever been able to experience. From traveling by boat over rivers housing anacondas to seeing monkeys stealing from unsuspecting visitors on the streets, there was certainly no shortage of little moments of adventure and excitement on my missions trip.

When I was little, I wanted to be the next Jane Goodall and live with chimpanzees in the wild. I thought all primates were both awesome and utterly adorable. I collected stuffed chimpanzees, monkeys, apes, gorillas, and orangutans for years. I did a report on monkeys in the third grade. I still enjoy seeing any and all primates at the zoo. They’ve been a favorite animal of mine for as long as I can remember.

So when I learned that there were monkeys in Ecuador that roam freely, I got excited.

Really. Really. Excited.

From that point on, one of my big goals for the trip – outside of the serving aspects – was simple: take a picture with a monkey.

Then I heard that we would, in fact, be going to Misahuallí, where monkeys scamper the area. 

And so… this photo was born.

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In that moment, ten year old Kristin had a chill and she didn’t know why. ;)

I’d also like to let you know, that the posing monkey up there rushed off not long after the photo was taken. But first it ran up to me and smacked my foot, like it was angry with me for photo-bombing. Ha!

That same day, we went to a village that shows tourists different things about their culture. They showed us some dances and had us take part. They made and shared with us some Chicha, their traditional drink made from the yuca root, as well as some guaba they grow in the village. We also had the opportunity to hold a boa constrictor around our necks and take a photo.

At first, I said a flat out ‘no’ to the snake holding thing. But as I saw each of my teammates taking on the beast without anything crazy happening, I decided to unleash my inner Britney and rock the snake necklace. My mom still can’t believe I did this. She says so just about every time she sees these photos.  ;)

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Riding in the canoes on the river was equal parts fun and slightly terrifying for me. I’d walk on to the craft and slowly make my way to my seat as the canoe would rock back and forth. With unfriendly snakes and who knows what else living in the waters beneath, I somehow managed to enjoy most of the rides – wind whipping through my hair, gorgeous scenery around me. There were a few times, though, I was a little nervous. Let me put it this way: some of the boats were sturdier feeling than others… and some had more people sitting on the edges of the canoe and not in seats than others. I never want to tip a canoe, but I especially don’t want to do so in the Amazon. ;) Thankfully nothing remotely scary happened on our travels to and from the jungle villages we went to and I got to check that off my ‘adventurer’ list without issue.

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On Thursday, toward the end of our trip, we made a trip to Baños, Ecuador. We stopped at Rio Verdes to see the waterfall on the way there. It was beautiful and cool enough to be an enjoyable little hike! Mountains, waterfalls, and awesome bridges awaited us.

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Alicia was making me look really cool during this entire trip with some stunner black and white shots like the above!

When I got to this area – which was by some of the most interesting and beautiful outdoor bathrooms I’ve ever seen – I asked Nicole to take a photo of me. It looked so pristine and so “Ecuador” to me that I knew I wanted to have an image of myself there in addition to taking a scenic shot of my own.

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Baños itself was a really interesting place! There was great architecture everywhere and you could see the mountains from this great little park. I would have loved to have spent a little more time there. :) Of course, the food wasn’t half bad either. And by not half bad, I mean it was ridiculously good. Chicken, rice and beans… yum!

More soon on my visit to the swing at the end of the world, the actual mission part of this missions trip, and how I ended my trip with a bang on a mountainside in Baños. xoxo