An Amazonian Jungle Safari in Cuyabeno, Ecuador

The noise of the jungle is deafening, but some calls are so strange, so unique that they stand tall amongst the crowded reverberation of insects and animals.  This we determined when the startling song of the oropendola lured us from sleep deep in Ecuadorian Amazonia.  The mating call, best described as an electronic interpretation of a surfacing water bubble echoing in a cave, was alone worth the trip to this remote rainforest.  But this bird barely scratched the surface of wonders in this remote forest. Read more

Hiking in Pululahua Crater, Ecuador

The hike down the laughably steep rim turned out to be the easy part.  Sliding down into an ancient volcanic crater should have been the worst, save for the climb back up, but bushwhacking through the cauldron had left us scraped and bruised.  Despite the theme of disappearing trails and thorn bushes, hiking in an orchid forest surrounded by the craggy caldera was an experience exceeding our expectations. Read more

How to Day Hike Cotopaxi Volcano, Ecuador

The ice and volcanic sand pelted our cheeks, creating a stinging reminder that we stood near the top of one of the world’s tallest active volcanoes.  The frozen drizzle, whipping wind and ankle deep gravel made hiking along the 40 degree slope tough to appreciate, despite the sweeping view of the valley and surrounding ridges.  Later, as we stood at the base of the towering cone, soaking up the sun with the clouds finally parted, the majestic glacier and vivid colors made up for the earlier pain. Read more

Isla de la Plata: Poor Man’s Galapagos

Just to our right came another giant splash, this time closer still than the dozens before.  The whales had moved to a mere stones throw from our boat, where they repeatedly erupted from and crashed to the waters surface.  Whether oblivious or uncaring, these three beautiful creatures had been following alongside us, fins and tails raised as they seemingly competed for largest flop and resulting splash.  Giant humpbacks, numbering in the thousands, filled the ocean off the coast of Ecuador as they had every season for recorded history and we were floating in their midst. Read more