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Mar 2010

Inca & Amazon 76 – Volcano Climb

Posted by / in South America /

The following entry is from Esmee Pappot:

Hola amigos,

Here is the second update from Quito.

We just finished our first week of Spanish class and it´s going really well.

So in the morning everybody is busy studying but in the afternoon we have time for our own, witch we use wisely, playing ultimate takedown in the park, bowling or laser quest.

We missed one day of school to prepare ourselves for the big climb. The volcano of Cotopaxi. We left on Friday and did a “little” hike to get used to the altitude. We walked 4 hours up to find ourselves in the middle of a cloud at the top. We arrived at our sleeping place in the dark and warmed ourselves up around the fire. Next we went to Cotopaxi, and tried all our equipment on and went for a little walk on the glacier. After that we just had to acclimatize and we went to bed really early! Around midnight, after a horrible night of sleep for the most of us, it was finally time to climb Cotopaxi.

Our first mission was to climb to the glacier, which everyone achieved. There we put on our crampons got our icepacks and started the big climb. We started with 14 people and 8 of us made it to top. A big achievement especially for inexperienced people like us. The other six went back halfway. The views we got were amazing, but walking to the top was cold, hard and the altitude made it al even worse. But everyone had a great time and got a great experience out of it.

Now we are back in Quito again. Learning Spanish and having fun. Preparing already for the book-bus project next view weeks. Witch everybody is really exited about!

That´s it for now. Ciao!

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Mar 2010

Inca & Amazon 76 -Entry 1

Posted by / in South America /

The following journal entry is from Millie Davies.

We spent our first day in South America having a wander around Quito; a beautiful city with friendly, interesting people. We do tend to stick out as a bunch of pasty gringos! Also visited the Old City this week, gained a knowledge of Quito and a bit of Ecuadorian culture. Checked out some clubs, witnessed some beautiful dancing skills from the likes of Glen “sexy” Gurney and Bernard Evans. Also visited Otovalo, a while from Quito and home to a huge market where we all invested in some uber colourful trousers and other neccesities! Checked out a local waterfall for an impromto plunge – too bad for those without a change of clothes. We visited a local shaman (witch doctor) where I had the pleasure of being the group guinea-pig! The ritual involved: rubbing candles all over self, a special egg being chosen for me, then the shaman spitting on table whilst chanting, spitting an alcoholic liquid all over me, rubbing my body with stinging nettles (ow), spraying yet more liquid over me again, then breathing fire over me….! Then knighted with a spear and cigarette smoke exhaled over me. Supposd to leave me refreshed and replenished next morning. Stayed in an idyillic hostal in the mountains which contributed to that effect. Next morning was a boat trip round a volcanic crator and a quick hike. Been up the cable cars to climatise ourselves for the Cotapaxi climb tomorrow! Summit is 6000 metres above sea level – wish us luck!
That´s it from Quito for now. Ciao!

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Jan 2010

Ecuador – Top 5 destinations

Posted by / in South America /

Lets take it down a level… are our top 5 for Ecuador

1: The Galapagos Islands! I know, I know…obvious… but it just has to be here….there is simply nowhere quite like it.
You can volunteer on a conservation project, embark on an 8 day wildlife cruise or hop from island to island mixing it with the locals! Where else can you see giant tortoises, birds with blue feet and an iguana in the colours of West Ham!

2: Tena – a backpacker favourite but with good reason…gateway to the Amazon Jungle..once you’ve seen this place…life will never be quite the same!
With unbeliveable white-water rafting, caving adventures and Sumaco volcano Tena offers adventure like nowhere else…(by the way this place has nothing to do with bladder weakness!)

3: Puerto Lopez – a beautifully laidback fishing village on the Pacific coast. We’ve been visiting here for over 20 years and hope to do so for another 20! Come between June and September and relax on the beach whilst watching humpback whales mate and dolphins surf!

4: Cotopaxi Volcano – The highest active volcano in the world……and you can climb it! It’s not the easiest climb but more than manageable for the average person…you’ll need ice-picks and crampons but the views at the top are…..well top! Just a short drive from Quito makes it a superb weekend activity!

5: Montanita – If you like to surf…go!…beautiful beaches, cheap food and friendly people!

That’s Ecuador…go..go now….and yes you can go with VentureCo Worldwide..

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