Angelique and the girls had booked in for 3 weeks of spanish lessons in Cuenca, leaving myself and Nesta to entertain ourselves each morning, strolling the streets and taking in the sites. After a week of this I decided to travel further afield and went on a 10 day mini vacation with Nesta, taking in the Andes and the Amazon.
Our first stop, Riobamba ended up being a bit of a nightmare journey. The bus had a puncture which added 2 hours to the trip and I missed the drop off point and ended up travelling 2 hours further than Riobamba! We were dropped off by the side of the road in the pitch dark which was slightly unnerving – but I managed to jump on a bus going back the other way within half an hour. So all was well in the end.
We spent a couple of days in Riobamba and headed to Baños. Baños is a popular tourist resort for both backpackers and Ecuadorians. It is known for its hot springs, waterfalls, high adrenalin sports and beautiful country side. We went on a 3 hour Chiva Bus ride around the outskirts of Baños and saw plenty of waterfalls and did a cool cable cart ride to one of the waterfalls
From Baños, we went to the outskirts of the Amazon to Tena. We booked a one day guided tour which included a canoe trip and a visit to an indigenous tribe. I don’t know what I was expecting on a one day tour but the tribal visit was very touristy and a bit gimmicky! We really enjoyed the hot weather in Tena and hung around for a couple of days.
From Tena, we headed back up to the Andes to visit the Thursday Market at Guamote. A fascinating experience with just hill tribe people going about their business. Very surprised to not see any other tourists at the market and Nesta got a lot of attention (which he hates).
Our final stop before heading back to Cuenca was the very scenic Devils Nose train ride from Alausi. Awesome views from the train which travelled very close to cliff edge. Not for anyone scared of heights!