Day 14 of our trip started by waking up at 6:30am to get ready to enjoy our fun day at Los Banos to experience a glimpse into the Amazon rainforest and to see the fierce waterfalls that the place is rich with. For breakfast, we had delicious Ecuadorian grown fruits and fresh Ecuadorian bread and eggs. Once we were done with breakfast, we commenced our final preparations to get ready for the two hour long trip to Los Banos by putting on sunscreen and refilling our water bottles.
Don Fernando, our kind bus driver, drove us to Los Banos starting at 8:30am and we arrived around 10:40am. On the bus ride to Los Banos, many of us fell asleep while the others took pictures and enjoyed the beautiful northern Ecuadorian landscape during the two hour long bus ride. This bus ride was special in comparison with the others that we had throughout the trip because we got to enjoy the change in the vivid green colors and landscape as we got closer to Los Banos. Many of the Glimpsers who managed to stay awake during the bus ride got to see the beautiful rivers and creeks that are directly connected to the Amazon river. To keep the bus ride interesting, Jonathan, one of our Program Coordinators, gave us some delicious cholas, which are little baked goods with cooked brown sugar filling. We did stop several times along the way for bathroom breaks and to take pictures of the spectacular landscape of Los Banos.
Around 11:15am, we arrived at the city of Los Banos and quickly re-applied suncreen to start our tour of the of the waterfalls and the lush greenery. The weather we experienced at Los Banos was very welcoming, with a combination of an ideal temperature and a very humid ambiance. Our program coordinators quickly paid for our tickets at the entrance and started guiding us to the waterfalls. Along the 20 minute walk, we took some amazing pictures of the fierce river that connected directly with the waterfall we were about to witness. While we walked we were amazed by the tropical plants that surrounded the walkway towards the waterfall. Farther down, we got to cross a hanging bridge that put us directly above the fierce waterfall, which filled us all with a great sense of adventure and excitement. After we all safely crossed, we gave each other high fives for having the courage to cross. Not far after crossing the bridge, we all started hearing a fierce sound of water rushing as we were getting closer and closer to the waterfall. As we walked down the stairs to get to the waterfall, we realized how hard it must have been for the people to build the entire walkway towards the bridge because of the rough terrain and the immensity of the jungle. Every inch we moved across the walkway, we got different views of the waterfall and it’s surrounding landscape. When we got to the actual waterfall, our ears were filled with the intense sound of the water gushing out of the mountain and it falling towards the river below. Everyone was so excited when we got up close to the waterfall because for many of us it was the very first time seeing such a fierce force of nature. The experience truly filled a lot of the Glimpser’s hearts with adventure and joy. Many of us took pictures right next to the waterfall to show our families the beauty we experienced. Once we were done taking pictures next to the powerful waterfall, we started the trek back up to the bus.
After experiencing the great landscape of Los Banos, we went to a restaurant called D’Antonio’s where we would enjoy our lunch. We had a delicious Ecuadorian meal which consisted of creamed broccoli soup, grilled chicken, salad, french fries, and rice. The restaurant had a really modern look with modern lighting and paintings that represent the 21st century. The food was so delicious that the people who wanted more food ate off the plates of others who were full. Also, we all asked for extra french fries because they were that good.
After, we walked to the downtown area of Los Banos where we got to see the city amidst the rich Amazon Rainforest. When we hopped out of the bus, we started to head towards the very center of the downtown area where we got to see the Nuestra Senora del Rosario de Agua Santa church and experience it’s ancient colonial architecture. After we saw the church, we started to head over to the souvenir shops where many of the Glimpsers got to buy some little memories to later give to their families and friends.
Since the visit to the souvenir shop was the last stop at Los Banos, we walked about seven minutes to get back to our bus to commence the two hour long bus ride back to La Primavera. Again, along the way back we got to see the rich landscape of the Amazon Rainforest for one last time and take some final pictures.
When we got back to La Primavera, we recieved an unexpected, but welcomed guest to talk about Manitos Trabajadores. Javier, the leader of Manitos Trabajadores, came to give us a one last thank you for the work we did for the kids and he also gave us little keychains with a message from the kids on the back.
After Javier left, we all had dinner and then began our nightly meeting where we wrapped up the day. One thing we are all excited for tommorow is getting to enjoy our very last free day and full day in Riobamba. Everyone can’t wait for the opportunity to buy any last minute items to give to our families back at home.