Tuesday, September 22, 2015

We are now in Banos, Ecuador

This is Mike...
We were not able to add blog posts from Galapagos so we did a blitz of 7 posts, with lots of pictures (check out the prior posts, they are cool). Right now we are trying to get caught up on sleep and chores while we are here. Yes, that's right, sleep. The last two nights in the islands were bad for us sleep-wise so we are taking it easy over here.
Banos is tucked nicely in a highland valley at about 6,000 foot (1830 meters) elevation, under the shadow of Tungurahua volcano and is a popular retirement spot for many expats. The cost of living here is much lower than the US and that's not even counting the extremely cheap health care here. I had a cyst lanced at the doctor's office here and with the consultation that included treatment, a new tube of antibiotic ointment, and basic supplies came to a whopping $19.75.
The town is hopping with backpackers from all over the world and has a kinda hippy vibe about it. The weather is wonderful here and best of all the mountains are not only green they also have a lot of trees on them! Sounds funny to say that having trees is a big deal, but it is. Much of the Andes to date have been near treeless and surprisingly eucalyptus trees are planted because they are so hardy and aid in soil erosion on the hills.

View of Banos town from atop a nearby mountain

The steep hillsides up the active volcano are used for agriculture. Tungurahua volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the region spewing ash and debris. 

The kids wanted to see the tree house at the top of the mountain. The swing that hangs over the edge was a bit much for us to try though.

Sierra liked the zip line

Zoe liked the zip line as well

How's this for a table with a view?

The kids acting silly

A spa retreat nestled in the mountains above Banos

A 200 foot deep gorge cut by the raging river

One of the parks in downtown Banos

Everything is in bloom here in this perpetual spring Eden

A view of the roads and mountain behind.

A local crafts market in town

Amazing examples of erosion at play in the Andes

The main cathedral in town

You can easily view waterfalls in the hills above town

Cute streets and little traffic here.

As with most of Latin America there are zero building codes here. The sub par construction will one day come back to haunt them, considering that this place is so geologically active.

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