Hola familia! We spent this week in the beautiful city of Banos, a backpackers dream city full of opportunities for great food, extreme sports, relaxation, and good times. The group has enjoyed our homestays this week. We were able to become part of a real Ecuadorian family. We were treated like real daughters and sons, as we were served great meals and kindness.
One of the most important things we did this week was say ‘ciao’ to our beloved Overseas Educator (OE), Avy. While it was very hard to lose someone we’ve all come to love so much, we also got to meet our new OE, Sarah Lee. We welcomed her into the group over highly desired hamburgers and immediately hit it off.
During weekdays we attended Spanish school and learned even more of the beautiful language. In the afternoons we would volunteer in schools, helping kids with their homework. During the weekend, the group would meet up for adventurous activities. One of these activities was a swing on a hill overlooking the city Banos – when you looked down all the buildings looked tiny in the distance.
We also got to go on a zip-lining course. We zip lined across a canyon and into a cave where we then walked across a suspension bridge while strapped into a safety harness. After crossing the bridge we scaled the side of a cliff and only to zip line once again, back to the beginning of the course.
As we arrived back home to Banos we all got ready and took advantage of the active nightlife. Our group met dressed to impress at the church and went dancing. At one location we learned to dance salsa while the other was reggaeton.
On our last full day in Banos (Saturday), we went whitewater rafting. In two separate boats, we were taught how to paddle followed by a safety debrief and then charged through class four rapids with our guides shouting commands. We avoided the rocks and rode the current. In the process, two people fell out of the boat but were quickly recovered within moments.
Later that day, we met Nacho, our guide who took us repelling in the middle of a dense tropical forest. We repelled down three waterfalls! Everyone thought descending a waterfall was hard in the beginning, but by the end of the excursion, we were confident in our abilities. At the end, we got to slide down two smaller waterfalls. There was a really fun one where people were lowered into a small pool and then slid down the rest of the rock.
Though our time in Banos seemed short, we have all come to love the town. Many members of the group took advantage of the seemingly never-ending coffee shops and spas. Where else can you find a full body massage for $20 or less? It’s difficult to say goodbye to our new families and Banos, but onward to the Amazon!
Final despedida from Baños party with a cake!