About 20 minutes away is a condor reserve that we visited last weekend. The reserve is on a beautiful hill in between the Cotacachi and Imbabura volcanoes. We saw eagles, hawks, condors and owls! Their website is here: https://www.parquecondor.com/
After looking at all the beautiful birds we went to a waterfall just down the hill called Peguche Falls. These falls are a ritual bathing site for the indigenous community during Inti Raymi and possibly other festivals!
On Saturday we went to Chachimbiro hot springs which is an hour outside of Cotacachi. Chachimbiro is a native Quichua word meaning “strength.” The hot springs are heated inside Cotacachi Volcano. The natives believe that the waters have healing properties. The water is high in iron, copper, iodine and other minerals.
We didn’t find out it was a water park until we got there. There were two slides; the Snake Slide and Dragon Slide. The dragon slide was my favorite. You could go really fast on it. The snake slide was dangerous. Jared hurt his head I hurt my elbow and foot. The dragon slide was fine and no one got hurt on it.
It was really fun. There were many different temperatures of water. Some pools were cold, like the kiddie pool, and the rest were very hot. The temperatures of the hot pools were 86°F to 118°F.
The water was green because it was from the volcano. All of the people there were Ecuadorean except us and one other person. There were many people there because it was the weekend
We were there for 4 to 5 hours. We sat in the hot water for two thirds of the time and were on the slides for one third.
When we were in Mindo for the weekend, the house we stayed in was next door to a butterfly farm. The butterfly farm was a series of greenhouses that were each full of different types of butterflies and caterpillars. The first greenhouse had a lot of different types of caterpillars and chrysalises. The caterpillars had different amounts of times that they had to eat.
There was a section where the caterpillars started emerging from their chrysalises. Some fun facts – caterpillers bodies liquefy during their transition in the chrysalis. And butterflies can see ultraviolet colors.
Each type of butterfly lays their eggs on a different type of leaf. The monarch for example only lays its eggs on milkweed. One type of caterpillar makes a gold chrysalis. It’s very a reflective surface because they live close to the water, so they try to blend in by being reflective.
The second greenhouse was a big room where all of the butterflies could roam free and eat at multiple eating stations with fruit or some of the many flowers. There were butterflies everywhere, and some would land on us.
A few weeks ago we visited a town called Mindo. While we were there we visited a chocolate making shop called Yumbos. They showed us how to make chocolate from the cocoa pods. The beans were all laid out to dry and we helped to spread them around. It smelled really good there.
After they showed us how to make chocolate we got to taste some! We had brownies, hot chocolate and fruit. This was my favorite part!
The next day we went on a hike to a waterfall. Before we could start the hike we had to ride a cable car across the river valley. We were very high up and we went really fast. After the hike was over I got a cold slushie that was Oreo flavor.