Oh Ecuador, I don’t even know where to begin…..

I guess I’ll start with why we went to Ecuador (aside from just wanting to explore a new and beautiful place).  We had the privilege of experiencing Ecuador because Josh’s sister Jennifer lives there.  She is a missionary with Reach Beyond and she teaches missionary kids whose families are living there.  So, our visit to Ecuador was to spend time with her and see where she lives and what her life is like.  Luckily for us, Jennifer planned out pretty much our entire trip with an amazing itinerary!

So instead of recapping the trip chronologically, I’ll divide this up into the highlights of the 3 main places we visited which were Shell, Baños, and Quito.

Shell

Shell is a small town on the Eastern foothills of the Andes.  It is only 95 miles from the capital city of Quito, but it took us about 5 hours to drive from the airport in Quito to Shell due to the terrain. Shell is where Jennifer lives and teaches at the Nate Saint Memorial School.  Side note…if you don’t know the story about Nate Saint and Jim Elliot, I highly recommend reading about it; it’s an incredible story!

Anyways….what Shell lacks in culture and size, it makes up for in natural beauty.  Everywhere you look is luscious green plant life!  And being in the foothills of the Andes, you can imagine the views.

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Jennifer’s Porch

 

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Hanging Bridge in Shell

A few minutes outside of Shell is the town of Puyo, and just outside of Puyo is a beautiful waterfall that you can hike through the rain forest to.  Jennifer made plans  for the whole family to the hike to the waterfall and it was an incredible experience.  The hike itself was only about 45 minutes and was relatively easy,  but it was a hike like any other we’d done before.  We were always surrounded by water and plants and it rained on us the entire way.

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One of the most incredible things we did in Shell (and probably on the whole trip) was taking a flight from the small airport across from Jennifer’s house into the Jungle to meet the Waodani.  The Waodani are an indigenous Amazonian tribe in Ecuador.  Their story is part of the Nate Saint and Jim Elliott story I mentioned above.

 

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When we arrived in the jungle, the Waodani people welcomed us and showed us around their common areas.

 

They sang ‘Jesus Loves Me’ for us in their native language, and in English.

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After singing to us they showed us how they hunt and let us participate in one of their dances.

 

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It was such a great experience getting to meet these people and learn about their culture!

Our time in Shell was incredible; it was so fun to see such a different culture and so much beautiful nature! If you want to read about the other places in Ecuador we visited, check back in a few weeks for the related posts!

 

Have you ever visited Ecuador, and if so, what was your favorite part of this beautiful country?