Already awake, I got up at 05:45 and packed away the remaining items ready for the flight. After 20 minutes we got to airport for 06:40. Maria, who has picked us up previously after the Galapagos trip, was again with us to ensure we caught our flight okay. She asked us how the holiday had been with the exception of the engine trouble, at which point we brought up the fact that the drinks bill was not included in the meal and it would be brought up with Llama Travel on our return to England.
Maria dropped us off at the check-in desk after she’d made sure we had all the documentation we needed and then had a 10 minute wait to get through. It felt like a long wait once we reached the departure lounge as I was feeling dreadful.
We were late boarding the plane, but only 20 minutes late taking off. We arrived in Bonaire around 12:45 local time and disembarked to a very warm, humid day. There was a delay in the flight of about an hour meaning that instead of a quick departure we didn’t leave until 14:30.
What followed was the one of the most uncomfortable flights ever. The effects of food poisoning and a 12+ hour flight do not work well together. What didn’t help though was that the entertainment system was also broken meaning there wasn’t even a distraction.
I don’t really remember what the food on the flight was like and I’m not even sure I actually ate anything. Exhausted, we arrived in Schipol at 04:45 and spent the next hour going through customs.
I took this opportunity though to get a drink and some medication to try and feel better. The flight from Schipol to Birmingham International went a lot better, and by the time we’d parted ways at the airport heading for different trains I was feeling well enough to try eating again.
It had been a rough journey home but the trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands was worthwhile and unforgettable. The diversity of the wildlife and the experience of the diving there was definitely second to none. I would recommend this trip to any who likes wildlife.
This was our final full day in Ecuador and it started bright and early at 06:00 so we could get a walk in before breakfast. In preparation for leaving we also shoved the remainder of our items that we didn’t need for the walk into our bags ready for picking them up later. Fortunately as the forest complex was quiet that day we were able to keep our bags stored in the rooms.
The morning walk was quite short and once again was very quite, even the morning chorus seemed bereft of life. Apparently it was unusual as our guide had not seen it this quiet before. We got back for breakfast at 08:00, and once again it was quite basic with fruit and some bread available.
By 09:30 we were setting off again for another walk, this time there were two other walks in progress. Once again we had Andrea as our guide whilst the guy and Beth had different tours to lead.
This walk was a little more on the adventurous side – the original plan would have meant getting wet up to about waist height whilst going through a waterfall, but as we’d be stuck in wet clothes for the rest of the day we went with a slightly drier option.
The path we took was a difficult path with a good proportion of it being wading through streams across the bottom of the forest. Some of these involved climbing up over small waterfalls with the water pushing against us. It was amazing that none of us slipped whilst jumping from rock to rock or whilst wading, but we did stay mostly dry. Ascending out of the water our guide got out a machete to cut a path through the rainforest as this path had not be walked for a couple of weeks. It’s amazing to think how quickly the paths disappear into the vegetation.
We got back to the complex at around 12 noon and were quite exhausted by this point. I’d started to feel a little unwell which meant when lunchtime came I didn’t really eat much. Whilst others ate fish they did bring me an alternative, however I couldn’t really face eating it.
At 15:00 the bus arrived to take us back to Quito. On the way back down the mountain we stopped a couple of times for photos. For the rest of the journey back to Quito I started to feel really bad, like I could vomit at any minute. Only 40 minutes later we were back in Quito and checking back in to the hotel we’d been in previously.
I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening in the hotel room as a result of what was likely food poisoning. I never went down for food, though towards the end of the evening I did get room service to deliver some fries and a drink – though still couldn’t keep anything down. It was a long night with very little sleep – I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the flight the next day.
Throughout most of the night there had been noise making it difficult to sleep. So when it came to getting up at 06:00 it felt like we had not slept at all. Andrew during the night had called out a Doctor to look at his swollen knee to make sure it was not infected and would be okay.
It was a bit of a rush to get ready but we made it down to the bus more or less on time. After a long drive and then 7km of winding road we made it to Bellavista for 08:20. Immediately on arriving we saw several species if hummingbird due to a feeder being located near “the dome”. Our first job was to drop off luggage and then go down for breakfast. It wasn’t exactly the big breakfast we’d been promised – 3 small slices of bread, and an egg if you like it. Afterwards we had to sort out some wellingtons as they don’t think walking boots are good enough.
For the first walk we also had two of the couples who’d been with us for the Galapagos Islands. Our guide for this decided to take us on a scenic trail – we didn’t really see much in the way of bird-life on this trail. To start with we were asked to try eating these flowers off a plant that tasted like apple – I wasn’t convinced it did though as it tasted more like eating a leaf.
The guide was pretty good and stopped regularly for people to catch their breath (this was at altitude after all). Whenever we asked a question she answered it without trailing off into an explanation of everything or an anecdote. There were some good views but the only insects were elusive butterflies and a solitary millipede. We did see a massive tarantula web but unfortunately if the spider was there it was too well hidden.
After the first walk we had a few minutes spare to go back to our rooms to drop cameras off before lunch. Whilst sitting around I managed to photograph a blue Jay and a Rufus-collared sparrow. Lunch was a bit dire – salty mash potato that may well have been “smash” and some very gristly beef.
Whilst waiting for the next walk I sat by the bird feeder and tried to get more photos of hummingbirds; though I also managed to spot a small blue bird. Just before we started the walk we said goodbye to the two couples who had been with us for most of the holiday.
The walk itself was quite short but we did get to see some toucans. Sadly they were too far away to photograph and had to be viewed through binoculars.
We spent the next half hour walking around by ourselves but didn’t really see much so headed back to get a shower before dinner. Dinner was much better than lunch in some ways though the dessert was better. The dessert was a local fruit that looks like a yellow melon but tastes like a sweet apple. At 20:45 the power cut out, but returned about 10 minutes later.