The people of Ecuador lead simple lives, and were very friendly. English was more widely spoken than I expected (but I didn't expect much). It was wonderful spending time among these people and seeing their culture and how they live.
Luna Runtun was a very clean, well-run resort. In fact, the day we left, we were told the US Ambassador was checking into the room we were in! The day trip into Puyo in a van, on a dirt road barely wide enough for one vehicle, was one experience I'm glad to have lived through. It was truly frightening, but the views of and hikes to the waterfalls were amazing, and the meal at El Jardin restaurant, where we got to play with a toucan, was unforgettable. Likewise, at the wildlife preserve, we had monkeys jump on our shoulders, petted capybaras and even three tapirs - it was awesome.
My dad turned 60 while we were at Luna Runtun, and Carmen had the chefs fix us a special dinner - they really went all out, all at no extra charge. Even had a handmade birthday cake.
We added on four days at La Selva, where we lived in very clean bamboo huts. We swam with piranhas and caiman, hiked with bilingual guides through the Amazon rainforest, and saw numerous animals (my least favorite were the tarantulas!) Again, the food here was as good as any five-star restaurant in the States. This was my best vacation ever, and the kids (ages 10 and 11) enjoyed every bit of it, too.
January 5, 2004
From journal Highly recommend Ecuador