Lunch above the clouds
Today we drive fom Cuenca to Guayaquil. We deliberately choose a route through El Cajas National Park, famous for wonderful scenery including numerous small lakes. On the edge of the park we make a comfort stop at a hotel and trout farm called Dos Chorreras. The rather clever owner has situated the toilets on the other side of an extensive souvenir shop. This plan works well. The short comfort stop turns into a long shopping stop!
Continuing through the National Park we make a scenic stop at the highest point on the road at 14,000 feet. We are then downhill, passing through rain forest and cloud forest on the route to the coast. A drop of nearly 14,000 feet in around 2 hours! We stop for lunch at a cafe that sits on the edge of the mountain slope, with an amazing carpet of cloud in the valley below. It is a magical sight today, given the blue skies and sun.
On the coastal road we pick a cocoa fruit, crack it open and see the cocoa beans inside. The locals are sun drying cocoa beans on the side of the road. We also pass banana plantations and rice fields, and see Roadside Hawks and numerous Black Vultures.
By mid-afternoon we arrive at the Hilton Hotel in Guayaquil for a well earned rest. Dawn and her guests arrive this evening and our party is complete and ready for Galapagos!