Getting together in Guayaquil

Added 28 Oct 2011
Richard and his guests set off from Cuenca this morning, and Dawn and her guests are in flight from London. We plan to meet up in the coastal city of Guayaquil where we'll spend 2-nights prior to our trip to Galapagos. From Cuenca, Richard's group visits Cajas National Park which covers an area of over 28,500 hectares at altitudes between 3,000 and 4,450 metres above sea level. The scenery is impressive, with a tundra like vegetation at the higher elevations. We stop at a visitor centre where a local guide, Claudia, offers an introduction to the park.  We also make a brief stop at the highest view point on the road and then we start our drive downhill. An amazing vista unfolds, with the road hugging the hillside, deep valleys to our side, and a huge carpet of white fluffy cloud sitting below us.  After a picnic lunch we drive through the cloud and pretty much down to sea level. We see Cacao, Sugar Cane, Rice and Bananas. And spot plenty of bird life ... including Egrets, Roadside Hawks and Black Headed Vultures. As we approach Guayaquil the weather definitely warms up. We make a final rest room stop with about 45 minutes to go and Richard decides ice creams are in order. For most of the day, Dawn's group has been in flight from London. They arrive in Guayaquil on schedule and are soon enjoying dinner before a well earned rest. Our Galapagos family is now together!