As part of my voluntourism project and adventure tour of Ecuador, I got to try out a variety of different outdoor adventure activities. I had never done most of these sports before, so I learned A LOT about what I liked (and didn’t like). Continue reading to find out the different activities we did!
White Water Rafting
Another fun adventure activity we did while in Ecuador was white water rafting! We went down the Pastaza river which has rapid levels from I-V as it comes down off the Andes Mountains. We split into small groups and rode down the river on Level III rapids. It was a lot different than rafting I had done in Colorado, because the river was much more windy. But our great guides made it a lot of fun and we all felt totally safe!
What was especially amazing about this white water rafting experience was the sound of the boulders rolling under the waves because the current was so strong. It was one of the coolest things I had ever experienced. They sounded like the echoes of gunshots just pounding down the river! I developed a new appreciation of the power of water in nature.
Apuenting (Bride Bungee Jumping)
Crowded together on the San Francisco bridge on the city limits of Banos, our group prepared to go apuenting or bungee jumping off the side of the 60 meter bridge! The bridge spans the Pastaza River and is an absolutely beautiful sight. Everyone else was super nervous about the jump, but for some reason, I was filled with pure excitement. I was so enthusiastic about the whole experience, I just couldn’t wait for it to be my turn to jump.
For safety, our tour guides strapped us into a body harness so that during the fall you won´t feel any whiplash like you would during bungee jumping. When it came to my turn, I hopped up on the platform the hung off the side of the bridge and looked down. While the nerves kicked in during the few seconds before I jumped, I was still too excited that I just dove out into the air. The feeling of free falling was so cool, and I wish I could put it into words. The whole jump only lasted about 30 seconds, but it was by far the most exhilarating things I’ve done here. It was absolutely amazing and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Another adventure activity we did was waterfall rappelling down 3 separate waterfalls. The guides trained us in the proper techniques but I was pretty bad at rappelling. Apparently I don’t just trust the ropes enough so I don’t lean back far enough making it very challenging. On the second waterfall, I actually slipped into the waterfall, and it was really painful. The force of the water is really intense and it completely knocks the wind out of you.
So after that experience, I was not enjoying the rappelling, and really freaked out on our last waterfall. The 3rd one was a 45 meter waterfall that did’´t have any walls. So you basically just free fall downwards into the canyon below. Even though I wound up rappelling, I was really scared and didn’t enjoy the experience as much as everyone else. But I’m still happy that I got to do it, because the views going down were absolutely amazing.
This was one of the adventure activities I was most nervous about. I like biking, but I don’t feel comfortable doing it on rough terrain. The guides fitted us for our bikes at the bottom of the mountain, and then hooked up a trailer to a truck which we rode up the hill. Thankfully, we stayed mainly to paved areas which made me feel much more comfortable.
We biked right along the Pastaza river on a beautiful sunny day. We could see for miles of mountains! We also took a break at one area where we could take a trolley across the canyon. I jumped at the chance, and rode the trolley several hundred feer over the Pastaza river. It was so beautiful, because there was this amazing waterfall right by the trolley.
The bike ride lasted for about 2 hours, and I am happy (and surprised) to report that I loved every minute of it. It was actually my favorite adventure activity of them all!