Plane or bus?

When you love to travel, the next destination is already occupying your thoughts. In your mind, you’ve leapt forward and are already on your way, wondering what it’ll be like, what to pack, anticipating problems getting there… And this is how it was for us. We had planned a beautiful month on the coast of Ecuador in Canoa. We imagined ourselves already there, studying Spanish and enjoying the beach. We came so close…

Two days before we were to take the bus to Canoa – with the beach and Spanish lessons waiting for us – an earthquake destroyed 90% of the town. We couldn’t believe the immense tragedy for so many people on the coast.

Now, we had no choice but to very sadly leave the beach dreams behind and make new plans. We settled on Cuenca, an historic city, a UNESCO World Heritage Trust Site. We decided it would be a worthy replacement.

DSC07022

We searched internet sites to find the best way to get there. Many folks favored flying or taking small vans. At $8, the bus sounded fine to us.

As soon as we left Guayaquil and were in open country, we pulled out our cameras.

As soon as we left the city of Guayaquil and were in open country, we pulled out our cameras.

The bus stopped periodically and usually a man would hop on selling food and drinks, getting dropped off at the next stop. This time the bus pulled over at the crab vendor’s stand. The crabs were still squirming, and we wondered if people on the bus ever bought the crabs, and what do they do with them during the ride?

The bus stopped periodically and usually a man would hop on selling food and drinks, getting dropped off at the next stop. This time the bus pulled over at the crab vendor’s stand. The crabs were still squirming, and we wondered if people on the bus ever bought the crabs, and what do they do with them during the ride?

Overcast skies turned to rainy weather with low visibility as the bus climbed steadily up the mountain. Higher and higher the bus climbed until the sun and blue skies appeared through the fog and rain. The bus had climbed above the low rain clouds. We were probably at 2,130 m. (7,000’) elevation when this photo was taken.

Overcast skies turned to rainy weather with low visibility as the bus climbed steadily up the mountain. Higher and higher the bus climbed until the sun and blue skies appeared through the fog and rain. The bus had climbed above the low rain clouds. We were probably at 2,130 m. (7,000’) elevation when this photo was taken.

The mountains were now in view, and Joe took out his iPhone to check the altitude: over 3,350 m. (11,000’).

The mountains were now in view, and Joe took out his iPhone to check the altitude: over 3,350 m. (11,000’).

The highest point, according to his iPhone, was along this stretch of road – 4,050 m. (13,300’).  

The highest point, according to his iPhone, was along this stretch of road in Cajas National Park – 4,050 m. (13,300’).

The descent to the outskirts of Cuenca (2,440 m (8,300’)) happened quickly.

The descent to the outskirts of Cuenca (2,440 m (8,300’)) happened quickly.

We gathered up our bags and prepared for our arrival. No matter how a traveler gets to a destination, every step is a new adventure. “Welcome to Cuenca,” we said to ourselves as we stepped off the bus.

 

 

April 2016

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Ecuador, South America - 2016 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Plane or bus?

  1. plaidcamper says:

    An interesting journey, and a great way to get context for your travels. Looking forward to reading more!

  2. Merrill says:

    We also took a bus from Guayaquil to Cuenca and enjoyed the scenic drive and changes in vegetation from lowland to jungle to rain forest to windswept tundra (?). Cuenca has lots of great food and coffee. I loved the day trip to Ingapirca.

  3. icelandpenny says:

    Hurray for your choice of local bus travel — it offers a lot of rewards, in return for the various ‘prices’ it exacts. It’s also usually a gentler way to climb to altitude than hopping on a plane — even if you still need more time to acclimatize, you’ve already started the process. I once flew straight from Lima to La Paz, Bolivia, and was hit very badly indeed by the quick, dramatic change.

  4. Cliff Mail says:

    How high is Cuenca? Any issues with altitude sickness?

    • Cuenca is about 8,300 feet or 2,530 meters. We went from sea level to this altitude in a few hours. Yes, altitude sickness can be a problem. We took medication and avoided headaches and the like. Still each of us took days to get acclimated, and we can still be out of breath climbing stairs.

  5. Lucky the earthquake was two days before and not two days after!

Tell us what you think, please.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s