Avenue of the Volcanoes and to the Amazon

Running for 200 miles between parallel ranges, Avenue of the Volcanoes contains seven peaks more than 17.000 feet including Chimbarasso (right).

Tunguruhua (left) is one of the most 10 active in the world and last erupted in the 1990’s.

The valleys in this region of Ecuador are extremely fertile and can produce an abundance of crops year round.

The stop at the powerful Devil’s Cauldron (El Pailon del Diablo), one of Ecuador’s most striking waterfalls, was exhilarating to say the least.

As we descended from 10,000 feet and approached the Amazon region the temperatures rose somewhat. We stopped at the small Tiyu Yaku community of 18 indigenous Kichwa families where a couple of ladies demonstrated how they make their traditional and essential chicha drink from mantioc. The mantioc is cooked and mashed then some grated sweet potato and water is added to provide sugar for fermentation. After four days a milky drink about as strong as beer is ready for drinking. It tastes very similar to kombucha and it is what they drink all day long. Fermenting it for longer produces a stronger alcoholic drink

The barbed root of a walking palm is used as a grater.

We then saw a display of how they create pottery bowls and dishes using clay and dye found alongside streams and the rivers. She hand molded the bowl using ropes of clay. The pot would sit for several days to dry, and is then brandished with onyx. Following that she paints it using natural dyes and a human hair brush for the design. The pottery is fired in an open fire and while still hot is rubbed with a resin from a tree which acts as a glaze.

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Shortly afterwards we arrived at the tiny port of La Punta Ahuano on the Napo River where we boarded motorized canoes to take us to the lodge – Casa Suiza. The Napo runs in to the Amazon River.

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