Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ecuador Tour Anyone?

I know I've told you about the times when I've had the opportunity to work with my favorite tour group when they come to Cotacachi but I've never really told you about the tour company itself and I really want to do that.  I'm so blown away but what they do that I can't imagine everyone who wants to come down here to check out Ecuador (or who's already here but wants to see more of it) going to anyone else!

So, here we go, Ecuador Expat Journeys! (If you don't want to wade through the rest of this post to get to the bottom line, when you get to the site, click on Crash Course and Tour to get the skinny on their top offering.)

Meet the team, well, part of it anyway:
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On the left we have Jonathan, Sarah, and Suzie and on the right is Roger.  All of them are amazing at what they do and part of that is because they love it!  You can read all about them on the site but it's so easy to read what is on there and say, "Oh, right, that's their website, they have to say good things about themselves." Yes, it would be silly to say negative things about themselves but having gotten to know them, it's also all true.  They love what they do and they are completely enthusiastic about Ecuador.

My personal experience with them has been primarily when the Crash Course comes to Cotacachi and I get to tell people what it's like to live in Cotacachi.  I've gone on the walking tour around town and also been privileged to accompany them on another day of the tour through Otavalo, Ibarra, and a couple of small villages nearby.  That has been great and I've thoroughly enjoyed it.

This is the last tour group who came through Cotacachi, listening intently to Sarah talk about how we expats and a woman who lived most of her life in the States and then returned would talk to them about what it's like to live in Cotacachi.  Isn't that a lovely place to have a little gathering?  It's in the courtyard of a local hotel.

After our little talk, we headed up to Lagoona Cuicocha (Guinea Pig Lake) and had lunch in the most charming restaurant.

The highlight of lunch was the traditional cuy.  After everyone had a chance to have a photo op with the little guy, he was taken back to the kitchen and cut into pieces so everyone could have a taste if they wanted it.  Personally, I think there's very little meat for the effort.  It's worse than trying to get meat off the backbone of a Cornish game hen but it tastes good.  No, it doesn't taste like chicken, it tastes like cuy.  OK, I'll be good.  It has a mild flavor like dark meat chicken with a subtle flavoring of something more like pork perhaps.  Actually, I know it's not that much different but if you've ever eaten squirrel, it's quite similar to that.

I've also been able to meet with people Sarah and Roger have brought to Cotacachi for personal travel consulting and it's fun to be able to have worked on a one-on-one basis with people.

All of that is great but with the addition of Roger to the group, there's a new tour opportunity. Roger's going to be offering the Lazy Backpacker Tours for people who just aren't quite cut out for the tour bus experience.  He loves Ecuador and Ecuadorians and has a great perspective on things for people who want to get off the beaten path a bit or who just want to have a more casual experience.  If I were a backpacking kind of person, I'd definitely go with Roger over hills and through dales.  I'm a little jealous of people who can do that.

I suppose I should tell you I'm not getting one thin dime from EEJ for writing this.  I suppose it could sound like a paid political announcement but I am just so taken with these folks and the experiences they provide on their tours that I had to share with my readers.

If you've been on one of their tours, please leave a comment telling me what you thought and whether or not we met.  I've met so many people now that it's getting harder to remember who was whom.  Can I just blame that on a bad memory or do I have to go with age?  OK, so it's both.  Well, if we met, I'd definitely remember you if I could see your picture.  I love all the people I've met on the tours.

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