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Midal del Mundo

Went with the ladies I met on the Galápagos boat, on a tour around Quito, including the equator exhibit.

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Otavalo Markets
Took the $2.50 bus for 2 hours to the Quito highlands for the Otavalo markets, they were similar to the Pisac markets in Peru, many indigenous crafts for sale

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Mindo

Another 2 hours away from Quito is Mindo, which is my second favorite place in Ecuador after the Galápagos Islands. Mindo is surrounded by hillsides of cloud forest, has a river that runs through it and a wonderful laid back attitude. And I stayed at a chocolate hotel, well a hotel that was in a chocolate factory. Did I mention I stayed at the chocolate factory? 🙂 aside from being a chocolate heaven, the view from El Quetzal was quite nice and relaxing.

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A tour of the chocolate factory and the grounds. Cocao pods and then the seeds drying

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I'm not usually a butterfly or bird person, but there is spectacular bird watching and an amazing butterfly preserve in Mindo. It was fascinating watching the butterfly life cycle, from the caterpillar to pupa to final butterfly stage. The various pupa's were quite interesting in how they look to camouflage them from predators, they could look like branches, dead leaves, and those by water were shiny, almost like jewelry!

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My finger 😉 the butterfly looks like it’s the eye to a bigger animal doesn’t it?

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Hard to catch hummingbirds, their wings are going so fast!

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Got one! Can you see it?

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On to Chile now!!

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