Take the risk or lose the chance
Every friday, before starting a new adventure around the incredible country of Ecuador, I enthuastically tell my mom about my great weekend plans.
Every friday, she asks me why I put myself in so much danger, if I am addicted to fear and who I have to prove something.
The fact that she cannot understand my wanderlust makes me sad, but still it is me who is in charge of my life and once I have decided to do something, I cannot wait to fulfill that mission. And nobody – not even my mom – can change anything about my desires.
Maybe I do put myself in danger and I am addicted to fear, but maybe I would not call it danger or fear but rather a necessary adrenalin kick once in a while which makes you feel simply alive. Nothing, really nothing can be compared to that feeling.
The feeling of free falling, of letting yourself go completely, of doing things you would never have imagined you were able of.
Be it jumping out of an airplane or bungee-swinging like Tarzan in the middle of the jungle.
Since Ecuador can be called my home, sweet home for a couple of months and there is nothing you cannot do over here, I decided to take a deeper look at extreme sports in my first article. You should definitely not miss out on them once you are in this beautiful country which offers a little bit of everything.
How it all started
After my first and so far only Skydive in Taupo, New Zealand in January 2015, my desires for extreme adventures calmed down for a while since that experience was just stunning and beyond words. I was literally scared to death but once you are sitting in the plane which is getting you higher and higher up to 15.000 feet over sea level, you actually do not have much of a chance anymore. You just want the flight up to take forever but way sooner than expected you lean over the airplane and in these seconds I swear: you forget everything, everything you knew is irrelevant anyway and all you have is here and now.
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TKIGbgk8bs) Don’t doubt it, just do it!
Baños de Agua Santa
Without any idea what Canyoning was even supposed to mean, my friends talked me into doing it and since I am more the adventurous type of girl I told myself ‘why the hell not’. It turned out to be about roping down waterfalls which literally meant going down directly in the waterfalls with some equipment and a guide giving you signs meaning “Lean back!”, “Legs apart!” and “Jump!” which of course could only be misunderstood by me. While I was in the middle of abseiling my first waterfall, I thought the guide already wanted me to jump which made me turn around, crash against some stones and in that moment I did not see myself surviving this thing. Surprisingly I did. I even survived jumping off a waterfall (they told us it were 40 meters, I recon it was way less) at the end of the trip.
In hindsight, I am very proud and happy to have forced myself into it, even though there were seconds I was literally scared to death.
If you are heading off to Mindo, there are loads of things you should do even though you are afraid of. What I can highly recommend is the Canopy over there!
For 20$ you are cruising along 10 zip lines through the beautiful cloud forest with incredible views. The guides offer you to make figures like butterfly (headfirst, got the chance to see everything out of a different perspective) or superman (cramping your legs against the guide and slide along horizontally) while you fly along over the amazing landscapes. You should not be afraid – even I survived it and it is incredible.
Once you have finished this adventure, there is the opportunity to also do the “Tarzan Swing”. Without really knowing much about it again, I did it. First, I did not really get that I was meant to sit down so that they can remove the board I was standing on in order just to fall – pretty much like a bungee jump, just that you don not have to jump yourself but fall… fall… try to scream but fail… and swiiiiiing!
To back up again, you will find a little spot serving delicious Manestra and Empanadas.
PS: Do not decide to visit the waterfalls afterwards if it is already around 2/3pm.. Otherwise you might be as lucky as we were and miss the last cable car which is going from the “jungle” back to the other side so that you have to spend the night in the middle of nowhere in the cloud forest with all the dangerous animals waiting for you. Well, the next day we were told that there was a track leading out of there in half an hour, but what do unprepared backpackers know?
Feeling like Rafting? The best spot for this adventure is located about half an hour from Tena in the “jungle” (compared to the region around Coca, I am careful to call places jungle; if you want to experience the real deep jungle, I recommend you to visit Yasuni National Park).
Pay 60$, get a whole day of fun in the water with an amusing group and a guide who knows how to scare the hell out of you! He will tell you that “only” 90% are ending up in the water but I can guarantee you: you will get wet, no matter how hard you try! As long as you are not ending up in a whirlpool or under the boat – or worse: both at the same time. But even in such a situation, you need to keep calm. Probably you will not die. Just push the boat away from you, get to the surface and lie down with your feet up. Nature is going to save you, nature is not your enemy.
After 2 hours paddling down the Rio Napo, there will be a break at a little beach where you are going to have a delicious lunch: tortillas buffet and bracing snacks to power through the other half of your trip.
Your arms and other parts of your body will get a nice work-out and you will see what it means to work hard and play hard in a team.
I wish you muscle soreness for the next few days, just because you have to feel what you did.
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it is lethal.” – Paulo Coelho