La Mana

LA MANA -A trip to the land of Waterfalls, Banana and Cacao plantations

Hi! My name is Nargiza and I come far from Central Asia, Uzbekistan! For me traveling to Ecuador was something completely exotic because every time I went out exploring I got amazed by its green landscapes, dense jungles, inspiring mountains and breathtaking views. I wanted to travel smart considering my low level of spanish and first visit to South America. To save as much time, money and nerves as I could I asked my friends for travel agency recommendations in Ecuador which led me to Ecuatraveling travel company. Since then, my journey began: I started my travels in the Sierra of Ecuador which was full of volcanoes, mountains, forests and my FAVORITE animals LLAMAS! Later I traveled to the west of Ecuador in search of beautiful waterfalls and I found more than I could ever imagine! So in this blog I want to tell you more about my trip to a small town called La Mana. 

We set off at 6 in the morning from Pujili, a small town in the Andes of Ecuador and expected a road trip of 3 hours. And WOW! Those three hours made one of the best memorable moments in my life. I was so sleepy but couldn’t take a single nap because the beautiful landscape kept me astonished with my eyes wild open. We just kept driving all the way up and it seemed we were reaching the sky. Within such a short time the climate and diversity of nature changed so many times. First, it was dry, cold and the mountains were colorful green with a small population around. Later the scene changed: it felt warmer, wilder and we were surrounded by huge rocky mountains. The most amazing fact is that we were always driving so close along the mountains which allowed me to take a closer look at the exciting highlands. I felt so little and insignificant in this big world, my soul was full of gratitude. Next hour, the scenery made a switch to warm and humid climate, the mountains covered with dense, intense green vegetation growing tall and wild. I saw rivers running so alive between the jungle paths. Everything was so fresh so I opened the window to fill my lungs with pure air. 

Finally we arrived at La Mana and our guide explained to us how we would get to the most popular waterfalls around the town called “Las siete cascadas” (Seven Waterfalls). Luckily, it was 20 minutes away so we hit the road right away. The real adventure started when we entered the narrow, muddy and bumpy roads to the waterfalls which was so fun! To the left and the right side we were surrounded by countless numbers of cacao and banana plantations of all types! That was an exoctic paradise. Green, red and yellow bananas were so tempting to harvest. On the way we stopped to observe the locals doing the first stage of chocolate preparation which is taking out the cacao beans and letting them dry. They offered us locally grown bananas for the road which tasted damn good! Imagine 20 minutes of driving and seeing nothing but plantations. If it is hard to do so, watch my video below!

Within the next ten minutes we arrived at the waterfalls. All areas surrounded by rushing rivers, plants and trees. I loved how waterfalls shaped themselves, it is like a museum when you go from one painting to another not having to go far. The hike was easy and enjoyable. We were using ropes from tree to the tree to climb which made the experience more adventurous and fun. The waters were crystal clear and refreshing so we couldn’t resist swimming. Despite the powerful streams of water washing us away we could make it under the waterfall! Everybody was laughing, screaming happily. I felt proud we visited all 7 waterfalls. Each one is unique and magical in its own way.

I continue exploring Ecuador and can’t wait to share more of my journeys with you. So far I can say Ecuador is a wonderful land full of beautiful places to visit. If you want exotic experience and variety of activities I promise this is the right place to be!

Written by Nargiza Erkinova ( IG: @en_nargiz)

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