Galapagos: Incredible! The wildlife, the SCUBA/snorkeling, and the prices. We loved getting to explore and spend some time on a boat out in the middle of nowhere. Having curious sea lions swim right up to us was unreal.
Quito: Elise gets food poisoning after salsa class on the way to sushi date night. Sushi is not consumed. The rest of the evening and subsequent 3 weeks after involve numerous trips to the bathroom and finally ends with a midnight phone call in Lima (more in the Peru section)
Cotopaxi: We hike up Cotopaxi to delicious hot cocoa at 15,600'. We stay at our favorite hostel ever, Cotopaxi Secret Garden, and play card games with new friends (the beauty of no wifi), play with beagle puppies, do yoga, gorge on free banana bread, and spend the night in a "hobbit home" (see photo).
Quilotoa Loop: We embark on a 3-day inn to inn backpacking adventure called the Quilotoa Loop. Elise almost gets charged by a cow, we meet many angry farm dogs and attempt not to get bitten. Beautiful vistas at Laguna Quilotoa.
Vilcabamba: The "city of longevity" proved to be a lovely, tranquil place to try to recover from food poisoning (Elise). Or to get food poisoning (Jer). Elise flies to Lima for a work project while Jer flies back to Quito to check car progress.
Lessons learned: Walking sticks and rocks make good cow and dog defenders. Elise learns that she can't befriend all dogs.