Most Inspirational Moment
For me, the desolate, windy expanse of the foot of Chimborazo had a beauty of it's own and, the sight of the volcano peak, with it's glaciers and blanket of cloud streaming from it's summit is a view I will remember forever. The experience was made more memorable when picking up a lump of basalt rock that, despite the cooling wind, was quite warm from the equatorial sun's rays.
Thoughts on Group Leader
Ivan, our leader was clearly passionate about his Country and quite knowledgeable indeed on all aspects of the trip encounters. Always ready to share this knowledge, he was also quite willing to share photographs he had taken as well as help us to home in on wildlife so we could likewise capture the moment. He made every effort to include all the group and on the occasions where we had "free time" was always keen to show us more of the sights, which is how some of us found ourselves in a Medical museum in Cuenca poring over antiquated dental chairs, ophthalmic equipment and Iron Lungs!
Advice for Potential Travellers
Take layers. The climate is such that whilst overall warm, layers help control the changes bought on by wind or the ever changing clouds that block then release the strong sun. We found simple cagoules with layers beneath plenty sufficient for the rain we encountered (which was minimal, it being the end of the dry season).
As for mosquitos, we both dressed appropriately long trousers/sleeves when required, combined with liberal doses of Deet, Avon 'Skin so Soft' and mosquito coils at night whilst in the rain forest. Did it all work? - absolutely, I was not bitten at all, whilst Karen received a small bite when we decamped the coach unexpectedly to see a troop of Howler monkeys!
Muck in! Work as a Team with your fellow travellers and you will get more out of it. If you get a chance to try something out, go for it - that is how I found myself ploughing a furrow with an ancient plough pulled by two oxen! Embrace the local food, it is unbelievably tasty. I found green bananas quite pleasing whilst Karen took a shine to the local sugar can juice spiced with alcohol brewed from that very plant!