A Day in Pacoche Forest with Ecuadorian Coastal Properties

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This past week we were lucky enough to be able to show my sister-in-law Kathleen, who was visiting us from L.A, a little bit of Manta and the coast. In addition to beach bumming, and poolside lounging we took a short day trip to the nearby Pacoche Forest just fifteen minutes south of Manta so she could compare her concrete jungle to ours.

After dropping the truck off at the bottom of this particular trail and catching a ride back up, we had an exciting start to our trip beginning with tree swinging howler monkeys at the trail head. We heard these great big demanding grunts and howls and we looked up expecting to see giant gorillas or something of substantial size to make sounds like that! But surprisingly these noise makers were hardly bigger than fat house cats, and their delicate little faces watched us from all angles with just as much curiosity.

Lucky for us, the path was marked by bamboo markers, and we didn’t really have to do any bushwhacking…except for this one spot…and then we had to jump a fence… but then we easily found our way again. I have to say that was one of the most exciting parts, a handful of gringo kids having fits about some leaves and creepy crawlies and letting our imaginations get the better of us.

The jungle was beautiful, with florescent butterflies, leaves and vegetation of every shade of green, and tiny little frogs the size of my thumbnail scattered on leaves and rocks. As I was teasing Kathleen about not looking too closely in the vegetation, we heard an exasperated ‘Oh My Gosh!’ from our friend Sarah who was a few yards in front of us. All she could do really was point and babble with huge round eyes at an area of sticks and foliage to her left. And of course…after all of us talking about how we didn’t care to see any spiders.. of any size, shape, or color, there it was a tarantula the size of my hand. Though I never thought I would say this, having a healthy fear of spiders and any bugs really, it was beautiful. It had brown and redish purple hues and each leg was delicately decorated with tiny fuzzy hairs. Garrett shot some amazing photos of it, and we hurried our little feet along.

We had some other exciting sights, such as Sarah mistaking a leaf for a beautiful camouflaged lizard that we all spent minutes staring at and trying to figure out before realizing it was a clever looking leaf. We also crossed a handful of character filled bridges, and saw some amazing huge and intricate trees before emerging from the trail to our awaiting vehicle. Im sure we will be visiting again soon, and can’t wait to see which one of her secrets the Pacoche Forest shows us next time.