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Location: Amazon

After a 4:45 wake up in Quito, this energized and jovial group of teens hopped on a plane and flew to Coca. From there we took a canoe ride down the Napo River into a creek hidden by the huge trees and leaves. After boating down the river’s offset surrounded by wildlife that I thought only existed in the Disney World’s Jungle Cruise ride, we arrived at an eco-lodge in the Amazon rainforest. After a delicious lunch and dropping our stuff off in our rooms, Hector, our guide, took us to the famous Hector’s island, a real rainforest habitat in the Amazon for monkey rehabilitation. We walked all over the island seeing several of the nine species of monkeys that inhabit it as well as wildly colorful macaws and the rare German Shepherd. After our trip through the thick vegetation, everyone had a chance to show off their supreme dart shooting and spear throwing abilities. Siblings beware! We have some very sharp shooters! We arrived back at the eco-lodge a bit after 6:00, cleaned up, and had an excellent dinner. We concluded our night under a beautifully star-filled sky getting excited for our first day of community service in the Amazon and sharing moments and memories that we wish we could relive. We laughed, we cried, we ate food and sighed. With full bellies and hearts we all went to bed for a well deserved night of sleep.