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A Place So Beautiful It Invites You To Die

Sailing the world is about much more than simply sailing.  It’s about exploring the world.  S/V Curiosity is a means of travel, and our home, but sometimes we have to leave her behind.

We spent the better part of a week doing nothing more than research, filling out applications and making reservations.  But don’t worry, we’ve spared you from watching us sit at the salon table in our underwear for days on end.

Why so much sitting around in our underwear?  First, because we’re having a issues with our watermaker, and not wearing clothes cuts down on laundry.  Second, because sometimes we wake up, sit down at the computer with a cup of coffee and don’t move again until it’s sundowner time.  But it’s mostly because we’ve arrived in a new country and it’s time to start preparing for the next.

Our next destination requires a road trip to the French Embassy.  Which just so happens to be 250 miles inland to the oldest city in South America and one of the highest cities in the world.

In true Wynn fashion, we turned that 250 miles into a route well over 1,500.  We couldn’t help ourselves.  After all, we did spend six years on a road trip around North America.

In the next couple of weeks, we’ll make our way to the highest mountains, most beautiful volcanoes, gushing waterfalls, magnificent art-filled churches and take in a whole lot of Ecuadorian culture.

Yep, we purposely planned our road trip right in the middle of the water soaking, foam spraying, color slinging festival that is Carnival (it’s similar to Mardi Gras for those who live in the states).  This may have been a terrible idea or complete genius.  It all depends on how you feel about crowds and festivals.  We’re all about it!

From what we’ve seen so far, we’re in for a lot of landscape eye candy.

We had to give up our passports!

Our next country is French Polynesia and as citizens of the USA we would be granted a 90 day visa upon arrival.  Which may sound like a lot but it’s not.

First, lets take into consideration that the journey to French Polynesia is a 4,000 nautical mile sail that will take us over 20 days to get there.  Over 20 days in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!

Now, let’s take a brief glance at the 118 geographically dispersed islands and atolls stretching over an expanse of more than 1,200 miles in the South Pacific Ocean.

French Polynesia is divided into five groups of islands: the Society Islands archipelago, the Tuamotu Archipelago, the Gambier Islands, the Marquesas Islands, and the Austral Islands.

We’re going to need more than 90 days to explore them all.  Oh, and let’s not forget we’ll have cyclone season to deal with.

So, we are applying for our French Polynesia Long Stay Visa.  If approved, the visa will allow us up to a year to explore the islands.  It’s more of a process than I can squeeze into this post.  But, stay tuned…I’ll share the full scoop on the process soon.

Quito

Quito is the capital of Ecuador and stands at almost 10,000 feet above sea level.  That’s a lot of altitude for sea level dwelling peeps like ourselves. It’s a sprawling colonial city cradled in a long valley surrounded by mountain peaks.

We only spent one day roaming about the city but we’ll be back soon.  If nothing else, to climb to the top of that church tower.

Tulcan

This busy highland city is mostly known as the last Ecuadorian stop before heading to Colombia. It’s a bustling border town (much more so than we expected) with what has to be one of the most stunning cemeteries in the world.

Ecuador road trip

Wandering through all the topiaries had me jonesing to watch Edward Scissorhands.

The cemetery of Tulcan is built on 8 acres of land and was established in 1932. José Franco was the head of the municipality of Tulcán Parks and started planting and pruning rows of cypress trees. Some were mythological figures, others were animals and some just geometric shapes. Now, there are more than 300 figures in total.

José Franco Guerrero died in 1985 and was of course buried in the cemetery he made so spectacular. His epitaph reads: “In Tulcán, a cemetery so beautiful that it invites one to die!” His five sons continue the maintenance of the Topiary Garden Cemetery which is now named after their father.

Sailing Road Trip Report – Bahia De Caraquez to Tulcan

To see our full map with interactive pins, click here: gonewiththewynns.com/map

Ecuador road trip quito

  • Dates – February 6 – 11, 2018
  • Road Miles Traveled – 500
  • Rental Car – $29 per day.  We rented a car in Manta because it was half the price of renting in Bahia.

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Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (23)

  • Deborah Kerr

    Your photos are beautiful and really capture the essence of the culture in Ecuador. Those mountains are spectacular, the buildings, the people, look very interesting. I was surprised to see they drive on the right side of the road like us – I guess I was expecting it to be like Europe, don’t know why – just cuz it’s “different”!! Show us some of their food, and how it smells – i would it expect it to be like Mexico I guess. And that cemetery!! What a beautiful way to celebrate and respect someone’s life!! Thank you for sharing!! 🙂

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  • Han

    Hi guys,
    Like everyone else here I love your videos and I think they’re a great inspiration. And that’s why I thought I’d chip in a word of warning triggered by the last bit of this episode, where you’re at the carnival party. Only last week did I see a report from a (Dutch) tech website that showed how a laser show took out their camera. They showed a laser that, for a fraction of a second, pointed straight into the lens and blew out a whole line of pixels on the sensor. Permanently. So with that in mind I cringed when I saw the laser pointing into your lens as well at this party, but fortunately it didn’t seem to do any damage. Even so, it might be something you want to bear in mind at the next carnival. The simple tip they gave was to ensure you never have the source of the laser in the image and you should be ok.
    Happy travels and I’m looking forward to more awesome video reports.

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  • Marc Montero

    The further your travels take you the more culture, art and history you encounter. Quito looks like you could explore it for months. Loving your new travel partner Kate as well. Her smile is beautiful and infectious! Jason, you’re the luckiest man alive!
    Marc

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  • Ron

    Tied up on a mooring ball – I’ve been wondering how you ‘stash’ the boat when you’re away on your solid-ground travels. No issues with leaving the boat alone for long periods? Is that what Kate & Rufous have done with their boat?

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  • I’m really enjoying your travels! Two years ago today we were on day 16 of a 20-day trip to French Polynesia. The color of the water is incredible, the snorkeling is nuts, the sharks, the rays, the mountains and culture! The sights in Moorea, Bora Bora, and Nuku Hiva are some of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see! Fingers crossed you get your year-long visa! Can’t wait to relive it with you.

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  • Chris Starnes

    I really like your new ride along friend. She is so pleasant with her smile. You all look so happy together with this one.

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  • Pam McClure

    Next best thing to being there is watching your excitement and joy. Thank you!

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  • Charlie Curtis

    Ah – excuse my little pedantic lecture, there – I ought to add that I think you guys are terrific. I haven’t commented before, but I am currently fitting out an RV trailer for hardcore boondocking, and your videos on the composting toilet and greywater tank merge were of decisive inspiration to me. Thank you for that. I am following your new adventure here with intense interest, and vous souhaite bon voyage.

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  • Charlie Curtis

    Mardi Gras is actually just the last day of the Carnival, a part of Lenten Carnival. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, so Fat or Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras in French, Martes de Carneval in Spanish) is the last chance to eat all the meat (carne) and diary in the house before the traditional 40 day vegan fast. Alcohol is also traditionally not drunk during Lent, so Fat Tuesday is the last chance to drink until the Pascha feast at Easter. The Carnival begins at different times and is celebrated in different ways in various Catholic and Orthodox countries, but in Catholic countries it always ends on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. The Orthodox enter Lent differently with no Ash Wednesday, so Greek and other Orthodox carnival traditions have no Fat Tuesday. There are also other carnivals that do not precede Lent and so have no Mardi Gras, but the major carnivals that most people associate with the term (Rio, New Orleans) are Lenten ones and therefore do.

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  • Tracy H

    That was exciting. Love watching your adventures, photography is excellent and you all are so photogenic and talk to us like we’re there with you. Looking forward to your next episode. Be safe, have fun and give those kitties some extra kisses from all of us.

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  • Sandra & the 2 Spaniels

    Okay Nikki-fess up. Where are you getting those fantastic sunshades that you’ve been rocking? Really cool!
    Love the video-looks like it was so much fun. And glad you took the kitties. My spaniels go everywhere with me too.

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  • Roger B

    I’m blown away by your travel for adventure enthusiasm. And I’m blown away by your courage to go and experience everything possible. And thanks for sharing your life’s travels with us. Your videos, as always, are exciting to watch. Now I’ll enjoy this video on the big screen.

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  • Too much fun for 3 people 🙂

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  • Rixanne H

    The road trip was February 6 – 11, 2018 ??? But it’s late April. and we didn’t hear why Jason was in Texas. I’m so confused. My time travel vertigo is triggering 🙂

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    • Curious Minion

      Social media posts are in real time but the videos are always 4-8 weeks behind.

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  • Sally

    This is really great – I know next to nothing about Ecuador and am very happy to join you on your travels as I doubt I will ever visit. Superb standard of video as always. Thank you!

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  • Ed Grant

    WOW, Tulcan,Ecuador, who knew?! What a treat to travel with two lovely ladies & the Cat too! Leaving Curiosity for so long , weren’t you afraid for its’ well being? Having to travel so far to find a French embassy seemed kind of silly but “when in Rome” I guess.

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  • Jen

    So, it appears you are taking the cats with you on your car tour! Are most accommodations pet friendly?

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  • Christopher

    Since you guys are going to be off across the isolated pacific soon, I figure you’d like this from some people who have done it with cats (specifically their cat litter setup).
    Specifically:
    “Perhaps the best part, however, is how little storage space the refills consume compared to regular litter. In the picture above right, the large bag at the bottom is a 2-3 week supply of standard clay litter. Above it is a 6-9-month supply of pellets and a 10-month supply of liners”

    https://mvdirona.com/2010/06/cruising-with-cats/

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  • Aloha Nikki and and Jason! We’re so happy that you made it to Ecuador. I’m afraid we’re a little bit late contacting you because you already passed by our way on your trip to Tulcan. We watch your videos all the time and you have been a huge inspiration for us to start planning to buy a boat and sail the world. If you happen to still be in the Quito area, we would love to visit with you. We are just north about 2 hours near Otavalo and we love to hike. We’re not in as great a shape as you guys are, but we love your videos and lifestyle. And we wish you all the best!

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  • Diane Sanderbeck

    If you need anything while you are still in Ecuador, please feel free to reach out. I have a friend in Manta that would be able to help. He is an American that is established there in the community and is highly respected. Continued blessings on your journey! ❤️

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  • Sandra Kohler

    Love love love your work guys ❤️ Thanks so much for sharing your adventures through your awesome videos ❤️ ? Paul & Sandra Kohler from St. Petersburg Florida.

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  • Katharine Nichter

    This sounds incredible guys! I am so sorry I flaked out on you Jason. I feel really awful about it. It was really a bad day at work for me. Hopefully I will get to see you all next time. Love you all! Be safe!

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