At the end of our hot but amazing river journey from Belem in Brazil to Coca in Ecuador, Hotel Le Mision was quite a find!
There isn’t much listed on trip advisor or Hotelbooking.com which both list only posh jungle lodgings 20km or more out of town. We’d read Coca was a bit of a dusty, dull, oil town but when we walked into Le Mision, it was clear everyone would want to stay a few days and we could wait to get to Quito where it will be much cooler and we won’t be swimming!
It’s a quirky place, right on the river in between a rusty old bridge and beautiful new one paid for with oil money – its so new that it doesn’t appear on Google Earth.
Part hotel, part restaurant, part zoo, part curio museum with an old passenger aircraft who’s wings have been chopped and a double decker bus both converted into boats moored at the rivers edge!
We get a mix of sun, rain and storms, watch the water levels of the river rise and fall dramatically, watch the peacocks conduct their elaborate mating rituals and watch the monkeys, rabbits, guinea pigs, chatty parrot and tortoises wander freely around the hotel and often follow us inquisitively making the kids quite nervous after the Lara waterslide incident!
They are obviously well enough cared for as they all choose to stay on the premises, though could easily wander out!
Martin had a busy morning in town delivering over 10kg of washing to the laundry, buying water, finding a bank, checking out other hotels and restaurants, topping up out antibiotic stash, finding out about buses and most cleverly finding a chainsaw shop with a grinder to fix Ben’s pocket knife for 10 cents which had had an unfortunate accident when he lent it to the boat driver a couple of days before and he snapped it unscrewing something on the engine!
I went out one morning to the bus station to buy our tickets but the kids didn’t leave the hotel! We badgered them to do a little schoolwork but mostly we all really needed the down time.
The three swimming pools and waterslide are great fun and for the first time on our trip we simply hang out in the hotel for four days. We are even excited about hot showers and shampoo (well ok the girls are!)
The restaurant serves us a welcome and large range of international food and the kids even let Martin and I have a couple of quiet dinners together whilst they sit independently at a different table, order and eat at a separate table, practicing their Spanish. This suits them well, especially when Martin and I discover the three course Ecuadorian menu de la dia for $6 each with a drink included … but not surprisingly the kids are more drawn to burgers and chips
We all feel hugely refreshed, the homesickness has subsided somewhat and we’re ready to head up the Andes to the capital city of Quito! It will be quite a dramatic change – over 3000m of altitude from tropical rainforest to temperate Andean volcanoes and high plateau. We had better get our limited warm stuff out but I am really quite looking forward to feeling cool!!