La Casa Amarilla

In Baños, Ecuador, I hiked from the tiny town in the valley to La Casa del Arbol above. It’s that famous swing on the edge of a cliff, basically a required tourist photo opp:

Casa del arbol

The hike is a short two-and-a-half hours, but entirely up-hill as you leave the city behind.

Baños, EcuadorLuckily, part-way up, I came across La Casa Armarilla. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of juice ladies at the central markets. Mango, mora, naranja, piña– no matter the flavor, they’ve always had my back. So when I encountered a mountainside sign reading “Jugos frescos,” I had to stop inside. There, the nicest man runs a hostel and cafe overlooking Baños. It’s the perfect rest stop as you begin the hike, and fresh papaya juice provided extra motivation to keep going.

La Casa Armarilla

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A Colombian friend recently told me about his travels to France, where a restaurant offered him water or wine with lunch. “I thought I was in a jail,” he said, craving the fresh fruit juices he drinks at home. And now I understand why: with a wide variety of accessible produce here, I want to start every morning with a blended juice. Outside most Medellín Metro stations, street vendors will press oranges for only 1.000- 2.000 COP per glass. A simple juice is a much-appreciated midmorning (or mid-hike) boost, whether served in a fancy glass or a flimsy plastic cup, to-go.

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