Posing at the Playboy mansion

Amazingly, the zip wire incident managed to unlock my dislike of all things adrenaline and I LOVED careering down a river in an inner tube.

That may sound harsh on our white water raft, but that is exactly what it was – eight inner tubes tied together, flying through the spray and rocks.

We wandered around a butterfly farm, spent hours watching humming birds feeding then stuffed our faces with pizza before downing a few cubra libres and crashing out at the beautiful Dragonfly Inn.

The following morning it was time to properly explore the rainforest.

We drove to the edge of a deep, wide ravine. All you could see for miles were the treetops far below. The sun was gorgeously hot and the sky blue.

The cable car was rickety to say the least, but everyone has to go sometime and it might as well be in a place as beautiful as this.

Four of us piled inside and our guide, Juan, jumped onto the back – clinging on as we flew hundreds of feet above the canopy. I love the flagrant disregard for health and safety in Ecuador, makes everything an adventure.

Pippa and I were plodding along in flip flops, which was fairly ridiculous, particularly when we hit thick mud and had to scramble across a steep drop with nothing but a manky piece of rope and Juan’s encouragement.

(I liked Juan. He said I reminded him of a film star. He couldn’t remember which one so I took it to be Julia Roberts, circa Erin Brockovich)

The rainforest was everything I had hoped. When I was 11 I did a school project on rainforests. I imagined them to be densely green, with the sun peeking through the trees and the smell of moss and ferns pungent and overpowering as you creep beneath the branches.

It was exactly like that. Eventually we came to a series of battered bridges with slats missing, eerily similar to the ones Indiana Jones always falls from.

Beyond the bridges was a little glimpse of paradise. Or rather, a series of freezing rock pools with waterfalls tumbling into them.

Naturally, we turned into a bunch of posers and the pictures, with us in our bathing gear, look more Hugh Heffner than they do deepest Ecuador. But hey.

The rest of the walk was equally beautiful, with Juan pointing out the various flora and fauna and the waterfalls growing ever larger.

Reluctantly, we returned to Mindo to eat the biggest and most delicious fajitas, before popping into the chocolate shop to drink glorious hot chocolate made fresh from the rainforest’s cacau beans.

A good weekend and even the kids fell asleep on the bus home.

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