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A three-week trip to Ecuador to study biology sounded like a good idea when my professor suggested it. The reality of the trip was much more complex and rich than I ever imagined. We visited Guayaquil and the coastal mangroves, several unique ecosystems in the Andes Mountains, Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon, and several of the islands that make up the Galapagos. We tasted delicious, exotic foods; saw awe-inspiring landscapes; and encountered rare, colorful animals. The people were no less colorful, living in cities, slums, or far out in rural areas. We learned what we could and came home with memories of heat, clouds, and the brilliant hues of the tropics.