These magnificent trees, called Ceibos trees, grow in the south of the Manabí province, in Ecuador. The trees are gigantic (up to 20 meters tall and 4 meters thick) and their shape is reminiscent of tree spirits. The Ceibos tree is a source of income for more than 6000 people in the Manabi province, as it produces kapok. The kapok is gathered by the men between August and November, and taken home where the women clean it and stuff it in blankets, pillows and cushions. The Ecuadorian navy have a big Ceibos forest, and they use the kapok to fill their life preservers.
They are a breathtaking sight; one day a friend and I hired our regular taxi driver for a day, just to roam around in the region of the Ceibos forest with our cameras. Needless to say that the taxi driver was rather amazed that we were willing to pay him for such a frivolous outing, but he was delighted at the same time that these foreigners took such an interest in the beauty of his country. He even waded through brushes and cleaned a path for me with his machete if he thought that I'd have a better view from another spot! He said how he loved to see his own country through "new eyes"...