Posted on May 30, 2013
Ecuador was the country that surprised me the most, from all the countries that I visited during this trip. I didn’t know that much about this “small” South American country before traveling and I was not really planning to go there. Now, I can say that it was one of the best decisions that I made and I fell in love with this country and the people living here. I experienced everything that I like, the beach, mountains and the jungle – all just in one month (and you can make it faster if you are in hurry)! I’ll write more details about Ecuador once I am back home and I will have more time, but for all travelers that I met along the way, this is my TOP list of places I recommend to visit (the order is just the order how I traveled):
Guayaquil – Ecuador’s largest city. Don’t miss to walk by the river on the Malecon 2000. There is also a big international airport, so it might be convenient to fly there or from there.
Ruta del Sol – For all beach lovers, you can drive along the cost from south to north of Ecuador and surf. I spent most of my time in the famous party town Montaňita. If you want, you can take surf classes here, there are good waves to learn and practice. In case you wish for more relaxed beaches, I recommend Ayampe or Olon, I loved it there.
Isla de la Plata – I had no budget for Galapagos. So I did a tour to “poor-man’s” Galapagos: Isla del Sol. It was an ok day, first time on a speed boat, first time snorkeling and the best of everything was the encountering with the blue-footed boobies, the local birds that live here 🙂
Cuenca – Old and beautiful town in the mountains. I stayed at a family owned hostel “Casa del Sol” and their breakfast was one of the best during the whole trip. Cuenca has definitely it’s magic.
Baňos – The town itself is nothing special, but the hostel Pricessa Maria had a very friendly atmosphere. Baňos is special for the amount of out-door activities you can do there. We did a biking trip to the waterfalls, trekking to the “Casa del Arbol” – the craziest swing of my life. And we also organized a jungle trip from Baňos. And somehow we skipped the biggest attraction, which were the hot springs. Next time!
Jungle trip – I did a 2-day jungle trip close to Puyo, which was great for meeting locals. I heard that for the wild life is the best area close to Cuyabeno.
Laguna Quilotoa – absolutely stunning views and trek along the crater of Laguna Quilotoa. One of the most beautiful days of my trip.
Trekking Cotopaxi – I did a one day trip to the elevation of 5000m of Cotopaxi volcano. It is possible to hike to the top of the volcano, which is at the elevation of 5800m. If I could do it again, I would go to the top. But that day, I was too scared of the altitude sickness. Consider it when hiking, but I am sure that if you had such a experience before and you were ok, you will hike without any problem. I recommend the agency Selvanieve in Latacunga (from where you organize the trip) and the guide’s name was Vinnie. The happiest guide ever 🙂
Quito – I stopped there for 2 days only and the main purpose was to make a trip to “La Mitad del Mundo” – the center of the world. Be careful in Quito, it has kind of dodgy atmosphere when I compare it to the other SA capitals and my friend Leslee got robbed immediately after entering a crowded bus.
Otavalo market – The famous market in Otavalo takes place on Saturdays. You can buy lot of gifts if your trip ends in Ecuador. It is also nice to meet the locals and see their traditional dresses.