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Ecuador travel logistics

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I am in the process of planning our next South America trip which, hopefully will commence in April starting with a few months in Ecuador followed by a trip down through Peru, Bolivia with perhaps a brief foray into NW Argentina and Northern Chile before flying back from Lima.

I am sure I will be back with lots of questions over the coming months, but for now my main concern is our initial stay in Ecuador. As we are considering a more permanent move to the country we would like to stay fro maybe 3 months. I have managed to book some inexpensive accommodation for 2 months in Quito. From what I have read, most places in Ecuador are less than a days travel from Quito so I am thinking we could use Quito as a hub/ base and see much of the country by taking day and overnight trips for a lot of the main sights and some longer trips e.g. To the coast and amazon basin returning each time to Quito. Our final month would be either traveling around the south from place to place with maybe a week or so in Cuenca before heading south to Peru

Any thoughts opinions or experiences would be much appreciated

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    Hi Crellston,
    3 Months is a good amount of time for Ecuador. Unless your traveling with lots of luggage I don't think it's worth it to hold a place in Quito and travel around. If your traveling with something like a large hiking backpack, you'll have no problems with busses or taxis.

    Depending on your budget most things are about 1 days travel. As for the three major cities by bus, Quito to Guayaquil is 8-9 hours, Quito to Cuenca is about 12 hours, Cuenca to Guayaquil is about 5 hours. Flying is also very easy in Ecuador. Quito to Guayaquil is a 45 minute flight, costs $75-$150 and you just need to show up at the airport and buy your ticket for the next flight. Ususally you don't have to wait more then 1 hour between buying your ticket and boarding a plane.

    Ecuador is fantastic, you'll have a great time I'm sure. If you have any more questions I'd be happy to help.

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    Thanks Greg, although we are staying for several months we will be travelling very light ( carry on luggage only) So carrying bags around is not an issue. we will mostly travel by bus but will possible fly Quito to Cuenca where we intend researching as a place to live. My reason for consider using Quito as a base is that the accommodation we have sourced is really cheap and we may well be doing some voluntary work and desperately need to take some Spanish lessons whilst in Quito and it seems that it is easy to get tours to the Oriente and other places from there. Maybe I

    A couple of ancillary questions;
    1. Any thoughts on good tour operators for a trip to the Oriente, Quilatoa loop etc.?
    2. How easy/difficult is it to organise trips such as these independently?
    3. Any recommendation for beach resorts And what will the weather be like on the coast in April-June?


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    There are tons of tour opperators in Quito's Mariscal district. However, it's cheaper if you go to Macas, Puyo or Tena and book your trip there. This is because the tour opporators in Quito will take your money, can contratct your tour through some one in Macas, Puyo or Tena for a percentage, it's cheaper to go straight to the source. If you decide to do a jungle tour, I'd recomend that you go on a trip that lasts several days. You can do a day trip into the Jungle but you don't get in the real wild stuff you only get a taste of it.

    As far as Quilotoa you can do that yourself on the buses. You will need to take a bus from Quito to Latacunga and transfer there to a bus for Quilotoa/Chugchilian. Those busses only run a few times a day so you will need to double check bus departure times.

    Doing the trips yourself isn't hard and people typically are happy to help you out if your Spainish isn't good. The rule of thumb for busses is that they cost about 1$ per hour. Also the for Cotopaxi and Quilotoa you might find it worth your while to pay the 40$ per person to avoid having to coordinate all the busses.

    I don't have any experience with any beach resorts in Ecuador. However there are several great towns that have pleanty of accomodations. Check out Canoa, Montanita and Salinas. My favorite of these is Montanita but they all have there advantages. Also in Puerto Lopez you can do a trip to Isla de la Plata which is worth the cash. But don't spend you beach time in Puerto Lopez the beach is only so so.

    As far as the weather. Starting in May you'll be getting into the cloudy season. So count on overcast skies and cooler temperatures somewhere in the 80's.

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    If your looking for a resort (with all inclusive) there are only a few ones:

    1. Barcelo Mirarmar at Salinas
    2. Decameron Punta Centinella (near Salinas)
    3. Decameron Mompiche / Esmeraldas

    Little hostals you will find in every little village starting at 6 $ por person a day. Most backpacker like Montanita, a little village 80 Kilometers north from Salinas. A lot of young people visit this place to make party. I recommend that you take your trip to the coast at the end of your stay in Ecuador. Because at Mid of June the humpbackwhales are visiting the ecuadorian cost until Mid of October. Best place to watch these animals is Puerto Lopez, a little fishermans village a 120 kilometers north of Salinas. There is a nice hostal called Hosteria Mandala. Whale whatching trips starting at 35 $ / person.

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