Critique my Ecuador itinerary

Old Aug 10th, 2008, 06:08 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 212
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Critique my Ecuador itinerary

I'm planning my first trip to Ecuador (and first to South America!) for nine days in late November/early December. I'd love feedback on the logistics, and whether or not I'm trying to fit too much into a short trip. FYI, we're two 30-something women with advanced beginner/low intermediate Spanish skills. Here goes!

FRI arrive Quito at night

SAT Otavalo market
-will this take all day? Is it OK to take public buses or do we need to hire a driver/van? Is there anything to see outside the market in the span of the day?

SUN Old town Quito & fly to Cuenca in late afternoon

MON-SAT Spanish school/homestay in Cuenca
-any recommendations? I'm considering a few schools and am open to ideas.
-we'd like to see Cajas Park, the Inca ruins, nearby villages in the afternoons/on Saturday.
-We'd do an overnight trip on Fri/Sat if there's something worthwhile.

SUN fly home via Quito

I appreciate any thoughts/suggestions/things I shouldn't miss.
Thank you!
mmb23 is offline  
Old Aug 11th, 2008, 08:52 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 4,019
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think that looks like a good way to balance your time.

The public buses takes about two hours to get from Quito to Otavalo. They make a lot of stops. You could hire a driver and it would be much quicker, or you could go with a group, probably for less than the cost of a driver. Grayline and Metropolitan Touring are the two biggest tour operators in Quito, and both do trips to Otavalo.

Cuenca is a great choice to spend a week beefing up your Spanish. It's a lovely city with a lot of colonial architecture, and is much more relaxed than Quito.

On your final day, make sure you allow enough time to transfer flights in Quito. You'll need to check in for your international flight three hours in advance. It can be kind of a slow-moving airport.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Old Aug 11th, 2008, 11:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 212
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Jeff, thanks for the feedback! Your comment about connecting to an international flight brought memories of a madcap busride across Honduras at 5 am (that begin with missing the bus we wanted) & barely making our flight in San Pedro Sula. I think our best bet this time would be to fly back Saturday and spend our last night in Quito.

The tip on the Otavalo bus vs. driver is a good one; I'm often looking for adventure and value, but when you have a short trip it can valuable to pay a bit more money to see more or make it easier.

Do you have any insights on hiking in Ecuador? I loved the idea of hiking around the lake (Cuichocha, sp?) near Otavalo, but am wondering how that compares to hiking in Cajas outside Cuenca.

Thanks again for your help!
mmb23 is offline  
Old Aug 25th, 2008, 07:13 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello! about Otavalo, yes it will just take a day, even less. Otavalo is just 2 hours away from Quito, depending on you budget... if you have enought to pay 80$ for a cap driver that will take you to Otavalo is worth it, because there is so many other thing to see going there, that can only be done by car, for example Cotacahi (a pretty small town where you can find the best quality leather goods for dirth cheap) Cuicocha ( a lagoon inside an active vulcano), and another town I donīt remember right now itīs name where they make sculptures put of wood... Idid this trip, all in a day and was so worth it! But the bus of course is so much cheaper... just 5$ ... but is crowded, hot and... I got stolen in a bus going to Baños... so I donīt like them...

And I donīt knpw if you have a place to stay in Quito, but just in case I will recommend you a good one, because I also had some bad experieces with hotels in Quito while traveling. I ended up in the Hotel Cayman and it was really good, they helped me organize my time in Ecuador, when I was robed they helped me with all the the legal stuff. Besides that the hotel is nice,small and cozy, it felt like home. And! is safe! thanks go they have a free safebox for guest were my passport and ticket were! well.. thatīs all! good luck and good time in Ecuador!
beanlaura is offline  
Old Aug 26th, 2008, 04:40 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 212
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the info on the hotel, and on Otavalo. I definitely would like to visit Cuicocha while we're there, and springing for a driver might help us make the most out of our time.

I appreciate the feedback!
mmb23 is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
South America
Mar 23rd, 2016 12:09 AM
South America
Oct 11th, 2014 07:24 PM
Mexico & Central America
Dec 1st, 2008 12:17 PM
Africa & the Middle East
Jan 7th, 2007 01:40 PM
Mexico & Central America
Jun 19th, 2006 10:24 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -