10 Days in Ecaudor

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Dec 30th, 2018, 05:44 PM
  #1
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10 Days in Ecaudor

Help!

Got some dirt cheap frequent flier tickets in and out of Quito for late February/early March... and now we're trying to plan an itinerary.

We're going to postpone going to Galapagos for a later trip... so we're thinking of concentrating on Quito, a trip to into an Amazon lodge, and ?????.

We're a couple of active 50 somethings (we hike, canoe, etc.) and love the outdoors but also love to see the local culture. Any suggestions on an itinerary, places to stay, things not to miss?

I'm usually much more organized before I start into trip planning, but circumstances are making this one a bit on the fly.

Thanks in advance!
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Dec 31st, 2018, 10:40 AM
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Baños might be a good gateway to the Amazon and has a lot of other adventure things.

You might want to look for crellston's trip reports. They did some hiking and biking.

Note that the elevation can be a real butt-kicker. So you may want to put the Amazon at the end after starting in Quito and doing any other activities in the Andes .
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Dec 31st, 2018, 10:50 AM
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Thanks... I'll look it up! My plan right now is to park in Quito for a few days to see the city and do some day trips from there. From there, we'll head to somewhere in the Amazon (thinking about Caiman Lodge at the moment).

We're pretty good at altitude (we're skiers and have also done 10+ mile hikes recently at decent altitudes (Tahoe Rim Trail, etc), but thanks for the warning. 9000+ ft is always interesting, especially when you live at sea level.
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Dec 31st, 2018, 12:10 PM
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Some other places that are near Quito are Mindo and Otavalo..where you can do a crater lake hike (Cuicocha) that is a bit easier to do (and reach) than the one you may read about called Quilotoa Loop.
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Dec 31st, 2018, 12:11 PM
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Thanks! I was just looking at Mindo and Otavalo on Viator.
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Dec 31st, 2018, 12:25 PM
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Desperate spending several months in the country we didn’t visit the jungle in Ecuador so can’t help with that. I have to say that Quito wasn’t our favourite City in South America , so I would be inclined to limit your time there. The Teleferico is good for panoramic views of the city if it is clear.

Highlights for us included hiking around the Mojanda Lakes near Otavalo ( a couple of hours from Quito) Mountain Biking down Chimborazo volcano near Riobamba ( excellent fun!!). Banos as suggested by Mlgb has a lot going on in terms of adventure activities including a downhill bike ride into the amazon basin. We started out to donthat trip but got sidetracked halfway down!

Cotopaxi is a day trip from Quito and you can either hike to the Refugio on the snow line or around Lago Limpipopo . Quilatoa Loop is a nice hike but a little hardcore unless well acclimatised. I am sure I did do a tripmrepott here but can’t find it but here is a link to our blog which covers some of the above places
https://accidentalnomads.com/category/ecuador/
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Dec 31st, 2018, 12:33 PM
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Thanks for all of the info!
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Jan 5th, 2019, 01:10 PM
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Thanks again for the help... trip came together pretty quickly...

Ended up booking 4 nights in Quito. We'll probably spend 2 days exploring and two days doing day trips out of the city (probably Otavalo and Cotapaxi). If you have any thoughts on day trips (public transport vs. tour, etc.), I'd love to hear from you.

After that, I booked 5 days, 4 nights at Nicky Amazon Lodge.

We'll return to Quito and have basically and evening and one more full day there before returning.

I'll report back in when we get back!
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Jan 6th, 2019, 04:06 AM
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The bus to Otaval is very easy. You need to take teh bus from Terminal Carcelén ( Norte) and it takes abpround 90 mins as I recall. The bus usually drops passengers on te Highway outside of the twon but it is not a long walk. I imagine you will see far more with a tour from Quito. The best day is Saturday when the animal market is on but you need to be there very early to see the best of it. The artisans market is on pretty much all week these days.

For Cotopaxi, again a bus to Latacunga is easy.About an hour. You can also get off at Macachi which is the closest town to the park and get a taxi to the trail heads. I think around $30_40 . Lago Limpigogo is a nice walk at the base of the mountain. Be aware that IME the chances of actually gettting a glimpse of the peak are slim. I think we visited three times before we actually saw it!

As with Otavalo, you will,l likely see more with an organised tour. One time we got the train to and from Machachi which was great fun. However, I think itbonly runs on a Sunday.
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Jan 6th, 2019, 08:01 AM
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Thanks crellson... that's exactly the debate we're having... cost even of private tours isn't bad and we'll get to see more vs. very inexpensive public buses and maybe have more time at our destinations (and seeing a bit more of 'real' Ecuador).

We've had a similar experience with not seeing our goal a few times (took 2 trips and 5 days to see Denali... and we've had four trips (Alaska, Yukon, Iceland, Norway for a total of 6-ish weeks) and haven't seen the northern lights yet), so we're prepared for that!
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Jan 6th, 2019, 08:14 AM
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Note that the bus stop for Latacunga is not in the center of town, reportedly.

As crellston said, seeing the volcanoes is a crap shoot.

Another option near Quito is Mindo.
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Jan 6th, 2019, 08:30 AM
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Thanks... I looked at Mindo as well... given that we're spending 5 days in the rainforest, I decided (probably) to take the crap shoot on the volcanoes...
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Jan 6th, 2019, 09:24 AM
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"Note that the bus stop for Latacunga is not in the center of town, reportedly” it used to be in the centre but is now out on the Pan-American and needs a taxi to get to the centre (and they really know how to charge gringos!).

The best bet for Cotopaxi would be to get off at Macacahi which is closer (although there will be more tours from Latacunga. if going down the tour route, it is probably best organised in Quito.
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Jan 6th, 2019, 09:37 AM
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Note in Quito if you get up early in the morning and it's clear, head for the Teleferico and you might see volcanoes in the distance!
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Jan 6th, 2019, 12:30 PM
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Thanks again!
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