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Best plan for 6 days between Cuenca and Quito?

Best plan for 6 days between Cuenca and Quito?

Old Apr 22nd, 2015, 02:04 PM
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Best plan for 6 days between Cuenca and Quito?

My husband and I will be in Ecuador in mid-June and have 6 so far unplanned days after we leave Cuenca and before we fly back to the US out of Quito. We are interested in spending the time in the central mountain corridor and can't decide whether we should (1) fly back to Quito from Cuenca and do day trips (or even a couple of overnight trips) out of Quito, or (2) make our way back to Quito from Cuenca by bus and stay a night or two in each of various places along the way.

Basing in Quito is appealing because we have a free place to stay there, but I am worried we will spend too much time and effort traveling back and forth to various places and not have enough time to enjoy the places we visit.

Prior to our 4 nights in Cuenca we will have spent 4 nights in Quito, 2 nights at a mountain lodge near Otavalo, and several days aboard a boat in the Galapagos. (Also, 10 days in Peru at the start of the trip.) We are interested in seeing smaller towns and villages, enjoying the mountain scenery, and doing some walking/hiking as well. Thinking about Mindo, Cotopaxi, ...?

Would love to get some advice on whether to fly or take the bus from Cuenca, and how/where to spend our 6 days. We need to be back in Quito on the 6th day because we fly home the next day. Thanks!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 02:10 AM
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Firstly, getting the bus in Ecuador is pretty straightforward and the best way of seeing the country and there is a LOT to see in between Cuenca and Quito. Do watch your stuff carefully on buses and in and around bus stations. Buses are "variable" the inter town ones tend to be ok but the more local short distance ones are basic and usually very crowded ( and not just with humans!). Journeys tend to be quite short - 2-4 hours as Ecuador is a surprisingly compact country.

Didn't make it to either Mindo or Cotopaxi but by all accounts both are pretty amazing. If the lodeg near otovalo your refer to is La Luna then you are in for a treat. The nicest place we stayed at in Ecuador.

You have many options.

Riobamba is worth considering. We did a great trip to Chimborazo volcano which involved a 4WD to around 5000m a hike a further 200m up to the mountain climbing base station and then a mountain bike ride all the way back down to the base and along through some villages - I think around 35km in all. One of the best experiences of our time in the country. You could even get the train from there back to Quito.


From Cuenca you can get a bus out to Cajas NP which is really beautiful. Some great hiking options around the lakes 3-5 hours. Pretty easygoing and fantastic scenery.

Another place is the Quilatoa loop which can be done from Latacunga. You could just visit the lake for an overnight or hike to Chugilan ( hard!) and get the bus back from there to Latacunga.

There are lots of photos and some more info on these places on our blog @
http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog...ai/6/tpod.html

Hope this helps a little. Happy to answer any specific questions you may have
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Old Apr 24th, 2015, 01:05 PM
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Thanks, Crellston. I have read your blog and followed your other postings, which have been so helpful. I will try to convince my husband that we should take the bus. We have talked about Riobamba--that trip you describe sounds so interesting. Is the bike trip 35 km or the whole trip 35 km?

We are definitely going to Cajas NP from Cuenca. And the Quilatoa loop may be in the cards as well, if we take the bus from Cuenca to Latacunga. Do you recommend any places there for overnight stays (both at the lake and in Latacunga)?

We had booked rooms at La Luna based on your recommendation, but our niece and nephew, who have been to Ecuador several times and who we are meeting up with in Quito for a few days, really wanted to stay again at Alishungu Mountain Lodge, so I canceled La Luna and snagged a couple of guesthouses at Alishungu. Quite a bit more costly0-hope it's worth it.
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Old Apr 24th, 2015, 11:02 PM
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Hi aprililacs,

The biking part of the trip was 35kms. Sounds a lot but it really isn't as most of it is downhill. That said it does require a reasonable level of fitness. It really was exhilarating and the scenery was wonderful. We used biking spirit who my wife found online ( I'm sure the fact that the Eduardo the owner and our guide, looked just like Robert Downey Jnr, had nothing to do with her decision!)
They offer differing levels of day trip more details of which can be found @
http://bikingspirit.com/2013/index.p...-one-day-tours

In Riobamba we stayed at Tren Dorado which, unsurprisingly is close to the train station so would be quite handy if you decide to get the train back to Quito or do the side trip to "Nariz del Diablo" - which I believe is now running again. If you want to do either of these then best to book tickets in advance either on arrival in Quito or by email.

In Latacunga we stayed at Hostal Tiana about a 15 min walk from the bus station. Nice comfortable place with a variety of en suite and other rooms. The staff were really helpful in helping us sort out buses etc to Quilatoa and Saqasquilli market. We stored most of our stuff there when we did the Quilatoa loop.

In Quillatoa ( a couple of hours by bus) we stayed at Hostal Chukiwara which was probably the best place there. Comfortable rooms with log burners (it gets bitterly cold at night there). The hike to Chughilan is quite tough, but a lot of that is due to the altitude ( I think around 3500m). It is fantastic scenery and well worth the effort though. To see the crater lake at its best before the clouds roll in around noon, you do need to stay overnight. If you decide to walk down to the lake make sure to book a mule for the return trip!). As an alternative to hiking to Chughilan you could always just return to Latacunga but it is a long way just for that. The lake crater lake is really beautiful but The village is windswept and desolate.

I can't recall the name of the place we stayed at in Chughilan but I wouldn't recommend it anyway as there were better and quieter places to stay ( it was full with partying backppackers!) Buses around the area are regular but infrequent so best check up on the schedules before planning - Rough Guides had the best info I could find at the time. Hostal Tiana will also be able to help.

I took a peek at Ali Shungu, expensive but it does sound fantastic!!
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Old May 16th, 2015, 08:16 AM
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Hi aprililacs,

I have just moved to Quito, Ecuador. I agree with crellston: take the bus, you can enjoy the beautifull scenary up to Quito! I have been to Cotopaxi, it is just amazing! I went with a local travel agency and we stomped up the volcanoe and right up to the glacier. It's so beautifull! After hiking back down to the parking lot, we jumped on bikes and rode down to the laguna, a water spot where you can see various birds and animals. On our way to Cotopaxi we had breakfast and on our way back lunch, in a local restaurant.
There are many great day tours or two day tours from Quito! (Quilotoa, Otavalo, Mindo...)

If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them!

Have a greast trip!!
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Old Jun 10th, 2015, 05:01 PM
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Would love to hear how your trip worked . Hope you do a TR.
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