Ecuador

Old Jul 14th, 2012, 04:44 AM
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Ecuador

Considering a 9 night trip to Ecuador in February 2013. Considering Quito, of course then Otavalo. Then to the coast. Would like to also see Cuenca and the Amazon basin but think this may be overreaching. Have read that the roads are not too great but am willing to rent a car in Quito and go from there if that is a good idea. Are experienced European travelers but this is out of our "comfort zone." (Understatement of year?) Any advice/suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated. (Are not locked into Ecuador but this country seems like a pretty good destination for the time available.)
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Old Jul 14th, 2012, 09:03 AM
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Quito, Otavalo, the coast (not sure what part of the coast you're referring to), Cuenca, and the Amazon is too much to pack into nine days. Consider paring back the itinerary.

Domestic airfares within mainland Ecuador are quite reasonable and save you precious hours of overland travel. (Airfares to the Galapagos are another story ... Much more expensive.)

Two domestic airlines:

TAME

www.tame.com.ec

Aerogal, which, I guess is in the process of becoming "Avianca Ecuador," but it's Aerogal for now:

www.aerogal.com.ec
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Old Jul 15th, 2012, 05:55 AM
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That's a great start. How many days would you recommend for Quito? Otavalo only 2 hours from Quito by bus - we would also, of course, like to stop and straddle the equator. Does this make sense? Could fly to Cuenca and perhaps to a coastal destination you might recommend. Pardon the bad pun, but I think you have set us on the right road for this particular jouney. Thanks.
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Old Jul 19th, 2012, 09:04 AM
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You could do 2 days in Quito. One day spend a couple hours o at the middle of the world equatorial line monument, a half day taking the gondola up to the top of Pichincha volcano, with spectacular views overlooking the city (has to be a sunny day) and take an old town walking tour. You could take one day in Otavalo and one day at Mindo Cloud Forest, since you probably don't have enough time for an Amazon Jungle Lodge experience, Mindo will satisfy the wildlife sightings and birds you will be missing out on in the Amazon. Depends what your looking for in a coastal experience. If you want posh, go Salinas (think Miami Beach). If you want rugged, my favorite beaches are Canoa and Mompiche. From the coast you could go to Cuenca for a few days and definitely spend at least one of those days at Cajas National Park as mentioned above, before flying back to Quito and home. Safe travels!
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Old Jul 21st, 2012, 08:56 AM
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Quito itself warrants at least a couple of days. Longer side trips (Otavalo, Cotopaxi volcano, Bellavista cloudforest) would add one day each onto that.

The Mitad del Mundo monument does not sit on the equator itself, although no one there will tell you that. The original measurements taken in the 18th century are off by several hundred feet. If you have the requisite picture taken straddling the line there, you'll be entirely in the Southern Hemisphere. Nearby sites at Quitsato and Intiñan do sit exactly on the equator.

Cuenca is about a 45-minute flight from Quito. It's a charming old colonial city. I love the place.
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Old Jul 27th, 2012, 09:44 PM
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We hired a car and driver to take us to the hot baths from Quito. Spent most of a day there and back and enjoying hot baths in the Andes. A spectacular experience driving through the Andes. Spent 1/2 day at the equator and what he says is accurate. We had more fun at the REAL equator on the right side of the touted one. Quito has several good museums as well as markets. Enjoyed Otavalo and went by bus the night before the market. Check out their musical gargage trucks.
Ecuador has a lot of variety and things to do for such a small county. Just talking about it, now I want to go back!
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Old Jul 29th, 2012, 07:01 AM
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I'm posting about the days we spent in Quito and environs now -- you'll find the various posts in the Jul 2012 archive in the sidebar -- http://2totravel.blogspot.com.
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