Ecuador suggestions

Jun 18th, 2010, 09:36 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 247
Ecuador suggestions

A week ago I was thinking about a trip to Australia in the spring. Then after looking into an Island Hopper special to the Galapagos, I got all excited about a Galapagos cruise instead. I had heard that frequent flyer programs will probably switch to a point per dollar of airfare system sooner or later (which would make my miles less valuable) and I read that they are changing the regulations for Galapagos cruise routes by 2012, I decided we might as well go now.

I've narrowed it down to a cruise that runs Nov 2-9 (Tue-Tue) but I have to decide fast because there's only one cabin left and I need to book our flights while there's still good FF tickets available. The question is how much time should we spend in Ecuador before /after the cruise? We can arrive in Quito 3 full days before the cruise and fly home the day after the cruise. Or we can fly in on Sat and back on Sun giving us 2 full days before the cruise and 4 full days after.

We'd have to use more FF points to fly back on Sun and being able to work Th and Fri fits in better with my work schedule. We can see Quito and nearby attractions before the cruise. Is there a nice side trip that we should consider if we stayed the 4 days after the cruise? We prefer outdoor/wildlife type activities over city tours and we go hard all day. For example, we did the sunrise on Haleakala and then walked 13 miles across the crater on our first day in Maui.

The Amazon is on my wish list, along with Machu Pichu but I think we want to do the Inca Trail. We wouldn't have time to acclimate to the altitude, do the trail and get back to Lima in 4 days so I figured it would make more sense to combine the Peruvian Amazon with a trip to Machu Pichu. Does that make sense?
mdod is offline  
Jun 19th, 2010, 04:59 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
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There is so much to see in Ecuador. As long as you are making the trip I would stay as long as I could. We just went in April and we also like to do as much as possible. We really enjoyed an overnight trip to Cotopaxi. We booked our trip with Surtrek and I was very happy. We hiked to the basecamp at Cotopaxi which was great. We also went on one the most beautiful horseback rides.. the fun part was wearing the traditional ponchos and chaps. We also saw two condors on our ride which really just made the trip. We stayed at Hacienda Porvenir and the food was great.
We also enjoyed a trip to Mindo. There is a lot of great outdoor stuff to do there. Great hikes, canopy tours, butterfly gardens,chocolate making and even a frog concert.
Otavalo is also a great place to visit. Lots of culture, a great five mile hike around a lake and the big market.
Enjoy
ttraveler is offline  
Jun 19th, 2010, 08:08 PM
  #3  
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Thanks Ttraveler. I was definitely interested in Cotopaxi and was wondering if we'd have time to do it justice. Are all of the places relatively close to Quito? Did you do all of your excursions as part of a tour group or did you go anywhere on your own? We typically avoid tours except for specific activities. I like to come and go on my own schedule and see what I what to see.
mdod is offline  
Jun 19th, 2010, 09:49 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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mdod,

I'd suggest a couple of nights ashore in the Galapagos before ot after your cruise at a B&B like Casa Iguana, http://sancristobalbb.com/ on San Cristobal or Semilla Verde http://www.gps.ec/About%20Semilla%20Verde.html on Santa Cruz. The Galapagos Safari Lodge http://www.galapagossafaricamp.com/is another pricier alternative.

From Quito we are spending 2 nights at the Tandayapa Bird Lodge, http://www.tandayapa.com/ - we are not birders but we like birds and are looking forward to watching the hummingbird feeders from the terrace, the hide and a couple of gentle walks.

Sacha Lodge is a good option for the Amazon, http://www.sachalodge.com/

Happy planning,

Pol
Treepol is offline  
Jun 20th, 2010, 03:12 AM
  #5  
 
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We did everything on our own except for Cotopaxi. Cotopaxi is very close to Quito, I would say it didn't even take us an hour to get back. I am sure you could also plan that part of the trip easy enough through the hacienda. We didn't have a lot of time and I wanted to see alot. The tour was reasonable and the quide was very good at explaining the history ect. I really felt like we wouldn't have been able to see as much as we did on our own. We were a group of six and we were the only ones on the trip and also the only ones staying at the hacienda.
For me Cotopaxi was the highlight of the trip. The landshape is just so beautiful.. you can hike, bike, zipline, ridehorses or just sit by the fire and read a good book..
ttraveler is offline  
Jun 20th, 2010, 08:40 AM
  #6  
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Thanks for the tips! I went ahead and booked the cruise and have the flights on hold (until I get confirmation) for the full two weeks from Sat to Sun. I had to use a higher mileage award to get the Sun return but it was business class Quito to Miami and first class Maimi to DC so I can't complain too much .

Now I've got plenty of time to figure out how to get the most out of those extra days!
mdod is offline  
Jul 27th, 2010, 12:31 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
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I would check out Cotopaxi, the Quilotoa loop, banos, and Otavalo.. there are some good hostels in all of the places and travelling there is easy..

http://savvyroundtheworld.wordpress.com
jonniej is offline  
Jul 28th, 2010, 11:02 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Hey mdod,

I want to start by agreeing with everyone here by saying, Galapagos and Mainland Ecuador are some of the most magical places to visit on earth. For cruise, I would recommend the Galapagos Legend, or the Explorer. FYI, I booked and planned my trip last year with www.galapagos-inc.com, and they helped me make the best of my trip with my wife and kids. The people there were very knowledgeable and helpful. If I were you, I would shoot them an email and discuss your trip possibilities with them personally. Either way, I hope you get what you want out of your trip, and please do update us once you get it all figured out.

Thanks,

Philip
philipward is offline  
Jul 29th, 2010, 06:11 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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We did 3 day trips from Quito, two before our Galapagos cruise and one after, and all were memorable- The Bella Vista Cloud Forest and The El Pahuma Orchid Preserve on one day; Otavalo (craft market, lunch, and El Parque Condor bird sanctuary), Cotacachi (leather), and San Antonio de Ibarra (woodworking), on day two. The last day before leaving we went to Papallacta to hike. It was fantastic, and our driver also stopped at beautiful places along the way. We were picked up by van at our hotel at 8am and returned by 5 or 6pm, so it is very doable.

We paid about $80 a day split between five of us, so not too bad. Just make sure you go with a reputable company because some of the roads are steep, with no guardrails, and other drivers sometimes pass on blind curves. Our driver wore glasses on the way up the mountain, but not on the way down. Go figure
momlyn is offline  

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