Quito or Guayaquil before Galapagos?

Old Sep 7th, 2018, 01:06 PM
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Quito or Guayaquil before Galapagos?

We have booked a National Geographc expedition to the Galápagos Islands. We are trying to decide if we should fly into Guayaquil or Quito for a day or 2 before we begin our cruise. We just want to see a different side of Ecuador other than the Galapagos. Would love to add on Amazon or Machu Picchu, but that was vetoed. Anyone have any preferences to one city over the other?
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Old Sep 8th, 2018, 01:40 AM
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Quito is not my favourite city in South America by any means, but is far preferable to Guayaquil. A couple of days would enamble you to explore the Old City one day, check out some of the restaurants in Mariscal, some markets etc. On a clear day you could take the teleferico up to Pinchincha for some amazing views of the city. IME if the sun is shining in the morning head straight there. As I recall it was more likely to be cloudy in the afternoons.

Another popular trip is out to Mitad Del Mundo to the equator monuments. A bit overrated IMO but some like it.
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Old Sep 8th, 2018, 05:20 AM
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Thanks, crellston, for your advise. I’m leaning toward Quito over Guayaquil. All depends on flight options. It’s not likely we will go back to that area, so we would like to make the most out of our trip! Any recommendations on short day trips from either? I did read that the equator monument is over rated, but kind of cool to say that you’ve stood on the equator.
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Old Sep 8th, 2018, 05:38 AM
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A great day trip, if the weather plays ball, is to Cotapaxi to view the volcano. Alternatively, Otavalo is just about possible in a day. If you happen to be there over a weekend, it is worth staying overnight on a Friday night so as to visit the animal and artesania market on the Saturday.

Some photos and detail of our time in both places on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/ecuador/

It should take around a couple of hours to either place if the traffic behaves. Cotapaxi is the closer of the two.

Do bear in mind that Quito is at relatively high altitude and Cotapaxi, higher still which affects some people more than others. See https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advi...ude-and-travel
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Old Sep 9th, 2018, 10:50 AM
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I probably would go to Quito..it's high but not THAT high. The Hop On Hop Off bus gives a good taste of Quito in relative safety (vs wandering on your own which isn't recommended with a lot of expensive gear). If you have an early flight to the Galapagos, I'd consider staying closer to the airport the night before. Alternatively, you could do an overnight trip without going in to Quito at all.

https://quitotourbus.com/en/

Not a fan of the Mariscal neighborhood in Quito which is backpacker and pickpocket central. I've stayed at the Marriott and also in a few small hotels in the neighborhood Colon, the better of those was Hotel de la Rabida. Old Town can be a little sketchy if you don't know your way around. There are walking tours as well as the HOHO bus.

For a view stop, Panecillo Hill is on the HOHO tour and works as well for a city view without getting up quite so high. I like Quito on the weekend better than during the week, traffic is ridiculous since it's squished into a narrow valley.

Whether you will see any volcanos is a lottery since they are often shrouded in cloud. Another option might be Baños, about 3 hours. It is a bit farther than Latcunga where people often stay for Cotopaxi but I think it has more to offer. Especially if you are not acclimated for a high altitude hike. I don't remember if you said which month you were going but do research whether it's supposed to be rainy season or not in the highlands.

For Otavalo you can go on any day, it doesn't need to be the market day. In fact it's less hectic if you don't go then. I used Runa Tupari for regional tour and a walk around L. Cuicocha

http://www.runatupari.com/index.php/en/

Last edited by mlgb; Sep 9th, 2018 at 11:01 AM.
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Old Sep 9th, 2018, 10:06 PM
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It is true that the market in Otavalo is on most day and the town is less hectic in the week, but the only time to see the animal market (imo the by far the more interesting) is early on a Saturday. There are a few waterfalls in the area - Peguche. Mojanda Lakes are beautiful if interested in hiking but are well over 3000 metres ( although the hike is on level ground)
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