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What To Do In Ecuador!!
Ecuador Trip Ideas
Always ask before you get in the taxi how much or see if they have a meter and tell them to turn it on. Most trips should be under $3.00. Fro m the airport at night can be up to $5.00
The Ecovia is on 6 de dicembre and the trolebus is on 10 de agosto; both safe and get you a long way for .25 cents.
Be cautious and aware of your surroundings - it is a more touristy city and a lot more street kids and pick pockets. Just use city precautions and you'll be fine. Be aware that there are street scams and don't let people catch you off guard.
Our ATM cards worked best at the Banco de Guayaquil
Cheap clothes and stuff - the Rose Store - several locations
The new airport just opened in February of 2013 which is now an hour and a half away from the city. You have two options to get to town - take the bus outside the main entrance of the airport (8.00US) which will take you to the old airport where you can get a taxi to where you need to go, or a cab (29.00US).
Hostel - Le Auberge
about $12-$19 a night for private room with bath; very secure; internet; restaurant
(1 day) Go to the Teleferico in the morning (they open at 10 AM) first thing as it is the best chance to have a clear view of all the volcanoes. It is on the volcano Pichinca and you can hike up a ways on the volcano at the top of the ride. Take a cab - not far but is on the top of the city off the highway.
Next - you can try and work a deal with a cab to Mitad de Mundo or just catch one to the trolley, then ride it to the end and get a bus from there. Trolley and bus are .25 cents or so each for however far you go. Ask at the end of the trolley where the buses are; look for one that says Mitad de Mundo. When you get there, they will let you off at the tourist attraction. It is only .50 cents to see which is fun; the shops there are pricier than the market. But, after, go around to the side of the tourist sight and up the road about .2 miles and you'll see a sign for the science museum (Museo Solar Inti Nan); that is the cool part to visit and try out all the experiments.
Come back and go to the artesians market the first day so that you have an idea of what's available. Open until 6 PM. Haggling is necessary. Whatever they say, offer half and go from there. Be courteous with humor and you'll get a lot for a lot less. It is located in the Mariscal area of town (tourist part) two blocks off of seis de diciembre or Amazones. If you see the McDonalds, you are close. The other market is in El Ejido on Sat. and Sun. and has more artwork , but has moved temporarily to el parque el arblito across the street because of construction. Lots of stuff.
( 2 days)
Puerto Quito - call Clemente at Cabanas del Sol 06 733470 he speaks English; $30 a day includes all food and activities, lodging. One night will get you all you need.
About a 2-2.5 hours from Quito. Leave in the morning - drive out past Mitad del Mundo and just follow the road to Puerto Quito. When you get to the town, bear left at the fork in the road just past the gas station, go through town, left at the fountain, over the bridge and take the next right. Down the dirt road, on the right about a 1.5.
When you get there:
- go to a chocolate finca and make your own chocolate from scratch
- swim in the fresh water pool
- go to the fruit farm; can go tubing down the river after if you want
- enjoy the birds and jungle setting
If you drove - stop at the waterfall to hike to and swim in on the way back - go to the Azul. It will be on the right side as you head back up the hills outside of town. Look for the sign. Ask Clemente for landmarks to look for and approx. mileage. Give yourselves about 2 hours there. You can change clothes if you get wet right there.
Extra Trip: (1-2 days)
If you want to go on, the beach at Atacames is about another 2-2.5 hours. Lots of places to stay cheap; we stay at the ArcoIris because it has AC and is at the end of the beach away from the noise. About $30 a night. 06 731 069
. The summer months are the cloudy season though so it can be cool.
Visit Cotopaxi - ask at the hostel; they have trips or the places across the street from Red Hots. About $40 a person for the day. Go at the end of your stay as you want as much time as possible to get used to the lack of oxygen. Will leave early AM and returns about 6 PM. You can do a bike trip down and around the volcano or just walk up to the refugio. You can't visit Ecuador without seeing Cotopaxi. You'll probably never have another chance to walk on a volcano.
Old Towne - take the Ecovia right down from the hostel. It will take you all the way into town. You will want to get a taxi up to the Panecillo from the main plaza and they'll bring you back. Strike a price ahead of time. I marked on the map the worthwhile things to see.
Tena (place for jungle tours) - Google for tour companies and ideas if interested. Buses out of Quito - about a 4-6 hours. Coco is also a jumping off point. We stayed at the Sacha Lodge which was top notch.
Otavalo / Calderon (1 day)
take the bus from Quito - about an hour ;it is a whole town of artisians; the prices and variety are just as good in the markets in Quito so the trip is only if you want more culture and to see the countryside. The days to go are Wednesday and Saturday. There is a great restaurant on the lake on the way, Lake San Pablo; you go down a road and it is a cool restaurant with llamas and local fishermen in the reed boats. The prices aren't too bad and the view is great. You can get off and back on the bus there.
There is also a great pie shop on the square in Otavalo with every kind of pie you can imagine and they are homemade. It is a fun place to just wander.
On the way back (before 4 pm is best) stop in Calderon; you'll see the signs as you get back into the city limits. Get off at the last one. Go into the main street. It is famous for the bread dough ornaments and other handicrafts. There are about 4-5 stores on the main street, just past the farmer's market. You usually can get 4 for $1 of the ornaments. Ask. My favorite is the one with the big parrot out front. (He is a Christian and supports several mission families)
On the way to Puerto Quito out past Mitad de Mundo, Mindo has a lot of nature with butterfly parks and lots of birds. (about 2 hours by bus) We have a friend that just opened a hostel this year; ask for Todd Robertson. The butterflies are on the road in on the left. Very cool place to stay as well. Cheap good food.
Or, Bellavista - (before Mindo) a cloud forest reserve with about 20 varieties of hummingbirds and toucans. They have a crazy pyramid lodge and you can borrow boots and hike through the paths. You'll see the signs off to the left and a rock/dirt road up. You can stay at the research center for about $8 a night.
In Riobamba is the tren de nariz which only runs a couple days a week now so check the schedule. You can ride on top of the train up the side of the mountain where yo u are literally hang ing off the side.
Eat at Red Hot Chili Peppers = fajitas and chimichangas are good choices, and strawberry margaritas are great. Get the chips and guacamole if you like thick crunchy tostitos chips.
Best food court with huge selection - El Jardin Mall - on Amazones across from Parque Carolina.
La Valencia - good pizza - across from the mall at the other end of Parque Carolina - Quicentro, just past the people bridge on 6 de deciembre.
On the opposite corner from Red Hots is Mi Viejo Arabal - great for steaks - not expensive.
Car rental: about $40 a day for a compact. Gas 1.48 a gallon. Best prices are online reservation with Budget.
Shwarma - an Arabic treat - go to El Rey de Shwarma on Shyris across from Parque Carolina. The red sauce is HOT; good but be careful.
If you need a taste of home, they just opened a Chili's across from MegaMaxi on seis de diciembre.
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