Just for the start, you are probably wondering why I am writing about Ecuador, well because I just feel like this is when I really decided to start writing a blog and I really felt that I have something to share as I can’t recommend it enough. It is one of those countries where inspiration follows around wherever you go. It is nice to experience it with significant other or even on your own as it sparked as safe. Also is good when you have spare dollars, as their currency is $.
It is definitely on top of my list of places I would regret not visiting when going back in time. And you are probably asking, why? Let me tell you that it is not only because I had for the first time felt taller and thus could see things above other people’s heads or maybe… well Ecuador being smaller than its neighbour countries Peru, Bolivia and Columbia, has lots to offer – beautiful hikes, highest mountains and active volcanos, indigenous culture, lots of chicken “almuerzo” meals with “papitas fritas” and varied jungle life. It is also highly praised by other travellers that we have met and even ex-pats from Europe that now live there.
Well. I guess I summed it all up. That’s it. Now you can go. Ok ok… I will tell you more about the highlights, but please take one thing from this – don’t mess with nature… ever and, I mean it (you can learn a lot from Incas).
Tulcan – first impressions about short Indigenous people
Our first stop when coming to Ecuador from Colombia was Tulcan city. It was 18 hours drive in a bus through the beginning of the Cordilleras mountain range. A bit bumpy and our driver – he was a crazy driver but I think it is just a local driver.
Anyhow, Tulcan itself is not known for anything too exciting but Atlas Obscura showed a very interesting Tulcan Municipal cemetery that is worth to see. But we were more amazed by the people and it is here, in this city, 3000m above sea level, where we came face to face with indigenous culture.
The first impression was “wow look at these people they are so interesting but they are dressed just like us”. Another realisation was “oh look these people are very short” (I just realised that I could see well above the heads of women and men) and another one “yay they like chicken and so do we”.
So that’s just a start of the trip, I remember it was very fascinating.
Quito – cute and surrounded by mountains but smelly and noisy
Quito – a beautiful capital but that fuel smell… gosh. Quito is so beautiful, it doesn’t have skyscrapers but instead, it has a beautiful range of houses located on the sides of the mountains with one small hill called “pan” because of its shape with an angel sculpture on top. Also, it has very a visible gothic style church and of course you can go to see a volcano in your free time…
But a must here is to find time to get on a bus to visit the Middle of The World (there are two of them, funny right, close to each other but it’s a calculation error and the less official one is more accurate and more fun) to see some magical things that happen there and really get absorbed in the continent with beautiful sculptures, history and links that link everything together. It’s truly inspiring, but I don’t miss the smell and traffic noise, just for that, I wouldn’t like to stay there for too long (and it is not that I have a sensitive nose).
Latacunga – hikers’ or mountaineers’ dream with a nice portion of ice cream
Wanna go for a beautiful breath-taking hike and other activities with beautiful ice cream rewards? Go to Latacunga. Here you will make memories of your lifetime – from here you can start the most beautiful hike through, a dead volcano, Quilotoa (called Quilotoa Loop). Full of locally played music, quietness on the roads, friendly people, beautiful landscapes of mountains and small villages, beautiful cliffs, bridges, very tasty pastry, sheep, churches, agriculture –corn, few local shops and private restaurant in a village family house and relaxing accommodations – it is a true escape with the views that you capture for the lifetime. You can even get a taste of a famous guinea pig, called “cuy“. Just know that it smells like fish (couldn’t eat it with potatoes).
After hikes, you may want to challenge yourself with more serious mountains, and trust me Ecuador has really challenging ones. The best and most famous mountains to climb (the best place to climb the mountains on a budget $) are Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Illinizas and few others. These mountains will take your breath away both ways, but it is worth it. Although you will have no energy and face yourself, I promise you, you will be astounded by the beauty and freedom the mountains have to offer. We have attempted Chimborazo, but mother nature decided it wasn’t a good time for us (too much fresh snow) but Illinizas (5200m above sea level) is the easier one although considered “just a warm-up”, it is well worth it, as around you will see other 3 snowy peaks at least, well, I can’t describe it so here are few images.
Oh and the ice cream… they just got eaten before taking pictures, but here is an idea.
Baños – a true resort in the mountains
Baños is an amazingly a touristic place (we didn’t expect it to be that way), but it is really worth a visit. It is not only for foreigners, as locals really like to enjoy their social bathing time and to relax in hot streams provided by their active volcano, Tungurahua. While thermal streams is their main attraction, you are welcome to enjoy the most scary and inspiring swings “on top of the world”, also spend a few days just doing activities it has to offer – experiencing the jungle life, just a few hours away, while staying in the local jungle villages, or maybe do caving, rafting – all of this is offered here. To add, it also has amazing tasty pancakes, burgers (Sam’s burgers, we miss you – best burgers ever), chicken etc… No really, if you ever want to find my soul post-life – this would be my most visited place 🙂
Montañita- a place to go for a party & surfing
Unfortunately, we haven’t visited this. But as per the title, Montañita is a place to be for the party at the beach, well I can’t tell you more because we haven’t been there. But if you are up for the party, seafood, surfing and something more adventurous, everyone goes there.
So that is it really, my most take away places from Equador. I hope you enjoyed it. Now it is your turn, tell us where you have been or what do you want to visit the most or just anything.
Just please remember – “Pacha Mama” (mother nature) is very kind, be kind to her too.