Last year, after finishing my exchange semester in Colombia, I decided to travel around the neighbouring country of Ecuador with some friends I had met at school. We went from Bogotá to Quito by bus and although the trip was exhausting, we were energized to embark on an amazing 10-day trip around Ecuador, a small and beautiful country.
We started with the capital city of Ecuador, Quito, a beautiful and colourful metropolis, surrounded by mountains and volcanoes. My favourite part was the historic centre of the city which is well preserved. Here you can see typical old buildings such as the Presidential Palace located in the Plaza Grande a beautiful place. We visited the Basilica of Quito which is an impressive monument and well worth the trip to the top! To finish our day, we went to see the Panecillo, a big statue of the Virgin that watches over the city, an important symbol of Quito, where we enjoyed an amazing view of the city.
At night in order to relax we hung out with our friends, had a beer and went out to explore the Quito night-life at the Mariscal. This is the place to be where you can eat, drink or dance, the animated area of the city where you can meet locals and tourists to have a good night.
The day after, we went to the inevitable “Mitad del Mundo”, located outside the city but very close and easily accessible by bus. If you go there on a day of a equinox you will be able to observe at midday precisely that you will not have any shadow! This is a phenomenon that you can only see in this part of the globe but if you go on that day you should be prepared to be with a lot of people…
Finally we finished exploring the capital with a Cotopaxi Volcano Tour, an experience I highly recommend! We were escorted by a guide as we hiked up to the top of the glacier part of the Volcano. I was very impressed by our local guide who has been hiking this volcano every day for 20 years with tourists from all around the world. He put us to shame with his impressive endurance and facility walking in the ashes which is not as easy as it looks.
Next stop, we went directly to the famous city of Montañita on the coast. This is a typical place where you can enjoy the beach in a peaceful and animated atmosphere. Here we just chilled and partied, it was the best and most perfect stop of our trip. I remember I was so touched when I saw this little girl, she could barely walk but she already had dread locks just like her parents, a natural beauty! We really shared unforgettable moments and had fun during the 2 days we were there.
After that, we went to Alausi. This little town is the starting point of the train called “Nariz del Diablo”. We obviously had a ride on that train that today is only a tourist attraction, but a worthwhile experience riding along the mountain observing the huge vertical rock in the middle of the Devil’s nose landscape, from which the train’s name was inspired.
The local city centre and lively marketplace was also a fun experience. Walking around, tasting typical Ecuadorian food and buying traditional clothing was a highlight of the trip. This tiny town is friendly, close to nature and locals live in a simple, easy-going atmosphere.
The last stop that I loved and would also recommend is the town of Baños, located in the middle of the mountain, perfect for a nature-filled getaway. We went there to the hot springs and spent an afternoon relaxing in the fresh air, warm water and sun. The next day, we took a bike ride from the centre of the city to the routes of the waterfalls. An accessible ride for everybody where you can enjoy a beautiful landscape.
Overall, our trip surpassed our expectations and we were overjoyed to experience the tiny corners and surprises that Ecuador has to offer. It was a beautiful country filled with character and diverse landscapes!
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