First Stop In Ecuador – Guayaquil
For me, you haven’t traveled South America yet if you haven’t suffered a bus ride for more than 12 hours. And as luck would have it, there are no cheap flights from Lima to Ecuador. The only two options for me is hitchhiking or a bus. But because we did so many activities in Peru, we decided to go with the bus.
As far as I remember, we spent one and a half days on the bus to Guayaquil, Ecuador. After Quito, Guayaquil is the biggest city in Ecuador. But Guayaquil has the most important harbor in the country. We only spent one day in Guayaquil, but you can visit in one day the most important highlights of the city:
Parque Seminario with its famous iguanas. Strolling along the banks of the River Guayas with Simón-Bolívar promenade and the monument La Rotonda. Eat a lot of street food. I knew already at this point that Ecuador would be a food heaven!
I can’t list all the food they have, but I am so sure you will love Ecuadorian cuisine with lots of plantains, lentils, rice, pasta, chicken, cassava and try their famous ceviche. Also don’t miss fanesca, a traditional soup of Ecuador served around Easter.
I didn’t eat as healthy in the rest of South America as I did in Ecuador. They have fresh juices everywhere, and at the end my body was filled up with vitamin bombs. Yes, I couldn’t ask for a better start food-wise.
Careful! Guayaquil is already hot in March, I don’t want to imagine the summer months in Ecuador.
The city is actually only a stopover for many people as a gateway to the Galapagos Islands. The Las Peñas district in the north is known for its many colorful houses. But my favourite part of Guayaquil is a hill called Santa Ana with a beautiful city view. Steps lined with cafes and art galleries and on the top there is a chapel of the same name and a lighthouse.
Welcome to the capital of Ecuador – Quito
Quito was like a dream! I have nothing to complain about thinking back on it. I am head over heels in love with Quito. There are a few reasons why. I met Becs again.
Maybe you know but maybe not, she walked last year with me in Taiwan during the Mazu Pilgrimage and she met me also 6 months later in Mexico when we traveled together to Chichen-itza.
I spent 2 days with her visiting her friends and family, La Basilica and the Teleferico – a cable car which allows you to ascend up to 3950m on the eastside of the volcano Pichincha.
I tried in one day 7 or 8 different dishes and was almost exploding by the end from the amount of food I devoured. The nightlife in Quito is crazy and for the most part I couldn’t decide which club to go to.
The historic center is beautiful and you can visit Mital del Mundo nearby, an equatorial monument in San Antonio de Pichincha. I met amazing people when I was in Quito and was playing with the thought of staying there next time to learn Spanish. I mean I do understand why so many foreigners are so drawn to the capital. But after traveling Ecuador I have no doubt I will return back. The country made me so content about life, about myself, and about everything really!
Tell me how your experiences of Quito were? I also did a Free Walking Tour with Strawberry Tours which I highly recommend.
Baños– It’s Time For Adventures
I thought no other city could beat Quito in Ecuador. But then Baños came along. Baños is a small city with an altitude of 1800m and has a perfect climate. Why do I love Baños so much?
As you might know..I LOVE nature, trekking, adventures, surfing, diving etc. Basically, my heart beats for adrenaline and adventures. Baños has everything. From trekking to zip-lining to bungee-jumping and biking. My wallet after Peru was basically decimated but I spent even more money in Ecuador. And it was worth every penny.
Casa del Arbol
In Banos I only hiked, biked and went to the famous Casa del Arbol. There is a giant swing on the side of a mountain that you can sit on while a guy pushes you hard into the sky! If you are lucky and the sky is clear, you can even see the volcano Tungurahua.
Originally, the treehouse was used to observe the activities of the volcano, but then a farmer installed a swing at the house for his children. And as chance would have it, a National Geographic photographer came by and took a picture. Back then an insider tip. But somehow the tip found its way into the Lonely Planet guide and is no longer a secret.
This was definitely the best swing in my life, but not for the faint-hearted for sure.
Tip for backpackers: Instead of paying for a tour, catch a bus at 9 am or 11 am (or a different time) in front of the bakery ‘Panaderia la delicia Don Gato’. And the entrance to Casa del Arbol is only 1 Dollar.
Pailon del Diablo – Cauldron of the Devil
Guys, if you only have one day in Baños. I would definitely not miss Pailon del Diablo. Again, visit Pailon del Diablo. It’s a small (okay very veeeery small version) of Foz de Iguazu.
The waterfall is 61m high, a landmark of Ecuador and it is said that in its center is a stone in the form of a devil’s head. It is very impressive once up close.
Originally, I wanted to take a bus to the Pailon del Diablo. But at Casa del Arbol I got in touch with a Ecuadorian/ Canadian family. And somehow we became friends in only half an hour.
Anyway, to cut a long story short: I traveled the rest of the day with the family of 6 people. Also to the Pailon del Diablo. Crushed in the front seat of the car with my friend Pablo, which is of course only intended for one person. Those memories while traveling are the most precious ones for me. When people ask me why I love traveling so much, I think to these moments…
Everyone Should Visit Ecuador
This time I didn’t hike the volcano Tungurahua, but next time when I come back to Baños, I really will put it on my list. I enjoyed every little part of Ecuador, big and small. Unfortunately, I’ve heard mixed feelings from other travelers in Ecuador, but for me, together with Brazil and Colombia, these three countries make up my favourites in South America.
But there are reasons why I love Ecuador so much. Two affairs made it difficult for me to leave this amazing country. Let me introduce you to my two amours in Ecuador: Mt. Chimborazo and Mt. Cotopaxi.