Jan 24, 2013

Extraordinary Ecuador

                      

                      E C U A D O R

                      
South America's (Ecuador)

My friend Sylvia who I worked with in New York
City was from Ecuador. She often spoke of her
native country and how incredibly beautiful it was.
After spending a few weeks in bio diverse Ecuador I fell
in love with the country and thank my friend Sylvia for
encouraging me to visit Ecuador.

The Ecuadorians have every right to be proud of their small country because although it's small in size it delivers big on its amazing wonders. Mega diverse ECUADOR rewards tourists
with scenery that's absolutely priceless.

The Galapagos Islands provide everyone with a "WOW" experience. Formed over 5 million years ago by volcanic eruptions the Galapagos Islands offer the best wildlife viewing in the
world. When Charles Darwin spent time in the Galapagos islands his observations contributed to the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Thousands of tourists flock to the Galapagos Islands these days and explore this fascinating region of the world on a boat tour. Options for sailing the waters range from luxury first class ships to economy class boats. There are also opportunities to scuba dive and observe the sea life underwater. Sea sickness is not uncommon when cruising through the Galapagos Islands so some tourists prefer to stay on land in a hotel andtake a 
smaller voyage by boat to observe the islands.

Each island has its own characteristics. There's Santiago, Isabela, Rapida, Bartolome, Genovesa, Fiorena...the list goes on. Santa Cruz is where most excursions begin and end when visiting the Galapagos Islands. The main city on Santa Cruz is called Puerto Ayora and it has a nice selection of hotels,restaurants, 
and shops to choose from.

You'll want to take lots of photo's to remember the creatures to might encounter like:

Boobies, Fur Seals, Finch Birds, Giant Tortoises, Sea Turtles, Marine Iguanas, Lava Lizards, Penguins....


Ecuador's capital QUITO is one of South America's most beautiful cities. It sits on a plateau in a valley with the Andean Mountain Peaks in the distance. There's a mix of Colonial structure, medieval architecture, and modern conveniences in charming Quito.


Old Town and New Town is where most of the action takes place. Because Quito is situated at a high altitude it's important to drink lots of water and take it easy the first few days as your body adjusts to the altitude but don't miss out on the exceptional tasting coffee when you arrive in Quito. 

Quito's range of activities stretch from peeking at paintings in art galleries to watching performing artists display their talents. There's plenty of shopping and eating establishments in Quito as well as lodging options. I highly recommend a home stay which I did by booking a room through AIR BNB. I stayed with the sweetest family in Quito. They treated me with such kind hospitality that I didn't want to leave. Staying with a local Ecuadorian family is culturally stimulating and it's a great way to learn some Spanish.


Where to stay in Quito:


High End Prices:


*Anahi Boutique Hotel (New Town)

*Hilton Colon (New Town)
*Marriott Hotel (New Town)
*Plaza Grande (Old Town)
*Villa Colonna (Old Town)

Low End Prices:

*Hostel Jardin del Sol (New Town)

*Hotel Cathedral International (Old Town)
*Hotel San Francisco de Quito (Old Town)

The food in Quito is fresh and delicious. There's nothing better than a real authentic Ecuadorean meal to savor when in Quito and two restaurants in particular fit that bill; 

El Tianguez in Old Town has simple and delicious food and the atmosphere is pleasant. In the evening an added bonus is the live Andean music.


Mama Clorinda in New Town is widely popular for its very tasty local fare.


If you feel like being a bit adventurous try a meal from a local street vendor. It's one of the best deals you'll find when it come to eating.


Quito is a great place to spend a day or two or three when traveling through ECUADOR. It's the biggest city you'll see when exploring the magnificent wonders of ECUADOR. Once you exit

Quito there are endless options awaiting you in Ecuador. One place that simply can't be missed is the mighty Amazon Rainforest.

The Ecuadorian Amazon is home to many indigenous settlements. This region of Ecuador has one of the richest animal and plant kingdoms in the world. Over 100 species of trees per acre live in the Amazon Rainforest. The best way to experience jungle life is to do a home stay. That's what I did when I visited the Amazon Rainforest for several days. It was rustic to stay in the jungle cabins but oh so rewarding to be immersed in such an amazing setting. I took hikes through the jungle, swam in the water, visited some orphanages and even got to spend a couple days teaching English at one of the schools where I got to meet lots of charming Ecuadorian children.



The Northern Sierra region of Ecuador is where the famous Otavalo Market takes place in the town of Otavalo. You can mingle with the vendors and purchase everything from handmade alpaca sweaters to ceramics. There's even an animal market nearby that sells Llamas. Imagine that? Bringing home a live Llama from beautiful ECUADOR.


Yes bio and mega diverse ECUADOR is an extraordinary South American country where adventure and natural wonders are at their best. 


I hope to write more about Ecuador in future posts because this country really won my heart. 


GRACIAS to ECUADOR!  Extraordinary ECUADOR!





    ECUADOR             ECUADOR           ECUADOR




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