I arrived to Ecuador from Mancora, by night bus. Despite asking for the best bus company the bus was not comfortable at all plus we arrived at the border by 3.00am where we had to wait in line for more than an hour to get our passports stamped. Another painful trip, how I missed Cruz del Sur! lol
My first destination in Ecuador was Cuenca, a cute colonial city where I spent few days. From there I visited Ingapirca, the best preserved Inca site in Ecuador, with an interesting Temple of the Sun and other pre Inca structures.
After a short stop at Alausí for a ride through the Andes on the Nariz del Diablo Train (first railway, which would link the coastal city of Guayaquil with Quito, in the highlands, also called “the most difficult train in the world because all the geological obstacles it had to overpass) I traveled to the beautiful town of Baños. This gringo place has an amazing location and its tour agencies propose the visitors any kind of outdoor activities, from biking to rafting and of course partying. I was a little tired so I chose a nice hostel with views to relax and in the end the most exciting thing that I did was a (super cool) massage, lol
My next stop was the town of Quilotoa, famous for its volcanic –crater lake of Laguna Quilotoa. This is an amazing spot and one can hike around the crater rim (6hrs) or go down to the laguna, 400m below. When I was in Quilotoa it was too windy to hike around the crater rim so I only walked down (2hrs round trip) where I had a picnic on the laguna’s shore.
Ecuador has many beautiful sights but I had the feeling that there was nothing that I could not find in Peru or Colombia and people were not that welcoming. It was not the best season to hike either and all the volcanoes were hidden in the clouds so after a little taste of the country I decided to head to Colombia as soon as possible.
My Tips :
In Cuenca, Café Austria (Hermano Miguel 8-81) has a nice “Austrian” atmosphere and amazing breakfasts to start the day with energy;
From Cuenca, there are only three direct buses to Ingapirca. The best option is to go to El Tambo and take a connection there to Ingapirca. The price of the Ingapirca ticket includes a guided visit, in English or Spanish;
In Baños, I was very happy sleeping at Hostel Chimenea, with views over a waterfall, a nice terrace and great breakfasts;
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Quirky explorer with a preference for lesser-known sights, I am continuously looking for new ideas and tips to help you plan your dream World Tour!