- The Online Guide to Travel Visit Ecuador - Colonial Architecture and Indigenous Markets

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Guangaje, Ecuador
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Travel Notes: Latin America - Ecuador Travel Notes.

Ecuador Travel Notes

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Ecuador Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes


Journey through Ecuador's rich history and vibrant culture, exploring colonial Spanish architecture and visiting colourful indigenous markets on your travels.

About Ecuador

A popular destination for travellers from around the world, Ecuador is a small South American country with a rich cultural heritage and stunning natural beauty.

Whether you are interested in nature, culture, or simply relaxing on the beach, Ecuador is a destination worth considering.

Piggy Went To Market Plaza de Ponchos - Otavalo, Ecuador

Countries neighbouring Ecuador: Colombia and Peru.

Travel Map Mapping Ecuador

Map of Ecuador

Map of Ecuador

Ecuador is a small country located in South America, bordered by Colombia to the north, Peru to the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

The capital of Ecuador is Quito.

Ecuador Overview

A beautiful country with plenty of attractions and activities for travellers to explore, Ecuador is named after the equator, which passes through it.

Brief History

Ecuador has a rich history, dating back to the Inca Empire, which was followed by Spanish colonization in the 16th century.

The country gained independence from Spain in 1822 and has since experienced periods of political instability, including coups and dictatorships.

However, in recent years, Ecuador has made progress towards democracy and social progress.

Cultural Heritage

Ecuador is home to a number of indigenous communities that have preserved their traditions and customs over centuries.


The country's economy is heavily reliant on oil exports, but it also has a growing tourism industry, thanks to its natural beauty and cultural heritage.


Ecuador is known for its diverse geography, which includes the Andes mountain range, the Amazon rainforest, and the Galapagos Islands, a unique archipelago famous for its endemic species that inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.


The official language of Ecuador is Spanish, and the currency is the US dollar.


With a population of approximately 17 million people, Ecuador is the eighth most populous country in South America.

Its capital city is Quito, located in the Andean highlands.

Visit Ecuador

Ecuador is a beautiful country located in South America, known for its stunning natural landscapes, rich history and culture, and diverse wildlife.


Baños is a small town located in the Andes Mountains, known for its natural hot springs and stunning waterfalls.

You can relax in the hot springs, hike to the waterfalls, and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery.

Cotopaxi National Park

Cotopaxi National Park is located in the Andes Mountains and is home to the Cotopaxi volcano, which is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world.

You can hike around the park, see the volcano up close, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.


Offering a mix of colonial architecture, museums, and art galleries Ecuador's capital city is a great place to start your trip.

Map of Quito

Map of Quito

Located in the heart of the Andes Mountains, Quito is blessed by spring weather all year round, surrounded by fabulous landscapes and impressive mountains.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic centre of Quito is the largest, most-intact and best-restored Old Town in the Americas.

Whatever you do in Quito, you can’t afford to miss it.

Where to Stay in Quito

Quito Hotels.

Otavalo Market

A must see for visitors to Ecuador, Otavalo Market is located in the town of Otavalo.

The market is famous for its colorful textiles, crafts, and handmade jewellry.

It is only a short drive from Quito, and many tourists choose to 'shoot' the Indian Market in the morning and return to the capital in the afternoon.

The wise traveller will spend two nights in Otavalo, at least.

Before the tourists in Quito have started breakfast, many of the Ecuadorian Indians, from the villages in the hills around Otavalo, have already descended in bare feet; carrying loads almost twice the size of them.

Markets are always at their best very early in the morning.

Where to Stay in Otavalo

Otavalo Hotels.

Ecuadorian Amazon

The Amazon is one of the world's great rainforests. The vast Amazon basin covers more than two and a half million square miles.

The Amazon Rainforest covers a large part of Ecuador's eastern region.

Flowing for 4,000 miles,  from the Andes to the ocean, only Africa's River Nile is longer.

You can take a guided tour of the rainforest to learn about the incredible biodiversity of the area and see exotic animals like monkeys, birds, and snakes.

Ecuador Excursions

Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are a group of volcanic islands located in the Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 kilometers off the coast of Ecuador.

The islands are famous for their unique wildlife, including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and blue-footed boobies.

Most travellers visiting the Galapagos cruise to the islands aboard one of the many yachts or cruise ships offering tours.

Cruise Ships

Celebrity Xpedition is one of the cruise ships visiting Galapagos.

Galapagos National Park

The Galapagos consists of thirteen major islands, a number of smaller islands and more than 40 islets and rock formations covering an area of 3,100 square miles.

Galapagos Catamarans

Latin Trails offers Galapagos Islands catamaran cruises on board the catamarans Anahi and Cormorant II, known to be two of the finest boats in the archipelago.

Both are beautiful vessels, offering the advantage of being small (only 16 passengers) yet very stable as only catamarans can be. The grade III guides on board, the highest achievement in the Galapagos Islands, bring out the best of the Islands with their knowledge and affable personality.

Touring Galapagos

Based in San Cristobal with an office in Quito, Touring Galapagos offers extraordinary private tours and small ship cruises to bring you the best of the Galapagos Islands.

Ecuador and the Otavalo Indians

I was travelling towards Otavalo from the Colombian border, hoping to make it into the famous Indian town in time for the Saturday market.

Late that Friday afternoon the bus broke down just outside Ibarra. There were no more buses from Ibarra to Otavalo, so we had to hope that one of the buses from the border to Quito would stop for us on its way through.

Suzanna lived in Otavalo and appeared concerned that we would not make it before dark.

The first driver to pass and hoot his horn carried a full complement of passengers. The next one failed to acknowledge us, and the third bus was even more crowded than the first one. It stopped though.

Suzanna shrugged her shoulders in desperation, but I suggested that if the locals were still prepared to cram aboard, then we should join them.

My clothes bag was thrown up to a young boy on the roof, while I tried to keep my camera bag on my shoulder as I balanced on the last step with a group of others, holding on to what available supports there were.

The men squeezed Suzanna inside among the Indians and the chickens, and someone allowed her to sit on their merchandise.

Half the fun of travelling is to arrive in a strange town without knowing your fate. At Otavalo, Suzanna suggested that I meet her family.

To get to her house though, we had to climb into another overcrowded pickup for the short drive into the hills.

There were no street lights in her village, and the outline of houses could barely be etched into the scene. The potholes were deceiving, while the air seemed to hang
with the smell of burning grass.

A youth became three dimensional in my adjusting sight and offered to relieve me of my bags. He was apparently one of Suzanna's nephews trying to make her foreign guest feel at home.

My pulse rate only eased when we reached the house and the old grandmother talked of her potato patch and the stall she religiously attended in the market.

Otavalo on a Saturday has the atmosphere of a fair. The Indian weavers from the nearby villages of Peguche, Ilumen and Quinchuqui will already be setting up their stalls in the Plaza de Ponchos at 5am.

The best bargains used to be had early, but by mid-morning commercial success is guaranteed when the bus-loads of tourists arrive from their cosy hotels.

Now the only advantage of being in Otavalo at that hour is that you probably spent Friday night in one of the local penas.

Celebrated Andean musicians from as far away as La Paz come to play in Ecuador's most famous market town.

Although several thousand Indians have been lured to Otavalo from their farms because of the tourist, much of the production of textiles is in most cases still organised around the seasonal demands of agriculture.

Aside from the Plaza de Ponchos, horses, cows, pigs, sheep and goats are fiercely bargained for by the hillside Indians; mothers feed their babies from a full bosom; village life continues as it has for centuries.

Other Markets in Ecuador

The scene is similar in Riobamba, Saquisili and Cuenca.


Cuenca is a colonial city located in the province of Azuay, in the southern Andes Mountains, with a number of interesting markets.

One of the most popular markets in Cuenca is the Mercado 10 de Agosto, located in the heart of the city.

Another well-known market in Cuenca is the Mercado Artesanal; the artisan market. This market specializes in traditional crafts and handmade goods.

The city is also known for its beautiful architecture, museums, and art galleries.

When in Cuenca, be sure to visit the New Cathedral and the Museum of Modern Art.


Although the Riobamba market does not fill up the nine plazas anymore, the volcanoes and surrounding scenery make up for the market's relocation to a large municipal shelter.


Saquisili on a Thursday is still very active; baskets are something of a legend here, as are ponchoed Indians wearing narrow-brimmed felt hats.

After the trading is complete the fiesta begins. The tourists have returned with their footage, but they have missed the life and soul of the place.

Ecuador Travel Guides

Lonely Planet Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands (Travel Guide) Moon Galápagos Islands (Travel Guide)

Ecuador Travel Guides - Ecuador Maps.

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