Ecuador Travel and Tourism

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Guangaje, Ecuador
Guangaje, Ecuador by Azzedine Rouichi on Unsplash.

Travel Notes: Latin America - Ecuador Travel Notes.

Ecuador Travel Notes

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Ecuador Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes

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Find Ecuador Travel and Tourist Information with links to official travel and tourism websites and state resources for visitors to Ecuador.

About Ecuador

Ecuador is a small country in South America, much loved by travellers.

Travel Map Mapping Ecuador

Map of Ecuador

Map of Ecuador

Countries neighbouring Ecuador:
Colombia and Peru.

Ecuador Travel Guides

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

Ecuador Travel Guides - Ecuador Maps.

Weather in South America:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around Latin  America.

Quito

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.

Quito is in the heart of the Andes, blessed by spring weather all year round, surrounded by fabulous landscapes and prodigious mountains dominated by an imposing nature.

Where to Stay in Quito

Quito Hotels.

Otavalo

Otavalo is a must see for visitors to Ecuador.

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

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.

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.

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

Galapagos Islands

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

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.

Riobamba

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

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.

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