Last known location: London, England

Archive of posts about Ecuador


Market Days and Travel Haze

Our last stop in Ecuador was the market town of Otavalo, halfway between Quito and the Columbian border. The town is famous for it’s huge craft market, which has been running every Saturday since pre-Inca times and is reputedly the largest in South America, with sellers coming from indigenous communities across the region.

Arriving at lunchtime on Friday we had a spare afternoon, and after a brief wander around the town we spent it visiting the Condor Park, 3 miles up into the hills outside of town. The park is a sanctuary for rescued and abandoned birds of prey from around the world. There were owls, falcons, hawks and huge condors – a sacred symbol of Andean culture and one of the largest birds in the world with a wingspan of up to three metres. After having a look around we were treated to a spectacular demonstration against the stunning backdrop of the hills and valleys beyond. Click here to read more…


Queasy in Quito!

Quito, Ecuador’s capital and its second largest city, sits high in the mountains amid dramatic mist covered peaks. We were back at high altitude again, 2850m, but felt more or less normal despite climbing up a relatively steep hill to get to our hostel, Quito Cultural, right in the heart of the historic old town. This area is a Unesco World Heritage site and it’s easy to see why. Dotted with 17th century facades, pretty plazas and spectacular churches that mix Spanish, Moorish and indigenous elements; it’s quite beautiful. Click here to read more…


Volcanoes and Virgins

We broke the long journey to Quito in the spa town of Baños (literally ‘Baths’), a small place nestled in a cloud-topped valley with steep green peaks rising on both sides. It had been a long journey, and being a Sunday evening very little in the town seemed to be open, so we scoffed a quick pizza, glugged a beer on the roof terrace at the hostel and had a quiet night! Click here to read more…


Curry and Cathedrals

A $2 taxi dropped us near the Tomebamba River in Cuenca‘s historic centre – the Ecuadorian government dropped the old currency, the Sucre, in 2000. Cuenca is Ecuador’s third largest city and is pretty high, at 2530m. So it was off with the flip-flops and t-shirts and back on with the shoes and jumpers. We found a decent place to stay, La Cigale, which is a hostel cum bar/restaurant and we’d heard good things about it. Desperate to get a bit of fresh air in before it got dark we headed down to the river which is a picturesque spot with grassy banks and pretty bridges. The river is lined with some really attractive colonial buildings. In fact, the whole of Cuenca’s old town is full of beautifully restored buildings. Click here to read more…



We only had one full day in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s biggest city, a balmy tropical place on the estuary of the Guayas river. Once a crime ridden port it’s been tarted up in an attempt to improve it’s reputation, and they haven’t done a bad job.

We started our exploring at Parque Bolivar, which, although it’s tiny, is home to dozens of huge Iguanas who roam around eyeing up people’s ice creams! Quite how they got there I don’t know, but the wheelbarrows full of lettuce provided by the council seem to help in keeping them there! There were also a few turtles roaming around, although we couldn’t get as up close and personal with them!  We also went to the modern cathedral on the edge of the square to have a nose around – beginning to lose count of how many we’ve seen now! Click here to read more…