Category Archives: Ecuador

Themes around Ecuador

These are some of themes across South America. First up is Heejung presenting things. She doesn’t always manage to present the things correctly on her hand.

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Heejung presenting a waterfall near Banos. Doesn’t quite look right.

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Heejung presenting the Ecuator. Well kind of.

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Heejung presenting a tourists head. Or it may be the statue in the background in the middle of Old Town Quito.

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Heejung presenting another waterfall in Puerto Quito (Cascada Azul)

Next up is My Blurry Tourist theme.

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High up on a mountain with Quito in the background

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Cascada Azul in the background.

And finally is Heejung’s frustrated face “How come I never visited here before?”

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“How come I never ventured into the Jungle before?”

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“How come this is my first time to the Equator?”

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“How come I never went into the highest cable car before to look down on Quito before?”

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“How come I didnt know about this town called Banos before”?”

Diary of 27 hour bus trip from Ecuador to Peru

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11:40 AM

Not exactly the royal class I was expecting. I have a semi-functional IPod filled to the brim with podcasts, 3 bags of chips and an empty bottle of water. The good thing is unlike other Ecuadorian bus trips is that we won’t pick up other passengers on the side of the road. I’m curious to see what movie they will play. I think I’ve only seen action movies in Ecuador; the Jean-Claude Van Damme/Dennis Rodman classic “Doubleteam”, unstoppable, the Next Karate Kid and the straight-to-DVD Death Race 2. This line-up was better than Colombia though where the highlight was a Christian Divorce drama with Kirk Cameron and a pirated bad quality version of “the Rise of the Planet of the Apes”.

Currently Listening: ESPN First Take: Does Romo have the clutch gene?

Outside the window: Flat, dry, no trees. Almost what I envision Australia to be

Body: Okay, a bit tired from the Halloween party the previous night

Heejung: Eyes closed, sleeping?!?

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01:06 PM

Just had lunch consisting of okay chicken and rice.

Currently Listening: ESPN Football, I started to watch the A-Team which they decided to play at the usual deafening volume. But the movie has stopped playing twice now and I think the DVD player might be busted.

Outside the window: We just passed through a small town. There were some people swimming in the river. I wonder if they ever have tourists

Body: Semi-full but thirsty. Need to buy some water soon

Heejung: She is also writing, copying my running diary idea. Now she is struggling to open our Jello dessert.

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03:17 PM

Had a short nap. Realized that as Ecuador’s largest city it was surprisingly easy and traffic free to get out of compared to its sister Quito.

Currently listening: ESPN Football, but I’m going to join Heejung and watch some Korean talent show.

Outside the window: Flat and boring. I’ve been spoiled by the amazing mountain landscapes on previous bus rides.

Body: Better after the nap, still thirsty.

Heejung: See above

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04:10 PM

We just exited Ecuador. We are in no mans land waiting for the other passengers to come back from immigration.

Currently listening: Nothing

Outside the window: picture

Body: Good, able to stretch when we got of the bus

Heejung: Studying her passport for some reason

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05:31 PM

We just passed through immigration and we are now officially in Peru. I just exchanged ten dollars to get some local money and hope I didn’t get ripped off too badly since I have no clue about the exchange rate. They guy also stamped the local money gave to me. I have since read that if it turns out my money was fake then I can use the stamp to identify the money changer.

Currently Listening: ESPN The B.S. Podcast

Outside the window: picture

Body: Functional

Heejung: Waiting with her notebook on her lap for the bus to move so she can watch her tv show

07:56 PM

We got of out the bus for a customs inspections even though we’ve been in the country for almost 3 hours now. No clue why it’s so far away from the border. Nobody got caught smuggling anything though.

Outside the window: Pitch darkness

Currently listening: Inception, playing on the bus at a very loud level

Heejung: She was sleeping until we had to get out for the customs inspection. She is watching Inception now.

Body: functional but hungry.

01:00 AM

Asleep

Currently Listening: This one guy snoring quite loudly

Outside the window: Blackness

Body: Asleep

Heejung: Asleep

07:51 AM

Had a decent sleep. Seats are more comfortable than regular Ecuadorian busses but I still wouldn’t classify it as Royal Class. This urban town we are passing through doesn’t look much different than one in Ecuador.

Currently Listening: Lil Wayne

Outside the Window: Concrete, industrial town with grey skies ( HJ says its Chimbote)

Body: Okay, legs are tired, I don’t think I am designed to sleep on a chair

Heejung: Eating cookies, since they haven’t served breakfast yet.

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10:12 AM

We just had a rest stop in Peru. A group of stray dogs was patrolling the parking lot.

Currently listening: ESPN Football

Outside the window: Dusty rest stop with aforementioned dogs

Body: Feeling better after stretch

Heejung: Reading Spanish Cosmo

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02:30PM

Arrived in Lima Peru after 27 hours in the bus.

Currently listening: Comedy Bang Bang

Outside the window: Capital of Peru, Lima

Body: Alive and well

Heejung: She also made it in one piece.

Q Wandering around Ecuador

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Q wandering around Cuenca. He like bridges.

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What? No Q, try flying again !

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That’s better !

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Banos at night. Q likes romantic hangouts.

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Haha, Silly Q, you don’t have a license ! Plus you’re drunk. That would be a bad idea !

Sleeping & Resting in Ecuador

The following are the hostel, hostels, cardboard boxes, train station, bridges and hostals we stayed at during our travels in Ecuador.

Hostal Carolina in Banos

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We actually stayed for 7 days one of our longest stays during our South American trip. We actually left after a couple of days but a sports tournament in our next destination filled up all the hotels and send us straight back to Banos. We tried finding another hostel on our second trip, but couldn’t find anything for the same price with WiFi. The bottom picture is of the rooftop room, try to get this one if you can, very much worth it for the view and the WiFi still works there.

Price: $12 per room per night

Hostal Belmont in Quito

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I didnt find it that bad since the high speed WiFi more than made up its deficiencies. Heejung did not like the lack of windows and the sparseness of the room. Walking distance to old town and never really felt unsafe. There is a great breakfast place on the corner where you can get eggs, bread, coffee and juice for $1

Price: $12 per room per night

Sucre Boutique Hotel in QuitoBoutique Surcre Hotel (1)Boutique Surcre Hotel (2)

My parents came to visit so it was time to splurge. Room service and free daily bottled water. Working television with cable. Decent Wifi (belmont was better) but a terrific location right in the Old Town of Quito.

Price: $60 per room per night

Cucuya Eco Lodge in Puerto Quito

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Nice Eco Lodge located next to the river. Lots of plants and trees to walk around in. Mosquitos at night so bring plenty of repellent or a flamethrower. Shared bathroom but everything was clean.

Price $20 per room per night

Hotel Eloy Alfaro in Guayaquil

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No windows, small cockroaches in the bathroom, dangerous neighbourhood at night, bathroom open to the bedroom. WiFi was probably the fastest I had experienced in Ecuador though.

Price: $16 per room per night

Hostel Huauki in Quito

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We stayed here during our first night in Quito due to good reviews. We didn’t stay longer due to high prices. Breakfast was included but not really worth it. Bathroom was built into the room and WiFi was decent. Smack in the middle of Mariscal area. We preferred to stay in the Old town though.

Price: $25 per room per night

Hotel Melanie in Quito

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Hotel we found while looking for a cheaper alternative. Run by a local family focussed on local tourist. One of the best deals we found in Quito for a private room with private bathroom. Decent WiFi, close to Old Town, family has 2 cool young curious boys.

Price: $12 per room per night

Hostal Nomada in Banos

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We stayed here one night. WiFi was decent, good shower. Was a bit expensive though compared to other options in Banos.

Price $16 per room per night

Hostal Santa Fe in Cuenca

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We arrived in Cuenca at 5 in the morning. Most other hostals were closed. We found Santa Fe at 6 in morning and stayed here even though we felt it was really overpriced. Searching the town for a cheaper accommodation didn’t yield any results. Decent WiFi, small room with no outside windows

Price $20 per room per night

Hotel Maria in Otavalo

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Good location in Otavalo. We reserved this hotel since we were arriving late from Colombia and they kept our reservation even though we arrived after 10pm. No WiFi, spacious room with private bathroom and TV.

Price: $14 per room per night

Posada Del Quinde in Otavalo

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I booked this place due to its many postive reviews on tripadvisor and well deserved so. Breakfast included and nice garden. We booked a suite with a kitchen and it was very spacious. We could have easily fit another 4 people. Wifi was good too. On Fridays there is live music in the restaurant are and everynight they light the fireplace.

Price: $150 per room per night

Floating around Ecuador

We display our gravitational-disobeying posing styles in Guayaquil, Otavalo, Quito, Cuenca, Banos and El Mitad del Mundo.

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A Honest look into my thoughts: Quito

What I was thinking around the time I took the photo.

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This is now the second time I’ve a costumed person walking around in South America dressed for no apparent reason ( see Bogota). I guess they don’t change into their regular outfit at their place of work and just go home in their costume. Must be an awkward commute or it could be pretty cool. How can anybody ever get angry at a smurf.

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Could that be the actual president of Ecuador? It’s just the weekly changing of the guards. Does he do that every week? Seems kinda a waste of his time. It could be him, there seem to be some protestors in front, I don’t think they would bother if it was some random bureaucratic figure. [turns out it was the president as it was Flag day, guess we are not the educated travellers we believe to be]

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Itchimbia Park (yeah, I had to Google that one) has an awesome exhibition centre. This glass building shows the amazing (one of my most overused words) view over Quito. The exhibit itself wasn’t great but as it as free how can I complain. We were looking forward to renting bikes and discovering the rest of the park, but sadly they were still building the bike rental building as we were there.

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Main entrance of the Basilica of Quito. The statue of of John Paul II. Most churches we’ve seen in Old Town have an entry fee, something we aren’t used coming from Colombia. Normally I don’t mind entry fees if they are worth it but when it is combined with no photography then I don’t bother. The exception is Iglesia de la Compania. The entry fee includes a guide and I personally believe it is the most beautiful church I have been to. Wish I had a photo to show you.

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This one of those times you just have to look around you and observe what others are doing. Do they eat the popcorn separately or are they like my instinct is telling me to do dumping the whole bowl of popcorn into the soup. I wonder how my instincts developed an opinion on popcorn. It turns out both are an accepted option.

Moving in Images part Deux

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Dancing through Ecuador

Here is part 2 of us dancing through out South America. This was all shot in Ecuador in places like Otavalo, Quito, Banos, Puerto Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil.

Panoramas of Ecuador

I don’ t tend to take many panoramas so here is just a small selection of panorama’s I’ve taken during our trip through Ecuador. Please click on the images to get a closer view.quito view

banos jungle view

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Heejung Banos

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lake panorama otavalo

Otavalo Animal Market; Her & His Views

Mini Market

After visiting the animal market would you consider becoming a vegetarian?

Nestor: Not really. I’ve seen how meat is produced in the west and it’s not a nice process. If that won’t convince me to become a vegetarian, this won’t either. Once science figures out how to produce a food product that tastes the same as meat with the same vitamins and other essentials components this would be a great option.

Heejung: Yes, very briefly.

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What animal at the market would you like the eat the least?

Nestor: I guess baby chicken. Seems like too many bones and too little meat. Seems like a hassle.

Heejung: Cat. I saw cats.

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If you could be any animal in the world what would you be?

Nestor: I would have to go for a Galapagos tortoise? Living a long peaceful live without natural enemies. I’m sure being a slow creature also gives you allot of personal insight and calmness like a animal-monk.

Heejung: A dog at Nestor’s parents house. Because their dogs are well fed and well taken care off.

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Is Otavalo a handicraft shopping paradise?

Nestor: I guess so. I’m not a big shopper, but there was a lot of different things to buy and not expensive at all. Market vendors so far have also been very calm and less pushy compared to places in South East Asia, China and India.

Heejung: Yes. I didn’t know it at that time, but after visiting other market in other countries, Otavalo has a very wide variety of handicrafts and the prices were good. But they don’t have funny t-shirts.

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What are three recommendations you would give for travellers going to Otavalo?

Nestor: Don’t miss the animal market on Saturday. Get up early, by 9:30am things already start dying down. 2) Go see a local band playing Andean Folk Music at one of the Pena’s that Otavalo has to offer. 3) The Mirador (viewpoint) de la Cruz isn’t really worth it, save your oxygen.

Heejung: Do a tour. Visiting the nearby communities in including a local school.

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Practical information: Every Saturday in Otavalo, Ecuador. Walking distance from the main plaza. Get there early as by 9am most of the animals are sold and the market will be dying down.