How we decided to travel to Ecuador was by a random chance. I went to kayak.com, typed in departure from Savannah, GA to “anywhere” and a flight to Quito for $600 caught my eye. I don’t really know that much about Ecuador so I had to start researching. Ecuador is a small country in South America located right along the equator, hence the name. It has a diverse landscape with the Amazon jungle in the east, the Andes mountains in the center and the coastal region to the west. The famous Galapagos Islands belong to Ecuador as well, but I will go ahead and say we do not plan to travel to the Galapagos Islands due to our budget.
We arrived in Quito in the middle of the night. There was a long line to get our passport stamped but customs was a breeze. We went to the taxi stand and got a cab for $25. Our tired eyes didn’t see very much of the city that night. We opted to stay in the Old Town district of Quito at La Posada Colonial Hotel. Our room was like a shoebox but unfortunately there wasn’t much time or energy for a debate at 2 in the morning. The hotel is in a great location near a bunch of restaurants and has a nice view from the terrace.
Quito is very much above sea level at 9,000 feet. Being a flat lander the first day was a bit of a struggle as my body acclimated to the elevation. I could feel my heart beating faster than usual. We took it easy the first day and strolled around the old city.
We have never been to a city like Quito. The capital dates back to the 16th century. The buildings are magnificent with oversized doors and intricate designs. There are lots of people around of all different types. There are many police around as well, whom provide a sense of security. We noticed a lot of graffiti, perhaps a reminder of darker times. A popular thing to do is visit the old churches. We went into supposedly the most impressive church in the Americas, the Iglesia de la Campania de Jesus (The church of the society of Jesus). I must admit that it was quite impressive being made of gold on the inside. They ain’t like the churches back home! We weren’t supposed to take pictures but I managed to sneak a few.
For a great view of the city, check out Itchimbia Park. The walk up there was more intense than it should have been but I am still trying to acclimate to the elevation. Surprisingly, we didn’t see many tourists. There is a school at the top. When we got there about 100 kids in their jumpsuit uniforms hurrying past us to get their afternoon snack of Salchipapas (French fries with chopped hotdog)….yeah it’s pretty gross.
After two days we were ready to leave. I’m sure there is other stuff to do and see but the smell of automobile exhaust is too much and we are ready to get into the outdoors. Next stop, Baños.