the capital of Ecuador, is situated at 2850 meters above sea level and is the
second highest capital in Latin America. It lies in a narrow valley
running north to south, wedged between the slopes of Volcan Pichincha
to the west and a steep canyon to the east. Quito has 1.8 million
habitants. The city is divided in 3 parts; The Old Town, The new Town
and La Mariscal sector, where most tourist convene. The old town is a highlight of the city, with narrow streets, brilliant colonial architecure, plazas
lined with churches, monasteries, mansions and colourful balconied
houses. Old Quito was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1978. The New Town offers most of the luxuries available
in Europe and North America, with a concentration of banks, hotels, restaurants, shopping
centers and cybercafes. The Mariscal is technically part of the new town, however,
it is here that you will find most hotels, nightclubs, and people from all over
Quito has very proudly preserved its
cultural roots. A large number of Quichua-Indians live and conduct their daily business in Quito, so you will
likely encounter Quichua-speaking people, in traditional clothing, in the bus and strolling down the streets.
a pleasant little town (1800 meters above sea level) on the eastern
slopes of the Eastern Cordillera. It is situatued between mountains, creating
beautiful surroundings where you can go hiking, cycling, rafting or horseback riding.
We particularly recommend the bicycle ride between Banos and Rio Verde. Baños means bath and a
popular acitivity in Baños is to visti the thermal springs of nearby Volcan Tungurahua (which means little hell). There are many excursions that you can go on from Baños. For example, a nearby excursion to the village
of Salasaca, where some 2000 Salasca indigenous people, famous for their tapestries, live, is a fun day trip.
Puyo is a pleasant small border city between the Andes and Amazonas region. The climate is warm.
in the province of Azuay, is the major city in the southern highlands
and the third largest city in Ecuador, with around 300,000 inhabitants. Here
you can step back to the period when the Incas ruled the land, as well as
to the time when Cuenca was refounded under the Spanish rule. The cobblestone streets
are lined with colonial architecture and a short stroll
along the waterfront of the River Tomebamba,
reveals innumerable colonial treasures. Cuenca and the
surrounding area is also a center for handicrafts. The falsely named
Panama hat is famous here.
Ingapirca is north of Cuenca and the most important Inca site in Ecaudor. It is worth a visit.
||Train ride from Riobamba to Sibambe
This spectacular train ride is well known among train enthusiasts world-wide.
The rail line, which originally ran to Guayaquil, has been cut off several times due to
earthquakes and landslides. Luckily the landslides have not cut off the most spectacular
part of the journey, which departs from Riobamba, passes through Alausi, performs a series of spectacular switch-backs, and then arrives at La Nariz del Diablo.
||Machalilla National Park
Machalilla National Park is particularly important in preserving a
very small part of the rapidly disappearing coastal habitats.
It contains some 40,000 hectares of tropical dry forest and
cloud forests, as well as 2 islands and the only coral formations found on the
Agua Blanca is a small museum and excavation site from the Manta period (500 ad to
conquest). There are also remains from cultures dating back to 3000 BC.
There is also a sulphur laguna sacred to the locals where you can take
From Agua Blanca you can trek or ride a horse to San Sebastian, in
the heart of the park. You will pass through different kinds of
tropical rainforest, including dry tropical rainforest and the green, humid, tropical cloud forest.
You have to spend the night here at a big and primitive house, where you can find deer, monkies,
anteaters, snakes, iguanas and lizards nearby.
Isla de la Plata is a small, uninhabited island 40km northwest of Puerto Lopez.
You can see pelicans, blue-footed boobies, red-footed boobies,
cormorants, frigates, egrets, heron, red-billed tropic bird all year
round here. If you are lucky, you can spot manta rays, sharks, sea turtles,
whales and dolphins. The penguin and albatross nesting
season is June to September. It is possible to snorkel off-shore.