Ecuador Things to Do Tips by darthmilmo
Ecuador Things to Do: 363 reviews and 715 photos
Finish the excellent adventure by heading back to Latacunga via Sigchos. You can get to Sigchos from Chugchilan by getting a life from the milkman truck. Even though the ride wasn’t smooth and I didn’t have a seat, this is by far the most interesting ride I have had in my entire trip thus far. The milkman collects fresh milk from the locals and later processes it into cheese. Once cannot be rushed in this ride... you get to commingle with the locals... in addition, there are several lovely towns and a beautiful scenery along the way!
Then head to Quilotoa, a smal settlement near the Quilotoa Crater. A beautiful green lagoon lies inside the volcanic crater. This is one of the most scenic lagoons I have ever seen in my life. Let me tell you, the view makes all the effort to get there worthwhile. You won't even remember the chicken buses and trucks you took to get there :).
Lacatunga is the start of the Quilotoa Circuit. It's easily accessible from Baños or Quitos. This trek is quite flexible, even to the extend of being able to bus your way around the sights. I'd recommend you save your energies for day hikes and take the local buses or trucks. In this trek you'll pass through the towns of Zumbahua, Quilotoa (with nearby beautiful Quilotoa Crater), Chugchilan, Sigchos, among others. Take your time to smell the roses: talk to the locals, check out the scenery, etc.
Address: Start in Latacunga
Afterwards, head to the lovly homie Casa Mama Hildas, an excellent homebase to discover the many treasures around Chugchilan, which is one of the most amazing places in Ecuador. Casa Mama Hildas is family run... for less then $10 US, you get a bed, hot water (useful in the freezing highlands), and all-inclusive three meals. It is a nice place to chill out and enjoy the scenery. I spent two days here... on one day I hiked to el Plato, a beautiful plateau with an even better view. The second day, I hiked up the mountain to the Swiss style Quilotoa cheese factory... the factory itself is not much to see, but the scenery on the way up and down, and from the top, is amazing. From here, you can see the snow caped twin peaks of the Illizas.
Zumbahua has a famous local Saturday market... it was really nice... the locals were dressed in local clothes and sold/bought local products. The animal market was the best! A large llama could be had for $40.00 US... or a baby one for $20.00 US! Oh, the breakfast is not for the weak of stomach, I had a goat's head and soup for breakfast (delicious!). So, head to Zumbahua and spend some time wandering through the lovly traditional non-turist market.
There is not much to do in Vilcabamba, or gringo central as it is better known. Just relax! I did take a 4-hour horse ride tour through the valley... but most importantly, I relaxed :). I stayed in Casa de Mauricio (also known as Ruinas de Quinoa), which for about $10 US offered a bed, breakfast, dinner, sauna, jacuzzi, pool, movie room, billiards, ping-pong, and more.
Ingapirca was the first Inca site I visited in my life. It is a nice site with both Incaic and Cañar influence. The complex itself is not huge, but the explanations offered by the guide and the museum is informative. What I liked the most was the fact that the local Cañar people controlled and managed the site... our guide was even dressed in traditional Cañar clothing. On the town near the ruins, I took a few minutes to stroll past the small Friday market. If interested, a big sheep can be had for $9.50 US.
Baños: Biking down to the jungle. I rented a bike one day and rode it for 30 kilometers from the highlands to the lowlands through this beautiful gorge. On the way, I saw many beautiful waterfalls.
Oh no, i'm leaning towards the South ... hehehe :). This pic was taken at the Mitad del Mundo, the park that marks the path of the Equator... Ecuador, after all, is name after it. The museums in the park itself are boring, so I didn’t bother seeing them. Next door (50 meters from the park), the more interesting and less visited museum of Inti-ñan (Path of the Sun) is located
Directions: Near Quito *** Check out my Quito Page for more pictures and stuff***
Although some might say the Otavalo market is too touristy, I think that the market makes for a good place to shop around for good deals. I do have to confess that I rather see a non-touristy market where the locals buy and sell local goods. Nonetheless, if you want to buy souvenirs in Ecuador, this is the place to be! Check out all of my travelogues.
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