Taking a Trip? Here are our suggestions:

Good Hostel in  Quito, - L'Auberge Inn Hostel -
Avenida Colombia 1138 y Yaguachi  Tel: 256-2912
safe - inexpensive - you can walk to Parque El Ejido, Old Town, and the Marsical

Things to be sure to do:
1. Go to the Volcano Cotopaxi - climb to the refugio; do it your last day as you want to have some time to aclimate to the lack of oxygen. It is a good leave early back around 7 PM trip. Dress warm. The park entrance is about $25.00 per person.

2. Puerto Quito - jungle near the city  - Cabanas del Rio - 06 733470 - ask Clemente about tubing, visiting the chocolate and fruit farms; halfway to the beach. The cabanas are great for atmosphere but bring bug spray. If you don't want to rough it but want the activities, the Gran Hotel as you come into town is inexpensive as well and has AC and hot water.

3. la playa - Atacames - AcroIris Hotel - 06 731 069 - ($30-40 a night) it is behind the new huge condo hi-rise and is nicely hidden. We prefer to stay in Same down the road at the Cabanas del Sol ($35-45) because it is like having your own private beach ,and then come to Atacames for food and shopping now that it has gotten so sprawling.  Love the batidos and tortillas de camerones.

4. Mitad del Mundo - Museo Solar Inti Nan - science museum behind the tourist attraction - you have to visit the center of the world to try all the cool experiments of gravity; take a bus or cab as it is to the north of town; it is on the way to the beach and  Puerto Quito if you plan it into your trip.

5. Artisanians market - Mariscal and El Ejido - the craft and painting artisanians are in the park El Ejido on Saturdays and Sundays. The market in the Mariscal is open daily from about 9-6.  It is located one block off seis de diciembre and down two blocks from El Ejido.

6. Otavalo - famous for the craft market - only on Saturdays and just crafts on Wednesdays. Be careful if you take the bus as there can be hijackings every so often. We've never had problems but have heard from others. (Car rental is about $30-$35 a day from Budget Rent-A-Car and we've been really happy with their service) The items are similar to the markets in Quito, just more and the same prices. You get more atmosphere and photo  op's. While you're there, get some pie at the Shenandohah Pie Shop off of Sombrero Square - they are great! On the way home, stop at Lago San Pablo for lunch and the great view. Sometimes you'll see fisherman out in their reed boats on the lake.
7. Old Town - el Panecillo - go to the Plaza de  independencia and see the old churches and buildings. Take a taxi up to the Panecillo to get a great view of all the city. Climb up in the towers of the Basillica but don't climb out on the ledge like Steve!

8. Calderon - famous for bread dough ornaments for Christmas and other occasions. It is on the way out of town toward Guayllabamba. The best guy is the one with the big wooden parrot by his door. You can actually see the workers making the ornaments and bread decorations. You can usually see a good outdoor market here as well. Open usually from 10-4 daily.

9. Visit the Teleferico on Pichinca - go early, opens at 10 AM  - great view of all the volcanoes on a clear day.

10. Tena - good jungle trip - we've not been, but other friends highly recommend it. We went to the Sacha Lodge in Coca which was amazing but pricy - worth the one time visit! The hostel has some brochures and info. on Tena.

11. Bellavista Resort  - in the cloud forest; tons of hummingbirds and foliage. Take the road to the beach and look for the sign in the curve of the road on the left. It is a dirt road. Keep going and you'll hit Mindo, another good place to visit butterfly gardens and see birds.

12. If you want to see the Andes, be a little chilly, and hike beautiful harsh landscapes, check on the Black Sheep Inn in Apahua. You can see beautiful crater lakes and a side of Ecuador different from the all others.

Our Favorite Places to Eat:
- Best Food Court - El Jardin Mall - corner of Amazones and Eloy Alfaro - American and Ecuatoriano fast food
- Best Mexican - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Juan Leon Mera and Foch in the Mariscal
- Mi Viego Arabal - katty -corner from Red Hots, the restaurant sits down so you look down into the windows. Great steaks and meals for a good value.
- The Pancake House - across the street from El Jardin on Amazones
- Shwarmas - several places are along Shyris by Parque Carolina - we like the guy on the corner across from the dinosaur museum

WARNINGS: Just to be save, remember it is a big city; there are pickpockets and petty criminals so guard your stuff. They are quick and crafty so just be alert. Just because they are children, don't let your guard down. You can easily be surrounded by 4-5 street kids and they will get aggressive. The scam we've been hit twice with is the mustard scam. They look for tourists with backpacks and one sprays them with mustard and the other comes up like they are going to help you wipe it down and then grabs your backpack and runs. If you yell, "Trampa!"  they will scatter like the wind. I wanted to pummel them the last time because they coated me like a bad sandwich but they are fast. Just be alert to your surroundings.

See Actual Volcano Pictures from October 2002
Our Favorite Scenery Photos
Our Favorite People Pics
Just A Little Food

  Location:  Western South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, between
 Colombia and Peru

 Area: comparative  slightly smaller than Nevada

Climate:  tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands

Terrain:  coastal plain (costa), inter-Andean central highlands (sierra), and flat to rolling eastern jungle (oriente)

 Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m  highest point:Chimborazo 6,267 m

 Natural resources:  petroleum, fish, timber, hydropower

Natural hazards:  frequent earthquakes, landslides, volcanic activity; periodic droughts

Geography: Cotopaxi in Andes is highest active volcano in the world

Population:  12,920,092 (July 2000 est.)

Economy: Ecuador has substantial oil resources andrich agricultural areas. Because the country exports primary products such as oil, bananas, and shrimp, fluctuations in world market prices can have a substantial domestic impact. Ecuador joined the World Trade Organization in 1996, but has failed to comply with many of its accession commitments. In recent years, growth has been uneven due to ill-conceived fiscal stabilization measures. The aftermath of El Nino and depressed oil market of 1997-98 drove Ecuador's economy into a free-fall in 1999. The beginning of 1999 saw the banking sector collapse, which helped precipitate an unprecedented default on external loans later that year. Continued economic instability drove a70% depreciation of the currency throughout 1999, which eventually forced a desperate government to dollarize the currency regime in 2000. The move stabilized the currency, but did not stave off the ouster of the government. The new president, Gustavo NOBOA has yet to complete negotiations for a long sought IMF accord. He will find it difficult to push through the reforms necessary to make dollarization work in the long-run. (Source: World Book)


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