Sunday, June 18, 2017

Through their Eyes - Ecuador Part II

Continuing on with our adventures in Ecuador... See Part I here

Day tripping from Banos to Puyo to visit an indigenous community

More waterfalls

We learned a little bit about one of the many indigenous communities in the area. We visited a museum, walked around the pretty little village, talked to some of the locals and pet their pets. A great experience for sure

Our new friend Rosita... Showing us around her home
Continuing on, we left relaxing Banos for the hustle and bustle of Ecuador's capital, Quito. We scored ourselves a great apartment on Benalcazar's Street (thank you once again airbnb), right in historic Quito, walking distance from all the action.
View of the Virgen del Panecillo
Plaza Santo Domingo

Sitting around Plaza Central. Old and young hanging out on the same square. Our bench-mates were singing and playing their guitars. So cool

One of the first things in order, once we arrived to Quito, was to get the guys to the barber. They were in desperate need of a haircut and a shave

This barber shop has been around for a long time... Right on Plaza Central

We walked a lot around the historic district... An awesome area to stroll and eat... We ate everything in sight: Sandwiches de pernil, humitas, empanadas de viento, bolon de verde, espumilla, helado de paila, mote con chicharron, seco de chivo, fritadas... I can go on and on. So fricking good.

More views from Plaza Grande

Beautiful La Ronda Street - Very lively at nights with all kinds of delicious restaurants and shops to peruse.

Sampling the ice cream was a must

We visited a lot the beautiful churches... They are so many, one more beautiful than the other. Basilica Nacional del Voto was my favorite... The views from the top were outstanding

Daytripping to the Middle of the World, because, why not? If you are in Ecuador, you must go to the monument that marks that very place, am I right?
Straddling the line that divides the Northern and the Southern hemisphere... Yep, check that from the bucket list
The kids had fun testing some equator related experiments. There were also a lot of exhibitions of the indigenous cultures and even a planetarium. A cool way to spend the morning

Daytripping to the town of Otavalo for souvenir shopping.

Saturday is market day... So we took the bus and off we went to enjoy the day. It was fun walking the crowded street and sampling all the yummy foods. Yes friends, more food: Agua de coco, maduros con queso, batidos, llapingachos, Huevitos Chilenos, guarapo de cana with lime (where has this been all my life, delish)

Lastly, to end our time in Ecuador, we took a cable car (TeleferiQo) ride to the summit of Cruz Loma starting point to hike Rucu Pichincha - yet another volcano (there are about 30 volcanos in Ecuador!).
Getting kisses from llamas is almost as good as getting selfies with llamas

What a way to end our trip, right?. That's it for Ecuador friends, I hope you like the pictures. But guess what? Summer is not over yet... We have more adventures up our sleeves. I'll be back with more soon.

See more pictures from Ecuador here
For more pictures from South America, check my post from Peru (here and here) and Argentina (here and here)
Check out where we went for Spring Break here and here
For more pictures from our family travels go here
And lastly, to follow even more of our family adventures, check planandplay on instagram

Stay in Cotopaxi: Hacienda El Porvenir
Stay in Banos: Airbnb
Stay in Quito: Airbnb

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Through their Eyes - Ecuador Part I

For Summer vacation, we packed our bags and we went to Ecuador. Right after I bought the tickets we had to decide, where to go in Ecuador? The Galapagos Islands is perhaps the most popular destination there, but after lots of research, we concluded that the Galapagos Islands was not going to be it for us (at least not this time around).

You see, we enjoy independent travel immensely and to visit the Galapagos, you must go with an organized group (the government solution to keeping the area from being overly exploited). On top of that, the prices are crazy high (being that the tours are mostly geared toward foreign visitors). So, we decided to be contrarians and do our own thing. Ecuador has a lot to offer besides the Galapagos Islands so, we narrowed our area of exploration to the Central Sierra and off we went.

So, enough preamble, I leave you with some pictures from our adventures in Ecuador.

We started our trip by splurging and staying in a Hacienda... It turned out to be the best decision we made... The altitude, (oh, that evil altitude) hit us once again - one of us for a whopping two hours... that child shall remained unnamed - our time there was perfect to get used to the altitude and enjoyed everything the Hacienda had to offer.
Here are some of the fun things we got to do:
Walking around the Hacienda and taking in its beauty

Lots of lazing around... Reading with a side of canelazo, yum! The kids completed 3 books on this trip... Not a record, by the way

Hiking in the sub paramo moorlands. The Hacienda is located on the foot of the magnificent Cotopaxi volcano
Can you see how altitude affects these kids?... I rest my case...

Petting all the farm animals

Cotopaxi standing tall in the background.

V made a friend... This horse followed her around... It was so cute

We learned about the life on a working farm:

Milked cows and fed their babies.

V and I took a cooking class. We learned how to make delicious Canelazo, Empanadas and Aji... They were some of our favorite things we tried in Ecuador.

Went horseback riding. The scenery is just stunning - We spotted lots of condors.

Ate delicious food, made right there on the farms with products produced by them. It was a great way to start our adventure. Thank you Hacienda El Porvenir

We took a drive to the beautiful Quilotoa crater lake. We took a hike around the rim

This place is stunning!

Next stop, Banos...

Banos is a lovely little town at the foot of the Tungaranhua volcano. A great location among soaring green hills streaked with waterfalls. A perfect place to spend the next few days

We visited La Casa del Arbol. We had so much fun here, swinging at the edge of the world...

Drove the Route of the Waterfalls (Ruta de las Cascadas)... Named after the many waterfalls peppering the Pastaza Valley. So much fun at every turn.

We tested our nerves by zip lining over Cascada de Agoyan . What a thrill!

Took a tarabita (rickety cable car) over El Manto de la Novia waterfall (Bride's veil)

We found fun things to do on the other side
Continuing on the Route of the Waterfalls... Hiked down and then up to El Pailon del Diablo (Devil's Cauldron) such a fun adventure.

Once we reached the bottom of the waterfall, you start your accent to the last viewing platform through the so-called grieta del cielo (heaven's crack). Literally you crawl and squeeze through really tight spaces to get there. Once there, you can get right underneath the waterfall itself, so fun!
Once down, we walked on the wobbly suspension bridge to get a different view of the waterfall

A few other scenes from Banos and surrounding areas

Basilica Nuestra SeƱora de Agua Santa

Not pictured... Enjoying the thermal baths after a day of exploring. It was a lovely time indeed.

That's it for now. Coming up next, Puyo, Quito and its surrounding area.

For more pictures of our family travels, go here
Follow our family adventures on instagram at planandplay