When researching Ecuador, I decided it would not be a place I could visit on my own…I could never drive in Ecuador and public transportation did not seem like a good option. I have not joined an escorted tour group in about 20 years but decided to give it a try again.
I begin my adventure on Saturday with a flight to Quito, via Atlanta. I have a long layover in Atlanta so I use my Delta American Express Card to gain access to the Delta Club at a reduced rate. The food is pretty good and drinks are included so it’s well worth the $29 fee.
My flight arrives on time and I breeze through immigration. After picking up my luggage, I am greeted by my Gate 1 Tour Guide, Eduardo and driver, Mario. It’s about 11:00 pm so it is nice to see these friendly faces waiting to take me to my hotel, Mercure Alameda, for a needed nights sleep.
After a good nights sleep, I’m up early to meet my tour mates and head for the Mindo Cloud Forest Reserve. I get my first introduction to the beauty of Ecuador here.
Our lunch stop is a great little family run restaurant. There are birds, including hummingbird zipping around the grounds.
After a lovely day, we return to the hotel for dinner and drinks. I’m pretty exhausted from the late night arrival and early morning wake up call so I call it a night after dinner.
Today (Monday) we pack for our journey to Otavalo. We begin with a stop to the Middle of the World Monument. Here you I stand with one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and the other in the Southern Hemisphere.
Next, we arrive at the Otavalo Market. Here Otavaleno Indians sell their hand-woven clothes, rug, jewelry and more. I buy more than I should but it’s so fun bargaining with the vendors.
After an afternoon of shopping, it’s time to check-in our hotel, Puertolago Country Inn, located on the San Pablo Lake. What a view….and I love my fireplace. What a wonderful cozy place to spend the evening.
Tuesday begins with a visit to the Peguche Waterfall. It’s a hike to get here but well worth it.
Our next stop in Tuesday is the town of Cotacachi, famous for leather handicrafts. Here I purchase a vest and also try Guinea Pig. Yes….I ate a Guinea Pig for lunch. It’s a specialty of Ecuador. Check out his teeth.
We make our way through the Andes Mountains to the town of Papallacta, famous for hot springs. Our hotel tonight, Termas de Papallacta, has almost as many hot springs as rooms. It’s an amazing place to relax after a long day.