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Old 10-09-2012, 02:04 AM
 
Location: rain city
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Have you been to Ecuador? Would you like to help out a couple of hapless gringos with your hot insider travel tips?

We are going to Ecuador for approximately the month of November, 2012.

Our plans are liquid (as in non-existent). So any kindly advice, recommendations, insider tips, and general information are welcome.

We will need to spend some days in Quito, but our target area is Cuenca. Open to the rest of Ecuador as well.

Looking for inexpensive lodgings such as guest house or pensiones or B&B, something like that for both Quito and Cuenca, or serviced apartment type things (no hotels please, I hate hotels).

Ideas?
Links?
Neighborhoods?
Names?
Anything?

Leaving in three weeks. Right now I have exactly zero plans. I_need_help.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:26 AM
 
Location: In a Galaxy far, far away called Germany
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I just saw an episode of House Hunter's International that had an American family moving there. Perhaps you can google that episode and see what info can be gleaned from it. From what I saw, it was beautiful - but no night life/city life though. Be ready to love Amazon.com!! Beaches were gorgeous though and you have good "bang-for-your-buck".
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:42 PM
 
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I lived for a year in Guayaquil, Ecuador several years ago. While I was in Ecuador, I visited Cuenca, Riobamba, Playas (near Guayaquil), Quito and the Galapagos Islands.

I definitely recommend you try to visit the Galapagos Islands while you are Ecuador. They are simply not to be missed. But you must go with a tour group. One of my colleagues tried to go on his own, but found that although he was able to book a flight there, once he arrived there was no way for him to get around to any of islands or tourist sites on his own.

As for Cuenca, I was hosted by a friend of a friend who lives there and took me around. It is very quaint and lovely town with cobblestone streets in the old section and a lovely church. I remember the friend took me on a drive outside the city to a place with hot springs (that had a hotel with hot spring swimming pool) called Banos.

In Guayaquil the main street is Ave. 9 de Octubre. The main monument is the Bolivar & San Martin Monument at the Rotonda and Guayaquil has the largest shopping mall in South America.

In Quito, one of my colleagues booked me into a small hotel although I can't recall the name of it. But I do know it was on a side street off of Avenida Rio Amazonas which is in the main tourist area (with many tourist souvenir stores). While in the Quito area, if you can you should try to go to the Middle of the World monument (which is about 45 minutes away by public transportation).
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:47 PM
 
Location: rain city
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chava61 View Post
While in the Quito area, if you can you should try to go to the Middle of the World monument (which is about 45 minutes away by public transportation).
Tell me everything you know about this public transportation! I'm finding very little online info about public transit in Ecuadoran cities or long distance buses.

Also I have read that Guayaquil is a rather gritty city. Tell me everything about it as I want to spend time there but I've read some pretty discouraging things.
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Old 10-13-2012, 07:12 AM
 
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The Ecuadorian Pacific coast if you want to meet Ecuadorians of African descent and experience the Afro-Ecuadorian culture and you love seafood. You will find many types of tasty seafood dishes on the coast, from Esmeraldas to San Lorenzo.
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:35 PM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
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For buses, when you leave Quito merely go to the Central Bus Station, and hop a bus to wherever. The pluses, I found in Ecuador, they don't have the scattered bus stations like they do in Peru, all centralized.

My big city phase of travel has long been over. I would suggest you stop off in Azoques en route to neaby Cuenca. Wonderful medium-sized town!

Riobamba is nothing special. Loja, furthur south, I spent some time in, another medium-sized city closer to Peru. Banos is quite special, and take the bus going east taking you along the Avenue of the Waterfalls, and if you wish to hop off the bus, hop off, explore, as there'll be another bus coming along soon after.

San Pedro de Alaussi is extra special to me, and they have a tourist train you can take there. It has a huge Indian population there!

Going north, Otavallo is chuck-full of Indian craft stores, is that's what you're looking for, and I took the bus north to the Colombian border, that last town has one of the most interesting cemeteries in the world, with the most interesting sculpted bushes anywhere in the world! The only annoying part of the return trip from the Colombian border is the security checkpoints, the guards, apparently, think anyone returning from Colombia went up there to buy drugs!

Inbetween, heading south to Otavallo, there's Ibarra where I spent a nite. A sleepy city, but relaxing and interesting enough!

Enjoy! There's more to Ecuador than American-expat-colonial Cuenca and Quito!
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Old 10-15-2012, 02:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tijlover View Post

Going north, Otavallo is chuck-full of Indian craft stores, is that's what you're looking for, and I took the bus north to the Colombian border, that last town has one of the most interesting cemeteries in the world, with the most interesting sculpted bushes anywhere in the world! The only annoying part of the return trip from the Colombian border is the security checkpoints, the guards, apparently, think anyone returning from Colombia went up there to buy drugs!
Although I never got to Otavallo, it was recommended to me. So I definitely think one should visit Otavello if they have the opportunity to do so.
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Old 10-15-2012, 02:45 PM
 
32,127 posts, read 33,037,268 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tijlover View Post
For buses, when you leave Quito merely go to the Central Bus Station, and hop a bus to wherever. The pluses, I found in Ecuador, they don't have the scattered bus stations like they do in Peru, all centralized.
Actually when I left Quito by bus to return to Guayaquil (where I was living), I never used the Quito Central Bus Station. I used a smaller bus station walking distance from the hotel that I was staying at. (So Quito definitely has more than one bus station.) When traveling by bus in Ecuador one needs to know that there are different types/classes of buses similar to different types of train service in other countries. So one can choose from different bus companies all offering service between the same destinations but the ticket prices will vary according to how good buses are that they use and any services that the passenger can get during his/her bus trip. (For example on my bus trip from Quito to Guayaquil, all passengers were served soft drinks with candy and there was tv screen at the front of the bus for watching movies just like on an airplane.)
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:03 PM
 
32,127 posts, read 33,037,268 times
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Originally Posted by azoria View Post
Also I have read that Guayaquil is a rather gritty city. Tell me everything about it as I want to spend time there but I've read some pretty discouraging things.
Guayaquil is a bit gritty, but its people are super friendly. It is a great party city as its people love to hold parties for any small thing that you can imagine. Having said that one needs to be aware that muggings do occur in Guayaquil. So one needs to be cautious at all times. Also one should only drink bottled water and not tap water in Guayaquil

Things to see in Guayaquil are the Malecon Simon Bolivar, Las Penas (where most of the older buildings of the city are located), Mercado Artesanal (for general Ecuadorian souvenirs) or La Bahia. A nice neighborhood to visit is Urdesa and on the Victor Emilio Estrada you can found a great variety of good food. If you are interested in nightlife, you can try to go to the Bloom Club which I believe gives free entrance to foreigners with their passports.
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:26 AM
 
Location: USA
585 posts, read 910,517 times
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As previously posted, do try and go to the Middle of the World (Mitad del Mundo) monument, north of Quito, it is quite a site and a wonderful opportunity to put yourself in the line that separate the northern and southern hemisphere.
ou may also wnat to visit the towm of Vilcabamba, in the Lojas province, which has the reputation of longevity among its people.
Have a good trip.

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