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Ecuador: Seven Days in Quito

If you're like most tourists, you can't wait to get off the plane and get on the road in search of adventure, fun and excitement. There's no better way to start a trip in Ecuador than with a week-long stay in the capital city of Quito. The city has kept pace with 21st century progress and these days offers a variety of modern amenities that make it a perfect base-of-operations for your stay in Ecuador.

Quito boasts some of the most beautiful churches and historic colonial architecture in all of South America. Sure, you could cram all the sights into a day or two, but if you give yourself a week you can really get deep into the culture and all it has to offer. So check it out: a full week in Quito allows you plenty of time to see the magnificent La Basilica, wander through Old Quito, and take a daytrip to Mitad del Mundo, all the while getting acclimated to life at 2800 meters.

From Quito you can take a bus to Otavalo where everything's sold at the Saturday Market. From there take a jaunt up to Ibarra for its peaceful parks, or drive straight through to San Antonio and pick up exquisitely carved, wooden chests and statues. Spend another day at Valle del Choza, the next at La Esperanza, a third conquering Volcan Imbabura, and a final day in Iluman to rest up from the hike. Then travel south, making a few stops along the way back to Quito.

An alternate itinerary puts you on the road to the west to Cotacachi. If you're up for it, do a little hiking on nearby Volcan Cotacachi. Next travel to the town of Cayambe where you'll actually be on the equator. Then travel straight down to Machachi and Aloasi and get ready to take on the formidable Volcanoes Ruminahui and Cotopaxi. (Between hikes, you could even head back to Quito for some R & R.).

The old adage of "so much to see, so little time" was never more appropriate than here. If you thought you were going to spend your time in a musty pub sipping tequila then you have your countries mixed up.

From here, jump on a bus to Ambato to see an homage to Juan Montalvo, a literary hero of Ecuador, or, if you come in February, stay for the largest carnival thrown in the whole country. Spend a day enjoying the artesania at Salasaca and then Pelileo before moving on to Banos, the city for known for outdoor activity and indoor pampering. Hike, bike, and bathe around town and love every second of it. Wrap things up by spending a day being mesmerized by the waterfalls at Rio Verde.

There you go - a week in Quito. Which, if you've been paying attention, is actually a whole lot more. Check out the Accommodations link on for a full list of hotels, motels and restaurants in Quito.


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