Blogs from Ecuador, South America - page 8

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South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center December 1st 2014

We landed in Quito on a Friday night, into the midst of a crazy fiesta rampaging in the square outside our guesthouse - multitudes of people, fireworks, police in numbers, helmets and riot gear, music, dancing and lots of noisy action...... In the San Fransisco square at 9pm it felt very edgy, especially when our host had suggested we not venture too far...... in Quito's old quarter, or Centro Historico as the locals call it... the fiesta, we found out, is just a warm up for an annual festival which dominates early December, leading to foundation day on the 6th; it's a time of bullfights, flamenco dancing, outdoor concerts and non stop bus-top revelling....... Ecuador's capital is a remarkable city in an extraordinary setting. Declared one of the first UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites in 1978, ... read more
Quito Cathedral
Quito's TelefereQo
After a big night out in Quito

South America » Ecuador » West » Montañita November 30th 2014

Montanita - Day 7 This morning we bought our bus tickets to Montanita. Had to show a passport this time. Again a reasonable price, $5 each for a 3 hour ride. Only 5 others were on the bus at the Manta depot. About a half hour out of Manta, we passed through Montecristo. This is where the Panama hats were initially made. These hats and wooden carvings were for sale in stores all along the road. Shortly after a lady came on the bus with a big tray of baked goods. We bought a couple from her since we had missed breakfast. A while later we passed by a thirty foot corn cob statue. Not really sure of the significance! Further along we pulled into the Jipijapa bus station. Love that name (hippihappa)! This time we ... read more
Hostal Esperanto
Early Christmas in the park

South America » Ecuador » West » Manta November 29th 2014

Manta - 11/29/2014 - Day 6 Hotel was quiet last night, considering we're on a busy street. Went out to explore Manta. Walked through the central area and the markets. Many fruit stands, live chickens, roosters, crabs, fabric, everything you could ever want. We checked out Hostel San Francisco, another option from Lonely Planet. Price was just the same as Hotel Leo ($35). We crossed the river (Rio Manta), which separates Manta from the little town of Tarqui. 'Tarqui is a little more run-down than Manta. Found an entry to the beach, several huge ships in the harbor. We looked for a place for breakfast with fruit, but just found fish and chicken. Stopped for lemonade and water. Hot aleady at 9:30am. Loud music. In the evening there are many soccer and volleyball games on the ... read more
Great fruit bowl
Big sea creature
The boatyard

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santa Cruz Island November 29th 2014

Friday 28thNovember2014 The Inland Highlands: Santa Rosa We hoped to see some giant tortoises today. We didn´t expect to see hundreds of them. The inland highland areas of Santa Cruz Island are quite lush, with untouched vegetation that the tortoises thrive on. Sadly, elsewhere, as mentioned in a previous blog, their habitat has been destroyed and numbers have decreased. Not here, however. The Santa Rosa region is an oasis for these magnificent gentle giants. One has to be careful driving along the tracks, because they don´t understand the Green Cross Code and they amble along all over the place, at leisure. We left the hostel early in the morning and went with a guide (just the two of us). He was a lovely character, but not particularly knowledgeable and informative, as one expects a guide to ... read more
Pelican with attitude!
Gentle Giant
"Stand still please!...

South America » Ecuador » West » Manta November 28th 2014

Manta - 11/28/2014 - Day 5 After a good breakfast at the hostel, we took off for lower altitudes. The hostel took us by truck to Zumbahua for a very reasonable fee of $6. A little girl in a pink hat and braids was our traveling companion. She liked to play peek-a-boo. We passed a few herds of sheep on the side of the road. Zumbahua didn't have an actual bus depot. .We just waited for the bus on the side of the road. We are headed to Quevedo, then on to Manta. A few men in trucks wanted to drive us to Quevedo but we said we would wait for the bus. The bus was only $5 total, for a three hour ride. Local ladies got on the bus along the way. Many had babies ... read more
Little truck companion
Oceanside in Manta
Fresh fish

South America » Ecuador » North » Mitad del Mundo November 28th 2014

Upon arriving back at altitude, it was revealed that Paul’s previous stomach illness hadn’t cured itself in the Amazon and so we laid low for another day. More planning was done for our intended Galapagos adventure and we managed to find a good deal. After a minor recovery from Paul we headed for a day trip out of Quito to the Equatorial town of Mitad Del Mundo (middle of the world). Well at least that’s what it was reported as until fairly recently when GPS placed the true equator about 100m down the road. We knew it was a bit of a tourist trap but couldn’t help ourselves and posed on both the old (fake) and new (real) equator, tried to balance eggs on nails, walk heel-to-toe along the equator and generally played the good tourist ... read more
Real equator
View over Quito from above the teleferiQo
Thanksgiving: the Manly High reunion edition

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Quilotoa November 27th 2014

Quilotoa - 11/27/2014 - Day 4 Happy Thanksgiving! Plan for today is to get to Quilotoa. We skipped breakfast and headed out to get a cab to the bus station. First cab quoted us $15, but we thought that was too much for a fairly short distance. Driver then went to $12, then $10. Bob then asked another cab and got a price of $8 right away. Guess which one we took? The driver did take a very roundabout route to avoid the traffic at 7:30am. (Gas is cheap here, $2 a gallon.) Traffic in Quito is unbelievable, wouldn't want to drive here. Took about half an hour to get to the Terminal Quitumbe. The terminal was very large and modern, looked quite new. First bus took us to Latacunga, south along the Panamericana highway. Very ... read more
Lake in the fog
Taking the chill out
Our cozy room

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santa Cruz Island November 27th 2014

Thursday 27th November 2014 We noticed that in our last blog the photographs were not reproduced correctly. All of the photos seem to have been moved slightly off-centre, and one of the Marine Iguanas has his nose chopped off; most mysterious, because the original photos are all fine. So we have included another Marine Iguana photo with this blog. There are so many of these creatures here in Santa Cruz, that we have hundreds of photos of them. We meet them on the beach, swimming with us in the sea, or they are to be found sunbathing on the pavements or walls. Yesterday we took a water taxi across the harbour and then walked along the shore. It was a dull humid day so we didn´t snorkel. Today we had to move out of our little ... read more
Puerto Ayora, the "capital city"
Harbour water taxi
'ol Blue Eyes

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center November 26th 2014

Quito - 11/26/2014 - Day 3 We both got a little sunburned yesterday. The sun is high and the air thinner, so more susceptible. Ate breakfast at the hotel, then headed out. Fresh tomato juice and papaya today. For the coffee, they give you a full cup of hot milk/cream. You then add instant coffee, cocoa, and sugar to taste. Today we decided to take the tram up the mountain (Volcan Pichincha). Our plan was to take a shuttle to the base, but because of limited Spanish we ended up on a city bus. But that's part of the adventure. Cheap ride at $.25 each. It wasn't a direct route, we drove through much of Quito before we got there. There are many buses and they are very crowded. Sometimes you see people hanging on the ... read more
View from the tram
Quito Cathedral by night

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santa Cruz Island November 26th 2014

“The earth is not a legacy from our ancestors, but a loan from our children” Native American Traditional (quote on our bathroom wall) We have only been here twenty four hours and we have already seen more wildlife than we expected to see in a fortnight. This place is incredible! John has already taken 203 photos and Viv took 65 before the battery died (must remember to charge up every night). We have swum in a lagoon with Marine Iguanas, seen Giant Tortoises, Land Iguanas, Booby Birds (but not the blue-footed ones yet), Pelicans, Cormorants, a small Ray, Sea Lions and numerous Darwin Finches of different colours and sizes. We haven´t hardly started yet, not having left the town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, where we are staying. We left Quito early ... read more
Fishing harbour near our flat in Pelican Bay, Puerto Ayora
 "Where's my breakfast?"
Sea lions playing in the fishing harbour




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