I decided to spend the second day of my weekend trip to the bay area in San Francisco. The city is truly breathtaking.
I have put visiting Quito on hold for so long, it was about time I made my way up there. The capitol is filled with so much excitement and diversity. It has the hustle and bustle of your average city and the people still take time to enjoy a good night out. I loved watching a soccer game at a local sports bar at Plaza Foch followed by a night of dancing and great food. The following day I kept it more casual, starting my morning with a gentle yoga class at Dharma Yoga (taught in Spanish) and then enjoyed a wonderful light breakfast back at the hotel Casa Q. My brother and I decided to visit the famous "Mitad Del Mundo" site. I mean how cool is it to stand on the equator! After that, we ended the night a little more low key at Zazu. (Disclaimer: We did not realize how fancy this place was, I believe my brother tried to trick me on spoiling him. The food, however, was AMAZING). The following day (our last day) we spent our time visiting the beautiful Basilica del Voto Nacional and walking around the city and exploring the beautiful architecture Quito has to offer.
- Quito is 9,350 ft above sea level, make sure to drink a lot of water and it helps to work on your breathing (i.e take a yoga class ;)
- Quito is a big city, don't over estimate its size. I found Casa Q to be centrally located and the hotel staff was very helpful in arranging transportation.
- Taxi from the hotel to mitad del undo site costs around $15
- Most other taxi rides to more local spots were around $2.00
- Wear lots of sunscreen! Do not let the cloudy scenery fool you.
- Carry cash for taxi's (no high bills) and also for shopping. I did notice that 90% of shops that I went to accept credit cards.
- My next trip back, I plan to visit Cotopaxi. But if you have time I hear it is highly recommended. It was just a long drive for me, next time I will plan accordingly.
While on a recent trip to Ecuador, I decided to plan a 3 day trip to the Galapagos with my brother. I flew into Baltra Island from Guayaquil airport; Keep an eye out on prices, I've seen some get as low as $400. From there I took a ferry to Santa Cruz, where I enjoyed the rest of my visit. Note that they're are opportunities to take a boat to other islands, If you decide to stay a little longer, I would catch a boat ride to San Isabel and see the blue footed boobies. My trip consisted of kayaking, a guided snorkeling tour, being beach bums and of course tortoises. The trip overall was an amazing experience where I was exposed to a whole different world. The wildlife is unbelievable, and again if you have more time I would consider exploring other islands. Different islands in the galapagos will introduce different species not seen anywhere else.
Things to know:
- There are certain fees when traveling to the Galapagos, depending on whether you are a tourist or national. ($100 fee if you are a tourist, which you pay when arriving to Baltra airport)
- Bring your essentials such as toothpaste, sunscreen (lots of it), etc. Or else you would be paying a fortune for basic items (think $25 for generic sunscreen)
- restaurants along the shore in santa cruz can be a little pricey. At night, If you walk a couple blocks away from the shore you'll find a whole street converted into one big dining hall. It was quite awesome getting to eat with strangers and $10 gets you enough food for two people!!
- A day tour including snorkeling can cost you up to $100 (includes equipment). And to rent the kayaking equipment you are looking somewhere around $20-$30. Take some time to talk to the locals, we got a very good deal from our airbnb host who introduced us to one of the travel agents.
- Be prepared in to workout. Kayaking was no joke, my arms were sore and beware of fellow boats that are crossing, they sometimes create a tide that feels like you might tip over. When we went snorkeling we spent hours in the oceans. Also the boat ride is extensive and bumpy, if you easily get sea sick, I recommend bringing some medicine.
- Be aware of your surroundings and have respect for the galapagos. The travel guides as well as the local love their land and do their best to keep the wildlife untouched. It truly is amazing to see the world in a natural state.
Below are some photos of my trip. If you want to see more make sure to follow me on instagram!