We are going to spend the little amount of 5-7 days in Ecuador in July, coming from Peru. Our flight back home departs from Quito, so we'll certainly go there, but what else could we do in that time?
We were thinking to go to Otavalo and Banos, I am not sure how to arrange them... We would like to see some jungle, I understand Banos is a good place for this... Is it?
Also, what about Vulcan Cotopaxi - how can it be "visited", so to say?
So, please give us (that is, me and my husband) some hints! Thank you!
if you want to see jungle, then head to Puyo!! (we're going there this summer and we heard it's really good!!)
I spent a month in Quito over the past summer and loved it! I was there for four weeks, mon-thu I would do volunteer work at an elementary school teaching english, and on the weekends, fri-sun we would travel to different parts of the country. On the first weekend we went to atacames which is about 6 hours by bus from quito, it's best to take a late bus, 23.00 or later. I deffinitely recommend going to atacames, it is a lovely beach town, and what makes it much nicer than montinita or manta is that it is where all the locals go on their holiday, not very many gringos, and great nightlife, nice and relaxing. The second weekend we went to banos, it was about three weeks before they had to evacuate the town due to the volcano, it wasn't very crowded and it was georgous! We did a 5 hour bike ride and saw alot of waterfalls, we also went to the thermal springs. We stayed at a really nice hostal, called Maria Cruz (I think that was what it was called, it is very colorful and it was in our lonely planet book) The third weekend we went to the amazon, the cuyabeno reserve, if you decide to take any tours go to La Mariscal or sometimes refered to Gringolandia. there are tons of tour agencies, we visited a few and then chose the one we liked best. The trip to the jungle is long and hard but well worth it, I hate spiders and am not very outdoorsy but I was sad to leave, It was just amazing. On the last weekend I went to Otavalo, the indian market about two hours away from quito. I recommend going on a fri afternoon, staying overnight and then visiting the market early sat. morning, prices are better the earlier you go. We also went to Mitad del mundo which was really nice, go on a sunday because its when the locals go and they usually have a live band playing all day long, the environment is really good on sundays. The last day I was in Ecuador Me and my friend went to Mindo, where the cloud forest is, It was really nice, we swam in the waterfalls. The hike was much more rigorous than we were told so it is good to be in good shape, I am not that athletics so it is doable, just hard. I guess it depends on what you like to do. If you are outdoorsy, I recomend the jungle or mindo. It you like biking or water rafting, go to banos. Otavalo only takes a day or two and was nice bu if you are planning on visiting any other markets you could skip otavalo. Atacames was nice too, very relaxing and you got a feel for the local culture. While you are in Quito definitely go to la mariscal and experience the night life.
Best of luck,