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Weird and Exotic: 12 Reasons You’ll Love Ecuador

Article Summary:

Ecuador is cool, says Pedestrians TV: here are their top reasons for putting Ecuador on your travel agenda.

Photo Credit: Pedestrian

Original Article Text From Pedestrians :

Reasons Why You Should Visit the Galapagos and Ecuador

We have teamed up with our chums at Contiki Holidays to supply you with an array of excellent reasons to visit some of the world’s most exotic and exciting destinations. Whatever you think you know about Contiki, they do a cuss of a lot more. From Coachella to Costa Rica and China to the Czech Republic, if there’s a place you want to go, there’s most probably a Contiki Tour that will take you there. Take Ecuador for example…

First, allow us to preface this by saying “Damn, Ecuador. You fascinating.”

As with most places in the world (ie. everywhere in the world) Ecuador has a history. And it has a culture…

A history and culture too interesting and diverse for you to even handle in a mere introductory paragraph.

So, Ecuador in brief: they were the first nation in 2008 to declare that nature has constitutional rights, their garbage trucks play music like icecream trucks, Mike Judge (the creator of Beavis and Butthead etcetera) was born in Ecuador and they have possibly the greatest flag in the history of everything:.

Okay, so you’re in Ecuador. What first? You are going to want to start off your morning with a glass of tree-tomato-juice. This breakfast of champions is made from the indigenous tree tomato (tomate de árbol or tamarillo), an Ecuadorian fruit served in pretty much every form, even as a dessert. The Milo of Ecuador, if you will.

Moving on, you’ll sample a local delicacy, the Cuy. You will see them roasting on spits all over the joint and find them on the menus of Ecuador’s best restaurants. And what, may you ask, is a Cuy?
It’s a guinea pig.

Enjoy.

And to wash down your rodent? Ecuadorians are 100% on board the Homebrew Fun Bus. They’ll basically make it out of just about anything they have on hand. Get involved.

Now, sustenance handled, where do you need to visit to avoid evermore living a life filled with bitter regret and FOMO bile?

Galapagos Islands
A visit to Ecuador is obviously not complete without a trip to The Galapagos Islands as there can be no possible reasons why you would not want to tour the historic islands where Charles Darwin developed his theories of evolution, you savage. Because, science.

Furthermore, a visit to The Galapagos Islands is also incomplete unless you do it with Céline Cousteau, environmental activist and granddaughter of legendary explorer, Jacques Cousteau (the guy who Bill Murray’s Steve Zissou from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou was roughly based on). Because, that shit philanthropic, yo.

The abundance and varieties of wildlife on the Galapagos is more than a little mind blowing, there are 9.2 species per square km which (if the internet has done its maths right) makes Ecuador and the Galapagos one of the most bio-diversified places on the planet. The animals all live without fear of predators (thanks evolution!), whether they be animal, vegetable or mineral. Those poor innocent fools have not yet learned to be afraid of the human species. Which, obviously, makes for great photo opportunities slash commune with nature opportunities. Go swimming with sea lions, check out some Blue Footed Boobies, and get up close and personal with all other manners of plant and animal life impossible to find elsewhere.

Quitsato Sundial
Address: La Mitad Del Mundo, Quito, Ecuador
Phone: 02/2363-042
Website: www.quitsato.org

How do you like the thought of straddling the Equator? Founded in 1534, Quito was the first city to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, making it one of the oldest cities in the Western Hemisphere. And what else is great about Quito? Well, the Equator smashes right on through it! So visiting anywhere in Quito essentially puts you in ‘Middle Earth’ territory (Att: Peter Jackson).

Whilst the Quitsato Sundial is only one of a few tourist attractions and marked spots where you can hop atop said equator, the sundial is definitely one of the most accurate (ie. it is actually on the Equator). The Sun Dial was built by the Quitsato Scientific Project as a way to understand the Quitu Cara culture, who were an extremely advanced peoples until they were unceremoniously destroyed during the Incan conquest. Good one, Incans, you absolute diks.

There is also another larger monument to the Equator in Quito, which was found to have actually been built a few hundred metres off the actual Equator, the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo. Also worth a visit, despite its dumb.

Museo Antropológico y de Arte Contemporáneo
Address: Malecón Simón Bolívar and Calle Loja, Guayaquil
Phone: 04 230-9383
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5:30pm, Sunday 11am-5:30pm

Known simply as the MAAC, you’re definintely going to want to visit the Museo Antropológico y de Arte Contemporáneo. You’ll be so impressed you may even want to (pause) return to the MAAC. The museum is chock full of anthropological and archaeological exhibits, a large and superb collection of Ecuadorean contemporary art and an ever changing collection of international artists’ work. MAAC also has a 400-seat theater for plays, concerts and film installations. Behind the museum is an open-air stage, a food court next door, a library, a bookstore, and a pleasant cafe.

Parque de las Iguanas Guayaquil
Address: Chile and August 10, Guayaquil, Ecuador

It is quite literally a park full of iguanas; they’re in trees, they’re walking over your feet, they’re chilling in iguana piles. The park is very close to the historic Guayaquil Cathedral, which is also worth a look see/a good place for your squeamish fellow travelers to wait while you iguana-down.

Cotopaxi Volcano
You either have the option to climb 5,897m Cotopaxi (one of the world’s tallest active volcanoes), go Mountain Biking down it or observe it from the parking lot, which sits at 4,500 meters above sea level (HOW YOU LIKE THAT ELEVATION?!). Either way, how many active volcanoes are there wherever you live? Yeah, so do something on this one.

Otavalo Market
Address: Atahualapa #3 y Cristobal Colon, EC100450, Otavalo
E-Mail: otavalomarket@gmail.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/OtavaloArtsCraftsEcuador
Website: otavalomarket-ecuador.com

Want to perfect your haggling skills? Enjoy anything handmade? By actual hands?! Head to Otavalo Market, located about a three hour bus ride north of Quito; it’s one of the largest and most important markets in all of Latin America (important because of its cultural significance, as local people use the market much in the way their ancestors would have during Ecuador’s pre-Colombian history). Everyone is wonderfully friendly and there is relatively low marketplace harassment levels. The best day to go is Saturday, which is when the market has have the largest amount of vendors from the surrounding regions.

Oh yeah, we can all totally make handmade rugs like that as well. NBD, right guise?

Amazon Jungle
Ecuador is one of your cheapest bets in South America for visiting the Amazon.
A trip to the Amazon Basin involves seeing next-level-impressive wildlife, encountering traditional indigenous tribes and just having amazing rainforest adventures. You will regret nothing.

Baños
The self-proclaimed ‘adventure capital of Ecuador’ is popular with both tourists and Ecuadorians alike. It is, as its self-proclaimed title suggests, home to a wide range of activities including but not limited to: trekking the Tungurahua Volcano, canyoning, whitewater rafting, paragliding, bungee jumping, mountain biking, bridge swinging and waterfall tours. The name Baños is Spanish for “Baths (of sacred water)” and comes from the famous hydrothermal springs which you absolutely must visit and sit inside of.

The city also has a very healthy nightlife hap-happening with lots of bars, clubs, discos and peñas for you to enjoy as you listen to the distant rumblings of the Tungurahua volcano. In other news, when the volcano is actively erupting, it is possible to see red lava at the top. But, you know, it did have a pretty serious eruption back in 1999 so check up on any eruption predictions before you plan your trip. Volcanoe Safety First.

Montañita
The city has long been the top surf spot in Ecuador and is constantly full of local and international surfers, who are known for their après-surf session (post-surf-kick-ons). On the weekends vacationing Ecuadorians come on down to hit the beach, have a cheeky surf and enjoy the nightlife. In Montañita certain drug laws are rather loosely enforced and so, just f your i, it is common to see or smell marijuana being smoked on the streets. DO NOT BE ALARMED if this:

Café Eucalyptus
Address: Gran Colombia 9-41 y Benigno malo, 0000000, Cuenca, Ecuador
Phone: +593 7-284-9157
Website: www.cafeeucalyptus.com
Opening Hours: Monday and Tuesday 12pm-12am, Wednesday 12pm-2:30am, Thursday 12pm-2am, Friday and Saturday 12pm-2:30am, Sunday 5pm-11pm

Cuenca, the city, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its many historic buildings and the most charming city center. Cuenca is also the best place in Ecuador to sample cuy (yes, the guinea pig). Café Eucalyptus is your Cuenca go-to for great tapas, an excellent wine list, locally produced tap beer and just all round great liquors and ambiance.

Homero Ortega P. & Hijos
Address: Av. Gil Ramirez Dávalos 386, Cuenca, Ecuador
Phone: (593-7)283-4044
E-Mail: info@homerortega.com
Website: www.homeroortega.com

If you’re going to Ecuador, you’re going to need to come home with a Genuine Panama Hat; “the craft symbol of Ecuador”(not Panama, funnily enough). Cuenca is the primary center for Panama hat production and Homer Ortega is your Panama hat guy. Five generations of the Ortega family have dedicated their life to the Panama hats and, even before that, the iconic head topper has been produced in Ecuador since the 17th century.

The Valley of Longevity
Vilcabamba is a pueblo (village) that historically was the vacay spot for Incan royalty. Its more recent claim to fame is the fact that locals live suspiciously longer than average lives, with many regularly reaching their 100 year cake day. Most locals credit the clean water, air, diet and living. Which are all things that you too can experience, as well as superb scenery and almost aggressive levels of chill vibes.

Whilst we can’t guarantee you will forever after visiting, we’re not going to categorically say that you won’t. So, best just visit and please report back re: immortality.

Nothing to see here, Voldemort. Pls move along.

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From Pedestrians

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