What to expect traveling from Quito to Alausi, Ecuador
The locals in Ecuador wear the best hats.
Fedora style hats with different coloured feathers tucked into the side.
The locals are tiny, so at the markets you gaze out upon a lot of awesome hats walking around, beneath which are usually some sweet grey or brown suit pants on the men, topped off with thick dark jumpers, and wooly scarves with layers upon layers of multicoloured dresses on the woman.
I think the local clothing in Ecuador was one of my favourites in all of South America.
Quito was our first stop in Ecuador.
At 2.850m high, it was also our first introduction to altitude.
Quito is alive with markets that have rows upon rows of fruit as bright and colourful as the local clothing. There’s also rows of fresh cheese, nice with fruit, meats and entire pigs head lined up next to llama wool accessories.
The altitude makes Quito cold, and the higher you go the more woolly llama accessories are needed.
The locals have you covered though. Our excursion to Otavalo markets and Quilotoa Volcano saw us emerge with everything llama except a llama itself.
If your in Ecuador, you can't not visit The Middle of the World (Mitad del Mundo).
It was pretty cool to do yoga on both sides of the world at the same time.
South of Quito lies Banos, a tiny town lying somewhere between small glorious natural wonders and a main drag that’s lit up like Reno renovated South American style.
Banos is home to The Swing at the End of the World.
It sits atop a grassy hill at La Casa del Arbol and sends you flying out over the edge of a cliff, where you hang suspended for a moment feeling like a cloud in the bright blue sky, before being pulled back down to earth.
We rented bikes in Banos and rode Ruta de las cascades to The Devils Throat (Cascade Pailon del Diablo).
The route traverses a busy main road where every single rest stop has been replaced with zip lines that fly out across wide deep chasms.
At the end of what is meant to be a thirty minute bike ride, the thunderous Devils Throat is a truely awesome sight.
Even those adverse to both bike riding and zip lining felt it was well worth it.
Alausi is a cowboy kind of a place where the towns name stands tall in proud letters outside the train station it is famed for.
We rode The Devils Nose train (Nariz del Diablo) through the mountain side from there, weaving between rocky cliffs and looking out over waterfalls and the narrow gorge of the river Chanchan.
It’s customary in Ecuador, and parts of Peru, to eat guinea pig on special occasions. There’s always one member of the team whose more adventurous food wise than the others.
We tried in Cuenca. We made a booking at Tres Estrellas, a traditional restaurant that served local specialities - including guinea pig fresh off the rotisserie.
The sight of that small soft creature lying spreadeagled in his birthday suit, stripped of all furriness, his skin cooked, and (perhaps most astonishing of all), his teeth and claws intact was too much for these two pescatarian sisters.
We left that one to Hamez.
After Galapagos our time in Ecuador was brief.
We were headed South.