50,000 Ecuadorian Sucre Bill which is extinct now! US Dollar Used

Ecu a dor


Quito Mi Corazonfruit trees grow all around this waterfall and the owner is koolCotapaxi, The Higestquito skylineotavalo


Basic Travel Information

·  Country & Fact

·  History, Geo

·  Entry Requirements

·  Money & Costs

·  Climate & Weather

·  Art & Culture

·  Health & Safety

·  Keeping in touch

·  Package Tours

·  Getting In

·  Getting Around

·  Getting Away

·  My Picks, My Dumps

·  Mountains

·  Coast, Beaches

·  Orriente, Jungle


papallatca - the coolest and warmest poolFast, Frequent, Reliable, and Moody - Cheap Citybuses 20 cents a ride Everybody got my name wrong, my first nameZooooo


My Travelogs ( July 2001 - Aug 2001 )

·  Quito - Centro Historico

·  Argentina vs. Ecuador

·  Mitad de Mundo y Papaluhuya

·  Drive towards rio Mindo

·  Piscina Papallatca

·  Banos

·  Trip(ped) Orriente

·  North - Ibbara y Tulcan

·  Esmeralda - The Beach

·  Guayaquil y Cuenca

·  Cotapaxi y Tungurahua

·  Quito - Nightlife & Food

·  People - Differences

·  Car renting - Car Parking

·  Adventurous Activities

The Places I travelled so far!
Quito, - de la capital
Baños - a hot stream to soak in in the outstanding mountain surroundings
Papallatca – another hot stream to soak in in the outstanding mountain surroundings ( for foreigners only! )
Papaluhuya – a hike to a volcanic crater.
Ibarra – Major town, North of Quito
Tulcan – From the Extreme North; Border to Colombia.
Esmeralda – Sea coast, nice beaches, and without pressurizing beach peddlers.
Le Orriente ( Quito -> Machahi -> Latacunga -> Ambato -> Yambo -> Baños -> Mera -> Puyo -> El Teñna -> Baeza -> Papallatca -> Tumbaco -> Cumbaya -> Quito ) – The exotic cloudforests, rivulets and thousand waterfalls

Quito Mi CorazonFast, Frequent, Reliable, and Moody - Cheap Citybuses 20 cents a ride Plaza Grande in Centro Historicomiddlequito skylinesan francisco iglesiasan francisco iglesia golden gate

San Francisco de Quito, - de la capital
First time in Latin America I travelled across the border from Lima, Peru to Quito, Ecuador. It was an altogether different experience which took 35 hours to pass. Quito, Mí Corazon – the slogan painted all over the town what I saw. To me, it's a place with nice air, nice people, and nice walks. First time I was not driving and taking 20 cents buses to anywhere and everywhere. Here in Ecuador, everything is in US $ as Ecuadorian Sucre collapsed and left these people dry as they are already living at a high altitude.
The line of Equator passed by Quito but still it has one of the places with nicest weather I have ever been too. Less oxygen, but you don't feel it until you start hiking up or down a huge mountain. Here people are well dressed and they have maintained their dignity although the economy fell on it's face. On my way to Quito in bus I met very nice Colombian people who invited me to visit their cities Bogota, and Cali. People are very warm hearted here and expect you to behave in the same way. Sometimes it's an offence not to return the same level of interest. Quito is divided in Old and New town. Also it is divided into lotsa sectors. A state run wired bus runs thru north to south called Trole. Also buses and taxis are abundant and everywhere. It's the first ever state capital I saw without a lot of rush and population. I stayed in where all the foreigners and backpackers stay. Also this place was adviced by the same columbian guy on the bus. Some main avenues like 'Avenida Amazonas & Av. 10 de Agusto' runs North to South, and thru the heart of the city. In south, in the old city, there are nice walkways to wander and see the peddlers, shoe shinners, and people soaking in the sun and the air. To me, there are hill people who dress up with their heavy clothes and with a unique hat or atleast a cap. And other people with normal western outfit. Women wear very tight pants and they are extremely friendly and warm. In general, there is a lot of machoism in the air and women like it ( or atleast positively tolerate it!). Hill/Indigenous women like to wear shining golden neclaces which cover their whole neck area. These necklaces consists lots of small golden shinning beads. Also I noticed girls have a small hunk in their nose and sometimes the nose is pleasantly shaped like a parrots' beak. It's very slight but yet noticable. Although young people are influenced by MTV but old people here dress up with a tie, a suit and a very nice hat.
Different Places to Visit in Quito
Centro Historico - Lots of Museums, Old Town and Virgen Angel at the top
Sector Marircal Sucre - All Travel Agencies for Galapogas Islands & Amazon Jungle
Quito Zoologico - Guayabamba ( 30 Kms. from border of North Quito )
Otavalo Indian Market - North of Quito ( around 100 Kms. )
Parque Nacional de Cotapaxi Volcan - South of Quito ( around 30 Kms. )
Soccer Matches in Atahualpa Estadio
Bull Fights in City Stadium

Banos Fall and poolBanos Fall and pool and washing placepool

Baños – 3 hours south by a hired taxi

I hired a taxi as it is extremely painful to rent-a-car and suffer the consequences. Here no matter how much you pay, in case of the car is robbed or stolen, you have to pay atleast $1,500 which is no fun. On the other hand, you can hire a taxi with a driver which costs $30-$70. This place, Baños has hot springs where hot waters falls off from a volcanic setup. I fixed a taxi for $50 for Rio Mindo ( which is in North ) and Baños which is in south of Quito. That one never turned up and I had to hire another one for $70 for Baños and ( Mitad de Mundo ). The ride was very scenic as on the way I could see Cotopaxi and other nice place around. I also saw a river near Baños which was used for rafting until it's water turned completely black! Once I was there in Baños, I realized I forgot to bring my shorts so I cannot get into the hot pools! Anyways, I wet my hair and touched the warm pool water with my feet and took the pictures of falling water. The driver was in tremendous hurry and was a religious asshole. He even wanted to return from Baños without taking a bath. Although he has time to to in the chapel and pray for his riches and shit! There was a nice cathdral in the center of Baños and everybody was dressed up so well. I took couple of more pics of the town/village and obeyed my Jesus!

when you miss a stop, you suffer at the roof and call it an adventurePapallatcapapallatca - the coolest and warmest poolpapallatca pool - everybody

Papallatca – 2 hours south-west by bus – 1 Kms uphill walk

The same deal like Baños. But this place is fully developed by a swiss company to provide western comforts. Instead of locals which I met in the otehr place, here I met Americans, Germans, British and ofcourse a New Zealander was with me!

volcanic crater

Papaluhuya – a hike to a volcanic crater
This place itself is a valley. Millions of years ago I guess even before Jesus was born there bust be an eruption which made this huge crater which is just a valley now. There is a 0.5 downhill descent to this hell as getting back takes four times of that time and extremely hard. The views are nice but there is no volcano!

middleFast, Frequent, Reliable, and Moody - Cheap Citybuses 20 cents a ride

Mitad de Mundo – Supposedly the middle of the world! There is a 3 storey statue which is ornamented by a globe on top. Claimed to be the middle of the world as the equator passes by. There are three museums and some drawn lines which divide the world into hemispheres and East and West.

Map of my trip to OrrienteA Rio in OrrienteOrriente Mountain Bike Ride on a slope

Le Orriente – The exotic cloudforests, rivulets, and thousand waterfalls
( Quito -> Machahi -> Latacunga -> Ambato -> Yambo -> Baños -> Mera -> Puyo -> El Teñna -> Baeza -> Papallatca -> Tumbaco -> Cumbaya -> Quito ) Probably Jurrasic Park III which I saw recently is not so exotic and full of rivulets, jungle, and waterfalls of all sorts. Think of how many shower patterns you can get from a Möen faucet and multiply with the biggest number you can. If you like natural showers, and small rivulets then this is the place. I drove a complete circuit from Quito to South, to East, to North and back to Quito.
Well, I have to admit I never had so much problem with a brand new Volkswagen Gol(f) before. It was not entirely the car manufacturers fault. Some of it has the “hand of GOD”. During this circuit which was initially aimed to take a plunge in crystalline water of Papallatca, but only the other way round. I, with my friend travelled thru the road which was completely absent at times, sometimes replaced with rivulets, mud, lots of stones, rocks, tree folliages and everything “natural” you can think of except mineral water bottles. To goto Papallatca, which is slightly east and then south I took the south exit to Quito and before I know I was going to Baños. On Sunday, the Baños was full with so many people that they ran out of basket to keep the clothes. For hygenic reasons, I refused to take a dip and shot some heads with my camera.
The scenaries were breathtaking and turning into short, sharp and water filled roads were breathholding. At night it was full moon but I wondered still there was darkness. There were so many flowers that I stopped at a bend and in a minute made a flower bonquet and presented it to my friend. The springs and the rivers were small and most of them were cold. Some locals were taking dips and washing clothes, catching fish and anything else you can imagine.
Then the real ride of roller coaster started. ¨Welcome to the Orriente¨, a small board said somewhere, and there were roads which were only theoritically two ways, passing thru the deep gorges, sometimes only stones, and sometimes the whole thing is submerged. Worst, there were mud and stone and your car will stop if you slow even for a while. All this time during driving thru the mud, you can drive only in Ist gear. So the car took the toll.
The whole bottom of the car is badly bruised and things from water to strange liquids, some internal some accumulated were leaking from the bottom. You might think, how do I know. Well, my knowledge now runs deep into a fault of Volkswagen which I am going to write to them. I am a software engineer and cars are for me there, to reach to point B from point A or maximum maybe vice versa.
After a muddy road where already a truck is stuck and doing a lot of radial motion but covering no distance but it´s drivers´with mud, i saw it was finally dragged away by a big CAT. After CAT and the truck moved away, I tried to manueaver in Ist gear and guess what. Front wheel drive, 1.6i Volkswagen Gol was repeating the same feet which the truck did in past. Soon I found my sleeves up and hands down in the red mud, trying to search the recovery hook which is used to pull-push the car out of emergency situations.
After giving the CAT driver 5 Washingtons, the german wagen was out and a little more stretch of unspelled road to go before it sees the pebbled road again. As there was this ubiquotus red mud too, I tried to speed it past thru the rest of the obstacle course.
There is a little ball-and-socket joint which is connected to the hand gear and to the control of the real gear shaft. This joint is further ¨joined¨ with a plastic wussy washer which creates this ¨joint¨. Well, it fell apart and the car is leaking from it´s bottom from atleast three places. Now the hand gear of the car was moving as freely as a Joystick in the Video Game or a in a computer. Somehow as there were things leaking from the bottom of the car, I thought the problem might be there.
I jacked the right front tire up and crawled under the chasis to figure out the problem. In the middle of Hot and cold, tasting like water and oil, liquids and hot parts almost touching and hissing with the red mud dropping on my body I found the hand of devil. I tried my best to put it back and with the fear of the whole car falling into my chest as the jack was resting on a stupid unpaved road. Anyways, I took the plastic washer out and yanked the ball into the socket. The gear was back into normal functioning like a magic. But after crossing a village when i changed the gear it won´t, and this time it was stuck in 2nd gear.
I repeated the steps again and this repetation was repeated atleast 5 times. The last time was in the most busy street and Avenue in Quito City ( Avenieda Colon y 10 de Agusto ). Needless to say it´s 1:00 in the morning and we had fun.

Observations made on Ecuador et al.

Otavalo Indian Market otavalo

Dressing up and cleanliness

for tasting, not testingfruit trees grow all around this waterfall and the owner is kool

This is the land of desaños, almuerzos and fruitas. a lot of tropical fruits. Bottled water, drinks, and packed snacks are eveywhere. I still have to know how poeple afford it when they earn $100-$500 per month. They have Chinese Restaurants called 'chifos' in excess in Quito and chinese people who speak spanish better than me.

Keeping in touch
Ecuador, specially Quito is practically infested with numerous Internet Cafes. The major Ave. 10 de Agusto, near Santa Clara and Av. Amazoans, near Av. Colon have too many. Access is $0.80-$1.50 per hour and other services like printing, scanning pictures, burning CDs are available at an additional cost.
These Internet Cafes offer cheap international calls over internet which is almost always on on a net2phone account. Cost is somewhat $0.18-$0.25 per minute to US and similar to all Europe and $0.99 to India.
Old fashioned phone calls may be done thru numerous Bell South or Porta public telephone booths. Both of them need phone casrds which are cheap and widely available on the shops nearby. Although relatively expensive than calls made over the internet, but they offer high quality voice and lots of public booths available.
Postal system which is Correo del Ecuador exists although there are almost none postboxes. Walk into tourist office or nearby postoffice is needed to buy stamps or mail letters.

Getting Around
Ecuador, has mountains, jungles, and coasts. It also has a very efficient network of buses which run frequently thru the country.

·  Taxis
Quito the capital, is a city laid North to South and all maps you can get your hands on show North on the left side of the page instead pointing up. In Quito, there are lots of metered taxis who charges $0.80-$3.00. These taxis can be hired to see tourist destinations in Ecuador on hourly/daily/weekly basis. This option is cheaper and safer than renting a car but the driver should be honest and good. Some of them have cell phones and dispatch radios and business cards. If they provide good service, they can be recalled with that number. I took taxis often and hired them two times for longer periods. Following are the details ...


Destination ( Itiniary )



never showed up!

Av. Amazona -> Banos -> Rio Mindo ->Av. Amazona

350 Km.

US $60

Full Day

Av. Amazona -> Banos -> Mitad de Mundo ->Av. Amazona

200 Km.

US $70

Four Day

Carcelan -> Zoo in Guayabamba ->Av. Amazona

70 Km.

US $25


·  Local Buses
There are lots of buses which costs $0.20-$0.28 from one corner to the other. Their route names like 'Especial CATAR', Interparroquail, POPULAR are painted on the top, side and route number is often written on the back. Also in the front, on the glass names on small boards show where these buses go. By law, they cannot be overloaded. It's a good and cheap way to commute.

·  Regional Buses
In the South of Quito, there is the regional bus terminal called "Marin". All parts of the Ecuador can be reached thru these buses. The farthest point you can reach takes 12 hours and it's either the westmost point bordering Colombia or in the extreme south bordering Peru.

·  Trole / Ecovia
Like other Metros, there are buses run on electric/gas called Trole. Some routes like 10 de Agusto, Ecovia there are two way reserved lanes exclusively from the Trole and sometimes they are opposit to the traffic to enforce their exclusive rights.

Printable regional distance chartquito skyline

Ecuador 101 / Ecuador Primer
1 US $ = 1 Ecuador Dollar July 2001
approx. ( in Quito / do it in big cities )
Full gass tank = 13-20 US $ per Gallon.
sin plomo rating 87 1 Galon = 1 US$.
1 habitacion para la noche = 7.00 – 40.00 US$.
con aire y con banos
Normal Fast Food = 3-5 US$
( KFC., McD, Burger King, Pizza Hut, King Chicken, Pollo Tejano, Mr. Pollo, Stav, Ch Farina, Camparo ... )

Information Places I used

·         Hotel Colon
Edo. Pichincha

·         Nassau Hostal
Avenida Pinto y Juan Leon Mera

·         Zona Libre – Cafeteria-Restaurante
Foch 746 y Av. Amazonas.
Telf.: 226-149

Picture Album
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© Copyleft 2001 - § Sudip Roy. Permission to copy with or without modification. Some photos Pending! Contact sudip@sudip.com for high quality photos.