7 Days in Ecuador
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Jun 2, 2012 9:08 PM Last Post By: jgcp
May 23, 2012 8:02 PM
7 Days in EcuadorI have seven days in Ecuador, starting June 4, following a one month trip through Panama and Colombia. This isn't the Galapagos trip for me, and so I'm wondering if any of you seasoned folks can recommend some options for me. Montanita jumps out at me as a possibly cool place to check out, but then I have to buy another pair of flights from/to Quito, as I understand it.
I'm not on a super tight budget, so I was thinking of renting a car or jeep, but I don't know if it's possible to drive to Montanita from Quito or if I have to fly to Guayaquil no matter what.
I think I'll like Montanita. I liked the laid back party scene of Taganga in Colombia (near Tayrona) but thought that Bocas Del Toro in Panama was not that fantastic (crappy town, lots of hustlers, even though the nearby islands were great).
Or, should I just spend the whole week in and around Quito?
Thanks fellow travelers and folks living in Ecuador, in advance for any help.
May 23, 2012 11:20 PM
1There's nothing laid back about Montanita, it's a full-on party town, at weekends anyway. You can take buses from Quito, you don't have to buy flights, but obviously flying is faster. Car hire in Ecuador is rarely cost effective, you can usually hire a private driver for what it will cost you to hire a car.
It's certainly possible to get down to the coast for a few days, but if you just want a change of scenery with minimal extra travel, you might want to try somewhere closer to Quito. If your nickname is literal you would probably find plenty to amuse you in Banos or possibly Mindo.
(I've not been to Taganga but I wasn't overly impressed with Bocos Del Toro either.)
May 24, 2012 7:34 AM
2Taganga is better. It's more scenic and also less people hassling you.
Thanks for the tips on staying closer to Quito. I definitely want to see the stuff around there but I was thinking a week might be a bit much time.
I'm a photographer, so that's why I want to travel by car; more independent with the ability to take a detour to get some shots. So, maybe hiring a private driver is the way to go.
May 24, 2012 8:02 AM
3Well for photos you could travel via Latacunga to see Cotopaxi and a chunk of the Quilotoa Loop then continue towards Banos. From there you can easily move to Puyo and the edges of the Amazon if you wanted. There aren't many countries where you could hit such a wide variety of landscapes in such a short time.
May 25, 2012 3:01 PM
May 25, 2012 5:00 PM
May 26, 2012 9:01 PM
6I think it was a company called Probici or something like that. There were 2 or 3 companies listed in the South America LP and I spoke with all of them and they all seemed really good (My only issue was finding a company who had someone else going on the same day as they all needed a minimum of 2 people)!
May 27, 2012 5:25 PM
7You might want to rethink Montañita which is quite a long way South. The weather at the beach gets cloudy at the end of May and worsens until September when it begins to improve until the end of November, at which time (December) the "Season" begins. August the ocean is rough and cold, serious surfers wear thin wet suits. Inland it is hot and dry, the very cloudy overcast weather comes from the south, and sits at the shore, so if you want a warm sunny beach head to Northern Ecuador in August, unless you want to whalewatch. The whales arrive in abundance in July, August & September, they love the COLD water and overcast conditions, they jump and cavort with no worries about sunburn!! The best viewing is said to be Puerto Lopez.
The weather in the mountains especially to the Western side is normally the best at this time of year. You might want to consider the Quilotoa loop for 3 days from Latacunga. Baños is lots of fun, with many activities, nightlife and daytime fun, it's the beginning of the rainy season on the East side of the Andes, but just the beginning so that might not be an issue.
And biking with Probici from Riobamba is excellent, they are the most experienced and have been operating for many years.
Have fun and enjoy there's so much to see and do............
May 31, 2012 9:32 PM
8We just returned from an amazing experience in Ecuador with a short trip also....just a little longer than yours. We did rent a car and had a blast with it...though the driving in Ecuador can be a little hairy and you have to get used to the style of passing at blind curves along the Panamerican highway....plus since I was driving the car and am a woman this caused quite a shock around most of the rural areas we were in. But we loved the freedom of having the car and loved finding our way around, asking for directions, stopping at gas stations for yummy glass- bottled cokes...all the things that arent fun about driving in the states were charming there. I would definitely recommend Otavalo and surrounding lakes, waterfalls, haciendas, and hikes for a few days, folllowed by Mindo where you will also love the hiking, mtn biking, waterfalls and general laid-back mountainy hippie vibe. There is a delightful chocolate shop there called "Chocolarte" that you will love, a cloudforest full of birds and butterflies, and tons of cabanas and lodges to choose from....we stayed at Cabanas Armonia and loved it. Otavalo is a little over an hour from Quito by car, and Mindo a little over 2 hrs from Quito by car. Enjoy!
Jun 1, 2012 9:27 AM
9Montañita is a great spot for surfers, especially on June so you will find plenty of tourists and parties. Montañita holds a pretty bohemian atmosphere and it is fun, but it has become so popular and a bit too exploited so it has lost its original atmosphere. It is still a great place to visit, though.
Canoa is also a great beach spot (8 hrs drive from Quito - located on Manabí Province). It receives tourists from everywhere as well and it is less know that Montañita, Personally I find it much nicer and less crowded. There is also lee of a night life, but the few you can get is great. Weather is a bit colder, though, similar to the one you will find a Montañita during June
Mompiche Beach (Esmeralda Province) is also a great spot. The Roya Decameron, recently inagurated, has "privatized" one part of the beach. But the original beach part (the one where the small town is located) is so beautiful and quite isolated. Lots of tourists from all around visit it constantly. It will take you about 6 -7 hrs to reach there by bus from Quito. The weather is quite warm on Jun, warmer that what it will be like in Montañita or Canoa
If you are really into deserted beaches, you should try los Frailes too!
Both of these are located northern coast.} of Ecuador.
Here are some useful links you might want to check out:
Jun 1, 2012 12:59 PM
10Dont skip Guayaquil! There are also things to do and see. If you are into sports, animals, history and so on... you can do it. Check out my website www.rentfriendsguayaquil.com for laid back tours.
Also go to montañita, you'll love it
Jun 2, 2012 9:36 AM
11As luck would have it my trip to Ecuador has been shortened a bit. Now I have four days, arriving and departing from Quito. What do you guys think, should I still rent a car and see the areas around Quito, or just stick around the city and maybe make one daytrip with a car or some other means of transportation? It's not long to see the area and I want to make the best use of my time there. I'll have to make another, longer trip back to Ecuador sometime, to see Montanita and Galapagos properly.
Thanks you all for the great info and help!
Jun 2, 2012 8:16 PM
12There are plenty of things to see and do not too far from Quito depending on what your interests are. the Quilitoa Loop can be done by car in a day or so. Otavalo and surrounding areas is another option or a visit to Mindo. Cotapaxi is not too far away either. Just take your pick.
Jun 2, 2012 8:42 PM
Jun 2, 2012 9:08 PM
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