Quito or Cuenca
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Sep 17, 2012 9:44 AM Last Post By: Thenomadway
Aug 25, 2012 11:07 AM
Quito or CuencaMe and my wife are planning a 6-7 month trip to South America next year starting in January 2013.
We will start from Ecuador around 15th January, will stay there for 2months and then move to Bolivia, Peru for a month each .
Next to Chile, Argentina and brazil for around 45 days then head back to India for a year's travelling there.
for the 2 months in ecuador, we want to sit back and relax for the first one month in ecuador and then go see the country.
I have been looking at options in Ecuador, two places that I have found are
I want to avoid any cities if possible, and cuenca seems like a good option.
I need help with more options so that I can finalize a plce, look for an apartment to rent etc.
Thanks in advance.
Aug 25, 2012 10:06 PM
1Um Cuenca is a city albeit a small one. So how about a town or village somewhere? Depending on what you want to do while relaxing and where you want to relax and also what kind of weather/climate you want to do all this in and will you visit Galapagos while you are there?
Aug 26, 2012 10:18 AM
Aug 27, 2012 8:38 AM
3Quito is the first UNESCO city on earth. Quito is a cosmopolitan city, lots of expats like it here due to good weather and good facilities.
Quito has lot of American style malls, traffic is kind of well runned (for Latino standards) and there are all kinds of restaurants, cinemas, malls, entertainment, regulat theaters and private-public schools and universities with high level of education.
Quito has the most well kept Spanish Historic Centre in the Americas.
Aug 27, 2012 8:39 AM
4Cuenca became a UNESCO city in the late 1990's. It is a lovely city and has outstanding architecture. Cuencanos are gentle and smily (like quitenos).
Cuenca has less malls, less restaurants and few cinemas. It has very few theaters and their parks can not be compared with Quito parks, they are smaller and not very well run.
Cuenca has some pollution and its Old Tow has a lot of stressed drivers. They can be a bit rude some times.
Aug 27, 2012 9:19 AM
5If you want to avoid cities then consider a smaller town depending on your interests. Do you want a coastal or jungle or mountain environment? Given that the coast and jungle are not too far from the mountain environment which is to me is a more pleasant climate then I would consider a town in the the Sierra to base myself in and do trips from there but can still be within a reachable time from say Quito or Cuenca etc for some cultural experience or some nightlife with a stay overnight in one of the hostels etc.?
Aug 28, 2012 5:15 PM
6I like both cities quite a bit, but for a place to spend a lot of time I would probably go with Cuenca. It's more laid back than Quito and is generally safer for tourists (though I never had a problem in Quito either). There's plenty to do in the area, and onward travel to the Chachapoyas region in Peru is simple and painless.
I found the food in Cuenca to be quite good as well.
Aug 29, 2012 1:18 PM
7thank you so much for the responses,
cuenca has the majority of votes, but now I will start researching abt Otavalo, Cotacachi, Ambato or Banos.
has anyone of you any ideas about Vilcabamba?
We would definitely be visiting Galapagos, are there any other places that we must definitely see when in Ecuador.
The reason we choose ecuador is because its not that expensive, also being indians it is one of the few places where we dont have visa hassles, all the other countries need us to have a visa before arrival and we can stay upto 90 days in ecuador.
also we have been working for almost 6-7yrs now, so this 2 year break is much needed.
pboae : have you stayed at any of Otavalo, Cotacachi, Ambato or Banos.?
Also how necessary is spanish if we plan to be in South America for 6months.?
thanks in advance.
Aug 29, 2012 6:31 PM
8Spanish is pretty important, you can get by without knowing much but it will enhance your experience to be able to communicate.
There are lots of haciendas or cheaper rural hostels where you can sit back and relax, well away from a city. How are you planning to relax? Everyone has been mentioning towns - do you want to be in a town or out in the countryside. You could base yourself in the Cuenca area and move around a little to some nice rural places (Caballo Campana, Uzhupud).
Aug 29, 2012 8:49 PM
9Forget Ambato - also a city albeit a small one but a fairly boring place after a day or so IMO.
There is plenty to do in the Imbarura Province so Cotacachi which has lots of expats living there or Otvalo might be good options and Ibarra is a nice small city with good medical facilities and supermarkets should you need them.
Baños is also another option with plenty to do do and not too far from Ambato or Riobamba - both small cities. However Tungurahua seems to have been throwing hissy fits lately so that could be iffy if they decide to evacuate the towns.
Vilcabamba would be good to chill out in and is not too far from Loja - another small city with necessary amenities should you want them and it has a lot of cultural activities also.
However should you want a beach area to chill out then there are quite a few good ones along the coast too.
Aug 30, 2012 8:20 AM
Aug 30, 2012 3:05 PM
11I've stayed in them for short times on holiday, but I've only lived in Quito. I know Cuenca is very popular, but I'm not a big fan, just my personal feelings, and not a typical point of view I know. If you could give us more information about what you are looking for, and what you enjoy, we can probably give you better advise.
Aug 30, 2012 4:07 PM
12Otavalo is beautiful, easily one of my favorite mid-size cities in the Andes. There's lovely Andean countryside all around, vibrant indigenous culture, and excellent infrastructure.
Coming from India, you may find Otavalo to have some pleasantly familiar characteristics. The indigenous people there have been very successful in business (the Saturday craft market is enormous and world famous), and since most of the money has stayed within the community, the standard of living is much higher than in any other indigenous town I've ever visited. They have successfully embraced globalization while staying true to their cultural roots, just as much of India has: teenage girls wearing indigenous dresses with Aeropostale hoodies is not an uncommon sight. I love it, personally. Plus the food is excellent.
Sep 17, 2012 9:44 AM
13Hi gvikramjee, you've got some great advice here!
Trip sounds great....we are currently in Ecuador and are heading north, but have just come from the places you are planning to go to. As per Backpackme, check out our blog, which shows our route - have loved all the places. As for Spanish, you'll be ok, just try and learn some of the basic words...you'll pick more up.
Have a blast!
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