Quito is the capital city of Ecuador and the 2nd highest in South America after La Paz. We read about how dangerous this country is before we arrived so we were very careful every time we walked on the street. We arrived at the North Bus Terminal which was about 45 minutes from town. We picked a hostel which we found out later that it is in between Old Town and New Town, it wasn’t so nice after dark, too quiet and doggy. The hostel owner told us not to walk on the street after 7pm, it is safe at the New town area but not anywhere else, if we go out we should take a taxi to come back. We took the advice seriously. The hostel do not have any dormitory instead I got a single private room for $7.5 per night.
The next day, Jannie and Joann have to find a camera repair shop as their camera failed after the horse riding at San Agustin. So we went to the new town and found a camera shop that was able to check the camera with $25 service charge. I can imagined travelling without a camera is hard. Our memory just can't remember all those beautiful places. I would be so upset if my camera broke down. After droping the camera we visited the Artisan market as well, there were lots of handicraft, bags, t-shirts, drawing, stones accessories, etc. We saw this guy making ice cream in the stall, we can't resist even thought eating ice cream can easily make us sick because of the water they use.
While we were on a street full of travel agencies, I enquired about Galapagos cruise, damn they are so expensive! The lady told me 10D9N dive cruise will cost about $4k, ouch! Then I found one which is last minute price at $700 for 5D4N on a nice sail boat but no diving. With the reference of price and info that I have gotten, now I really need to sit down and plan my trip. Back to the hostel after some research in the afternoon, I came up with this estimation, here is what I need to pay :-
1. Flight Quito-Guayaquil-Galapagos-Guayaquil - $350
2. Galapagos National Park Fee - $100
3. Tourist card - $10
4. Hotel accomodation - $15 per night x 10 = $150
5. Diving (2 day dives incl equipments) - $170 x 3 = $510
6. Food (3 meals) - $15 x 10 = $150
7. Return Boat transfer to other island - $50
8. Land activities - $100
9. Land Transfer to/from airport - $6
Total up to $1426
It’s going to cost me 1 month of my normal travel expenses. :-( I knew it is expensive! But this is why I come here for, it is going to cost me but it will be my dream comes true! :-) So I’ve decided to just fly in and book my package at the island.
On the 2nd day at Quito, we visited the Old town. Francois whom I met in Bogota arrived in town as well so we met up and spent the day visiting Old town together. The first stop was the Iglesia Basilica, it was an impressive piece of architecture! I always love glass windows in the Iglesia. There are always colorful and full of stories behind. I took photos of every single windows in the church. We were able to access to the 2 tower of the Iglesia.
The climb up was pretty shaky, we took a lift up to the 3rd floor on the north end of the church then we walked across the roof top of the Iglesia on few pieces of plank wood to reach the south tower, Francois gave up there as he has fear for height. :-( I climbed up to the top thru some steep steel steps, it was scary. Yet the view on top was amazing. Then I climb up the north tower as well, a different kind of view from this tower.
We stroll around the old town, the town was very pretty and we didn’t feel it was dangerous during day time. There were many people on the street and the weather was great. We were told not to walk up to the Panecillo, many people got robe on the way so we took a cab. From the Panecillo we had an excellent view of Quito. We then took a cab back to the Old town, in my opinion I think Quito is the most beautiful capital city I have visited so far. In the afternoon we moved to another hostel, we decided to move to a hostel that is in the New Town so we could go out easily in the evening. It was just stone throw away from the center of New Town and we bargained for a good price.
On the 3rd day, we have decided to visit the Mitad Del Mundo (middle of the world) We took the metro about 30 minutes to reach the end of the station, then another bus about 45 minutes away to reach the middle of the world. It was cloudy on that day, we took some photos of the monument that was built by French to mark the equator line. Unfortunately the place was built 200m north of the actual equator line. :-) Jannie and Joann tried their luck on the egg experiment, the egg is supposed to be able to stand on a nail on the ecuador line and yes they did it! :-)
Back to town, I bought my flight ticket to Galapagos! :-) I was happy that I am one step closer to my dream. I will be there for 10 days, spending the most out of it with my budget of around $1.5k.
Jannie and Joann left the next day to Mindo, I was invited by Francois’s host Maria Jose to join them to her mom’s house to make bread. It was for the celebration of the Day of Death. The tradition is to make this bread that is called “guagua de pan” and drink a sweet blackberry juice cook with pineapples, cinement and other spices when they visit the cemetery. We did all these at Maria Jose's parent house. I was so lucky to be able to experience this with a Ecuadorian family. At night Maria Jose brought us to visit La Ronda. La Ronda is in the Old town where a street of old shop houses was converted to souvenirs, restaurant and bars lid up with beautiful lights. It was great to be able to see Quito Old Town at night before I leave to Galapagos.
Quito – Marsella Hostel– $7.50 for private room with shared bath and WIFI availableQuito – Hostel Del Piamonte - $9 for dorm bed with shared bath hot water,breakfast and WIFI available
Taxi from Quito North Bus Terminal to Hostel in Old Town- $7 per taxiTaxi in town cost from $2 - $4
Bus to Mitad del Mundo - $0.40 per wayAeroGal flight Quito-Galapagos-Guayaquil - $350.87
Taxi from Hostel to Quito Airport - $5Recreations
Quito - Entrance to Iglesia Basilica - $1
Quito - Entrance to climb up to the tower of Iglesia Basilica - $2Quito - Entrance to Mitad del Mundo - $2