Friday, March 14, 2014
Ecuador Trip Jan-Feb 2014
This blog describes the trip we took to Ecuador starting January 14 and ending on Feb. 18. We were going there mainly to see the Galapagos Islands. But we decided to spend some time seeing the rest of the country because round trip airfare was fairly expensive, so we wanted more “bang for our buck”. Groupon had an 8 day Ecuador trip for $1299 (offered by Gate 1 Travel) and it included airfare, so we thought that was a good deal and we bought it. Then we had to pay extra because we were flying from California. They allowed us to delay our return flight until after our Galapagos cruise, so our 8 day tour turned into a 35 day trip. Our flight landed in Quito at 11:45PM, and we were met by a representative from Gate 1 Travel. This was very good, because the new Quito airport is about an hour away from the main part of Quito. He took us in a very nice van to the Hilton Colon, one of the best hotels in Quito. It was a relief to arrive in Quito and not feel any effects of the high elevation, except that we could feel it when we tried to pull our suitcases up an incline. Quito is at about 9300 feet in the Andes. We would recommend going a day or 2 before a tour starts to get used to the elevation. The next morning we met our tour leader, Isabel, and the other 22 people in our group. Usually when we take a tour, we go with companies which offer groups of 12-16. This larger group turned out to be just fine, with friendly people who were of varied ages and many had traveled extensively. Quito has outstanding churches, convents, museums, plazas, and historic buildings which were the key to it being named as the first world heritage city by UNESCO. Our first excursion was by bus to visit the Old Colonial section. We stopped at The Cathedral of the National Vote, the tallest church in Ecuador.