Quito was part of our trip because it’s the capital city of Ecuador and houses one of the main airports, so by default we spent some time there on our way out. If I recall correctly, we only spent two days in Quito before our flight out, but it was enough time to get a good feel for the city.
Quito was much different than the other parts of Ecuador that we visited in that it was a sprawling city with lots of people (over 1.6 million), and not as naturally beautiful. Although it wasn’t as scenic as the jungle, the fact that Quito sits at the top of the Andean foothills made for some pretty good views in the city!
On our first day in Ecuador we visited a beautiful old Cathedral. The details in this place were incredible!
You may have noticed in the picture above that Josh is missing…and he’s not behind the camera. Unfortunately, he was back in the room fighting off a stomach bug that he’d caught from some food he’d eaten the day before. Luckily, he recovered pretty quickly.
The next morning it was off to the tourist attractions. Since Ecuador is located on the equator (Ecuador literally means ‘equator’), there are two tourist spots that allow you to visit “The Middle of the World”. There are two because the the original monument that was built was later proved to be in the wrong location. We decided to visit both the “fake” equator and the real equator.
The “fake” equator monument is Mitad Del Mundo, which, to be honest, was a little bit boring compared to the real site. There was a large monument, a little village like area with shops and food, and some displays to view, but not much else.
The “real” equator site, Museo de Sitio Intinan, was a bit touristy, but was pretty interactive so we thought it was fun. We had a guide who showed us around, educated us on some Ecuadorian culture and history, and showed us some tricks that could supposedly only be done on the equator.
One of the most interesting things we learned about was the Shrunken Head practice in which multiple Amazonian tribes shrink the heads of deceased enemies (it’s crazy, google it). We weren’t allowed to take photos of the actual shrunken head that was on display, but I did take a few photos of a mural that explained the process.
After visiting the tourist attractions, we grabbed some dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant, oddly enough. I have to say, the food here was much better than in Shell. Unfortunately, I forgot that I wasn’t supposed to eat any produce (food poisoning and parasites are common) and ended up eating some dip with cucumbers. The next day was not pleasant. Regardless, I made it to the local market with everyone where I picked up an Alpaca blanket and my favorite beanie that I now wear on all my cold weather hiking trips!
Our trip to Ecuador was filled with all kinds of adventure and we can’t wait to go back and visit again one day!