Ecuador

18 days in Juli 2005


Photo albums:

Ecuador photo
 
Birds
 
Insekts
 

 

Tour operator: Erich Lehenbauer who speaks English, German and Spanish runs a small tour company called Ecuador-Travel and he arranged tours, hotels and domestic flight tickets.

About Ecuador:

Ecuador is placed at the north-western coast of South America with Colombia to the north and Peru to the east and south. Ecuador has a long coast line against the Pacific Ocean to the west.

 

Ecuador also includes the Galapagos Islands about 1.000 km into the Pacific Ocean, which offers a very unique wild life. We will have this experience on another trip as we have neither the money or the time.

Getting there: We fly with Spanish Iberia from Copenhagen via Madrid to Quito. Because of bad flight connections we had to overnight in Madrid but this was included in the ticket and showed to be a nice experience too. Flying time is 3 + 11 hours.
Going home was an avesome experience as we had to fly Quito - Guayaquil - Madrid - Barcelona - Copenhagen followed by a 3 hour drive home. All together 32 hours traveling time ! see map

Time difference: Ecuador is 5 hours behind CET (in the summer it is 6 hours).

Distance north-south is about 650 km and east-west about 600 km. It covers an area of 283.560 km2.
The country is devided from north to south by the Andes where you can see five active vulcanos. Chimborazo is the highest with its 6.310 meters.

Currency: Ecuador has adopted the US$ as the official currency. Bring only small bills as return money on bills of more than 20 dollars can become a problem.

Climate: Ecuador has it all. Tropical, sub tropical, temperated and a special climate in the High Andes called Paramo. We experienced temperatures from 5°C to 45°C.

We are well prepared and have brought clothes for both the cold and the hot climate zones. In the Amazones we borrowed wellies from the local tour operator.

 

 

 


Quito: The capitol is located at 2.800 meters altitude. It is a big city that spreads across a 5 km wide valley and reaches 30 km north-south.
The city was very poluted the firs time we came there but it seemed to be better the second time.

The central part of the city is devided into a new modern styled part and an old historical part.

In the new part we only visited the National Museum which was quite interesting. There are severel good restaurants in the new town too. Especially around the Via Amazonas.
We did not expect much from the old town but was really surpriced as it showed to very very well kept and very very clean. On Sundays it is closed for motorized traffic and in the warm period of the year it is worth spending a Sunday here just watching the thousands of people strolling around.

Quito is first subject on the World Hertage List and here you will also find the first church ever built in South America.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Transportation in Quito: We did not try out the bus system but there are cheap taxis everywhere you turn. I will suggest going for newer taxis with company name and number on the sides.

At day time you pay by the meter but in the evening it costs a dollar or two on to of that. It is still cheap.

 

 

 


Transportation outside of Quito; As you can see from the photo the buses are very colourful and there are a lot of them too. We did not have to try them out as Erich drove us around on our tours the first week. The second week we went to the Amazones where you ned a boat more than a car.

We heard from others that the buses were not a pleasant experience.

 

 

 


At the time went there Erich had this great and comfortable 4x4.

On the photo we are at about 3500 meters above sea level and you can see Quito in the valley behind and at the outermost right the active volcano Cotopaxi.

 

 


The population of Ecuador counts a little more than 13 million people. Most of them are Spanish descendants and that leaves the native indians as a minority.
For the same reason the main language is Spanish but also a number of native indian languages are used.

 

 


The picture showes a situation from our stay in the Amazone jungle where we stayed at Yuturi Lodge. It took me some time to find this location on a map but it showed up to be at the cordinates:
"0°32'53.05" syd og 76° 2'29.38" which can be found on Google Earth.

The rich nature is the main reason for most travelers to go to Ecuador and this country has everything you can ask for. We have been to tropical forrest, rain forrest and cloud forrest and the paramo in the high lands where it is dry and cold. To the west of the Andes it is mostly cloud forrest and low lands and to the east it is rain forrest with some of the big rivers of the Amazones.

There are only a few speices of bigger mammals in South America but we have seen more birds and butterflys and other insects than we ever dreamed of. This trip really turned our interest onto birding tours. Erich is an exelent birding guide and in the field of nature in general.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Otavalo has a well known market for handy craft and other interesting things. You can by clothes made of wool from Parca and also the famous South American hats.

This is also the market for the locals so it is an interesting experience where you will meet people in their traditional colourful dress.

We bought a CD with local music fom the guys on the photo. Click on the photo to hear a piece of it.

 

 


 

'Mutad del mundo' means 'Center of World' which ofcourse is equator. Ecuador got its name because this is where this line was defined for the first time. It happend in the beginning of the 19. century. Later when the sientific instruments got better it had to be corrected but only with a coupple of hundred meters. There is a great but not very nice looking momument at the place where it happend but Erich choose to stop at a different spot where the road crosses the line and we just had to take the traditional photo standing with a foot on each side of it.
Twice a year at 12 o´clock on equinox you will find the sun directly above you.

 

 

 


 

Pichincha: Before we came to Ecuador we had been to an altitude of 2.500 meters but here we went (almost) to the top of Pichincha that has its peak at 4.675 meters above sea level.
It is an amazing experience and we found that living a life at just 40 meters above the sea had not prepared us for this. The air is thin and cold but the view is the most spectacular I have ever seen !

 

 

 

 

 


Mindo is a small village about one and half hour drive to the west of Quito. It is placed in a mountain area with altitudes from 1.500 to 2.500 meters.
The whole area is covered by cloud forrest which means it is a little warmer than Quito area but cooler than the Amazones.

This is one of the best known birding areas and on top of that the jungle is a fantastic experience too. There are lots of Orchids, if you come at the right time of the year.
Here you can find a variation of trees and plants like only a few other places in the world. Most of my pictures of birds and butterflys are from this area.

Mindo Area and Central American Costa Rico compeats in bird counting (most speices counted in one day) and Mindo happens to win this competition. In 2004 about 250 species were found in one day.

I guess the same thing goes for butterflys !

In Mindo we stayed at a small and very nice hostel called Orchid Garden. The owner of the hostel is also a great birding guide and showed us the famous 'Cock of the Rock'.