Less that 24 hours until I lift off for Ecuador. I leave at 9:25 tomorrow morning and arrive in Quito at 10:30 pm after a five-hour layoff in Miami. I have an early Sunday morning flight on Aerogal Airlines to the Galapagos and get in about 9:30am. I have two bus and one ferry ride to Puerto Ayora where I have a hotel booked for two night. This is the only hotel I have reserved for the trip.
Ecuador is the smallest country in South America. The Galapagos Islands are 600 miles west of the mainland. Once I arrive in the Galapagos I plan to book at 5-8 day cruise. Everything I’ve read says I can save a bundle of cash by booking a last-minute cruise in the Galapagos. I hope they’re right! Anyway, that’s the plan. I’ve booked a return to Quito for March 8 but will change that depending on the cruise.
Once I’m back on the mainland I plan to explore several other areas of the country.
Here’s an illustration from my Lonely Planet guidebook. I plan to go to Mindo (pop. 2000, elev. 4000 ft) to see cloud forests and birds. Octavalo (pop, 40,000, elev. 7600 ft) has one of the largest markets in the Andes. Cotacachi (pop. 10,500) has become synonymous with its leather workers. Cuenca (pop. 420,000, elev. 7600 ft.) is supposed to be the least expensive place to retire. I don’t have any plans for that but it is also one of Ecuador’s most beautiful colonial cities. Quito (pop. 1.8 million, elev. 8000 ft.) is the capital with lots of interesting places to see and finally, the Oriente. This is Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest and makes up a large portion of eastern Ecuador. I plan to spend 5-6 days at the Sani Lodge. I’ll have a tent on a raised platform with a thatched room. I guess the raised platform is to keep snakes and caimans out. And you wonder why Jean isn’t going along on this trip?
The Ecuadorian currency is the US dollar. They also accept all US coins even though they have their own coins with local people on them. They are the same denomination….penny, nickle, etc.
This has been a big week in Ecuador. The presidential campaign ran from January 4 to February 14 followed by the election last Sunday. They re-elected their current president. Quito opened its new airport about 10 miles east of the city. I hope they have all the kinks worked out by now.
I just finished spraying my clothes with Premethrin to ward off mosquitos. It worked well in Alaska and I hope it does on this trip as well.
I started my anti-malaria pills yesterday and will continue them everyday throughout the trip and a week after returning. The name-brand ones were $331 but I after my doctor approved I was able to get the generic ones for $82. That was a saving of $250. I hope they work against both the name-brand mosquitos and the generic ones.
The last thing on the agenda is finishing packing and go to the bank.
That it for now. I post again soon.
Thanks for following my trip.