Things To Do In Ecuador – The Video Review
Quito is the capital of the country of Ecuador. Sitting at 2850 meters or 9,350 feet above sea level, it is the highest capital city in the world. (Mistakenly, many believe La Paz, Bolivia is the highest capital in the world; however, La Paz is not the capital of Boliva, Sucre is).
The name Quito literally means “the middle of the world”. Since Ecuador sits on the Equator, there are no seasons per se; however, the locals have a saying, “the weather is the like the girls, beautiful and unpredictable”.
7 Things To Do In Ecuador
1. Compañía de Jesús, Quito – This is one of the best-known churches in Quito. Decorated with gold leaf, gilded plaster and wood carvings it is considered one of the most significant works of Spanish Baroque architecture in South America.
2. El Panecillo – Here you will find one of the best views of the city. On a hill high over the city you find the Virgen de Quito or the “Dancing Madonna” watching over the bustling city below.
3. Basílica del Voto Nacional – A Roman Catholic church located in the historic center, it is the largest neo-Gothic basilica in the Americas.
4. Old Town – This historic district can be navigated by foot, though you will mostly likely feel exhausted by the end of the day. Be sure to explore the three main squares – Plaza de la Independencia, Plaza Santo Domingo and Plaza San Francisco. There are many free walking tours offered online—just do a quick Google search to find one that seems interesting to you.
5. Teleferico – A cable cart takes you up the side of Pichincha. Here you can take in a panoramic view of the city and hike through one of the 45 National Parks and reserves of Ecuador. Be sure to go early, because the clouds cover the mountain mid-day and your view will be obscure.
6. Travel to the middle of the world. There are three options:
La Mitad del Mundo – This is the spot that explorers calculated to be the equatorial line back in 1736. It is highly photographed and if you Google images of the equator, this monument will dominate your search. It has now been proven that this tourist attraction is off by 240 meters.
Museo Intiñan – Calculated by GPS (with mixed reviews and results) this museum is designed to test the physical forces of the equatorial region. Some of the experiments are tricks, but others are demonstrations of physics. Either way it is an entertaining way to spend a couple of hours.
Quitsato Sundial – The equatorial line in this location was conceived from satellite information. Here you will learn about the history of the region and cultural implications of the equator through astronomy, geodesy and archaeology as ancient civilizations observed the position of the sun at the solstices.
7. Hike through the central Andes and volcano alley.
The Andes are the longest mountain range in the world and boasts some of the highest peaks, most of which are volcanoes. One of the most famous volcanos in the region is Cotopaxi. Mountain climbers from around the world travel to Cotopaxi National Park to summit this stunning peak. There are 44 volcanos in Ecuador with varying degrees of technical difficulty.
Of the many things to do in Ecuador getting altitude sickness is not one of them.
Since Ecuador is almost two miles above sea level many tourist suffer from altitude sickness. Know the early
symptoms of altitude sickness which include: headache, dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, fatigue and insomnia. If altitude sickness persists later symptoms include: shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, respiratory failure, cerebral edema, coma, or death.
One of the best ways to ward off altitude sickness hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Avoid caffeine and alcohol which depletes the body of water. Incorporate potassium rich foods into your diet to help you acclimate. Eat foods such as broccoli, bananas, avocado, cantaloupe, celery, greens, dates, potatoes and tomatoes. Carbohydrates are also great for stabilizing your blood sugar while maintaining your energy.
If you are climbing to even higher elevations, remember to ascend slowly; climb high but sleep low and continually access how you feel. The most effective treatment for altitude sickness is to descend. In extreme cases, you may need an oxygen treatment or professional medical treatment.
The rich volcanic soil found in Ecuador is great for growing produce and flowers. Ecuador is one of the biggest exporters of roses in the world and 60% of the roses grown in this region are exported to the United States. If you buy roses on the street, you can get 24 stems for $2 USD.
Things To Do In Ecuador – Eat Like A Local
Ecuadorian cuisine should not be missed. Arroz con Pollo (rice with chicken) is a traditional dish as well as Ceviche. Try the Choclo. This dry roasted Andean corn is the perfect snack to eat while walking the city. One of Ecuador’s best known, and most beloved, dishes is Llapingachos. These potato patties are made with cheese, and cooked on a griddle until golden brown. I especially loved the Locro Soup which is a hearty, potato-based soup made with cheese and avocado. Cuy or Guinea Pig is a local delicacy which I opted out of trying, let me know what you think of it if you dare to order this little rodent. Finish the evening with a Canelazo. This alcoholic drink is made with a clear, anise-flavored liquor, cinnamon, lemon, sugar, and water. It will knock you out for the rest of the night.
If there is one word I could use to describe Ecuador, it would be VIBRANT. The people are vibrant, friendly and warm. The landscape showcases vibrant, lush, green terrain against the bright blue, vibrant sky. The textures of the cuisine vibrantly contrast each other creating a medley of sensations for your tastes buds to enjoy. This vibrant country should be on every traveler’s list of places to see.
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