My planned excursions and unexpected challenges pushed me further than I ever thought I could take myself.
Day 1- Arrive
When I arrived in Ecuador I got settled into my hostel at Community Hostel in Quito. I planned to stay in Quito but also do tours to see the other regions of the country. The hostel was cozy and welcoming. There was truly a family atmosphere in the building, which made me feel very safe. The beds were extra large and every floor had its own private bathroom.
Day 2- Free Walking Day Tour
After I got settled in I asked the front desk about any day tours that were available. I was able to book all of my tours through the Community Adventures. I was only staying for a week and as a solo female who doesn’t speak much Spanish, I thought guided tours would be the best way to get the most out of my experience.
I spent the second day in Quito, wandering around with a free walking tour. We explored the old town and later I went to see the Cathedral of Quito. I had a homemade dinner at the hostel and got ready for my first big tour the next morning.
Day 3- Otavalo Marketplace
On my third day, I went on a full day tour to the Otavalo Market. It was an adventurous morning and we got to see and learn so much about the local culture. We went to the market and I teamed up with a girl who spoke a lot of Spanish. Together we used my bartering skills and her Spanish to get really good deals at the shops in the marketplace. The market was filled with a lot of unique items but some of the most memorable parts of the day were all the different faces I saw. From the young to the elderly, the faces captivated me by their strength, sorrow, and resilience.
Day4+5 – One night stay in Banos
For my next adventure, I went on an over night trip to Banos. It was a long drive to get there but worth every minute. The first stop was at the “swing at the end of the world.” I walked up a short hill and saw this amazing little tree house with a swing on either side of it. When it was my turn, I got on the swing and swung into the clouds with a breathtaking view of the mountains – truly breathtaking. Afterward, I ventured into the forest to go zip lining and then to see the Devil’s Cauldron.
Day 6- Cotopaxi Hiking and Bike Tour
On day six I went to Cotopaxi for a hiking/biking tour. On this adventure, we drove to the largest volcano in Ecuador and we set off to climb the mountain next to the Cotopaxi volcano. We climbed a little over 4,000 ft that day and it was definitely one of the most challenging journeys of the entire trip. We walked for about an hour and a half to reach the top of the mountain. Walking up that high with less oxygen than you are used to you truly makes you feel out of shape. I pushed myself and, even as others turned back, kept persevering. When we reached the top it was a bit too cloudy to fully see the volcano but simply to feel the magnitude of the mountain and know how far I just climbed truly took my breath away.
Day 7- Leave