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On the Road: Ecuador

Greetings from Ecuador! I’m halfway through my short jaunt around this South American nation, and my ideas for our Ecuador tour itineraries are evolving as I go. I’ve made a few great discoveries already. I don’t want to give away all my secrets, but here’s one little tidbit for you:

Most people visit the market town of Otavalo as a day trip from Quito. But if you only come for the day, you’ll miss the opportunity to stay at Casa Mojanda, which has been one of the highlights of my trip. After the frenetic energy of Quito, I found Casa Mojanda to be a welcome respite. My first night there, I was the only guest, but that didn’t stop them from making a delicious dinner for me (using the produce from their organic garden). When I got back to my room after dinner, there was a fire blazing in the fireplace (it’s chilly at night, up in the northern Andes). Then I stepped out onto the private grass patio behind my room to look at the clear night sky, and I was rewarded with a shooting star. In short, it’s perfection. I can’t wait to bring some of you back here with me.

Here are a few pictures from my explorations so far, to whet your appetite for more Ecuador! You can see all the pictures I’ve shared so far on Instagram, along with a couple of videos here.

(TOP) In the colonial center of Quito, Calle La Ronda is filled with artisan shops, restaurants… and chocolate. The Virgen de Quito (yes, she has wings) stands watch over the city from a nearby hilltop.

You can get a great overview (pun intended) of the city and it’s surrounding mountains by riding the Teleferico (cable car) up to 13,000 feet. That’s Cotopaxi Volcano in the distance behind me, currently blowing off some smoke and ash.

The mountains around Otavalo make for some nice vistas (this is one of Casa Mojanda’s resident dogs). Some of these mountains are volcanoes, too, but they’re slumbering.

Cuenca, in the southern Andes, is another UNESCO World Heritage city. It’s pretty as a picture.

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