Ecuador is a very beautiful country. Incredibly beautiful!
But from the very beginning we were not matched with each other. Sometimes it happens, unfortunately. Almost every day something unpleasant happened to me there. In every city I have been. So despite of all beauty, Ecuador is forever a problem place for me and I don't think I'll ever come back. All the difficulties I'd met there made me leave the country really quickly. I spent only two weeks there.
First stop was in Tulcan. Not really a stop, it's just a town near the border where I have to take the bus to Quito. In that town there is a really beautiful... cemetery. It's a mix of Christian and Indian culture very unusual and colorful.
After that I went to Quito. It's a huge city with a very complicated transportation system. Quite a lot things are worth seeing there. They have lots of museums, the historical part of the city is very beautiful. There are numerous old amazing churches, including the biggest one in South America. You can visit the house of the government. You can visit the monument "mitad del mundo" (middle of the world), located on the equator, it is outside the city, but not far. And teleferico (cable road) is impressive.
So, you can easily spend a week in Quito. There are a lot of things to see. Though the city itself is quite dangerous, so it's better avoid dark streets and look after your stuff.
Then I went to Baños. Small beautiful town in the middle of the country, surrounded by beautiful nature, volcanoes, waterfalls and thermal springs. Good for relaxing, hiking, visiting jungle. It's good for many things, but if you stay there for a long time, you'll most likely be bored.
After Baños I finally went to my favorite part - the coast. Puerto López, Isla de la Plata, playa de los Frailes, Ayampe. Nothing interesting in Puerto López, but from there it's really convenient to get to other places. Isla de la Plata is a cheap analog of Galápagos Islands. Beautiful nature, hikes, birds, turtles, snorkeling. Definitely worth buying one day tour there. It's 30-40 USD. Los Frailes is a very beautiful beach to spend a relaxing day there, but it closes at 4 pm. Ayampe is a very small village with some surfing and yoga. These are nowadays' trends, so I think it will be crowded soon. Though waves didn't impress me much.
The last stop before going to the border is Loja. Depends city in my opinion. I just needed to stop somewhere and have a good rest of the long and uncomfortable bus trip.
There are some national parks around where you can hike and enjoy the nature.
In the beginning I wrote about problems I faced there. I don't like to talk about problems, but I think I have to tell a couple words about it.
Well, in brief, not all the people there are great. It's not the safest country, especially for a girl. Men there are quite annoying and their excessive attention and their disability to accept rejection... sometimes are creepy. A lot of people are trying to cheat you, police doesn't help, sometimes even helps to cheaters. And a lot of stealing unfortunately. So you should always be cautious there.
And one more challenging thing is the border between Ecuador and Peru (if you cross it by your own). The immigration (where you get stamps about entering/leaving the country) is NOT at the border (and I found it out being at the border). It's at the random place in the middle of nowhere, 8 kilometers away from the border. And the only way to get there is to take a taxi. And the immigration for those who leave Ecuador for Peru and for those who leave Peru for Ecuador... are different buildings... 5 kilometers away from each other. And the taxi driver can bring you to the WRONG one even if you explain to him where you need to go in English and Spanish! Well, after arriving to the place I was going to, I've heard a lot of stories how those taxi drivers brought tourists to absolutely different places, robbed them with a gun and left alone with nothing. So I feel very happy, that the last minute (intuition?) I changed my night bus for a day time one.
Take care, my friends!