Deciding where to go on our honeymoon was  difficult... for Todd.  Right off the bat Patty said "let's go to Ecuador and  the Galapagos!", but Todd had to spend months researching every place to go in all of  South America before finally deciding Patty was right from the beginning - of course!

The fact that one of the last total solar eclipses in this century just happened to be  visible from the islands had absolutely nothing to do with it...


We flew from  Miami to Quito, only about a 6 hour flight, arriving at Quito airport in the middle of the  night.  We'd booked our first night at a hotel in the Old Town section of Quito,  thinking it would be nice to stay in a more "historical" section of the town.

We soon  discovered that was a bit of a mistake...  Not only is Old Town a bit dark and  "dead" at night, but it just happened that the city buses would stop under our window  about 4am every morning to switch from electric to gas operation - a process that involved revving  up their engines for about a half hour....

Loro Verde Hotel
City bus

The next day, we spent  some time touring around town and discovered a nicer place, the Loro Verde Hotel, in New Town.  Inexpensive (around $14/night), clean, with a nice proprietor.  New town  offered much more in the way of places to shop and eat, all in easy walking distance.

El Panecillo

View of Quito from El Panecillo

We  spent the next few days sightseeing in and around Quito.  El Panecillo (the Virgin of  Quito) overlooks the city.  Guidebooks warn you to be careful reaching the top, we  took a random cab and had no problems.

We took a day trip to the Papallacta Hot Springs  with Safari Tours.  Jean, our guide, was a kick and stopped at numerous places on the  way to point out the native flora and fauna.  Spending the afternoon relaxing in the  sun and dipping in and out of the hot water was just right.

Mt. Cotopaxi
Papallacta Hot Springs

Papallacta Hot Springs

Mt. Cotopaxi, as seen from a stop on the road to  Papallacta Hot Springs.

Taking the bus to Mitad Del Mundo (the Middle of the  Earth - the Equator!) was a bit of a challenge, but worth it.  Took us a while to  figure out which bus to catch and where to catch it.  The route had obviously changed  from when the guidebook was written, but after waiting for quite some time at the wrong  place we managed to make our intent known in pidgin Spanish and people were very helpful  in setting us in the right direction.

View from Mitad Del Mundo
Market at Otavalo

Our  last trip before heading for the Galapagos was a day trip to the Saturday market at  Otavalo.  We hired a car and driver through the owner (manager?) of the Loro  Verde.  Cesar took us on about a 2 hour drive in his Land Rover to the market. 

We expected it to be rather touristy, and of course found the usual repetitious displays  of the same "native art", but did find quite a few interesting souvenirs.   Of course it required a bit of bargaining to get the right price, but given the exchange  rate we were able to get some interesting things for a small amount of money.

We  could easily have spent many more weeks in Quito, and would have loved to get out into the  country or perhaps take a trip to the rainforest but it was time to get up way too early  in the morning and head off to the Galapagos Islands! (or, you  can always go back to the Main Menu...)