Quito Is Ideal for an Adventure
When you look at a map of South America it is easy to overlook Ecuador. Beside the giants of the continent such as Brazil, Argentina and Colombia it is easy to think that this smallish country might look rather insignificant to you.
However, there are some good reasons for visiting Ecuador and spending time in Quito. Here are some of the best ones to bear in mind.
The Old Town
The most striking thing about the appearance of Quito is how there is such as marked difference between the Old Town and the New Town. It is almost as though someone took a typical colonial Latin American city and rammed a modern city from somewhere else in the world onto it. The new part of the city is where you will find modern shopping conveniences but the Old Town is where you will be delighted to find historic, well preserved buildings and lovely, old world plazas such as the Plaza de la Independencia. There are plenty of churches in this part of Quito and wandering along the narrow streets feels like stepping back in time.
The Centre of the World
Did you know that the equatorial line runs through Ecuador just outside of Quito? There are two different tourist facilities here where you do things like see how water goes down a drain on the equator and how to balance an egg on the head of a nail. It is pretty fascinating stuff and is likely to be one of the parts of your trip that you never forget about after getting back home.
Ecuador may be modestly sized but it is one of the most bio diverse countries on the planet. Quite is nicely positioned to act as a base from which you can travel out to the rainforest, the cloudforest, the coast and the mountains among other places. It is by far the smallest of the countries which are generally listed as the top 10 most bio diverse in the world, which makes it the easiest to explore. Apart from all this, you can enjoy one of the finest markets in the continent in the town of Otavalo, which you are unlikely to leave empty handed from. There are many other great destinations but one stands heads and shoulders above them all; the Galapagos Islands. Charles Darwin was inspired by this magical, unique archipelago and you will be too.
The Language Studies
Quito is one of the top places in South America for taking some language lessons. This probably comes down to a few different reasons; the fairly neutral accent, the friendly people, the relative cheapness and the manageable size of the city. There are a number of Spanish schools here and a common approach is to place students in a family home during their studies, which really helps with the learning process. This, plus the previous points, all mean that this is one of the best cities you choose as your starting point for a trip around Latin America.
Photo by elfreddy on Flickr