In May 2017 I travelled overland through spectacular Andes mountain scenery from Peru to Ecuador, the next country on my journey around South America. Below are some of my favourite photos and videos from continental Ecuador. My Galapagos Islands visit will be blogged separately.
I spent my first few Ecuadorian days in and around the idyllic Hosteria Izhcayluma and nearby Vilcabamba.
Mosquito with extremely long legs at Rumi Wilco Nature Reserve, Vilcabamba, Ecuador
Transparent-winged butterflies in the grounds of Hosteria Izhcayluma, Vilcabamba
An epiphyte tillandsia bromeliad, also known as an ‘air plant’, living on a Vilcabamba powerline
A tiny scorpion ~1 centimetre long on my shirt cuff, Izhcayluma, Vilcabamba
My next destination was another part of the Ecuadorian tourist trail: Cuenca.
Cuenca is the only place in the world I recall seeing cycling lights that cycled like this.
Topical stained glass window depicting market stalls above Cuenca’s 10 August Market (‘Mercado 10 de Agosto’)
Clever graffiti mural on a wall in Cuenca
Rows of indigenous food crops in Cuenca’s Parque Arqueológico Pumapungo. From front to back: chilli, tomatillo (or is it cape gooseberry?), quinoa and corn.
This gorgeous shared balcony on a hilly Cuenca street contains entries 6 and 7 of a local balcony flower contest.
A few hours by bus from Cuenca, Ecuagenera Orchids breeds and grows thousands of varieties of orchids in Llampasay, near Gualaceo. The nursery and headquarters is a must-see for plant and flower lovers.
Outdoor stalls in Gualaceo, all selling delicious roast pork. The stalls were temporarily moved from the 25 de Junio market hall.
Stunning floral display in Ecuagenera Orchids’ Llampasay showroom
Panama hats in production at Homero Ortega hat factory, Cuenca. The factory is part of the worthwhile ‘Museo del Sombrero’ (Hat Museum) guided tour.
From Cuenca I bussed to Guayaquil before flying to the Galapagos Islands. Returning to the mainland at Quito, I stayed at the wonderful and friendly Casa Urbana Hostal (sadly now closed). There I met fellow solo travellers Jordan and Franziska and we spent a week together, including visiting Lake Quilotoa and Mount Cotopaxi.
Leaping into the air next to a human cosplay ‘statue’ outside the Mesabe food fair in Quito, Ecuador
Indigenous youth singing, playing music and dancing in Quito’s Plaza de la Independencia.
Egg falling off nail at ‘Mitad del Mundo’ (Middle of the World) on the equator, north of Quito, Ecuador
Lake Quilotoa is a spectacular location to herd sheep!
Myself, Franziska and Jordan on an early morning visit to Lake Quilotoa
Scarecrow protecting crops adjacent Lake Quilotoa
Boy throwing flying disc to backpacker, Quilotoa Bus Station, Ecuador
Coca leaf tea at the Cotopaxi National Park Visitors Centre. Coca leaf is a traditional Andean food/medicinal/cultural ingredient and remains legal in much of the Andes despite being banned elsewhere.
Water droplets on yellow flower and plant in Cotopaxi National Park
Snowy path leading up to Mount Cotopaxi’s José Rivas Refuge, 4,864 metres high
Giving the snowman hair outside José Rivas Refuge, Mount Cotopaxi
Ecuador’s far north, near Colombia, contains a unique a large-scale topiary display – in a cemetery! The Tulcán Municipal Cemetery is worth a stop-off before (or after) crossing the border.
Topiary figures at Tulcán Municipal Cemetery, northern Ecuador