Darwin’s Land

My 111th country welcomes me with the familiar faces from my days in NY, with its Notre Dame looking Basilica del Voto Nacional, lively colorful streets, music coming from the cozy bars, the best preserved colonial buildings with the Spanish style architecture in the entire Latin America in Quito.

Moving from Quito to the unique Galapagos Islands, it is a complete change of environment and feeling. It is the land of many animals that is probably surviving only in these series of islands. It is the land that reminds you how the world once was like (same feeling I had in New Zealand). It is the land that makes one thing, all these Iguanas were our ancestors. It makes you feel humble. It makes you realize and remember 6 billion creatures have been extinct since the start of life on earth and we are just another one, passing by. It is the land that makes you feel you are just another creature among the billions. It is the land of Darwin.

Quito

Basilica del Voto Nacional, La Compania de Jesus (church with gold interior).

Galapagos Islands

Isola san Cristobal: 2 hrs by ferry from Santa Cruz. Tijeretas beach (hike for 15-20 min, swim with the turtles), Playa Mann (10 min walk from the port, swim with the sea lions)

Isabella Island: Flamingo lagoon, snorkel at Concha de Perla with sea lions, iguanas and sea turtles all at one place (2 min walk from the port), Las Tintoreras (to see the reef sharks), Las Grietas (water filled crevice in the rocks, canyon. Snorkel with the colorful fish and amazing light coming through the canyon into the water)

Top Experiences

  • Galapagos Islands

    base yourself in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz. Isola San Cristobal, Isola Isabella. See the animals, snorkeling, scuba diving.

  • Quito

    old town: basilica del voto nacional, la compania de jesus..

  • Otovalo

    market town 2 hrs from Quito.

  • Quilotoa Loop

    3-4 day hike, crater lake in the Andes.

  • Baños de Agua Santa, Tungurahua

    adventure activities like white water rafting, mountain climbing, hiking and hang gliding.

  • Cotopaxi Volcano

    day trip from Quito possible.

  • Cuenca

    UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site.

  • Restaurants or bars in Itchimbia

    (i.e. Cafe Mosaico) in Quito. Go there in the evening for the view of the old town.

  • Try “Locros de Papas”

    potato soup with cheese and avocado.