My Visit To Ecuador
I wanted to always see how it will be near the equator. We always heard and read about it in our childhood days. I got an opportunity to go see and experience such place - ECUADOR, which is on the equator. I was truly excited to go to this place. I know I was not wrong in deciding to go there. I was searching for a most wonderful place on the earth, so beautiful and so much more to explore. I found Ecuador to be close to my expectation. I had an awesome holiday so close to nature. I was overwhelmed with wonders of the nature that feast not only eyes but also our hearts. It was such a wonderful experience to see such varied climatic conditions, so many species of flora and fauna, amazing volcanic mountains and rain forests in the same country.
When my flight was about to land in the capital city of Ecuador, Quito, I saw a glimpse of the most active volcano in the world, Cotopaxi. It was like a dream come true, seeing a volcanic mountain with my eyes. Ecuador has 30 such active volcanoes spread across the country. Quito - the capital of Ecuador, has a lot of colonial architecture based building which are under the UNESCO heritage list too. The churches and many other plazas reflect this architecture and have been maintained so well. Temperature in Quito is never too high. It is also known as a ‘city of eternal springs.’ There is a shopping complex to the north of Quito called Mitad del Mundo, which is on the line of equator. Very near to Mitad del Mundo, there is one of the biggest volcanic craters, Pulalhua Crater. This is the biggest inhabited crater in the world too. There are a lot of shops also on the crater. We can walk through the crater.
But travelling by road is very hectic here, as the roads are not so well maintained. At the same time, I didn’t want to miss the nature’s wonders all around me. So I preferred going by road to get rejuvenated by the nature and forget the tiresome journey. After a visit to Quito, I went to Cotopaxi Volcano, in the Andes Mountains. It is one of the biggest volcanoes in the world. Its crater is shaped like a symmetrical cone.
Then I visited Mindo, an awesome place to see a variety of birds. I couldn’t take my eyes off from the different species of hummingbirds which perched on the hotel windows to feast themselves on the feeders full of nectar arranged by the hotel authorities. The next day I went was Sangay National Park in Puyo. This park has so much to show – tropical rain forests on one side to glaciers, several species of animals and snowcapped peaks. Ecuador is surrounded by Peru in the east and the south, Columbia in the north and the Pacific Ocean in the west. Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean also come under Ecuador. There is a very long coast in Ecuador, Guayaquil being the main port. Banos, is another important place in Ecuador that surprised me a lot with its hot springs and mountain peaks. I had goosebumps when I heard that the hot water in the springs is because of active volcanoes around and sometimes there might be eruptions and earthquakes too.
Cuenca is a city of colonial architecture. It has lot of heritage sites like Old Cathedral, Museum of central Bank, House of Ecuadorian Culture, etc. Cuenca is also known as the ‘Athens of Ecuador’.Ambato is one of the cities near Quito. Ambato is known as the ‘Garden City of Ecuador.’ I loved to see the different variety flowers. I heard from the people that the city was completely devastated after an earthquake and was built from the scratch in 1949. I was surprised to see the city so well built and so well maintained. Every year in February, people of this city celebrate their achievement of rebuilding the city with great pomp and gaiety. One more amazing place which I preferred going by road is the Amazonian Rain forest. The forest is in the eastern part of Ecuador. I was all the more surprised and amazed by the sounds of different animals and birds. I also saw native communities there who are still living like their ancestors. They play a major role in protecting the biodiversity of the forest.
What I saw till now was only one half of my Ecuador’s amazing touring experience. The most amazing experience of my tour was yet to come in the name of Galapagos Islands. Not sure what to say and where should I start about Galapagos Islands! It is so amazing and exciting! Galapagos is a group of 13 islands in the Pacific Ocean. I found that there are a variety of cruise travels around the islands. There are varieties of animals which I saw were more afraid of human beings contrary to most of the other places, where these animals move around with us. I saw giant turtles, seals, iguanas, and penguins too. It was the cutest experience to see turtles moving so slowly around in the beach.
I stayed in Isabella Island, the biggest island in Galapagos, for few days. But I wish I could stay there for more time. The sea lions and tortoises were so friendly. They are not bothered or disturbed by human beings. They live in peace with the people there. I saw tortoises many times but the one that I saw on the islands were so huge and so slow as if they are just relaxing around and have nothing to do with the surroundings, it’s so fun.When I was going in the boat in one of the cruises I could even see few dolphins racing with our boat. I was so excited to see all this. There is a variety of bird called blue footed booby which I saw in one of the cruises. I was told that it is the dumbest bird in that island. That’s why it was given the name as a booby. Iguanas are one more variety of reptiles I saw on the island.
I visited one other place called Otavalo. It is a textile market base and the traditional clothes worn by the local woman. Every Saturday there will be traditional crafts exhibition. Peguche waterfall is very near to Otavalo. This emerges from San Pablo Lake. There is one big crater Laguna Quicocha where again the Mountain View and the landscape are worth watching.
One of the most memorable moments in this holiday trip to Ecuador is my train journey at Riobamba. I first thought it was some mysterious ride as the name of the train was “Devil’s Nose”. But then after seeing the picturesque places through which the train went I thought the journey was mysterious to unfold the wonders of the nature.
I even heard from locals that there was a provision of travelling in the train sitting above the train to have a good view of the landscapes, but was banned from 2007, because of lot of security and safety reasons.
Last but not the least, the language spoken in Ecuador is Spanish. And the language varies with the places. I mean when I was in the interiors of Ecuador and major ports like Esmeraldas, the people speak very fast and I had to concentrate a lot to understand what they were trying to say. But in the capital city, Quito, we find a mix of Spanish and English too. The people speak slowly and clearly. I found a lot of Spanish language classes also in Quito. I could learn to converse with the people around to gather a lot of information. The people are very friendly here. I am sure all of us definitely like treasure such experiences.