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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Ecuador Hotel and Travel Information

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All prices are quoted in US Dollars, the official currency of Ecuador, as of October, 2004.  ATM machines can limit $100 per transaction.

None of the hotels in which we stayed took credit cards.  Some would offer, but with a 21% fee, which is beyond steep.  We strongly recommend that you bring enough cash with you when visiting these more remote towns and villages, as some places (like Vilcabamba) don't even have a bank!  Travel Agencies also only take cash, and if you find that you want to stay longer, and prefer to fly to another town or city, you will need to have cash to pay for your ticket, or go to the airport, where they will take plastic. 

Internet is widely available around $1-$2  per hour. Electricity is 110V.  Quito is 2850 meters of elevation, so give yourself a couple of days to get adjusted. Carry a copy of your passport with you at all times. We were stopped and checked.

Bus rides average about $1 an hour, so if you are trying to figure out how much a trip from one place to another will generally cost, use this as a guide.

Breakfasts (desayunos) usually consist of bread and cheese, fresh juice, hot milk or water for chocolate or instant coffee, and two eggs.  You may get lucky and get a fruit selection or some yogurt.  They run from $1 to $1.50 most places, and in some hotels and hostals are included in your room price. 

Almuerzo is a lunch offering that consists of a bowl of soup, a full plate of carne or pollo with rice, potatoes, salad, and/or lentils.  Sometimes you will also get a juice, and dessert.  They are standard all throughout Ecuador, and normally are at the $1 to $1.50 price.  It's a cheap, efficient and rather wholesome way to get full at lunchtime.  Ask even in places where they are not posted.  Highly recommended.

For useful links on the Galapagos, diving, cruising, hostels, maps and more, see the bottom of this page.

QUITO, Capital City, Ecuador, population 1,400,000, elevation 2850 meters                                                                                                                                                   

VILLA NANCY - B&B, Quito, Ecuador
Villa Nancy, $25 per night, 12% Tax included, with weekly stays discounted 10%.  Basic Latin double room, with bath. Rachel the owner picked us up at the airport as was prearranged, and included with a three night stay.  An excellent breakfast in the room price package.  A quiet B&B.
Villa Nancy, tele: 256-3084 email:  villa_nancy@yahoo.com , Jeronim Carrion 335.  Owners are Rachel and Victor. Workers Angel, Daniel, and Olga. Very friendly staff.  Cash payment only.  Recommended.

RESTAURANTS, QUITO

LA CASA DE MI ABUELA, Juan Leon Mera 1649 tele: 2565-667, cell: 099 930 037.  It was a bit of a hunt, but worth it. On the business card, they advertise : “For the steak of your life”, all in caps! And, according to Billy, it was! $8.00 will get you one pound of the finest steak you’ve ever had. Definitely recommended.
Ask for Pedro

 

Shawarma…these are “wraps”, Gyros, or burrito type of inexpensive eats, and are all over Marisal Sucre area. They cost a buck, and are well worth it. You have to try them.

Chinese Restaurants are everywhere and are a good source of cheap meals.  Combo plates are usually under $2 and are quite filling.  These restaurants are opened on Sundays, when other restaurants in Quito close for the day.

CEVICHERIA Y MARISQUERIA 7 MARES, La Nina 525 (cross street J.L. Mera) open 7:45 am - 5:30 pm daily. Great for the $1.00 encebollado, (a tasty seafood, onion and yucca soup), although ours was packed with pork in a light tomato colored broth. Served cafeteria style, the locals told us they feed 1,000 people a day, easily there. No sign to let you know you have reached this popular eatery, but the gathering crowds are an obvious clue! If you go on a sunny day, be sure to get a table in the shade. Seats about 200.
Highly Recommended

GROCERY STORE, QUITO
SUPERMAXI MULTICENTRO, La Nina s/n y Yanez Pinzon.  If you are going to be in Quito for a while, definitely check out the immaculate and comprehensive Supermaxi Multicentro. A large variety of local cheeses available, wines, liquors, clean fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, yogurts and etc. all at decent prices. You may want to buy a bottle of wine with local cheese and fruit and call it lunch or dinner…
Highly Recommended

POST OFFICE IN QUITO
Sucursal 7 Avenida Colon & Reina Victoria.  The cheapest we saw postcards were 5 for $1 USD, but to mail anything 30 grams or less is $.90, so it ends up costing you $1.10 to mail a postcard. Think before you write a dozen, and then go to the post office to find that it will empty your pockets to mail them. It’s fun if you know someone who collects post cards or collects stamps, otherwise, chuck the idea and use email.
Not Recommended, a real ding to the pocket.

OTAVALO, population 26,000, famous for its weavings and Saturday market, elevation 2550 meters.

HOTEL RIVIERA-SUCRE, tele: 920-241, email: rivierasucre@hotmail.com; Garcia Moreno 3-80 y Roca.  $12 for double room, with shared bath.  Lieva, the owner is quite pleasant, and multilingual.  Quaint, converted old house with open air center and gardens in the back.  Plenty of hot water.  Great view of Vulcan Imbabura from the second story courtyard.    A recommended breakfast can be included for $2 more per person, but it did not include much protein, so we opted for breakfast in town instead.  Friendly and helpful staff.  Laundry service available.  Cash payment only.  Recommended.

ATM  BANKING:  BANCO DEL PINCHINCA was the only bank in town we could find with an ATM to give cash.

RESTAURANTS, Otavalo

MI OTAVALITO, tele: 920-176, Sucre 11-19.  Clean, good service and friendly, centrally located, great value for Ecuadorian food.  The 4 course daily special runs about $3.50 per person and is ample.  Recommended.

MAX'S on the corner of Sucre and Calderon across from the brick church.  Offers a swell breakfast for $1.25, includes a steaming hot mug of milk to which you may add instant coffee or chocolate, a large glass of juice of your choice, eggs any way you like, and a "sanducha" of freshly baked bread and a large slice of local cheese.  His luncheon combo platters are also a good value.  Friendly service.  Owner speaks a bit of English.  Recommended.

BOGOTA PLAZA CAFE, on Sucre.  Although we did not eat there, we did buy some fabulous Colombian coffee, freshly ground, 500 grams for $3.50.  In our estimation, it was the best coffee in Ecuador.

We partook of the very cheap and filling Almuerzos available in many of the local  restaurants.  For $1, you can get a full bowl of soup, a tall glass of fresh juice, and a heaping plate of comida.  Meat, noodles, rice, and small salad is a standard combination.  Good value. 

We found a corner Columbian food stand at the Plaza de Poncho, which sold Arepas (cornmeal "muffins" absolutely STUFFED with chicken, beef, or both upon request) for $1.  Try the baseball sized stuffed potato balls.  Good value.

MARISCOS, on Sucre with a brightly lit awning, serves huge bowls of seafood soups for reasonable prices.  The Sopa de Mariscos is bountiful, with a large full crab in with the rest of the seafood soup.  The encebollado de pescado, for $1.50, is filled with fish, potatoes, yucca and lovely broth.  Good value. 

OTHER, Otavalo

There is a swimming pool available for swimming with changing rooms and sauna located at the bottom of the mountains on the edge of town.  Just ask for La Piscina, and the locals will direct you.

RUNATUPARI NATIVE TRAVEL, Otavalo

Travel agency with whom we did our community travel stay in the lodge in Tunibamba, and our horseback riding trip.  Plaza de los Ponchos, Sucre y Quiroga, tele: (593 6) 2 925985, email:  nativetravel@runatupari.com or toisan@hotmail.com website: www.runatupari.com .  Geert van Weert was most gracious and full of  information.  He offers cross cultural tours, rural lodgings, hikes around Lake Cuichocha, Climbs up Fuya Fuya, Cotacachi and Imbabura, Cycling tours, and Horse back riding tours.  Reasonably priced.  Highly recommended.

LATACUNGA, Ecuador, population 54,000, elevation 2800 meters.

HOTEL TILIPULO, tele:  810 611, on the corner of Guayaquil & Quevedo.  Email address didn't work, so we called for a reservation from Otavalo.  $9 per person plus tax for a large double, ensuite bath and HOT water for showers.  Restaurant downstairs, breakfast is $2 per person for the regular meal of bread, eggs, juice and hot chocolate.  It's an OK place to stay, and you can get your bus ride to do the Quilotoa loop from this town.

RESTAURANTS, Latacunga

PIZZERIA, LOS SABORES DE ITALIA, on Calle Quito 16-57,  tele: 812-419.  Has excellent pizza.  Saw a salad on another table that was huge and looked crisp and fresh.  Mediano pizzas, which looked large to us $9, fed two easily, and dollar beers.  Had lasagna, salads and spaghettis on the menu also.  Recommended.

CHUGCHILAN, Ecuador, small village, elevation 3200 meters.

HOSTAL CLOUD FOREST, Chugchilan.  tele: 814 808.  Simple rooms beginning at $5 per person, which includes dinner, shared bath.  $6 per person for breakfast and dinner, and $8 per person for ensuite bathroom.  The meals are decent and filling for the price, and the rooms are basic, with good mattresses.  It is our recommendation that you take the $6 per person option, and utilize the shared bathrooms, which are cleaned every day.

THE BLACK SHEEP INN, www.blacksheepinn.com or email:  info@blacksheepinn.com .  This is an eco lodge with low impact tourism stays.  Famous for their composting toilets and organic coffee.  Private or dorm rooms available, but all showers and toilets are outside and shared.  Cheap prices by European or American city standards, but over priced for the area.  However, the owners do very much for the local townspeople including having started a Library complete with donated computers, and they provide presents for the children at Christmas time. Your money helps them to do these things and promotes their dream of eco tourism, vegetarian food, and improving the lives of indigenous people living there.  The owners have a good thing going on, and seem generous and open.  Recommended at least for a look see! 

QUILOTOA LOOP, Chugchilan.  Due to weather, we opted to hire a taxi (and shared the $30 fee) to take us to the famous LAGUNA QUILOTOA.  It was completely socked in with fog the whole way there.  We asked a local if the sun ever comes out at the Lake, and he responded that it would at 9:30 AM.  From precisely 9:15 AM to 9:45 AM, the sun shone, and we got our coveted photos.  The Lake is worth seeing, and you have several options available.  Horseback, share a truck or taxi, or go the day before, stay the night at a bare bones and chilly hostal, and find a ride back, or walk back to Chugchilan.

 

BANOS, Ecuador, unrecorded population, elevation 1800 meters.

HOSTAL LOS NEVADOS  tele: 740 673.  A block east of Parque de la Basilica.  We had a large airy room with a view of the Casacada de la Ulba down from the mountain!  Great location.  We asked for a discount for a week's stay, and paid $5 per person with ensuite bath and hot water.  If you can, ask for room #18.  It was quiet, had a great view, you could hear the waterfalls, and was out of the way of any commotion.  They kept the place clean and changed our towels every other day.  Highly Recommended. 

RESTAURANTS, Banos

Since our hotel location was one block east of the Parque de la Basilica, we had restaurants galore to choose from.  There are too many to name, but we tasted superb pizza, had chicken lasagna that was excellent, and a decent size steak with fresh vegetables.  The prices here in Banos are very reasonable, with a "splurge" meal costing $4-$5 per person.  You can afford to be picky.

DULCE CARBON, Asadero Restaurant, Banos, 12 de Noviembre y Oriente (behind the Basilica) tele:  03 2740353.  This Mini Parrillada is worth mentioning, as it offers a tasty selection of grilled meats and poultry with your choice of potatoes, a fresh salad and grilled garlic toast for the very fair price of $3.50 per person.  At this writing, he was only open evenings beginning at 6pm.  However, he has ambitious plans to be open breakfast, lunch and dinner soon.  Highly Recommended. 

OTHER, Banos

SUPER MARKET SANTA MARIA, Banos  1 block south of Parque de la Basilica is a decent grocery store with everything that grocery stores sell.  Fresh meats in a clean environment, your choice of Ecuadorian cheeses and yogurts, fresh fruits and vegetables, beer, liquor and large bottled water, all at very decent prices.  Worth a look if you are staying for a few days, or want to have Happy Hour with snacks or travel food on the bus.

LA PISCINA DE LA VIRGEN, the best known bath in Banos.  Admission $1 per person, open 4:30 am - 5 pm, & 6 pm- 10 pm daily.  Hot showers, cold showers, three concrete pools of differing temperatures.  You can't miss them, they are right under the waterfalls.  Highly Recommended.

There is a footpath climb to Bellavista, where there is a building with a white cross, visible from the town, and a couple of restaurants.  It's a hellacious climb, but worth it.  Terrific views of the whole town of Banos from the top of the hill.  Plan for about an hour up this narrow and steep dirt path.  Bring a hat and some water.  At the top, you can reward yourself with a fresh jugo.  Highly Recommended.

RIOBAMBA, Ecuador, population 126,100, elevation 2750 meters.

HOTEL "TREN DORADO", Carabobo 22-35 y 10 de Agosto, tele:  03-296-4890, email:  htrendorado@hotmail.com .  $8 per person gets you a very nicely decorated room in the style of your grandmother, private bath with hot water.  There are sitting areas on each floor, and the rooms are clean and comfy, with towels changed daily.  Very near the train station, hence the name, and an attached restaurant with a fireplace to take off the chill.  Friendly staff, with tourist information.  Recommended. 

RESTAURANTS, Riobamba

VENUS CAFE, from Tren Dorado, towards the train station, down one block and to the left.  Good for $1.50 Desayunos and heaping Almuerzos.  An option for early breakfasts before train departures.  Friendly and family run. Recommended.

SAN VALENTIN CLUB, Av. Daniel Leon Borja 22-19.  Tuesday through Saturday, 5pm to Midnight.  Very good offerings, pizza was delicious.  Kind of a "happening" place with the younger set, and music was fun.  Decent prices.  Recommended.

CUENCA, Ecuador, World Heritage site known for its Colonial architecture.  Population 417,000, elevation 2530 meters. 

EL MONASTERIO, Padre Aguirre 724 entre Presidente Cordova y Sucre, Tele: 07-2-824457, cell phone 09 07 52526, www.hostalelmonasterio.com, email: info@hostalelmonasterio.com .  Sixth floor hostal with excellent views of the New Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and the town below.  Spacious room (#6), TV, small dressing area, private bath with hot water, $8 per person.  Friendly staff, Laundry service available.  Due to our length of stay, we bargained for a slightly better price.  Recommended.

COFRADIA DEL MONJE,  Presidente Cordova 10-33 Y Padre Aguirre, Telefax: 2831 251.  Newly opened and classically renovated, this hotel is centrally located in Old Town, Cuenca.  Includes breakfast in its $38 room price.  Friendly staff, serves excellent almuerzos for under $2, has day and evening security.  Good Value.  Recommended.         

RESTAURANTS, Cuenca

TUTTO FREDDO, tele:  840 295, Malo 9-60, open 8:30 am to 11 pm daily.  Has excellent choices of ice cream and mouthwatering pastries.  Also offers very decent lasagna and canneloni for $2, a full tasty meal, and pizzas for  respectable prices.  Highly recommended.

CAFE EUCALYPTUS, tele: 849 157, Gran Columbia 9-4.  A lot of hoopla is made over this place.  Good idea, poor execution.  International cuisine, but pitifully small portions, unexciting flavors, and overpriced for them to boot.  Newly opened, and they have lots of kinks to work out.  Seems all their investment went into the decor and they forgot to power punch the food.  Much better value elsewhere in town.  A ding to the pocketbook.  Not recommended at this time, but you may want to check in and see if they have improved.

RAYMIPAMPA, tele: 834 159, Malo 8-59, next to the New Cathedral.  A fun place to eat, filled with businessmen and women at lunchtime, with mains from $3-$5, and the best Almuerzo in town for $1.90 per person.  Serves the largest banana split we have ever seen!  Highly Recommended.

OTHER, Cuenca

The New Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion which dominates the main plaza or Parque Calderon is a must.  One of the most impressive churches we have seen, both inside and out.  On Sunday afternoons the park fills up with locals, clowns posing for photographs with kids, vendors selling their gelatin cones, water, sun umbrellas, balloons and there are bands in the gazebo.  A real fun time, and great for people watching.  Highly Recommended.

VILCABAMBA, Ecuador, small town, elevation 1500 meters.  Famous for its spa atmosphere.

HOSTAL-GUESTHOUSE LE RENDEZ-VOUS, Calle Diego Vaca de Vega #06-43 y La Paz, email:  rendezvousecuador@yahoo.com Quaint and clean, this 8 room European style inn offers value for the $8 per person per night for a double.  Hot water on demand, and a large satisfying breakfast with fresh baked bread included in the price.  Peaceful with astounding views from your room or from the interior gardens.  A four minute walk into town with internet and restaurants available.  Highly Recommended.

RESTAURANTS, Vilcamba

EL CHE, Bolivar, on the Plaza, open Tuesday through Sunday, but sometimes it would differ.  Tender meats with tasty sauces, and decent salads.  We did not try the pastas or pizzas but they are recommended by other tourists.  Good Value and fun music.  Recommended.

SHANTA'S BAR, on the road to Rio Yambala, open noon to 3am.  The frog legs are plump, and they serve a respectable salad for the price.  Has an excellent filet mignon plate, and a tasty pizza.  The Snake Whisky is notable, especially if you want strange and wild dreams that night, but you may have to be persistent to get a taste.  Recommended.

ALMUERZOS - a place at the end of Diego Vaca de Vega almost to the main street, on the corner serves the best Almuerzos in town.  You can tell you are there, if the place is filled with locals having lunch. 

OTHER, Vilcabamba

RUMI WILCO ECOLODGE, Vilcabamba, www.kober.com/wilcohome.htm email:  ofalcoecolodge@yahoo.com On a hillside with ownership shared by several people, a biologist husband and wife team run this Ecolodge while living in a cabin and raising their family on the premises.  They have cut out trails on the mountainside, labeled many plants and trees on the nature walks, and claim to have identified 109 species of birds in just that particular area. Another low impact tourist stay, with the POLE HOUSE, the UPPER HOUSE, and adobe houses for rent.  Prices run from $6 to $10 per person depending on the size of the house you choose to rent.  All houses include hot water, kitchen, water for drinking, hammocks, fruit, medicinal herbs for teas, and organic coffee.  

Hosteria and Restaurante IZHCAYLUMA, IZHCAYLUMA@YAHOO.DE , www.izhcayluma.com .  We did not stay here, but hitched a ride the 2 kilometers out of town to take a look.  Outstanding views of the area, plentiful gardens, clean kitchen and restaurant, with a playful staff.  Offers a swimming pool, life size chess set, ping pong table, and other social catalysts to get visitors involved.  Fun bar games.   Worth a visit for lunch or just for the views.

Useful Links for Ecudor and the Galapagos Islands

Discover Galapagos

Galapa Guide

Galapagos Diving Tours

Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands Budget Cruises

Galapagos Islands Cruise Options

Gulliver Tours and Trips

Galapagos Travel Advisor Horseback Riding

Hostels Galapagos Islands

Hostel World Galapagos Islands

Interactive Galapagos Map

MD Travel Health Ecuador

Mountain Biking in the Galapagos

Trip Advisor Galapagos Islands Hotels

About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

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