Hotel and Travel Information
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
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
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:
firstname.lastname@example.org , Jeronim Carrion 335.
Owners are Rachel and Victor. Workers
Angel, Daniel, and Olga. Very friendly staff. Cash payment only. Recommended.
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
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.
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…
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:
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.
ATM BANKING: BANCO DEL PINCHINCA was the only bank in town we could find with an ATM to give cash.
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
email@example.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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
Ecuador, population 126,100, elevation 2750 meters.
HOTEL "TREN DORADO", Carabobo 22-35 y 10 de
Agosto, tele: 03-296-4890, email:
firstname.lastname@example.org . $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.
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,
email@example.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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
RUMI WILCO ECOLODGE, Vilcabamba,
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,
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.
information and stories on Ecuador,
for Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
Galapagos Diving Tours
Galapagos Islands Cruise Options
Gulliver Tours and Trips
Galapagos Travel Advisor Horseback
Hostel World Galapagos
Mountain Biking in the Galapagos
Trip Advisor Galapagos Islands Hotels
About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their
time, and who doesn’t want to mindlessly
follow the crowd.
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