Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ecuador 4: Ingapirca

January 17, 2008: From Cuenca we took a series of buses to the ancient ruin cite of Ingapirca. Due to tardy restoration efforts, the ruins don't really serve as a testament to the majesty of the Incan empire. But with some imagination, the skeletal remains of the Sun temple become blueprints to a different world.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ecuador 3: Cuenca

January 16, 2008: Cuenca is a colonial town rich with history. There is an abundance of churches and even the secular buildings are constructed in a rustic colonial style. Every morning there are three separate fruit/vegetable, flower, and clothing markets. While we were there, hundreds of children gathered before the department of education to protest a new educational law.

Ecuador 2: Mindo

January 16, 2008: The next place we stayed was Mindo, a city approximately 2 1/2 hours away from Quito located in the cloud forest. The town has flourished is a ecotourism fairytale. A lot of the cloud forest has been destroyed for farming purposes, but Mindo has reaped ample profits from tourism and therefore any forest destruction would be detrimental to their economy. We spent our time hiking up the mountains, ziplining through the canopies and visiting a butterfly farm located at the foothills. The high elevation made hiking difficult and we often succumbed to fatigue instead of taking on an extra hike. We also were fortunate enough to visit an independent coffee plantation run by a French immigrant who personally set up the first organic coffee plant in the Mindo region.

Ecuador 1: Quito

January 16, 2008: My boyfriend and I spent the past two weeks traveling through the Andes mountain range and coastline of Ecuador. Most of time was spent in the coast town of Montanita and Quito. This post is dedicated to the capitol city and two distinct regions: Mariscal and Old Quito. Mariscal is the urban, contemporary section of Quito where most of the locals and tourists a like go on the weekends. The streets are lined with bars, clubs and hostels. In past years, the streets were rampant with crime. Now the streets are perpetually under the watchful eye security guards and policeman who are not shy to confront any loitering partiers.

Old Quito: This is where all the remnants of the older culture reside. The cobblestone streets are lined with rustic colonial style houses and monasteries. The National museum has a culmination of both the native people and Spanish influences.