MH Itinerary: Ecuador_01
Route: Esmeraldas – Quito – Riobamba
Esmeraldas: Hostal El Cisne, call for rates (06-721-588).
Quito: The Secret Garden Hostel, dorms from $8US, privates from $20US.
Riobamba: Hotel Metro, dorms from $5US, (03-961-714).
Bus from Esmeraldas to Quito: 5 hours, approximately $5US.
Bus from Quito to Riobamba: 3-4 hours, approximately $5US.
*Note: Owing to Ecuador’s extremely small size and the very cheap / comprehensive bus system, there is no reason to spring for the costly flights between cities.
Ecuador is a very small country, but has no shortage of wonderful sites for tourism. Its small size also makes it easy to get around quickly.
Getting around by bus is the best option, and there are many companies available. Websites for the bus companies are unwieldy, but the bus terminals are easy to navigate and have helpful staff. If you really want to call a company to make sure of a route or ticket, here is a good list.
Esmeraldas is in the northwestern corner of Ecuador, and has recently come alive with visitors. Not your typical beach area, Esmeraldas offers choices. It has a very green coast with estuaries, mangroves, and tropical forest everywhere; but also has excellent beaches to suit any beach bum type. You’ll be sure to find something to tickle your fancy here.
Quito is one of the main attractions of Ecuador for the budget traveler. It is a modern city that offers numerous hostels and hotels, as well as tons of shops, restaurants, and bars. There are also museums and numerous day trips based out of the city. Your hostel can provide any type of information you need, as well as suggestions for other cities in Ecuador to explore.
Riobamba is one of the best starting points for mountain trips in Ecuador. The city itself has old cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and numerous markets worth spending time in. One of the most popular activities in the city is the “Nariz del Diablo” (nose of the devil) train ride that takes four to five hours and passes through every type of climate in Ecuador, usually departing three times a week. A must see! The best climbing and hiking treks include Carihuairazo, Chimborazo, Sangay, and Altar.