DIY Destinations (4K) – Ecuador Budget Travel Show | Full Episode
By Micah Moen
Hola! I am going to Ecuador with almost no money no film crew, no make up or friends except for the one I made Just myself snorkeling with the sea turtles and cute fishies conquering the sky like a superman as well conquering the insanely fast current and swinging off to the moon and hiking one of the world’s highest active volcano Not to mention sampling all the amazing local cuisine and experience the colourful culture of this nation All done safely, inexpensively and easily Anything I can do, you can do… DIY Destinations – Ecuador, and you are invited… We are so fortunate to live in a small world with so many cultures so much beauty and so much diversity The world waits for no one and it’s up to each of us to discover its magnificent destinations I want to make travel accessible to all of us by showing how it can be done safely and inexpensively Officially, the Republic of Ecuador This territories of modern-day nation were once home to a variety of Amerindian groups within the Inca Empire during the 15th century Colonized by Spain during the 16th century and emerged as its own sovereign state in 1830 Today, it is home to an ethnically diverse population of 17.1 million It is credited with creation of the new constitution of 2008 the first in the world to recognize legally enforceable Rights of Nature That is why I am here to see experience its amazing unspoiled nature the hospitality of its people the food and the heartbeat of this progressive nation We’ll start our journey with Air Canada’s inaugural flight from Toronto to Quito the capital of Ecuador Well… it’s a nice welcoming… I got some treat from this inaugural flight so with that being said… it’s continue on our path to the Immigrations Immigration done! so officially welcome to Quito people! so next baggage claim! follow me! this way Ecuador uses good old U.S. dollars so bring some with you since airport ATM have low withdrawal limits and high fees You’ll need it for the ride you got two ways to get down to city centre cheap! Public buses operates 6:00 am to 8:30 pm and cost $2.00 it takes you to Terminal Carcelén from there it cost $0.25 to down to old town Quito but please careful of pickpocket it is pandemic in Ecuador I took the express buses option and it drops you off near the old airport so we have arrived in the bus terminal here and from here grab a hail taxi ride to the downtown and that is what we will be waiting for I recommend you stay in the Old Town Quito as most of the attractions are walking distance and I like to thank my accommodation sponsor Hump Day Hostels just located few minutes away They offer both clean private rooms and dorm bed hot shower 24 hours a day and breakfast and off course… friendly and helpful staff Thanks guys! Here in Ecuador it uses the good old U.S. Dollars so if you are from the good old USA keep it simple just bring your money here and you are ready to go but if you are from other countries well the best thing is look for a fee-free ATN even though they might not charge you a fee on this end your bank might charge you a fee on your end With that being done let’s start by exploring the historical Old Town This historic district is considered the heart of Quito and was the first city named a UNESCO World Heritage Site So we’ll start our journey right here at the heart of Quito at the Grand Plaza this historic plaza is considered the most beautiful in all of South America and behind it is also the Presidential Palace of Ecuador This is the central square of the city and one of the symbols of the executive power of the nation Its main feature is the monument to the independence heroes of August 10, 1809 date remembered as the First Cry of Independence of the Royal Audience of Quito from Spanish monarchy Initially it was just an esplanade of packed dirt that was placed in a water source to supply the vital liquid to the neighbours In the year 1612 when the powers of the city moved to the area around the Plaza Grande they decided to call this way for being the largest at the time If you got some sins to confess you can do so at the Monastery of La Concepción located next to the Presidential Palace The monastery is considered the oldest in Quito and since its inception has been part of the Franciscan order Founded in 1577 the church and convent were built in the seventeenth century Their patron saint is Our Lady of Good Success to whom apparitions and miracles are attributed on “Candelarias” February 2 people carry candles to be blessed The cloister also opens its doors on Christmas Eve Oh, let’s talk about another church… just one more… I promise The Church and Convent of St. Francis is a 16th-century Roman Catholic Church Together the church and convent encompass three hectares including 13 cloisters three churches, and a large courtyard Not only it has religious significances but it largest architectural ensemble among the historical structures of colonial Latin America So I am heading up the Statue of the Virgin and… cost $0.25 by bus actually… it’s actually either bus 208 the sign that saids The Centre of the World I’ll show you! it’s not that difficult! On the base of the Virgin of Quito statue you’ll get a breathtaking panoramic view of Quito On the weekends, there is also live entertainment all free! Not to mention… local cheap eats including local style popsicles to keep you hydrated it’s really hot up here and Quito is really hot so one of the thing I recommend you grab one of these freshly made real fruit ice… popsicle sticks only $0.25 it’s actually not bad yeah… After all that sugar… I got high with an even higher goal in mind! so to go up and visit the statue it cost $1.00 oh my god… usually I get into these place for free so the second level it is dedicated to showcase the history of the construction of this statue Initially the Virgin of Quito is a wooden sculpture was commissioned in 1734 as a two metre high sculpture that is derived from the biblical description of the Woman of the Apocalypse This particular Virgin became a popular cult image which is still venerated via innumerable replicas throughout the northern Andes Now off course… the third level the beautiful view of Quito also fresh air here which is really nice! a nice change There are countless large and small devotional images of the virgin throughout Latin America replicate the famed original sculpture in the Church of San Francisco The largest is being this statue called Virgin of El Panecillo the local consider her as the guardian of Quito The statue is made from 7,400 pieces of aluminum and being 200 metres tall and completed in 1975 overlooking the hills of Quito After the getting bless by the virgin it’s time to hop on to a direct public bus to the centre of the world literally! along the way down hill, there is many viewpoint for those who is loves taking selfies By the way… The rides takes about a hour and cost about $0.25 here you go! after like about a hour of bus ride we made it to the monument it is right over there Once I got there I lost interest after learning there is no hot chicks in there… actually the real reason is it cost $5.00 long line up and its actually 200 metres away from the equator line But just 3 minutes walk away there is the Intiñan Solar Museum it is a intriguing and family-friendly museum about Ecuadorian ancient civilizations and obviously to learn about the magnetic lines Wayuri… are the indigenous that lives in the North side of Ecuadorian Amazon in the Yasuni National Park one of the most diverse places in the whole world and off course these people are still living like that if you are want to enter this community is better to ask permission first and you have to go with local guides the chief of the community has the bigger hole in the ears and according to the size you will see how important they are This is also where you can get see the traditional Ecuadorian way of live that lady in the picture she was the owner of this house so this is not a replica and how we want to see if how the house is build and look this is bamboo esterilia which make it so resistance and earthquake proof and also provide thermo so the temperature inside cooler and at night warmer but this is not complete if you are don’t have guinea pig they are so important for the indigenous people of this region first it’s their meat they eat it for the important celebrations they have it in their house because they can feel like the bad energies of visitors that comes in their house they believe they will be noisy when someone that comes in with bad energies in the house those what they believe in the Andes it’s that “Qui” means middle “ito” means earth so this was called Quito and the local people who lives here in the equator already knew about it One of the fascinating exhibits includes a replica of the burial site for the pre-Inca era when people at the time die they will be buried in the fetal position and the body will always be inside the pots because what they want to represent here is how we are inside the womb of our mother I also got a warning not piss in the Amazon River because it is attracted to the ammonia of our urine and these are very tiny they go into our urethra they open their barks we need to take it out surgically Now this all sounds interesting but I am not leaving until about getting a physic lesson on the centre of the earth this is a example of how… The guide also show me some interesting experiments basically water will naturally flow in different clockwise directions depending on side of the equator and when you get to the further of the north side… The conflicting gravitational pull from the north and south supposedly makes it difficult to walk straight along the actual equator Balancing an egg on a tiny pedestal is easier on the equator because the yolk falls straight to the bottom inside the shell I am totally exhausted! But let’s fuelled up before heading home If you adventurist considering trying one of the local favourite a roasted guinea pig they put some dressing on it and then they stick it on this stick and then they put the stick right into the oven these animals play a significant part in the everyday life of Ecuadorians as they reproduce rapidly and need a minimum of food and care to survive They make for a high protein meal especially for populations living in high altitude If you are scared… no worries! there is lots of choices when it comes to street food costing only $1.00… so cheap! so if you want to taste variety types of meat the best way to go is get one of these skewers they have chicken sausages… I think they also have pineapples at the same time and the… it smells actually really nice! For full dinner… I got covered! Over here… if you go to a side street you’ll able to get a meal like this basically you get a soup, a drink and a BBQ chicken for $2.75 or so… yeah its not really that much! That is how I ended my day… so get a good night of rest because next day we are going to visit Charles Darwin in the Galapagos It’s only 900 km away from mainland Ecuador the most inexpensive way to get there is by swimming there it’s free… but for me I took a $4.00 ride sharing app back to the express bus terminal to catch bus to the airport Since this Ecuador episode is long enough… I’ll leave Galapagos to separate episode so make you watch it! It’s really, really cool! So do it! However I will show you that I have survived the Galapagos intact and flying right to Ecuador second largest city Guayaquil So let’s check it out! You can get down there with this classic futuristic car as your ride… never mind… I don’t think this 1930 Dodge is fully insured But here is an option or few options… never mind… actually taxi is the way to go it cost approximately $5.00 and take you directly to the accommodation in the city centre Guayaquil is one of the main South American ports in the Pacific Founded on July 25, 1538 with the name “Santiago de Guayaquil” by Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Orellana The origin of the name derives from the love story myth of Tribal Chief “Guayas” and his wife “Quil” Today it is the main port, trading and financial centre of Ecuador with population of 3.2 million That is a lot of friends waiting me to meet! I like to thank my accommodation sponsor Palace Hotel the first five star hotel in the city and they offer luxurious rooms for all both couples and families a business centre fast free wifi and my favourite… amazing free breakfast provided in the in-house restaurant Not to mention… it is walking distance to many of city’s landmarks One of them is this beautiful park and only three minutes walk away So we’ll start our journey right here in the centre of Guayaquil at the Seminario Park now this park is actually build in the 19th century and it famous for its huge eight point stars that is why many referred to it as the Star Park Now… another attractions is its iguanas there is dozens and dozens of them as you can see they are all over the place and that is why many also call it the Iguanas Park The friendly and chill green iguana known as the “Iguana from Guayaquil” since all reptiles are cold blood they need the sun to restore the energy spent looking for food these reptile comes down from the tree to feel the heat settle itself in a cleared site staying static for hours In 1889 the equestrian monument to Simon Bolivar was built and the place was renamed as Plaza Bolivar By then philanthropist Manuel Seminario made an important donation to renovate the park subsequently it took the last name of the illustrious citizen Across the street there is place to pray for my past sins committed on this trip The Metropolitan Cathedral of Guayaquil or officially Cathedral of Saint Peter The current cathedral is the successor to Guayaquil’s main cathedral at the time of the city’s founding The original cathedral was made of wood and located on Santa Ana Hill This cathedral was destroyed in a fire in 1892 The current building was constructed in a neo-Gothic style between 1924 to 1937 It is getting late… and we all can agreed it is time to fuel up One of the popular is street food is shawarma But there is something I really missed! so this is really refreshing… Chinese food done by… from my hometown you get to see this shrimp, rice, noodles there is some noodles on the bottom and some fried rice it look absolutely amazing! For dessert… don’t worry, I got you covered! You’ll find tons of cheap eats most cost less than $1.00 at the Malecón 2000 the name given to boardwalk overlooking the Guayas River We can not forget about Ecuadoran ice-creams but the most famous is churro a fried-dough pastry with an origins traced back to Spain and Portugal Churros are generally prisms in shape and may be straight, curled or spirally twisted it is fried until they become crunchy and may be sprinkled with sugar After sugar up… it’s time to enjoy the rest of this boardwalk to offer the 2.5 kilometres is the where the action are at night perfect for wife hunting okay… just joking! Several of the greatest historical monuments in the history of Guayaquil can be seen along its length as well as museums, gardens, fountains, shopping malls, restaurants, bars, food courts and the first IMAX theatre in South America The most recognized landmarks is the Moorish Tower, or Public Clock inaugurated on October 1842 The clock was bought in England by Don Manuel Antonio Lizárraga a rich Spanish merchant an illustrious figure of the Independence The Malecon ends in the north at a very old neighborhood born in Colonial times was destroyed in several occasions by the fires that assailed the city This is Las Penas it’s actually more than 400 year old making it the most historical and the oldest neighbourhood in Guayaquil now the name was actually taken from the limestone and the cliff that form this hilltop In 1982 it was declared as cultural heritage of Ecuador Located at the foot of Cerro Santa Ana there’s little more to it than a short, dead-end roads that are paved with uneven, century-old cobblestones However the colourful wooden houses here make this one of the prettiest corners of Guayaquil Many of the houses have been beautifully restored but part of the area’s charm derives from the flaking paint and gentle disrepair of those that haven’t A couple of cannons standing by the entrance point towards the river honouring the city’s stalwart resistance to seventeenth-century pirates and the street is dotted with a few small art galleries Just few minutes away is the little museum dedicated to the firefighters Established June 1, 1979 by presidential decree and was officially inaugurated on July 25, 1982 under the name of Colonel Felix Luque Plata one of the most well-known chiefs of the Fire Department The site was also the first headquarters of the city’s fire department were located in a small area of the mezzanine of the old water supplier plant It’s going to be a ten minutes ride That is pretty much all things worth seeing in Guayaquil next I took a taxi to the intercity bus terminal near the airport The fare shouldn’t cost more than $4.00 – $5.00 So finally I got my bus ticket to go to Puerto Lopez It’s actually windows number 26 I am going to be leaving 12:45 or so hopefully we’ll have a smooth ride maybe grab lunch for now this is a really big mall by the way Yes the intercity bus terminal is also a very big It offers many amenities such as 24 hours bag storage restaurants… more restaurants… and even Dunkin Donuts’, McDonald’s this is where I lost my will to resist one thing I can’t resist is ice-creams it’s 80 cents taste of America! Taste of America! it does taste like McDonald’s ice-creams I am pretty happy about that! I missed home by the way! The direct bus takes about 4 hours to Puerto Lopez and you can expect real life shopping channel included in your fare you have different people come onboard and trying to sell different drinks stuff like that… this is what you call the real life shopping network live! so if you want to support them go ahead! why not! The bus station is actually a little bit away from the city centre it cost $1.00 to get to the city centre but my accommodation is a little bit far away So… it’s going to cost $5.00 because it’s 17 kilometres away But here is a money saving tip if you are willing take a shared taxi from town centre it is still $1.00 to my accommodation sponsor Azuluna Eco-Lounge near Puerto Rico They offer amazing environmental friendly private air-conditioned cabins for company of all sizes recreation rooms, high speed internet, free breakfast, water, tea and coffee and amazing in-house restaurants The best of all… it is only few minutes walk to beaches and only 10 minutes ride on a frequent bus or shared taxi to Puerto Lopez I pay a quick visit to the beach it was nice… but the sunset was pretty early around 5 pm so after dinner there is only one thing to do… so rare I am actually able to do this… just sit back and not able to do anything thank goodness this place is located in the middle of nowhere there is no bars or restaurants so it’s early in the morning and I am heading off to Puerto Lopez to see the fish market and I am going to snorkelling and to visit one of the poor man’s Galapagos I am really excited to see it! Once you get to town if you don’t feel like walking… these motor taxi all cost $0.50 to maximum of $1.00 So, I asked to be drop off at the morning fish market You’ll be there within two to three minutes That was fast! So this is the famous fish market here in Puerto Lopez and if you come early in the morning you’ll get to see all the fisherman bring their fresh catches you know it’s fresh when the birds are all over the fishes! and if you want to you can even buy a fish here and bring it home to your hostel or hotel and get them to prepare it Puerto Lopez is a quiet Ecuadorian fishing village and located in its small stretch of sandy white beach is the home to the Morning Fish Market a centrepiece of the local economy This is where hundreds of tiny blue anchored fishing boats gather after returning each morning with their day’s catch and directly sell the fishes to local populations and restaurants now this is pretty much the biggest fish I ever seen that also show how important as the source of protein from the fishes especially for a country for least developed so I think we are going back to the Fish Market right now I am actually here for another reason the Plata Island tour or the poor man’s Galapagos The cost of the tour ranges from $30 – $40 but once again shop around and bargain and bargain hard! The meeting place are usually in the travel agencies where you booked So let’s get going! The ride to the Plata Islands takes about forty five minutes the tour also comes with snacks they first offers a banana cake but I prefer something more natural I have a banana! and for those of you who want to bring sandals listen up! just remember this… there is two to two and half hour hiking on the island so do not bring your running shoe bring a hiking boot! I think I made some new friends today I don’t know if they speak English but here you go! Our boat briefly stopped to visit and to add couples more of these cute friends on Facebook… but sadly I can’t understand English or Spanish so what they are doing right now is basically you have to wash your feet and put on your shoe check this out… beautiful feet! it’s going to get more pretty after this next… clean this lens now I look prettier right? with a clean lens? so next we are going to start our hike maximum two hours but one of the rules you must follow you don’t want to be barbeque you need this or else… you see that? painful! so next we’ll hike two to two and half hour long so we are on our way to do that yeah… so at it’s peak there is KFC so we are going to drop by to pick up some fried chicken and on it’s base there is a McDonald’s so if you survived it and you get to have a free Happy Meal Oh no, not free Happy Meal! Half price! and you get the keep the toys as well actually that I just said is just total bull shit forget about that… so with that being said… I don’t even know what we are getting ourself into let’s just do the hike! The Plata Island is part of Machalilla National Park and can only be reached by boat from the city of Puerto López which is 40 kilometres away Depending on the season the island can be lush and green in the wet season or bone dry like right now in December so the guy was saying like… this park is dry right now this is almost like a dry forest but next month when the… it could be all different it’s going to be all green On the island there is a large diversity of animal species but the most famous is the blue-footed booby which is easily recognizable by its distinctive bright blue feet which is a sexually selected trait Its diet mainly consists of fish which it obtains by diving and sometimes swimming underwater in search of its prey It sometimes hunts alone but usually hunts in groups Fishes is very important to these males since their chances of hook up with a chicks depends on it this is from my understanding of it the more blue the male bobbies have the more chance of getting maled or get picked by a female and what they do is they go out and eat sardine so the more sardines they eat the more blue their feet is so that means… I should go and eat more sardines maybe I can find a wife on my own I have to try that tonight! fish for dinner one thing that is really impressive about these bird is there is… they don’t need brand name shoes to walk properly After hiking all the way up you’ll get to the a breathtaking viewpoint from the top of the hill Good job! now you can enjoy it and take a easy… from here its all down hill here is one of the cliffs actually and that… After getting on to the boat you’ll get fuel up… this is not a coincidence this is my favourite fruit cheers… so your lunch is cheese and jam on the way back… now snorkelling time! Oh yes… once more… my quest for that six pack abs is on… so get ready! I might not have a six pack but I do have one pack and they said fat will make you float so i don’t think I will drown today I am excited! alright my turn the water here is really really clear you can see lots and lots of little fishes but there is no turtle or sharks which is fine! Not like the Galapagos Islands Let’s go back… and continue snorkel join me! that was quite an… right… so there is a lot of fish underneath the boat actually rest of my buddy is over there I think I am going back to join them Much like the Galapagos Plata Island has great visibility and concentrated biodiversity meaning you can see a large variety of sea life such as fish, manta rays, sea turtles, octopus, etc But make sure to always follows the boat and don’t be too close the shore for your safety There are instances of strong current pushing the people against the rocks leading to serious injuries So be warn! the current is really, really strong today so I think I got an… a dose of Olympic swim trial I am not sure if I made it at least I finish top 10 pineapples yo… yo.. yo.. where is mine? I’ll forgive them this time Puerto Lopez is pretty small it doesn’t take too long before getting to the town on foot and I discover every Ecuadorian celebration two important occasions very seriously the Black Friday and Christmas… Every single town has a Christmas market and some of them are really, really big like Guayaqui some of them are small like this… but it just show that Ecuadoran take Christmas really, really seriously! This is actually one of the most popular street food you can find here in Puerto Lopez it’s actually corviche? Corviche right? Corviche! Corviche… And yes I am in search of cheap eat again My catch of the day is also most popular street food here called Corviche a Ecuadorian fish cake a dough is made from green plantains with fish filling and often served with slices of lime, lime pickled onions or hot sauce But I am a man I need a full meal… I found a chicken place no, it’s not KFC it’s one of the local chains so this is what you get $3.50 insanely amount of food so what you get is a rice and also a quarter chicken I have no clue how I am gong to finish that much chicken there is also plantains and salads and off course a hot soup to help my throat help me! so the soup comes first let’s see how this stack up what it is a corn soup it’s like a porridge you know what I am saying? so next is beans and rice so what I am going to do is mix it together I think that is how you do it and have bit of this… the bean is little bit cold actually these are lentils my mistake! these are lentils I am Chinese and I got to have rice so I have high standard for rice so what I am eating is one quarter chicken plus on top of it one eighth of a chicken that is a lot of food It was a really long day so I end it by heading over to the bus stop and took a $0.75 bus ride home and nearly crashed right into my bed But not for long… once again, I wake up early for a ride to Puerto Lopez and for the first time in my life I had fish for breakfast I don’t know what kind of fish it is but I’ll keep it open mind Great flavouring! Just remember there is natural vitamin C fresh that is! But I hop on to a motor taxi to bus terminal the bus ride is $0.50 and we are going somewhere white So it’s daftly six kilometres away and I am taking a bus so here we go… this is the White Water Community right here so it’s five kilometres that way but this gentlemen is giving me a ride it’s $5.00 let’s rock and roll! let’s go! The $5.00 includes the 5 kilometres motor ride into the Agua Blanca private commune Located inside the Machalilla National Park hosting remains of one of the most ancient civilizations in South America the Monteño Within few minutes we arrived at our first stop we got just here to the museum and the… that is so hot! The small local museum shows artifacts and bits of the history of the “Manta” people who inhabited this area before the Incas The museum contains large collection of artifacts and informational placards the artifacts includes knives, hunting, fishing, and cooking tools are on display Jars are filled with fermented insects, lizards and snakes Although you are free to roam on your own your admission includes a guided tour and mine is pretty good Totally legit in English and show me how people here manage to live without shampoos since beginning of the era shampoo it’s a natural shampoo right there and the… basically it is made from the tree the nuts that was really interesting! Gracias! (Thank you!) muchas gracias! (thank you very much!) We made our way to the first site showcasing a traditional burial with urns contain bones arranged as they were found so it’s kind of hiking… the good thing is this part is all shaded Next the community farm and growing endless types of fruits… this community basically grow its own mangos, plantains and different kind of vegetables they consume themselves so they use the sugar cane to make tequila in this village right here so these are the sugar cane behind me And if you are wondering what they using for fertilizer here is your answer But it’s okay… we are going to get dirty anyways that is how he does it! so let me explain this is on top of a volcano the water is hot so what you do is take a shower there you put a little bit of mud on it so it basically makes your skin little better and then you can just go right in there and I really want to go to try it The tour will not be completely unless you smell rotten eggs… Ladies and gentlemen this is a sulfur spring lagoon. But be courtesy, shower first! my mud… put on my mud first it’s literally the volcanoes’ ass I am not joking… I swear to god so basically what’s happen is the volcanoes warm up the water here it’s actually not so hot you can just feel where exactly the volcanoes’ pour comes up when you swim across this lagoon you can feel like the cold, cold area and all of sudden a flood of hot water so it’s actually unique and this is actually fresh water it’s not like cold water I mean salt water but still you can’t drink the water like this Given that I surrounded by fruit I am not leaving this place without a taste of it… my solution.. getting hydrated the natural way without the use of freaking bottled water if you are going to ask for coconut water make sure to ask for the cold, cold one In Spanish its called “frío” (cold) Muy buena (very good) it means really good! We returned to the centre of the village to their souvenir shop there is also a souvenir shop these are locally made handicraft so if you want to support the locals you can come and pick up one of the handicraft and don’t forget you can always bargain and bargain hard! Although the ride in is free the ride out is not… you’ll ask to pay $2.00 for a motor taxi to take you to the entrance But as with everything else in Ecuador there is always room for bargaining From the entrance, you can take a $0.50 bus that take you towards Machalilla and get off at the most beautiful beach in Puerto Lopez the Los Frailes so that’s the entrance right there you ready? let’s go! it’s important to support the local economy you are going to be here you might as buy a ice-cream or get yourself hydrated with water they also have snorkelling gear where you can rent and at the same time some handicraft and with that being said let’s go and check it out you might as do it since honestly it’s not easy making a living in this country the wage is not high! by the way… don’t bring your drone here they said that… well… they are checking for it also no flash so if you are going to take photos keep that in mind the beaches closes at 4:00 pm so let’s get going! The Los Frailes is an enclosed beach park composed of a nature trail and one of the favourite places for locals to come and relax I’ll be honest with you actually… the sun is little too strong for me my skin is already getting burn even with a sunscreen on I returned to town for my ride home I slept all the way… before paying another visit to the local beach so I am going to Montañita right now and what’s so nice about on the main stretch of the highway is you can use flag down a bus there is no need to go to bus stop The ride cost $1.50 and takes about 40 minutes Montañita is small coastal town super chilled… it actually means “little hill” it became famous very slowly decades ago as the place only for surfing and lots and lots of party people In fact it has one of the best night life for any towns in South America… but in the meanwhile Let’s get high first! I mean I am not joking! so I am going to paragliding my buddy from the hostel said this is a great day it’s almost perfect But first… we need to hitch a taxi ride cost $3.00 fixed price please my name is Pablo I work for the company Ecuador Paragliding and today we have the pleasure of flying with you it look like a great good condition we are going to have a lot of fun in the air I am totally ready My life is in your hand you know that right? the backpacks looks good! exercise! Then we get to the preparation preparation… preparation… and even more preparation… you got the idea.. I know guys… I just want to take off but remember safety comes first! pull it! stop! good! He is doing all the preparation work so everyone will be safe! I trust him he is a cool guy! around ten years or more we are already flying! let’s go! holy shit! can you see it? we are flying!!! Yo man!!! oh my god!!! you’ll have amazing time just like me! you are flying! so amazing! All paragliding session comes with the pilot guide who takes you on exciting adventure in front of the sea guide takes care of all the work so you just have to enjoy and fulfill your dream of flying The downside… the flight experience lasts between 12-15 minutes how was it? can’t compliant man! this is like… no word to describe it! now I know how it feel like to be a bird now I know why you are addicted to this shit! Getting high pretty addictive! so I took a taxi ride to get high again… at least to the highest view point for this town so if you want to come and take a good view of the panoramic view of Montanita this is the best spot the viewpoint it’s actually not really far far from the town just come up to the hill and here you go! I am little hungry to be honest and given we are surrounded by sea they definitely can’t screw up the fishes even if they tried so here you go! this is my lunch today deep fried fish and then with a lime so what do you do with a lime? I am sure you know what to do? I am going to skip the lime for now I guess… the lime is really, really hard! alright with that being said… let’s eat! so… fish itself! you have to pay attention to the bones especially the soft bones it’s actually pretty good! After the fish lunch I headed back to my hostel to signed up for the number one activity here That is getting drunk just joking… it’s actually sex… another joke it’s actually surfing… I also like to take this opportunity to thank my sponsor for providing me with amazing accommodation for filming of Montanita they offer both very comfortable dorm beds and private rooms free breakfast, and most importantly they offer yoga class and retreat Off course… surfing lessons… Thanks guys! are you excited? so we are going to get a crash course in surfing I have surf before but trust me, I am no pro so don’t laugh! I’ll come after you on Facebook to haunt you! we are getting our boards off and our lesson will begin shortly Once again safety are the priority so lessons first and the ground rules must be set lift up your hands it’s almost like physics class so I am practicing… first I paddle my loving instructor, he is really cool by the way he is a cool cat he is from Czech Republic so he knows a thing or two about beers off course surfing and we’ll walk it over to the waves and yeah… With that being said… it’s time to test out my manhood or if I am a quick learner Wish me luck! Alright so… what I am going to do is first walk into the water I don’t have a six pack but I do have a one pack though to this deep and then try to catch the first wave hey I am newbie so be gentle on me! don’t laugh! It was not easy but I am not quitter so I went back again… and again… and again… and again… you got the idea! Until somewhat I made it! Well guys, not everyone is able to stand on their two feet right away but don’t give up! I am may not able to stand right now but I am not giving up! If I don’t give up, you don’t give up! Deal? How was it? Surfing!!! I just finish did my surfing I am just trying to get the video out of the way you can see the wave… The surfing ends after sunset it is also time for the ride back to the hostel After a quick shower, it’s time to eat… first on the menu another round of empanada the Chilean style is actually baked not deep fried so I am excited to try mine right now oh my god I missed those empanada so much! another thing you can do is you can put some chilli inside there so it is pretty small it’s like $1.50 I don’t recommend you try tons of them because for that much you can try lots of goodies around the town But I am a man But I am a man, I need to hunt down some proteins… since I don’t have bones and arrows I settled for some inexpensive real street meals I mean stalls selling Ecuadorian grill meat They typically offers marinated chicken, beef, lamb and fish what they are doing is marinated meat they put it on the top rice you get some plantains you get some salads it looks pretty good going to wait for my turn so this is the traditional Ecuadorian meal actually are traditional as you can get as you can see they do eat rice this is actually beef rice and beans almost like Chinese and then it is served with some salads and plantains with that being said there is nothing else to talk about let’s just eat! okay here you go! delicious! now the beef is little chewy you are going to need little bit more time oh wow! see how nice they are? muchas gracias! wow see how nice the Ecuadorian guys are gave me a extra piece of beef so this is heart of Montañita at the night time the market just lights up and there is no reason for you to go home right after your meal you might as shed some calories by roaming the street another way for you to help the local economy is buy one of the locally home made souvenirs and the… but make sure I am going to be very care because there is cars… because… because bargain is part of local experience and if they compliant you can blame it on me because I say so with that being said… there is a car over here and… I’ll let this guy go! you can also pick up some drinks or hit up some chicks or join a church service or all above… why not? Really… especially you can do all of that here in fact one of the funnest and most iconic place to go in Montañita is Cocktail Alley so this is the Cocktail Alley and it’s part of Montanita nightlife in fact Montanita is oen of the top four nightlife cities in all of South America if you walk down this alley you get to see dozen and dozen tons and tons of pubs and bars competing for your business In fact, the drinks are so cheap and only cost $1.00 – $3.00 making a perfect place to get wasted The street filled with endless drinks huts and stalls where you can find all sorts of concoctions From cocktails and mixed drinks and if you like your drinks to be strong they’ll add a bit more booze for free Next morning I realized I basically did everything is there to do in Montanita so I decided to get high again You got to do that to kill time especially the direct bus to Banos leaves at 3 pm So the preferred method of choice is hiking up cliff between the towns of Montañita and Olon to the Santa Maria Children’s orphanage one of the largest in Ecuador Beside the large complex is home to a viewpoint on which you give you a breathtaking view of the entire town along with the beaches But it’s time to get going… next stop, the tourist town of Banos The direct bus cost about $25 to $30 available from your hostel The total ride takes about 180 hours just joking… I mean 18 so we are like three hours into the ride and so many more hours to go I believe if I am not mistaken the bus is going to stop somewhere to eat dinner and then head on so we just arrived at I think the dinner point join me for dinner! oh yeah! By the way I will guaranteed that you’ll be paying American prices at any point they stop if you really want to be cheap bring own food! maybe selling my liver is worth it! so here we are… we are about one kilometres away from my accommodation here we go! where we get drop off! my close to my hostel actually so… just need to get my belonging inside the car like the bus early in the morning! that is a sexy one! Baños de Agua Santa is a major tourist center due to its natural environment and adventure sports It is also known as “Gateway to the Amazon” as it is the last city still located in the mountain region before reaching the jungle The city is also a Roman Catholic religious centre as some Catholic believers say that the Virgin Mary appeared at nearby waterfall… but despite starring at it hours on end I didn’t see it! The town is actually pretty small surrounded with parks and one of the most important and recognizable landmarks its main church Officially, the Church of the Virgin of the Holy Water is an impressive Neo-Gothic church that is central to the spiritual life of the town The interior displays many paintings depicting the Virgin performing miracles while the onsite museum shows the history of the town the church and the volcano shaping the landscape and influencing the life of the area’s natives The church serves as an place of pilgrimage for those wishing to thank the Virgin Mary for her miracles or those of us who want to pray to get to high above to the heaven But I got another way to reach high up maybe not the heaven but at least above the Banos It all got started with hotel pickup included in the tour so we are going up and up and up the hills right now and it’s pretty steep and I think it’s starting to get really interesting Puntzan Canopy we have different activities here My sponsor of this tour just couldn’t pass by this opportunity to self-promo their business that’s all cool! But I think the safety comes first… so I reminded him we get started with briefing and gotten a little preview what’s to come you can do a different position… I know what position I will be in! here I am the moment of truth! they are going to fit me up and we are going to out on our way to the zip line five times a day that shows… so we are on our way… I am actually really excited! as you can see I am all like camera up I think the dog is going first maybe not… he is cute by the way Oh yeah… here is a little advice for all of you newbie! here is the rule never put this in the front never in front yeah… alright! see you right down there… oh my god… After surviving the first line… it’s time to go home… just joking! This time I am going to spicing up my sex life I mean ziplining experience by try out some different positions and I am really excited! survived through the first I think… right here… the second line so I want to do it again! around two over there… so this one we don’t need to break that is really awesome that mean I can focus on getting great shots oh my god!!! Superman! I always want to be a superman didn’t make it to the cast Next I’ll fulfill my dream of being a superman… who say Asian can’t be a superman I’ll prove them all wrong adventure! Okay… we are going to the next line! number four… so we are going to… going to next… I am running out of breath! By the way guys… make sure you get stay dehydrated this one standard position… no breaking needed! superman again! Now before you get sick of zip lining… our guide offer to tandem my ride to show that I have such nice butt in air so amazing!!! yeah! okay so this is the last one I am actually excited I didn’t expect zip lining comes with a free shower but I’ll have another one a warm one when I get back to the hostel ready go! Finally this is the end of it… well, not quite… we’ll going to get something hot in the end okay, so you get a nice blackberry drink to… especially in this weather so… oh my god… so good! we are done! we are back right now to Banos After taking a quick shower it’s time to get going… we are going to the end of the world At least swing to the edge of the world The best way is getting there by bus… it cost only $1.00 so the bus is like completely empty like when we get on and all of sudden like there is so many white tourist that show up so it’s pretty white now I see a bright future ahead! the ride is going be about 40 minutes or so the last bus coming back 6 o’clock please don’t miss it! there is a little bit of a hike here Actually… I don’t think it’s that bad actually The entrance fee is only $1.00 what a bargain! But for me… I got in free after I told I am reborn Christian here we go! so here we are! hey I got in for free! oh you did? yeah man! so we are finally in it’s actually… not just the swing there is a whole park right here and there is multiple swings not just one so hopefully… we will have our turn soon! the big swing is over there the treehouse but there is some small swing over here this is actually pretty cool I think I am going to do that… good job man! so look like I am next… and also I want to make a big announcement I just converted myself into I don’t what what religion is this… I don’t know? some sort of religion that is my headpiece! this is amazing! Yes! better than sex sometimes La Casa del Arbol or “The Treehouse” in English was built to observe Mount Tungurahua a nearby active volcano but the real attractions are the swings hanging from the treehouse People come from all over the world to swing into the heavens and of course take that classic cool Instagram selfie This is the big one actually… and there is a bit of lineup for this swing right here are you scare? Nervous? Nope… No… you are a women and not a girl so congratulations! the last one… last one… make it best! What’s up? Thank you… Thank you… you survived the near death experience? Yes, I am shaking… ready? two, three… son of a bitch! loving it! loving it! go Ecuador! In the cloud! to the moon! to the moon! Okay… Survived!!! so right now we are going up the tree house I don’t know what’s up here… but I think you get a really nice view oh yeah… I am coming! baby I am coming! hola… Go Ecuador!!! if you want to see what it look like on top the treehouse? this is a breathtaking view fresh breath of air as well enjoy… so this is like a mini zip lines except you just have to sit and they go all the way to that side and come all the way back this definitely sounds like fun! I think I have to try it! Oh no………. okay… maybe next time! if you miss your bus actually don’t worry there is one of these party bus that will take you back to Banos they do have one stop and then they will continue on… The stop is basically a commission shopping most likely it is going to be a candy factory In fact Candy has got to be the middle name of Banos Sweet treats are sold everywhere in town It was late… I am really hungry and really needed to fuel up! But there is no shortage of cheap street food so if you want a local experience there is actually an… this is the best way to experience it eating with the locals basically what you do is… they serve it to you… and you just sit in front of them and it looks pretty good! these places are open from 8 pm and on on the menu here is pig stomach there is also an regular chicken also chicken strew and also fried chicken… and also potatoes… there is Chinese street food there is fried rice there is fried noodles I think After dinner, it’s time to party… one of the popular activities offered by many of the hostel like mine the Community Hostel Banos Basically you pay like $5.00 and you can have all the drinks for next couples of hours while the bus goes to different sites around the town it’s one hour into this party bus they took us up to the view point and then came right down so it’s pretty interesting… everybody back to the bus so after this we are going to visit a pub this is actually the club central of banos By the way… if you are wondering where I am staying… my sponsor accommodation is Community Hostel Banos They offers, amazing clean dorm bed and private rooms with towels included Hot showers 24 hours a day, fast wifi lots of community events the best of all amazing breakfast and dinner every night Thanks guys Next morning I woke up early to do something pretty extreme but not before paying a visit to Central Market if you really want to dine with the locals this is the place to come this is the Central Market or the “Mercado Central” and it is where you find real deals on cheap eats and I really mean it! let’s go and have a look! And yes… I like to thank tour sponsor Geo Tours for providing me a complimentary seat on the white water rafting Thanks guys! I think we are want to go to the lower section it’s an… if we are you to do the lower section we want to do the 16 kilometres we spent in the water guys Okay? it totally worked! that’s cool buddy! a wetsuit for you this is… this is a perfect size this is medium I got my helmet little small but this is the only one with the action cam the traffic is little slow because there is a landslide and hey you can’t stop the mother nature sometimes Okay… to be frank take your piss before putting on the wetsuit because it is total bitch to remove it people arriving… Also before anyone goes out… we need pump some iron! I am mean the inflatable rafts damn… I found my accounting degree taught nothing about how to do this easily So I give up and let’s move on to the safety please… so listen up for the safety demonstration and briefings Okay that enough! let’s go and get wet! So I guess we are ready to go this is my lovely partner and my two amazing friends we met just look at the current… it’s really crazy! so… how strong the current is… Thank you very much! go forward please… alright stop thank you! go forward! one, two, three! Now guys… I am swear to god I am not pretending this is hard… it is freaking hard! But they promise me burger and fries if I survived… I hope I do! because I didn’t buy life insurance! a lot of hard work look at this… that is the reward you get Also there is a good chance you’ll be throw over board if you piss off your team mate… haha! So pedal hard! By the way here is a good advice once again do not your bring expensive camera and phones their death in awaits them here But the good news is if you an action camera there is cute dude on the kayak that help you capture all the amazing actions So, make sure to take advantage of him… okay… that sounds so bad! Wow!!! this is truly, truly, truly a crazy experience I guess I did survived after an hour of conquering the current so I was escorted away to get my prize of fries and burgers… until the act of god got me! Damn it! another landslide… okay… so just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride! Finally lunch time! man I am so hungry! But at least we made it… there is no fries and burgers however your lunch is included in your tour Considering you get a nice hot bowel of soup! I am very forgiving person! everyone ordered chicken I am totally ostracize right now I am the only guy that ordered fish but.. I did have KFC last night so… with that being said… let’s eat! Also don’t forget to spice your life… this is some good stuff! This is aji that is like Ecuadorian local salsa that got some… tomatoes red onions, cilantro, garlic peppers it is a little spicy… not too much! dessert – banana cake I think! The tour last for half a day so I still got lots of time to kill So next on the menu is seeing the biggest and meanest water falls in Banos I recommend you take a direct bus there for only a dollar But if you got even more time to kill then go to an agency and pay $5.00 for a party bus and you’ll see tons and tons of little ones too! For that reason it is called the Waterfalls Route so get ready to get wet or free shower if you want… you hear that? just put your head out oh my god! this is the fourth shower of the day I think this side you can see a devil’s face that is on the wall By the way… if you want to take party bus… get ready for a upsell… no I don’t mean just the mangos but whole list of activities… Yaks! But this time I didn’t give in so I hop back into the bus The continued directly to the big waterfall… just joking… there is another stop! this time a cable car to see a small water fall I am going to ask him if I can go on for free because I am going a travel show Yes… I am able to sweet talk the poor guy to let me on to the cable car for free now on the other side now being more than three minutes and they just want to give everyone a chance to take photos and stuff I am going to move aside for everyone to go I am nice, I am nice… two cameras… two hands very productive! Next the up-sell continues… somewhere sweet! I think we are going to candy making workshop or something like that Yes, it’s a candy working workshop To be honest with you it is freaking annoying with all these stops but… so there is more samples oh yeah! samples and samples apple cider I think it’s apple cider! But before my tooth fall out from all the damn sugar we really need to get going to the Devil’s Waterfall By the way, it’s located in the town of Rio Verde and entrance is $2.00… but I think I can run some magic! we have arrived! and I think that is the entrance right there I don’t think I want to fall inside oh yeah… how cute! There are two ways to visit the falls the original route down steps to reach underneath the falls and a newer, shorter route to a long suspension bridge with panoramic views of the entire falls I am so beautiful… I am so beautiful… I am so beautiful… the whole place is so beautiful… Commonly referred as the Devil’s Cauldron made up of 3 waterfalls and with the highest being 100 metres The legend goes the Virgin Mary was discovered hanging out by the falls and she now protects locals from volcanic activity This is an impressive spot given that Christianity was not introduced to South America until the 1400s Clearly the Incas knew there was something about Mary you know I really want to go behind the waterfalls but look at this… I thought I can show I am a man… what you need to do is windbreaker or water resistance jacket or else… this is your second shower or third shower or fourth shower of the day need to go faster! he need to paddle faster because he has to light the top of the tree After almost conquering the waterfal I headed home since it was dark… I also have absolutely no energy to pick up chicks… but next day I was determine to lose my virginity I mean to try out one of the Banos’ Virgin Thermal Bath Springs when you come up there is… I think that might be the cold pool and there steam coming up from this one I think that is the hot spring how this work is… on that side get one of these blue basket put your belonging inside here and you give it to those guys over there so I think that is what I am going to be doing because I want to jump into the water The pool open early at 5 am and charges $4.00 although I am able to get in free… there is surcharge that is unavoidable so what you need to do one of the thing you need to do you need to get one of the headcover that cost $1.00 it’s cold!!! Uno, dos, tres (one, two, three) it’s so cold it’s so… so that is so cold this is so hot okay now I feel better okay, okay… it’s not so bad it’s just you need to go there and jump right in! and then you can can… it’s cold… I survived! it was so cold oh my god… I went through this twice already I think I’ll just… just fine! okay now I feel really, really hot because I think coming from the cold I don’t feel it right away Okay… dip first… dip first… dip… okay… so you are ready? one… two… For those of you who is on a tight budget and still want to get wet for free that is… don’t worry… I got you covered too as long as don’t mind be cold! Very cold! here you go… right beside it is a cold spring After getting my dose of virgins it’s time to be productive and today we’ll check out the Amazon rainforest on an organized day tour… it’s actually not bad given it’s $20 and there is always room for negotiation! we are still on our way to the rainforest I think we are already here On our way to the Puyo a town near the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest Our first stop was a viewpoint over looking the edge of the Amazon it’s pretty breathtaking! The rides takes about a hour or so… and took us into the remote isolated community home to the Wayuri tribe We were greeted with a welcome drink and I have no clue what this sour drink is Then Wayuri tribe explained some of their traditions and customs their history and how they hunted Some young girls came around to paint the faces of everyone If you refused… there is dyer consequence you’ll get seven years of bad luck with sex oh wow… is that what it is? seven years? if you don’t do it now you guys will have great seven years of sex Congrats… Yes! don’t wait… start tonight! Although I am very excited to find out if this is beginning of seven of years of good sex there is no cell phone reception to run dating apps But I don’t mind holding it off for tonight after all the traditional dance performance is coming up If you are not shy join them! you’ll be wrapped with a grass skirt Although I believe in supporting the local economy I also have degree in anthropology and I can not support using primate as entertainment therefore I urge you not to pay to take photos with them It’s time for lunch but not before paying a visit to the souvenir shop in the community I am going to call my personal injury lawyer our bus… our shower is over! we are heading off to the McDonald’s just joking… your tour does comes with a soup! oh sorry… with a lunch I need lot more than a soup actually chicken broth I think it’s chicken broth the lunch… the main course is a very traditional rice and plantains, some salads and also beef I am pretty sure it’s beef it’s beef! For a $20 tour I don’t think I can compliant about this… Back to the bus… After fuelling up it’s time to burn some calories… next on the menu… trekking the Amazon! Also please bring bathing suit you’ll see why later The Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest has elevation of 400 metres above sea level It is few places in the world where it is probably best to travel with a group and a knowledgeable guide given how easy to get lost and all the great spot is hard to find within a day trekking through Amazon that is what we are doing right now it’s going to be hour and half so just be very careful because some of the area is really slippery and the water can be really, really high like all the way up your boot not joking! We also got to learn about many of the spices of plants, trees and birds… if you can find them! The tour also include a fresh dose of facial treatments… and here is the claim these natural clay will wipe off ten years off your face I just can’t resist using dating app after this! You guys… can all of you guys man up! I am doing it! he say I am going to find a wife tonight so… yo I am going… you get your seven years of good sex seven years of good sex! perfect plentyoffish profile you are going to cleaning it in town tonight cleaning it up in town… yes! I am not going to sleep! I amgoing to drink a lot of Red Bull not going to home without some happy ending have some tea we had earlier so what I have on my face it needs 15 minutes to 20 minutes to be completely dry and then I can clean it so this… they said afterwards what it is I’ll be a very handsome man I am rejuvenated I think I look prettier now, I hope… you better… click like on my instagram not instagram Tinder profile keep going… yes! oh my god! I was very excited to jump in for real… until a minor technical difficulties with the boots okay… almost! okay so… I am not going to just stand and watch when other people enjoy this pool so with that being said… look! The ride lasted about twenty minutes and it really nice way to end our day… maybe not! so we are little bit ahead of the schedule of going back so what they are doing is taking us to a chocolate farm an cacao farm behind me is your beloved it raw ingredient for your cacao or chocolate these fruit if you chop in half you’ll see lots of seeds inside and when you refine them they becomes cacao and which makes it into chocolate we get to… suck on a raw cacao bean yup! so this is it! this is it! okay ia m excited! they said chocolate is aphrodisiac so I am going to do is I am going to bring tons of these home and give it to the significant others so after you suck it not in a dirty way you put the seeds here it’s actually bitter the colour is… interesting… here you go! I just did my job of sucking this that’s cool, that’s cool… you can start smelling like fresh chocolate I am serious! this is the inside after you take out the shell it’s for cacao and these the shell is for tea and you can smell… oh wow! you smell chocolate first you have to do that you do this it’s painstaking and what you come out is down here is refine cacao it’s very very bitter but just like you can taste the freshness The traditional method of making chocolate required a bit of work with first the cocoa beans needed to be cracked and individual seeds needed to be removed and clean Followed by roasting and removal of the shell before being grounded lots of work! lots of heart! The raw cocoa is then placed on to the banana leaf and be sold as a major ingredient in your beloved chocolates without the sugar it is actually really, really bitter but that is how cacao taste like The tour also include a sample of the real deal hot chocolate and as well a traditional pastries this is tortillas de yuca tortillas with onion, salt, it’s so delicious I bet… with that being said… let’s just eat! Next morning I took a dollar taxi ride the Banos bus terminal for my ride to Quito there is frequent hourly bus but here is a warning! so I just got warned by the ticket seller and driver that… number 1 – do not listen to anyone who ask you to move to the back the reason is… when you move to the back if someone try to pick pocket or steal something other people not able to see it number 2… don’t put anything in your luggage storage bin and also don’t put behind and between your legs close your legs if you really have to put stuff on the floor always keep your eyes out another rule is make sure the driver give you a ticket for your luggage that way they can match when you arrive in Quito Yeah… so finally I arrived at the bus terminal here in Quito it’s about 11 kilometres away from the city centre The total ride takes about four hours Once arrived in Quito’s Quitumbe Bus Terminal you’ll be need to transfer on to a bus to Carcelén bus terminal for a frequent bus to Octavalo it’s another two hours ride Therefore I strongly recommend you stay in Quito for the reminder of the day to recover from bus fatigue With that being said… let’s get going! so here we go! we have arrived in Otavalo I’ll let everyone to get off first then I get off since I got little bit more of things with me Otavalo is a town in the Andean highlands in the northern Ecuador It’s known for its Otavalo Market in the central Plaza de Ponchos where traditionally clad indigenous townspeople sell colourful textiles and handicrafts Everything is walking distance here but taxi cost $1.00 if you really hate exercise But first I am going to check in to my home stay accommodations Chill Out Lodgings It’s located away from the busy town centre so you can get some peace and fresh air but there is a bus every ten minutes and they provide excellent private rooms excellent hot and delicious breakfast fast WIFI and most importantly they are always ready for a round of great chat! Thanks my friend! Alright… let’s get to our first attractions the famous Peguche Waterfall For only a quarter you can take a bus directly from the terminal to the front of the entrance Once you arrived here you are asked to give a little donation in a green box to maintenance this waterfalls / park it’s actually really nice! like it’s pretty green! mosquito so make sure to bring a mosquito repellent and also a hiking boot this is like quite a hike actually You’ll definitely love this place if hiking is your cup of tea but there is lots of real teas and coffee, and snacks around if you needed a break… also lots of locally made handicraft for sale There is also a thermal pool so bring your bathing suits… but I want to see the waterfalls so get ready to hike and hike more! Man, this is hell of a hike… I hope the hike up there is really good! because this is a hard work and there is also a cave here as well let’s have a look By the way… here is my advice if you want get in lose some weight and slim down over here make sure you bring a flashlight and watch out for your head wow! this is really really narrow and when you get to the end this is what you get is it worth it? I’ll leave it up to you For those of who hate hiking… don’t worry… you didn’t really miss much as long as you are not afraid of getting wet! No joke! I just found out the real view is not from the top but from the bottom look at this… and if you are not afraid of getting wet you can go very, very close The Peguche Waterfall is one of the main tourist attractions in Otavalo The beautiful 50 meter fall is considered as an Indigenous Ceremonial Site due to the purification baths held here a couple days prior the Inti Raymi celebration the celebration of the Sun and the harvest I think there is another look out point on the other side of the waterfalls but I think I had enough but let’s check out something else Oh yeah… so I decided to just hop on a bus right at the entrance of the waterfall and this will take me a terminal I took the bus back to the bus terminal and looked for the frequent bus to St Pablo Alright… success! so here is the bus it’s depart it’s depart going to Saint Pablo the bus stops right here and you just need to go up the block for… I think it’s like 800 metres or so Please watch out for cars and mangos… believe or not this truck of mangos has being follows me everywhere Here, here, and here… also here… Now this is a example of seriously sales effort if you want to buy mangos man there is even… that car comes with mangos more mangos this mangos… I think that girls comes with the mangos too I’ll tell you what I am definitely is too old and too fat for that They make me feel like I am young again after ask me if I am want to go on the swing I told them no… I am too overweight and too old it’s really nice here fresh breath of air going up the second floor of this cruise and the… look at the damn view of the mountain this boat is not going out it’s just stationary you know something for people to come up and take nice some photos and stuff One of the must do activities is a short cruise into the San Pablo Lagoon Totally recommended for the romantic sunset with your significant others okay… Located right at the foot of Imbabura volcano and 4 km west of Octavalo the lake formed by the water discharged by the Peguche Waterfall It is also home to many aquatic species such as herons and ducks It also serves as a resting place for migrating birds I don’t blame anyone for taking photos look at the beautiful colours such a beautiful sunset as it get darker… the colour changes reddish actually now sadly this is the end of the ride it was short but nice! I might have to catch a bus to Otavalo but by no mean I am going home! We are going to do some shopping Hell yeah! now Otavalo is actually famous for many of it’s market and one of the main one is Plaza de Ponchos as you can see this market is focus on textiles so where all the sellers comes here to sell not just ponchos but also jackets, related products t-shirt and even toys and shoes in fact this is actually one of the most important in all of the Latin America Every morning and the evening, with Saturday mornings when the market is at its busiest the Plaza de los Ponchos is a rainbow of textiles Blankets, wall hangings, handbags, table runners, alpaca-wool sweaters and scarves beam as brightly as the equatorial sun lighting up the largest and finest craft market in South America these kids clothing is so cute now I want to have my own children maybe I can get a discount by telling them that The indigenous people from Otavalo who make up approximately 50% of the town’s population have been weavers since pre-Incan times In colonial days, their skills resulted in many of them being forced into textile workshops creating a textile trade that continues freely today for those of you ladies want to look nice there is definitely no shortage of products right here and if you are hungry after all that shopping there is also street food you can check out I am not to sure what it is but it looks interesting But don’t eat too, too much for those of you who are thriller seekers There is also an amusement park next to the market their rides can out of this world and some of rides can bumpy But if you think today is your luck day there is this machine where you can try your luck for a big payout… so good luck! But I am hungry… let’s eat! I mean cheap eat that is… there is no shortage of fried food for $1.00 to $3.00 but honestly… Let’s grab something proper in fact proper meals shouldn’t set you back more than $2.00 and here is what I discovered so what I am getting is a beef tortilla for $2.00 Here you go, this is my dinner for tonight it looks fantastic so what you get here is this is beef and there is… those are the potatoes deep fried potatoes with cheese this is avocado right here and with some salads it looks really, really fantastic can’t wait to try it really hungry too the food is little too salty but otherwise taste fine After dinner… as usual I need to burn off some calories… so let’s walk, not too, too far It’s Simon Bolivar Park just few blocks away so right now we are here at the Simon Bolivar Park which is the main park for Otavalo and behind it is actually the main cathedral of this city This is a well-kept and charming old square in the heart of the old town and that is everything I can find about this square Sorry guys… however I did learn something new about Jesus now I learn a lot today and one of the thing is when Jesus is born he was surrounded and protected by that dog right there oh yeah, the dog get all the credit unlike other cities I am surprised actually and impress even at 9 o’clock a lot of stores are still open and mostly clothing stores but for me I am going to call it a night I got early morning tomorrow so we are back here at the bus terminal today we are going a very beautiful and very famous site but you’ll see later first thing is you need to go to Cotacachi and from there I’ll show you what to do here you go let’s board the bus alright, what’s happening is… the bus drop us off at a point close to the lake so the smart thing to do is after meeting all these friends just share a taxi that is the best way and there is four of us means it only cost $1.25 each person it’s a $5.00 ride and don’t forget to bring a copy of your passport oh here you go! we are right near the end and later … Oh thank you! Gracias! oh it’s okay… it’s all good! I’ll pay little more sorry yeah… also at the parking lot you can see across there is a small boat they are 30 minutes ride across the lake now what I recommend is go do the hike and then you can relax on the way down it’s five hours all around the lake but… there is no freaking way I am doing the five hour trail I’ll do a one hour up get the nice vintage point and come back down and enjoy my time on the boat and then we’ll be on our way so with that being said… let’s get going… my god..! can’t these taxi drop us off at like proper place By the way I have no clue why the hell taxi drop us off far away from the trail It is actually located in the entrance and begins inside the Visitor’s Information Centre The centre provides information on the available path but as well as the different plants and animals that occupied this inactive volcano There is also a section dedicated to showcasing the local cultures and people occupying this land for thousands of years But I am ready for some hiking… and redeeming my sins with bunch of nuns one minutes… 44 minutes to go! walking with tons of nuns behind me by the way okay… we got some Chinese here I think we are taking over the world that’s so true! One of the first stop of the hike is to check what the heck is the Chinese doing here… just joking! I am actually checking out the sundial see this… this is the astronomical calendar just behind me hola… no problem… they are fascinated with Asians Basically a sundial is an flat plate collector which casts a sunlight shadow onto the dial based on the apparent position of the Sun in the sky allowing the device to tell the time of the day self obsessed with selfies Hello… well, it’s my turn okie… Cuicocha has a 3 kilometre wide caldera and crater lake at the foot of Cotacachi Volcano Its name comes from the Kichwa indigenous language and means Guinea Pig Laguna due to the guinea pig shape of the largest Island in the middle of the laguna The caldera was created by a massive eruption about 3100 years ago and has been dormant since that time… so you are safe! at least for now! another viewing point right here look at that… it’s pretty amazing actually look at this… now that is heck of a view the best place to take selfies I think 8.4 miles or 14 kilometres honestly… C’Mon… I am not going to spent five hours to do this because I got another things as well However… let me hike for a hour go up to a nice point and return I think it’s beginning to rain actually thank goodness I got a weather resistance camera weather resistance jacket but I don’t have a tire resistance body yet if you know can do CPR come over… right now I need a mouth to mouth passionate CPR with benefits I don’t know if I want to continue but… so much drama Alright the hike is pretty steep at times so be aware of your physical limit and also bring some water and for me I think I reach my limit and more over my interest in continuing on after the view from here is already pretty speculator back out here I am going to walk to the inn down there let’s hop on to a boat If you don’t like hiking, there is also another way to get the speculator view of the lake For only few dollars you can hop on to a boat Oh yes, I manage to sweet talk my way into a free seat Again! so there is no fish in this lake because this is actually a volcano however… if you go underneath the water as you can see there is bubbles of gas coming out so a gas emission The lake which is 200 metres deep at its deepest point is highly alkaline and contains little life The intra-caldera islands, on the other hand support some wildlife most notably the silvery grebe which lives around the reeds and feeds on small fish, frogs, crayfish, small water snakes, plant seeds, and insects they give you a hot tea Gracias… and how nice this is… so what this is actually they call it sugar cane whiskey it’s really hot! no whiskey, it’s “aguardinte” “aguardinte”, okay… look it at!!! how can you say no to fresh mangos Although the drink is hot included in the price of your ride It’s not going keep you hot for too long especially when the weather doesn’t behave So always be prepared to get wet by wearing the rain resistance coat to walk to entrance for your taxi ride back the Cotacachi bus terminal ask him to drop me off near the station which is right here and the reason is I want to eat something first before hoping on the bus and head to our next place problem here… in Cotacachi… Sadly there is really nothing to eat here in the town So the most logistical thing to do is escape from femme with a bus ride to San Antonio de Iberra let’s see what the heck is going here by this point, I am, really, really, really, really hungry For $2.00… I had incredibly amazing meal! this si the first restaurant near the bus where it drop me off and I just can’t resist! I am hungry so let’s check this out soup popcorn and a drink looks good to me it’s not cold but it’s fresh I don’t know what these is but it taste like the small version of the Korean rice cake very natural it’s not much of seasoning but the meat is very tender do you know what I am saying? San Antonio de Ibarra is located just six kilometres from Ibarra and was once a small town like many others until it became famous for wood carvings In fact, tradition that has been preserved for hundreds of years by the local artists Today, it is considered the capital of wood artisans the artist here is working on these sculptures and… it’s actually really time consuming and sometimes it takes from 15 days to one month to complete one of these work and it’s truly, truly, a labour of love! we are approaching the Central Park here San Antonio and it is surrounded by wood carvings set of sculptures because this city happen to be most famous for it’s wood carvings there is another right there let’s go and check it out maybe there is some gallery or something The wood carvings is extremely important to the local economy and create many employment opportunities through many of the workshop and galleries setup surrounding the plaza One of the must see and most famous free galleries is run by the well known artisan Luis Potosi Here is where you will admire some lovely works by this artist that include fine decorations with Inca inspired themes, religious imagery and many other artifacts that make it a great decorations for your home all of these are actually handmade the gallery owner is actually Luis Potosi and the… I don’t know how much time he spent on doing this but it’s pretty impressive you can just buy them actually like I said it’s not that expensive oh look at this maple leaf make me remind me of home muchas gracias! goodbye! going to hop on… it looks really nice over in Ibarra so I hope it still going to be the same when I get there it shouldn’t be more than like 10 minutes bus ride actually so this is pretty common where musicians or candy sellers get on the bus and try to sell stuff and things like that which is really interesting so what I am going to do is give them fifty cents it might not sounds a lot to us but to them it actually means a lot so why not? muchas gracias! why not? they work hard in fact it’s right across there is a big commercial like outlet market The bus drop me off right across from somewhere where you get great deals especailly deals on shoes shoe and more shoes, and more shoes… you get the idea! maybe they should call it a shoes market because there is shoes more shoes inside shoes and outside shoes there is shoes everywhere shoes crazy… Now… honestly… take a look of my shoes I think I need to get a new one! But there is always some room for pirated DVD including this program right here… Given I am on a budget I had to painful suppress my lust for shoes I am hoping for the god’s mercy on my soul Luckily the Basilica of Our Lady of Mercy is really close by The main façade of this place of worship is formed by Gothic and Romanesque elements As a relevant example of ancient art is the main altarpiece with a Baroque style in gold leaf that in the centre houses the sculpture of Our Lady of Mercy At the bottom of the left nave stands a life-size crucifix that comes from the chapel of the Hacienda de Pesillo Adjacent to the basilica is Ibarra’s main plaza and park Basically by this point I having both a church fatigue and plaza fatigue Both are beautiful, but I think I had enough Honestly it is time to go home but if you are hungry there is a lot of inexpensive street food along way to the bus terminal along with more markets right by the actually bus stop there is another market actually if you do have time, really come and check it out but honestly I really need to catch the bus back to Otavalo so the reason I am heading back to Otavalo so early is because after six the intercity bus terminal starts to close down and the bus to the other city from here is very limited make sure to have $0.15 ready because it cost $0.15 to get into the terminal with that being said… our bus should be one of them let’s get going… so you see this? Otavalo that’s going to be our bus so let’s get on! bienvenido! (welcome!) bienvenido (welcome) he is really cool! he is really cool! this ride roughly takes 45 minutes it’s roughly 20 kilometres away welcome back to Otavalo! oh yeah! so it’s almost 7 o’clock so what I am going to do is going to take a bus back home back at the station so I am getting ready to leave for Quito but we’ll make a surprised stop we are going to see another centre of the world Cayambe right here so right here you see Cayambe? that is the bus we are going to get on let’s go! the bus is leaving right now and the reason we are stopping at Cayambe is on the way to Quito and there is the real centre of the world? I have go and see So once you arrived just walk a block towards the main street from here there is frequent buses heading towards Quito Tell the driver you wanted to get off at the Quitsato Sundial it is only 6 kilometres away so the ride shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes Most likely get ready for another round of live music it does get annoying sometimes I am so used to it well I don’t think I need to go to see a concert you get one almost on every single bus if you bring a GPS it will shows the latitude of 0-0-0 Now there is a lot of places claimed to be the centre of the world But this Sundial claims to be the most accurate of the most accurate of the most accurate… Now, that is super cool! Right down there… is the actual line of the equator to 1 millimetre accuracy also the indigenous people in the world they knew about this because it was a need for them to start their calendars with their social organization, religion, everything this monument you can see in this picture which is near Quito is not on the line it’s 270 metres outside of equator with thanks to the satellite technology, GPS, smartphones it’s really easy to prove where is the equator line that is why when people comes here they find the smart phone or gps the exact precision one millimetre over this line Alright! so the other side little bit more sunlight actually… we are going back to Quito right now and the bus is right across the street from here it’s really convenient Enjoy the ride! I think it’s going to be a hour and half ride? Now we need to find a tram back to the Old Centre where I live I was completely exhausted I basically chill out for the reminder of the day in my hostel since tomorrow will be my last day in Ecuador and it’s not going to be walk in the park… let’s also be going to be early too! so today is my last day in Ecuador and I decided to sign up for a tour for Cotopaxi Mountain see I am really, really tired so I am going to take the easy way out you can just do this on your own and I don’t think that’s that complicated for less than ten bucks you can even do this on the way from Banos to Quito there is a lot of jump on and hop off buses that will let you get off in Cotopaxi The full day tour includes an English speaking tour guide transportations, breakfast and lunch, and bike rentals The cost typically is $30 – $40 so remember to bargain and bargain hard! so I think it’s breakfast time look like the breakfast looks pretty good how good this is… Honestly I know a lot of you don’t eat breakfast everyday like myself For today you definitely needed… needed bad and all the sugar you can for the high altitude hike No kidding here! As well if you need to take piss or take a dump please do it here!!! they recommend we grab some water because the air is really dry up there Also if you want to save a couple of bucks make sure to bring some bottled water from home Now remember I asked everyone to go to bathrooms those guys and gals did not listen and they doing their thing right now in the bushes while I get to enjoy the beautiful landscape so everyone have finished their thing I bet that is the best piss they ever had in their life just arrived! 4,600 metres please don’t forget we are in the protected area we need to respect the rules the few rules is to walk together with everybody I mean I am not smart but smart enough to bring this windbreaker here Cotopaxi is an active stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains and is the second highest summit in Ecuador reaching a height of 5,897 metres It is also one of the world’s highest volcanoes now this is my way of getting high! that is how difficult it is… not easy! Many sources claim that Cotopaxi means shining pile or mountain in an indigenous language but this is unproven According to locals who speak Quechua, “coto” means moon and “paxi” means neck This refers to the crater of Cotopaxi that looks like a crescent moon The mountain was honoured as a “Sacred Mountain” by local Andean people even before the Inca invasion in the 15th century I am getting a hypoxia dizziness Given the high altitude, the air here is very thin compared to the sea level Which makes the hike even more difficult given our body have to breath harder and our heart beats faster so please make sure you are confident on your physical level to march on and if necessary slow down take a break and drink some water With that being said… let’s continue! Congratulations Sir! rest of the troublemaker here Cotopaxi! Yes! now you see this? these are all ice best I paid for this I am going to touch it we got enough ice in Canada but fuck this is Ecuadoran ice motherfuckers By the way… where I am heading to? Cotopaxi also has one of the few equatorial glaciers in the world which starts at the height of 5,000 metres That is where I am aiming for and as you can see I should have some extra sugar for breakfast you see this? I am going to lick the ice! Yes! I paid for this! I lost my water bottle but I’ll get my water from the natural source Yeah! put your cameras away and look in front of you because if you get hurt here trust me there is no hospitals be very careful! Since 1738, Cotopaxi has erupted more than 50 times resulting in the creation of numerous valleys formed by mudflows around the volcano The last eruption occurred from August 2015 to January 2016 Cotopaxi was officially closed by the authorities to climbing until it reopened on October 7, 2017 Believe it or not I am actually zoning out from consciousness By the way if you are seeing yourself in this state like me… you need to relax your ass! Recover before returning please! By the time I made it on the bus, I am totally brain dead… at least temporary But I paid for this experience, so I am not letting go of the mountain biking… after all I used to be a member of the varsity mountain biking team I can not let my manhood down! one of the rules is please don’t take photos and ride your bicycles at the same time because the road is really rocky and also you can really hurt yourself from the all the years that I have being cycling this is probably the rockiest this is quite a landscape actually After making it to the meeting point there was a small lake with wild horses Everyone was offer some hot tea as the tour guide secures the mountain bikes I helplessly collapsed inside the van The tour ends with a lunch since you have seen me eating thousands of time this is what I am having! Done! I can sleep on the bus alright! all onboard! let’s go! We arrived in Quito around 5 pm so I still have some time to experience last bit of Ecuadoran Christmas festivities and atmospheres and off course street food… lots and lots of it It’s also my last chance to pick up some chicks I mean on some souvenirs and deals… And there is no better place than the Quito’s central commercial market Especially a paradise for those who loves fashion No joke… this is coming from a runway director for the official New York Fashion Week yes… that is me! one thing that is really surprising here is really, really big actually I mean you can walk for hours and hours and not get to the end of it there is more clothings down there look at that! I don’t think I need to buy any clothings but I want to check it out you can even find old fashion DVDs of movies and stuff I don’t know if they are properly licensed I started packing up and prepare for my early morning departures I recommend you prepared to leave the Old Town at least four hours prior to your flight departure by taking ride sharing app for about $4.00 to the bus terminal offering airport express The entire journey about a hour provided no traffic jams and this is the end of my magnificent journey to amazing country of Ecuador Ecuador is considered by many the hidden jewels of South America and there is many reasons I can give you to visit little, but progressive nations From being surrounding yourself with nature and its most biodiverse environment to be immersing yourself in the local culture to being in the centre of the world and both witness its cosmopolitan and it’s contrast My favourite is the warm hospitality from the people of Ecuador with its open arms it’s diverse landscape and it’s food Ecuador is truly magnificent country and there is no doubt it’s experience will captive your spirit your heart and your soul!