#59 best destination in the world

Guayaquil Historical Park

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  • Historic walking area divided in three zones: wild life, traditions, and urban, such as architectural, where the nature, rural, and urban aspects are brought together in one concept: encouraging the environment preservation, rescue and promotion of native customs

Malecón 2000

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  • Boardwalk overlooking the Guayas River in the Ecuadorian port city of Guayaquil
  • Urban renewal project focusing on the old Simón Bolívar boardwalk
  • Several of the greatest historical monuments in the history of Guayaquil can be seen along it, as well as museums, gardens, fountains, shopping malls, restaurants, bars, food courts, the first IMAX theater in South America

El Cajas National Park

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  • National park in the highlands of Ecuador
  • The area stands 14,599 ft above sea level
  • Offers a tundra vegetation on a jagged landscape of hills and valleys
  • Declared a National Park in 1996

Ingapirca

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  • Largest known Inca ruins in Ecuador
  • The most significant building is the Temple of the Sun, an elliptically shaped building constructed around a large rock
  • Once used for ritual and astronomical purposes

Swing at the End of the World

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  • Deep within the Ecuadorian wilderness is a seismic monitoring station in a tree, known as Casa del Arbol, whose purpose is to observe Mt. Tungurahua, the nearby active volcano
  • 8530 feet above sea level is a swing hanging from one of the station tree’s skinny branches
  • It is unclear where the swing came from
  • The swing is part of a small park at Casa de Arbol, complete with three swings and a small zip line
  • Though the swing used to be completely unmonitored, today there are guides to help you buckle in and push you as you swing
  • It looks like the swing hangs over a cliff, it actually hangs over a steep slope so the experience is not as scary as it seems

Agoyán

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  • Tallest waterfall in Ecuador
  • Formed by the waters of the Pastaza River that plunge 200 ft into a gorge
  • In 1987, the Ecuadorian government inaugurated the Agoyán hydroelectric plant, which has been part of the country’s power grid since then
  • The plant was built upstream of the waterfall, so as to preserve it

Quilotoa

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  • Water-filled caldera with a 2 miles wide caldera which was formed by the collapse of this volcano following a catastrophic eruption about 600 years ago
  • This last eruption followed a dormancy period of 14,000 years, a Crater lake was already present at that time
  • The lake has a greenish color as a result of dissolved minerals
  • There are a number of hostels in the immediate area offering services such as mules and guides
  • Activities include a four to five-hour hike around the caldera, otherwise the hike is sandy and steep in places and can be quite taxing, particularly if there is fog
  • According to local inhabitants, the lake level has been slowly declining over the last 10 years

Quito

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  • One of the largest, least-altered, and best preserved historic centers in the Americas
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • A monument marks the general location of the equator in the city

Intiñan Solar Museum

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  • Home of the “true” equator, the museum is bisected by a line of red paint which marks what proprietors claim is site of the middle of the world
  • GPS tests come back with mixed results, and the rocky surroundings make accurate readings difficult to obtain, but you’re very close
  • Offers a sampling of native culture, with some interactive demonstration
  • The central focus of the museum is a totem pole surrounded by several stations, each designed to test the unique physical forces at work in the equatorial region
  • Some are clearly parlor tricks, but others are, at the very least, demonstrations of physics
  • There’s also a blow-dart range, pickled snakes, and “genuine shrunken head”

Museo Templo del Sol Pintor Ortega Maila

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  • Museum temple of the sun completed by Ortega Maila, an indigenous painter and sculptor
  • Built using research of ancestral architecture of Andean culture

Las Grietas

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  • On Isla Santa Cruz in the Galapagos Islands, the deep carvings in the landscape forming The Cracks run hundreds of feet into the Earth, creating narrow sheer walled canyons filled with clear water

Costs

Number of Days: 23 days

Best Time To Fly: Feb-April

Airline tickets: $980

Seattle -> Guayaquil (one way) $268
Quito -> Baltra Island (round trip) $214
Quito -> Seattle (one way) $498

Food: $9/day x 23 days = $207

Entertainment/tours: $355

Airbnb: $46/day x 22 days = $1,012

TOTAL: $2,554