So there is nothing like a national tragedy to make you feel slightly uncomfortable arriving in a new country, but Ecuador made us feel more than welcome.
Crossing the border on the long distance bus from Lima to Guayaquil makes for a hell of a long journey, so arriving on Ecuadorian turf was a fantastic feeling of a journey nearly at end.
Having been in Peru for just over a month, being in a new country was fantastic, and heading out into the tropical port city of Guayaquil was a huge change from the cold mountain climates of the high Andes.
Guayaquil is Ecuador’s largest city, and it has a startling array of tropical fruits to be sampled and enjoyed. Compounding the excitement of being somewhere hot was the fact that Ecuadorians are really friendly. People were always willing to give us advice or point us in the right direction.
Having been reading a book on Simon Bolivar for the last few months, it was nice to finally feel like I was crossing the Liberator’s footsteps. Whilst he’d obviously been in Lima, Cusco, La Paz and Arequipa, Guayaquil provided the first concrete evidence that we were on Simon’s turf.
Onwards we went through what can only be described as cacao country and on to the capital city which straddles the equator and gives this country its name; Quito. As a city, it was one of the first on the UN’s World Heritage list for it’s spectacularly preserved Old Town. The place really is a thing of beauty.
As you can see, the streets of Quito are ridiculously gorgeous and despite the city’s reputation for being one of South America’s more dangerous we felt comfortable throughout.
The historic centre is punctuated with lovely plazas and breathtaking cathedrals, and is one of the finest collections of Spanish colonial buildings on earth. They’re even better on one of Quito’s rare sunny days.
Our final adventure in Quito was to hop on the local buses and head for the Equator. Here it is in all its glory, a perfect opportunity to hop from North to South and back again repeatedly. It was certainly a strange experience. With our week in Ecuador at an end it was time to head to one of South America’s most notorious nations: Colombia.