Arrival and CarpeDM
When I landed in Quito, I was picked up by a tour company called CarpeDM that has arranged my Galapagos tour for me. Paul and team have been AMAZING, even meeting me in the Galapagos, sharing a hostel with me, and inviting me to join in on some real local Galapagoian experiences (more on that later, though). If you ever come to Ecuador, your starting point for research should be with Paul and CarpeDM. As my friend Tyler put it: they will take care of you.
Paul and I arranged before I left Canada to complete my Galapagos tour payment at the Quito airport at 6am, after which Paul flew to the Galapagos with his Dad and another employee named Johnny gave me a free ride back into town. We had a nice chat as I tried to flex my Spanish muscles, and I must say this speaking Spanish thing is coming in handy already.
Quito is high on a mountain, and Johnny expertly manoeuvred up switch backs and pot holes, alongside impressive mountain-scape, that includes embedded houses that barely cling to the side of the cliffs.
As soon as Johnny dropped me off at the Community Hostel I checked in, and promptly placed myself on a couch and passed out until my bed was ready. I didn’t even care how much I was drooling, I just couldn’t keep my eyes open.
The next day everyone at the table says they remember me passed out on the couch, but no one disturbed me and I didn’t feel uncomfortable in any way.
The great thing about Community is that they offer a range of activities each night. For $5, you get a full service dinner meal and for $2 (I think) you get a full breakfast. They change the meal options daily, and have a chalkboard that outlines everything and allows you to sign up for what you like. It really creates a great social atmosphere. So on night one we had a lovely international themed dinner and enjoyed Peruvian Pisco sours until the wee hours (I will definitely have more of these in Peru in July). I tried to take it easy, because even though I spent the entire morning napping on a couch, I was still exhausted. On night two I joined a food tour and tried local Ecuadorian specialities.
Shoulda Woulda Planning
Day 2 I ran to CarpeDM (only a couple blocks away) to confirm my Galapagos flight and to ask a few more questions. I didn’t realize before I came that Quito is such a central hub for everything, and shouldn’t have booked a return flight from the Galapagos to Guayaquil. While cheaper, it’s definitely not convenient.
Now I have to bus from Guayaquil to Quito (a 10-12 hour bus ride), and then back down to Banos to see the hot springs and swim behind a waterfall and maybe go quadding. Then I head from Banos back to Guayaquil to fly to La Paz, Bolivia – on my birthday.
If you don’t know the geography of Ecuador, just know that I’m doing a giant bus circle/zigzag next week. And yes it’s definitely cheaper this way, but I would have done it from Quito had I known.
Ah well, that’s what traveling is. You figure it out as you go. My Galapagos trip is booked and I’m so ready to meet ALL the turtles and sea lions and iguanas and sharks. Stay tuned, I’m going to the middle of the world tomorrow!