Baroque cathedral, Quito (Steve Alcorn)
Alas, it was time to leave the islands and my tour companions who were continuing their journeys elsewhere. We returned to the airport island of Baltra the way we arrived, by bus and water taxi ("panga"). And then flew via the modern and relatively spacious Aerogal jetliner to Quito by way of Guayaquil. I was contemplating how I would spend the free day I had at leisure in Quito as the Adventure Life tour portion of the trip was ending. Yolanda and Jose from Adventure Life were waiting at the Quito airport to drive me back to the beautiful Rincon de Puembo hotel where I had stayed the first night. I asked whether it was possible to arrange a guided tour of Quito for the next day and, bingo, Yolanda had it taken care of on her cell phone by the time we reached the hotel! Addendum: My final day in Ecuador (now May 19) I lounged poolside at the scenic Rincon de Puembo and and was met after lunch by my driver and guide, Santiago, as arranged by Yolanda the previous day. We did a walking and bus/van tour of Old Town Quito with Santiago, who spoke good English, discussing the architecture of the baroque churches and colonial history. It was fun to watch the people in the square at the President's palace and the weather, even at 8,000 feet was warm enough for short sleeves. Our driver stayed with our vehicle and kept track of my luggage which was one less thing to occupy my attention. At the end of the day they drove me back to the airport for my redeye flight to Atlanta. In summary, I would say the trip offered a great balance between structured educational activities and moderately exerting recreational opportunities. Also there was sufficient down time to simply relax, shop, read a book, or sightsee at your own pace. I would use Adventure Life again in a heart beat for further travel to South America and elsewhere.
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