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Reflections: An Ecuadorian Journal

Our days were characterized by 9 am pick-ups (how civilized!) and drives through the countryside to towns and sites of interest. We hit all the suggested shopping and tourist locations in the guide books: wood carvings, weavings, leather work, marzipan, the Otavalo Market, volcano views and lakes. . . I liked simply sightseeing from the van. I had no idea how arid in aspect much of the Andean vegetation is!

I enjoyed the feeling of flexibility of being in our own van. I did not feel ''packaged'' at all. Rather, I felt taken care of. I usually travel independently so this was somewhat new-and I've decided I like it! I would never have seen or learned the things the way I did if I were on my own with a guide book. I'm sold on using local guides in South America and treating myself to enjoying the views and getting my questions answered in depth instead of navigating the roads.