Posts Tagged ‘Ecuador’

Ecuador – Hacienda Primavera

July 27, 2010

Maggie wanted to ride horses. I wanted to hike to waterfalls and fish for trout. We both wanted tranquility. As Maggie prepares to leave the “nest” so to speak we wanted some Mother Daughter time. We saw many lovely Haciendas but Primavera’s remoteness and setting seemed to beckon us. The owner Pepe was most accommodating online. He was sympathetic to my concerns when the volcano in Iceland interrupted flight travel on the KLM (thus impacting air to Quito) and did not ask for a deposit. He understood my diet (no meat) and our other requests and planned the perfect trip. Pepe recommended I speak to an American tourist who frequents Primavera. When she learned I lived in Bonaire she asked if I knew a French man who owned a restaurant there. Of course it could only be Patrice Rannou. I knew Patrice frequented Ecuador and loved an area near Columbia where he rode horses. Amazing that out of ALL the places to come in this huge country I find Patrice’s hideaway. Two weeks back Patrice and I met for drinks and he told me my other friends, Jane and Alan ALSO go to Primavera. It was then I finalized our trip plan.

Primavera is about 4+ hours north of Quito. The drive was filled with up and down hill hair pin turns. Honestly I was nervous as our drive rode quite fast but I put my trust in him (and St. Christopher) and tried to enjoy the scenery. As we drew closer to Primavera the landscape changed dramatically. The vistas were splendid.

The last 12 k was along a terribly bumpy dirt road. Finally after 12 hours of travel we arrived at our home for 3 nights. Young Jose, kind Byron and Pedro greeted us warmly. We were allowed to choose a room as we had the place to ourselves. I chose a riverview room to hear the sounds of the rushing water. It was pure tranquility.

Photos can depict our experience so far, much better than my words.

Bonaire to Ecuador – A Quick Getaway

July 27, 2010

Bonaire is fortunate to be the refueling stop for the MD 11 KLM heading to South America. For 300 USD pp and a quick 2.5 hour flight we can arrive in Ecuador. Maggie was celebrating her 18th birthday and wanted a trip to Italia. Unfortunately the air from the US and Bonaire was well over 1600 USD so I decided to take us to Ecuador. My Dad was stationed there in WWII and I recall his stories of the beautiful people and country. I booked us for 5 nights. Next came the plan to decide where to stay. Being a travel agent and with a social work background I am overly investigative…I knew I wanted mountains, waterfalls, cool temps and away from it all. I found three Haciendas and let Maggie choose. She chose Primavera in the Cloud Forest, close to Columbia. I also wanted to spend 2 nights in Quito to visit the museums and cathedrals. I had researched a trip a few years back and knew I wanted to stay in Old Town Quito at Cafe Cultura.

We woke at 2:30 AM and drove 3 min. to Flamingo Airport in Bonaire. We were one of 3 parties flying from Bonaire to Ecuador. We waited in the departure lounge as the KLM landed 3:04 AM. To refuel all the passengers (embarked in Amsterdam) deplaned. The masses headed to the smoking lounge and the bathrooms. Most of the passengers were South American and some back packers heading to the Andes and beyond. We loaded the plane. What comfort. The MD11 had 3 -3 -3 seats and was very roomy compared to the US 737’s I frequently fly.

We took off heading south. I slept the entire flight to Guayacil where we off loaded some passengers and took on more who were heading back to Amsterdam. 20 min. later we arrived in Quito. The airport was very efficient and in the arrival hall our guide Armando and our driver Christian were there holding a sign with my name. As we left the airport a group of very forlorn ill kept beggars hounded me until we got to the car. It was rather unsettling as the tiny child kept saying the same phrase over and over..what I am not sure…it was a prayer or something. As we drove I noticed the smell of diesel and exhaust was overbearing. I also started to develop a massive headache. I knew to possibly expect Altitude Sickness being 9200 feet above sea level. The traffic was heavy at 8:30 AM and the sights already astounding. We saw many local people dressed in traditional Indian clothing. There were many motorcycles as well. I saw a lot of dogs but none really skinny just dirty. We stopped to get gas and I took the opportunity to go to the bano. As I stepped out of the van I noticed I was very dizzy. I felt like I was on drugs walking on pillows. We bought some water and corn pancakes in the store and headed towards Otavalo. Along the way we stopped in Cayambe City for Bizcochos, cookies the area is quite famous. There were rows of stores selling the cookies but Armando chose the best spot. They were buttery good.

Our next stop was the Equator. Maggie was disappointed as this point was not the huge tourist center near Quito but a smaller version. Still, we stood at 0′ and listened to a small lecture from a local girl. Cayambe is famous for growing roses. We saw greenhouses all along the road as well as many Indian local people. It was wonderful and so different to see the clothing and diversity. 2 hours later we were in Otavalo a market center. Famous for it’s weavers there are stalls and stands with a colorful array of designs and fabrics. Saturday is the busy day but we enjoyed our quiet shopping choosing some lovely scarves (2 for 5.00 ) and a lovely hammock for 12.00.

Otavalo Indio Market

More later…off to eat breakfast…