We woke up to an absolutely beautiful day in Quito this morning, as the clouds that filled the sky yesterday were replaced by the sun and a picture-perfect blue sky.
We met for breakfast in the hotel restaurant at 7:15 a.m. and afterward took our bags downstairs so we could load the bus at 8 a.m. Guillermo, the driver who picked us up at the airport Wednesday night, was back to meet us and help us load our bags.
Our plan this morning was to start the day at the Teleférico — the gondola-like cable car that takes tourists up the side of Volcán Pichincha. We arrived but discovered that it was going to be closed until 11 a.m. or noon, as crews were making some repairs. (It reminded me of all the times I’ve been to Cedar Point only to find out the Dragster was closed for a few hours.) Instead of coming back later in the day, we decided to come back in a couple of days, as we’ll pass by Quito on our way to Baños. It was the first hiccup of the trip but the kids were great as we changed plans.
We were planning to visit the equator after the panoramic view from Pichincha, so we headed there next. We spent a couple of hours at the equator. It was sunny and warm — probably in the 70s. We broke in to two small groups as our guides took us around the equator museum, where we experienced some science lessons. We tried to balance an egg at 0–0-0, we tried walking with our eyes closed in a straight line at 0-0-0, and we tested our muscle resistance at 0-0-0 vs. just north and south of 0-0-0. Check out these pictures and videos below to see what we experienced today.
Afterward, we visited an equator monument that is about 600 feet from the actual equator. In the past it wasn’t possible to go to the top of this monument but now visitors can. The elevator was out of service, so we climbed the 122 steps to enjoy views from the top.
We shopped for 30 minutes afterward at the stores located around the equator monument … but for some of our group, it was also an ideal time to break out in dance to apply what we learned last night during the salsa class.
We left the equator and drove about 15 minutes to Restaurante El Crater, an idyllic place situated on top of what used to be a volcano’s crater. We were surrounded by green mountains on all sides as the clouds move in and out. Raul described it as a scene out of Jurassic Park. Señora Bailey and I were here in 2015 with our group, and the food was just as good if not better as we enjoyed another authentic Ecuadorian lunch. Several of the kids said it was their favorite meal of the trip. We had incredible views of the green mountains and crater, as we ate in a room full of windows overlooking the crater.
And today we actually did see llamas up close, as there were two in front of the restaurant. After several selfies with the llamas, I’m happy to say not one of them spit at us. 🙂
We next departed for Ibarra for our hotel. We arrived around 6 p.m. The hotel is at the top of a mountain and we drove up several switchback roads that provided stunning views of the city below. There is a pool and sauna here, and almost all the students spent an hour here before we had dinner at 8 p.m.
What was the best part of the day? Here is what Rocco and Adam thought:
Tomorrow will be our big shopping day as we visit the market in Otavalo.
Thanks for following our trip!