Playa de Oro to Latacunga (via Quito)

Latacunga Travel Blog

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Time to leave the jungle and start the journey south.  However rather than heading back the way we came, Dave and I decided to try and complete the loop by staying overnight in Esmeraldes on the NW coast before getting back to Quito.

David kindly offered to give us a lift back to Borbon to catch a bus to Esmeraldes saving us a few hours, but in return for his favour, the road to Borborn was so bad that the suspension gave way on his 4 wheel drive hire car en route.  We continued and got dropped off but I only hope David managed to make it back to Quito (and had no problems returning the rental).

The coast road to Esmeraldes was pleasant and different to what we had seen before.

  However on arrival to the as Lonely Planet calls it "notoriously dodgy" Esmeraldes, we immediately hit a police cordoned off area which convinced Dave and I that seeing and staying were 2 different things and quickly jumped onto a connecting bus to Quito.

So back to where I started.  The following day we met up with Marie on her return from the Galapagos (making us envious of her week) to head south. However as we had arrived back in Quito a day early, we gave ourselves a day in Quito before setting off which was lucky as it was a complete wash out.  To get something out of the day and to say farewell to Quito (especially being a Saturday) we hit the backpackers district. Having spotted it previously we had to start at the Victoria Reina (Queen Vic) where Dave had a pint of bitter (surprisingly good) and I had a pint of stout (not so good) complements of Sean Wells US$10 note.

  However the place was deserted and overpriced so moved on.  The night was good but amazingly no other gringos but the place was still rammed with locals.  Even got to see a Depeche Mode tribute band amongst all the local music!

Sunday brought a 2 hour journey south to Latacunga to use as our next base for trips to Volcan Cotopaxi and Quilatoa Loop. Latacunga is a nice town with another pretty plaza and really friendly locals. A place that you can really feel at ease without the hustle and bustle of bigger towns.  What we didnt bargain for was that arriving at 2pm on a Sunday in a provincial town would not result in being able to book trips.  In fact every street was deathly quiet and really struggled to find anywhere to eat.

  However the cafe we finally sat down in had very hospitable owners (Marcos and Cecilia) who laid down pretty much a banquet for the three of us including the local speciality crackling, sliced pork, boiled corn, popcorn (very common in savoury dishes especially to put in soup), banana and proper chips.  Marcos called me a "latin lover" ! and promptly started rhapsodising about his 27 year old daughter who had just returned from a Danish exchange and got a degree on Vikings !  I saw her and decided it was too early in the trip ;-)   The weather was rubbish so Dave and I spent the next few hours talking to Marcos and Cecilia practising our Spanish.  By the time we left the town was starting to come to life but had a quiet evening watching Spiderman 2 in Spanish.


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photo by: AndySD