We’re In The Andes! The Culture Shock I’ve Been Craving
I never imagined my first trip to the world’s longest continental mountain range would be while traveling around the world in a sailboat. Yet, here we are. In the Andes.
In case you haven’t been following along, we left Curiosity in Bahia de Caraquez and are on a two-week road trip through Ecuador. So, while we didn’t sail here, overland travel is just as much a part of the sailing lifestyle as crossing oceans. How is that possible? Because sailing is about exploring the world and always has been. Columbus set out to discover the new world…not simply to be at sea.
We’re out to discover the world! And sometimes, that includes road trips. So here we are, in Quito, Ecuador’s historic capital city. 9,350 feet above sea level.
Quito is a big city, far too big to explore in only a few short days but that doesn’t stop us from trying. Then, it’s back on the road and to the Volcanoes we go!
It’s a whirl wind tour of neo-gothic architecture, virgins and latitude zero. Plus, we stumble upon an Andean market that sends us into sensory overload…it is the culture shock I’ve been craving.
We keep having to remind ourselves we’re in the Andes Mountains AND straddling the equator. Before coming to Ecuador, I had no idea it was a country with a toe in every landscape. Amazon jungles, Andean highlands and of course the marine wonderland that is the Galapagos. The Andes extend from north to south through seven South American countries, Ecuador being the middle child. Perhaps that’s why they are so often skipped over for Peru or Argentina? I don’t know but I can tell you, this trip has me set on a full South America overland adventure one day.
We absolutely enjoyed every stop and would recommend them all should you make your way to Ecuador. Here’s a quick recap, starting with our faves.
I’m certain we didn’t do that Saturday Market justice. It’s one of my favorite memories from the whole trip. The experience was nothing more than a couple of hours, but I can still smell the sweet bread and off-putting mix of live and dead animals. I close my eyes and I can see the feathers on their fedoras, the layers of colorful shawls and the beautifully woven blankets. It was a rare show and I sincerely hope it isn’t the last I will see. When we make our way back to Ecuador, you better believe the Saturday Market in Zumbahua will be one of our stops.
Thanks to everyone who suggested we visit the Intinan Museum. This place is a trip! A mix of Ecuadorian culture, lore and physics. Latitude zero, the only place in the world where you can put one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and the other one in the Southern Hemisphere…the center of the world!
Basilica of the National Vow
There are sooo many beautiful churches to visit in Quito but this Basilica is South America’s biggest and tallest neo-gothic church. So, it won our vote.
Virgin of Quito
Best 360 degree view of Quito and home to the 18th century winged virgin made from seven thousand pieces of aluminum. She is the Woman of the Apocalypse, from the Book of Revelation (12:1–18).
Sailing Road Trip Report – Quito to Zumbahua
To see our full map with interactive pins, click here: gonewiththewynns.com/map
Road Miles Traveled – 102
Rental Car – $29 per day. We rented a car in Manta because it was half the price of renting in Bahia (where our boat is anchored).
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