I took this picture of Cotopaxi volcano as we were travelling from Ambato to Quito by bus. The summit of the volcano is nearly always covered by clouds so I was really happy to get such a good view! The thing that struck me most about Ecuador was how mountainous it is. It really is such a shock compared to England where most of the country is completely flat. Later on in the trip we drove past another volcano that was actually erupting and we could see the ash cloud from the road.
The church, just off the main square in Quito's old town, is beautifully made from volcanic gray stone. Unbelievably, it took 160 years to complete! For just $4 we got a 2 hour guided tour of the whole building. The inside of the church has influences from a number of architectural styles (as it took so long to build!) and is covered in gold leaf from head to toe. It has to be one of the most impressive buildings I saw on my holiday.
The Ecuadorian food was AMAZING! While I was there I tried many traditional Ecuadorean dishes such as ceviche and llapingachos, which were ansolutely delicious. The dish in this photo was the biggest plate of food I've ever seen in my life. It's fried tilapia with patacones (fried plantain) and it was extremely tasty! I will definitely be trying out some Ecuadorean recipes now that I'm back in the UK.
My favourite part of my time in Ecuador was a trip to La Isla de la Plata (Island of Silver). This is a tiny island, just off the coast in the Pacific Ocean, which is now a national park. Allegedly, it gets its name from Francis Drake, who, when fleeing from the Spanish, threw his plundered silver overboard near the island and leaving it to wash up on the shores.
The best thing about the island are the blue-footed birds that you can see in the photo. They are called 'piqueros de patas azules' and are extremely friendly, although we weren't allowed to touch them in case they pecked us! As the island is completely uninhabited by humans, these birds have no fear of people and roam free even when faced with groups of tourists like us.
On the boat trip back from the island our tour guides took us to see some humpback whales. This was really incredible! As soon as we stopped a whale jumped right out the sea about five metres away from us. Unfortunately, it was extremely difficult to take a photo of them but I'll never forget that amazing experience.
All in all, I had a fantastic time in Ecuador and I'm so happy I finally made it to South America. Hopefully at some point in the future I'll be able to return and see some of the other Latin American countries I've heard so much about.
I hope you enjoyed hearing about my adventure and looking at the photos. We'd love to hear about your experiences in Ecuador or other Latin American countries! Has anyone been to any of these places? What are your recommendations for anyone travelling there? Let us know! :)
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