At the beginning of May, I traveled to the wonderful country of Ecuador.  I was invited by the Tourism Board of Ecuador to be part of a delegation to tour the 3 major cities of their country – Quito, Cuenca & Quayaquil.  Now Ecuador seems to be really far away, but it is not as far as you think…It is only a 4 hour flight from Miami! 

The journey began at one of the highest cities in the world – Quito.  It sits at 9,300 feet above sea level.  It is also located close to the Equator (can you guess how the country got its name?)  Now, during the first breakfast, the group was given Panama Hats to wear.  Each day we were told what about the crime has been committed – the hats should be called the “Ecuador Hat”, since they are made there and only exported to Panama.  I am not a huge hat person, so I ditched my hat rather quickly.  Much to my dismay, I did not clearly think through the reasoning behind why the Ecuadorians gave the kooky Americans the hats…bottom-line – I burned my scalp the first day!


Whoops, sorry for the divergence –Back to Quito…

Quito is the capital of Ecuador and has a population of 1.5 million people.  Quito has been declared an UNESCO World Cultural Heritage City.  $400 million has been spent in restoring this colonial city.  The city is 30 miles long and 5 miles wide – just imagine a very large hot dog…  It is the gateway to all of the wonders of this country – Amazon Rain Forest is 1 hour flight, Cloud Forest is ½ drive, Galapagos Islands is just a 2 ½ flight. 

We started off on our first day with the introduction breakfast at the new convention center, which is the site of the old Hospital Eugenio Espejo, built in the early 1900’s . What a great venue!


From there we spent the day touring the Old Colonial City, which included several churches, including the country’s oldest church which dates back to 1535 – San Francisco.  We even got to see a real live monk!  We lunched at a restaurant that completely overlooked Quito. Food was great (filet mignon), but the view was even better! 

Lunch in Quito

Wherever we traveled within Quito, the Monument of the Virgin Mary was evident.  It was like she was following us…


We ended our day by attending an evening party in our honor.  The people of Quito truly opened their hearts and their city to us. Not to mention, they really know how to paarrrtyyy!

Quito Ball 3

There was plenty of food and drink.  I was even able to avoid one of the Ecuadorian’s delicacies – Guinea Pig!  Yes, I said Guinea Pig. 

Bright and early the next morning – 4:30 a.m. (remember we were partying the night before…)  we headed off the airport for our trip to Cuenca.  I will forego the comments on the CHAOS of transporting 165 buyers & travel agents, plus suppliers, event coordinators, tourism board members and press (330+).  All is forgiven because one of the BENEFITS of flying from Quito to Cuenca is you get to fly over the Avenue of the Volcanoes!  Honestly, I am convinced the pilots are use to the entire plane congregating onto one side to get the incredible pictures!  Yes, I was waiting for the plane to tip!  However, it would have been worth it, given the incredible views we had!

 Volcano from Airplane 2

Stay tuned for Part 2 – Cuenca!