One of the best places to get a view of Quito's mountainous landscape is at the top of the Teleferico. It's a sky tram up the side of Pinchincha. The 2.5km ride takes 10 minutes before you arrive at the top of Cruz Loma. The total height is 4100m, almost 13,500ft. From the top you can hike to the summit of Rucu Pinchincha (4680m) which is a 4km (5hr) round trip.
Mindo is located about 80km from Quito, Ecuador. It's well known for its flora and fauna. It is located in a valley in what is called the Mindo Nambillo Protected Forest , an ecosystem inhabited by some 500 varieties of birds and 90 species of butterflies.
On the way there, Dad and I had to detour onto a mountain trail due to a mudslide that had closed down the highway. After we arrived in Mindo, we learned from one of the touring companies what we could see nearby. The first stop was a little residence that offered a private view of their backyard, which provided a sanctuary for hummingbirds.
Further up into the mountain, we found a tram that took us across a valley and to the waterfalls.
This trail took us down to Cascada Nambillo.
Dad the Traveler!
As you can see, the rain made the trek a little muddy. While driving back home we discovered the landslide on the highway was still forcing cars to detour into the small mountain trail. All the traffic throughout the day took a toll on the muddy trail, making it difficult for some front wheel drive vehicles to make it through. After an hour wait on the highway, we eventually made it through the muddy detour with no problem and arrived back in Quito.
My Father visited for a couple weeks recently. Our first trip out of Quito was to Mitad del Mundo.
Mitad del Mundo means "The Equator". Even though the equator runs through many cities around the world, Quito has become famous for it. Mitad de Mundo consists of one dominant monument, smaller monuments that lead up to it, a small village that has been constructed around the equator site. There are several little museums and cafes as well.
I blew Lucia's mind awhile ago when I took her out of our neighborhood for the first time. The destination- Parque La Carolina. Up until then Lucia was only exposed to the normal stream of neighbors, dogs, and traffic. We hopped in the truck and drove a few miles to this large central park. Since the park lies in the city center.
Parque La Carolina offers many activities for all ages, such as football, basketball, tennis, biking, paddle boats, Ecuavolley (similar to volleyball), just to name a few. The park is over 160 acres and surrounded by high rises and these main thoroughfares, Río Amazonas, de los Shyris, Naciones Unidas, Eloy Alfaro, and de la República. It use to be an airport until the city grew around it and they decided to move the airport farther away.
Among the most popular attractions in the park, is the Jardín Botánico with native habitats covering páramo (high-altitude Andean grasslands), cloud forest, wetlands and other areas, plus an orquideario (orchid greenhouse), ethnobotanical garden (exploring the plants used by indigenous groups) and Amazonian greenhouse. Since I was with Lucia, we didn't have a chance to explore them. But I'll check them out next time and post an update.
All in all, Lucia gave it her paw of approval, so I'm sure we'll be back.