Family Travel in Ecuador: A Conversation with Lisa Shusterman
Tell us about yourself! What do you do when you’re not traveling the world? Where do you live? What made you decide to go to Ecuador?
I live in Cincinnati, OH with my husband and two teen age daughters. I love traveling especially to cultures different than my own. When not traveling, I am a program coordinator for a Holocaust Center. Other pastimes include reading, knitting and cooking. I’m a foodie which incorporates so well into my love for travel.
I went to Ecuador as part of an around the world trip. Our family spent two weeks there and the end of a year long trip. All four of us loved it!
How long did you go for? How did you spend your time?
We spent two weeks in Quito taking several day trips as well as an overnight horseback trip. Because we were living on the road and renting an apartment, part of our time was spent managing day to day aspects of life: laundry, food shopping, cooking, cleaning, communications etc. But, we still had plenty of time to explore: Quito’s old colonial city, the new city, day trip to La Mitad del Mundo (middle of the world i.e. the equator), dat trip to Otavalo, South America’s largest market, the top of Pichincha Volcano, overnight horse trek in the Pululahua Crater, Basilica del Voto, Jacchigua, Ballet Folklorica Ecuador, Parque Carolina.
What were your most memorable experiences? What were the biggest disappointments of family travel in Ecuador?
Going to the top of Volcan Pichincha where you feel like you are at the top of the world is pretty cool – literally. Also, as touristy as it seems, straddling the equator was another highlight. And, the market at Otavalo is awesome.
Disappointments? While the idea of the horse trek was great in theory, the person we used for this purpose was not very good. On day two we even had a horse fall down the side of the mountain; fortunately my daughter was not on the horse at the time. Great idea, poor execution.
What do you wish you knew before you went?
I do very thorough research before traveling to a new location. I can honestly say there was really nothing that I wish I knew beforehand.
Any favorite restaurants/hotels/hostels/
sites you’d like to recommend? Tell us what made them great!
The fish fried at the market at Otavlo was great. Not a restaurant, just a stand in the market.
In the colonial section of Quito, we had our final trip (after one year) lunch at Patio Andaluz. Very upscale for us. It was quite elegant and the food was marvelous. Perfect place to end our stay in Ecuador and the rest of the world.
Is there anything that women specifically should know before they travel to your destination?
Modest attire is in order. Petty crime (like pickpocketing) is prevalent; watch your stuff at all times (not just women). Consider taking taxis once dark rather than buses or trams.