Tuesday, 27 January 2015

{Christmas on the Beach, South American Style}




I've been trying to catch up on blogging from my vacation in Ecuador. I've posted some pictures from Quito, and also of the LOVE ball all over Ecuador...
We spent Christmas on the beach at Makana Resort in Ecuador (Tonsupa, just up from Antacames, and south of Esmeraldas). The pool was lovely, right on the beach, and that's where we spent most of the time...it was divine.
Highlights were simply lounging by the pool & catching up with my family, playing music and watching the kids host dance competitions in the pool, hearing the waves crash at night through the open windows, the lullaby of the sea...& tasting the best ever ceviche at a tiny little seaside restaurant nearby.
Here are the pictures to prove it!




{sunset swim}















{sisters! 3/5}






{best ceviche ever, and even better were the extra large cervezas for $1.75!}
{yum!}







oh...to be back at the beach!
xo
L

Saturday, 24 January 2015

{In & Around Quito}

If you read my blog regularly you'll know I spent Christmas in Ecuador.
My sister lives in the valley of Cumbaya, just a bit below Quito, which has a slightly warmer climate to Quito. Quito is 9,350 feet (2,800 meters) above sea level, so if you suffer from altitude sickness make sure to leave a few days to acclimatise, as many feel rather light-headed, nauseous, and generally out of it (a bit like feeling hung over!). The climate is ideal--it's a bit chilly in the morning and at night, but the intensity of the sun means the day warms up quickly and feels like a nice sunny warm June day in the UK.

We arrived in Quito and spent a few days visiting the city, before we headed down to the beach (another blog to follow on that).  I then spent a week at the end of my trip with my sister in Cumbaya (more pictures to come on that, too).
{we attended the Christmas concert at my niece (not pictured here) & nephew's school, where my sister also works}

{my sister who works at the school with her son & husband}
{exploring old Quito with the church of San Francesco in behind, where my sister got married many years ago}




{Smith family}



{amazing old Jesuit churches in Old Quito with beautiful art and architecture, inside & out}








{Old Quito is littered with colonial buildings that house restaurants or boutique hotels}


Just outside of Quito, you can visit the middle of the world (Mitad del Mundo), which marks 0 Latitude (the Latitude equivalent of Greenwich which marks 0 Longitude):




{me at 0 Latitude in 2010, me at Greenwich, 2010}

accommodation in Quito: we stayed in a cute little boutique hotel with breakfast included, called Casa Joaquin. It was very clean, the staff were very kind, and it had a lot of character. It also just won 2015 Travellers' Choice Award from TripAdvisor. If you're looking for something more modern, we often stay in the Swissotel--it's lacking character, but has a nice swimming pool and fitness centre, & a number of restaurants to choose from. It's highly recommended that you splurge and pay for an Executive Suite. The Executive lounge is pretty amazing--free food all day and night and even better free alcohol and they are always waiting with another bottle of cerveza or wine to replenish the one you just finished! (dangerously good service in that regard!). There are a lot of good restaurants in and around both hotels. If you're looking for something with more character, the Swissotel runs a sister hotel in old Quito, right in the central old plaza, Hotel Plaza Grande.
transport:  your best bet is taking a taxi anywhere--they are cheap, usually under $5 USD (they use US currency there) for most rides under 20 mins.

I've got a lot more photos, so stay tuned!
xo,
L