Attractions and beauty through the eyes of a Spaniard who has just arrived in Latin America
Whenever David Aguilar Martín, a biology student from Seville, thought about Latin America, the words hospitality, joy, passion, among many others, came to his mind. “It’s time to prove that I was right.” This journey of discovery started in Ecuador, more precisely at an altitude of 9,350 feet [2,850 m] above sea level. “It’s not easy arriving at a city almost 30 times higher than your hometown,” he says about Quito. Soon, David felt like he was part of the capital’s hustle and bustle. But, to find the dose of adventure he was looking for, he left behind the urban area and went to Machachi, located 90 minutes from the city.
This small town is home to Cotopaxi National Park. “There are thousands of mountain activities to choose from in this volcanic region. “I had the same objective as many travelers: going up the Cotopaxi. The climb was not easy, but very rewarding, with a visit from an Andean condor.” To top off the experience at an altitude of over 13,120 feet [4,000 m], the Spaniard camped in the park, near Limpiopungo Lake.
“Fortunately, when the sun set, the clouds dissipated, giving way to a small rainbow at the base of the volcano.”
To make his visit to the Route of the Volcanoes even better, David also wanted to see another incredible volcanic lake, Quilotoa, which is 1.9-mile [3 km] wide and 820-feet [250 m] deep. On the way there, he stopped in the small village of Tigua, which revealed pictorial illustrations that show a bit about this indigenous culture. And next to the crater filled with water, he fulfilled his dream of seeing this emerald-green lake up close. “I had been waiting for this moment for a long time. The sky was cloudy. Still, I can’t put into words the beauty of the place.”
Plenty of water
After an incredible stay in the Andes, David went to Baños de Agua Santa, located 118.5 miles [191 km] from Quito.
“The city is located by the banks of the Pastaza River and at the foot of the majestic Tungurahua Volcano, offering such activities as rafting, canopying, climbing… It makes you forget the meaning of the word boredom,” he jokes.
There, he decided to explore the waterfalls in an extreme way. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated with waterfalls, and I’ve always dreamt of going abseiling. But I couldn’t imagine that I would go down four different cascades on the same day!” The waterfalls on the Río Blanco were the setting for his adventure. “Feeling this huge amount of water on me was overwhelming. Adrenaline pumping – it was exactly what I wanted.”
To fill another day in Baños, two other attractions: a canopy circuit (with ziplines) that’s 1.25 miles [2 km] long over rivers, waterfalls, and valleys, and the famous tree swings in the region. Located in the city’s higher portion, they have fun names like Flight of the Condor, Fantasies of Flying, and Tree House.
“I couldn’t leave without taking the Route of the Waterfalls. It starts in the city and covers part of the road that leads to Puyo.” David took a taxi and leisurely stopped along the way, enjoying falls that drop up to 262.5 feet [80 m], like Pailón del Diablo, one of the most visited waterfalls in the country.
This is how the Spaniard ended the first part of his trip. Follow the adventurer on Instagram and find out where he will go next!
LATAM has direct flights to Quito departing from Lima, Cuenca, the Galápagos Islands, and Guayaquil.