My experience with South American countries is that the cities tend to be littered and there is usually a not too pleasant odor but this can be said of many cities. For the most part Ecuador seems to have great potential since it is blessed with natural wonders and biodiversity. There seems to be a trend towards capitalizing on this with a push on tourism. our stay at La Estacon in the picturesque town of Machachi is an example of this, (pictures 12 to 18). At one time it was a link in a railway route and the government is upgrading the tracks to haul people by train through the country side. It was a nice stop between Iliniza and Cotopaxi. The second Hosteria we stayed at was La Cienega a 300 year old colonial home turned into a Hotel, (20 to 26). The food there was excellent and the grounds were vast with a beautiful church. There were gardens where fresh vegetables were grown and animals were raised like the local delicacy of Guinea Pig. Many famous individuals have resided there over the years. Of climbing fame is Alexander Von Humboldt, German naturalist who studied Cotopaxi's volcanic activity (1802) as well as its unique alpine flora.
On our rest day before travelling to Chimborazo we visited the collapsed remains of the volcano Quilotoa which is a great place to go for a unique hike. Although the drive is a little long from Quito if you enjoy hiking it is a great place to visit when you feel rested. There is a new hotel being built there so it is possible to stay the evening and hike the rim which takes about 4 to 5 hours. Also you can hike down to the lake which takes about 40 minutes. Once a great volcano Quilotoa collapsed into itself 800 years ago and filled with water creating this beautiful natural site.