Updated: Feb 4
I am Juan Francisco Carrasco, I am 14 years old and live in Quito, Ecuador. I live with my parents and my little brother, Tomas. I study at the American School of Quito and I like it a lot. Here I will share my experiences of traveling around Ecuador with my family. I have discovered lots of different places and visited all the regions of Ecuador with them. In my family, every weekend, holiday, or summer vacation is an opportunity to discover new places, like a river, mountain, waterfall, volcano, forest, lake, beach, or even a little village in the middle of the mountains that only some people have heard of. No matter what region of Ecuador we visit, we always enjoy it together while we get to discover new things. We mostly like sunny days, but we also have fun on our trips when it rains, when it’s cloudy, or even when it’s cold, because regardless of the weather, I wouldn’t say no to a trip with my family across Ecuador.
I live in Quito, but in five hours I could be at the beach or in the Amazon Rainforest. In two hours I could be at Cotopaxi Volcano or in Laguna de Mojanda, since in Ecuador there is no need to go far away from where you are to discover an awesome place. This is the reason why most of our trips are road trips. We are always prepared for anything that could come, we always bring our tent, coats, boots, sleeping bags, raincoats, pocket knives, and even our fishing rods, because when we get into the car to travel around our amazing country, we don’t know where we are going to stop. One thing that you can never forget is your camera, because you will want to take amazing pictures of the beautiful landscapes and the awesome places of Ecuador. Believe me, you will need it! My mother has an enormous photo gallery of our trips that represent the big memories we have lived together.
My favorite place in the Andes is Parque Nacional Antisana. I love this place because there are lots of things to do. Usually we start our trip riding horses at Pushipungo. This is an activity that no matter how many times I repeat it, I will always enjoy it like the first time. When I ride a horse in the mountains I feel on the top of the world, and nothing in the world compares to reaching the top of a hill and seeing the majesty of the Antisana Volcano with its glaciers. In the mountains, we disconnect from the city and technology, and let all our problems go away, so that we enjoy the ride without interruptions. The mountains, hills, volcanoes, and the cold air of the Andes create a perfect setting to let you relax and be carried away by nature. In Pushipungo we always pay our friend Pancho Cuichan $10 for two hours (per person) of horseback riding. After riding, our friend Pancho welcomes us with a typical meal, corn with cheese (choclos con queso) and broad beans (habas), food that gives us energy until our next stop.
Inside Parque Nacional Antisana there are many beautiful lakes that you can visit: Laguna de la Mica and Laguna de Secas are very easy to access by car and are not far away from the entrance of the park. There you can find great places to camp and eat outdoors while seeing the calm waters of the lake move with the wind. By these lakes you can also walk on various paths with different levels of difficulty to admire the landscape of the paramo. Also, if you have good luck, you will see animals like rabbits, foxes, spectacled bears, or even a condor flying in the air.
Another place you can’t miss is inside Parque Nacional Antisana, called Muertepungo (Door of the Death). This lake is a very special one because it was created by the volcanic lava of one of the last eruptions of the Antisana Volcano. Muertepungo is located 4200 meters above sea level and surrounded by hills. The vegetation of this lake is a forest full of chuquiragua and paramo straw (paja de paramo). You should know that to enter Muertepungo you need a 4x4 car because the road is in bad condition and after it rains, which usually happens, it becomes very muddy. For this reason people use 4x4 there.
The Parque Nacional Antisana is located in between the provinces of Napo and Pichincha and it’s only an hour and a half from Quito by car. This is one of the reasons why I like to go there because in a short time I can find myself surrounded by nature and silence. I love traveling Ecuador with my family and enjoy it so much I wouldn't change it for anything. I hope this article inspires you to travel to new places in Ecuador because I know that you will enjoy yourself with your family as much as I do with mine.
Author: Juan Francisco Carrasco
For more exploration tips you can visit the author Instagram profile @travelingecuadorwithmyfamily