Sounds awesome! I am heading to Ecuador in two weeks! Ill be in the Ayampe area primarily for surfing (and photo/video). If you head through that area and need lodging, check out Bungalows La Buena Vida Ayampe. A buddy of ours named Keith Keller owns and runs the place and its pretty amazing! Have fun!
HI CR guy! Ayampe
is a pintoresque place indeed. There are two dominant rocks in front of it. It is about 5 to 10 miles south of Puerto López following the E1. Ecuador's Pacific Highway One
Further downsouth there is a cementery (yes,,,) near the beach, looks dramatic at sunset...but the rocks of Ayampe look much more dramatic, though.
From Puerto López there's a possibility to do a day trip to "La Isla de la Plata"
about 40 miles out in the Pacific Ocean. And don't miss Reservación Ecologica Machalilla
(Machalilla National Reservation) just 15 Min. north of Pto. López.
If you are further up the coast check out Manta
(I've lived and worked there), Bahia de Caráquez
with its romantic hotel: Hotel Herradura (horse-shoe) right by the ocean. Coming from Quito you could descend down the via Sto. Domingo to Sto. Domingo de los Colorados
(that's the place where the indigenous do their hairpainting) and from there on to Esmeraldas
(afroecuadorian population and marimaba vibes) and relax at Atacames'
Arco Iris HotelMontecristi
near Manta is the original site where they are manufactoring the Montecristi fino (the other place is Cuenca
in the central Sierra) , the hat which the French mistakingly named the "panama hat".
In the highlands I would drive up north along the Panamericana Norte as far as Carchi, border to Colombia. You get through Cayambe
( I've lived and worked there) Otavalo
(big poncho market) and then farther north through Ibarra and El Valle del Chota
(tropical andine enclave) and after up to the high plains of El Carchi: Reservación El Angel
with these rare plants (thousands of them)
Well that's plenty for now.
Enjoy your trip
Cheers y hasta pronto
Peter from Switzerland