Ecuador Questions

Hi all! I’m 33/F/USA planning a trip to Ecuador in August. I’ve been to the Galapagos before and spent a day or two in Quito and Guayaquil, and want to return to explore the mainland! I’m somewhat flexible on timing but planning for roughly 2 weeks. I’m mostly looking for beautiful scenery and outdoor activities, and have been wanting to go to Secret Garden Cotopaxi forever, and recently discovered LluLlu Llama Mountain Lodge which seems to have the same vibes.

Day 1: arrive Quito late, stay at Community Hostel or Secret Garden Quito

Day 2: Quito – day trip to Mindo

Day 3: Quito – day trip to Otavalo

Day 4: Quito – Cotopaxi via shuttle, Secret Garden Cotopaxi

Day 5: Secret Garden Cotopaxi

Day 6: Cotopaxi – Banos

Day 7: Banos – stay at Great Hostels

Day 8: Banos

Day 9: Banos

Day 10: Banos —> Isinlivi, LluLlu Llama Mountain Lodge

Day 11: Isinlivi

Day 12: Ilsinlivi —> Quito

Day 13: fly back from Quito

My main question is re: safety – I’ve traveled solo in several places in Central and South America and I know safety concerns can often be overblown, but it does look like violent crime has risen a bit in Ecuador. Has anyone been lately? Since my trip is focused outside the cities I’m not sure how concerned to really be, but I’ve read that with the current situation one shouldn’t go out in Quito after 6pm – I’m fine not going out in Quito at night while I’m there, but mostly concerned about the transport to and from Isinlivi, which is a series of bus rides. I’d normally go for the local bus journey, but wondering if arranging a taxi/driver is the way to go here.

Also wondering if I should add/remove days from Cotopaxi and Banos – I’m interested in doing all the outdoor activities and perhaps a day trip to Puyo from Banos.

Also, has anyone used EcuadorHop lately? It appears to be operating but there’s some mixed information on TripAdvisor. I emailed them and haven’t heard back. I also contacted WanderBus and they replied that they’re not operating right now.