Hey Julian Assange, here's what you should do in Ecuador
News broke today that Julian Assange, the Wikileaks chief accused of rape by two women in Sweden in 2010, is being granted diplomatic asylum by Ecuador after his final appeal to avoid extradition to Sweden was denied by the England Supreme Court. Luckily for him, Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño is being loyal to the country's right to grant refuge to those who need it and is letting him experience life in the beautiful country that many would love to vist--including myself.
If Assange ever makes it to Ecuador--word is England is vowing not to let him leave--I've complied a list of 5 amazing places that he should visit if given the chance to set foot in the South American country. A word of caution to ecuatorianos, though: While he is a sort of pariah, show him that the country is way more than just a pit stop in his plan to avoid the law!
Quito: The well-known Ecuadorian capital is a sure stop because of its famous Mitad del Mundo monument, aka the equator line. Another must-see is the largest church in South America, the Basilica del Voto National, which still remains unfinished today. Quito is also known for its surrounding volcanoes, particularly Pichincha, the closest one to the city; visitors can even take a risky 3-hour hike up the mountain. Assange, don't even TRY to fake your death by "falling" into this active volcano.
Manta: Another important port town, it's filled with the best seafood in the country. Enjoy the beaches Playa Murcielago and Playa Tarqui, as well as plenty of nightlife activties.
Cuenca: This beautiful city is considered one of the most historic places in Ecuador-- it still has many of its original archiecture well preserved. Cuenca's downtown has more than 52 churches to visit, but two in particular are not to be missed: the Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción and El Sagrario. the Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción is known for its highly photographed sky blue domes. El Sagrario's catacombs and museum are amazing. Maybe a chance for the disgraced leaker to reconnect to his spirituality?
Guayaquil: On the coast of Ecuador and one of the few Cosmopolitan cities in the country, Guyaquil is excellent for its vibrant energy. Enjoy more delicious seafood restaurants while strolling the Malecón, and take in the beautiful sunset.
The Galapagos Islands: Besides being recognized as Charles Darwin's subject of study, the Galapagos are well known for their islands, Isla Bartolome, Canal del Amor (The Love Canal), and Isabela Island. Aside from the opportunity to snorkel and swim with fish and penguins, the sights are breath-taking. Isabela Island is over a million years old and has 6 active volcanoes, not to mention all the wildlife. Assange, you may want to be as far away from civilization for now as possible...
With so many places to see, everyone should one day visit this wonderful country. And although you will now be a local resident, Assange, I'll take my chances with the country's culture, history and livelihood.
Have you ever visited Ecuador? What places would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments below!