Ecuador: The Best and Worst

Since I’m now suddenly in Argentina, it’s time to round up my time in Ecuador, a country I liked quite a lot!

Total Days in Ecuador: 40

Total Days in Didn’t Rain: 28 (major improvement!)

Amount Spent: $1360

Average Cost Per Day: $33.75 (our three weeks in Montanita really jacked this up, I think Ecuador could be done on $25 a day)

Places Visited: Quito, Banos, Montanita

Biggest Misconception: Probably that Ecuador is hot. Yes it is on the Equator and the sun can be quite strong, but we spent much of our time up in the mountains where you needed a sweater or maybe more for the chilly nights.

Most Memorable Moments: Reaching the glaciers on Cotopaxi without passing out was pretty rewarding. I’d also add celebrating the Quito festival and New Years on the beach.

Coolest Adventure: I jumped off a freaking bridge in Banos! For $20. I still can’t believe I did that. Actually everything we did in Banos from bike riding to white water rafting was a lot of fun.

Most Annoying Thing: The altitude really kicked my ass the first few weeks in Ecuador. Quito is the second highest capital city in the world (after La Paz) and I was constantly out of breath. It was a releif to come down to sea level and breath normally again.

Best Food: All of the shrimp on the coast. I’m not a huge seafood fan so the ceviche didn’t do much for me but I adored all the different shrimp dishes I got to try. Overall Ecuador had better food, with more diversity than Colombia.

Worst Food: Almost everything we ate in Ecuador was at least halfway decent. The worst food was probably the stuff I attempted to cook myself in our dingy kitchen in Montanita.

Favorite Place: I really fell in love with Banos. It’s such a relaxing little town in beautiful surroundings. I’m actually still kind of sad we didn’t get to spend more time there.

Least Favorite: This isn’t really fair since we spent barely any time they, but I was extremely unimpressed with Guayaquil which is a huge, dirty and purportedly quite dangerous city.

Best Sunset: Definitely the best sunset of the trip so far was the last one of 2011 over the ocean in Montanita:

 Biggest Regret: Not getting to see more. There were several places, Otavalo, Cuenca, that I really would have liked to see if I’d had more time. Not getting to go to the Galapagos! I was totally keen to see some blue-footed boobies, but at 1k a person (starting price), it just wasn’t feasible.

Best Advice: Don’t let the safety concerns in Quito scare you from seeing the city- it’s really historic and beautiful. Despite the scary stories we managed to get out of Ecuador totally unscathed.

Would I Come Back? Definitely. I think that Ecuador is a really cool country with a lot to do in a relatively small area. It would be great for a shorter vacation too, even just a couple of weeks.

Have You Been To Ecuador? What Were Your Impressions?

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Jennifer Liepin
Jennifer Liepin

Have you since returned to see the Galapagos?

Ray Wiltfong
Ray Wiltfong

I spent two months in Ecuador traveling alone. Ecuador is a very poor country and you have to constantly argue/negociate the real price verses the gringo price. Plan on being ripped off constantly by the locals. Two americans i met there were robbed and one seriously injured in the process with a broken arm in Canoa. If you dont speak spanish, and i don’t, it can be a very lonely and frustrating experience. Everything is pretty gritty and ecuadorian food is hands down the worst i have eaten. I got dengue (I think…) at Montanita and went to the hospital.… Read more »

antony
antony

Looks i am from Europa and I live in Ecuador 8 years everyone writing galápagos galápagos always the same or like that is beautiful etc galápagos is only a island nothing more if you thing generall for Ecuador like the big city guayaquil forget it. Of course EVERONE goes like vacation and in the vacation nobody can see the real face of Ecuador. I have so much experience in business life. First you cannot trust anyone in Ecuador because everyone is lieying everyone care for 1 cent excample if you have 5 usd in your pocket the people always thing… Read more »

Brian
Brian

This experience looks amazing! Hoping you get to go back and experience more.

Megan!
Megan!

I went to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands for a class last year and loved both! I loved Ecuador a lot more then I expected to for sure. We were on the Islands for four days, but didn’t see any blue footed boobies unfortunately, but it was still a fantastic experience!

Haluzman
Haluzman

BTW, you don’t have to go to Galapagos to see blue-footed boobies. They are present and I seen them in Machalilla NP when diving. I know they have full day snorkeling & sea kayaking trips from Montanita where you were staying.

Haluzman
Haluzman

I just returned from Ecuador 4 days ago where I spent 26 days and it was 9th Latin American country I visited so far. I really regret I couldn’t see Galapagos and dive there, but to be honest, I was a bit disappointed with Ecuador when comparing to other countries in Latin America I visited before and what I heard about the country before I was heading there. Yes, it’s quite cheap to travel there, but in many ways incredible pain. I would never ever travel Ecuador on the bus even for free – the worst transportation I ever experienced!… Read more »

Adam @ GettingStamped
Adam @ GettingStamped

Nice round up, we are in Ecuador next month and don’t have much planned, debating if the Galapagos is worth it too!

Reima @ Love A Traveler
Reima @ Love A Traveler

I loved Ecuador! I felt completely safe there, even in Guayaquil. I enjoyed the food! I thought Ecuador was supposed to be ‘spring-like’ year round? That’s what I was told by locals. I enjoyed the weather but yes definitely cold at night! Strange I never felt the altitude while there, besides climbing Cotopaxi, which I’m glad you did.:) But I darn well felt it bad in Bolivia!! I missed out on Banos sadly but you make me want to go there now. I highly recommend you go to Coca, Ecuador and see the Amazon! You can find a good program… Read more »

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