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.
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.