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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22 thoughts on “Ecuador: The Best and Worst”

  1. I spent 5 months in Ecuador and this country really got to me.
    Almost all of my trips were planned by a tour operator from Quito (Gulliver Expeditions) and they were really worth their money. I have the feeling that i saw every amazing and did every crazy thing there is.

    1. @ Eva,

      I am going to work in Ecuador for the next two years and it would be awesome if you could give me your email. I have some questions and it would be awesome if I can contact you!


    2. Hi Eva, If you are still reading these posts? I too will be spending five months travelling Ecuador, starting this November. I would love to connect with you, if you’re available, (but I wouldn’t know how to)

  2. After spending 2 months in Ecuador (a bit all over the country) I’ve gotta say that it’s one of the most underrated countries I have ever traveled to. A lot of stuff to see and do (Andes, Amazon, colonial towns, Galpagos…) and amazing value for money. It’s true that Galapagos is way more expensive than the rest, but you can do Galapagos on a decent budget (you can eat for USD3/meal, do day trips instead of cruise ships, etc) and it’s so worth it! Sometimes, you come from so far, you migh as well go all the way! 🙂

  3. I am planning a trip to Ecuador in August. It will be my first big solo travel and I’m so excited I can’t put it into words.

  4. That sunset picture is breathtaking! Great shot!!

    I visited Ecuador for a whirlwind trip lasting only 9 days but still managed to visit Quito, Cuenca, and Tena. I had such a great time and loved the vistas from the tops of the mountains. I was surprised by how short everyone is there. I was a giant at 5’7″!

  5. I definitely would assume Ecuador would be hot most of the time. I also would really love to go to the Galapagos islands but I really think that is just a trip on its own due to its high price tag. I can at least understand the high prices, hopefully it goes towards keeping tourism from destroying valuable wildlife.

  6. I really want to visit Ecuador sometime! I was planning on going in 2013 but I have to end my trip a few months early, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to or not. I’ve heard so many good things about it, from various travel bloggers and from friends that have done trips there that I may have to head down, even if it’s only for a week or two…

  7. You look SO happy in that photo! South America has never really held a huge pull for me, but lately, with so many people I know there, it really is beginning to tug at me … Ecuador sounds really cool!

  8. We will be in Ecuador at the end of this year and have enjoyed reading about your travels. We will be going to most of the towns you visited in addition to the Galapagos (big splurge!). You might have me convinced to jump off the bridge .. we will see!

  9. Ecuador is one of the best values on the planet—if you don’t go to the Galapagos. (That’s worth it, but a serious splurge.) I think if their government wasn’t so bad at promotion, it would be twice as popular with tourists as it is now. But lucky for us I guess because this has kept prices way down.

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