Expectations , cursed and blessed expectations ! It was Ecuador the country in Latin America where I wanted to stay as little as possible that has become the one where I stayed longer in well 18 months of travel .
It happens often that when one has too many expectations one will remain disappointed , as is true the opposite , one expects so very little that in the end what one goes on to discover is what can be better than it actually is .
And that is what happened in Ecuador .
Arrived for a total stay of two weeks, I am still on its buses after 50 days .
But what did I really like about this country ? And why do I recommend it especially to those who have little time and want to discover a bit of South America?
10 Things I like about Ecuador
It ‘s small and easy to travel
We get used easily to all the changes of circumstances, for me it had become the norm to travel by bus a minimum of 8 hours until a maximum of 36. In Argentina, Peru and Bolivia any move you want to make usually occurs at night .
When I arrived in Ecuador I almost always did the shiftings during the day, not as a matter of scarce security in the streets at night, rather that other than the passages within the internal of the coast, the journeys do not last more than 5 hours. Rarely 8 very often between 2 and 4 hours.
I came back to a country with a “human” dimension that has allowed me to go up and down it more than once , when in other countries once you follow the path you will never go back .
It’s cheap to travel by public transportation
True that the distances are less than those of the neighboring countries but also the cost of gasoline and transportation in general are cheaper than those of Peru and of Argentina (where I have never paid less than $ 50 each way). In Ecuador for an overnight trip from Quito to Manta I paid $ 8, from Cuencas to Guayquil the ticket costs no more than $ 9.
Also I have never booked in advance , but I have always arrived at the station at any time I wanted certain to find a bus ready to leave from there to the next 30 minutes.
Maybe the buses are not very modern but they connect all the destinations , rarely need to make changes.
Local people sociable and helpful
I admit that more than the country in itself, I fell in love with Ecuador for its people . Sociable and kind, I have never felt in danger , on the contrary, always escorted and safe even in the streets of Quito .
Whenever I had the need there had always been some local ready to help me without my asking for help.
The further away from the tourist centers you go the more courtesy you will encounter. All the old ladies of the country have tried to marry off the son ” dashing ” , according to them , but here they get married very young and a woman of 32 years is now seen as way out of hope!
Sea, mountains, volcanoes and jungle
Ecuador is the smallest country in South America and also the one with the most concentrated number of volcanoes . The territory extends from the coast to the Amazon rainforest and all this in a maximum of 10 hours of driving.
Exactly because of its small dimension it is easy to be able to make experience of all of it: the sea , the mountains , the volcanoes and the forest . If you want to surf go to Montanita or Canoa , if you want to go to the forest or practice sports outdoors then go to Tena for the forest and Banos for activities such as rafting and climbing .
You can climb the Cotopaxi and it is possible to travel internally surrounded by towering and perfect volcanoes or follow the Ruta del Sol on the beautiful Pacific coast.
Ecuador has the dollar as its currency so this time in the it is difficult to make a mistake in the change of currency. In fact , Ecuador is not as economical as Bolivia but is definitely more economical than Argentina , Chile and I think also than Peru .
You can find something to eat for $ 1.50, transport is also cheap thanks to the distances that are shorter , place to sleep costs between $ 7 and $ 10 per night.
Ecuador has a not indifferent card to play and that is surely the reason of the journey for many tourists : the Galapagos Islands.
In the world it is not possible to find an archipelago of this kind where animal life has priority over the needs of man , the Enchanted Islands, the islands where Darwin thought out the theory of evolution, the islands where the rules to which we are accustomed to are overturned and for a few days you will have the pleasure to spend a holiday different from that of which we habitually think about.
A vacation of discovery in a seemingly out of the world place.
It is true that it costs so much to go , but in this post I explain why it’s worth going to the Galapagos , even if it means tightening the belt a bit.
In real fact the best bakeries in the country are those that has the word ” Colombian ” written underneath, sothey are Colombian bakeries , but for me who would live by bread alone the idea of waking up and being able to go to the bakery to buy hot bread and sweets, like, and the variety, I will always remember that of Montanita , leaves plenty of choices.
Of course you can also find pasties of cheese, ham and pineapple but … hey! Country you go to, food you will find and pineapple in tropical countries is used for cooking everything (alas, even for pizza).
Corn tortillas and hornato
Ecuador does not shine for its local cuisine , here you will have to get used to rice and beans in their variations with lentils , even the chick peas on the coast which are not bad cannot be compared with that of neighboring Peru , of which cuisine is the most famous of South America.
But if there’s one thing that I cannot resist, that is the corn tortillas , remember that thanks to the Incans there are various kinds of corn and, consequently, various kinds of totillas corn , and the hornato this whole pig cooked that arrives at 500gr with salad for $ 5, the market where I found it and where I remained affascinated, is the one where on Sunday in the streets for food the emanating odour of about 20 whole pigs that follows, the smell that even those who , like me , are not fans of pork,,,, here can’t help but eat until they feel sick.
It is generally easy to find a local market any day of the week , it depends on where you are . The most famous is that of Otavalo 2 hours by bus from Quito , which takes place on Saturdays and Sundays , but I would also like to remember the quaint little Sunday one of Zumbahua and that of Thursday of Guamote .
The beauty of these markets is that they are small and local , not markets for tourists and well organized as that of Otavalo but with their charm, especially Guamote where the market is set up between the rails of trains not clear to me if they are active or not … I think so !
Ideal Surfing for beginners
Ecuador is not the only country where you can go surfing but it is the only one on the Pacific coast of South America where the water is not cold and there is no need to wear a wetsuit for immersions.
The waves are also quite small and simple so ideal if you are a beginner.
I was told that there are seasons in which the waves are much bigger, so much so that there is word of the possibility of carrying out the surf tournament of South America exactly in Ecuador in the coming years , but for what I have seen, the waves are pretty small, especially if compared to that of Costa Rica .
Even the Galapagos Islands have waves to surf in, just like in all the island , surfing in the islands has a cost but some spots are not just for beginners (I am talking about San Cristobal Island), so waves for all levels .
Have you been to Ecuador? What you think about it? Any other reason why it is worth a visit?