- Ecuador travel tips and useful information
- Ecuador things to see and places to visit
- What to eat in Ecuador typical cuisine
- Ecuador photo gallery
THEEcuador is a very pleasant and interesting country to visit, from the north-west coast where the "red", Descendants of African slaves who escaped deportation to cotton crops, to the still semi-primitive populations ofAmazon in the east or the Andean cities and the Indian ethnic groups of the central highlands.
Of course we must also take into account the "G factor", the stupendous and indescribable Galapagos islands, celebrated by literature and cinema, so particular, that even writing pages and pages one would only be able to give a faint idea.
Having a fairly limited period of time, such as the three weeks of classic holidays, it will be necessary to split the trip into two stages, one that includes a visit to this remote and wonderful archipelago and another completely dedicated to the continental part, where you can pass by exciting contact with whales on the Pacific coast a Isla de la Plata and Pedernales, to the experience of living at least one day in a self-managed Indian community or in an Amazonian tribe in full respect of nature.Travel between Kenya and Tanzania: 8 parks in 9 days
Our first trip to Ecuador he thus covered the area of the Andean highlands, along the line that goes from Quito, the capital, up to Cuenca e Guayaquil on the coast and of course the islands Galapagos, a unique place in the world, from which the modern evolutionary conceptions developed by Charles Darwin in the 800th century.
We knew it would be expensive and difficult to get there without a reservation fromSpain, since we were going to go in a very high season between July and August, but our aversion to planned holidays accompanied by a good dose of optimism advised us to try anyway, knowing however that we would have to come to terms with our usual way to travel in complete autonomy.
Il volo carried out with the Ecuadorian company LAN, provided for a stop over a Madrid of an entire afternoon and we were able to visit in this way the Royal Palace, Prado Museum and take a ride in the center.
We then continued the flight smoothly to Guayaquil, the largest city inEcuador, where we stayed in the center, a stone's throw from the Centennial Park, at the Millenio hotel (simple but clean room, three beds with air conditioning and TV for $ 15 per night).
The standard of living in this country is relatively low and if you do not go to international restaurants and hotels, you will spend very little, despite theEcuador has adopted the US dollar as its national currency.
The city immediately seemed welcoming even if it is described by Ecuadorian themselves as unlivable and dangerous.
Obviously it is true that once you get it, it is difficult to shake off a bad name.
The long malecon until a few years ago the scene of assaults and robberies even in broad daylight, today completely restored and made safe by a discreet but effective presence of the police, it is crowded at any time by people walking around and especially in the evening it comes alive with live music and street shows.
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Very pleasant is the walk in the area of Botanical Garden, where walking between paths and wooden bridges you can immerse yourself in the typical vegetation of the various areas of the country.
Children have at their disposal different structures where they can slide or climb as in the best playgrounds, while kiosks and carts sell toys and typical sweets such as caramelized apples or fried banana buns.
La Ecuadorian cuisine it is one of the best of the South America.
He inherited many dishes that came with the Spanish conquistadors.
In fact, dishes based on rice and beef, pork, chicken have become part of the Ecuadorian diet, alongside traditional ones based on potatoes, corn, American potatoes, Quinoa, yucca, aji, bananas, coconut and in coastal areas fish and seafood.
The constant presence of fried foods it was a feature of the menus on this trip.
In fact, traditional dishes are based especially on pork cooked in boiling oil, from crunchy rind to chuchugarra, a specialty that recalls our "greaves”, But even heavier if possible.
Even the classic porchetta or other rice-based dishes, also fried, does not remind us of Ecuadorian cuisine among the first places in dietetics.
The first impact with the country in this sense, we already had at breakfast.
We went to a little place near the hotel where already in the early morning some pots emanated scents of fish soup and "guatita”, A soup made with overcooked tripe.
We convinced the manager with some difficulty to serve us coffee, milk and biscuits, he just couldn't understand our strange way of having breakfast.
During the days spent a Guayaquil we visited the Historic Park where some species of local animals live in semi-freedom, come on parrots to the sloth, until'harpy, a type of eagle and where many exemplary plants of the local vegetation are grown.
It is a pleasant place to spend an afternoon and to get an idea of the fauna and the equatorial flora.
One evening we went up to the Hill of S. Ana, a hill north of the center, surmounted by a lighthouse from which you can enjoy a magnificent view of the city and its bay.
All the houses, completely refurbished, house places where live music is played and where you can eat or drink a beer.
This neighborhood, once in the hands of the local underworld so much that it could not be entered, was thus returned to the city and is now very popular with the inhabitants of Guayaquil for the classic evening stroll.
Another characteristic point of this city is the Bolivar Park, in the center, called the park de las Iguanas precisely because it has become the home of a large colony of iguana living placidly among the flower beds and benches full of visitors or perched on the branches of trees above the heads of the people sitting on the benches.
These large reptiles thus live undisturbed a stone's throw from Cathedral and from the beautiful liberty avenues where city life takes place.
In the meantime we have worked hard to be able to go to Galapagos.
First we turned to the Galasam agency, very well known and positively judged by the Lonely Planet guide, but the barking attitude of the booking clerk, who wanted us to believe that we had found the very last three seats on the boat (naturally to full price ...), he advised us to turn to others.
Of course we were right. There Dreamkapture, quite difficult to find, because it remains in the peripheral area of Dawn and it has no sign, but only a large colorful mural, it was right for us.
The best way to visit these islands is to book a one-week tour, during which you touch the main islands and you can see all the typical animals well, from giant tortoises marine iguana, from gannets and frigates and you can take baths and snorkelling in a splendid water literally together with sea lions, schools of colorful fish, manta rays and sharks, luckily vegetarians, according to the local sailors.
To go as far as the farthest ones, on the other hand, it takes several days to stay on larger ships, but if you do not have specific interests in the field of ethology, the classic tour is able to show the peculiarities of the place very well.
The Galapagos they are certainly not cheap to visit, starting with the flight (duration two hours 322,00 dollars each), the entrance fee (100 dollars each, 50 for children) and the cost of the stay on the boat which starts from 450 dollars and comes ... to infinity!
If you have the opportunity to go to a time other than the high season, you can also arrive at Santa Cruz, enjoy a few days of island tranquility trying to negotiate the price of free seats directly with the boat captains. This will allow you to save a little more and make your trip more autonomous.
Choosing the right boat is therefore important, in addition to the cost you have to take into account that you will have to live in confined spaces in contact with other travelers and the crew, therefore factors such as privacy and cleanliness must be taken into consideration.
Another important factor is the food, both for quality and quantity, because during the cruise you will certainly not be able to go shopping, since the islands are almost all natural and uninhabited reserves.
It will be good to buy some kind of comfort before departure, bearing in mind that tea, coffee and water are always available and free while sailing.
The cabins, at least in the smaller boats, are all two-seater, so if you are traveling alone or in an odd number, you will have to share yours with a stranger.
But there is one more important thing the seasickness.
Even if you don't suffer from it, it is good to carry a box of xamamine, because a whole week of rocking puts even the most “seasoned” sea dog to the test.
These points that I have listed all seem to be unfavorable points, but in reality life on board is pleasant and after a while one is naturally led to fraternize with fellow travelers.
I wish you all a good trip.