Ecuador

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Compared to its neighbors, Ecuador is tiny.  BUT, it is not short on things to do, with mountains, jungles, and one-of-a-kind wildlife in the Galapagos.  With so much to do, you’ll be glad the small size allows you to get around easily and quickly.  Given its stable economy and increasing safety it has become a go-to destination for US and Canadian retirees looking to relocate abroad.  After visiting you’ll understand why ex-pats are choosing Ecuador as a place to live.

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DON’T MISS: The Galapagos.
MUST SEE: Old town of Quito, markets of Otavalo, Cueñca.
MUST TASTE: Daily lunch “menu” at local restaurants.  For less than $4 you can choose meat and sides of the day that won’t disappoint.

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TRIP PLANNING: There are many experiences in Ecuador that guides are recommended for…book these, including Galapagos trips, from Quito.  Walking around and pricing it out will save hundreds or thousands of dollars from the prices listed online.  If you do want to book a Galapagos trip before you arrive we highly recommend Luis Tipan who has some of the best deals we came across.
GETTING AROUND: Because of the small size, buses are a great, fast, way to get around.  For longer trips or getting to the Galapagos, flights are necessary and relatively inexpensive.

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OUR COST PER DAY (2 ppl): $85.38 excluding Galapagos.
COST OF A BEER: $2-3 from corner stores.
KEY MONEY-SAVING TIP: Eat lunch at small local restaurants or markets.  These are substantially cheaper than sit-down restaurants and oftentimes better tasting.

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YOU NEED TO KNOW: There are not that many operators of Galapagos trips, but many, many, agents selling these same trips.  Figure out the trip and boat you want to go on, then price shop.  For the same dates, same boat, same package, prices varied by over $1000 USD from different agents.
IF WE KNEW WHAT WE KNOW NOW: We would saved time to do a Spanish class in beautiful Cueñca.
HELPFUL LINKS TO LEARN MORE: Lonely Planet Ecuador, Luis Tipan for Galapagos cruises, Compania de Guias for mountaineering, and El Cafecito for budget lodging.

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WE WERE THERE FOR: 3 weeks
OUR HIGHLIGHT: The Galapagos.
WHERE WE WENT: Galapagos, Quito, Mindo, Otavalo, Baños, mountaineering including Chimborazo and Cotopaxi.
WE REGRET MISSING: An ice-climbing course, Ecuador’s accessible peaks make it a great place to do high-altitude mountaineering training.  thinkCHUA did one of these courses in 2006 and highly recommends them.

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FEATURED ARTICLES

  • Articles on Ecuador forthcoming…stay tuned!

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  • Nara and Kobe
Ecuador Highlights

Short on time? The highlight reel of our 3-week trip to Ecuador including mountains, old towns, the Galapagos and more. Tour Ecuador in 20 photos!

Galapagos

The Galapagos need no introduction. They are the Galapagos, a bucket-list destination that is home to unique species of animals. These animals are so uniquely adapted to their habitat that they spawned Charles Darwin to realize how we all came to be.

Cuenca

Rated as the top place for North American retirees to move to, Cuenca is for all ages. Featuring a well-maintained old town complete with flashy modern restaurants, sports bars and a traditional market, the modern, historic, Western and Latin American seem to have seamlessly fused.

Quito

Quito is a city of new and old. Home to the America\'s largest old town, it also has a thriving modern side, both of which offer reason enough to visit. While compact by Latin American capital cities standards, Quito offers everything a visitor could want in and around the city.

Otavalo and Cotacachi

Otavalo and neighboring Cotacachi is exactly as tourist brochures portray Andean towns. Centered around a central plaza, the laid-back towns are as if you stepped back in time. They have spectacular colonial architecture, indigenous dressed in traditional clothing, and artisan markets galore, everything a tourist could want...

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Interested in experiencing Ecuador yourself?  Click here for more trip ideas!

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