When booking a trip to South America, most people want to travel to the cosmopolitan cities of Argentina or Chile, or goggle at marvels such as Machu Picchu. And while I am not indicating that these sites are worth sacrificing, I do have an opinion as to where you can get the most bang for your buck, and it doesn’t include commonly “rated” South American countries on Trip Advisor.
Ecuador peaks out on the northwestern side of South America and is bordered by Colombia and Peru. It boasts a myriad of culturally rich cities, stunning scenery, and is home to the wildly historic islands of the Galapagos. The best part about this country is that it is small and cheap enough to be navigated in a short amount of time. The national currency is the U.S dollar, but will stretch much further when it comes to accommodations and miscellaneous spending.
Below are three MUST SEES of Ecuador:
The City of Quito
Ecuador’s grand capital of Quito will most likely be your first introduction to the country considering most international flights fly non-stop into the city (p.s right now non-stop tickets from Miami to Quito can be found for just under $400!)
Quito stretches a midst the valleys of the Andes and is surrounded by an “Avenue of Volcanoes” that are perfect to escape on a day hike or two. Discover the traditional foods, such as Locro de Papa (potato soup with avacado and melted cheese) and choose from a wide selection of juicy fruits and vegetables. The best thing, as long as you stay away from some of the common tourist traps (avoid any tour group that has its name in English) , everything is cheap cheap cheap! For accommodations try, “The Blue House” a converted six bedroom house with rooms for as little as $8.
Gawk in Wonder in the Galapagos Islands
These mysterious islands served as the stage for Charles Darwin’s ponders about evolution and are home to the quirky mating habits of the Blue Footed Boobies. Sea Lions, big-bellied birds, and other animals endemic species existing on this island are worth booking a trip to hop and skip around this enchanted world. You can find hostels here for just under $18 dollars, ($10 for dorm accommodations). If you travel during “Shoulder Season”, April to June, or September to December, you may be able to book activities around the island for 30% cheaper.
Conoa: Hang your hat and grab your surf board
This is the perfect laid-back beach town in Ecuador that is not overrun by tourists and the footprint that comes with it. Chill, and clean, this is a lovely little place to store up on energy, eat fresh pescado (fish) and visit some of the local organic farms like, Rio Muchacho Organic Farm, that has been collaboratively created by eco-minded individuals. Since the island is not overturned by hungry tourists, it has sustained an affordable living style. With long-term sea-side apartments offered for under $300 a month, you may find yourself staying a lot longer than you initially thought!
What recommendations do you have for us in Ecuador and where do you find budget friendly spots?