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Come with us, we’re going to the equator. It is time to talk about one of South America’s most underrated countries, Ecuador. Ecuador holds the title as the only country in the world officially named after a geographical feature. Ecuador’s official name is República del Ecuador, which translates to “The Republic of the Equator”. Ecuador is a magical country. This country is home to charming colonial towns, the Amazonian rainforest, the breathtaking peaks of the Andes and of course the legendary Galápagos Islands.
Despite its relatively small size, ecuador is filled with treasures.
WHY WE LOVE
Ecuador’s striking panorama, rich soil, and deep cultural history make it one of the best countries to visit. Read on to find out more about why you should travel to Ecuador, especially if you’re an active traveller. Ecuador is special in that it manages to house a variety of different regions. The country is divided into four main and very different regions: La Costa also known as “the coast”, La Sierra otherwise known as “the highlands”, La Amazonía or El Oriente which translates to “the east” and lastly La Región Insular which is the region of the Galápagos Islands. These regions provide all sorts of entertainment for those seeking wild experiences. You can surf all day and enjoy La Costa’s beautiful beaches or climb the Sierra’s scenic mountain areas without having to worry about insects. You can also try your luck at learning a few indigenous words while checking out the wildlife found within untouched jungle areas like the Yasuni National Park. Or you can pretend to be a scientist like Darwin and head out to the Galápagos Islands. Ecuador is basically one country with four worlds. Amazing, right?
“Anybody who's been to ecuador wants to go back because it's beautiful out there." - Michael Steger
Ecuador Signature Experiences
Did you know…?
- In 2008, Ecuador became the first country to legitimately recognize the rights of nature.
- The top of Mt. Chimborazo in Quito is the furthest place in the world from the center of the earth.
- The colours of the Ecuadorian flag represent soil, sky, and blood. Ecuador’s flag is yellow, blue and red. The yellow represents the country’s soil and crops, whereas blue symbolizes the sky and ocean, and red is for the blood of those who fought for independence.
- Ecuador has 24 languages!
- Ecuador is one of seventeen megadiverse countries in the world.
- A whopping 97 percent of the Galápagos Islands have been declared a national park.
- The Galápagos is the only place in the Northern Hemisphere where you can find penguins in their natural habitat.
- Ecuador is one of the only two South American countries, the other being Chile, that doesn’t share a border with Brazil.
ECUADOR TRAVEL GUIDE
WHEN TO GO
If you’re interested in spending time in mainland Ecuador we suggest you visit during the rainy season which is from December to May. This is the best time to visit beaches, surprisingly enough. The dry season, late May to November, is cold, muggy, and often overcast. Now, keep in mind that if you’re planning to visit the Amazon (which you most definitely should) you should probably go during the dry season, if not you’ll be a soggy traveller. Not to mention, some forest experience periodical flooding and wildlife will be harder to see. The highlands are a lot more consistent in that although there is a warmer rainier period, December to March, which is less advisable, the days are normally hot and sunny while nights are frigid. The Galápagos’ wildlife is visible year-round.
HOW TO GET THERE/AROUND
Flying to Ecuador might seem like somewhat of a trek especially because there’s usually a layover luckily flying becomes a lot easier once you are there. Flying between cities is a fantastic and efficient way to cover long distances in a short time, not to mention you get to enjoy spectacular views of the land and volcanoes. Buses are also another wonderful method of transportation. Ecuador’s bus rides are inexpensive and usually reliable.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Ecuador is special for its contrasts therefore we suggest you visit each of the four major ecosystems. Hike and visit the majestic mountains of the Andes (Sierra) where there are volcanoes to see, mountains to climb, and campouts to have! Go beach hoping among the spectacular coast (La Costa) and swim your heart out. Follow the footsteps of Darwin and boat, adventure, and tour among the impressive islands of Galápagos. And lastly, trek, hike, and raft within the particularly significant, Amazon Jungle (La Amazonia).
WHAT TO PACK
Layers are king! Make sure to have breathable active wear, a fleece sweater, a scarf that can triple as a facemask and head cover, and a windbreaker. Other necessary goods include comfortable hiking shoes, sandals that can get wet, dry bag, a collapsible water bottle, SPF, sunglasses, and insect repellent.
Some travel insights from our experts about Ecuador
- The deeper you get into the country and or the further you get from tourist destinations the higher the probability of only having access to rickety bus. Some buses and or SUV type of public transport shove as many people into them as possible, you might be left standing. Also, be mindful of pickpockets.
- Try to visit Ecuador during a holiday and or festive season, it is vibrant and colourful!
- If you ever find yourself demonstrating the height of something, be conscious of your hands. Demonstrations with the palm face down are reserved for animals whereas demonstrations for humans are done with the palm sideways and thumb pointed upward.
Do: Go with the flow. Schedules are quite flexible and ‘mañana’ might not necessarily mean ‘tomorrow’, it might mean ‘later’ even more so in the coastal and jungle areas. A phrase like ‘couple of minutes’ can easily turn into a couple of hours and ‘soon’ is about as noncommittal as it gets.
Do: Mind the altitude. If you’re traveling to high altitudes try to not consume as many caffeinated and or alcoholic beverages until you have become accustomed. Alcohol has more of a kick in higher altitudes; therefore, a beer by the beach is not the same as a beer in Quito for example.
Do: Wait a little after the light turns green. Driving in Ecuador can be an exhilarating way to experience the country but is important to keep in mind that although the general population tends to respect (most) of the rules of the road, a few drivers do not. Occasionally you will see cars go through red lights.
Do: Speak up for yourself. This is especially relevant for women travelling alone. Going to local bars and clubs alone is not advised but if you do, it is important to reject the pursuit of men in a non-confrontational but firm manner.
Do: Bring a gift. If invited to a home it is customary to bring good quality spirits, pastries, imported spirits, or flowers. Roses are always well-received.
Don’t: Lose your cool. Despite Ecuadorians being pretty laid back they are very resistant towards any movements or gestures they perceive as violent. If you’re in a jam, stay calm and try not to raise your voice you will lose respect and might be met with antagonism.
Don’t: Stare. Ecuador is similar to most western countries in this regard, it is polite to look people in the eye while greeting them and while having a conversation but staring is frowned upon and makes people uncomfortable.
Don’t: Settle on the original price in local markets. Bargaining is an important part of the culture and a great and fun way to interact with the locals.
Don’t: Gift Lilies or marigolds for they are used at funerals.
Don’t: Eat street food on your first days. We know food is a major part of travel and we would like you to enjoy all of Ecuador’s delicious food but please keep in mind that street food doesn’t always follow quality and hygiene standards. It’s very common for tourists to not be able to handle the bacteria that locals are long accustomed to.
Cuisine delights (3 best dishes)
Guinea pig, cuy, is a delicacy in Ecuador and is usually roasted, definitely worth a try. Then there is ceviche. This dish is widely consumed, more so among the coast, and consist of fresh fish that has been marinated in limejuice. Uchumanga is another must-try. This zero waste stew is common in the Amazon region and is very versatile. It can include any river fish that has been caught by the fishermen. The fish is cooked with animal intestines and stewed.
CHATTING CORNER – SURVIVAL GUIDE - SPANISH
- Hello – Hola
- How are you? - ¿Cómo estás?
- What is your name? - ¿Como te llamas?
- My name is …. – Me llamo __
- Where are you from? - ¿De donde eres?
- I am from …. – Yo soy de ___
- How much is it? - ¿Cuánto cuesta?
- Where is…? - ¿Dónde está…?
- Do you speak English? - ¿Hablas inglés?
- Thank you - Gracias
- Please – Por favor
- Nice to meet you – Un placer conocerte
- Cheers! – ¡Salud!
- Beautiful –Bello
- Delicious – Delicioso
WHY BOOK WITH
Feel different by doing something unique and awe-inspiringBecause your curiosity to discover new things is endless, we are making you rediscover the world, experiencing things you will never forget. We are a reference in experiential tourism, thanks to an exceptional team of experts who hand-pick some of the most extraordinary nature-based experiences in the planet.
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