I know it's been a minute since I've posted about travel, but I couldn't just not write about the best trip ever.

I recently got to ring in my 23rd year in the beautiful country of Ecuador, and I had the most amazing time. I didn’t encounter a lot of tourists during that week and I couldn’t help but wonder why? Are folks intimidated by the language barrier? The distance? Either way, I wanted to implore you to make a visit when considering your next (or first) international voyage…Here are five reasons why you should make your way down to Ecuador...

1) Food: As a foodie, I’m morally obligated to rant and rave about how good the food is in every place I visit. As for Ecuador, I don’t feel obligated at all. Everywhere we went we could experience authentic and amazing cuisine. Fresh tropical fruits, wild-caught seafood on the Pacific coast, aji (their amazing homemade table salsa that I put on everything), baked goods, and delicious braised meats kept us full and happy the entire trip. Imagine waking up each morning, walking to the market, sitting down to a breakfast of pan de yuca, braised chicken, rice, fresh juice, and regional coffee…for $2? Have you bought your flight yet?

My favorite dishes: pollo aside, churrasco, and ceviche

 

2) Affordability: It’s really hard when summer comes around and everyone on your Facebook timeline is trekking across Western Europe and you’re wondering how they came up with the coins. Ditch Europe (unless you find an amazing flight deal) and consider flying south! Round-trip flights to Ecuador can be as low as the $300s from the US, and flights to other cities in Ecuador hover around $100. Buses that take you around Ecuador, equipped with AC and wifi, are $4 (Greyhound needs to take some notes). Buses that take you around Quito are $.25. Lodging in an Airbnb ranges from $30-50 per night for an entire apartment, and of course there are hostels everywhere. Food, souvenirs, and excursions, are all about a fraction of the cost of any other place you’d travel, and you can feel good about supporting local economies and mom and pop shops. 

*With proper planning you can spend less than $1000 on a week in Ecuador, including flights, food, lodging, and activities!*

3) Every Kind of Climate: When you travel to Ecuador, you can experience sun and snow in one day. In the valley of Quito you may have clouds, rain, and mild weather. In the mountains toward Otavalo you’ll experience an arid climate reminiscent of Arizona. In the highest mountains you can see snow. At the beach you can experience dry heat and clear blue water. Just make sure you pack accordingly!

4) Getting Around: Something we seem to lack here in the states that always amazes me when I travel is multiple (affordable( modes of transportation. Coming from Atlanta, it seems you can’t survive without a car (or the Uber app). For the most part, we got around by bus and the occasional taxi. Our first day in Quito we hopped on a bus without hesitation and got off when we saw a market! The buses go everywhere in the city and the regional buses can take you anywhere, even to other countries in South America. There is minimal planning you need to do, as you buy tickets at the bus terminals and you pay city bus fare as you board. 

5) #TheCulture: Latin, specifically South American culture, is something I wish everyone could experience first-hand. It revolves around faith, family, and food, and as Americans, we could definitely take some lessons from it. Ecuador is an experience unlike no other where there are still many indigenous and indigenous-mixed people, even in the major cities. There is a strong sense of pride in their heritage and it’s cool to see it’s very real influence on food, music, politics, and daily life. When you travel to other countries that were at one point colonized, you might not be able to witness indigenous influences, but for Ecuador that is very much NOT the case.

If you didn’t feel like reading all of that, why you should visit Ecuador:

  • The food is the bomb.com
  • It’s like really, really affordable.
  • You can experience many climates in one country 
  • It’s easy to get around 
  • The culture is a uniquely authentic experience

Got any other questions about my trip, Ecuador, or international travel? Slide in my DMs or leave a comment below!

 

 

 

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