I spent 3 weeks in Ecuador and I really loved it, I would go as far as saying it’s my favourite country that I visited in South America and also one of my favourites EVER!
Like many countries in South America Ecuador is very diverse with lots of landscapes but as it’s so small (well smaller than the likes of Argentina) it’s a lot easier to get to these places.. And also pretty cheap as bus travel is roughly charged at $1USD per hour.
Here’s what i got up to in my 3 weeks:
I started my trip in Ecuador on the coast. After a night spent in Guayaquil (not a city to be visited, good for a nights stop over but nothing else) I got a 3 hour bus journey to Montanita.
I had briefly heard that Montanita was a party town and seen as I wasn’t there to party I guess it made sense that I didn’t like it. Even though I was there on a Sunday and it was ‘apparently’ quiet I just didn’t like the amount of people trying to sell you things, all the neon signs and the hoards of people on the beach. Safe to say I left first thing the following day and headed to a quiet town just 30 minutes up the coast- Ayampe. Now this was probably one of my favourite places on my trip- I was craving a beautiful but quiet beach and this is just what I found.
The town has just a few dusty streets and isn’t that well known however the beach is really long and the waves are pretty big so it attracts a lot of surfers but that’s pretty much it.. I actually found out about this place from a girl I follow on Instagram and I’m so glad I did! I spent 3 nights here just sunbathing, watching the amazing subsets and generally relaxing.
Next stop was Quito! The capital of Ecuador. I really wasn’t a fan of this city, maybe I’m just bored of seeing plaza’s and old buildings (so spoilt!) and it’s also a pretty big city to get around so after a day I was ready to leave. Before leaving I did visit the equator line which was worth doing!
I headed next to Banos which is less than 4 hours from Quito so it was a nice short journey and I really loved it here! After Quito I was pleased to be in a small town with everything near by and the hostel I stayed in- Great hostel backpackers was really social and I met the most people here that I have met on my trip so far!
From Banos you can do a lot of activities including rafting and canoeing but my budget was getting tight so I just visited the in-famous ‘Casa del Arbol’ and went on the swing over the edge of the world.. Although more for the photo rather than the experience as there’s a big queue to get on these 2 swings and it was a really really foggy day so there was no view at all over the volcano but it was still pretty cool.
From Banos I booked my 4 day, 3 night trip into the Amazon. I got an overnight bus back up north and this trip was a huge highlight of my time in South America, we spent 4 days canoeing around the rivers, looking out for monkeys, birds, snakes, spiders, sloths, Dolphins and so much more, we swam in the lagoon and watched some great sunsets. (Another post to come with more detail)
My last stop was somewhere I was really looking forward to having been told about it by a few girls while I was in North Peru.. A retreat in the mountains of South Ecuador with free yoga, a swimming pool and gorgeous views and they have dorm rooms so it’s affordable! And everything the girls told me was true!
After a long journey back down south and quite a few bus changes I finally reached Vilcabamba, also known as the town where people live the longest due to the climate, water and general relaxed way of life.
The town itself is only very tiny and many restaurants opened by expats surround the plaza with amazing fresh food along side some gorgeous jewellery shops.
2km from the town is Hostal Izhcayluma, run by 2 German guys and not your usual hostel. I spent 4 nights and 4 full days going to morning yoga, eating a huge breakfast of fresh fruit, lying in a hammock or by the pool reading and popping into town to eat even more food. If i hadn’t had to get back to Peru to start my way home I could of easily stayed here another 2-3 nights. The 6 bed dorms are $8.50USD with breakfast on top if you want it for $3.90 so it was also very reasonable in price.
After this I had to head back to Peru but Ecuador made my trip to South America even more special and I’m so glad I managed to go and I have plans to return.. Especially to the amazing Galápagos Islands just off the coast.