Updated August 8th, 2018.
“Tiny and compact – from the Amazon to the Andes to the coast… maybe you can have it all!”
EAT! Arroz, frijoles, and platanos are synonymous with Latin America and this tropical country is the best place to grab a plate.
DRINK! Pilsner, the choice of most Ecuadorians, goes down smooth every time.
LISTEN! To “Las Corazas” one of the most famous mestizo musical groups from Ecuador.
WEAR! A panama hat. Always assumed these iconic head toppers came from Panama? Guess again….
Check out our Travel Guides to Ecuador…
Welcome to Ecuador: From the Andes to the Amazon… in an Hour!
Ecuador is small which means that travellers can experience extreme diversity with minimum travel time. There’s the Amazon rainforest which dominates the East side of the country, the dramatic peaks of the Andes running smack down the centre, a coastline rich in diversity, and then off in the Pacific those little islands that a man called Darwin made famous. Ecuador is more cosmopolitan than Peru to the south but more historically intact than Colombia to its north, making it a perfect country for the backpacker searching for the middle ground.
An Integrated Indigenous Culture:
South America is home to a multitude of culturally unique and diverse indigenous cultures. Unfortunately, in many countries, the indigenous populations are marginalized, persecuted, and politically abandoned.
With the recent presidency of Rafael Correa in Ecuador, strides are finally being taken in the form of indigenous cultural preservation and political/social integration. As a backpacker in Ecuador, the pride and strong sense of identity among the indigenous people is palpable and quite an enriching change of pace!
All in a Day:
Morning: Head to South America’s largest handicraft market located in Otavalo. Mosey through hundreds upon hundreds of stalls where textiles, beaded necklaces, cosy knitted hats, and unique earrings can all be found.
Afternoon: Ever stood in both the Northern and Southern hemisphere at once? Ecuador means equator in Spanish and this tiny country was named for its important geographic location. You can visit the equator park which offers much more than a simple monument; museums, science shows, insect galleries, and shopping are all worthy (if not a little touristy) options
Evening: Hop on a bus and ride into the nearby capital of Ecuador, Quito. Once in the city head to Mariscal for live music, pulsing clubs, and enough beer gardens to keep you up all night.
Are you interested in studying Spanish in Ecuador?
Travel and learn Spanish at the same time! From the historical city of Quito to the colonial city of Cuenca, the mind-blowing Amazon Jungle, to the authentic fishing town of Manta and finally the surf and party hotspot of Montañita – this is the ultimate one-month Ecuador experience!
Along the way you’ll fit in four hours of Spanish daily, stay with a host family (so you can practice your Spanish every day!), try your hand at cooking, take salsa lessons, visit the amazing volcanic Cotopaxi National Park, try paragliding, trek to the ‘poor man’s Galapagos’, Isla de la Plata AND if all that isn’t enough… learn to surf! Phew! Along the way, you’re guaranteed to meet some great like-minded people during this amazing one-month group-adventure. Read more about the one-month language program here…
5 Random Facts About Ecuador:
1. The local currency is the American dollar.
2. In 2008 Ecuador was the first country to declare that nature also has constitutional rights.
3. Located in Ecuador Cotopaxi is the worlds highest active volcano. Ecuador also has one of the greatest densities of volcanoes in the world- yikes!
4. 60% of the world’s high-grade cocoa comes from nearby the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil.
5. Ecuador’s main export is oil, which has been a major point of both gain and loss for the country.