Ecuador

It’s been a while since our last blog as we’ve spent the last few weeks with our friends, Jo and Kim, visiting from the UK; spending most days packed with some sort of activity and most nights in bed by 9 or 10 o’clock. More to come on that in future blogs.

For now, we wanted to talk a bit about our experience in Ecuador, where we spent around 3 weeks (staying in Montanita, Galapagos & Quito). It’s been a bit of a difficult one trying to come up with the theme or structure for this blog. Perhaps because we’re 7 months in now and so many of the places we’ve seen start to merge a bit. Perhaps because they all have many similarities (the history, the landscapes, the cities, the activities). What we don’t want is for it all to become a bit samey, uninteresting and also unfair to the various countries as they do all have some unique elements. So, if someone had to ask us to name just a couple of highlights of Ecuador we’d have to say – Galapagos, beaches and horses.

Galápagos Islands
It’s fair to say we had high expectations of the Galápagos Islands. It was one of the main things we had planned in Ecuador. Loads of people said beforehand that it would be one of the most expensive parts of the trip. But also one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences. They were not lying on either count.

We’ll skim over the expense part, as frankly it’s boring and we don’t really care about the cost given the experience we had. As for the experience, it’s difficult to summarise how it was. Imagine a place in the middle of nowhere. With so many diverse landscapes (beaches, jungle, volcanos, beautiful rock formations, coral reefs). With beautiful weather. Where you can witness, walk with and swim with so many beautiful animals (turtles, sea lions, iguanas, sharks, fish, blue footed boobies), many of which you will only ever see on Lonely Planet or such shows. With such friendly and warm people. Who also care about said landscapes and animals (one of the few places we’ve seen in South America to be so environmentally friendly). Imagine all of this and you have the Galápagos Islands. The week we spent there (with a few days exploring Santa Cruz, some days snorkeling around Isabela and a boat trip to Plazas) was like a dream. The highlight has to have been swimming with sharks, turtles and seahorses, followed closely by having to vavigate past dozing sea lions and dead still iguanas on almost every walkway on the islands (and carl crapping himself each time). The lowlight was only spending a week there (we could’ve easily spent more time exploring even more islands). Perhaps we’ll make it a twice in a lifetime experience.

 

(Click picture to enlarge)

Beaches
Leaving Peru, we were kind of a bit disappointed as far as beaches were concerned. Despite having a sprawling coastline, Perus beaches were generally not up to much. Run down and lacking soul. This is where Ecuador could not have been more different. Such stunning beaches and beautiful vibes; from spending our days enjoying the beautiful beaches and warm Pacific waters around Montanita at one of the best hotels we’ve stayed in (Kamala Backpacker & Surf), to spending our nights spent in true beach bum style laying in hammocks, having a smoke and drinking some beers, to daily walks exploring some of the desert island beaches around Santa Cruz and Isabella in the Galápagos Islands. Definitely some of the nicest beaches we’ve been to in South America (behind Brazil of course). As an added bonus, Monatanita even managed to give us one of the best gifts we’d had in a long time – a night of great techno music at the Lost Beach Club – needless to say a fun night was had by all. The perfect cherry on the cake.

 

(Click picture to enlarge)

Horses
Now, this may be a strange one to list. We’re not the horse type normally. But they featured quite frequently in our three weeks in Ecuador. And it wasn’t just horses – donkeys too. We couldn’t finish the blog without giving a shout out to the horses and donkeys at the Kamal Backpacker & Surf hostel. Such friendly cheeky chaps spending their days strolling around the hostel grounds, terrorizing anyone eating a meal and eating anything they came across. We loved hanging out with them. Then there was Manuel & Jose (the names we gave them at least). The horses who managed to carry Jo & Carl’s arses around the mountains above Quito as we both took in the awesome views of the city below. Such an amazing experience, made even better by Jose (Carl’s horse) who kept going rogue towards the edge of the mountain, and Manuel (Jo’s horse) who kept getting left behind as he stopped for a bite to eat. If llamas and alpacas were our spirit animals in Bolivia and Peru, it was horses and donkeys in Ecuador. If we do decide to open up our own hostel after this trip we know for sure we want all of these animals there!

 

(Click picture to enlarge)

On that note, we’ll trot along now. Thanks for the memories Ecuador!

Until next time.

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Travel stats

  • Countries visited: 7
  • Cities visited: 42
  • Distance travelled: 33.300 km
  • Modes of transport:
    • Plane (11),
    • Night-bus (11),
    • Day bus (26),
    • Boat (6),
    • 4×4 (1),
    • Trekking (2),
    • Taxi (2)

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