Ecuador Wrapup

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Maria from Pungalá
Maria from Pungalá (View on flickr)


Ecuador turned out to be a very pleasant, tranquil country. With the exception of Quito, which has problems like any other large city, we felt completely comfortable and safe everywhere in the country. In fact, we felt that Ecuador was as safe as our previous most-comfortable country, Nicaragua. (Nicaragua would have to exclude its capital, Managua, as well, but we didn't go there.)

Ecuador is incredibly well-organized for tourism and gringos. There are tours and language schools and even a fair number of people who speak some English. They use the US dollar for currency. There is a whole section of Quito (Gringolandia) devoted to nice restaurants and stores of every type catering to gringos. We were able to get some nice sports equipment (warm clothes and such) that you would not have found in most places we have been. It's a very easy place to be.

However, as was the case in Costa Rica, we enjoyed Ecuador less than many countries we've visited, because the people seemed more reserved, and it was probably just because they are a bit fatigued with all the tourists. People didn't call out to us as we rode by, or honk greetings to us as much, or come up to us on the street to talk, or really even look up at us as we rode by. In other countries we're happy to be the center of attention, feeling like "rock stars" everywhere, and we were a bit peeved at the Ecuadoreans for denying us that attention :-)

Of course the Galapagos Islands are an amazing wildlife and natural experience, and one of the most amazing things Ecuador has to offer. But it was like another world, and of course doesn't seem like it was even Ecuador.

Some numbers:

  • Miles we rode: 763
  • Time in Ecuador: about 6 weeks (including a trip to the Galapagos)
  • 2 rides on trucks for big hills: 15 miles (25 km).
  • 1 bus ride: 30 miles (50km)
  • Total mileage for the trip at the Peru border: 11768
  • Mileage remaining to Ushuaia: 6000-8000. We're hoping for the lower estimate.
  • Time we expect to spend in Peru: 3 months


  • Standard "set meal" for breakfast, lunch, or dinner: $1.25 to $2.00, with two courses, a soup and a place of rice with chicken or beef.
  • Hotel, per person: $5-10
  • Bus in the city: $0.25
  • Taxi: $1-3
  • Gas: $1.50/gallon (the cheapest we've seen anywhere. Ecuador is a big oil producer and seems to be subsidizing internal consumption.)
  • Internet: $0.70-$1.00/hour

One little thing we really liked about the way they do coffee: It's often served as just hot milk, with some instant coffee to add to it. It's tasty!

And from the perspective of Peru, it's surprising how many commercial goods were available everywhere. It seemed that basic services were available in many places too, at least along the highways. In Ecuador we never used an outhouse/latrine at a restaurant as we have in Central America and Peru.

Also from the perspective of northern Peru, Ecuador was very cold and wet, and the riding was quite difficult. We pushed our bikes more in Ecuador than we have in any other country, even on the PanAmerican highway. We think the highway standards must be different in Ecuador, because those roads are really steep.