Ecuador--Things to Do, Places to Go?

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  1. I just found out a couple days ago that I will be going to Ecuador next week for some family (in-law) related stuff. I will be leaving early next week and will be there for a little over a week if all goes as according to planned. We will be staying in Guayaquil but will be traveling to Quito at least once. Aside from stuff we will be doing with the BF's family, we will maybe have two or so days of the trip to do other things. Now, we're not going to be able to go to the Galapagos, but I guess anything in and around Guayaquil is fair game. So my question is, is anyone out there familiar with Ecuador? What is there in the way of recreation? Shopping? Museums? Nightlife? (Especially nightlife...I really love clubs and stuff!) I don't mind doing touristy-type stuff, as I want to do some out of the ordinary things that I've never done before. Oh, and...what to expect of the weather conditions? How is the currency? I hear they use the US dollar primarily, but what does one of our US dollars get you? Additionally, my BF has expressed some concern about the city areas not being incredibly safe for "gringos." Any opinions on that?

    All suggestions/advice appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. I have been. We stayed in Quito when it was still Equador money (my memory fades as to currency). It was UBER cheap.. kinda like us in Europe today.. lol.. but far cheaper!

    Quito was beautiful but poor. 50 oz beers were about 30 cents US (no I don't drink beer but hope that can help you with a comparison). This was in 2002.

    We took day trips to the hot springs and a leather-selling city. Private drivers were hired but they did NOT care about safety. Could have been killed by a flat tire.. but I digress. Private drivers/vans were about 25 US.

    Food was uber cheap. We had a blast ( of course I went with 20 of my best friends at the time.. will always cherish the memories).

    Sorry I didn't make it to the galapagos.. my friends did.. And we may go back in a few months so there is that. Have a great time and report back!!!

  3. Thanks a million for this post! That leather place sounds great (would love to find purses there!), so does the idea of getting some beer for very cheap...I actually am a big fan of beer, and now I'm looking forward to sampling some local cerveza! The hot springs also sound nice...I'll definitely look into that. I'm glad you had a lot of fun; hopefully I will, too, and I hope it's still as inexpensive as when you were there!

  4. I don't know Guayaquil that much, but I would recommend trying the lobster at least once while you're there. Lobsters down there are different, almost square shaped... it's weird!

    Outside of Quito, go to El Crater restaurant -- it's built on the rim of an old volcano!
  5. I'm going to ping my friend who's parents are from and sometimes live there tomorrow to try to find out additional details on the Quito area - where the hot springs/leather city was and such.

    Caxe - I apologize as I don't remember where you are living now.. but all I have to say is this: Pack a few days of clothing in your carry-on - including your swimsuit.. lol. I think I may have posted this before but me and friend got bags *tossed* from the plane without Co telling us for plane weight restrictions - I hear this is common to SA (please verify!!!) I had to buy a swimsuit on the fly and you do NOT want to do this in South America!!! (think 5 sizes too small for an American size 6 - me at the time - you may fare better if you are smaller). Holy crap those people must not eat!!! I am still in therapy... :biggrin:

    Have a great time!
  6. Oh, wow...yes, my BF's sister has RAVED about the seafood there! I look forward to trying it out, so thanks for reminding me!

    I will try to get to El Crater if I can...if not to eat then at least to sight-see!

    Thanks a bunch!
  7. Thanks in advance, Christine!

    Wow, sorry to hear about your and your friend's luggage! But yes, now I'll try to put as much as I can into my carry-on bag...thanks for the advance notice! Hopefully I won't have to do much shopping down there for clothing and such, but it would be an interesting experience if I did...LOL. I'll keep that in mind about the sizing.
  8. I've bought a travel guide (the one I picked up is excellent) and I've looked at a bunch of stuff online, especially the weather channel. But I'm finding that it's the rainy season down there, and up here I can't find a raincoat ANYWHERE. It's so weird because it seems like they don't make raincoats anymore, although, of course, it still rains. All the stores have is ponchos, and I don't care for those. So panic is starting to set in because rain is predicted for the next ten or so days where I'm going.

    Has anyone traveled to a place during the rainy season? If so did it hinder your ability to have fun on the trip?

    And does ANYONE know where to get an actual raincoat? Something vinyl or nylon, not like a trench coat or that material? Christine's post has me thinking about these things, and I wonder how much harder it would be to find a raincoat there if I need one.

    Okay, thanks again, and in advance!
  9. Okay ladies.. we have a Poncho Snob on our hands here.. time for an intervention!!! :P:biggrin:

    Kidding of course! I am afraid I can't offer up any good advice here. Other than a swimsuit (lol) I was not forced to buy any clothing (i.e. rain gear) down south.

    I will say - it WAS rainy when we went there. I got by with pretty much nothing... plenty of umbrellas to go around. There were no bad rain storms.. just drizzle that made my hair frizzy as hell.. but nothing much worse than that. (hats help in this area!)

    I also went to Costa Rica around rainy season and just brought with me a (ulp!!) poncho.. I didn't think to look for any coats.

    I'm assuming you checked Walmart/Target/Kmart? Or any camping/sporting good stores may have coats as well.. REI/Oshmans/Sports Authority.

    Ok I am still waiting for my lovely Equadorian friend to respond to my email. Will forward any useful information on once it arrives!!! So friggin' jealous.. you guys are going to have a great time!!!!!

  10. I went to Ecuador in 2004 and I travelled alone. I was only there for a week and mostly visited Quito and the neighboring areas.

    The city of Otavalo is quite interesting as it is a town where the indigenous are very proud of their heritage. There, you can buy a lot of scarves and in all colors. At that time, they cost between 2-5 USD. Near Otavalo is Ibarra which is a white town. In this region, I also stayed at a hacienda to experience how it is ... you can try Hacienda Pinsaqui.

    Plus, there's always the "Equator" -- mind you there are 2! The one which they initially thought was the equator and they built a monument there and the real equator a few kilometers away. It's amazing to see how an egg can balance on a needle stick and how the waterflow changes from the northern to the southern hemisphere. You can also visit the Cotopaxi volcano and hike up to a certain point.

    Quito is also beautiful. Oh, and it can be chilly sometimes at night since Quito is about 2,000 meters above sea level.
  11. I bet you had a BLAST in Costa Rica! I know people who have been and I hear it's quite wonderful. :yes:

    LOL I'm not sure why I don't prefer ponchos...but looks like I'm gonna have to be more open-minded due to the lack of raincoats. Let's see...I went to Walmart for a raincoat first, then Target, then Sears because my mom recommended it. Not a raincoat to be found, although I did pick up a compact umbrella at Walmart. But thanks for the additional suggestion, Christine...we have a few sporting goods stores in the area and I will check those tomorrow!

    I'll prepare for the frizz. My hair, too, gets frizzy in wet/humid conditions. I plan to take along a bunch of ponytail holders just in case. And I'll also look through my stash of hats and pack a couple of those...TY for that suggestion because I never would have thought of hats! :yucky: @ packing!!!

    I really do hope we have a good time and I think we will, although I'm very nervous since I'm meeting some of my fiance's family that I've never met in the four years we've been together!

  12. Wow...all of this sounds BF mentioned that his sister was gonna "take us to the equator" so that is something to look forward to...perhaps we'll get to one or both of them. Actually seeing a volcano would be great, I've never seen one before, so hopefully that will be on the schedule! My BF did mention to me that there are still a lot of Indians in certain areas...I bet their artwork and craftsmanship is beautiful and I hope to see lots of gorgeous stuff.

    Traveling alone is something I've never done but I'm in total awe of those who do. I admit it sounds intimidating, but I think that if I could do that, I would feel as if I could do ANYTHING.

    I'll make sure to bring a pack appropriate clothing for Quito...I didn't realize it was such high altitude. TY for the info!
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  14. I was in Quito several years ago and felt quite safe. I traveled with two female friends most of the time and no issues, though when I went out and about by myself I got a few comments from men but nothing you wouldn't get in many cities. There are some beautiful hand made things to buy -- I got a small rug and a painting.

    I went to the "Equator" which was fun. Mainly it was a pit stop before the Galapagos -- which was amazing!!! ... so you must go back again and do the Galapagos!