Most people strongly discouraged me from visiting Ecuador. “It’s not safe, you’re a single girl, you stand out, etc.”
“Go to Peru instead. Or maybe Costa Rica.”
Yeah, well…I’m glad I ignored their advice
You can’t form an opinion about a country until you’ve visited and experienced it for yourself. And every person’s experience will always be different — some will be good, some will be bad. I had zero expectations for who I would meet or what I would do in this country.
And all I can say is…wow. What an absolutely amazing country. Beautiful landscapes, incredible agriculture, and some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met.
Without a doubt, Ecuador has my heart. I’ll definitely be making multiple trips back to this gorgeous country.
Why I Visited:
This was the first international destination in Nell’s Gap Year adventure, Where the Hell is Nell.
We decided to try out the Workaway lifestyle. Volunteer locally in exchange for free accommodation and food. This is a great way to get connected with the local community and spend extended periods of time in one place.
When I Visited:
From early October to December, 2021. Very few COVID restrictions to enter (at the time. I’m sure it’s changed by now).
Top 3 Tips
1) Hit up the mountains. Travel with a goal to conquer a few mountains. It makes the itinerary a whole lot more exciting and you’ll find a lot of like-minded hikers along the way.
2) Learn some Spanish! We didn’t find too many English speakers in the rural areas of the mountains, so it was a perfect opportunity to learn & practice our Spanish.
3) Travel smart. Just like everyone else, I heard horror stories from travel blogs about the crime in Ecuador. Don’t let that scare you from visiting. Just remember to travel smart. A few tips: sit at the front of the bus, don’t keep all of your valuables in one place, be aware of your surroundings, don’t walk around at night by yourself (especially if you’re a solo female traveler).
National Language: Spanish
ATM / Credit Cards: Cash is mostly used throughout the country. You can use credit cards in higher-end hotels and restaurants. But when you’re out in the rural areas, stick with cash.
Getting Around: Transportation is fairly cheap and easy to find. We felt safe using Uber to / from the airport and around Quito. We took local buses all over the country and felt fine. We also used the metro in Quito – super cheap!