We spent a month backpacking through Ecuador, and we LOVED exploring this small but incredibly diverse, insanely beautiful country. From the high altitude metropolitan city of Quito, to the animal refuge of the Galapagos Islands, to the adventure town of Banos, to the high mountain regions of the Andes, to the Amazon Rainforest – and that’s just like, a really short summary highlight reel – there are so many incredible places to go in Ecuador! Plus, Ecuador is home to all of our favorite things: really good chocolate, llamas, stunning mountains, alpacas, volcanoes, llamas & alpacas, and sea lions. What more could you want?!! From swimming with sea lions to hiking in the Andes to sleeping in a hobbit hole at the foot of a volcano to white water rafting to swimming in giant natural thermal baths at the foot of a waterfall, this itinerary is chock full of amazing things to do in Ecuador that we really, really, really want to go back and do again.
We spent 4 months backpacking in South America. Although each of the countries we visited was as unique and different from one another as can be, we did notice a few universal truths about backpacking in South America… things nobody told us about before we left. In no particular order and in various degrees of usefulness, we’ve compiled our observations into this list of 30 things no one tells you about backpacking in South America!
From the creepy clown trash cans (seriously, Ecuador, WTF?) to Cheese Soup to friendly llamas to the Galapagos Islands, we had a fantastic time during our month backpacking in Ecuador! Here are 30 things no one told us about before we visited Ecuador….
Baños, Ecuador was one of our favorite places on our entire 4-month trip to South America and we would go back again in a heartbeat. The town is situated in a valley at the base of an active volcano. It’s unique location is in the perfect spot to take advantage of the varied environment, complete with mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and hot springs. The town is known for two things: naturally heated thermal baths – the namesake of Baños, Ecuador – and its many adventure opportunities! Here’s our complete guide to what to do in Baños.
Sometimes travel makes you miss things that you never knew you appreciated before. Like the immigration kiosk at the airport. You hop off a plane, hand them a slip of paper, answer a couple questions, then you’re off to enjoy a new country. Sure, you might wait in a long line, but at least you’re not scrunched in a van next to a rooster careening along a cliff at 80mph while the driver talks on his cell phone.
The Quilotoa Loop is a 3-day long hike in the Andes mountains in Ecuador, peaking at 12,500 feet. We thought we were taking the “easy” route. It turns out there is no easy route. Of course, we didn’t know that until after getting lost, unintentionally trespassing, crawling up a mountain on our hands and knees, injuring ourselves, and finally hitchhiking the rest of the way.
Think you need to book an expensive cruise to see the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador? Think again! We have a complete guide to the Galapagos Islands by land. Backpack your way through Santa Cruz, Isabela Island, and San Cristobal!
Isla Isabela is the largest island in The Galapagos. However, much like Hawaii, it is not the main island. There isn’t much civilization on this seahorse shaped piece of land, but there are plenty of critters, as well as awesome geological phenomena…if you’re into that. But what kind of freakin’ nerd would be? (Me…absolutely me.)
The Galapagos Islands are our favorite place by far on our South American adventure. From the relaxed island vibes and cozy coastal towns, to the plethora of sea lions, marine iguanas, and frigate birds at every turn, the Galapagos felt like the perfect place to take a break from our grungy backpacker lifestyle and have a real vacation.