The Galapagos Islands, located off the coast of Ecuador in South America, are a bucket list destination. From the clear turquoise water and white sand beaches to the huge variety of unique animals and happy, ecologically protected wildlife, the Galapagos Islands are a magical place to visit. We spent 9 incredible days exploring the Galapagos Islands on a budget and it was by FAR the highlight of our trip to South America. But there were definitely some surprises along the way. Like for starters, the Galapagos Islands aren’t tropical. At all. In fact, from island to island, the geography completely changes: Isla Isabela has palm trees and sandy beaches, but Santa Cruz is actually covered in desert and cactus and volcanic rock. The geological variation is part of what make the islands SO interesting – and surprising! Now that we’ve had some time to reflect, we’ve created an essential Galapagos Packing List to help you plan your trip.
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 5 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.