Ecuador

Time: 15 days (10th August – 24th August 2013)
Budget: $58.67 (per day for two people)
Itinerary: 1 day Vilcabamba, 5 days Cuenca, 3 days Puerto Lopez, 3 days Quito, 3 days Otavalo

Plus: One month volunteering on an awesome farm, with amazing people (25th August – 22nd September). In which case our daily budget reduces to $24.86.

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I’m not sure how Ecuador turned out to be so cheap. It certainly didn’t feel that way after arriving from Peru. But perhaps that was a good thing as it made us much more careful about what we spent. Spending directly in dollars might also have been a factor.

There seemed to be many more options for cheap street food and bakery products in Ecuador than any country we’d visited so far, so we were able to eat well on a lower food budget. State museums are free and private museums only a few dollars, so we concentrated on these type of activities and dropped some expensive outdoor activities I had originally wanted to do. We still managed to get a private room everywhere, although Quito was pretty expensive.

I would certainly love to go back one day and do some of the hiking I missed out on.

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Recommendations:

We found two wonderful Colombian restaurants: Moliendo Cafe in Cuenca (cheap, tasty and filling, with a very friendly owner) and Patacon Pisa’o in Puerto Lopez (a bit up-market, but worth it for a treat, with another very nice owner).

Los Dulces de ???, Puerto Lopez: I can’t quite remember the name of this little stand at the corner of General Cordova and Juan Montalvo which sells home-made cakes, coffee and juice. You can get takeout or eat on the little patio area. The Oreo cheesecake and mohado de chocolate were sooooo good.

hostel/ hotel, Cuenca: Another place I can’t remember the name of, but I believe it’s on the corner of Presidente Borrero and Honorato Vasquez. For the price of a couple of dorms we had a hotel style private room with an indoor balcony and daily cleaning. Plus there’s a semi-kitchen area with kettle, fridge and microwave. The location was in the touristy, historic area near the river and there a tons of little posadas like this one.

Food from the market: it’s cheap, it’s tasty, it’s fresh. This is the way to eat for just a few dollars and actually enjoy it (something I’ve found difficult in South America so far). I never got sick either.

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Photo Essay: Agua Blanca

Photo Essay: Isla de la Plata

Museum-hopping in Cuenca

Museum of Modern Art, Cuenca

Photo Essay: Cuenca

The best food in Ecuador (and possibly South America too)

Boutique Name Fail

Cut-out Jesus

Intriguing tour sign

Peru to Ecuador: la Balsa border crossing

Clean water and cultural survival in the Amazon

Photo Essay: Basílica del Voto Nacional, Quito

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