There’s nothing like beating the winter blues than getting a taste of summer in Ecuador. I was so swamped leading up to this trip that I ended up tossing a bunch of stuff in my backpack and hoped for the best. I spent the next 2.5 weeks travelling the Galapagos Islands (San Cristobal, Isabela and Santa Cruz) and Mainland Ecuador (Quito, Montanita, Cuenca and Banos).
The Galapagos Islands are so incredibly beautiful that pictures can’t do it justice. You can’t help but to fall in love with your surroundings. There was a never dull moment on my trip as I got to hang out at Playa Mann with the sea lions, played with a Galapagos penguin near Concha la perla on Isla Isabela, stepped around marine iguanas to get to the ATM on Santa Cruz and swam alongside a half dozen sea turtles at Isla Floreana. In addition, I got to meet some great people along the way.
Without a doubt, I would come back to this magical place and experience it all over again.
Backpacking Ecuador was certainly an interesting experience given I was travelling solo with my not-so-stellar Spanish. Surprisingly, I got by much better than I gave myself credit for.
Quito was a massive city. Far bigger than I had anticipated but beautiful nonetheless. I stayed there for a few nights at the beginning and end of my trip and there are charming elements to the city. Cuenca was cute place to be with the pretty churches and squares. It wasn’t my style of city to hang out in for long so I’m glad the trip there was fairly short.
My favourite place was Montanita. I ended up staying at a place that was 15 minutes away from the craziness near La Punta. The beach far less congested, way more relaxed and waves for me to catch in the am and pm. Also, there was a sushi place right on the beach that served some pretty delicious maki rolls.
Banos was pretty awesome as well. A super small town but the tours are inexpensive and worth it. I bruised my ankle canyoning but it didn’t stop me from exploring the nearby waterfalls, hiking the amazon to the rope swing and swimming in a nearby waterfall after the long hike. More importantly, I did the scariest activity of my life and went puenting (bridge jumping) off the San Francisco bridge behind the bus station!
This trip was such an empowering and confidence building experience. I was challenged on so many levels and came out the victor. I don’t think there is another trip that will top the beauty of Galapagos or the exhilarating experiences I felt for the first time – so I will have to find my second favourite place as I’ve found my first. I can’t wait to blog about each of the cities in more detail and look forward to spending more time in Ecuador!