Is Ecuador still digging out from the earthquake that devastated so many coastal towns? Absolutely.
Have most media outlets stopped reporting on what happened to Ecuador over a month ago? Definitely.
It has been a little over a month since a major earthquake shook the coastal country of Ecuador. Travellers are worried for their own safety and security which is a natural human reaction. Some have the option to cancel or defer their travels, others may feel the need to push on until a travel ban is placed or, simply, some will continue with their travels but keeping precautions in mind. The country is still in need of aid, one of the best ways to help out? Don't cancel the trip and go out to discover this incredible place.
1. Immerse Yourself into the Most Beautiful Place on Earth
Sealions? Penguins? Sharks? Tortoises?
The an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, it is no wonder why the Galapagos Islands were one of the first World Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO. With two main seasons, dry and wet, the best season to view sea mammals and birds at their most active is during the dry season from June to December.
2. Get Your Adrenaline Fix
Baños de Agua Santa is Ecuador's Adventure Capital where one could dabble or throw themselves completely into the rush of adrenaline. Take 20km bike ride to see the various waterfalls, check out Casa del Arbol, hike up a mountain to cascade down 5 waterfalls, but the ultimate (and slightly sketchy) activity, bridge jump off of the San Francisco Bridge behind the bus station!
3. Relax with the Sun, Sand and Surf
Ecuador's diverse landscape is pretty impressive and easily accessible via plane, bus or car. For those looking to get some sun and surf, Montañita is a stellar spot but known for its surfing and parties. If you go up north just a touch more, you can hang out in Olón which has calmer waters and more quiet vibe; if you wanna party it's only about $1 cab ride away or 15-20 min walk 🙂
4. Give Back
Contributions and donations of any size are always welcomed given that many Ecuadorians have lost their possessions, homes, and even their lives as a result of the April earthquakes. Children have been orphaned, basic supplies continue to deplete, infrastructure has been damaged beyond repair and sadly, foreign aid is coming in as "in-kind" vs. actual capital to help the country rise from the rubble.
5. Take in the Beautiful Architecture
Even if you have a few days before you head to your next destination, Quito's Historical area is a beautiful area to stroll. Sip on coca leaf tea as you take in the beautiful architecture, interior detailing churches, and cobblestone roads amongst the local shops.
Spend some time in Cuenca, a city located in the southern highlands of Ecuador and beautiful spot to enjoy the markets, cafés and of course, shopping.
6. Experience the Rainforest Before it Disappears
Due to deforestation, rainforests likely won't exist any longer in ~50 years. Ecuador's Yasuní Biosphere Reserve has a reputation for being the place with most diverse set of species on earth.
More impressive, there are tribes still existing in the rainforest who have chosen not to live in isolation removing themselves entirely from the modern world and are protected to do so under Ecuador's constitution.
7. Get Your Eat On
Fabulous selections of fish, shellfish and veggies for healthy meals. An easy breakfast or snack with fruit so fresh, sweet and ripe that the nickname for Nature's Candy actually rings true.
Expanding your foodie experiences? Try zesty ceviche, chifa (chinese fried rice), fried plantains with hot sauce, and if you're truly adventurous, try the roasted cuy (guinea pig).