Oh Ecuador, we barely got to know you. Although we had planned to spend a full two months in Ecuador, our trip got cut short due to covid. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t have thoughts. Because we always have thoughts. About just about everything. So, here goes.
Arriving in Quito, after two months in Colombia, we experienced a bit of a culture shock. Everyone, and I mean everyone, spoke English to us. It felt very strange. A few people would let us muddle through in whatever Spanish we could manage, but nearly everyone started and finished conversations with us in English.
As we were sightseeing in Quito, two Ecuadorian police officers stopped us. For a few seconds, we totally freaked out. Had we somehow broken some law? Had we done something wrong? Were they looking for a bribe? Were they even real cops (yes, that question definitely suggests we’ve spent too much time in Bangkok….)? We needn’t have worried. They just wanted to know if we were enjoying Quito and if we had any problems we wanted to report.
We saw billboards in Quito for Coke with coffee in it. Say what???? I’m used to cherry Coke, but coffee Coke is a new one. No, we didn’t buy any to try it.
Quito is one of the first places we have visited where the local indigenous people seem to be at least somewhat integrated into the rest of society. Before anyone jumps down our throats, we totally get that we have no idea whether appearances are deceiving and we have no idea if the indigenous truly are integrated. But we’ve been to so many places where the indigenous people are relegated to small villages that become tourist traps.
Altitude sickness pills are evil. My hands and tongue tingled the entire time I was taking the pills. And, anything carbonated tasted funny. You know what isn’t carbonated? Wine!
Speaking of wine, the wine in Quito is far better than the wine in Colombia. And, it is cheaper too. That said, the wine in the Galapagos is expensive and not very good.
We saw the stars and bars on more than one pickup truck in the Galapagos. What on earth is the deal with that? And, we started wondering if white trucks were a legal requirement to live in the Galapagos because almost everyone drives a white truck.
The Galapagos forbids single use plastic bags. Yet, almost all the soft drinks are sold in plastic bottles. And, we saw mylar balloons in several places. Not the most consistent, huh?
Most of the Galapagos are not very pretty. They honestly look like a barren lava covered desert in many places. I think the best thing you could say about the look is that it is interesting. But, every now and then, you come across something beautiful.
While we were in the Galapagos, a creationist museum was having its grand opening celebration. Seriously???? What is a creationist museum doing in the land that was the basis for the theory of evolution? We, of course, did not go in.
Emergency contraceptive is sold over the counter in the Galapagos. And, not only is it over the counter, it is right by the registers with the candy bars. And, better yet, it is called “Escapil.” Could it have a better name?
Galapagos restaurants really need to invest in some fans. We spent so many dinners sweating profusely and missing the fans that are ubiquitous in Asia.
Everything in the Galapagos is covered in poo.
The pineapple in the Galapagos is amazing and unlike any pineapple we have ever had anywhere else (especially the pineapple on Isabella Island).
Unfortunately, the pizza in the Galapagos is almost uniformly terrible. A few rose to the level of OK, but nothing better than that.
If we are being 100% honest with ourselves, the Galapagos were not as amazing as we anticipated. Are they cool? Absolutely. Did we see some amazing wildlife? Absolutely. Would we recommend a visit? Absolutely. But, the islands are outrageously expensive, the food is not very good, and — I know this is sacrilege — we got a bit bored. We might have just stayed there too long. But, when airfare over there runs around $500-600 per person (not counting what it costs to get to Ecuador), we needed to stay there for a bit to bring the cost per day down. And, when day tours cost around $200 per person, we needed down days in between tour days.
We can’t wait to get back to Ecuador and visit all of the places we missed out on because of covid.
* In light of the Covid-19 situation, we are no longer traveling. This post reflects pre-pandemic travel. We are sheltering in place and hope you are doing the same. Stay safe.