Final thoughts on Ecuador*

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.


A penguin on our Los Tuneles day trip.

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.


The streets of old Quito.

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.

North S Dive Angel

An angelfish on Robert’s North Seymour dive.

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.


A land iguana on North Seymour Island.

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.


A sand crab on a random beach on San Cristobal Island.

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!


Baby frigate birds on North Seymour Island.

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.


A pink flamingo on Isabela Island.

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.


A small lizard on Isabela Island.  Love that red face!

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?


A different lizard on Santa Cruz Island.

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.


A beautiful beach on San Cristobal Island.  Check out the color of that water!

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.


A sandy sea lion on San Cristobal Island.

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?


A blue footed boobie on our Los Tuneles day trip.

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.

Turtle Los Tuneles 02

A sea turtle.

Everything in the Galapagos is covered in poo.


Marine iguanas on Isabela Island.

The pineapple in the Galapagos is amazing and unlike any pineapple we have ever had anywhere else (especially the pineapple on Isabella Island).


A beautiful lake on Isabela Island.  Apparently, at some times of the year, it will be covered in pink flamingos.

Unfortunately, the pizza in the Galapagos is almost uniformly terrible.  A few rose to the level of OK, but nothing better than that.


A Galapagos tortoise on Santa Cruz Island.

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.

About theschneiduks

Lisa has a degree in biology and another in law and has spent the last 20 years working as a patent litigator. She is a voracious reader of young adult dystopian fiction and watches far too much bad tv. She loves pretty much anything to do with zombies, and doesn’t think there is anything weird about setting an alarm at 6 am on a weekend to stumble to a pub to watch her beloved Chelsea boys. Robert has had many professions, including a chef, a salesman, an IT guy and most recently, a stay at home dog dad. He speaks Italian and hopes to learn Spanish on this trip. He loves nothing more than a day spent sailing, hopes to do more scuba diving, and rues the day he introduced Lisa to football (i.e., soccer).
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2 Responses to Final thoughts on Ecuador*

  1. Rose Brooks says:

    Loved your “final thoughts”. We didn’t get to Quito, but would HIGHLY recommend Manta if you return to Ecuador. (Episode 47 in our blog). We decided after visiting that it would definitely be one o& the places we’d consider as a longer term “home”.


  2. Thanks! Manta is definitely on our list when we get to travel again. I so wish we had made it to Cuenca before the country shut down (we missed it by one day) — if we had made it there, I think we would have stayed in Ecuador for the duration.


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