2 months Traveling in Ecuador
Tom and I spent 2 months in 2015-2016 traveling the small but diverse country of Ecuador. On Tuesday of this week, as I was leaving the gym, a woman from my dance class asked, “Why did you choose Ecuador? It is an unusual choice.”
We loved the variety of experiences and enjoyed many of the local people we met in Ecuador.
Why choose Ecuador?
Here are the reasons to visit Ecuador:
International Living has rated Ecuador the number 1 place to retire for the past several years. This year it is #2. So we decided to see the diverse country and assess its draw for us. Insights magazine, from Insel Air, features Ecuador – Discover South America’s Jewel, Ecuador, in its Jan-Mar, 2016 edition on page 15 (which I read after we returned). Note that the magazine article is published side-by-side in Spanish and English.
Ecuador is a very small country with quite a bit of biodiversity, from the Pacific coast and beaches to the Andes, volcanoes, and the Amazon, it has so much beauty. Also World Heritage sites abound throughout the country.
Galapagos, while 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific, is part of Ecuador, and has been on my bucket list for a number of years. The remote lands, the nature preserve islands, the wildlife – some that looks prehistoric – as well as the diving opportunities were all part of the draw.
Some of Ecuador’s cities are UNESCO World Heritage sites, including its capitol, Quito, which is one of the first UNESCO sites. Quito’s historic district is the least altered in all of Latin America.
Ecuador enables people to live and visit more economically, and it offers many of the conveniences desired in retirement. Travel can be very reasonable, although some of the more luxurious, US-type accommodations can be expensive. If you are willing to travel for less, there are many clean, comfortable, friendly accommodations throughout the country. We did not choose the high-end accommodations, except for our Galapagos cruise, and most places we stayed were nice and between $16 pp to $30 pp, including breakfast.
We often used buses to go on various excursions for 3-4 day trips, and the cost was $6 – $8 RT from the bus station. More was spent on the cabs to get from the bus stations back to our apartment in Quito (ranging from $8 – $15; from the airport, it is $25 to Quito in a taxi).
I understand that if you are over 65, airfare is half price and buses cost $0.12/pp.
While we are not ready to relocate, it is an option for those on a limited retirement budget. I will be happy to answer your questions about it.
We even experienced the healthcare system, both on this trip and our trip 4 years ago. Ecuador provides impressive quality of care, and low cost! I had a bicep injury, which healed in 1 week with the care that was recommended. The whole thing was quite inexpensive for X-rays, MRI, 2 doctor’s visits and 7 Physical Therapy sessions (no exercise, just treatment modalities); it was under $500 without insurance, and our insurance will cover most of it.
So much to experience in such a small place! I will share some of the highlights in my next post, and then expand on each of the areas in future posts.
What did we like the most?
Everyone asks us about our favorite part of the trip or place. Tom and I both say, “The scenery.” Ecuador is exquisite with its varied land and seascapes, modern buildings, and historic sites, many with the Andes as the backdrop.
Stay tuned for the next post highlighting the distinct areas within Ecuador.