Traveled for: 32 days
Cost per day of travel:
There are a few different ways to look at this.
Ecuador average without Spanish classes or Galapagos: About $27 person/day (way under budget of $50 person/day).
Ecuador average with Spanish classes and Galapagos: About $57 person/day (a bit over budget!)
Galapagos: $100 person/day
Once again, we mostly stayed in hostels/small hotels. Ecuador (except for the Galapagos) is very inexpensive. Buses are about $1 per hour, food is cheap (and we kept getting sick in Ecuador, keeping the food cost down even more), and hostels with our own room and bathroom ran around $20.
We knew that going to the Galapagos was going to be a budget-killer, even by doing it on our own, but we figured the once in a lifetime experience is well worth the extra expense.
Places Visited: Otavalo, Quito, Galapagos (San Cristobal, Isabela, and Santa Cruz), Baños, Cuenca, and Vilacamba.
Galapagos! The scenery and animals were unbelievable.
Cuenca was our favorite city on the mainland.
New Phrase Learned: “mandarina”
This is a slang term that we learned from our Spanish teachers. A “mandarina” is a man who does domestic chores around the house (a rarity around here). Joe’s teacher was proud to declare that she was lucky that her husband was a mandarina, but she didn’t want you telling her husband that.
Used in a sentence: “Joe is always cooking and cleaning. Kristen is lucky to have married a mandarina.”
Moments We Remember:
-Trying Cuy. Never again.
-Animals in the Galapagos: stumbling upon a Blue-Footed Booby, watching a sea lion be born, and seeing giant tortoises roaming through the trees.
– Cuddling with monkeys.
– Waving to the President of Ecuador.
-Hanging out with locals on a Friday night in La Rhonda (A street in Quito). We would probably pass on another jug of the warm fruit infused wine.
“We could have driven here?!?” -Joe after hiking up a hill in the rain and seeing a bus
Biggest Surprise: (tie)
Going to the Galapagos and especially seeing so many animals on our own. (Especially bumping in to two sharks in murky water!)
Getting sick so often after so many healthy days in Colombia.
Item We Packed That We Couldn’t Have Lived Without:
Our Antibiotics (Cipro)- We finally broke down and took some of the antibiotics we brought. We think that is what finally broke the cycle and put us back on the path to wellness.
Total Time Spent Apart From Spouse:
This may be up to a whopping three hours (more than in Colombia). Since we took turns being sick, the healthy one would be sent out on the street for saltines and Sprite runs, or to get real food for themselves.
Would We Do Anything Differently:
We would book the day cruise to Bartolome (Galapagos) ahead of time.
Kristen would not eat the Pad Thai in Baños.
Would We Return:
We would both love to return to Ecuador as there is still so much more to see! It was a country that we enjoyed much more than we thought we would. However, we both agree that Colombia is still our favorite!
Hey Joe, Love the pictures. I’m on the DS5 with another photo nut Alex Bernhart as SRDPO. I’m not having as much fun as you! My daughter and new husband went to the Galapogos over Christmas and met 8 others from Pensacola. Always a small world! Mardi Gras was well above average this year with over 8 dozen coming to my Bra fitting booth. I know it is a tough job but someone just has to do it! My liver is resting confortably and I wish all the best to you.