Welcome to Ecuador!
Ecuador is one of my favorite countries in Latin America. And it’s also one of the safest. Out of 163 countries, Ecuador is ranked #66 in terms of safety (as of 2016). This is well ahead of the United States, which is #103. And Ecuador also uses the U.S. dollar as their currency, which makes it an excellent starting point for travel in Central or South America. That said, welcome to your Ecuador Travel Guide!
What adventures await you in Ecuador? Well, for starters, there are the incomparable Galapagos Islands ~ 1,000 miles off the shores of Ecuador. You’ll find more wildlife in the Galapagos than you can even imagine, which is part of the reason they’re so famous. And the animals seems to be completely unafraid of humans! Swim with sharks, sea lions, turtles, & find all kinds of wildlife ~ even next to your hotel or restaurant ~ in the Galapagos. The Galapagos Islands are great for families with kids (because of all the animal contact), couples, & solo travelers (because of how safe they are). Basically, anyone who enjoys the water & island life will love the Galapagos!
Back on mainland Ecuador, we have one of my favorite cities: Cuenca. Its blue-topped cathedrals (my balcony looked right at them ~ for $30/night!) will dazzle you, as will its beautifully-preserved Colonial churches & Tomebamba ruins. Then there’s Ecuador’s capital: Quito, whose Colonial Spanish center is teeming with 16th-17th century palaces. And Quito’s setting is also dramatic: it sits at an elevation of 2,850 meters, surrounded by Andean mountains. Then there’s the popular, tourist-friendly Banos de Agua Santa, located in the hills near the Amazon basin. Take Spanish classes here, ride mountain bikes, hike, or swing on the famous swing at La Casa del Arbol!
So many adventures await you in the beautiful & extremely diverse country of Ecuador….so let’s dig right in to our Ecuador Travel Guide!
Ecuador Travel Overview!
- Safety = One of the Safest Countries in Latin America, especially the Galapagos Islands 85%
- Cost = Great Value! Similar to other Latin American countries; Galapagos slightly more expensive 40%
- Adventures = EVERYWHERE!!! Snorkel, dive, play with sea lions, climb volcanoes ~ DO it ALL here! 100%
- How Safe I Felt as a Female Traveler = Very Safe, especially in Galapagos 95%
Ecuador Travel Quick Facts!
- Ecuador in One Word = Adventures.
- Ecuador in One More Word = Diverse (geographically).
- Wi-Fi = Can be sparce in the Galapagos Islands & remote areas such as the Andes Mountains, but in major cities like Quito & Cuenca, Wi-Fi should be available at most hotels & restaurants.
- Global Peace Ranking = #66 out of 163 countries, as of 2016 (U.S. is #103) = One of the safest countries in Latin America. I felt especially safe in the Galapagos Islands, & I highly recommend them to solo travelers.
- Hotels = Great hotels can be found for less than $40/night ~ even in the Galapagos! See this hotel post for specific details.
- Must-Do’s = Fly or sail to the Galapagos Islands. Swim with sea lions. Marvel at the blue cathedrals in charming Cuenca. Get lost in the capital, Quito. Swing on the famous swing-over-the-mountains in Banos.
- Is Ecuador Good for Solo Travelers = Yes. In terms of Latin America, I think Ecuador is a perfect place to start for solo travelers: they use the dollar (so no conversion problems), the food is great, cost is low, & the Galapagos Islands are one of the safest places for solo travelers. Overall, Ecuador is a great choice for solo travel.
- What to Expect as a Female Traveler = Because of the machismo vibe in Latin America, you may be hassled from time to time, especially in cities and/or by groups of men. Petty crime is also always a concern in this part of the world, but in general, I found Ecuadorians to be a very kind & welcoming people.
- Would I Go Back = Yes!!! Absolutely. I’ve already returned to the Galapagos. TWICE.
Read Ecuador Travel Blogs!
It's Saturday morning. You're in the Galapagos Islands on Isla Santa Cruz. It's 8:00AM, and already a balmy eighty degrees out. You've got a bathing suit on underneath your tank and shorts, and you're about to meet your guide for breakfast at Galapagos Planet. On...read more