My interest in Ecuador was sparked by the possibility that I might one day consider moving to another country with a reasonable cost-of-living, so here I am. I love the weather in Quito - light sweater in the early morning and no need for an air conditioner at night. And fresh fruits galore. Fruits I’ve never heard of before. Taxis are cheap and there’s good public transportation even though I never took the bus. Mostly, I walked or took a cab. I was in Quito for a few days and while I was warned about not drinking the water, I forgot about salads and sure enough, I got hit by Montezuma’s revenge on day 1.
I had to go to the pharmacy and tried to explain using sign language what my problem was and somehow they knew what I was talking about.
That experience aside, food is quite inexpensive especially seafood which I love.
Another thing to be aware of is the shortage of toilet paper in most public places. There are some coin operated dispensers so small change will come in handy. My advice: bring your own.
Internet connection is quite slow, at least in the Internet Cafes I went to, both in Quito and Cuenca, so digital nomads should expect some hair pulling while waiting for web pages to load.
From Quito, I went on a day trip to the famous Otovalo Market where we spent a couple of hours and then proceeded to Cotacachi for lunch. Cotacachi is somewhat laid-back. Too quiet for my taste.
After Quito, I flew to Cuenca which is situated in the highlands. As in Quito, Cuenca has an efficient transportation system and is pedestrian friendly but it seems that I have to run for my life whenever I try to cross.
Cuenca is rich in colonial architecture and water is safe to drink here.
I was in time for some kind of festival in the town center so I got to try some of the local goodies. I also went zip lining and visited a butterfly sanctuary.
And then there is Galapagos, a place I’ve always dreamed about (and still dreaming about). I love animals and there’s nothing more thrilling than being at arms length from some of the exotic wildlife but even booking from Ecuador, the cost was more than I was prepared to spend. This one stays in my bucket list.
Altogether, I like Ecuador and its people. It deserves its accolades as a retirement destination: an affordable cost of living, ideal climate and quality healthcare. Nevertheless, it is probably not a place that’s right for me as I thrive in the chaos of big cities.