About a year and a half ago, I went on a study abroad trip to Ecuador, this was my first long stent trip and first time in a country other than Brazil or the good ol’ USA.
Although I would never consider myself an expert in travel or know everything a person should know about Ecuador, I hope that my experience has some good learning points which can be of use to others. So here are some of the things I learned while living in Quito for three months.
Bring an umbrella
Upon arrival to Quito, the first thing I noticed was how green it was, it was winter back home during the time, and it was raining and somewhat warm here in Quito. This is definitely something to keep in mind because IT. RAINS. OFTEN. It rained nearly all day every day during the entire month of March, with only a little sun right at noon.
Like most countries in South America, the water pressure is very poor, so you are not able to flush toilet paper. This is why you will always find a small trash can next to each toilet and in every stall. Also keep in mind that toilet paper is not cheap, it’s a good idea to keep extra with you at all times as many public restrooms charge for paper.
Tour Packages are a Joke!
During my last month in Quito, I went on a three-day trip to the Galapagos islands with two of the girls I was traveling with. The tour we booked had us doing specific things each day and staying in specific places each night, which would not have been so bad if we had at least been able to choose where we could eat. We had booked our travel with the school and didn’t know what to expect until about three days before our trip. So we aren’t really to blame for our poor experience whilst on the islands. Don’t get me wrong, the Galapagos are wonderful and everyone should see them at least once, but our trip was over planned and we had little free time to do the things we wanted. I recommend taking tours but planning your own stays so that you can choose when to do the things you want.
Befriend a local
During my three months in the city, I met and became friends with many locals. Having a friend who can explain the culture and give you rides (I had no car, and am not confident enough to drive in South America) can come in handy often.
Maybe this is just my opinion because I’m from a small town, but traffic in Quito is crazy. It seemed like every time I tried to cross the street I would almost get run over. Also, people in Quito don’t wait for the crosswalk jaywalking is very common.
There is so much to do
There are many wonderful trips to go on and lovely small towns to adventure in. I recommend going to Baños and Mindo for sure there are also trips to the Galapagos and rainforest to consider.
Living in Quito was an amazing experience, one I will never forget. I hope my future holds more trips back to see the people there and the city I’ve come to consider my second home.