December 07, 2011

15 Days in Ecuador: Where and How Would You Spend Your Days?

I have a good friend who is going to be visiting Ecuador in January.  She is going with her husband, and they will be staying 15 days.  They want to see as much as possible, but as the date approaches, she is getting a little apprehensive as to how to make the most of their time in the 15 day stay.  She has seen ads where people offer “tours” for a large amount of money.  I told her that my thoughts on this, were that these tours were a big waste of money, and just a way to scalp a gringo.  LOL.  I realize I could be wrong, but the prices for these “tours” seem outrageous. 

It’s true, and we agree, that the fees are high, and we figure it’s because both the internet promoter and the local are sharing the fee.  When we came here we didn’t use any guides and did everything ourselves, it can be done but it does take longer to figure things out.  Your friends may not have the luxury of time.

I am thinking that there must be a more affordable way to hook up with someone local for a reasonable fee, but I’m not sure how one would go about doing this.  Of course, the first people I thought of were ya’ll.  I believe this couple would enjoy meeting some locals.  (BUT, they speak very little Spanish).

We’re in the process of writing a “DIY(do it yourself) Cuenca Landing Guide”, a how to manual for first time people to Cuenca with great detail on where everything is, a written guide, with email support, that would save you both time and money, maybe it will be done before they get here, check the blog frequently. 

We decided to write it because Frank figured out that if he would have had such a manual, as frugal as he is, being here for the first time, he still would have saved time and money had he had such a manual in hand.  It’s our way of keeping gringo inflation at bay. In the absence of that however, have them contact us directly, and we’ll help them as best we can. 

UPDATE: The Cuenca Guide is PUBLISHED! Here's a handy link to the DIY Cuenca Landing Guide. You can read the reviews here and all the chapters, and read the book up to page 11. 

My friends are in their early 50s, and they are basically going on this trip to check things out.  What they are wanting to see is “life in Ecuador”.  They want to visit some different areas, check out different places to stay, possibly look at the housing market, and then maybe even check out the Amazon Rainforest.  

Well, I think you’ll be cutting it very tight to see all that within fifteen days.  Having said that, there’s different ways to approach this.  One way is to make an area your base (Cuenca could be a good starting point) and then use it as a jumping off point, and do things leisurely at your own pace so as to enjoy the trip.


The other way would be to schedule everything in say three different areas, Cuenca, Quito and the Coast, in advance and adhere to a schedule, but this is not recommended as usually what can go wrong will go wrong, could be very stressful and not as enjoyable being on a tight itinerary, and it’s better to work locally anyhow. 


I am going to put her in touch with you, but she has just had carpal tunnel surgery, and it’s a lot easier for me to type.   What we are wondering, is:  Is it really worth it to pay these “tour” companies (or people) several hundred dollars to “show them around”.  Is there really any value in something like this?  I guess another question in this is:   Is there a better way to “see” Ecuador, if you are totally new to the area and on your own?
  
Well again, we favor the slow, leisurely do it yourself approach.  I for one would want to see the whole coast, and not just one town, and I think that in itself might take the whole fifteen days to get a real feel for it.  When we first got to Cuenca, the first week we were in wonderment and amazement just wandering around town and getting a feel for it.  Just remembering where all the markets and stores are and taking it all in can easily take a couple of weeks or longer just for Cuenca.  But then again, that’s our style, we like to slow down and smell the roses so to speak. 


If you have more money than time, hiring a bunch of guides might seem like the thing to do, but what’s the hurry? Are you really going to get the real feel of a place by just briefly viewing something you can see in a picture anyhow, and then moving on?  The essence of Ecuador is, live, and enjoy, go slow and don’t worry.


Remember that the guides don’t care whether you get the best or a low price on anything, so you will not be seeing the real Ecuador, only an overpriced artificial one in our opinion.  Everything will be higher.  Is that really what you want?

If you had 15 days to spend in Ecuador, where, according to you would you spend your time?  They want to be able to see several different areas and not knowing anything much about Ecuador, I guess they are wanting to know where their time would best be spent.


If you still want to see as much as you can in fifteen days I would choose the three areas above (Quito, Cuenca, and Coast) and ask around about best neighborhoods and places to stay and then get a quick five day glimpse of each?  Of course, contact us for the Cuenca area.


These are VERY sweet people, and if they come by your area, I’m sure they would love to meet ya’ll, as they will be totally on their own, and will be wandering around, wondering what to do.  I’m sure it would feel good to them to be able to make contact with other Americans while they are there.  I am hoping that ya’ll might be able to meet up somewhere during their stay.

Sure, no problem.  We love meeting sweet people. 

Have you got any suggestions along these lines?  Do you have any good recommendations of places to stay?

Have them Contact us.

1 comment:

  1. My first trip was for 15 days.

    I traveled by bus for the most part. I spent two days in Quito, then bus to Cotacatchi for two days, bus to Banos for two days, then bus to Cuenca for the remainder. Flew to Quito for the return. I never felt uncomfortable safety wise but realized 6-7 hours on the bus was my limit. It was a great trip.

     I was only interested in the mountains so limited my time to the Andes.

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