April 15, 2012

10 Great Reasons to Visit Ecuador Before You Move Here

This mostly pertains to first time travelers, and clearly those that have never before been out of North America. Those with a bit more experience can skip this article.

Ecuador’s terrain has it all; mountains, desert, forest, coasts, and beautiful countryside. No matter what your preference is, somewhere in Ecuador you can take a vacation and enjoy the rugged beauty. You may be able to find even more reasons of your own to visit Ecuador.

Here Are 10 Great Reasons to Visit Ecuador:

1. To see if Ecuador is a place you would like to live permanently. If for no other reason, than to give it a one to three month checking out to see if Ecuador is a place you would like to live. Checking out an area first is a good idea before making a major move.

2. To Experience the Culture. It is very interesting and fun to understand how other cultures do things and live. Part of the euphoria of your vacation is in the people and enjoying what they have to offer in the way of food, entertainment, clothing, and in the way they live. Its ok reading about it, but experiencing it first hand is awesome. The best way to do this, especially if you are thinking of moving here permanently is to dive right into to the local way of doing things.

3. To See If You Can Get Through the Culture Shock. Because this is South America everything is done differently here. People behave differently, they eat differently, they build their homes differently, and they have mannerisms that are different. Some things of a culture are things that some people cannot accept. When you are on vacation hopefully you will come to know what those things are; if you don’t like something about a culture while on vacation, it will truly be something you will not be able to withstand once you live here.

4. To Experience the Local Way of Living. The problem with a one to three month vacation is you know that you’re going home on your return flight tickets. Vacationers don’t really dive right into the culture because they are on vacation. So if Ecuador is a place you would like to check out for a possible permanent move it is our recommendation to experience it locally and that way you will know for sure if it is a place you would like to live full time.

As an example of experiencing it locally is this: the first time we traveled to Mexico we never stepped foot outside of the resort we we’re staying in; there was no need to. It was a packaged deal where food and lodging was all inclusive and most everyone spoke English. It was a beautiful resort with everything imaginable to keep one busy. We left Mexico after ten days thinking how really neat, clean and beautiful Mexico is.

Well, the second time we traveled to Mexico we rented a jeep and drove to a city called Colima and we saw the real Mexico. You know, the Mexico you always hear about but never see because you’re on vacation. No one spoke English; there were drunks on the sidewalks, people panhandling us left and right, guards on every corner with sawed off shot guns, children roaming the streets in their underwear and shacks that looked like they we’re going to cave in any minute, and scary looking dogs following us; so this is what Mexico is like for many of the local people?

Now it may not be quite that bad here in Cuenca but in some parts of the less developed areas of the coast it might be. We did notice that less people spoke English on the coast, and there were actual wooden/bamboo shacks that looked like if you blew on them they would cave in.

For an example: In Bahia de Caraquez there were beautiful homes and condominiums, then you walk just outside of the town about 7 or 8 blocks and up on a hill there is nothing but wooden/bamboo shacks with tin roofs. You wonder, “Am I in the same city”? This is too much of a disparity which can cause problems with the gringos that live in the area and is the biggest reason for petty thievery and violence toward gringos in certain areas of Ecuador.

Here in Cuenca all the homes are made of cement and there is no starving children roaming the streets because the government of Ecuador steps in and gives them shelter and food in many of the children’s homes scattered throughout Ecuador. On the other hand, in Guayaquil there is more poverty than here in Cuenca; we have been told that they will kill you for your watch, so they say.  Lots of terrible things have happened to visiting gringos in Guayaquil, usually they're not being careful.

5. To Taste the Flavor of the Chicken, Fresh Produce, and ice cream!  We’re very serious here. If you like the flavors of fresh food, we have to admit the chicken is the best we’ve ever had, the produce is the freshest and best tasting we have eaten and the ice cream here in Cuenca, well here again, there is no comparison to any other ice cream we’ve ever had!

6. To Experience Eating a $2.00 to $3.50 almuerzo in Cuenca from one of the restaurants we list in our Free Cuenca Restaurant Guide. Be sure to tell the wait staff you are there for the almuerzo and they will begin preparing it on the spot.

7. To Experience the Beauty of the Andes Mountains: Looking out of our living room window we have a beautiful view of the mountains and on a clear day it is so wonderful to look at. In Cuenca, no matter where you live you will almost have a mountain view unless there is a tall building (condo) obstructing your view. The Andes Mountains surround Cuenca. How would we describe the Andes Mountains of Cuenca Ecuador in three words?  Pure, gorgeous, glacier.

8To See the Beauty of the Coastal Areas: Each town on the coast has their own unique aspect about it that makes it different. It is totally not true the motto, “if you’ve seen one coast in Ecuador you’ve seen them all”. Ecuador has white sandy beaches, areas with wide expansive sandy beaches and beaches with smaller sandy beaches but with rugged coasts that are lined with jagged hills where habitat thrive. If you prefer living by a beach then you have to experience several different areas of the coast while on your visit. Everyone is different; some prefer the central coast line of Ecuador while others go for the less populated areas of the Northern coast line of Ecuador. 

9. Seeing the Historic / Colonial District of Cuenca: “Awesome” is all we can say. If you’re coming from Europe it won’t be so awesome because a lot of Europe is old and colonial, but if you’re coming from modern North America, the colonial section of Cuenca or Quito will amaze you. Some of the gorgeous buildings still amaze us! We’ve lived here going on 11-months now but sometimes we still act like tourists when we go to the city center (el centro) of Cuenca. LOL

10. To Experience the friendliness and helpfulness of the Ecuadorian people. Ninety nine percent of Ecuadorians are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. They try to be helpful, even if they may not know the answer. But there are some (very few 1%) Ecuadorians that do not like gringos. They will spat near your feet to let you know they don’t like you. While on vacation you probably will not experience the 1% but if you live here for any amount of time, you might.

Our Experience: the other day we were walking down the side walk on Gran Columbia ( 7 people) to go out to lunch and a young (mid 30’s) man, who is a stranger to us, spat near our feet and sneered at us then picked up a huge rock to throw at us. We just minded our own business, of course. We never said a word and continued on our walk. This was on a spot that is blocked off because of the road work near Avenida las Americas, so that there is no vehicular or pedestrian traffic.  We were wondering though, if it had it been night time and just one of us walking down the road, would he have been more aggressive and violent? Something to think about anyway.

There is a lot to see and do in Ecuador; don't expect to be bored. On the blog, the button on the left “What is Cuenca Like” will surely give you much more detail about what Cuenca Ecuador is like, especially if you veer off the beaten path and go local.

Another thing, make your plans and itinerary in such a way so that you can see as much of the different Ecuadorian terrains as possible while you are here. Enjoy your visit and by all means go local too!

2 comments:

  1. I would be very interested to know why do you think there is the 1% that don't like gringos?

    Do you think it's because they have the impression that we drive their prices up?

    I would like to know your thoughts.

    Patrick

    ReplyDelete
  2. It seems pretty improbable that the 1%, or whatever percent, all have the same reason.

    Some probably resent perceived inflation. Some probably had a bad experience with another gringo. Some are probably xenophobic. Some probably just aren't very nice people.

    No population anywhere is gong to be 100% united in liking anything.

    ReplyDelete

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