We enter Ecuador in the north and head to Otavalo for a few days before going to the volcano of Cotopaxi. From there we travel to Baños, the Amazon and finally to Cuenca.
Below you’ll find updates of places we’re visiting and our usual cheeky shenanigans. Also, we’ll try to add useful information about our budget, internet availability, and border crossings.
This article is part of our Budget and Money Report series.
Our per diem expenses cover food, lodging, gas and other supplies and travel costs for three people. We travel in a 1997 Toyota 4Runner, tent camp in paid facilities roughly 70% of our nights and eat less than 10% of our meals in restaurants. This budget does not reflect personal spending money, which is mostly used to buy souvenirs and booze. We don't track this money, but we do know we have not come close to spending our budgeted amount of $10 per person per day.
The past two countries (Colombia and Panama) have not been very kind to our wallet. Fortunately, after two months of overspending, Ecuador allowed us to recoup some loses. Not much, only about $50, but it's a start!
Ecuador is well known for being a budget-travelers dream. Along with Bolivia, it's said to be one of the cheapest countries in South America for overlanders. Much of this is thanks to the phenomenal gas prices - $1/gallon for diesel, $1.50 for regular and $2 for high-octane.
Start: August 10, Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador
Finish: August 25, Mancora, Peru
Ebooks Published: 1
Ceviches Sampled: 2
Deep Dish Pizzas Made: 3
Nights Camped in the Amazon: 1
The past couple weeks we wrapped up our time in Ecuador. By all accounts one of the most scenic and ecologically diverse countries we've visited. From our two-mile-high campsite in the shadow of Volcan Cotopaxi, we head through the Ecuadorian Altiplano and into the Amazon jungle for a brief (and wet) one-night stay.
From the jungle we head back into the high plains, cross the Andes and arrive in the Peruvian desert, pictured above. Our stay in Ecuador was short, just shy of three weeks, and the huge variety of landscapes, climates and people we met made the time fly by.
This article is part of our Internet and Phone Report series.
General availability: High
Quality of bandwidth: Medium
Frequency of internet in campgrounds: Medium
Frequency of internet in hotels: Medium-High
We spent three weeks in Ecuador, mostly in the highlands. We covered a good bit of the country except for the coast. From Otavalo we went south through Quito to the Quilotoa loop and then west to Baños. From there we headed further south to Macas near the Amazon basin. Then we looped back through Sangay National Park to Cuenca before heading to Loja and across the border to Peru.
Like Colombia, internet availability is excellent. Every hostel we stayed in had internet and only one hotel in a small town did not. Internet cafes are so prevalent you’ll get sick of them, but be careful because not all cafes have wifi. One even refused to let us unhook the ethernet cables to use our own laptops. In big towns you’ll be able to plug in a wifi extender and find an open network. But it’s not likely you’ll need to do that, every hostel around offers free wifi.
Start: July 29, 2012, Las Lajas, Colombia
Finish: August 9, 2012, Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador
Fish Caught at 12,000 Feet: 0
Llamas Ridden: 1
Meals Made With Dutch Oven: 6
Hemispheres Driven In: 2!
The past week we wrapped up our time in beautiful Colombia and headed south to the mountains of Ecuador. In the process we visited a very unique church, crossed our first South American border, went fishing at 12,000 feet and camped below one spectacular volcano.
It's tough to leave Colombia, a country that quickly found its way to the top of our list of places to return to. But we're excited about Ecuador. From the Andes to the Amazon, it looks to be a very diverse country with plenty of great campsites and wilderness to enjoy. Bring it on!
This article is part of our Border Crossing Report series.
Border name: Rumichaca
Closest major cities: Ipiales, Colombia and Tulcan, Ecuador
Cost for Visas: $0
Cost for vehicle: $0
Total time: 3 hours
Date crossed: Friday August 3, 2012