Ecuador was made for the adventure traveler; the surfer, hiker, mountain climber / biker, the naturist and white water rafter. The comfortable tourist trail has been laid with very reasonable prices until you hit the Galapagos. You should take a visit if you want to do a lot of outdoor activities in a relatively compact area.
Ecuadorian girls look very indigenous with straight black hair, high cheekbones, thin eyebrows, and small eyes. Their bodies were not blessed with curves, but every city, no matter how small, has at least a few natural beauties. Regardless, this is not a country you should be coming for the girls, as most of them look like pictures of Native Americans in your high school history textbook. In smaller cities, the white man is looked on with an extra dose of curiosity, and his gringo status will attract an occasional prostitute working pseudo-undercover.
Basic set lunch: $1.50
Bottle of big beer: $1.50
Internet per hour: $1.00
Hostel dorm bed per night: $7.00
Nice steak dinner: $7.00
Short taxi ride: $1.50
Postcard stamp: $0.80
Ecuador’s two largest cities, Quito and Guayaquil, suffer from pick pockets and muggings. In fact, most people I met has a robbery or attempted robbery story coming out of Quito. Medium sized towns are mostly safe.
If you're only going to visit only Ecuador then I recommend you get this guide, which is far more detailed than the continental guide above, with options that cater to a range of budgets instead of only the shoestring backpacking crowd. Also it gives more respectable treatment to small cities and towns that the larger guide breezes over with a paragraph or two.
South America On A Shoestring Guidebook
This is the guidebook that I used in my six month trip in South America. The maps are excellent, the information is complete and thorough, and the reviews are accurate, which is why it's often called "the bible" by many travelers. The only problem is that everyone else has this book so if you are the type of person that wants to hit the isolated small towns you will be disappointed. My advice is to use this book for its maps and information on getting from city to city, but talk to the locals and other travelers for those isolated gems that Lonely Planet for some reason didn't find worthy to include.
Spanish For Beginners
My copy of this book is so beat up and weathered it's disintegrating before my eyes. I took it with me to South America because I loved how it was organized in a logical way that kept me motivated to keep studying. Lessons start short and easy and increase in complexity as you tackle frustrating readings that help take you to the next level. The only downside of this book is that it was originally published in 1957 so some of the vocabulary is very dated. Still, you'll be hard-pressed to find a modern equivalent of this book whose teachings approach the same quality. Last time I checked you can grab a used copy from Amazon for less than a dollar.
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