Ecuador - Do We Dare?

Old Jan 18th, 1998, 01:51 AM
  #1  
Matt Campbell
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Ecuador - Do We Dare?

My wife and I are contemplating a trip to Ecuador next November for three weeks to Quito, Cuenca, and some beach resorts. We are concerned that we might be getting in over our heads by traveling independently rather than taking a guided tour. We much prefer traveling independently. We have traveled extensively in Europe and Mexico; our most "adventurous" trip so far has been to Turkey. Is Ecuador safe as long as you use common sense? Will getting around be a hassle without pre-planning the specifics? We don't speak much Spanish. Is there a country in South American that might be better for our first time?
 
Old Jan 18th, 1998, 08:26 AM
  #2  
RobertQuirk
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Look at the alternatives Colombia - no, Venezuela - maybe, Peru - not really, Bolivia well ... from a first timer's view Ecuador is the best of the bunch.
Ecuador gets a lot of revenue from tourism and it has a large number of indigenous english speakers - compared to the others. Travelling by bus is fine. Going independent is fine. In Quito there are good budget lodgings - like hospedaje variety at Rios y Chamba between old and new Quito. Ask other travellers for advice and keep sensible. Quito is on a par with Mexico City znd all the advice on various no-go places hold the old Quito is more dangerous than the New Quito etc. etc. Use common sense. Oh by the way be on your guard but I found
Ecuador people fairly honest. If there is doubt about carrying your passport or a photocopy - carry your passport!
 
Old Feb 17th, 1998, 08:20 AM
  #3  
P. Cushman
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Ecuador is a beautiful place. We traveled there with Ladatco Tours (www.ladatco.com) which provided us airfare, transfers to and from the hotel, a beautiful hotel suite, tours, and an overnight train trip from Quito to Riobamba with return for next to nothing several years ago. Ladatco has helped us plan several South American trips and can do as much or as little as you need. Ladatco President Michelle Shelburne has provided us excellent advice on what to do and not to consider in Latin America.

In many South American countries where there is poverty pickpockets and worse are on the streets. Do not look like a tourist, carry minimal cash where it can be reached, and try to use a small camera that does not advertise your visiting status. We walked all over the city without incident. Our trip to Ecuador was in November and the weather was wonderful with temps in the low 70's during the day in Quito and in the low 60's at night. We had one or two brief daytime showers.
 
Old Feb 21st, 1998, 03:08 PM
  #4  
Dave
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Quito and Guayaquil are not much more dangerous than any big American city. With reasonable care you should be alright.
 
Old Feb 22nd, 1998, 06:19 PM
  #5  
chris
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I found Quito very cosmopolitan and too much like any American city, many people speak English, just follow big-city etiquette. Drove a private vehicle to the mountains -- everyone was very friendly and I never felt threatened. I walked all over Quaquil and found it to be a normal big city. Went to Salinas, and again, the people were very friendly and never had a problem. Equador would be a first choice for traveling in South America if I were worried about my lack of speaking spanish or finding any trouble. It was a little to cosmopolitan for my taste.
 
Old Feb 23rd, 1998, 06:40 PM
  #6  
jryan
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My husband and I went to Ecuador two summers ago and for the most part, planned it on our own. Picked some brain, read guide books, and finally contacted a local tourist agency. We stayed at Hostal Los Alpes in Quito--very small and family run. Little restaurant and gift shop. They will let you store your things when you move on and come back. We went to Calderon, where they make the bread dough figures, and bought scads of small Christmas items to give with our cards. We weent to Cotacachi (leather goods that you could buy enough for an extra suitcase)--stayed at Hosteria La Mirage (think you were in heaven!) go to Ibarra and see the beautiful woodwork--would have loved to shipped a few items home. And of course, the highlight, if you can pick one out is the Otavalo Market. Sweaters that are beautiful and well worth bringing back. We stayed at a working Hacienda Cusin which was very interesting. Right across from a hugh rose plantation. Be sure and check out the equator line--being a teacher, I love that sort of thing.
We then went to the Galapagos for a week. Upon returning from there, we headed 'south'. Stayed at
Hacienda La Cienaga right by Mt. Cotopaxi--it is a former colonial estate and wonderful. Forget Ambato for it is supposed to have a great market--seedy and supposed to be the 'city of flowers'--didn't see one. We did however, go to Banos and stayed a Luna
Rutun--a charming town and place. Loved it! On to Cuenca--beautiful churches, flowers, art work. Put it on your list. Ate at a restaurant that you had to put the menu up to the candlelight in order to read it. Great! I do wish we could have taken the train from Riobamba but it did not work out because of time constraints. We know a couple who did this and recommended it. We were fortunate to have connections in Lasso and so went to a farm high in the hills. We told the couple about the train and they looked at us with astonishment--wondering why we would want to do such a thing. All in all, we were in Ecuador three weeks and could have stayed one or two weeks longer. If you go, I can unearth some of the other special things that we did, and we would endorse. Language wasn't much of a problem. I just had my little dictionary handy and that with some body language seemed to work. A wonderful memorable trip. Friendly people--just pack with lots of extra room for take home things. I wish I would have purchased more! E-mail if you have any questions
 
Old Mar 7th, 1998, 01:02 AM
  #7  
s.montana
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I have been to colombia for extended periods of time
and never had any problems.I have been to Ecuador
once and at times felt uncomfortable but nothing
happened to me. I would be a little reluctant to bring my wife, why, I dont know i just have that feeling that It could possibly be dangerous for a man and woman traveling alone. It is very dirty in some places and the poverty in some area is unimaginable. On the other hand it is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen. You survived mexico and Turkey so you have some idea of the dangers of the third world. good luck on your trip and your spanish.
adios
 
Old Mar 14th, 1998, 08:18 PM
  #8  
Mike & Sandy Greenberg
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We spent about one month in Ecuador last fall and enjoyed it very much. We would highly recommend contacting the South American Explorers Club through the internet. They have a lot of information on the County including personal trip reports on many of the areas frequently and infrequently visited. We traveled independently renting our own vehicle and found the Country to be very friendly and safe (and we are not fluent in Spanish). Hope this helps!
 
Old Mar 17th, 1998, 06:55 PM
  #9  
Julie
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I have been doing some investigating on this topic, because my 16 year old daughter is going to Ecuador for a month with a group this summer. I was disturbed to learn that a University of New Mexico group was assaulted on a highway at night and the wife of the faculty leader was killed by random bullets. This was last May, but it appears that it was just an act of random banditry, not organized political violence or anything. It was also apparently near a beach, I'm not exactly sure where. I am affiliated with a Big Ten university that has several study abroad programs in Ecuador. I have asked for their recommendations on how to minimize risks and the first two things they said were -- don't travel at night, and stay away from both borders (north and south). If you stay in the central highlands, the risks should be minimal, and certainly less than in some of the US' crime infested cities. I take some solace in the fact that the university continues to send large numbers of students there. We decided to let my daughter go on this trip, but I have to admit I'll be worried!
 
Old May 14th, 1998, 01:44 AM
  #10  
anders westman
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For my money I'd head to Chile in a heartbeat. Modern, safe and beautiful. Particularly for first time visitors to SA. Pass on Columbia, Peru and Equador - head to Chile and perhaps Argentina. No worries about crime, health (water and food)or political unrest. I've travelled the world, and Chile is a place I'd honestly consider living. Check it out.
 
Old May 14th, 1998, 05:00 PM
  #11  
brian
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I lived in Quito and Cuenca, Ecuador for about a year and a half and I have to laugh at some of the concerns expressed. Ecuador is an extremely safe country, the only major crime to tourists is jacked up prices and pickpickets (Walt Disney world). Of course, one must use common sense when travelling, but I nor my some 20 friends I made (mostly female) ever encountered problems. As far as the bus attack that occurred last year, a group of students with their professor left the Guayaquil bus station in the middle of the night going towards the western coast. They were robbed and a stray bullet killed someone. In Florida, we (Americans-since we're stereotyping) managed to kill over 5 German tourists on, I believe, 3 seperate incidents. In all sincerity, use common sense, blend in, and enjoy one of the most beautiful countries on earth.
 
Old May 17th, 1998, 08:14 PM
  #12  
nancy
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I live in Colombia and have traveled in all the northern South American countries. Ecuador is the safest and easiest by far for a non-Spanish speaker. You can almost always find someone who speak English nearby. I have travelled in groups and alone all over Ecuador and have never had any trouble. Just be as aware as you would be in any other place and you will be fine. You don't need too many reservations as they are easy to make when you get ther. Don't miss this beautiful country. As for Peru it is also a don't miss country. Colombia is one of the most beautiful but due to poltical troubles only the most adventurous people venture here. But don't miss Ecuador. Quito is safer than Mexico, DF.
 
Old May 17th, 1998, 08:15 PM
  #13  
nancy
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I live in Colombia and have traveled in all the northern South American countries. Ecuador is the safest and easiest by far for a non-Spanish speaker. You can almost always find someone who speak English nearby. I have travelled in groups and alone all over Ecuador and have never had any trouble. Just be as aware as you would be in any other place and you will be fine. You don't need too many reservations as they are easy to make when you get ther. Don't miss this beautiful country. As for Peru it is also a don't miss country. Colombia is one of the most beautiful but due to poltical troubles only the most adventurous people venture here. But don't miss Ecuador. Quito is safer than Mexico, DF.
 
Old May 19th, 1998, 11:15 AM
  #14  
Joe Williams
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I agree with most of the people that have posted messages proclaiming Ecuador to be safe. There is however a very dark side which my family has had to endure now for almost two years. There is a terrible lack of a justice system in case you happen to be supected of or accused of a crime. My brother has been doing business in Ecuador for almost 12 years. But this all changed when (with no evidence) he was accused of doing business with a drug trafficker. You ask what about the Embassy HA!! Useless, inept, bumbling beaureacrats just putting in time. I don't think that the prospects of this happening to you are very high but I feel you should be warned nonetheless. Check my website http://www.FreeJim.com.
 
Old Jul 2nd, 1999, 11:04 AM
  #15  
Owen Stevens
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Dear Matt,
I did the same thing myself six years ago, and I am still here, no I didnīt get that badly lost. For what itīs worth here is my suggestion on the best way to get the most out of your holiday. Book the first hotel and then decide from there. I would highly recommend Cafe Cultura in Quito. Staff speak good english and can help you plan any trips you might wish to make during your stay. Also check out www.incahacienda.com One hour twenty minutes drive from Quito.
Hope you enjoy your trip.
 

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