WanderingTrader

Why I Won’t Be Visiting Ecuador Again Anytime Soon

This probably isn’t a fair assessment.

Especially because how I felt about Quito.

And the fact that I only spent a total of 4 days on mainland Ecuador.

But the fact of the matter is that there isn’t anything overly special in Ecuador (besides Galapagos) that can’t find anywhere else in Latin America.  Many will disagree with this and say that there are tons of things to do in Ecuador that are amazing.

To a certain extent that is true.

Quito Ecuador

The main cathedral in Quito called Basílica del Voto Nacional

But there isn’t anything outside of Galapagos that can’t be done in Colombia, Peru, or even Bolivia.  I found the people of the country to be very kind and gracious (as most Latin’s are), but after living in Medellin and visiting countries like Brazil the place where I would rather be is clear; It isn’t Ecuador.

The country has improved so much in the last decade but it is nothing compared to where Peru and Colombia are heading. Both in economic terms and also things to see and experience.

I had a very bad first impression of Quito. I had a very uneasy feeling about the city and ended up understanding that it is indeed not safe after everyone tried to tell me it was.  Quito feels like it just finished a very bad relationship with the United States.

It’s currently experiencing the hangover.

Again, this is probably a very unfair assessment as I have only been to Quito.  I say many things that a lot of people get offended by here on WanderingTrader but the fact of the matter is, they are true.  Stereotypes exist for a reason.

Marcello Arrambide in Quito Ecuador

Marcello Arrambide in Quito Ecuador

Because the country has had such hard economic times (they don’t even use their own currency instead they use US Dollars) corporate America has come in and ransacked the country.  The United States has had a significant impact and influence on the world after being the dominant world power for decades.  It is magnified in Ecuador.

We can see McDonald’s in almost every country in the world.  Coca Cola anyone? American cars, which ironically in China, Buick’s are a sign of luxury, are all over the place.

My grandmother thinks Buicks are great. Everyone else? Not so much.

US corporations have completely taken over and I have never seen so many English signs and companies in any other Latin American countries.  One of the most beautiful places to see the Amazon is in Ecuador and Peru.  Just so happens that Ecuador’s Parliament has approved an oil drilling project. That won’t be destroyed anytime soon. Nope, not at all.

Sea Lion at Galapagos Islands

Sitting next to a sea lion at Galapagos Islands

I can’t describe the numerous and dire warnings I received about the coastal city of Guayaquil. If you are planning on visiting the Galapagos make sure to stop over in Quito and not Guayaquil.

Guayaquil is easily one of the most dangerous cities in South America.

In conclusion, it isn’t that Ecuador is a bad place to visit, there are just other places that are better.  Both to retire in and invest. The only place that is unique is the Galapagos Islands, but outside of that there other places I’d rather be.

231 Comments

  1. You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. Quito alone has won ALL international tourism awards there are. Last year alone 6, more than Galápagos has in total. This for a very good reason. But you clearly can’t see this in just 4 days. And to give you just an example of how wrong you are: Brasil, Venezuela, Perú and Colombia (to name some) have all cities in The top 100 of the most dangerous cities in the world. Ecuador has none. Not only corporate USA, but many international enterprises have their HQ here. Even the UN and UNASUR have their HQ here. Why do you think that is? So get your facts straight next time 😉

    1. I saw that also Tavi and thought about that as I was traveling through Quito. In regards to your question about the most dangerous cities I think those lists are botched because they put cities of Medellin ahead of places like cities in Pakistan, Syria, AND even Venezuela. I don’t agree with many of those lists for that reason. There are dangerous parts of any city around the world but that doesn’t make a city dangerous to visit. There are tons of cities in the United States that I would consider more dangerous than in cities like Brazil and Colombia. Those lists are based on homicides and compare it to the population of a city. There may not be drug violence and killings but I tell you what.. I would have more chances of getting mugged and robbed in Quito than in Medellin, Colombia. But just because I go to Medellin, Colombia, it doesn’t mean I’m going to get into a gang gunfight. That is very far away from where people would go.

      That is all relative.

      1. Tavi is right, you can’t talk about Ecuador if you were just 4 days there. Quito and Guayaquil are not the entire country! Usually tourists stick to a tourist guide that will help them with the danger in the country. You can’t find such diversity in other countries, and everything is soo close for these activities. The best thing you can do now is deleting this article that hurts the tourism in Ecuador, and write another after being more time in Ecuador. If you think Ecuador is completely influenced by United States, you are also wrong. The music, arts, arquitecture, languagues, culture, are unique and are never going to be changed. AND TO EVERYONE WHO READS THIS: ECUADOR IS AMAZING!! VISIT ECUADOR AND YOU WILL LOVE IT!

        1. Frankly Giovani… many people that have visited Ecuador have given me the same feedback. You do have a point about only being there four days but I am not going back to Ecuador to find out. I would rather visit other countries that have the same attractions (except Galapagos). I never said that Ecuador didn’t have its own culture. I mentioned that they are heavily influenced by the states which is very true. I do not however think that the culture in Ecuador is completely unique because you can find relatively the same things in other countries in Latin America. Would only recommend people staying a few days in mainland Ecuador there are better things to see in other countries in Latin America.

          1. Better things to see in other Latin America countries. True, every country has the best of something. . . The Historic Center of Quito is the most original and best preserved historic center of its kind in Latin America. So if you like history, Colonial architecture, and “Old Towns”, Quito is not beat by any other Latin American country. It is #1 for the best Old Town in all of Latin America. That is not my opinion, that is a generally accepted fact. Quito was the 1st UNESCO World Heritage City, site, EVER! The history there is amazing. It cannot be beat in any Latin American country.

            So do you have something against histroy, colonial archiecture, Old Towns, unburnished culture? You must, for failing to recognize this fact. I think there are something like 40+ ancient churches in this Barrio, Quito Antiquo. They are some of the most splendid churches, cathedrals, basilicas in all of the Americas. No where in the USA are there churches like those found on almost every block of Quito Antiquo. It was something amazing to see! You cannot get that anywhere else! I have been to Casco Viejo/ Panama Antiquo in Panama, and it is pretty special…. but compared to Quito Antiquo, it is tiny…. and the preservation of Quito is remarkable, Panama doesnt compare… (Casco Viejo is also considered one of the best “Old Towns” in Latin America, but it doesnt compare to Quito Antiguo)…. You really missed something there bud.

          2. You sound quite ignorant by saying other countries are relatively the same. You are lacking a sense of nuance. Just within Ecuador, there’s a huge cultural divide between the coast and the Andes. Each region has different traditions and we have 14 distinctive indigenous groups with their own native languages. The differences between countries are even more pronounced. We speak differently, we have different cuisines, our geological landscapes are different, and our types of biomes are different. You failing to recognize all of that is frankly disrespectful. It’d be like saying that California and NY have the same culture. Or saying that the US and Canada are the same. One of the most rewarding things about traveling is recognizing and learning about the subtle differences between cultures and landscapes.

          3. I’d be curious to know how many countries you have traveled to and how much experience you have in the latter. While I by no means am trying to throw that in anyone’s face… I would remind you that I have over 8 years experience not just traveling but living in most of these countries and visiting them repeatedly. Add to this the fact that these opinions are not based on just my personal experience in the short time I was in Quito but the experience of locals that have grown up in the city and also foreigners that have been living there for more than 6 months. You may think it is ignorant due to your passion for the country and the people but I would say it is far from ignorant based on the fact that there are some people here that agree with me. Most people just want to say everything is wonderful about travel and that is sadly not the case. Thanks for the comment Juan. For the record… many countries have very similar cuisines, landscapes, etc.

        2. I know for a fact that Quito is not a place to live or go for a summer vacations. I lived there for many years and it was a nightmare. Is like any other city in south America sadly I have family there and I have to go once in a while. Cumbaya is OK

        3. I have been living in Quito for three years so far and I totally agree with the article. Ecuador is in the top touristic lists for to the fact it has Galapagos, there is nothing really unique about this country besides the islands.

      2. Tavi…… although the critic its a bit harsh to the country….. you must admit conpanies do not choose Ecuador for their HQ or the UN because they Un headquarters are in Chile…. and the companies usually pick Chile and Brazil for a reason. And he admits hes opinion its only based in his visit to Quito. I had exactly the same impression just visiting montanitas and guayaquil for a week.

        1. I wasn’t comparing but since your being so friendly you should read the article one more time so that you can see exactly what I was discussing.

          1. Hi Marcelo, you have me very concerned now. I am going to Guayaquil for 5 days before going to Peru. What should I do there to enjoy it!

          2. I live in the states and I have traveled just about around the world. As far as your comment regarding US companies in Ecuador, I don’t get your point. They are in Medellin too. The provide jobs to people who need it. As far as Ecuador, there’s variety. If you didn’t get a chance to visit Cuenca or travelled to the coastal towns eat some fresh seafood, then I would recommend the new visitor to start there. The culture is beautiful and the people are open. I was invited to stay with a family when I first visited and each time I come back I’m always welcomed. I have traveled to Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Guatemala. They are all unique and special in different ways. What I like about Ecuador is that you have a choice as far as the climate is concern. By US standards it’s reasonably inexpensive. For instance, a seafood diner in Ecuador you’ll pay about $10, and you will not be finish. The food is also amazing. That quality of food would be hard to find in the states, and if you find it you’ll pay about $75 or more. Red Lobster doesn’t compare. I wouldn’t discourage people from visiting Ecuador. For me, however, Quito is too cold and too crowded. Guayaquil can be challenging and you’ll want to know where you’re going.

      3. You feel good about Colombia since your country of origin Venezuela (that is a real disaster, kaos and unsafe) is a mess. I guess you’re probably not planning to visit Venezuela either? Ecuador is beautiful all the way with many things to offer (big cities is not the entire country).

        1. I was born there but I wouldn’t classify myself as Venezuelan since I grew up in the United States. I have been to Venezuela. I still consider Colombia (specifically Medellin) to be one of the best cities to live in Latin America.

          1. You don’t like US companies in Ecuador but they are in Colombia. I’m not sure if they are any in Venezuela. If not, you can see the results.

      4. Hey ,
        I just saw your post and I can’t totally understand it .
        You see, most ecuadoreans ( that haven’t travel outside Ecuador ) are brain washed and think Ecuador is unique and the only country with diversity . Ecuador does have beautiful landscapes but sadly they don’t invest in tourism, at least not the way they should. Quito now it’s really dangerous, Guayaquil is crazy dangerous… The thing is that here the police or government doesn’t open cases or tell how many foreign girls are murdered every year. This is crazy, and the sad thing is that no one knows ( at list the masses) about this. Ecuador has a lot of propaganda . Look don’t take me wrong, I’m Ecuadorean and I love my country but this place is turning into Venezuela. I’m not entirely Ecuadorean, and I can tell that I have experience here daily; racism, classism, and treating with hypocrisy .
        Some people here are mentioning that downtown Quito is worth visiting because it have won some prizes. Yes, that’s true but do foreigners know that downtown Quito is incredible dangerous and dirty ? That locals there are famous for robbing with the complicity of their family ? Let me tell you something, I can totally agree with you on everything … Ecuador is beautiful , but the people here are just mean. I don’t know about you but I’ve been in Colombia, Brazil , Europe and even the US , everyone is friendly or polite . I’ve been on dangerous places because I was aware that those places were “dangerous”, but what about living in a country and city that are dangerous but the government here is so corrupt they try to make it look like it isn’t ? I don’t know if I’m making my self clear but I just spoke my heart out. Everyone here in the comments are so butthurt to hear the truth . Maybe sometime you can visit I Ecuador but just be aware that it is dangerous, that Ecuador is a country that most of its population it’s poor ( it doesn’t have much to offer unless you go to the main cities) . If I mention it is poor is to state that therefor it is more dangerous. You can have a good time here but you need to know which places are really worth going, with who you’re going and that the place you’ll go is worth the price . I know every country has its ups and downs, and everyone is free to have an opinion based on their experience . I hope someday you’ll have a chance to have a better experience if you ever come back . Ignore the hate comments 😉

        1. Son malcriados y unos falta de respeto . En especial cuando bloquean las calles para jugar pelota y/o hacer sus fiestas/borracheras/bulla — no tienen el mas minimo respeto para sus vecinos. Yo vivi en Guayaquil y debido a eso fue un NIGHTMARE!!

          1. Thank you Zeus…. more comments to go for the fact that Ecuador isn’t a fantastic perfect paradise as most people want to try and mention in this post.

      5. Ecuadorians yearn to be more and more something other than Ecuadorians. Most prefer Reggaeton, Pop music, Salsa and love western fashion, pizza n hamburgers,etc. etc. etc. With the exception of what they call ”Indigenas” ,but more n more of them are now opting for western attire/culture too. In Ecuador they even celebrate Halloween and Black Friday!! American/U.S. culture has a very , very big influence in Ecuador. Correa’s government has invested a lot to try and lift and expose Ecuadorian culture for Ecuadorians, but he himself is planning to retire in Belgium (he also replaced the Ecuadorian chef at Carondelet with a Belgium chef) and those in his government prefer to jet-set in Europe/U.S.A.

        1. Zeus, you Black Friday and Halloween to come down on the U.S. I agree those are ridiculous events but the US is more than that. Although, the U.S. is not perfect, and by the way hamburgers and pizza are eaten all over the world, there’s a good amount of law and order. I’m not sure that Belgium is any better in that respect. The good thing about Ecuador is if you want to dress like “indígenas” no one will question you, which by the way might be a good idea since my understanding is that they are protected.

          1. I think that people have opinions and should be allowed to express them
            One thing though–no place is perfect. I am from Canada and I would suggest that a person go to Toronto and then assess the uh live in situation there,
            From my point of view here in Ecuador anything is better than facing down dark clothed masked people. Amen,

      6. Marcelo, I have traveled to Europe, Asia (Japan, China, Filipinas), Africa, Iran, Pakistan, North, Central and South America. I have found pockets of bad elements almost everywhere. In Africa, some guys with fake police I.D. Robbed me a 3 other guys. However, just because I had that bad experience wouldn’t prevent me from going back. In the Philippines a guy ran into me at the mall and said that he was the security guard at the hotel where I was staying. Later I discovered that he was a con artist. Needless to say, I love the Philippines. In Hong Kong, while at a bar, an Australian friend was charged $150 for 2 beers. They showed us the price of the beer in Chinese. Oh well! I’ll return to Hong Kong. In Ecuador, the cab driver wanted to commit suicide. After that incident I returned to Ecuador. Some people take advantage if you’re too friendly. I said that to say this: Be a smart traveler and don’t go out at night unless you’re with a group; dress like the locals; don’t take valuables with you; leave the camera back at the hotel unless you’re on a guided tour or with a group.
        Bad things can happen just about anywhere, but if you’re going to worry about that you’ll never be able to explore. I’m 60 and I’ve been traveling around the world since I was 18 years old. Have fun. There are many good people in Ecuador and more beautiful places outside of Quito.

    2. Ecuadorians are shits and they talk very loud. I met Ecuadorians in South Korea and they were obnoxious and think highly of themselves. They have no respect for others regarding that they are in a foreign country.

          1. That’s exactly what you are. An ignorant that assume things about places that you know nothing about. Just because some ignorant people like yourself told you something about it.

          2. Your right after conferring with locals that have grown up in Quito, live there all there lives, and foreigners that have been living there for months. It is hard to accept the truth sometimes Fernando. Over time you will begin to learn to respectfully understand others opinions instead of insulting people. It is one thing to have an adult conversation and confer ideas but it is quite another thing to blatantly insult someone just because you don’t agree with something. Best of luck to you my friend.

          3. So Paul you must mean that the locals that I discussed this with are ignorant.. they surely would have more expertise than any traveler. My personal friends that LIVED IN QUITO for more than 4 months would be ignorant as well? I think not.

        1. I am a Trump supporter and it is about time the phony Kenyan is gone. it will take a cleaning crew a week to clean the White house. So long snow flakes!!!!

      1. Wow! You met a couple of Ecuadoreans once and think the 15 million people who were born there are the same. You sound so reasonable

          1. This was directed to Joe Black. But still, 20 individuals is a TINY sample size for a country with 15 million people. You cannot draw any valid conclusion from that.

          2. Actually I can Juan because I myself felt that feeling and my instincts are normally correct. Do keep in mind that I speak to every taxi driver I take and every person I interact with. Won’t be replying any more to your comments.

      2. It’s true!! I lived in Ecuador and they have no respect for others. They are loud , rowdy and obnoxious drunkards. Where I live they would block off the street with no authority whatsoever to play soccer right in front of your door step and not give a hoot if they repeatedly kicked or hit your front door and roof with the ball. When they had a celebration , they would also block the street and detour traffic just so they may party and blast their music at full volume til the break of dawn with absolute disregard for their neighbors!! Ecuadorians are terrible.

    3. People from Quito, or should I say Ecuador as a whole, are horrible. There is nothing to do in this country except to be eaten by the sun. This country does not belong in Latin America. People are so nasty and completely closed off to doing anything differently than what they know. Come to the land where the customer is always wrong. Welcome!

    4. I spent 2 months in Ecuador as a lone 20 year old female on my first solo trip. I fell completely in love! Of course you don’t have to like every country you visit but denouncing an entire country to who knows how large an audience is very rash. The reasons you seem to dislike ecuador for are also a bit silly. I’d recommend it to anyone and I can’t wait to go back.

    5. You’re a true idiot, Ecuador is by far more diverse than any if those other countries you mentioned, next time you have verbal diarrea, first check statistics

      1. Yes, to the first person, you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about, American’s are giving up everything in the U.S, (after research AND visitations) to come retire in Ecuador, you’re wet bro

      2. Definitely not as diverse as Colombia…. or Brazil for that matter. Simply look at the size of the countries. Feel free to leave the statistics here because I actually did research. Do remind yourself that I mentioned excluding Galapagos and the Amazon. Will look forward to your results.

        1. Conservation International identified 17 megadiverse countries and Ecuador is the smallest of them.
          Megadiversity is associated with the size of the country, that’s plain obvious. It’s absurd and ridiculous to compare it with brazil 283.560 sq km vs 8.516.000 sq km!!! Brazil is more than 30 times bigger!
          The difference is that to visit every touristic place in brazil you’ll have to spend a fortune in plane tickets. In Ecuador distances are very short and buses are incredibly cheap.
          Besides, Ecuador is in almost every list of the best places for birdwatching in the world…

          1. Take out Galapagos Islands and Ecuador won’t be that high. The same plants and animals found in the Ecuadorean Amazon can be found in the Peruvian and Colombian Amazon. Great infrastructure in Ecuador but it isn’t the safest place to be.

        2. Hey, Ecuador is really beautiful! Ride along the road from Ingapirca ruins to Cuenca or from Lake Quilotoa to Banos ( you can see Tungurahua Volcano) or get around Chimborazo Volcano……….the view is mind blowing!

    6. I have been travelling to Quito for 30 years , Other than family here I never see a reason to return. Prices are more expensive than in the US. The buses are cheap but dangerous, the people are no more friendly than in the US. They have made progress in some areas like you can buy a soda without drinking it on the promises and returning the bottle. I do not see any reason fro anyone to retire here unless there very desperate.

  2. Hi Marcello. I recently started reading your blog because of Victoria from Bridges and Balloons who I met in Berlin last week.

    My partner and I spent 10 months travelling in South America last year and almost two months of it in Ecuador, which we really enjoyed. I’m surprised you found Guayaquil to be a very dangerous place – when we were there in October 2013, we felt perfectly safe and didn’t see any sign of danger at all (at least compared to a city like London, where we’re from).

    All that said, we didn’t get a chance to visit Colombia, and I’m sure we’d like it even more than Ecuador: next time, right?!

  3. I spent a long weekend in Guayaquil, and it’s the only city in Latin America where I was driving around at night in a black SUV… their version of private taxis that cost a few dollars extra, but ensure you aren’t an easy target in the regular taxis. It only costs a few dollars extra so it’s worth it, but there’s so little to do there, I don’t recommend people spend a day (or night) longer than necessary (usually en route or coming back from the Galapagos).

      1. I am currently living in Quito, a transplant from the United States. I have met a lot of local ex-pats and I know firsthand that Guayaquil is a very dangerous city. I don’t plan on visiting. My friend’s friend got out of the taxi in Guayaquil, after just flying in, and after she paid the cab driver, he took off with ALL of her luggage. Luckily she had her purse and passport on her, that is all.
        I do enjoy living in Quito but almost all of my new ex-pat friends have been pick-pocketed.

        1. Why Quito, I am looking for reasons to be here other than family. Once in a while I’m home sick for pizza , I wind up paying the same price or a lot more than in the the US. The streets are dirty , the people are not friendly, And the grocery store prices are higher than in the US. If you are a vegitarian I guess you could use the open market. What about getting run over in a crosswalk, they always use there seatbelts ,but ther doing you a favor not running you down in the crosswalk. I’m counting the days to go back home.

    1. Those yellow cabs, or any random cab could be very dangerous. anyway, I’m from Guayaquil but now live in Peru, and besides the Malecon 2000/las peñas, walking around 9 de octubre or visiting a mall, there isn’t much to do there. It’s also become very , very expensive to live there as of 2015.

  4. Reading this is like amateur hour. The fact you could talk about the extent of the danger on a visit of just 4 days, even though nothing happened to you. What makes it so eerie and dangerous?

    And what happened to you in Guayaquil? Did you visit? Why is it so dangerous. What was your experience…oh right, you didn’t visit Guayaquil. Millions of people visit the city every year, it’s no different then a Lima, Rio, Buenos Aires, Bogota…it’s a big city.

    Your comments about the Amazon in Ecuador having oil drilling projects. Wow you think this only happens in Ecuador? You don’t think there is oil drilling in Peru, Brazil, Colombian parts of the Amazon?

    Corporate America has not come and ransacked this city, if anything, it is more untouched then most Latin American countries (outside of Venezuela and Bolivia). Have you been to Cusco where in the main plaza you have KFC, Starbucks and Mcdonalds? If anything, Ecuador lacks foreign investment because of their ridiculous bureaucratic laws. Look at Brazil, Peru, Chile, Colombia and you will see a huge difference in foreign investment compared to what you see in Ecuador.

    The idea that you would even write this article, which barely has a single fact to back up these comments is remarkable.

    Great opinion piece.

    1. I never had a good feeling about the city of Quito and usually my instincts are correct. On top of that I was with many people that lived in the city for quite some time. There were stories of thefts in head locks, people putting their phones in their socks so they wouldn’t get it stolen, and even Ecuadorians that I was with were robbed while I was there. The fact that there are about 50% fake taxis in the city explains a lot as well. This was confirmed by roughly 5 taxi drivers. The fact that an Ecuadorian had to order a custom protective taxi at the end of the night after going out (instead of ordering a regular taxi from the street) speak volumes because that is coming from a local and not from a lonely planet book.

      Guayaquil could be that I haven’t been there but every person I have spoke to, that were locals, advised that it was not a place that neither they wanted to be or that tourists should go. I agree that I haven’t been there so I can’t compare it to other cities (although Bogota and Buenos Aires are pretty bad). Every time I asked a driver about the city of Quito they would always say “it isn’t as bad as Guayaquil”. There was first hand experience with people I spoke to when I went to Galapagos that specifically told me about how they felt in the city. Some of the people that worked on the cruise were from Guayaquil and they stated the same thing. One or two people I understand but if EVERY person I spoke to says that about the city? Its one thing if something doesn’t happen to you (Normally I don’t have any issues when I travel) but that doesn’t make a city safe. There was one story from one taxi driver where he said that people from Guayaquil want him to close the windows and lock the doors because in Guayaquil they will enter the taxi with a gun to rob you. All of this can’t be a city that is great to visit. The city is dangerous and people need to know that.

      Agree with your comments on the oil drilling. I hope it doesn’t damage the Amazon as that would be a tragedy but based on there history and the comments of the recent parliament I wouldn’t be surprised. At least there is still the Amazon in Peru as well. Hopefully they are responsible and don’t damage it however.

      In regards to foreign investment that is correct but that is relative when Ecuador is such a smaller country compared to the others. It would be more of a comparison if we compared the foreign investment amount based on population or land area. Brazil shouldn’t be considered as their country is being transformed due to the World Cup and Olympics investment. I don’t consider a country ransacked just because they have a plaza with American companies. Every main plaza in Latin America (and around the world) seems to have a McDonald’s and other American restaurants. Because of their lack of consistency in economy and in their government it only makes sense why almost everything is in English for example. Peru is similar using dollars since they went through their economic turmoil recently but I didn’t have the same vibe in Peru.

      I’ve written and talked about some controversial things in the past an for the most part they have been true. I started clearly in the article that it may be early for me to base that assessment but I don’t think I’m completely wrong. I am not just guessing this stuff based on my four day experience in Quito. I’ve talked to locals in depth, met with people that have been living in the country that are foreigners, and on top that didn’t feel comfortable in Quito.

      That isn’t to say that there aren’t things to see and visit in Ecuador. Things are quite impressive to see as I mentioned in the article. But many of things are either the same or better in other places. It isn’t to say that someone shouldn’t go to Ecuador for that reason but I’m not going back to see if I am wrong. As you mentioned on Twitter the people may not appreciate it has they want only positive reviews of their country but I’m not going to sugar coat something. My instincts are usually correct and on top of that I had someone come with me and they felt the same way about Quito and Ecuador as a whole. It could have been just my experience in Quito and that made me biased to the rest of the country. I have no doubt that people are amazing but after being to every country in South America I’d rather be in beaches in Brazil, I’d rather see mountains in Colombia and southern Chile, and there are other historical cities I would rather be in than Quito.

      Thanks for the note my man you bring up some valid points.

      1. Marcello, you need to come back to Ecuador and let me show you around. Quito is safe, guayaquil is safe, and the entire country is amazing. The government has invested a ton of money into tourism and it is developing. The best experiences I have had in the Amazon are in Ecuador.

        There is a rivalry between Quito and Guayaquil, they all prefer their own cities and rightfully so. They are both great.

        The taxi drivers are some of the most friendly and reasonable I have ever encountered in Latin America, biggest overcharge you will get is 50cents to 1 dollar.

        Come back to Ecuador, experience the country truly, then write a brutally honest travel piece about it.

        1. I have to say… There is no comparison (for a tourist) between Quito and Quayaquil. Quaquil is not a tourist town. There is almost nothing to see there for a tourist, except for an iguana park and across from that a beautiful cathedral (beautiful, but nothing really special compared to other beautiful cathedrals in the Americas). Quayaquil is not considered safe. It is a shit-hole. It is ugly as hell. The only thing there is the riverfront walk and the Iguana park and cathedral… and one neighborhood near the riverwalk that is nice. But you can see everything there is to see in 8 hours. There is no comparison. Quito is something really special. No comparison.

          1. THE most spot-on comment on here. Guayaquil sucks. My aunt’s family lives in the southwest part of the city in a bad neighborhood. You can’t walk two houses to the street corner at night. The downtown area is fine. Outside of that? The ugliest, most dangerous city I’ve visited. Spent 3 days in Quito. Loved that city! So much more pleasant than Guayaquil. Except for when we got followed for several blocks, but when they found out the group of Spanish women were with us (family), they realized it wouldn’t be so easy.

          1. Dino, Cuenca is a beautiful city. It’s a little chilly, but during the day it warms up. You’ll run into many natives selling crafts. The markets can be a little overwhelming, but generally the people are very nice. The people of Cuenca tend to be a little more reserved. Family values are very strong. You’ll see siblings and parents walking holding hands. Cuenca attracts people from other parts of the world and from other towns. As far as safety, it’s best to be alert anywhere you go.

      2. Marcelo,
        You obviously have a prob with the US. Prob an inferiority complex, but have to ask how’d you get to those 80 countries you claim to have visited? I mean did you walk or sail? If not you used oil. And we get that from drilling/fracking now; not whales. In fact, you’ve probably used more oil for your travels than most people will ever use. And just for fun.

        1. Also good for you that you were able to take advantage of the American taxpayer for your education and $25,000 student loan. Btw burning CDs and selling them is piracy. But apparently your scruples are no better than your article about a place you spent 4 days in. Or your other comments about a city there that you never even visited.

          1. Ray thanks so much for the insightful comment. A few things.
            1. Tax payers weren’t taken advantage of. This was a personal student loan, not federal, and was paid back in full. With interest.
            2. I’m sure you will be able to find the legalities that govern what you can and can’t do in regards to burning mixtapes with music that anyone is legally able to use.

            Instead of attacking people you should just comment on how you didn’t like the opinion of the article Ray. Would have been more insightful on your part.

      3. Dear Marcello,
        I admire your reasonable and thoughtful responses to people who aggressively attack you for no reason other than giving meaningful travel advice. I have traveled extensively in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, as well as the Middle East, and was just gearing up for South America in the next few weeks.
        After I contacted friend in the U.S. State Department (low level clerk) and he advised me that U.S. government personnel are not even allowed to hail a taxi off the street in Ecuador. This risk is that high. He also said that he and a friend (they are gay) were beaten at an ATM and narrowly escaped a far worse crime than a beating. Again, anecdotes are not the whole story of the country, but I do believe they are indicative of a vibe that is dangerous. As a traveler, I believe there is a massive difference between caution and foolishness.
        The worst gut instinct I have encountered that was screaming danger was dealing with Cambodian POLICE, not the citizens, but any cops and I was headed the other way after several bad experiences.
        It shocks me how rude people are on the Internet. You conduct yourself with dignity and class. It is rare and impressive. Thank you for your honest information.
        Best and Warmest Wishes.
        Tiffany

      4. There is something called prejudice, those people that spoke you about Guayaquil, the most probable is that they had never been there. I lived 25 years in Quito and visited Guayaquil like 50 times. Custom protective taxi? Wtf is this?? Nobody here cares a bit about your feelings and instincts. Who are you? Mcgyver?
        Did you talk about something else besides security during the four days? You are such a paranoid. In most countries, the locals will say: my city is dangerous but that one is more dangerous (but I’ve never visited it). That’s superficial and meaningless talk.

        1. Thanks for the comment Daniel but it was people that grew up there. I don’t pretend to make the rules but if locals tell me that I listen. Of course we did plenty of things outside of those four days. We went out both to bars and clubs and also to local parties, etc. I wouldn’t say I am paranoid I have been to a lot of places that peopled would “consider to be dangerous”.

      5. This post and this comment is laughable. Have you heard of the toxic water levels of the water in Brazil following the olympics?
        I’ve been to both Ecuador and Peru, and let me tell you, Ecuador is much, much more developed than Peru.

        Clearly, you are misjudging Ecuador based on 4 days on being there.

      6. Brazil is beautiful no doubt. I’ve been there, but don’t go to the favelas unless you have a good reason to go there. You may may not come back.

    2. Even when this is old, thank you Matt for saying this. As an ecuadorian I felt that this kind of articles with such a strong headline really hurt the tourism in Ecuador.
      Marcello, I am from Guayaquil and I’ve got to admit that I dont find my city as the most touristic one, because Guayaquil is mainly the commercial core of Ecuador, but when I think of Ecuador, I think nature the beaches are beautiful you have an amazing weather all year long, and you have only seen Quito so I think it’s really not fair..It’s 2016 so you should give Ecuador another chance.. And at least change the title 😀

      1. Angela I really appreciate your comment. Especially when so many people just are out to spam obscene comments that they would never say to anyone in person. I’m glad your from Guayaquil and can share your experience. I also met quite a few people that are from the city and they shared that it is quite dangerous.

      2. Angela, there are pros and cons in every country. Colombia have been fighting the cons and the negative image associated with drugs and all the killings of the pass. Thank God Colombia seems to be doing much better. When I visited Venezuela in the 1980’s no one would have ever thought that Venezuela would be in the situation that is in now. It’s a beautiful country nonetheless. Ecuador have many hidden treasures, and beautiful ladies I may add.

  5. I think you’re absolutely correct. It isn’t a fair assessment. Especially after only spending 4 days there. I’ve spent 3 weeks visiting the Ecuadorian amazon, andes & coastline. Sure, regardless of where you go in Latin America you will find similarities. Expanding beyond that, head to New York, London, even Toronto Canada and you will find your dangerous spots. A traveler must have common sense where ever they go. I’ve checked your site, even watched the video on your penthouse in Medellin, I appreciate your work. However, if you don’t know from first hand experience, don’t spread the negative. The amazing Quechua people would appreciate it.

    1. Thanks or the comment Todd. I think there are things that you can find in London that you can’t find in either New York or Toronto and vice versa. If anything NYC and Toronto are similar but I wouldn’t put London in that same category. This also goes by what I have discussed with others who have lived there in Ecuador. I wouldn’t write the post just because I didn’t like it because that wouldn’t be correct.

  6. I was struggling reading your article. It was incoherent and went from subject to subject without actually saying anything except: you don’t like Ecuador.

    That’s ok, not everyone is the same and has the same feelings about a place. I remember clearly my first time coming to Quito, I didn’t like it at all. Thought it was a horrific city and didn’t understand at all why people would like to be there.

    I have been very fortunate though. I have been living in this country for the past 3-4 years and have been travelling extensively here due to my job, a group leader for volunteers. I have been able to live with various indigenous cultures like the Tsachilas, Quechua’s in the mountains and the jungle. I have visited the Shuar and came to known various other indigenous cultures along the road. Besides those cultures, that are pretty unique for South America (did you know you can find 17 different indigenous cultures here in this country that is small for SA standards?), I have a vast majority of friends here ranging from mestizas to foreigners.

    Quito has been my home for the past 2 years and I take my precautions here but I do that everywhere. No, I do not walk with an expensive smart phone on the street, especially not at night but I would not even do that in my small hometown in The Netherlands. As far as it goes for taxi’s, there are indeed illegal taxi’s, hey, I find them as well in Amsterdam! But it is not 50% illegal. Most taxi’s are actually legal and the government here is working hard to fit out all legal taxi’s with camera’s, a panic button and GPS trackers. This is a country wide project that takes time to finish but it is an investment well worth for everybody and in my opinion more countries should do this. Just like everywhere else, the rule is simple in taking a taxi: don’t take a taxi that doesn’t have a valid licence plate and an identification sticker from the road. Don’t to that in New York, don’t do that in Quito or Guayaquil.

    As for the city of Quito, it has the second largest hispanic centre in South America, only Havana is bigger, and it is beautiful. The “modern center” aka Mariscal is going out, enjoying night life and strangely but true…. you will NOT see a McDonalds or KFC on the main squares. They are located on the corners of both the historic center as the modern center. Isn’t that weird for a country “invaded” by USA culture?

    Guayaquil, it ain’t my favorite city but it does have plenty to offer if you can stand the humidity there. I know plenty of people there that wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

    Did you know btw that it isn’t the USA that this country has sold out to but China? That the major investment players here are Chinese? Just because we use the US dollar here it doesn’t mean that the USA is running this place.

    And then to the rest of the country: The biggest bio-diversity per square kilometer? Ecuador. The most species of hummingbirds in the world? Ecuador The only snow-capped volcano on the Equator? Ecuador. The most species of orchids are to be found where? Indeed… Ecuador!

    Ok, I’m not saying that other countries are not beautiful or have nothing to offer in comparison to Ecuador. I just think that you are underestimating Ecuador as a country, as a diverse place, as one of the very few economies that is actually growing instead of in recession, as a place that is worth a visit for more than a couple of days.

    This is just my opinion, like the one you have written is yours and everyone is entitled to a=one. I just wouldn’t like to see people going by just yours 😉

    1. Over 5 taxis that I took confirmed that roughly 50% of the taxis in the city are illegal. And in the Netherlands an illegal taxi isn’t going to try to rob you or take your belongings. Things don’t work that way in the Netherlands. I do not agree that Quito has the second largest Hispanic centre. The centers in Chile and Buenos Aires blow it out of the water by far, Cartagena also has a much bigger center than Quito. The Chinese were not investing in the country years ago when the Americans were. China has begun to invest in countries around the world it just isn’t seen yet. China is now the major trading partners for many countries around the world but that has just begun in the last 10 years.

      That however does not include Ecuador.

      According to the Economist, CIA factbook, and other reputable sources Ecuador exports to are USA, Peru, Venezuela, Russia, Italy, and Germany. China doesn’t even make it into the top ten. They also only import 9% of their goods from China. Your grossly incorrect in your facts about Ecuador’s trading partners. Even countries like Canada far exceed the amount of investment in Ecuador compared to China.

      I also don’t agree about your biodiversity per square kilometer because that includes the Galapagos islands which clearly everyone should visit. Take that out and I highly doubt Ecuador would look as attractive in terms of biodiversity. Countries like Suriname, French Guyana, and Guiana would in my opinion blow it out of the water as over 80% of those countries are still jungle and are habituated by the Amazon. I also do not believe Ecuador would have any important statistic to flora or fauna if it wasn’t for the Galapagos. Ecuador is a small country but you could still see the same about of biodiversity, if not more, in other countries (this of course excludes the Galapagos).

      I did not say that Ecuador did not have things to see. I frankly believe that you can see the same things, which most times will be better in other countries, in all of Latin America. The only exception is Galapagos as that is truly unique.

      The economy of Ecuador is sure to grow since they have had an utter economic collapse roughly 10 years. To contradict your argument many of the economies in Latin America are growing faster than Ecuador and are also much easier places to do business. I would never invest my money in Ecuador, EVER. That is until I see major changes in the country. I would much rather be in a country like Colombia, Peru, or Chile, which are changing their policies to make it friendlier for investors. Not the other way around like Ecuador.

      1. Well..
        Makes me laugh that all u talk about is 2 cities…If that’s all u interstellar in maybe US would be better for you!?…
        Ecuador is grate and especially out of cities!
        No one cares how many countries you were in…It does not matter…and as for danger..its a matter of avoiding some parts of towns…same in US Europe or anywhere else!!!
        And unlike u I have been to quite a few places in Ecuador and felt safe enough…not less then on streets of London,Paris,New York or any other!!
        It is sad that you feel the need to slag the place for something someone told you!!!
        And if I have to say those 2 are much better then Brazilian ones (private opinion based on being in both)
        Stop moaning and enjoy travelling!!

      2. You erase my comments because you can’t reply them. Your informations are totally false and misleading.
        You cannot know more than a local about how things work in Amsterdam, and you don’t know anything about Buenos Aires (where I live). Quito is the biggest and best preserved colonial centre in south america according to Unesco. You know more than them as well. Did you measure it?? Maybe your spot on instincts let you know the size of a place just by watching it. You are pretentious, arrogant and very ignorant. You are venezuelan and you pretend to be american. And even so, you criticize the United States. You are embarassed of your own nationality.
        I work in a hostel and really, venezuelan are the most unbearable guests you can have. That’s a country that i will never visit…

      3. Marcellus I usally concur with you on most of you articles. I know you are very knowledgeable and have traveled very extensible,that being said I really feel that you really didn’t portray Ecuador the way it should of been portrayed. I spent 6 months there. DONT GO. Ecuador is a hell hole! You have to be on guard all the time. Plain and simple your a target. Thats not being paranoid thats a fact.But if thats your idea of a good time by all means go. Ill be in brazil having a great relaxing time with some great people.

      4. Ecuador’s Amazon region has a very high number of species per square kilometer; there’s where our biodiversity mostly comes from. Galapagos has a high number of endemic species, but their number of species per square kilometer is not as high as the Amazon. Add to that the fact that we also have the Coast and the Andes, which have their own unique species and a big variety of biomes, and you’d find a pretty biodiverse country.

        1. If you read the post properly I mentioned the only thing unique about Ecuador is the Galapagos and Amazon. Everything else can mostly be found in other countries; the coast, Andes mountains, even the food.

    2. It looks like not much has changed in daily life around Quito / Guayaquil since 1993. I am travelling to Colombia and expected taking a 5-day tour to neighbouring Ecuador. I am afraid I am cancelling. As for your arguments, Marieke, you seem so lost and if you’re actually a Dutch national you should know better: I no way you can compare Amsterdam to Guayaquil. God…! You’re so confused that you place Havana in South America and state as a flash expert the the Ciudad Antigua of Quito is the Lost Temple… you should read 10 minutes a day, dear, you urgently need information.
      Thanks, Marcello, I don’t share some of your visions but the derogatory comments written by some readers made me thing over about this trip that won’t happen.

  7. While I’ve heard similar things about Quito and Guayaquil, I’ve also heard so many people rave about the amazing times they’ve had in places like Cuenca, Montanita, and Banos so I don’t think we can write off the whole country. That would be like someone coming to Pittsburgh or Daytona and judging all of the US based on that (apologies to anyone from those cities… they are just the least exciting places I’ve been). I’m actually going to Ecuador in May to go to Cuenca. I’m flying in to Guayaquil and am nervous as I’ve heard it’s very dangerous. I’ll probably hire a private driver. After reading many travel blogs I decided to visit Cuenca because so many people had negative or “meh” experiences in Quito.

    When I went to Bogota I had an amazing time and never felt unsafe, but I was also with locals who told me how to take taxis, when I shouldn’t speak in English, when to not have my phone/camera out, etc. We shall see how I fare on my own in Guayaquil!

  8. Well, after 1 month in Ecuador… I love nature here, bur Ecuadorians are not very friendly, lying and overcharching as much as they can (it was not happening to me in Colombia that often) and I just don’t trust them. Andean Quechua belong to the coldest and most unfriendly people I could ever meet, in Amazon and at the coast it was more funny… Guayaquil and Quito – I don’t know – I woke up at 3 am because one guy was trying to rob me at my hostel room in Quito (normal good hostel). I kicked him ass, but it is not really kind of fun I like. I would not stay in Quito one more time, it is not that special, but as it is on UNESCO I wanted to check it out.

  9. Two years ago, I flew to Quito enroute to Guayaquil. Upon landing, I found the airport in Quito dirty, disheveled, earthy similar to what I found in Manila and Ghana.

    My hotel, the JW Marriott, was fine; it was late, I didn’t care I was only going to stay the night and catch my flight in the morning to Guayaquil. Which I did.

    I spent 5 days in Guayaquil alone at the Ora Verde on de’ Octobre. I walked the streets, Santa Anna hill, meandered through parks, noticed the heavily armed guards at the open ATM machines, ate the food (drank the water from bottles), and walked the Malecon a lot.

    Walking Santa Anna hill was brutal! I am not old but all those steps to see the Naval Museum at the top was worth it as well as getting the view.

    A few more steps to the top of SA hill and there was the church and the lighthouse. More steps to get a view I have not see before.

    I’ve only been to 46 different countries on 6 different continents. Someday, my journey will take me to Antarctica but not yet.

    The views, the scenery, the natural history with Guayaquil is interesting.

    Did you know, for instance, all those grass mats are the reason life exists in Galapagos? See, the land animals from mainland Ecuador hitched a ride on the grass mats, had enough to eat to sustain them for their journey some 600 miles west until they hit the volcanoes known as Galapagos.

    Just outside of Guayaquil is a natural forest that is home to the howling monkeys – unafraid of humans, I walked the path wary of them. Their howls could be heard echoing off the trees as my path made way through the thickets.

    I found Guayaquil amazing, in fact, as a grande gringa, I plan on retiring there 6 months a year. The people were very friendly, accommodating, eager to please (just like most S.A. countries are). Best thing about Ecuador?

    USD! I didn’t have to worry about currency translation.

    Did I feel 100% safe? Yes.

    Did I do anything stupid like walk around late night, get drunk in bar, wear scanty clothes? No.

    After the 5 days, my travels took me for 2 weeks to Galapagos, the northern islands (Baltra, Santa Cruz, Gen, Rab, etc). Nothing need be said about there – a m a z i n g!

    Then, I returned for another 3 days in Guayaquil and 3 more up in Montanita.

    Did you go there? The world surfing championships are held there. From atop the mountains, you can see the beaches and the surfers. There’s a restaurant called Hola Hola in the city that serves the best honey-something-potatoes you’ll ever have. Beyond that, are the other little surfing village stores and crash pad hotels.

    LOVED it!

    To be true to your readership, you can’t draw conclusions about Guayaquil based upon Quito.

  10. Interesting to hear your perspective. I’m in Loja right now and have been here about a month. My girlfriend is teaching here and although we were going to stay through June, we’ve decided to leave early.

    I won’t go into too much detail about how I feel, but your post echoes some of my opinions. Although its physically beautiful here, there just doesn’t feel like there’s much to do. I don’t feel drawn to go out and explore.

    I’ve also heard many complain about the bureaucracy here, and I’ve seen how it affects the way things are done. And there’s something about the vibe here that I can’t quite put my finger on.

    I agree, Colombia has much more to see and do. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  11. Wow, yep, clueless 🙂

    I’ve been in Quito several times. Lovely city, incredibly nice people and great food. Plus tons to see. Visited Guayaquil as well, and enjoyed it immensely.

    As someone else said Quito has won tourism awards for a reason.

    Seems to me you went with the typical American attitude of ‘it’s a dangerous place’. It’s not, no more so than many other cities across the world. But let’s just say, you get what you expect and with your pre-conceived ideas that’s what you got.

    1. Wouldn’t agree with you Michelle as I don’t consider many places to be dangerous that many people say are dangersous; Colombia, Rio de Janeiro, Somaliland. People need to be careful in Quito period. Many people confirmed this to me that were living in Quito for months and years. The city is not safe and if you look like a gringo I would be more careful. I didn’t go in expecting anything. I had a very weird feeling in Quito and my instincts are normally correct about cities that I visit. It’s great they have won awards but frankly there are many better cities in Latin America instead of Quito.

      1. You are so bias,you spinning colombia as been safe than Ecuador if is not as safe as it use to be is mainly to 4.000.000 Colombians drug dealer and dangers criminals that run to Ecuador . Have a nice day

    2. Michelle, there are pros and cons in every country. The best thing is to keep an open mind. People are people, therefore, you’ll find those willing be friendly and others who’ll take advantage. I ran across both types in Ecuador. The best thing to do when traveling to not stand out and know where you are and where you’re going.

  12. Great thought provoking post (as the comments so far have proven), and I couldn’t agree with your point that “this isn’t a fair assessment” more, based on a four day experience… We are currently in, and have spent the last three weeks, in Cuenca, Ecuador, which actually feels safer than most US cities we’ve lived in. We spent a single night in Guayaquil near the airport before getting here, and have to agree that the city didn’t look great — but based on a stay at the airport Hilton…I could same the same for New York, London, or Rome.

    We’re heading to Quito next, and then to Medellin, so it will be interesting to see if we have the same experience as you did!

  13. No, no, no! Ecuador is awesome and it’s actually the opposite – people shouldn’t think of visiting Ecuador only to go to Galapagos!
    Mainland has a lot to offer… there is nothing you cannot do elsewhere in Latin America? Well, you could say the same thing about Asia, Africa and Europe thinking like that.
    I’m not sure if you’re aware but 100 years ago the US tried to buy Galapagos from Ecuador and Ecuador refused (thank God for that, coz then the place would be totally destroyed and full of luxury resorts instead).
    Have you been to Banios? You’d love it.
    And about USD… well, various countries use US dollars and it doesn’t mean they’re not worth visiting because of that. As an example I can give Zimbabwe.

  14. Thanks marcello for your article. I have visited ecuador a coupe of times. I would like to visit it again, and it has a special place in my heart. I hope la tri color will get far in Brazil. I agree with you about the high risk of robbery in Quito, although last time I was there is 4 years ago. There were some guards around the ecoviastations in Mariscal, the city has invested a lot in this, but there was not enough surveillance to counter piranhas (groups of guys that encircle their prey and rob them). I have seen this happening a lot. And allthough i have latin roots myself, also people tried to rob me. Mostly a knive is involved. When this happens bystanders usually don’t interfer cause it goes so fast. I HAD the impression that roberries at gunpoint were less common in Quito. Guayaquil on the other hand had more robberies of busses at gunpoint (like in more latin american countries) some suburbs overthere next to the highway are no go areas. A combi of drugtrade and use lead to more assaults. Latacunga as big market town i feit has a hier risk of robbery too. Places like manta, puerto lopez, el puyo, tena, macas are save havens like so many places in Ecuador. It is adviced to take a taxi at night in Quito and Guayaquil and don’t wanders around a few blocks.

  15. I’ve only seen Quito in pictures and have always thought it has something of its own. Its relief totally attracts me, I like it how the city extends on the slopes. However, i get it. I’m one who think that if you’re not enjoying the first days in a place, you may never get to really like. There must be a serious reason for that… and safety issues surely matter a lot. Love the photo with the sea lion on the bench 🙂

  16. What I like about posts like these is that the comments thread sheds as much light as the post itself. It’s good seeing the many views and opinions, and I think that’s what Marcello might have been aiming for? I don’t think he necessarily meant to bash the country, since his opening statement is an admission that this is probably an inaccurate assessment.

  17. I retired from U.S. Federal law enforcement at 52 years old, and have spent the past 5 years continuously traveling in 20 third world countries in Asia, and Central/South America. I write this from Sumatra, Indonesia. Although I only spent 6 weeks in Ecuador, I must from my experience, agree with Marcello. When there, I traveled from the coast to the Andes, and on to the Amazon. Have not made it to the Galapagos, yet. Yes, many people were very friendly, but there was a not insignificant number who were very quick to attempt to rip me off, and intimidate me. I also had a major theft of my things from a hotel room in Quito. That is the ONLY time in 5 years that such a thing has occurred, and I’ve spent time (not in any tour group) in Nepal, India, China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. Sure, my time in Ecuador was limited, but I personally found that other South American countries were better to travel in, and had similar native cultures and environment. Other than returning to visit the Galapagos, I also have no desire to return.

    1. Mark, I too had a bad experience in Ecuador, but I also good experiences. One cab driver wanted to commit suicide. Yet, in another instance, a lady came from nowhere to help carry my bags across a highway. Yet, in another instance, a strange family took me in for a couple days and I have returned to visit them in subsequent travels to Ecuador. I’m now part of their family. I have traveled around the world and had never had a family ask me to stay with them and give me their bed. My point is that bad things can happen anywhere. The rule of thumb for me is to know where I’m going and how I’m going to get back.

  18. I’m sure you have enough abuse above so I won’t give any of that but I lived in Quito for two months and thought the place was great and the people very friendly. I lived in a poor area of the city with 2 female friends and by the end of the two months we walked in the dark (no street lights) and felt safe. On an aside the best thing about Ecuador is that it is small. What other country in the world can you be on a tropical beach and 8hrs later at 3000mts altitude and 8hrs later in the rainforest?

  19. We spend two month in Quito and felt safe. We loved the city (have you been in Lima?) Ecuador is such a great country with so many things to offer, it is cheap and the people are very friendly! You should give it a sceond chance! There is more to see than just Galapagos! Lars

  20. Ive heard nothing but horror stories and warnings about Ecuador from many other white skinned gringos, Im almost positive every person defending it looks way more latino or is. Fact: Ecuador is extremely poor and desperate. All those i know who are of similar complexion as me (white w fair hair and blue eyes) or surfer gringo types must travel in packs and beware riding in small taxis. I have heard this from gringo business owners there, travelers, surfers and the habitat for humanity owner himself and helpers. I am currently living in Medellin myself and dude…. Lets get a beer sometime. I have been mulling over and over taking your classes. Even spoke to Lindsay. I would love to honestly talk with you one on one. You might have a lifer here.
    Ciao pues

  21. We fear what we don’t understand! It is true whether you are in Ecuador, New York or any other place. We need to take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves no matter where we go!

  22. When one of Marcello’s main arguments is “My instincts are usually correct”, you know there’s an ignorance and arrogance there that makes everything else he says worth taking with a big grain of salt.

    1. Great point Rob. Guess it doesn’t help that I have traveled to over 80 countries and have learned through that experience that my instincts are normally right. That definitely doesn’t count for anything. Especially including I have never been robbed while traveling.

      1. Coming from someone who has travelled to more than 80 countries you would expect to read something more open minded. Instead I come to read an article that is just plain irrelevant and ignorant. Your experience and knowledge about the world counts for nothing seeing as you quickly dismiss a country that you know nothing about. You state “there isn’t anything overly special in ecuador that you can’t find anywhere else in latin america” this is coming from someone who’s only been in the country for 4 days. How long did you manage to stay in the other countries? Stop kidding yourself. You also tried to defend one of your main points by stating “stereotypes exist for a reason” haha wtf ? Quito is fantastic if you know where to go. Ecuador’s culture, landscapes people are just so unique and diverse that you would need weeks to really appreciate it all. I’m sorry your nervous tension got the better of you so much that you had to leave after only a few days. But implying that the countries you mentioned including Brazil or Colombia of all places is safer is just plain wrong. Ecuador is full of Colombian refugees trying to get away from the place . So you like other countries better. Good for you. But don’t presume that your poor analysis of Ecuador is educating your readers or giving them anything substantial. I feel bad for people who read your articles. Go travel some more. Expand. Your horizons cause buddy 80 countries is just not enough for some people.

        1. I’ve lived in most countries for between 3-7 months. Most cases 6 months or more. Most of my instincts are spot on and I have had many people agree with me on this subject. Galapagos and possibly the Amazon. That is it in Ecuador.

  23. I have read most of the articles and responses towards Ecuador. I have been to Colombia and now I am living mostly in Ecuador. Both countries have pros and cons, and it all depends what you want.
    Anybody who tells me that Medellin is not dangerous is lying, Medellin has much culture, night life, beautiful ladies, many are prostitutes and are looking for a rich gringo. The weather is fantastic, and the cost of living is cheaper than America, but not Ecuador.
    I am living in Manta, which is the coast of Ecuador. Why?? I always wanted to have a house on the ocean, but I could not afford the coast of California where I am from. Gasoline is $1.50 per gallon compared to $5.00 in Colombia. I am a kitesurfer and Manta is breezy during the months of May- December. The coast also has good surfing, mountain bike riding and is more economically friendly for me.
    The question is what are you looking for ?? Colombians like to party to all hours of the night. Not for me. I enjoy the coast, surfing without a wetsuit, and a healthy lifestyle.
    My future plans are to live in Ecuador from May- November and then live in Medellin from December – April, best of both worlds.
    I have a Colombian girl friend who lives with me in Manta, she feels safer here than in Cali, Colombia, but she misses the Colombian people who are more friendly according to her.
    Marcello,, I met you in Santiago Chile about 3-4 years. I was with my friend Alberto.

    1. Steve thanks for the note. Right now Gas is cheaper but that will change as the inflation rates in the US dollar continue to rise. The inflation rate (unofficial) is roughly 10% or more now in the states. When oil prices rise that will change quite significantly. Appreciate the feedback!

  24. Ecuador deserves another chance from you! Disappointed in your quick dismissal. I love the country and its people. Quito is a fabulous colonial city that has recently done a lot to increase its safety and while there’s not a lot to see in Guayaquil, I found it safe. Otavalo, Cuenca, Banos, Pappallacta, Mindo are great places. The Ecuadorian Amazon is one of my top places to visit. Culturally, the Mama Negra festival in Latacunga was one of the best street parties ever! We are traveling in Colombia right now and so far I love it and the people here. Will be in a Medellin tonight for the Feria de Las Flores and hope to get to the Colombian Amazon too.

    1. It has definitely improved but compared to all of the cities I have been to in South America it really doesn’t compare Linda to be honest. When you compare Quito to a city like Medellin just no competition at all. The Amazon I would agree with you. The best places to see the Amazon is Peru and Ecuador. I hope they conserve it. Ecuador just approved another round of oil exploration in their Amazon. Colombian Amazon I have heard isn’t as impressive I have heard but would love to hear your feedback on that.

  25. Hello Wandering Trader,

    Your post on Ecuador is interesting but certainly far removed from my own experience.

    Maybe four days is just not enough. I spent a month there.

    Ecuador has terrific and dramatic scenery. And it is very cheaply priced compared to other countries in Central and South America, so in absolute terms i rate it a bargain destination.

    Guayaquil dangerous? Well, it’s not particularly attractive tbat is for sure. It serves as a junping off point to the Galapagos. But it is no more dangerous than other major cities from my experience.
    Guatemala city for instance is probably more dangerous.

    Keep the posts coming. They are amusing ecen if i do not agree with the content.

    Kind regards

    Mike

  26. Hi Marcello Arrambide——I have about TWO months to wander in January and February 2015 and I was thinking of going to CHILE, Columbia, and Nicaragua. In these countries I would like to rent a car. My interest is in volcanoes and of course sight seeing. Are both countries DANGEROUS? Dont want to get mugged or robbed.
    A world travelers as your self must have things to say about each country and guide a person like me. I could also to sit on a beach and do nothing for some weeks if there is nothing to do..After reading your blog I have cancelled my trip to the Atacama desert—–not worth my life.
    FINALLY, food and accommodations. any suggestions????
    Any suggestions on car rental from non American agencies or private local agencies in each country.
    THANK YOU, muchas gracias, GRAZI
    Looking forward to your mail
    Adios
    Kiwi

    1. Only country I would say is dangerous on that list is Nicaragua. More dangerous than Colombia. Chile, by far, is the safest country in Latin America (excluing French Guiana). For rent a car agencies you can easily find a car to rent online. There are your standard rent a car companies. The best beach would be found in either Nicaragua or Colombia (Tayrona National Park).

      1. The fact that you write off Nicaragua as completely unsafe shows your ignorance. If you stick to Leon and Granada you’ll be fine. Don’t do drugs, don’t party with alcohol late, only take a friend you know as a taxi and you’re good to go.

  27. While I visited Ecuador this past July, I was only in Quito. I can see what you say about only the Galopogos Islands being the main attraction for Ecuador. However, the climate in Quito was extremely comfortable compared to Medellin, Colombia which I found to be extremely hot and uncomfortable in May. Quito has a special charm all its own. Thank you for posting about Quayaquil, and it being not not safe. I never heard anyone say this before.

  28. I disagree completely! Having travelled extensively to more than 60 countries all over the planet I have to say Ecuador and Colombia are my favourite two, then comes nothing for a long time, then come all the rest.
    It’s unfair to describe Ecuador as not special in comparison to other south American countrie . The Amazon in Ecuador is the best in all of SA, the volcanoes are amazing and unique in the world, the coast is incredible and tons of Brazilian surfers flock to Ecuador every year because the conditions are perfect!
    Quito is beautiful, sometimes a bit rough but so are all south american cities. The people are, on par with Colombians the friendliest I have ever met. Ecuadorians are more closed due to the fact that most of them live in the Andes where the climate is colder. Guayaquil is very interesting if visited with the right people, I.e. locals. It is true however that it can be dangerous as there are some neighborhoods where 14 year old kids walk around the streets with guns etc. But again, that occurs in other countries as well.
    I can recommend Ecuador to anyone, it is my favourite country in the world!

  29. It is amazing that so many companies suggest retiring there, everytime I look they suggest Ecuador as the No.1 country to go to. I have never felt comfortable in Ecuador, but love Argentina and Brazil.I have also been to Chile, which was also nice. I would not go to Venezuela. I have not been to Columbia, except a day which I missed in Cartagena because I was sick on a cruise and they would not let me go. I was so pissed…anyway.

  30. After spending 3 months in Ecuador I found it to be one of the more fascinating and interesting places in South America. I have been to Venezuela, Colombia, and other countries, but the art, the architecture, the natural beauty in the Galapagos, Banos, and the cloud (NOT rain) forest were amazingly wonderful. Quito has interesting architecture (just look beyond all of the KFC signs), gracious people, and excellent potato leek soup. I cannot wait to return to Ecuador again.

  31. I moved to Ecuador for my ecuadorian husband and I must say it truly is a terrible place to live. Is it dangerous? Absolutely. Is it dirty, YES. Are people nasty and rude? yes!! Coming from Florida where people are so warm and friendly, coming to Ecuador really was a huge change. I’ve seen drunk men asleep on the streets, grown men peeing on the streets and loose dogs all over the place. Garbage everywhere. Next time you go dig in deeper believe me you’ll find only crap. The only nice areas are the tourist areas and if you didn’t find that very appealing, just imagine what you would think if you came to the ugly 95 % part of the country. If you come, come for a couple of days and expect to be disappointed. When I hear people say that ecuadorians are so sweet and nice they must be Caucasian because ecuadorians obsess about them and look up to them due to their features a (blonde hair light eyes) they wish they could be like them and let me tell you when a child in one of their families has Caucasian features everyone makes a huge deal. But Hispanic looking people or typical Indian looking people or black are treated crappy and rudely. Dig deeper these people, this place, utter CRAP.

    1. Thanks Jennifer… seems like many people that say my assessment is wrong may be corrected here. From someone that actually LIVES THERE none the less. Most of the time I speak my mind of how I feel about places, this is further confirmed when I hang around locals and ask them about their lives there.

      Thanks so much for the comment it is much appreciated.

      1. Jennifer is soo right 100%
        one thing is to tour there , but its entirely different having to live there. most , if not all Ecuadorians would rather live in the states.

    2. muy cierto, a los coloraditos los tratan con mas aprecio y los miran como trophys,,, y no se olvide de los peloteros que cierran las calles y los fiesteros que no respetan a sus vecinos tocando musica a todo volume hasta el amanecer y los fumones que ahora hay mucho mas que antes y los impuestos abusivos de parte del gobierno porque las cosas son muy muy caras que los dolares no tienen mucho poder adquisitivo. some people might find Ecuador find n dandy to visit n tour but having to live there is not all that great n neither is it as cheap as people say n or think it is.

  32. To be honest, I have never seen such a bias “review” of a place. Ecuador has tons of things to do and visit besides the Galapagos. The beauty of the country is on that, such biodiversity and different regions in such a little space. Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in South America, yet, it is one of the most biodiverse in the whole planet!. Funny isn’t it?
    Yes, you can find similar things in other countries in S.A. but you would have to travel for hours to see them all, from the highlands to the Amazon in a 4 hours car ride? yeah, that’s Ecuador!

    It’s just a shame you didn’t have the time to see the country for real, because trust me… Visiting Quito and the Galapagos is just the top of the iceberg.

    If you are gonna be visiting countries and writing reviews about them, I recommend you do it right and travel a for a proper number of days before spitting out your poor view about a place.

    Anyways, good you could visit the country!

    Cheers,

    Bryan (Dutch who actually travels and gets to know a destination)

    1. Hey Bryan thanks for the feedback… outside of the Galapagos Islands or the Amazon I do not plan on going back to Ecuador. That is my opinion about Ecuador and I have found that many people agree, even though its a controversial post, there are frankly better things to see in other countries.

      Cheers

      Marcello (a guy that isn’t afraid to tell the truth about a destination)

  33. It sounds like you had a very bad case of altitude sickness while in Quito. Not altogether surprising or unexpected when you go from the sea level (or lower) to over 2 miles up in the sky. One of the symptoms is anxiety and it comes through in your word pictures. It is recommended that visitors who feel unwell in the Sierra region of Ecuador take time and local cures to adjust and perhaps visit the beautiful lower valleys for awhile until they acclimate. Of course there is the Oriente, the cloud forest and the beautiful coast from Esmeraldas through Manabi to Santa Elena’s Montanita on to Machala — so do come back and visit again — Ecuador really is ALl You Ever Need …in just one place.

  34. Took my time to read about this “article” and by fair the most disturbing one. You cannot prove how Ecuador was bad , maybe for you. Talking about the currency as if you knew what went wrong or like if you liked there. 4 days only in Quito , you have to be kidding me. Thank god you won’t be going back because Ecuador needs people who really appreciate the beauty of its country.

  35. Hi Marcello,

    I understand your perspective regarding Ecuador, and more specifically regarding political issues. The country adopted the dollar in the year 2000, which actually makes it easier for tourists to visit. I respect your opinion but I believe it’s misguided. I have lived in Colombia as well, have been to Peru and many countries in all of America, yet I find Ecuador to have the right balance between them all. If you want do ecotourism Ecuador has got it, and can compete with any other country, of course the Galapagos is a great asset as you mention, Ecuador has miles and miles of amazing beaches as well. In Quito I believe your experience is too limited as well, Quito was the first city in Latin America to be declared World Heritage by UNESCO as it has the best preserved colonial centre in Latin America. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/2, yes the Basilica is Ok but there are several 400+ year old churches in the colonial downtown of Quito that are truly unmatched in America. Checkout La Compañía, Guápulo, San Francisco. http://www.quito.com.ec/que-visitar/centro-historico

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/travel/three-sides-of-ecuador.html?_r=0

    Quito is definitely not where I would stay during my trip to Ecuador, it has become crowded like many large cities everywhere, traffic can be insane just like Medellin but it is not as bad as Bogotá. Quito is surrounded by two large suburbs/valleys – Cumbayá and San Rafael where in approximately a 20 minute drive the weather can improve dramatically 3 or 4 degrees celsius. The weather in Quito is spring-like most of the year 65F to 72F and can go down to the 40s in the evenings, the weather in Cumbayá and San Rafael (15 miles away) ranges usually between 70F – 78F and can go down into the 50s in the evenings. The quality of life can be great. It is unfortunate that you felt uneasy, maybe it had to do more with the people who were guiding you.

    Please read this review in the Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/exhilarated-in-ecuador-with-time-on-his-side/2014/11/20/2c8f2b22-5f98-11e4-9f3a-7e28799e0549_story.html

    Great places to visit in Ecuador include: the city of Cuenca to the South which has become a hub for American and European retirees http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathleen-peddicord/best-places-to-retire-overseas_b_5440999.html, the province of Imbabura with its many lakes, nature and beautiful landscape, Papallacta hot springs http://www.termaspapallacta.com, the coastal city of Manta with its amazing beaches and seafood http://www.jamacampay.com/web/ http://enviajes.cl/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Mejores-playas-de-Ecuador-Salinas.jpg, Mindo which is about 3 hours north of Quito and contains most of the species you would see in the Amazon, but have great hotels to stay at like this one: http://www.arasharesort.com/en/ (I’m not affiliated with them) where you can enjoy great food, great service, and WiFi in the middle of the jungle.

    I haven’t seen a Buick in Ecuador since the 80s, they’re not sold here and nobody thinks they’re cool either. Corporate America doesn’t have much to do with Ecuador’s economic hardships, as do the corrupt politicians that have been in power, not only in Ecuador but in all of Latin America. http://whynationsfail.com/summary/ this book will clarify a lot. Ecuadorians do love their cars, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Nissan, Mazda and Chevrolet seem to be much appreciated.

    I love all of Latin America and Colombia more so, but I have chosen to live in Ecuador. Economies fluctuate and things change (even the US had a huge crisis recently – http://www.theusdebtclock.com), Ecuador has had great stability for the last 7 years, the low prices of oil along with bad political decisions have kicked Ecuadorian economy into recession this year, and people are not happy with that, but most Ecuadorians are positive about the future.

    I am truly sorry your experience was not positive. Hopefully someone will read this and give the Ecuador a chance and decide for themselves, as it has much to offer.

    I forgot to mention many places that are great to visit, a few that come to Mind are Montañita, Bosque Polylepis Carchi http://www.carchi.gob.ec/index.php/turismo-canton-espejo/bosque-polylepis, http://www.rutadelsol.com.ec Ruta del Sol, Isla de la Plata (Galápagos de los pobres)

    Best Regards

    Byron

    1. Hey Byron…. I got all 10 of your messages. Ecuador is using the dollar because they can’t get their own financial house in order. This is due to the corruption. If I am not mistaken they have had 9 presidents in the last 10-15 years. Personally… I don’t want to live in any countries with that kind of chaos.

      I respect your opinion and glad that you have shared so much but I do stand with my assessment. The only thing special about Ecuador is Galapagos Islands. The only reason I would go back and visit is to see the Amazon, which you can see in Peru.

      Being declared the first city of UNESCO means nothing. There is plenty of history to see in other parts of Latin America just like Quito.

      I have not been to any of the cities nearby but if Quito is dangerous… I can only imagine what the cities nearby are like.

      Cuenca is an overrated city that is infested by all sorts of tourists. I encourage everyone to look for better locations. On top of that the opportunities to invest and the taxes that involve living in Ecuador do not make it advantageous. I wouldn’t recommend anyone retire in Ecuador for that reason.

      Thanks for the comment Byron I appreciate it.

      1. LOL you never even went to Cuenca . I couldn’t find one other tourist except in the gringo bars and that was only expats there. I lived there for a month! You’re crazy! The only places you’ll see mass amounts of tourists is montanita and Banos. Even then locals outnumber tourists like 100-1 in places like Banos

  36. i would not go back to Ecuador, we almost got killed in ” Playas” that little town really close to the beach…if not on the beach. I am pretty sure there is really good people there but sadly, some people give the country bad reputation. Arrived at mid day….left the town by the afternoon…after trying to chase the group of men who jumped us, the police did not seem to care that my husband’s face was showered in blood and it did not seemed to stop( he just kept laying on the hamaca) from all the stones the guys kept throwing at his head( around 90 some stitches…they wanted money and took our back pack( full of raisings, bananas, crackers…at least the would not be hungry). And a surfboard….
    Coimg back at the place we were supposed to stay…the lady in charge ‘just’ remember she was going to warn us( a couple was buried alive not too long before we arrived…) ….thank you for the notice…
    Not even one day …and we were out of there …just my experience
    Pretty dangerous experience….so i would not go back ..or maybe i would , cause i can still remember clearly the leading guy’s face….

    1. the laws under Correa now favor criminals over their victims n their conviction rate is very , very low. Ecuadorian laws are outrageous n ridiculous n that is why the police do not care n are even afraid of hurting criminals. A victim has to hire a lawyer to try n convict their victimizer, while the criminal gets a free lawyer from the government.. n if a criminal murders more than one person they can only be convicted for only one BODY , so a serial killer could go on a murderous rampage n only be convicted for one murder
      — which would not be a problem if they had life sentences,,, but there are no life sentences in Ecuador either.

  37. I just find your article and I just have one thing to say
    did any city or country is safety at all? I am a so proud of being from Quito.
    I have being on United States for one week and even there I din not feel safe at all, in these days any place is dangerous, now you are saying Guayaquil is dangerous because you just hear some comentaries so then I can say Colombia is dangerous because I had heard the same comentaries coming from the people, you can judge a place just basing in others opinions.
    Even USA has it dangerous places.
    Please think before start blogs where you just talk about how others opinions inffluenciate your life. 🙂

  38. Listen, guy, you cant stereotype a whole country off of 4 days.. you are ludicrous and outright wrong. You have no business blogging with these outrageous, damn near libelous opinions… I dont usually attack people outright like this, but, my God, you are ignorant.

  39. This proves that you don’t know ANYTING about tourism. Quito is beautiful and Amazonas too. In the beach of Ecuador you can see wales (if you’re in summer) and there are lots of nice things to do like go for a walk in a virgin forest and swim in a lake. If you’re visiting this page to know about some city or country, close this window right know and search another page. This is soo anoying! P.D: I’m don’t talk english very well.

    1. There are better places to see Wales Ruth. There are some nice places in Quito, especially places where you can get robbed easily. Frankly there are just other places that are better to visit.

  40. Well don’t…Ecuador it’s an amazing country, magical and full of warm and awesome people, there’s no need for your approval. Don’t visit or go to the Galapagos again, that’s fine with us ?.

  41. I wish I had read this post before! I came back from Ecuador (Quito) today, with a “sour” after taste and I COMPLETELY agree with Marcello: I certainly won´t be going to Ecuador anytime soon! Poor, messy, dirty, over rated city! The colonial downtown is nice, but mñeh! Nothing I haven´t seen before AND better in other Latin American cities. Service? Poor! Food? Average! The whole city (except the downtown, sprayed with graffiti, but you wanna know what my biggest problem with Quito was? It´s lack of FLAVOR and ENERGY! Maybe I had high expectations, could be, but in these case, sorry Ecuadorians but my vote is with Marcello!

  42. First of all, congrats on your amazing blog, Marcello! About the topic in question: I’m from Colombia myself, so I do know about stereotypes, but I wouldn’t say Quito is more dangerous than any other major city in South America, like Bogotá, Buenos Aires or Lima. Actually I had that “danger alert” feeling you mention in smaller Ecuadorian places like Montañita. But it’s definitely a matter of opinion or instinct, as you say.

    As for Ecuador not being a worthy travel destination, I think it does have something other countries in South America don’t: everything is just a stone’s throw away. In a relatively small area, you have all kinds of sceneries at your feet! You can go from the beach to the Amazon or the Andean mountains in a cheap, few-hours trip, which could come in handy for people traveling on a shoestring, IMO.

    Anyway, congratulations again and keep up the good work!

  43. The trouble with writing an article about something based on what you’ve heard is “It Gets Read”. Almost everything you had to say about Ecuador is so far from the truth that your article makes The National Enquirer seem like honest journalism. Anyone who can say so many damaging comments about a country they have visited for 4 days, and only seeing one place in the country, needs to re-think why they are writing in the first place. You are absolutely entitled to your opinion, but it should be founded on actual facts and not hearsay. Your comments are 98% wrong and you owe the country of Ecuador and the people who read you article an apology.

    My wife and I have moved to Salinas permanently from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in December of last year. Prior to that, we visited the country at least 7 times for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 6 weeks. We have stayed in Guayaquil during that time and have enjoyed it. Yes, there are areas of the city that have issues, not unlike any large city in the world. Stay away from those areas and all will be well. If you look for trouble, you can certainly find it. No different than Vancouver, L.A. or New York or any other large city for that matter.

    I find the people to be friendly, helpful and interesting. I do not speak Spanish, and will likely never learn. Saying that, it’s my issue and can’t blame anyone here for my problem.

    Many things that I was accustomed to in Canada are just not available here. But, what is here is excellent. Different for sure but really good. I’ve travelled to Cuenca, Guayaquil and up the coast as far as Bahai. My wife and I saw beautiful countryside, great ocean views and met lots of expats that love it here.

    To conclude, my advice for what it’s worth. Experience the country before you make such wild and untrue statements that you personally have not validated. A wise man once wrote ” It’s better to have someone think you are st………. Than to open your mouth and prove it”.

    I hope you give other places in the world you travel to a better review than you gave Ecuador without anything to personally back up you comments.

    David

  44. This is a preposterous post. Who cares about his philosophical ramblings about Coca Cola, Buicks and where the country is “heading” in comparison to its neighbors? Why write off an country because it uses the dollar? And who cares about his childish prediction that oil drilling will ruin the country’s entire rain forest by, apparently, noon tomorrow?

    His idea that a person shouldn’t go to one place b/c it’s like another makes little sense — why not say “don’t go to Columbia because it’s so much like Ecuador?” And finally, how poor to lay on the negative blab while continually inserting “this probably isn’t fair, but … ” If you’re going to have dumb opinions and write lazily, at least stand by it all, dude. And try not to see an evil American corporate executive behind every tree.

  45. Marcelo,

    Thanks for the link, everything in the article is true. However, the issue I was speaking about and responding to had nothing to do with politics and foreign investment. You were talking about a country you only spend 4 days in and your comments were unjust and untrue. Your response to my e-mail has nothing to do with your original post.

    Thanks,

    David

    1. It actually does David. Part of that article articulates the issues with the country which contributes to things like CRIME which I outlined in the article. I still stand by my comments.

  46. Of course you do. Your article is totally based on no real experience. Standing by your statements is as ridiculous as the statements themselves. What’s really funny is how I managed to get involved in a dialogue with you. I am sorry for wasting my time and yours.

  47. Really Bad Article… how you will judge a country by 4 days in one city… and I am sure in one are of the City…. how sad can be people on internet… and they call themselves traveller !?

  48. I’ll be heading to Ecuador for the first time for a week this coming Friday and I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be flying from Manchester to Quito and travelling down to Cuenca by bus the same day. I also plan to head out to the beach for a few days, possibly Montañita, any tips on what to watch out for. I want to be respectful of the locals and enjoy my trip, but I also want to be aware of any possible threats. Thank you.

  49. Ecuadorians are obnoxious people who think highly of themselves. I met many of them in South Korea studying with scholarships. But man they are soooo damn boastful. I was staying in a “goshiwon” (a very small room with only 1 person able to be accommodated and with paper-thin walls) and everyday they would gather and stuff themselves like sardines in the room and would drink and mess other people around. They also pee outside the walls of the buildings, especially when they are drunk. That’s just not nice. One time my friend and I went to a beer mart and saw some Ecuadorian friend of my friend. When they were ready to go home they just left us and did not pay anything on their tab. So I ended up paying about 100 usd for all since my friend is broke. Very sad experience. They are the people who take advantage of others.

    1. Just because Ecuadorian internationals in S. Korea act like that, it doesnt mean we are all mean and disrespectful. I am an Ecuadorian and live in the US, and even though I meet Americans that also think highly about themselves, I don’t criticize the whole country. That just makes you look bad.

  50. Hi Marcello.
    I disagree with you in just few points. I’m from Ecuador and most of my family live there and few have lived and still live in Guayaquil. For my fellow Ecuadorians reading this and arguing about Guayaquil not being dangerous, please don’t! I traveled to Ecuador on 2015, I asked my family if we could go to Guayaquil and they told me it wasn’t safe but then again it does have it’s good cities but is not easily one of the most dangerous.
    But for Marcello, 4 days will not give you the experience to enjoy Ecuador. Not just because is my country but it does have great places. I hope you can give it another try and at least change your mind a little bit 😊 I can’t speak if it’s better then other countries because unlike you I haven’t travel to too many countries. (I wish though) but please do give Ecuador another try.

    1. Thanks for the comment Allison. Part of my analysis was the my friends who are from Quito and live there and also foreigners that live there as well. Just because I was only there for 4 days doesn’t mean that I didn’t speak with people that have lived there for years or months. That would be ignorant 😀

  51. I have not yet been to Ecuador but after reading this and the comments i may have to re-think having it on my travel list, but i think one can never feel 100% safe anywhere but its important so il have to research Ecuador some more

  52. Funny, I actually took the time to read almost all of the comments. I genuinely care to know what people think about Ecuador. I now have to write something. I do not have a blog or many opinion pieces, because I am a very busy professional. However, I have spent 2 – 4 months in Ecuador every year since the year 2004, that’s over 12 years in a row, due to my family in Guayaquil through marriage. I am also fluent in Spanish, however, I stick out as a gringo due to my blond hair and blue eyes. You can see me as an extreme case of “working from home”, on a cliff in Manabi overlooking the ocean with diesel generator powered internet or crammed into the darkest corner in the house in Guayaquil where the engine noise of passing buses would not interfere with my customer calls. I can say Ecuador is all that people write, positive and negative. You definitely need a survival strategy that is superior to finding the next shopping mall. I could tell you stories of being in a landslide that immobilized my overland bus in the jungle at 10pm (one person died) at night and walking off into the darkness with a headlight and my backpack, because I had to get to a place from where I could work with a client the next morning. I was lucky, the same bus line was diverted by armed robbers on another day leaving all passengers in their underwear and without their belongings. It was on the news. When I travel on the bus I always think about whether I would die for my work laptop. I pulled people from overturned vehicles from one of the nastiest traffic accident I have ever seen and ended up soaked in blood. I was there when my brother-in-law and his son had a violent fight with a gun armed robber on a city bus which they won and dropped him off neatly immobilized at the next police station. I think each family member averages around 3 mobile phones robbed off them (not stolen while unattended) before they hit 30 years old. I once escaped being assaulted with a knife by putting a car door between me and my attacker. I built a house for my mother-in-law (building code is just a word) and we ended up putting electric wire around the top, because thieves climbed in at night, twice, and took the wallets of sleeping family members. They were decent though, they kept the cash and returned all documents and cards the next day by throwing them neatly packaged through the window. Most thoughtful robbery ever! I was also the driver in 2 separate traffic accidents, the only 2 I have ever had in my life and both in Ecuador, after driving in dozens of other countries before including Mexico City, large Italian cities, Madrid and Panama City. I was jailed for 2 days for one. They detain drivers, because once they are set free they usually cannot find them to pay the damage. In that place you apparently sit in until you cough up the money or find someone who does it for you while you cannot visit the bank (including the overcharge law enforcement and legal aides pocket on the side to smooth the process… it is apparently worse the further you are removed from the power of the central government, due process anyone?). It is not a question if something like that is going to happen to you it is a question of when. Many people commenting above haven’t experienced the moment, yet. I saw foreigners forced out of the country, because they deposited all of their savings into a banking institution that was uninsured and closed overnight (everybody was shocked their assets were gone, just like that). Do I love Ecuador? Yes! It is a naturally beautiful country, I just don’t like the big cities, but Quito and Cuenca are nice for a stroll. It is also much, much safer once you leave the city (except of the cops, they feel nobody controls them when far out… until you make friends locally, then you are good). I love the food and the freshness of it, just as much as I hate the shopping. I love the climate (outside of Guayaquil, where I jog just before dark to find the sweet spot between not being scorched by the sun and still seeing the dog crap and other trash to circumvent it), truly enjoy the beaches (the ones where garbage pickup already functions). I also worked with local children as a volunteer and I loved it. It gives you a glimpse of what people outside of the developed world have to contend with every day. People are genuine, that also means that if they don’t like you, you will know it, even if you are the customer. It redefines your “first world problems”, you stop taking yourself seriously. It is a deeply satisfying experience. However, it is disrupting to your lifestyle, values, priorities. It changes you and you must be up for it, otherwise it won’t be a positive experience. Fun fact: In 2004 a full lunch with a drink was $1, now it’s $3 in the same place. You don’t notice change if you don’t give it time.

  53. Marcello,
    You are clearly in favour of the country you live in and know well. How ever many friends you talk to, you need to experience a country first-hand before you write damaging articles containing such sweeping statements. All 3rd world, developing and developed nations are dangerous or have dangerous areas in their cities. Fact. How many murders are there in Washington DC, New York, Milan, Rome etc.? Sure Ecuadorian cities require travellers to be careful, as you would in La Paz, where (a friend told me) they will shoot you for a mobile phone. That doesn’t mean as a blogger; I would write that I’d stay away from La Paz; it means that I’d advise caution, if anything as it’s hearsay.
    There are certainly areas of every town a local national will stay away from.
    Ecuador is incredibly diverse. For climbers to hikers there are mountains to suite everyone. For nature lovers, the diversity is immense, from rain forests, through cloud forests to hills and miles upon miles of beautiful pristine beaches. There are many nature reserves protecting hundreds of thousands of acres of land. As for culture, there are many diverse Kichwa communities high in the mountains and low in the Amazon and all this is linked with an excellent road system and cheap, (sometimes new, air-conditioned, comfortable) buses. You can find the most amazing historical sites and excellent local and international food. One amazing difference in Ecuador, is that it is all in this tiny country, all within a short (and comparatively comfortable) bus ride away. The South American continent is a wonder of diversity, but few countries have so much to offer in such a small and easily manageable space. “Tread before you spread”

    1. I did experience the country first hand and I have to tell you I didn’t like…. the people that gave me their opinions ARE ECUADORIANS. Born, raised, and lived in Ecuador. I don’t think there is anything damaging when an Ecuadorian actually agrees with me. Still stand by every single thing I wrote in this article. Sorry Jo… maybe you should listen to locals more often when you travel.

      1. That’s not true, there are lots of foreign people that wrote comments in this post. Maybe you should count them and provide us percentages, that way you’d give at least one valid information.
        But wait… you said that your opinion comes from what locals told you (people tend to exaggerate about problems in their own country) but now you dismiss the opinion of locals?? Mmm…
        You don’t make sense at all, I don’t know why I waste my time.

  54. Marcello, I’ve travelled as much as you and I do think you’re largely correct about everything. Still, why do you post this negative crap? You’re like the ultimate anti-Ecuador internet troll. LMAO!

    1. Lol David… I just try to tell the truth in what I see and do. I think that is why most people like my blog. I don’t sugar coat anything and just tell it like it is.

      1. Dude
        You were there for FOUR days and I dont care about how many locals you talked to. I can talk to you about
        My city, Barcelona, for days. You will not know a single thing unless you actually experience the city. And no, 4 days plus talking to a bunch of locals… Wont do it my friend. Also, just so you can see a point… There is so much rivalry between Madrid and Barcelona… The truth is that no city is better than the other. Different places for different people. Nothing to do with better or worse or More beautiful or less… It is different for everyone and you simply can’t speak for everyone as if you were God and you are delivering knowledge. You sound very, very ignorant.
        Btw… Check statistics on safety of Ecuador vs Colombia. Stay alive my friend.

        1. Your right…. locals that have grown up in Quito have absolutely no sense of what the city is like. Sorry Pat but your hateful and grossly misdirected comments are rather far fetched and also very inappropriate. You have a right to your opinion but not to spew hate in that manner. Your mother would definitely be proud of you.

  55. I stumbled across these posts on Ecuador whilst researching Ecuador’s current financial standing and could not resist putting in my 2 pennies worth.

    My wife and I just completed a month long road trip around Ecuador.

    Here are my (and generally our) views. I emphasise they are out views though.
    We have both spent extensive periods in other SA countries and in Asia so feel we are fairly broad minded and have experience of various cultures.

    We are both Spanish speakers, my wife a native speaker

    Pros
    The scenery is spectacular within the Andes ‘central run’. Ibarra downwards through Cayambe, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo.
    Fabulous volcano climbing
    Great for camping and no excessive (often none) park entry fees
    Excellent road network – although the actual road junction layouts leaves a lot to be desired
    Contrary to others we felt safe in terms of crime and the police exhibited a professional ambience
    Cheap fuel
    Interesting options for lodging with some innovative designs
    Feels quite modern without losing its charm
    Great surfing in Montanita and huge open beaches

    Cons
    As a lover of Latin America the sad and surprising thing that sticks out from out trip is that I found the people to be by and large highly unfriendly.
    At no stage did we actually feel welcome as visitors to their beautiful country
    Indeed they were often rude, dismissive and openly chasing every dollar they could extract. And I say this knowing SE Asia well.
    Interestingly we also found that other Latins we met (primarily from Venezuala, Argentina, Chile and Colombia) felt actively discriminated against.
    There was a disturbing ‘police state’ feel about the place.
    Aside from subsidised goods/fuel this is not a cheap place with many things taxed to the hilt
    Although not obvious immediately, you notice the absence of fun and music in comparison to other LA countries

    Bottom Line

    We loved the beauty of the country. We did not like the people, the staid atmosphere and the officious character of the country.
    If you can deal with the chaotic vibrancy then Colombia is infinitely better and just as beautiful. Crossing the border into Colombia was like a breath of fresh air – amazing what a smile can do.

  56. As a solo woman, it is hard to find places to go in South America. In Ecuador, there are many women ex pats and travelers who feel comfortable traveling about. Quito is a bit of a mosh pit, yes, but it has some nice things to see. However, going coastal is wonderful, to the north jungle meets ocean, and it is so beautiful. Little towns, hard working laid back folks, a lack of vicious trading -so to a lack of gas stations and McDonalds. I like the American dollar, but not the oil agreement in the Amazon. I like the U.S. beef import/export and the wonderful fresh Andean markets in the South -yummy friuts. But, the restauranting and tourism is not so hot for sure. Bussing and taxi service is not a given from Quito to the North to the South, … . But, if you want to relax, if you want to just absorb a pretty beach, you can find it in Ecuador. If you want a jungle experience, but don’t want to get lost in Brazil, you got it. If you want a disco, go elsewhere. If you want a genuine latin mass you got it all over the place. If you want a nice city to hold up in before hitting a river for rapids or going to sea for deep see fishing, you have it here. But, try Loja or Cuenca, or Manta for the fishing. If you want to ranch out in a almost jungle area and ride horses, you can find that in Ecuador. It is not as big, it is a bit more navigable BUT also less assisting to tourists. There are fewer guided programs. But, it can be back packed easily enough by a self motivated couple. I think that the article is a bit shallow, as it didn’t really experiment, but that itself is a symptom of Ecuador’s lack of packaged tour experiences utilizing its fabulous gifts. So, the idea it appeals to business people over tourists, I can see that. One might do well in a College here, over Columbia though, kind of going the middle ground of tourism and business.

  57. Hey everyone,

    Im looking to travel from Bogota, Colombia to Cuenca, Ecuador by bus and im mainly interested in natural scenory e.g ( volcanos, waterfalls etc ) and i have heard many mixed reviews regarding safety. So i need to know which places i should stay in between to break up the trip and see the natural scenory, tours etc.

    Im 6’4, middle eastern background and im quite experienced dealing with dangerous situations due to my past and upbringing, but due to the mix review i just want to know what sort of danger were talking about as im traving solo, as i can deal with couple of ppl but not a large group or if there is guns and swords etc so i want to know where i should stay away from if its that bad.

    1. Guayaquil is a large city, which has greatly improved the last 24 years have malecon 2000 Rio Guayas, the historic district and the rocks, the great nightlife in Urdesa city of Rio, restaurants, cafes, pubs, the Samanes park, the Malecón del Salado, the pink zone, the route to the coast, Samborondon, also heritage districts
      as Orellana, Centennial, the island Santay, indeed laughable you say it is dangerous and speak to us of Colombia, Peru and Brazil that are infested with violence
      drug cartels, guerrillas, terrorism, express kidnapping, murder is horrible and yet attacks Guayaquil jajajajajajajjajaajja, do not repeat gossip or lies about a great city, Guayaquil and Ecuador are far from holes as are those countries, it is more just miss you include the Salvador and Honduras with maras gangs as better than Ecuador.

  58. I live in Ecuador, have been here for 5 years and what he says is true. Ecuador is way behind in terms of economy and the governemt is highly anti-business. Quito is not safe and my friends there have been robed many times. Everyone who says Ecuador is so great, either has a vested interest here, like selling you a tour or realestate. It has so much positive information about it because there is AN INDUSTRY here that sells to gringos. Go to Uruguay or Columbia. It’s a whole other world! With freedom and economic growth up the yazoo! Ecuador sucks to work in and sucks for many natives. Don’t listen to the self rightour gringos who come here with money and say how great it is. Try making a living here.

  59. I’m sorry, but can you add some specifics to your post? You just make these broad generalized statements about it being a not-so-great place to visit, but you don’t offer specifics, anecdotes or suggestions. Your post, summarized, says “I was only there for a few days, US has ransacked, there are signs in English, there are stereotypes that are true in the world but I’m not going to list any specifics, dear God don’t go to Guayaquil. Medellin is awesome, I lived in Medellin, yay Medellin.”

    So…can you offer more? If you mean for this to be a helpful post for people considering travel to Ecuador, maybe explain what you were looking to do that you couldn’t here? What did you do during the 4 days — what was good and what was bad? What, specifically, makes Medellin a better choice? Without these specifics you sound a bit whiny and generalist. I’m curious to understand your perspective, but you’ve just thrown paint at a canvas, you haven’t given me a picture of what it’s like.

  60. Im currently in Quito and found this blog after doing a little research to confirm or deny my feelings in Quito.

    I’m a solo female traveller from the UK, very fair hair, skin and blue eyes, and came to Quito sooner than expected after having a bad experience in Banos. I have now been here a week. On my first evening i ventured out at night – since, I have endured to be in my hostel by dusk. I have felt neither safe nor welcome during my time here. As I am also doing language exchanges with locals, this has been confirmed (and perhaps even planted in my head, for good reason) by people that have grown up here.

    I’m due to catch a series of buses down to Lima tomorrow, and am now considering just blowing the remainder of my budget on a flight, as I am exhausted from always being on guard and feeling unsafe. I feel I’ve been lucky thus far, but don’t wish to push my luck.

    Any advice on this would be very welcome.

    Thanks for the article and also all the comments – an entertaining debate !

  61. Not surprising with Quito and other Ecuadorian cities–anywhere americans (hustlers) go, they wreak havoc–the hustlers only think about profit–that is their “value system”–sussing each other up for a buck–however, money is NOT a value–hence, the americans have no values other than swindling each other, selling dreck, and imperialism, They are nothing more than hustlers, swindlers, hucksters, and imposters–money is everything and is their essense of being. However, inward reflection and nuance are not strong points for most americans, and hence, why america failed–Morris Berman.

  62. Having lived in Ecuador for almost 2.5 years, I can whole-hearted agree with the author of this article. Ecuadorians are not “nice” people and it is not generally safe. The folks can be friendly when you first meet them, but as soon as something does not go their way – watch out. Having traveled the length of the country (from north of Ibara to Vilcabmaba), most of the length of the coast (Salinas to Mompiche), living in Quito for about five months, living in Cuenca for a year-and-a-half, one visit to the jungle, and several visits to the Galapagos (San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, and Isabela), I feel that Ecuador is neither safe nor friendly. The number of times I have been rippied for (sometimes for hundreds of dollars, sometimes for a quarter by a cab driver or market vendor, disgusts and discourages me). Such as being sold a Galapagos boat tour that the lady at the agency swore up and down was suitable for my five-year old, just to find out that it was not suitable at all – then being promised I would get a full refund. Haa! The only reason I got any money back at all was because I involved the police. Or taking my American-made, organic, wool comforter to the dry-cleaners – the only thing that got cleaned was me. They completely destroyed it (shrank it into a lumpy mass), then refused to discuss the matter or clear it up in any way. Cuenca is the most “reasonable” place I have been to here so far – I call it “Ecuador Light”. It is safer than Quito and definitely safer than Guayaquil – which I refer to the “Armpit of Ecuador”, but it is still Ecuador. Constantly on guard is what you have to be. Which is is why I am leaving. Life is too short to be constantly vigulant over the driving, getting ripped off, loud unpleasant music, the U.S. influence, etc., – the list goes on. AND it is not cheap. Correra has a 40% import tax and the IVA is 14%; so if you want anything of quality you pay big time. My exerience is that most things made in Ecuador are of very poor quality and do not last. The scenery is beautiful and the food is fresh (unfortunately hardly any organic and they use a lot of chemicals here). Other than that – well, what can I say, I gave it an honest try, but now it’s – Adios Ecuador!

  63. Marcelo, the countries you mentioned such as Colombia, Peru etc are far less desirable to live in overall than Ecuador. Colombia is probably moving in a good direction but it is highly corrupt and very far off from where Ecuador is. You talked about Ecuador not having its own currency, have you given thought to which currency is in Panama? Panama is also one of and if not the top place in Latin America. The countries you talked about are nowhere near the list of good places to love except Colombia is getting there. Brazil has rampant crime and is definitely not for anyone. Lastly in 4 days of travel to anywhere (not just Ecuador) does not give anyone the right to talk about anywhere in such a manner, but I guess the internet is free so clowns like you run wild.

    1. I actually would beg to differ Kerry. I would say Ecuador is much more corrupt considering the government that is in power. Also extremely difficult to do business in Ecuador with the current tax system in place as well. Knowing people that have lived in Ecuador I would still say that Colombia is quite better. A city like Medellin is miles better than Cuenca or Quito. I also wouldn’t recommend Panama as a place to live. There are actually quite a bit of people moving from Panama here to Medellin that I have gotten to know. Panama has become a bit dangerous from those expats I have spoken to. Brazil now has rampant crime yes but not as bad when I was living there. Calling people clowns on comment boards just because they don’t agree with your opinion isn’t necessarily the right way to go about things Kerry. There is always room for disagreement but not for insults. For your reference people who were raised in Ecuador agree with my assessment. I wouldn’t have wrote the post if they didn’t agree with me.

      1. Hey Marcello.
        While I’ve read your article and most of these comments below I can see your arguments but here it looks like you’re only criticizing 3 cities and honestly those who are arguing against you make good points as well. I myself come an Ecuadorean family and visit Ecuador every so often. Now, I will agree that it is hard to find pleasure while being in a city such as Quito and Guayaquil. My family are from the city of Ibarra which is two hours away from the capital so I have been there numerous times on my visits and also had the privilege of going to Guayaquil but for being too big, unsafe, and being to commercialized I don’t enjoy going to them anymore. There might seem to be a dying rate of culture within those cities but if you’re going to make an arguement case that Brazil and Colombia have better cities I could argue against that because I had the privilege to travel to those countries as well. Aside from Medellin; Bogota, Rio, and Sao Paolo are all cities that I’ve been and they are just as commercialized, unsafe, and have lack of culture, if not, worse than Quito and Guayaquil. You want to say that Guayaquil is unsafe, please it doesn’t scratch the surface to that of Rio, Medellin, and Bogota lack of safety. You want to talk about highly commercialized, just look at Sao Paolo and Bogota they lack authenticy and just crowded with modern buildings.
        Judging by your article you did the typical, cliche, Ecuador galapagos tour package that Westerners go for. That is just not honestly a trip to Ecuador. That’s a typical Disneyland vacation. 4 Days just tells me you only stayed overnight in Quito and spent the rest of the night in galapagos. You honestly haven’t even scratched the surface. I advice you do a little more research and consider doing more traveling to Ecuador before you really want to promote and warning travel to travelers.
        Like I said, I go there every so often and I could agree that cities such as Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca offer little in terms of authenticity but Ecuador brings more to the table than just those cities. Ecuador, aside from Galapagos, provides some of best natural scenery compared to those other countries that you’ve mentioned that can’t match or differs. Brazil does not have the mountain scenery that Ecuador has and Colombia can barely match the scenery of Cotopaxi national park, Chimborazo, Lake Quilotoa, or Lake Cuicocha. Lake of culture if you’ve stayed longer you would’ve seen it by visiting Otavalo which is famous for their indigenous community and their weaving textiles and it similarly can be seen at Cotacachi. Cotopaxi National Park also offers unique culture, as in cities such as Riobamba, Amabato. Or get a taste of the Ecuadorean coastal culture up in the providence of Esmeraldas, not at the highly western populated and influenced Montañita and Salinas. Oh, how could I forget about Baños. 60 waterfalls, bridge diving, hot springs, river rafting activitivies, and not to mention its iconic swing referred as the “swing at the end of the world.” And of course just drive a little past Quito up north and you have the privilege to step on the Equator at the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo.
        I hope I made an good argument case to have you think about your opinion and traveling decision to Ecuador but most importantly to our readers here. Now can I call you mean words for saying the things you said, absolutely not, but if you’re going to judge a whole country when you barely visited the capital and judge visited islands then I do step up. Shit I hated Ipliales and Pasto when I first visited Colombia but I still went back because I knew I haven’t scratched the surface and was amazed with Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla, and Cartagena. Same with Brazil. I hated Sao Paolo but Rio, Iguazu, their beaches and the Amazon changed my opinion. Go by the old saying, “Never judge a book by its cover.”

  64. For the most part, what you can honestly say is that you prefer Medellin to Quito. Many people do. The rest of what you have to say about Ecuador is completely here say. I am not surprised that you would trash your neighbour to the east, especially considering how much positive press Ecuador has received in the last five years. Columbia, on the other hand, a country that I intend to visit next year after my return visit to Ecuador next week is much maligned because of its reputation for drug lords and a fifty year old civil war that we all hope has finally come to an end. How would you feel if someone trashed Columbia after spending four or five days in Bogota? You would be pissed. It wouldn’t be fair. Similarly, you diss Ecuador and its people in a way that reminds me of the “ugly American” who thinks he knows it all and can say whatever he wants based largely on nothing more than a puffed up notion of the value of his opinions.

    In short, Ecuador offers an incredible variety of travel experience on the cheap, excluding going to the Galápagos Islands. Three days in Quito is enough. The treasures are elsewhere. Less than two hours from Quito, you can descend the snow-capped recently active volcano, Cotapaxi, on a mountain bike. If that doesn’t do it for you, how about zip-lining by the waterfalls in Banos? While you are in the vicinity check out the Mindo cloud forest, a world class hiking and birding spot. Want more, you are a short distance from the Amazon River basin. You’re just getting started because Ecuador has four distinct microclimates that are only a cheap one hour flight away. Fly to Guayaquil, which is a much more modern city that has amazing seafood and a vibrant night life and take the similar precautions for your safety as you would in Chicago or New York. Also, don’t take a cab on the street. Phone a taxi company and they will text you back with the license number of the cab they have sent for you (not rocket science). From Guayaquil, it’s your choice. By all means visit the Galápagos Islands if you can. If you like to surf and party your face off, take the air-conditioned bus to Montanita, which hosts international surfing competitions and where people party until the sun rises. As for me, I prefer Olon which is a few kilometers up the road (less than a two dollar cab fare) where it is much more laid back and where you can try your hand at sailing a cart on the beach when the tide is out. Once you return to Guayaquil, fly down to Cuenca, which is also a UNESCO heritage sight. The pink sandstone cathedral with its blue domesis an architectural jewel. It’s like living in a Spanish city at less than a third of the price. Back on the plane and it’s a short jaunt to Loja, and from there take either a cab or the bus to Vilcabamba, located in the Valley of Longevity. It is a small town with an amazing climate, spring like weather all year around that attracts expats from around the world. There is a magnificent national park close by and if your ass is up to it you can ride into it on horseback.

    You can do all of this on the cheap because once once you get to Ecuador (don’t fly at Christmas) food, lodging, and ground transportation are ridiculously low by North American standards. As far as safety goes, I didn’t have any problems but I make a point of not showing bling and avoiding certain barrios both in the day time and at night, but then again I’m built like a rugby player.

    I found the people to be very friendly (I speak Spanish fluently) and as result of making friends on my first trip there, I will be hosted by a family for my return trip to Guayaquil. I am leaving just after Christmas so I can take in the Años Viejos celebration where at midnight on New Year’s Eve, people take to the streets and burn life size effigies, stuffed with fireworks of politicians, sports stars, and even family members. My friends have even prepared one of me in order to welcome me into the family. Yes, the fiesta will be loud and people will be drinking and dancing in the streets. Can hardly wait to get there.

    One last thing, as travellers we all have unique experiences of the places we visit. For example, if you have the misfortune of getting robbed somewhere, you won’t have a favourable impression of the place. So, I just want to end my comment with a link to a study that found that the most empathetic people in the world live in which country? You guessed it, Ecuador!!!

    http://www.sciencealert.com/the-most-empathetic-countries-in-the-world-have-just-been-ranked

    Chao

    BTW, I am looking forward to visiting Medellin in the near future. Apparently, you have one of the best football clubs in the world who play there.

    1. Marcello mi amor. I am a 63 year old retired woman, packed and ready to travel to Ecuador this Monday Dec. 26. I have travel to many “third world countries” including the continent of Africa.
      I have been looking for information in the net about Ecuador. I will be visiting Ibarra, Otavalo and of course Galapagos. Your article have render strong reactions from many people hence the torrent of comments. I read you article and yes I reacted and dismiss it. Unfortunately or not you article kept coming up in my searches, hence my comment hopefully is not a reaction. I am from Puerto Rico born and raised; a proud latina. A great deal of people see and experience things in R. P. that I do not. But here is my two cents… I learned long ago that Einstein’s theory of relativity is true weather we what to accepted or not. This is simple: 1st- there is no absolute frame of reference, 2nd- the speed of light is the same no matter who measures it or how fast the person measuring it is going, 3rd- nothing can go faster than light. Einstein’s theory couple with Newton’s laws of motion underscore our reality. There is no need to explain your views, they are yours. That is your reality, your experience.
      You are very good at pointing out the half empty glass; I rather see it half full. I certainly will pray that sooner rather than later you will be able to see how beautiful the view is from my side.

  65. Tania, I was born in Puerto Rico also, and I have traveled to Ecuador several times in the last couple years. I was there before and after the earthquake. The reality is that there are pros and cons to Ecuador just like every place I have visited over the years. I traveled in Ecuador by taxi, bus and air from one city to the next. Travel by air is fast and convenient. I have also traveled in the crowded trolley of Quito. Those trollies could be dangerous. Quito is like many major city, people are usually moving at a fast pace. Cuenca is a smaller city and the people there are more reserved. There’s a large indigenous population in Cuenta. The coastal areas area not like the ones in the Caribe but the seafood is really good and cheap. I have yet to visit the Ecuadorian amazon although I have visited the Peruvian Amazon which I loved, except it was a risky trip because of the Guerillas back in the days. I’m planning to go back to Ecuador this year as I have made many friends and I stay at their house. Ecuadorians are a little more open than us Puerto Ricans as far as letting someone stay at their house.

  66. HI Marcello. I’d have to say that I have a lot of conflicting thoughts on your article. My mother is from Ecuador and my dad is from the US of British stock. As such, I have been “in between” in so many circumstances in Ecuador. One day I hate it…days when I have something stolen for example. Or when my family there are fighting with each other. And on days when I return to the country and see so much clear-cutting. Then there are days when I am in love with the land. It is the land that I love. The land that some of my mother’s ancestors came to settle thousands of years ago. So, of course, I am going to feel a more ancestral connection to the land itself. What I don’t like is the way that some things go down there. Things like corruption and clear-cutting. Of putting the Native populations in sort of reservations where they are cut-off of government protection individually if they decide to move out or have a non-native partner.

    Mind you too that Ecuador was twice as big as it is today prior to 1941 when the two biggest oil companies, Shell and Texaco waged a war for the oil lands in the Amazon. And before this, when my first European ancestors came to Ecuador (Viceroy of Peru- Borja from Spain) Ecuador was not Ecuador. It was all the province of Peru. Ecuador has suffered so much. The land suffers, the people suffer…

    OK, all that being said. The comments about the amount of time….totally true. 4 days on the mainland is not enough time to really gather an assumption of what Ecuador is. I have been there 4 times for months at a time and I still have not seen everything. My mom is from there and she even discovers more each time. Things that cannot be seen in other countries such as the particular Inan sites that haven’t been excavated yet.

    There are so many examples that I could give you of things that can only be seen in Ecuador. Are there “better” countries. Wow, well that is really niave to even attempt to answer. Or things that you can see elsewhere that can also be found in Ecuador.

    I have been to 15 countries and counting….I travel mostly alone and really get into the culture to know what it is all about. To make a sweeping idea on a country is not a good idea.

    What IS good about the article is that it brings awareness on how the big cities can improve. There have literally been times where I feel amazingly safe in Quito then the next time I go visit a year later feel very unsafe.

    My suggestion, go there and seek the things that can only be found in Ecuador. Anyone who travels knows that until you go to a place, you truly cannot get a feel for it until you are there.

    Oh and one more thought: Shamanism is a HUGE business in South America. One of the great things about doing any kind of shamanic ritual in Ecuador (such as Ayahuasca) is that the shamans in Ecuaudor are licenced and regulated. Which means that they have to go through testing on ability through the native councils and also that you will be less likely to be overcharged or swindled by some “street shaman” as happens quite often in Peru. I wish Peru would be more active in doing the same thing there so that less people are swindled and can get hurt!

  67. My wife and I just spent a week in Quito on vacation. We had a great time. If I had to do it again, 4 days would have been enough for the Quito area.. There is a lot to see between Old Town and the various excursions. Gringoland, Fouch Plaza are not all that special and geared more to the very young. We rented a motorcycle and self-toured by GPS (the Freedom Motorcycle Rental guys are awesome) There is no point driving in Quito with the traffic, limited signs and the fact that cabbies are cheap.(75% will cheat you and go off the meter, but I’ll gladly pay $4-5 dollars for a $2 fare if everyone is happy) I would have no problem renting a car to travel in country, the roads are good andgas is cheap. The scenery, mountains,rivers, lakes are beautiful—–but yes very familiar to what you can find in Costa Rica, and elsewhere. I found the people to be very nice—the country is now stressed by low oil prices. They are pressed by the Chinese on debt and realize the US was a better partner. We had no problem with crime, but obviously you keep your senses up in such a country. I want to return, but would visit other areas—Cuenca and coastal towns/cities as well as the Amazon.

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