WHAT'S COOKING ECUADOR?
Updated: Oct 31, 2019
Places to travel? Let me introduce you to Ecuador. Everyone kept asked me, 'Why Ecuador?', and I'm all like, 'Well, why not?'. Okay, so in all honesty I initially wanted to travel to Peru but the friend I was traveling with had already gone there. We decided on my neighboring country Ecuador (I'm Colombian btw) because I had someone boast so much about it that I had to go see it for myself. We then decided that we would go to Montanita, Manta, Quito and Banos. Here I'll give you a bit of the scoop of each place and must do's.
This hippie town is known for its beach vibes and was definitely my favorite part of the trip. Here's what I did during my stay there and I highly recommend you visit some of these places depending on what you love of course:
A bar with excellent ambiance, a live band in the early evening, a sand filled dance floor and excellent music to dance your heart out all night.
An awesome and very artsy hostel. It has great food, beach views and great drinks. I came here as a guest for the day but would recommend you book a room here for your stay (hint: picture above is Selina).
A very chill and beautiful cocktail bar. Has swings inside for a very relaxing atmosphere, great cocktail deals & amazing customer service. Oh, and for my environmentally friendly peeps, they stay away from plastic use!
DAY TIME SOUVENIR SHOPPING
Day time shopping was the best thing here. During the day all you see are stands of knick knacks. They had unique jewelry and art pieces at amazing pricing. Everything is negotiable so make sure you go ready to make some deals and get some beautiful pieces.
The neighboring town of Montanita. I came across this beach from a local who told us that he lived there and worked in Montanita. He said it was known for their food and restaurants being on the beach. Believe me, he wasn't lying about the food, it was ah-maze-ing and it's only about a 5min. taxi ride from Montanita.
LOST BEACH CLUB
If you're a house/techno head well this is your place. I'm a sucker for good house music so when I came here I truly felt at home. The decor of the place is off the charts and it's definitely a must if you're in Montanita. A lot of well known DJs go and spin at Lost Beach and even if you're not a house head try it out .. it won't kill you!
Ahh day drinking .. how can we resist? If you travel to Montanita there is absolutely no way that you can avoid day drinking. Once the afternoon hits you have stands on the main strip (you literally can't miss it) where you sit and drink all day long (naps will be required). You just sit, people watch and talk with friends. There is nothing like it.
When I got to manta I wasn't expecting anything but a small town and to my surprise it was a huge city that had so much to offer! Unfortunately, we were only there for the day but we definitely made the most of it and soaked in the culture. We took the day to just relax since Montanita and all the traveling really took a lot out of us. I would definitely recommend staying a bit longer but if it's only a day get you a room by the airport (yes i meant to mess that up).
POOLSIDE AT AQUAMARINA HOTEL
Sometimes (as all humans may know) you just really need a damn break and that's exactly what I got when i stayed at Aquamarina Hotel. Luxury for an amazing price. We paid $60 (tax included) for this amazing hotel and the service well let me just say this .. that 1 day stay really wasn't enough.
A friend of mine who is actually from Ecuador sent us to this restaurant and I mean um how can we say no to recommendations from a native!? Best decision we made! The food was incredible. We both had burgers (clearly we were starting to miss home) but my god was this burger amazing we left with full tummies that's for sure.
Ahh Quito, Quito! What can i say about you? What a thrill it was to meet you, to explore you, to breathe you! Quito was definitely an experience. The people? The sweetest! If you're in Ecuador I'm begging you do not miss the opportunity to meet beautiful Quito. It is a huge city so just know that going in and literally make the best of all it has to offer. The food, drinks, atmosphere. It is a mountainous area so expect cold weather. Alright, let's dive into the must do's in beautiful Quito:
VISIT THE STREETS OF QUITO
It's literally a gem of old historic streets. The beauty is unbelievable, it takes you back in history to things you really don't get to see back home (depending where you come from, of course). Take some time, walk around these beautiful grounds, inhale it's beauty and exhale the bullshit! Extremely therapeutic if you ask me.
An amazing friend of mine is actually from Quito so i was able to cheat and find the best local place to get breakfast. Yum, fruteria monserrate! You must try their fruit salads and if you're in the mood for a salty breakfast (actually even if you aren't) make sure to try their empanadas de Morocho (corn), Empanadas de Verde, or Bolon. These empanadas are pretty big so careful how many you get. Now it's time to order up!
This plaza is a must! This is what they call the center of Quito and where you'll be able to eat amazing good, have amazing drinks and experience the nightlife all in one plaza. Azucar was actually my favorite place because of their unbelievable drinks, their food was amazing, and the service was A1 baby! I would give you a list of places but they have everything so it's really up to you to pick what your belly is in the mood for that day.
MITAD DEL MUNDO PART 1
There are two places you can go that are considered "Mitad Del Mundo", however the real on is The Intinan Solar Museum (pictured here). They take you on a cool mini tour and tell you about the history of Ecuador. You can also balance an egg which I failed miserably at but hey I tried and you should too!
MITAD DEL MUNDO PART 2
So this one is a few minutes from the museum and it's not the legitimate Mitad Del Mundo but it's honestly so awesome to go look at and definitely a great spot for pictures as you can tell.
If you love shopping than you must come to this shopping center. It has so much good stuff. Clothing, art, jewelry, coffee, etc. Anything you'd want to bring back as gifts or even for yourself you'll find here. go with ample time, you'll be there a while.
Banos is a small town 3 hours outside of Quito but it's totally worth the trip. If you decide to go make sure you plan to stay at least one night because I only stayed for the day and ended up regretting my decision. Getting there by taxi is pricey, it'll run you about $100 U.S dollars one way. I took the bus which was super comfortable and safe. Have the taxi take you to Quitumbe Bus Terminal and just ask for buses going to Banos. A bus ticket will cost you no more than $10, if that. once you arrive you can walk down the street and find a full day tour that takes you out to do zip lining, see Isla Del Pailon and best of all la Casa del Arbol. Now let's adventure through Banos:
ISLA DEL PAILON
You'll have to do a little hiking here so make sure to have comfortable clothes and most importantly comfortable sneakers! Once you get up there the view will take your breath away! You'll be in nature and away from reality. Even the smell is life changing.
LA CASA DEL ARBOL
I'm sure we've all heard about La Casa Del Arbol but if you haven't this is a famous tree at the very top of Banos where you swing off a huge cliff. I'm being very literal about this cliff when I say that you have nothing holding you but a measly strap around your waist. It was a scary and exciting experience and I truly recommend you doing this on your trip to Ecuador.
Ecuador was definitely an adventure and I feel like I still had so much to explore. A place that many people don't think about exploring was a gem of an experience. I'd recommend anyone and everyone to #exploreecuador. I look forward to a second trip to discover more about this beautiful country.