I haven’t been to South America since 2015 which is ages ago already. And a trip to another continent is always exciting. Everything is different and lots of new impressions are basically flooding you each day. This is exactly what happened while traveling around Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Such a long trip does always start with a flight though and my tips are already beginning with this. Yours, Pollybert
1.) When Iberia announces that you will love their food, beware!
2.) Actually don’t fly Iberia, you can’t even choose your own seat for the long distance flight anymore but need to pay an extra 20€. Also on flights within Europe board service is only available upon payment.
3.) The weather app forecasts 18 degrees and a very good chance of rain for Quito, but the rains keep off until the evening and it’s actually quite hot (think shorts and t-shirts even for frosties like me). So pack summer clothes as well.
4.) The churches here have wooden floors and not stone (see my post on the churches of Quito).
5.) During carnival children are getting a can with foam and start spraying everyone.
6.) You see almost no cats but lots of dogs which are not strays but always on the leash.
7.) The police here use Segways to get around the historic centre.
8.) While we Austrians tend take a bigger table to put down all our stuff, the Ecuadorians sit down at a table for three when they are five.
9.) Happy hour is a killer especially when it is three for two. Whoever invented this?
10.) Vegetarian dishes are few and far in between in this meat lovers country.
11.) There are towns which are specialized in one thing only like biscuits, leather, jeans, roses or ice cream.
12.) The flights between the Galapagos Islands only allow luggage up to 25lb (or a bit over 11kg). When you don’t have a chance to store anything, pack light.
12.) In Ecuador once you sit down at the table a spicy salsa called aji arrives with bread. We have started to call it ‘general’ sauce because it had everywhere the same color but was always slightly different.
14.) Postcards from Ecuador are a bit of a problem: the cards you can find anywhere and they are cheap but getting stamps is a bit of a problems. We couldn’t find a post office forever and then finally one in Cuenca down south. Turns out though that the stamps were around 3$ each and it takes more than three months to arrive. So I took the cards home and mailed them from there.
15.) Motorbikes and fridges are sold at the same store.
16.) If you travel around the country and buy a SIM card, go with Claro. Movistar doesn’t work on the coast and the Galapagos.
17.) The Panama hat is actually from Ecuador because the straw it is woven with comes from a plant which only grows in the Ecuadorian forest.
18.) The Galapagos Islands were the first place where the hotel gave us a free bottle of water which you can then refill at a water fountain. Very eco-friendly.
19.) They still have DVD rental places.
20.) Don’t pet iguanas. Not that I ever would but this sign was really helpful.