On Ecuador: Working, the Andes and the Galapagos

I spent three months in Quito, Ecuador and it was my first time in Latin America. I loved it and these are a bunch of things I noted down randomly.

  • Quito is 2.8K m above sea level and the high altitude hits you. I felt very sleepy the first two days but then got accustomed to it after I went for a couple of morning runs.
  • Ecuador is a great place to learn Spanish since they do not have an accent like other Latin American countries. I did an hour of class every weekday and loved the teachers at Simon Bolivar School. I continue to learn from them online.
  • Most Latin American metropolitan cities have something called the Cycle Pass, [Cyclo Paseo] or Cyclovia where they cordon off major roads on Sunday for runners, skateboarders and bicyclists.
  • Oh, there are no lights for pedestrians. Cross the roads at your own risk.
  • After Cotopaxi erupted early 2016 and a recovering economy after switching to US dollars, the country is growing and still underrated in Latin America.
  • Ecuador is known for the Highlands(Andes), Coast(Montanita), Amazonas far east and the Galapagos!
  • Quito is on the Equator, the sun is up at 6 am sharp, and people rise early, sleep early.
  • I found it surprising the way you greet women by bumping cheeks, but not women.
  • Park Carolina in Quito is like the Central Park of New York.
  • The startup ecosystem is still nascent, and young smart folks are working on interesting problems at Buen Trip Hub, where I spent my day time working.
  • I got interested in high altitude mountain climbing (on another post) after climbing Pichincha, Illiniza Norte and Cayambe!
  • On Food
    • I loved the almuerzo/lunch. Looked forward to it everyday; includes jugo/juice - and the kinds of fruits you see are exotic - probably never heard of them(Maracuya, Granadilla,
    • Chocho was a high protien corn that I used to have for breakfasts.
    • Guayusa is a tea made of cocaine leaves (like hoja de coca), great for high altitude and replaces the high you need from coffee.
    • Canelazo is a drink made from cinnonen and local liquor, served hot and available at any street shop. Gives you a sugar high.
  • Tuenti has a great connectivity for a SIM card, though you need a local friend for you to get it activated.
  • The Expressways all across Ecuador is well planned and laid out. The professional cyclists come from all across the world to bike here to improve their lung capacity.
  • Uber does not work in Ecuador yet, Cabify came to my rescue.
  • On Galapagos
    • One of the most beautiful islands I have been to; the animals have grown away from human contact and come so close. Sharks, Turtles, Sea lions, Iguanas - you will need at least two weeks for Santa Cruz, Isabella and San Cristobal.
    • I hit me knee during snorkeling and had free emergency care, X-ray and consultation, which is was exceptionally surprising.
    • I'll leave this here.

Overall, the people are really nice, gave me a comfortable environment for getting good work done and I am going back to Ecuador to climb Chimborazo and Cayambe :)