6 months ago I was sitting at my desk in a dimly lit room, hunched over my laptop. I yelled across our small apartment to my roommate. I found an incredible deal. This deal will never happen again. $90 roundtrip from Miami to Ecuador. We both knew the flight deal wouldn’t last. We booked immediately. That trip is coming up this week.
I found the deal through SkyScanner. The site aggregates flight deals with a simple search. I check it weekly. Skyscanner sent me to BravoFly, a flight booking intermediary. Through Bravofly we booked the flights with Avior Airlines. We were initially concerned. The flight had a 21-hour layover in Venezuela, a politically unstable place. Fortunately, the airlines cut that to a 4-hr layover. This allows us to wait out our flight at the international lounge at General José Antonio Anzoátegui International Airport in Barcelona.
Ecuador is a Latin American country sitting on the Equator. It has a range of climates, from the Pacific coastal lands, to the high Andes and the Amazon River Basin. Our trip begins in the south in the largest city, Guayaquil. We’ll make our way to the coastal surfing paradise of Montañita, and finally to Baños, outdoor adventure capital. We’ll take winding bus rides through the Ecuadorian outback, swim with carnivorous jellyfish, and salsa our way through the February summer in South America.
Vaccinations are a consideration going to any country with a health infrastructure less developed than that of the US. I researched vaccinations on the CDC website. I consulted a local travel medicine physician. Even without my vaccination records, she was able to confidently make recommendations on the standard preventative vaccinations (flu, tetanus, Hepatitis A/B, etc) and a few extra for travelers (Yellow Fever, Typhoid, and prophylactic antibiotics.) I advise you seek out a travel medicine doctor before going to these countries. She was able to answer specific questions I had about food, swimming, and the specific regions we’d be visiting in Ecuador. Health risks vary in different areas based on climate, altitude, and population density. Mosquitoes with Malaria bite at different times of day than mosquitoes with other Yellow Fever. DO NOT go anywhere near a bat. If you touch one you’ll have to catch the next flight home. I advise you seek out a travel medicine doctor before going to these countries.
The trip begins with a $70 round trip flight to Miami on Frontier airlines out of Philadelphia International. I’ll attempt to dine at Franky’s Deli Warehouse, the #2 Yelp restaurant in 2017. I plan on spending a couple days soaking in the Miami sun (always bring sunscreen, kids) and touring some food spots we missed last year. I’ll sip margaritas poolside at the Fontainebleau Hotel in mid-Miami Beach. I’ll eat a bit of Miami’s fresh ceviche.
In Miami, I’ll meet up with my roommate and fly down to Guayaquil, Ecuador. There we’ll explore the city. I’m hoping to check out some top food spots. Yelp is not available in Ecuador. Tripadvisor and Facebook Places are my strategy. Even those are pretty weak.
From Guayaquil we’ll bus over to Montañita, a small surfing beach village on the Pacific. I was recommended Montañita by a traveler in my hostel room in Kyoto. He described it as a perfect South American beach town. It’s not mucked up with high-rise hotels or chain restaurants. It’s a place where people from many cultures, including American ex-pats, have made home.
Sun-soaked and surfed-out we’ll bus across the country to Baños. Baños is known as a destination for adventure seekers and outdoors lovers. I’ve heard stories of glaciering, canyoneering, bungee jumping, ziplining, hiking, and a host of other spirit-pumping activities.
From Baños we make our way back to Guayaquil and the US.
Ecuador seems is a dream destination. It’s cheap, it’s simple to get around. It has beach, jungle, desert, and city life.