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The best things to discover in Ecuador

Hello everyone,

What have you discovered in Ecuador that you would recommend to other expats?

Are there any places that you enjoy visiting on the weekends, be it areas of natural beauty or shopping malls? Are there any Ecuadorian dishes that you would recommend?

What are some of the best activities in Ecuador?

Are there any unique customs or places you were introduced to by locals that you think other expats might be interested in? Are there any local festivals that expats might want to get involved with?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Priscilla

Some countries have so many obstacles to do the littlest thing when it comes to recreation. It can be unbearable weather, lack of facilities, formalities, distance or inconvenience getting somewhere. This is not the case with Ecuador and for those who enjoy outdoor activities there is a lot to do with ease. I recommended the numerous hiking spots, the cycling routes, and even camping in the Andes. Bring your own gear though; a Coleman’s tent will be four times as much for instance, and might dissuade people for even attempting camping.
 
The municipality where I live makes it easy for people to enjoy themselves, by providing all the details and also by having dedicated areas for certain activities. These activities are definitely not for everyone and I wasn’t much of an outdoorsy person myself but this is a great place to start because of the ease of it. So that’s the main discovery I realized, it doesn’t take much effort to do something, although with public transportation hiking areas that are a few hours away will leave you exhausted by the time you return home, but that’s a good thing. You can however start on a smaller scale and hike or cycle closer to where you live .

As for food the soups are delicious and so are Manabita sweets, the coconut flavored ones, which I think all of them are flavored that way.  :D They're made with tons of sugar but nothing wrong with overindulging if you're burning it off. The malls are nice too, and they have everything here as long you have ample money. But yes they do have everything. Malls are also a great place to listen to how people talk if you are practicing Spanish. That’s one of my hobbies now, and it’s not only fun but necessary as far as I’m concerned.

Ecuador is so ripe with amazing things! The fruit is incredible (which make for some amazing juice!), the people are amazing and the countryside is breathtaking. Personally, I love the chocolate, where else can you buy a kilo of 70% cocoa, organic chocolate for $10? (We buy it 2 kilos at a time!) The coffee is excellent and the festivals here in Cuenca boggle the mind. El Pase de Niño Viajero (a Christmas Eve parade that winds through the city) is more than 9 hours long! The effigies and celebrations at New Years are not to be missed and if you want the whole family to have a (soaking and foamy) good time, Carnival is also quite the experience. This doesn't even include all the art, music and food festivals that the city has to offer. As another commenter mentioned, they really have soup down to a fine art. I don't even like soup and I eat it here all the time.

The Galapagos is another must see. We loved every second we were there and hiking in the Cajas (a very large national park near Cuenca) is always an amazing experience, no matter the weather. If you haven't experienced Ecuador yet, you really should try it!

PEI Red :

Ecuador is so ripe with amazing things! The fruit is incredible (which make for some amazing juice!), the people are amazing and the countryside is breathtaking. Personally, I love the chocolate, where else can you buy a kilo of 70% cocoa, organic chocolate for $10? (We buy it 2 kilos at a time!) The coffee is excellent and the festivals here in Cuenca boggle the mind. El Pase de Niño Viajero (a Christmas Eve parade that winds through the city) is more than 9 hours long! The effigies and celebrations at New Years are not to be missed and if you want the whole family to have a (soaking and foamy) good time, Carnival is also quite the experience. This doesn't even include all the art, music and food festivals that the city has to offer. As another commenter mentioned, they really have soup down to a fine art. I don't even like soup and I eat it here all the time.

The Galapagos is another must see. We loved every second we were there and hiking in the Cajas (a very large national park near Cuenca) is always an amazing experience, no matter the weather. If you haven't experienced Ecuador yet, you really should try it!

Good stuff.

So this 1 kilogram of chocolate for $10, is it edible as is or do you use it in recipes? And where do you buy it?

I’m asking because it might be a nice gift for chocolate lovers, which there seems to be plenty of.

This one discovery or realization is about Quito – it’s a romantic city. Prior to moving here I would never have thought to expect such but settling down the beauty and charm of a city appears. In many aspects, romance or romantic is a subjective matter, but I will write about tangible romantic places that are visible to all.

Walking is undoubtedly one of the most romantic things and Quito has plenty of lovely parks to walk with your spouse or lover. This can be Carolina, Metropolitiano,  Ejido or several others. Grab a delicious ice cream for your gal and walk with her.

Quito has a lively theater scene which can definitely be part of a romantic evening. Who doesn’t like to see classical plays or live music? This month at teatro sucre, The Little Prince will be in town, and every month there is something nice showing. The theater followed by a nice dinner, is pretty darn romantic.

Dinner, there are restaurants and then there are romantic restaurants. Quito actually has a whole quarter that is ideal for couples – La Ronda street with numerous restaurants is romantic in the evening . There are also other restaurants nearby that area with breathtaking views. Café Mosaico for instance is perfect for an outside romantic lunch or dinner that will give you amazing views of Quito.

And flowers, Ecuador is one of the main exporters of flowers, and in Quito they are all over the place. It’s effortless to buy them during the weekend because there are vendors on main streets as well as some selling from their hatchbacks or pickups (economy down). But yes buying flowers is hassle-free. And personally I don’t like to go inside florist shops, but if I see some nice flowers readily available on the street, why not.

Good observation about Quito. But you said the word "romantic" so many times, I had to throw up.
I know, I'm off the subject and not contributing to the thread. I can hear it coming! 🤓

Chocolate... Depends! If it is straight unsweetened, you grate it and sweeten it or add Chile's for Mexican dishes . The internet is your friend for this!

I love unsweetened cocoa powder. I mix a teaspoon with boiling water, a tablespoon honey, a dash of hot sauce, and stir with a cinnamon stick. My morning wake up drink!!! It's more Aztec than Inca  but nice on a nippy morning in front of a cool ocean.

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