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    So! In a month's time after 6 months of working my arse off, I'm travelling to Quito and then on to San Cristobel for 6 weeks of volunteering at a school, the biological reserve and then when back in Ecuador am off to the Amazon!

    I'm going with Projects Abroad, alone, and am obviously (apart from being excited!) v nervous.

    Does anybody have any experience of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands or Projects Abroad, negative or positive?
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    Was in Ecuador for 2 months this Jan. I did the trip by myself, and made some amazing friends in the strangest situations. Hope this advice settles your nerves a little.

    Ecuador- I heard a lot of talk about how dangerous South America is chose to travel anyway, and it was by far the best decision. If you can speak Spanish, you'll be set. Ecuadorian's are fairly nice about travellers, and in general you should be able to get by pretty well with "traveller's Spanish". What's great about Ecuador is that it's cheap, something I didn't realise until I went to Colombia. Travelling by bus, it'll cost $1 an hour (approx.) for long distance trips.

    Quito- First thing to note is that Quito is 3500ish metres above sea level. Really took it out of me on my arrival, two days lying in bed, not wanting to eat, constant headache. Toiletries kept exploding, always fun. But each time I went back to Quito (for flights) I became accustomed quicker. I didn't really like Quito, but stayed for 2 weeks teaching English at a friend's school. You can get cheap accommodation around the main plaza- plaza Foch (pronounced Fosh). I stayed at the Blue house hostel, it was clean, cheap, and had a great time because of the travellers staying there and the staff. The Old City or Centro Historico is nice to explore day and night, really colonial, cobblestone roads and all. Other things I did include; El Panecillo it's this angel on top of a hill, great views of the city, El Teleferico a cable car that takes you up a mountain for the best views, Cyclovia on Sundays they close the main road for cyclists, it's a really nice way to see the whole city- and meet Ecuadorians, cutest little kids zipping past screaming their heads off! Other things you can do: climb Cotopaxi, opted not to do this, but two friends did and although it was gruelling - cycling and climbing, they loved it. Transport in Quito is cheap. You pay 25 cents for a bus ride, no matter how far. The Trole buses are kind of like a metro system, be careful because there are a lot of pick pocketers around. Night life in the Plaza Foch is great, there's a great atmosphere and the streets are buzzing. Try out salsa, it's the only way to dance.

    Mindo- by far one of the greatest places in Ecuador, it's a cloud rainforest town 2 hours from Quito. It cost's $5 return, I stayed at Hugolino's hostel Cabañas Armonía which is about 5 minutes from where the bus drops you off. The hostel was $9 a night, including breakfast. Such a good deal. There's loads to do there; you can go to a butterfly farm, tubing, hike around waterfalls, zip lining.

    Baños- about 3 hours from Quito, a hot spring town where you basically chill all weekend. There's a cycle route and mud baths. I didn't end up going here, but I heard it was great and quiet.

    The coast- There's a Ruta del Sol, which is a backpacker route along the Ecuadorian coast. Canoa, Bahia, Montanito (the Ibiza of South America) Esmereldas, the Isla de Plata (poor man's Galapagos).

    And of course the Galapagos- I got really lucky and ended up going on an 8 day cruise around the Western islands. Time of my life. So chill, had the greatest people on my boat. Here's the guy I booked with, David, a Canadian guy who's really honest www.eosecuador.travel

    If you'd like more info, just inbox me. All the best with your travels, I know you'll have a great time
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    Fantastic thank you!

    I am leaving tomorrow, and am starting to freak out a little. My spanish is basic at best, at the stopovers in Guayaquil are unnerving me.

    Did you find Quito particularly intimidating? Friends who have stayed there have said how horrific it is/how violent it is etc which seems the opposite to what you've said.
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    Sorry is this is too late- currently in Australia.

    You know, Quito was intimidating, but then again I'm from London so it didn't really bother me. Keep your wits about you and you should be fine. I also heard some horror stories but thankfully never experienced anything.

    Where will you be staying in Quito? I might be able to help you out some more.
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    (Original post by linney)
    So! In a month's time after 6 months of working my arse off, I'm travelling to Quito and then on to San Cristobel for 6 weeks of volunteering at a school, the biological reserve and then when back in Ecuador am off to the Amazon!

    I'm going with Projects Abroad, alone, and am obviously (apart from being excited!) v nervous.

    Does anybody have any experience of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands or Projects Abroad, negative or positive?
    Well aren't you lucky!? I've just come back from Ecuador and the Galapagos and it was the best experience I've ever had. I didn't have time for the Amazon but I'll do it one day! Bucket List shall we say.

    While in Ecuador I spent some time in Quito which (as a previous poster mentioned) is pretty high up. I suffered a little with altitude sickness but coca tea helped a lot. People were very pleasant and really wanted us to enjoy our time there and the food is amazing! Plantains are my new favourite. I have friends that went to Ecuador for a BSc project and one of them did get mugged. (Just being honest) But as long as you're sensible I'm sure you'll be fine; you can get mugged anywhere after all.

    I also stayed in Mindo Cloud Forest as the El Monte lodge. We visited the Butterfly farm (I've never seen anything like it!) and travelled through the forest at 4,30am to see the **** of the Rock lekking. It's such a beautiful place I recommend it.

    I visited the South and East Islands on an 8 day cruise so nothing like living on the Islands. We visited San Cristobal and it's a lovely place. They're doing some building works at the moment and placing new sewage systems in. Both urban and rural parts of the island are beautiful.

    The wildlife in Ecuador and the Islands is fantastic; there's a noted difference though. In the Cloud forest we have to look for things; on the islands everything is there right in front of you! I had an overwhelming sense of "Oh my god I can't believe I'm so lucky to be here right now"; it's a very special place.

    We didn't talk to many local people on the islands but the people we did speak to and the crew members of the boat (who were from the islands) we the friendliest people and said we "will always have family in the Galapagos"

    You will have an amazing time! Enjoy every single moment because you'll never know if you'll get to go back! I want to return already; do the other islands and more of Ecuador... Gave me the travel bug

    Good luck. x
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    Just realised you have set off already. DOH! Should learn to read thoroughly sorry...
 
 
 
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