Ecuador

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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Ecuador Money-Saving Tips

A little history

Ecuador’s history is as varied as its geography. Pre-Colombian agricultural societies existed for about 15,000 years before the Inca folded the land and its inhabitants into their empire at the end of the 15th century (Quechua, the language of the Incas, is still widely spoken among the indigenous peoples). In 1532, Francisco Pizarro led the campaign to defeat the powerful Inca, and in 1822, Simón Bolívar liberated Ecuador from Spanish reign.

Politics

In the last decade, the country has elected seven presidents, several of whom were removed from office amid scandal. The current president, Rafael Correa, recently made international headlines by aligning himself with Hugo Chávez, a move that instilled fear in wealthy Ecuadorians and hope in the lower classes.

Economics

In recent history, Ecuador has experienced great instability. Following an oil boom in the ‘70s, rampant corruption threw the economy into chaos. A last-ditch effort to stabilize things in 2000 led the government to “dollarize” its currency. There has since been growth, but it has been modest. Luckily for Americans, this means that even the seriously weak dollar will go a long way here, making it easy to live like a king.

Get a car

If you are planning on taking a day trip from Quito, let your hotel arrange a car with a driver. The cost, which is usually around $150 a day, is a worthwhile expense as Ecuador’s twisty roads can be dangerous to drivers who are unfamiliar with them.

Its own flavor

Quito feels quaint and friendly in comparison to the sprawling, cosmopolitan capitals of Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Santiago. This small-town feel is thanks to the presence of the city’s thriving indigenous populations who live and work among the modern city dwellers. The Quichua – the largest group – are the easiest to spot with their bright ponchos, smart fedoras, and golden beads.

A little extra

Though prices are low at the market in Otavalo, bargaining is expected, and if you make a big purchase don’t be afraid to ask for “una yapa,” which means “a little something extra.”

Erupting volcano

Located near Patate, Tungurahua is a volcano that is currently living up to its nickname of Mother Throat Fire. Consult the latest activity reports before venturing to the region – alert colors are white (safe), yellow, orange, and red (extremely dangerous). www.volcano.si.edu

Visiting the Achuar

If you happen to go to Kapawi and visit an Achuar family’s home, cultural sensitivity is paramount. When presented with the welcoming drink – a brew of masticated manioc (chewed yucca that has been spit out and fermented) – it's considered bad form to refuse a sip.

Quechua language

Many people in Ecuador speak Quechua, a dialect of a language that pre-dates the Inca Empire.

Compare Rates to Ecuador






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