Praticalities in Ecuador affect just about everything. Bus schedules are rarely correct, planes routinely lose luggage, and the internet goes down just when you need to confirm a flight or a reservation at a hostel. I’ve gotten used to it since moving here two years ago;
I spent three months learning the ropes of travelling here by volunteering at a really good hostel called the Secret Garden. After leaving to follow other interests, I went back to the garden and worked for them helping during the day six months later.
When I volunteered at the hostel I started helping guests find information about various destinations and activities by picking up the nearest guide book. I had access to pretty much all of them and started comparing the information in each one. There were a lot of discrepancies that I attributed to the date they were published.
When I went back to work, I realized that this wasn’t always the case. As I have met a lot of expats here who work with tourists, I started making my own list of resources that answered questions about travel, volunteering, and living in Ecuador.
As time went on I also started contributing to the online travel forums and found that a lot of information being given was askew as well. Things like reports of dangerous areas, and advice for booking tours, etc. is influenced by tour operators and real estate agents, not an impartial place to get your information! One of the most shocking facts that I have seen recently is that the newest edition of the most popular guidebooks has the location of the new Northern bus station miles away from where it actually is!
All of this creates confusion for people travelling to Ecuador. As my job and my ideal of helping people out required me to be able to clear up confusing details for guests, I discovered a new source of information about travelling here: travel blogs! Travel blogs provide up-to-date information about destinations, experiences, and people from first-hand knowledge. They are written for others interested in similar experiences and pass knowledge on in the same way that a conversation across the table at dinner in a hostel would. In Ecuador, there are a handful of people blogging about different regions and experiences. Five that I follow and recommend to those looking for practical information here are as follows.
1. The Ecuador Gringo
This blog is written by a fellow bartender who covers a lot of ground. His recent posts about visa information in Ecuador go a long way to clear up the confusion surrounding changes made in the last year. His reviews of local bars and updates about changes in hours that places can serve booze help to get the word out and keep people up-to-date.
2. Bacon is Majic
Anygelina bought a one-way ticket to Mexico and has been travelling by bus throughout Central and South America ever since. When her family came to visit her when she was in Ecuador, she needed a little help planning as she doesn’t believe in guidebooks. I spent an evening learning about how she travels while helping her plan an itinerary. Read about her first-hand experiences with jungle tours, exploring Quito, and finding good places to visit.
3. Chomp and Circumstance
Libby moved to Ecuador to write and work for a guidebook series here, Viva Travel Guides. Her personal blog is filled with great stories about her trips here and offer a professional perspective on the places she visits.
4. Kaley Daily
Kaley’s goal is to set foot in every country of the world. She got a good start on it and has recently landed in Ecuador with the purpose of travelling its length. Her articles about life here are really well written and from a backpacker’s perspective. Check out her up-coming article about Canoa on the coast for information about travelling there and in Ecuador.
5. The Bucketlist
My own blog, that I started out of frustration with a lack of good information about living, working, and travelling here. I write about people who have helped me figure things out here, good people running hostels, working in the business, or travelling here. Check out my articles about Project DCR, a foundation that I am working with here that helps street kids get an education, use it a resource for what´s happening in Quito, or just check out the links to find others who have travelled here.