Hello from the beautiful city of Cuenca. Shelley and I have been in Ecuador for three weeks now, and it has been AMAZING! We first spent some time visiting my brother and sister-in-law who are living in the Galapagos, and then we took a cruise around the islands. One of the ways we’ve saved a ton of money was staying at my brother’s place. Sure, not everyone has a family member or friend living in the Galapagos, but just about everybody knows someone who lives in a wonderful place to visit. If you ever get an invite to come stay with them, take them up on it! I think this is one of the most wasted budget travel opportunities out there for a lot of people. BE one of those people who actually take advantage of those kinds of invitations. We certainly do!
After the Galapagos we then flew to Quito and hung out there for a few days. After overdosing on beautiful (quite stunning actually) churches we took a short day-trip outside the city to Mitad del Mundo (The Middle of the World) which is the more celebrated equatorial line and the nearby Museo de Sitio Intinan which is actually on the equatorial line. Both are very much worth visiting for their various museum exhibits, but if you had to choose just one I’d go to the smaller but more interesting Museo de Sitio Intinan where you can actually straddle the true equatorial line as was designated by modern GPS.
After Quito we made our way to Cuenca. To break up the long bus trip (saved a ton of money by flying!) we stayed a night in Riobamba where we met a fascinating couple from Australia who have been traveling the world IN THEIR CAR for the last 4 years – what an inspiration! Check out their adventures on lizzybus.com. We were TOTALLY impressed by their travels, especially all the driving they did in Africa!
And now we are at the end of our 5 days in Cuenca, and we so very wish we had more time here. We’ve been hearing for years how wonderful a place it is and how so many adventurous Americans are moving here, and now we certainly know why. Nestled up in the Andes, this gorgeous small city has beautiful colonial architecture, great restaurants, interesting day trips, and a laid back atmosphere. And it’s extremely inexpensive here for what you get (as is most of Ecuador), one of the best travel values on the planet I’d say. But please don’t tell anybody. We want to keep it a secret, so that we can come back here and live some day. 🙂
Hasta luego and travel well!