Traveling to Ecuador for Business and Pleasure

cotacachi-travel-ecuador

If Ecuador isn’t on your short list of places to travel, add it.

It has so much to offer in the way of easy travel, great weather and outstanding scenery. If I was to pick one fault with it, it would be that there’s far more to see and do than you could ever hope to fit into a single trip.

Ecuador has mountain towns…tropical coast…the Amazon basin…and it’s also home to the Galapagos Islands. But I won’t dwell on any of that right now; just suffice it to say that if you go, you’ll want to go back.

For some reason I always thought of Ecuador as one of those places where only the most adventurous went. I’ve just returned from Ecuador and I can now assure you—that’s far from the truth. It’s no more of a stretch than a trip to Europe or New York—except it’s way less expensive.

Ecuador is easy to get to and easy to get around. There are airports all over and flying in country is cheap. The roads are decent too. To make my trip more relaxing and informative, I took the easy (and surprisingly affordable) option of hiring guides and drivers. And as for safety, you need not worry any more, or less, than you would in any major tourist destination. If you travel as smart as you would in Rome or Washington DC, you’ll be fine.

But one of the best things about my trip was that everywhere I went, I felt welcomed. The warmth of the Ecuadorian people stays with you long after you leave and it’s a trait that I found crossed economic and geographic boundaries.

With three distinct regions—tropical coast, rain forest and central highlands—Ecuador has just about every fruit, herb and vegetable imaginable. It also has abundant seafood and an intriguing assortment of things to try if you have an adventurous palette.

If you like to shop you’re in for a treat. Ecuador’s markets have a simply stunning range of crafts and curios. Just like you won’t be able to see the whole country, you won’t be able to bring back everything that you want.

Wool, cotton and alpaca garments…silver jewelry…beaded jewelry tagua wear (a very hard nut used to make buttons to bracelets)…wood carvings…leather goods—that’s to name but a few. Quality varies so dig around, but prices are negotiable.

Ecuador has whole towns that specialize in a particular craft. One with wood, one with silver, another with denim. The entire main street of one of my favorites, Cotacachi, is lined with leather goods ranging from belts to saddles and purses to shoes and luggage. You name it, they have it (or they’ll make it for you). I brought all my stuff home in a brand new leather carry on I bought for about a hundred dollars that you couldn’t touch in the U.S. for less than triple that.

Because it’s cool in the highlands there’s a long tradition of weaving that runs the gamut from commercial to artisan. I bought a few alpaca blankets, very nice at $15 each, and some scarves made from hand dyed cotton by a top artist. They came in at $40 in Ecuador—they’ll run to over $100 in the U.S. (assuming you could actually find something of the same quality).

I make money from importing goods from overseas and selling them online. It’s a fun, lucrative way to make money that allows me to see some of the world. And from what I’ve seen from my trip to Ecuador, I may well be back—for both business and pleasure.

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