Grilled Plantains, typical food in Ecuador

Ecuador is not known for its amazing food.

When I thought of Ecuador, I thought of the Galapagos Islands, of giant turtles, sea lions and white sand beaches. And of volcanoes and beaches, and the second-highest capital in the world. I certainly did not think of its cuisine.

But after spending a few weeks travelling around the country, I have gotten to know the most typical Ecuadorian dishes and found a few that I really liked. To help you discover the country’s unknown cuisine, I have put together this guide for you. Read up on the most delicious food and enjoy your stay here!…

Panecillo, Quito, Ecuador

If you visit Ecuador, you will sooner or later end up in Quito – just like me. When I visited Ecuador, my plane tickets to Galapagos left from the capital, so I didn’t have a choice but to come here. After a bit of research, I found out that it’s the perfect city to base myself for a couple of days. There are lots of things to do in the area, both in the city as well as in the surroundings. I could easily have spent a week or more in Quito and now regret that I only had a couple of days.

Quito is the second-highest capital in the world (if you want to go higher, you have to go to La Paz) and the one closest to the equator.…

Reed Island on Lake Titicaca, Peru

When I sat down to take notes for this blog post, I couldn’t stop. Within a few minutes, I had what looked like an endless list – and I kept getting more ideas. Peru has it all, from Lake Titicaca to the oldest ruins in the Americas and tropical beaches. Whatever you want to see or do, you’ll find it in this country. From hiking to sightseeing and relaxing with good food, everything is possible.

But with so many sights and attractions to choose from, where do you even start? What is there beyond Machu Picchu?

After a lot of thinking and editing my list, I have finally come up with these 18 highlights. I have spent more than a month in Peru and have seen the far south all the way up to the far north – and these were the things I enjoyed the most.…

Pyramids in Caral, Peru

Ever since I heard about Caral, I wondered why it isn’t more popular with travellers. The oldest ruins in the Americas, constructed at the same time as the first pyramids of Egypt. Who would not want to visit them? I was sure that going there would be easy and that I could spontaneously arrange a day trip from Lima, hopping on a bus with lots of other tourists.

Turned out I was wrong. Despite the significance of Caral, it was surprisingly hard to get there. I looked up tours but most of the companies only offered private trips and I wasn’t willing to pay a fortune. Surely, there had to be a better way?

There is! Caral can easily be visited independently as a day trip from Lima for a fraction of the price you would pay for a private tour.…

Marine iguana at Turtle Bay, Santa Cruz, Galapagos, Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands are known for being one of the most expensive destinations in the world.

If you google them, you will find beautiful cruise ships that take you around the archipelago for thousands and thousands of dollars. You will see luxury resorts and tours promising you the best experience – if you pay them enough. The islands have the reputation of being expensive and it is possible to spend a small fortune coming here.

Yet, it is also possible to experience the wonderful nature and wildlife without blowing your budget. While the Galapagos Islands will never be the cheapest destination in the world, I have travelled here for less than 60$ a day. This included a double room with a private bathroom, two excursions and lots of awesome wildlife encounters that I wouldn’t want to miss.…

Pelicans at fish market, Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Galapagos

Most travellers who visit Galapagos end up on Santa Cruz sooner or later, and I was no exception. In fact, I came here twice. Once voluntarily and once involuntarily.

My first, involuntary stay, unavoidable due to all boat connections from San Cristobal to Isabela going via Santa Cruz, lasted only a couple of hours. I used that time to eat a giant cup of ice cream – a decision which I regretted later that afternoon when I took a boat to Isabela and desperately tried not to empty my stomach into the sea.

My second encounter with Santa Cruz was more fortunate. I stayed for three days so I had a chance to properly get to know the island beyond the ice cream parlour.…

Sea lion, Las Tintoreras, Isabela Island, Galapagos, Ecuador

If you asked me to choose a favourite island on Galapagos, I would have a hard time. I went to three of them, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz and Isabela, and loved all of them. Each was special in its own way. But if I absolutely had to decide, I think I would go for Isabela because it was just a bit more special than the others.

Isabela is the island of marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies and pink flamingos. It has endless white beaches and a small town consisting of dirt roads. Upon arriving, we were greeted by sea lions who had taken a rest in between the mangroves.

Isabela is just perfect. And so you know how to spend your time here and make sure you don’t miss any of the highlight, here is what I recommend doing:…

Sea lions on San Cristobal, Galapagos

San Cristobal is paradise. White beaches, warm weather and thousands of exotic animals. This island was our first stop in Galapagos and it didn’t disappoint. Within two hours of arriving, I had seen more sea lions than I had expected to see during my whole stay in the archipelago.

My friend and I had two and a half days on San Cristobal and we would see many more sea lions during that time. Big ones, small ones, tiny babies drinking from their mothers, young ones frolicking in the water.

But San Cristobal is not just about sea lions. There is a lot more to discover. Keep reading to find out what to see and do on this island:…

Guayaquil sign, Malecon, Ecuador

Most travellers to Ecuador pass through Guayaquil. If you want to go to Galapagos, this is where flights come from. If you come from Peru, it is a convenient stop to break up what would otherwise be an endless bus ride.

So if you have to come here anyway, why not turn this into a sightseeing stop?

With its colonial buildings, the Malecon, the hillside neighbourhoods and a mangrove island just off its coast, Guayaquil is a great place for tourists. There are plenty of things to do in Ecuador’s biggest city. If you are wondering what you shouldn’t miss, here are five of Guayaquil’s highlights:…

Desserts sold at a market stand, Peru

By now, most people will have heard of the amazing Peruvian food. Restaurants all over the world serve dishes like ceviche and lomo saltado. But what about Peruvian desserts?

Until travelling to Peru, I had no idea such a thing even existed. But after spending a month and a half in the country, I got to appreciate many of the sweet dishes they sell at streetfood carts and in restaurants.

If you don’t know about Peruvian desserts, don’t worry. I have put together this overview so you know what to seek out next time you travel to Peru.…