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.…

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.…

Ceviche, Peru

It is no longer a secret that Peru is a foodie destination. Over the past years, the country’s cuisine has gotten more and more international attention. So when I travelled to Peru, I was excited to try ceviche and… well, ceviche. It was the only Peruvian dish I knew of.

After a month and a half of travelling through the country, I now know that there is far more to Peru than ceviche. I tried lomo saltado, rocotto relleno and chicha morada. I joined a food festival in Lima and ate dishes unique to the Amazon region.

Here are my favourite pieces of Peruvian cuisine.…

Village in the Amazon near Iquitos, PEru

“Put on your rain jacket,” the Kiwi guy said.

I looked up at the blue sky, with no cloud in sight.

“It protects you against mosquitos,” he added. “Trust me, I’ve been here for a couple of days already.”

Have you ever ended up in the middle of nowhere and realised that you forgot to pack the most essential items? For me, one of the biggest appeals of staying in a jungle lodge in the middle of the Amazon was its remoteness. Far away from cities, traffic and big malls, I could enjoy nature. But it also meant I had to be extra careful when packing so I wouldn’t forget anything important.

Believe me, you do not want to visit the Amazon without insect repellent.…

Libertad Jungle Lodge in the Amazon near Iquitos, Peru

If you want to go to the Amazon in Peru (and you totally should), chances are high that you’ll pass through Iquitos. Iquitos is the biggest city in the world that cannot be reached by car. You can go by boat down the Amazon, but most travellers arrive here by plane.

While many jungle lodges can arrange to pick you up at the airport, you might find yourself spending a day or two in Iquitos. Either because your flight arrives too late or leaves too early or because you still need to arrange a jungle tour (which most hostels can help you with). Whatever the reason that leaves you staying in Iquitos itself, there are a couple of things to do here.…

Amazon near Iquitos, Peru

“There!” I pointed towards the place where the fin had just disappeared. “Did you see it? Was that one of the pink dolphins?”

I can’t remember the first time I had heard of those creatures. Probably when I was researching my trip to South America. Or when I was in Peru almost two years before, searching for monkeys in Puerto Maldonado. Whenever it was, the moment I learned of the pink dolphin, I knew that I wanted to see one. Dolphins were amazing creatures and what could be better than a freshwater one that was tinged pink?

While these creatures may have played a huge role in my decision to visit the Amazon region in Peru and stay at a lodge a couple of hours away from Iquitos, there are many more reasons to plan a jungle trip in this country.…

Fruit on a market, Peru

One of the things I love about travelling is eating foreign food. And there is nothing more fascinating than the amount of foreign fruit and vegetables that exists in the world and that I have never heard of.

Peru was no exception when it came to exotic fruits. On markets, I found huge piles of wares that I couldn’t name and that I didn’t even know how to eat. Peruvian fruit is as various as the country itself. If you are wondering about which fruit to eat and how to prepare it, don’t worry. I have put together this guide so you can identify the 15 most common fruits and know what to do with them.…

Paddling in the Amazon near Iquitos, Peru

“I was born and raised in Iquitos,” Osmar told us. “People from the communities often say that city people can’t be good jungle guides, but that is not true.”

We were sitting in a tiny restaurant in Iquitos, in Northeastern Peru, sipping tree tomato smoothies. The orange drink tasted fruity and slightly acid at the same time, a mixture as exotic as the city. Having arrived from Patagonia the night before, everything seemed new and exciting. The small, colourful houses, the mud roads, the motortaxis honking in the street, the seemingly endless line in front of the ATM we had used earlier.…