We never really knew what to expect from Ecuador. Before arrival we knew that Ecuador is a small country that grows coffee and cocoa, we also knew it was neither the richest or poorest in South America and that the President was a somewhat radical character (sheltering Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for one). Other than this we knew little about the place so we arrived pretty much without preconceptions.
Thanks to our Spanish course we spent seven weeks in Ecuador in the end, far longer than we’ll spend anywhere else. Also thanks to the Spanish course we were able to live with some of the locals and really get a little more under the skin than we’ll be able to do anywhere else.
One of the two things about this trip that we (well mostly I) decided were non-negotiable was the Galapagos islands off the coast of Ecuador. We knew that we’d get a better deal if we looked at the last minute so we left it until about a fortnight before we wanted to depart. During our Manta week we discovered that the Spanish school did some last minute deals, but when we asked for quotes it turned out that although they had good deals they were more at the budget end of the spectrum with dates that didn’t really suit us. Fearing that we’d left it too late we frantically starting searching on the internet and realised that, although there wasn’t a lot available, there were still a few options with good dates, itineraries and discounts.