Thinking of a gap year in South America and don’t know where to start? Why not start in Ecuador? This country has it all: beauty, convenience, low prices and lots of activities for all tastes. The natural world is exhibited in Ecuador in all its glory, from mountains to pastures; and from coasts to rainforests. Although a relatively small place, Ecuador offers far more than many other larger, richer and better-known alternatives…
What’s there to do on your gap year in Ecuador? The most popular adventure activities include mountaineering, white water rafting, mountain biking, surfing and hiking. For those who love the natural world, ensure you visit the thermal hot baths, majestic volcanoes, pristine volcanic lagoons, extensive rivers and peaceful lakes. On the other hand, for the culture and history lovers, visit the numerous indigenous markets, stopover at historic towns and cities, listen to Andean music and sample the exotic gastronomy of the country. And don’t forget the Galapagos Islands, if your finances stretch that far…
Your arrival point in Ecuador will almost certainly be Quito, but take our advice: while it’s a great place to spend a week, make sure you get out and enjoy the rest of the country. While there though, make sure you head to the many colonial buildings, Quito Old Town and the vibrant markets – the perfect place to buy cheap souvenirs. Then head away and explore everything else this country has to offer.
Working in Ecuador
If your finances are running low, there are opportunities for work in Ecuador. For starters, the country offers plenty of work opportunities as English teachers for foreign visitors, especially if you hold the relevant qualifications. On the other hand, if you need a more informal job that allows you to travel across the country, there are lots of opportunities to work at restaurants and hostels in the busier cities and towns. Volunteering opportunities also abound, especially if you want to work with wildlife or underprivileged children.
Ecuador shares borders with both Peru and Colombia, making them perfect options for your next adventure. Brazil is also another good option, with many flights leaving from Quito every week. Perhaps you want to head further afield though, and the USA is a great choice, with flights available to a number of US airports. Make sure you sample everything Ecuador has to offer first though – and that might take some time…