Do you find you are desiring something different?  An adventure?  An experience that doesn’t give you all the comforts of home? Are you ready to be fearless and face the unexpected?  For this type of adventure, you will need your passport! Get ready to travel to the Galapagos Islands.

Travel Backpack

Backpacking is a term used by modern travelers which indicates an obscure form of traveling where all you need is courage and a backpack to have the experience of a lifetime.  This type of travel is reserved for the seeker and the wanderer. It is also the ultimate budget traveling experience. Where does the average backpacker stay? Hostels are set up all over the world and are the most commonly used.  They provide the weary traveler with what is most essential, a bed, food, internet connection, and a social area where connecting with other travelers is commonplace. Hostels are inexpensive but can be a bit of a gamble.  Some will offer that brief feeling of “home” and some can be ” rough around the edges.”  But that’s the life of a backpacker; to place yourself in situations where you are only living on instinct, maps, and the guidance of fellow adventurers. South America attracts large numbers of backpackers every year.  It’s cheap, easy to get around, and has a lot to offer the adventure seeker. From the mountains of Argentina to the deep jungles of Columbia, South America is home to a variety of cultures, customs, and experiences.

The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are a volcanic archipelago and a national reserve.  Found off the coast of Ecuador, these Islands offer some of the most unique experiences in the world and are home to a variety of animal and marine species.  If you are looking for the adventure of a lifetime.  Backpacking to the Galapagos can give you more adventure in two weeks than you could bargain for.  If you are ready to face some fears, challenge yourself, go on little sleep, and open yourself up to an amazing experience this is the trip for you.  https://www.lonelyplanet.com/ecuador/the-galapagos-islands

Quito to Banos

To begin, fly into Quito.  Quito is the capital of Ecuador and is where the international airport is located.  It’s a busy city located right in the Northeast corner of the country, nestled right in the mountains.   Quito has many hostels you can stay at, or you can grab the first bus to Banos. Banos means bath in Spanish, and it’s noted to have several hot springs and is surrounded by several volcanoes. Many of the volcanoes are active, so it’s not unusual to be spending some time in volcanic smog while there.  Hiking up the volcanoes is a great adventure with amazing views!  Traveling by horseback is a common way to navigate up the steep terrain.  It’s easy to connect with tour guides who will take you high into the peaks.   After your long day of trail-hiking, you can bathe in the various hot springs which are open for public use.  A great way to end a long day!  

Not far from the town of Banos is an enlightening landmark, namely  0” 0” latitude and longitude right on the Equator.  Here you can explore the establishment, listen to the hypnotizing music, and take your picture at exactly 0’0”.  It’s a lovely place to meditate, relax, grab some food, and then make way to the next stop Riobamba!

The Ultimate Train Ride

By the time you get to Riobamba, you will be thankful to find a place to sleep.  Fortunately, there is not too much to see in this town, so you will not be missing out on anything awesome by catching up on some rest.   Riobamba is noted for having its train station.  If you choose, you can have one of the most memorable experiences of a lifetime; that is if a comfy seat and air-conditioning are not that important to you.  If you dare, you can buy a ticket for a seat on top of a train that can take you through the Ecuadorian mountains into Cuenca. Yes, I said on top of a train. No windows needed here, as you will experience up close and personal the Ecuadorian Mountains and its many villages.  The great thing about it is you can connect with other travelers while heading to Cuenca’s Devils Nose. 

When you get to Cuenca, you may feel relieved to be back in a modern city that is reminiscent of a beautiful Spanish City.  Cuenca is definitely one of the more charming cities in Ecuador and is its third largest.  Its architecture is captivating, clean, and romantic.  From your hostel, you can have views of mountains and rivers which surround this beautiful city.  Cuenca can offer you a brief moment of class, amidst the challenges of the backpacking trail.  Grab a lovely dinner, walk through the city, enjoy the architecture and shops, but don’t call it home yet, because there is still more to experience!

Gateway to the Coast

Perhaps against your desire, it will soon be time for you to hop on a bus or several buses to get to Guayaquil.  Guayaquil is the ultimate bus stop in Ecuador.  Everything comes and goes through Guayaquil.  Keep your belongings, and fellow travelers close to you because pickpockets and robberies can happen here in broad daylight.  It’s also easy to get lost amid all the outgoing and incoming buses and travelers.  You can stay awhile in Guayaquil or you can do what most do, hop on another bus immediately and hightail it out of there.  If you have seen enough of the mountainside and jungle, this is your gateway to get to the coast.

Montanita to the Galapagos Islands

When traveling and in life, balance is key.  The challenge of the high altitudes and intensity of mountain travel can now be balanced by the relaxed, hippy vibe of the ocean. Montanita is a small town located on the west coast of Ecuador and is well sought out surf spot for many surfers and travelers.   It’s a town where you can get your reggae on, relax, hit the nightlife to dance, socialize with other travelers, and catch some great waves.  If you forgot your surfboard, no worries because there are places where you can rent them. Be ready to relax on the beach, grab a mojito, and indulge in the local food.  From Montanita you can easily get to the Galapagos.  You must be willing to pay a little more, but the trip is well worth it.   

Tours

Exploring the Galapagos Islands provides you with a once in a lifetime experience!  There are a variety of tours you can take. http://www.frommers.com/destinations/galapagos-islands/organized-tours

Return to Quito

After you adventure to the Galapagos Islands, you can continue on back to Quito, where you can stay and take in more of Ecuador.  Here its fun to hit the internet cafe’s and explore the city.  When grabbing a taxi be ready to Vamos!  There are many hikes you can access in Quito that will take you high above the city and give you great views.  It’s all a part of this cities charm.   From Quito, you can go anywhere, whether it be home, or to your next adventure. Ecuador offers a well-rounded experience for the adventure seeker.  If you are ready for the challenge, this is the adventure for you.  So grab your passport, your best friend, a good backpack and hiking boots! Your adventure awaits! We promise you that our route to the Galapagos Islands will not disappoint.

 Adios!

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