Lucas, Irais and me, their Aunt Becky, touring Ecuador
Once I heard my awesome Tía Becky was going to be living in Ecuador, my wife, Irais, and I, given our love for travel and adventure, knew we wanted to visit her – and we are so glad we did! 
Becky asked us to share our experiences on her Blog so you, her readers, could learn more about Ecuador, and our amazing 8-day Ecuadorian vacation!  
(Editor’s Note: Go to to see full post with video.)

What was your favorite part of visiting Ecuador?
Lucas: My favorite part was hiking and seeing a lot of that beautiful country.  We went on some epic hikes in the high-elevation mountains above Quito and Ibarra and the views were breathtaking.  We also traveled from city to city via several buses, so we had plenty of time to look out the window and admire many different sites: from big cities, to snow-capped mountains, to the cloud forest, it was all amazing to see. 

Irais: This is a tough question because I had many favorites!  I would say my favorite part was being able to explore so many places with Becky.  It was a constant go-go-go but I wouldn’t have it any other way!  If there was one single thing that stood out for me was being able to go on the highest and scariest swing of my life!  At only $10 a person, I couldn’t say no!  Let’s just say my stomach dropped many times, the views were amazing, and while I was taking pictures, my husband never let go of the bar on the swing! (Ha!)
What was the most surprising thing about Ecuador?

Lucas: I was most surprised at how hard working the people are, while maintaining a family centric view.  Ecuadorians leave for work early and get home late every day, but typically meet at home to have lunch as a family.  It is normal for businesses to shut down for part of the afternoon and the school system has multiple starting times (7am and 1pm) to allow families to share time together for lunch. 

Irais: I loved learning about how rich Ecuador is in food!  I saw locals selling 20 oranges for just $1 and wished I could buy them here at home.  We learned that leftovers are not a thing in Ecuador.  All meals are homemade and are to be eaten for just that meal, and then the extra is given to their animals.  The culture is quite different in that there is fresh breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.  Families often come home to have lunch.  If only we had that flexibility here in the US!  A typical lunch in an Ecuador restaurant cost $2.50 and that includes a fresh juice, soup and the main plate which is often rice, lentils or beans, salad and your choice of meat. 
A typical Saturday market in Ecuador – so much produce!  
Yummy street food is always available in a pinch… maybe that’s why they call these “pinchos”!
I can’t forget to mention that they have the best ice cream.  I had at least one a day and didn’t have one bit of regret.  As Becky said, I had to try them all! 

What was your favorite place to visit?
Lucas: Mindo!  It was a beautiful small town in the cloud forest with plenty to do and a lot of life!  We visited a chocolate factory and learned all about the cacao tree.  We swam in waterfalls, we went ziplining above the cloud forest (I saw a toucan!), we got our fill to eat and drink, and stayed at an awesome hostel.  Irais really liked the butterfly garden, too!

Irais: My favorite place to visit was Baños.  There was so much to do in that cute town.  I went on my first zipline/ ropes course experience at only $20/ person.  It was really fun having this adventure together, talking and laughing the whole time.  The nightlife in Baños is pretty active as well… more on that, later!

How’s Aunt Becky really doing?

Lucas: She is doing great!  She is loving the culture and absorbing all that she can.  She lives with an awesome family that has basically adopted her and she stays busy between working and playing with her many hobbies and adventures!  I could feel how excited she was to show us the country and people she has fallen in love with.  It was amazing to see the life she has created at the center of the world, and I couldn’t be more happy for her! 

Irais: Becky is truly immersing herself in the Ecuadorian Culture.  I am extremely impressed and proud of her ability to speak Spanish.  She can easily get around like a local without a problem.  She is the best tour guide that I’ve ever had!  She took us to the best places to eat, best views of the cities and mountains, and the best adventures!  We saw some really interesting markets too!  I really loved seeing Becky tell all the people what her purpose is in that country.  She is truly enjoying being part of the Peace Corps and giving her time to Ecuador.  I’m very happy I got to get a glimpse of her living out one of her lifelong dreams.  It’s truly inspiring!!  It was also very touching to see Becky with her host family.  They absolutely adore Becky and love having her around, especially her little brother, Pablito.  Becky really is like his older sister.  The family was generous enough to host us for two days and we were fed with the best homemade meals! 
Ecuadorians know how to grill meat,
and bananas, too.  “Rico!”

Here we are sporting our new Ecuadorian sweaters in Ibarra,
while Margarita and Jose liked their new Chicago Cubs hats.

Can you share a funny story from your adventures?
Lucas: After a day of hiking around waterfalls, we had a memorable night in Baños.  We started the evening at a bar and we ended up staying there for a long time, just drinking and catching up.  Before we knew it, we had drank and ate more than we had the cash for, so I ran back to the Airbnb to get more money, and then we were back at it!  That was the first of many silly moments.  At the next bar, Becky drank a jalapeño shot and immediately regretted it.  Our videos are hilarious!  The night finished with me realizing I had a hole in my pocket so the key to our Airbnb had slipped between the lining of my pants.  I literally had to take off my pants in the middle of the street to get us inside.  Just an all-around goofy night filled with joy and laughter! 

Do you have any last advice for others braving a trip to Ecuador?
Irais: If you go to visit Becky, let her know what you enjoy, and then let her plan the trip!  She did a fantastic job!  I would also listen to her when she says “pack light in a backpack, and pack smart!”  If you’re thinking of visiting her, I can almost promise you, that you won’t regret it!  This was truly a  memorable trip for me and I left Ecuador more adventurous than when I arrived.  Oh, and don’t forget to look at all the beautiful flowers!  

Thank you for visiting me Lucas and Irais.  It was so much fun to show off my Ecuador and such an honor to get to know you both better.  A very memorable trip, indeed!