January 9, 2011

Thoughts on Ecuador

The Panacillo in Quito, Ecuador

The first time I visited Ecuador was at the end of 1998. I’ve been back twice since then; once at the tail end of 2009 and again at the end of 2010.  Not being very familiar with the country makes it pretty difficult to spot the changes over that timeframe (I noticed a few), but it’s fairly easy to pick out the differences between Ecuador and the United States.

Here are some of the little things I noticed:

Economy and Prices

One of the ways to gauge how inexpensive it will be to travel through a foreign country is to look at the exchange rate.  Generally speaking, if one of your dollars buys a whole bunch of their currency, you can expect that your stay won’t cost you very much.  That used to be true in Ecuador.  When I first arrived in 1998, one US dollar bought about 6,000 sucres.  By the time we left Ecuador, three months later, that same dollar gave us 13,000 sucres.  Their economy was tanking.