Saga South America. Backpacking, the Ecuadorian trail
It was a 75-day trip, 75 stories of this great adventure. It was more than great actually, because of everything that crossed in my way, because of the few places I planned to see and the many more places I didn’t plan to see; because of the people I met and the experiences I retained on each path towards a new destination. This is the humble trail of the Ecuadorian, passing through 4 South American countries (Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile), visiting from the Athens of Ecuador: Cuenca, to the Patagonia of Chile, to the incredible Torres del Paine National Park. I made the whole trip overland, round trip, although the return was faster because I ran out of money.
I went on a low budget, spending what was necessary to make the trip last as long as possible. I left Quito without a return date, with the aim of arriving to the Patagonia of Argentina, a destination I never reached. At some point my trip seemed to end in Bolivia, even in Cuenca, and it would have been a shame since what came later was be the best. For example, Bolivia, the country that I liked the most. If you follow me in these stories, I’ll share with you why it was the best.
I traveled alone. Before I left, I told my friends “let’s go backpacking,” since being accompanied can be seen as safer but, I came to realize that it also limits you a lot. I learned that when you are alone you must and have to relate, and you end up making many friends who, to your surprise, are also traveling without company. Moreover, I met more people traveling on their own than people traveling in a group or with someone. So if you can go just do it, be careful but go. You’ll find yourself creating or joining groups of backpackers who are traveling in the same circumstances as you. Remember that when you start your trip alone, you can go wherever you want without depending on anyone, you move faster, you decide everything faster and you visit the places you want to visit. Anyways, I told my friends “let’s go” and some said “yes!” and to this date I’m still waiting to see if they want to come. At some point I said ok i’m leaving, and I left, I visited places like the one in the photo (the story of how I got here is really great, you’ll see).
So, during the tour I met several types of travelers: backpackers who exchanged accommodation and food for work, those who go for a couple of weeks for vacations, those who save no expense and those who have traveled all over the world and have become wise travelers. The majority of adventurers are from Australia, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United States, very few Latin Americans though. Seems that traveling is something more cultural and you’ll see the reasons why I make this statement. Many people think that money is the limitation for traveling and in parts it’s true, but not entirely.
Anyways, I did meet people from South America, Chileans, Argentinians, I met an Ecuadorian in Cuzco who was coming from Chile to his land in Cuenca, we had some shots at the Loki Hostel bar, putting Ecuador and its flag on the board that showed a marker of the countries that have taken the most shots, with England or Australia on the top places with about 600 shots, something like that. We, Ecuador, only had 11.
The content that I will show you was taken with my phone, back in 2013. The photos are very good photos because the places were very cool, so the images cannot be revealed as bad ones even if you’re terrible at taking pictures, and regardless of what camera you have.
As I was saying, my trip lasted 75 days. And you may think it’s a long time. But the truth is it’s not and it quickly vanishes. At first I said “2 and a half months sounds good,”, but I ended up needing more months to visit more places. If, or when you cross with Anglo-Saxon travelers and tell them how many days you’ll be traveling they will answer “why so little?” That is because they travel 8 months to a year or more, like champions.
I was very lucky in being able to venture into this backpacking trip for which I researched very little. The only thing I had in advance was a reservation at my first stop, Cuenca, at La Cigale Hostel. And it’s here where everything begins, the path that I left, one which I would like to share so that other people can learn about these places and know that there is so much to see and very little time to see it all in a lifetime.
You’ll find places that you will want to see and visit. I’ll share about mistakes I made, and some right choices; I’ll give you some recommendations of how to travel, how to save while traveling, how not to spend so much and especially about experiences you can live in these countries. There is a video of me falling and spinning when trying to sandboard, I fell 3 times, luckily one was recorded.
Before embarking on the adventure I did have my doubts, many, and I was afraid before I left, before leaving Quito and at some point I thought about returning when I was in Cuenca; but I came across people, travelers, and soon I realized my feelings towards leaving were linked to the fear of the unknown, fear of leaving a comfort zone, seeing and living things you did not expect to live and also, not knowing how they’ll turn out. But when you start living those moments, your fear goes away and you just want to see more and keep on moving forward.
Now, let’s go to the first stop, Cuenca. I think for $ 10 I bought a bus ticket at the stop near El Ejido, Quito.