Your backpack and a $20 a day budget will take you to explore the different worlds that Ecuador offers without traveling long distances. Discover the cold landscapes of the Andes mountains and its fascinating culture, then penetrate into the green gate of the Amazonia and end up your trip with relaxing surf and an exquisite meal at the beach.
Hostels in Ecuador usually cost around $10 per night, a full meal is $3 and transport can be calculated by multiplying $1 per hour of travel. However, you can considerably reduce the cost of your trip if you are happy to do couchsurfing or camping. Hitchhiking is also a good option for males and couples. Ecuadorians are very kind people and will always try to help. As incredible as it sounds, national beer costs less than a buck at any supermarket.
Your journey starts in Quito, capital city of Ecuador, situated at 2850m of altitude. Explore the city for two days: colonial architecture, a skyline to the Pichincha Volcano and homemade ice-cream are some of the joys you can expect from this vibrant city.
Quito can also be your base to carry out several unique daytrips: Otavalo, Cotopaxi Volcano, Mindo and the breathtaking Quilotoa Lagune.
On your fifth day, travel 3 ½ hours south-east to meet Ecuador’s capital of adventure and extreme sports: Baños. This little city lays on the slopes of a volcano. Spend a couple of days exploring the magnificent landscapes and practicing your favorite extreme sports.
Catch a night bus towards Montañita. This town is well-known by both locals and travelers for its surf and party. Get lost for one day in the beautiful Playa de los Frailes. This is situated 30 minutes north from Montañita. On your way back to Montañita, you can stop at the peaceful beach of Ayampe or Olon. p>
Continue south to the charming city of Cuenca. Explore its architecture and surroundings such as the Archeologic Ruins of Ingapirca or the Cajas National Park. Finally, if time permits, you can travel south to the ancient city of Vilcabamba. Then you can continue to the southern border with Perú, traveling through the spectacular route Zumba - La Balza or following the regular highway by Huaquillas.