Pros: beautiful people, fun atmosphere, nice beaches, spanish speaking
Cons: thieves, poverty, old decrepit towns
Don't listen to these Ecuador epinion reviewers who preach about the nature, the land, the beaches, the artifacts, and what not. I am going to talk about the everyday life in Ecuador. That is what you really need to know to understand the Ecuadorian people, not some tale about some man who stayed at a five star hotel in Quito and visited a stupid mountain. I am credible to speak like this because I've been there 12 times, and I am Ecuadorian, as opposed to these Americans who have been there like once or twice.
I go every summer, previously through Ecuadorian owned airlines Saeta and Ecuatoriana, both of which got bankrupt and defunct. The trip from New Yorks JFK airport to Simon Bolivar Airport in Guayaquil, Ecuador is roughly about 6 hours. Upon landing, depending on the time of day, the airport is busy or empty. At night, around 12 a.m. CT, the airport is deserted. Nobody but immigration officials and officers are there, as well as luggage people and Continental Airlines workers, there to check your stuff. The "reception" area for the passengers is a low one story building that used to have various liquor shops, blanket shops, and they renovated in like 2000 and removed the shops and added bathrooms in its place. The immigration officers are mostly young, with no expression on their faces, as they stamp your passport and check for documents. The airport has a big wall length glass window, where your family or loved ones can peer inside and see you when you land and get your baggage. I've had many great memories of my aunt coming to pick my family up.
I live in Portoviejo, Ecuador, the capital of Manabi province and one of the more popular cities in the country. It is a beautiful town, yet old. The grounds are filthy, poorly paved, and there are dirty houses, run down, all of which make the town atmosphere. A typical Ecuadorian city are full of people walking the streets, going to the market, to work which is usually really close to their homes, and you see kids in school uniforms walking to and from school with old cheap backpacks. In some places, it is extremely poor, and you have to be careful because thieves won't hesitate to chop your hand off for your watch or chop your head off for your necklace. Usually, they creep up behind you on foot or by bike and snatch your belongings and run. If thieves want to take your hat, they smack the palm of their hand against the top of your head extremely hard, snatch your hat, and run away. People wear cheap American imitation clothes, and kids wear the types of shirt that says something like "Biker Extreme" or "Fun Times" or "USA", clothes that are kind of "outdated" and "old". Women wear flip flops, and men wear the same.
Ecuadorian women are the most beautiful women in the world. They are very underrated, because Columbian women are getting most of the attention. In the streets, you see parades of hot teenagers coming home from school in their tight little uniforms. For fun, the Ecuadorian people LOVE to play soccer. Kids like to block street roads to play, and cars have to reroute somewhere else, but they never complain. They also like to play with firecrackers bought cheap in little shops, play the original Nintendo, go to discos, hang out on the corner, light newspapers on fire in the streets and dance, and blast Spanish music.
The food is beyond this world. Arroz con pollo, gandules, arroz asado, chifa (chinese food), chuleta are among the very best foods this country has to offer. In my town, they have plenty of hamburger places where you can get a hamburger for a whopping 50 cents! You can buy a plate of chicken soup at a restaurant, table service, for a dollar! They use American dollars over there cause their former currency was bankrupt or something. A 2 liter soda is 80 cents to 90 cents as well!
Be careful. Ecuadorians like to insult and gawk at foreigners on the street sometimes, but most of the time, they keep to themselves, mostly in awe of the white men they see from time to time. Ecuadorians are not racist people, they are in awe of Americans, but some of them might give you trouble for your belongings. In Guayaquil, restaurants are so beautifully decorated, the food so well professionally prepared, and the waiters fully groomed and well spoken, it should be called a SIX star restaurant. The richest cities, Quito and Guayaquil, have McDonalds, fast food places, chicken places, and arcades that can match or even exceed the ones we have here. They are even cleaner and better kept than the garbage places you see here in USA. The Guayaquil landscape is beautiful at night, with well lit shops, national monuments, promenades, river fronts and bridges illuminating the scene of the city. Presidential candidate posters flood the walls in the streets, with the candidates face and a phrase below like "VOTE NEBOT." (Jaime Nebot is the current president of Ecuador). The roads are well paved and there are working, bright street lights, and many people have their homes above their shops. My cousin lives right above his hardware store. Don't have the impression that all areas of Ecuador are nasty, filthy, and stinking like some of the epinioners are saying. Guayaquil is the home of some of the wealthiest Ecuadorians, and politicians would kill anyone to obtain a seat in the office.
I may have a superior attitude over other people, and denigrate and insult people, but I sure write damm good reviews. Please excuse some of my statements, it is my style of writing and I think it gets the message across.