Monday, January 13, 2014

Getting to Ecuador

I will be leaving for Ecuador in really just over a couple of weeks, and I am more than a little anxious.  I have my tickets, and landing point, but despite studying, my itinerary is a bit empty, and planning travel is sketchy in this third world country- but more on that in a late post.

Getting to Ecuador will require air travel.  I looked at flights arriving into the  three main cities of entry into Ecuado.  These cities are Quito, the Capitol city located in the Andes Mountains in the Northern Sierra Region (see earlier blog post),  Cuenca the city designated "A World Heritage Site" also in the Andes Mountains, and very popular with retiring ex-pats and located in the Southern Sierra Region, and Guyaquil, the largest city and largest port in Ecuador, located in the southern Pacific Coast Region.

image taken from: Ecuador Map

Ecuador Regions:

image taken from: Ecuador Regions Map

From DFW, there are a good number of major airlines to choose from:
and likely more.

A brief look at the flight logistics from DFW to the three cities looks like this ( all approximate):

DFW To Guyaquil 1 stop (Miami), ~ 8 hours, ~ $1,000.00
DFW To Quito nonstop ~ 8 hours, ~ $1,000.00
DFW To Cuenca 2 stops ~ 20 hrs, ~ $1,200.00

I am flying on AA, and as of this writing, here is the baggage policy:

Airline Carry-on Bag 1st Checked Bag 2nd Checked Bag
American Airlines No fee No fee $70.00

Be sure to check- size/weight restrictions-  I had a problem on a trip to Africa with my carry on.  There was a 12KG limit- my camera gear weighed more than that, so I had to stash some heavy stuff in my handy dandy safari vest, only to put it back when on the plane. KLM Dutch actually weighed the bag, then re-weighed the bag, then made sure it fit in a little frame to be sure it would fit overhead.  So I am always a proponent of safari vests.  I admit, it looks goofy, but you can fit a ton of stuff in it, you don't get charged for it, it doesn't count as a carry on, and most importantly, you don't have to leave your stuff unattended.

On another very important note- I have encountered many stories from my internet photography buddies going to third world countries that are scary.  The main thing to understand is that depending on country, theft is a viable living, and you may not see your stuff again.  If it is valuable, consider leaving it home.  If you must take it, keep it with you, and never take your hands off of it.

Finally, I am getting Guyaquil, Ecuador via Miami.  From my research so far, I am going to focus my trip on the Coastal Region with a trip to Cuenca to find out why so many Ex-Pats are going there and what all the buzz is about.

Next post will be about Quyaquil, the people, the place, and what I am really looking forward to- Parque de las Iguanas.

Good references:

Insight Guides- Ecuador & Galapagos 5th ed
5th edition
June 01, 2013
APA Publications
Part of the Langenscheidt Publishing Group
Edited by Rachel Lawrence, Luke Waterson
ISBN 978-178-005-157-4

Travel web site  

Click on the "Travel web site" for an excellent resource- really!

Copyright ©2014, Scott E. Kasden, M.D., all rights reserved.