So when I was deciding to go abroad I was debating between Spain and Ecuador.  Spain has an interesting history, beautiful buildings, is Spanish speaking (obviously), and most importantly Spain is in Europe and I would have the opportunity to travel to many different countries.  The benefits of Ecuador were that it was Spanish speaking, a lot cheaper than Europe, and I really didn’t know much about it at all.  It would seem that from this criterion that Spain would be the better choice but here I am in Ecuador.   When I came I had an open mind about Ecuador but was disappointed that I wouldn’t get the opportunity to travel like I would in Europe.

I have learned since then that my preconceived idea about traveling was so false.  Although I have not traveled out of the country I have traveled around Ecuador and as I have learned in my clase de Lengua y Civilizcion that Ecuador is a very diverse country.  Ecuador is diverse in its people, different cultural traditions, and different geographically.  There are mountains, beaches, the rainforest, and the GALAPAGOS.  And it is all relatively inexpensive (except for the trip I wrote this blog on but it’s the Galapagos).  For example I took a trip to Mindo which is a small adventure town.  I took the bus there, ate pizza, went zip lining, rafting, went on a chocolate tour at a local factory, ate dinner, stayed in an awesome hostel, went on a long hike through waterfalls, ate lunch, and took the bus home.   The whole weekend came to a grand total of $50.00.

Besides Mindo I’ve had the opportunity to go to the rainforest and live with an indigenous family, Otavalo (a small market town with so many cool and interesting things), Atacames (a beach town, and my first time EVER seeing the ocean, which is my new obsession), Baños which is a bigger adventure town than Mindo but I went for Geology to see the volcano but it ended up not being that terrible, and the Galapagos Islands!!!!  The Galapagos was probably the greatest trip I’ve ever taken in my life.

Ecuador alone is full of places to travel to and all are not only fun but on every trip I learned so much about the culture and environment in Ecuador.

Gwen Hasenberg is studying abroad at Universidad San Francisco de Qutio in Quito, Ecuador.