Ecuador is a fine country to travel in. Stopping at a gas station to fill up is almost a pleasure. I think the only cheaper place would be Venezuela. After hearing some stories about bad fuel in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, we try to fill up only about a quarter of a tank at the time, about 10 gallons. A good way to spread risk and use the toilets at the same time.
I just wish that we could see prices like these at home in Norway. In the time of writing, I read that the price of one liter ¼ gallon is about 2,5 USD! (and a beer in a bar is about 10-12 USD)
We had a night’s stopover in Cuenca on our way south. We hadn’t really scheduled in a stop in this city, but all the locals told us it was SO nice, so we decided to do some speed tourism: we drove around in the city center taking pictures. A little embarrassing to admit this, but hey, we are on a roadtrip, right? And it looked like a nice town!
A day’s drive further south is Vilcabamba. It is not on the Panam, but on a smaller road going to a quiet little border crossing further east. Vilcabamba is known because the locals have the highest average life expectancy in the world. And this place has also seen a lot of gringos coming in to buy a place for their retirement. Coincidence? Wishful thinking? Well, and because of this, Vilcabamba also have one of the highest property prices in Ecuador.
We camped at the parking lot of Hosteria Izhcayluma, and here we met up with Brianna and Logan (panamnotes.com), and Georg and Andrea (toyotours.com). This was a really nice place to relax a couple of days. They even had a happyhour with free Cuba Libre! (bad idea with all these overlanders hanging around…). It turned out to be a great Friday! The night before we left, another overlander pulled in: http://www.weltreisende.ch/. From Vilcabamba, we headed for the La Balsa at the Peruvian border.
A lot of initiatives for improving the main roads, but still, most of the smaller roads are dirt.
Border crossing info soon!