An Ultimate Armchair Travel Guide to Ecuador

Ecuador is a beautiful country located in South America. It is known for its diverse landscapes, including the Andes Mountains, Amazon Rainforest, and the Galapagos Islands. In this armchair travel guide, we’ll provide some tips on how to explore Ecuador from the comfort of your own home.

Movies About Ecuador

Ratas, Ratones, Rateroes (1999)

I must say that this film is an outstanding representation of the gritty realities of life in the urban areas of Ecuador. Directed by Sebastian Cordero, “Ratas, Ratones, Rateros” follows the story of a young man named Salvador, who becomes involved in a life of crime in the streets of Quito.

The film portrays the harshness of life in the impoverished neighborhoods of the city, where gangs and violence are rampant. It also sheds light on the complexities of the relationships between family members, as well as the moral dilemmas faced by those who are forced to make difficult choices in order to survive.

What I particularly appreciate about “Ratas, Ratones, Rateros” is the way it allows the viewer to virtually travel to Ecuador and immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of the city. The film provides a realistic depiction of the cultural and social context of Quito, allowing us to gain a deeper understanding of the country’s people and their way of life.

“Ratas, Ratones, Rateros” is a powerful film that offers a captivating glimpse into the struggles and complexities of life in Ecuador’s urban areas. It is a must-see for anyone interested in exploring the culture and society of this beautiful country.

With My Heart in Yambo (2011)

“With My Heart in Yambo” is a poignant and deeply moving documentary that tells the story of the disappearance of two young brothers, Jorge and Javier, in 1988 in the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador. The film is directed by Maria Fernanda Restrepo, who herself is a relative of the missing brothers. Through her personal journey to uncover the truth about what happened to Jorge and Javier, Restrepo invites the audience on a virtual journey to Ecuador and into the heart of the country’s cultural identity.

The film provides a rare glimpse into the social and political climate of Ecuador during the late 1980s, when the country was experiencing a period of great upheaval and political unrest. Through interviews with family members, friends, and local residents, the audience gains a deeper understanding of the impact that the disappearance of Jorge and Javier had on the community, and the ongoing struggle for justice and closure that persists to this day.

Furthermore, the film showcases the natural beauty of Ecuador, from its lush green forests and sparkling rivers to its vibrant cities and bustling markets. Through stunning cinematography, the audience is transported to the heart of Ecuadorian culture and immersed in its rich traditions and customs.

“With My Heart in Yambo” is a powerful and emotionally charged film that offers a window into the heart and soul of Ecuador. Through the story of Jorge and Javier’s disappearance, the audience is invited on a virtual journey to Ecuador and into the heart of its cultural identity. The film not only highlights the ongoing struggle for justice and closure but also showcases the beauty and diversity of Ecuador’s people, traditions, and landscapes.

How Much Further (2006)

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How Much Further is a captivating and thought-provoking film that takes its viewers on a journey through the beautiful landscapes of Ecuador. The movie follows the story of two young women, Tristeza and Esperanza, as they travel through the Ecuadorian Andes in search of a town called Riobamba.

As they journey through the mountains and valleys of Ecuador, the two women encounter a variety of interesting characters and experience the complexities of life in a country that is both beautiful and challenging. The movie provides a glimpse into the rich culture and history of Ecuador, from its indigenous communities to its colonial past.

One of the reasons why this film is so compelling is that it offers a virtual travel experience for those who may not have the opportunity to visit Ecuador in person. Through its stunning cinematography and immersive storytelling, the movie transports its audience to the heart of the Andean region, allowing us to experience the beauty and diversity of this fascinating country.

Furthermore, How Much Further offers a unique perspective on contemporary Ecuadorian society and politics. The movie explores issues of social justice, economic inequality, and cultural identity in a way that is both honest and nuanced. By delving into these complex themes, the film offers a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing Ecuador today.

How Much Further is a must-see film for anyone interested in exploring the rich cultural heritage and stunning landscapes of Ecuador. Its engaging characters and thought-provoking themes make it a truly memorable cinematic experience.

A Tus Espaldas (2011)

“A Tus Espaldas” is a powerful and emotionally charged film that explores the complex themes of love, betrayal, and the pursuit of personal fulfillment. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Ecuadorian Andes, the film follows the story of two sisters, Rosaura and Esperanza, whose lives are forever changed when a handsome stranger enters their lives.

As the plot unfolds, we are transported deep into the heart of Ecuador, where we are able to witness the beauty of the country’s landscapes, people, and culture. Through the lens of the film, we are able to experience the vibrancy and passion of Ecuadorian life, from the colorful markets to the bustling streets of the city.

But what truly makes “A Tus Espaldas” such a captivating film is its deeply personal and emotional tone. Through the struggles and triumphs of Rosaura and Esperanza, we are able to explore the complexities of human relationships and the universal quest for happiness and fulfillment.

“A Tus Espaldas” is a film that allows us to virtually travel to Ecuador not just in a physical sense, but in an emotional one as well. Through its captivating storytelling and breathtaking visuals, we are able to immerse ourselves in the rich and vibrant culture of this beautiful country, and to explore the deepest and most profound aspects of the human experience.

Alba (2016)

Alba is a visually stunning and emotionally powerful movie that takes us on a journey to the heart of Ecuador. Directed by Ana Cristina Barragán, this coming-of-age drama tells the story of a young girl named Alba who, after the death of her mother, is sent to live with her estranged father in a small coastal town.

As Alba navigates the challenges of adolescence and tries to connect with her father, she finds solace in her love of swimming and her fascination with the local marine life. Through her experiences, we are transported to the breathtaking landscapes of Ecuador’s coastline, with its vibrant flora and fauna and sparkling blue waters.

What makes Alba such a compelling film is its ability to capture the essence of Ecuadorian culture and way of life. The movie portrays the warmth and resilience of the people, the beauty of the natural world, and the complexity of relationships in a way that is both authentic and deeply moving.

For those who are unable to physically travel to Ecuador, Alba provides a virtual journey that is both immersive and enriching. It invites us to explore the rich cultural heritage of this fascinating country, and to experience its unique blend of indigenous, Spanish, and Afro-Caribbean influences.

Alba is a captivating and thought-provoking movie that offers a glimpse into the soul of Ecuador. Through its poignant storytelling, stunning cinematography, and evocative soundtrack, it allows us to embark on a virtual journey that is both inspiring and transformative.

Books About Ecuador

Cumanda: The Novel of the Ecuadorian Jungle (2007)

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I had the pleasure of reading Cumanda: The Novel of the Ecuadorian Jungle, and I must say, it was an incredible journey. Written by the Ecuadorian author Juan Leon Mera, the novel was originally published in 1879 and has since become a classic of Ecuadorian literature.

The story follows the lives of two young lovers, Cumanda and Carlos, who come from different ethnic backgrounds – Cumanda being indigenous and Carlos being a mestizo. The novel is set in the Amazon rainforest, which is beautifully depicted through Mera’s vivid descriptions of the landscape, flora and fauna. The author also uses the story to highlight the cultural clashes between the indigenous people and the Spanish colonizers, as well as the social issues of the time such as slavery and gender inequality.

One of the reasons why I enjoyed this book so much is that it allowed me to virtually travel to Ecuador and experience the country’s rich culture and history through the eyes of its people. Mera’s depiction of the Amazon rainforest was particularly mesmerizing, as he described the lush vegetation, exotic animals, and indigenous customs in great detail. It felt like I was right there, exploring the jungle alongside Cumanda and Carlos.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in exploring new cultures and experiencing different perspectives. It’s a beautifully written novel that not only offers a glimpse into Ecuador’s past but also raises important questions about identity, diversity, and social justice that are still relevant today.

Huasipungo (1962)

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Reading “Huasipungo” by Jorge Icaza was a truly enlightening journey. This powerful novel, originally published in 1934, vividly depicts the struggles and oppression faced by indigenous people in rural Ecuador during the early 20th century.

Through the eyes of a diverse cast of characters, including the wealthy landowner Don Alfonso Pereira, the indigenous laborer Andres Chiliquinga, and the ambitious mestizo businessman Ignacio Falconí, I was transported to the rugged landscapes and bustling markets of Ecuador’s highlands. The descriptions of daily life, from the backbreaking work in the fields to the colorful festivities and traditions of different ethnic groups, made me feel like I was right there alongside them.

But as the story unfolds and the characters’ lives become increasingly intertwined, I also gained a deeper understanding of the social and economic injustices that still persist in many parts of Latin America today. From the exploitation of indigenous workers to the corrupt practices of the ruling class, “Huasipungo” pulls no punches in its critique of the power imbalances that have plagued the region for centuries.

I highly recommend “Huasipungo” to anyone interested in exploring the rich cultural heritage and complex history of Ecuador and the Andean region more broadly. By immersing yourself in this thought-provoking and emotionally charged novel, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the resilience and perseverance of the people who call this part of the world home.

Wolves’ Dream (1997)

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Wolves’ Dream is a captivating novel that transports you to the wild and breathtaking landscapes of Ecuador. The story is centered around a mysterious wolf pack that has taken up residence in the Andean mountains, and the complex relationships between the pack members, the local indigenous communities, and the modern world.

As someone who loves to travel and immerse themselves in new cultures, reading this book was like taking a virtual journey to Ecuador. The author, Yasunari Kawabata, masterfully describes the lush forests, towering mountains, and vibrant cities of this South American country, making you feel as if you are right there with the characters.

What I found particularly compelling about this book was how it explores the tensions between tradition and modernity in Ecuador. The indigenous communities in the story are struggling to hold onto their traditional ways of life in the face of encroaching modernity, while the wolves represent a primal and untamed force that resists human attempts to control or dominate nature.

I would highly recommend Wolves’ Dream to anyone who loves to travel, explore new cultures, and ponder the complexities of our relationship with nature. It is a beautiful and thought-provoking novel that will transport you to a world you may never have known existed.

The Devil’s Nose (2015)

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Devil’s Nose by Anna Maria Iglesia. This gripping novel takes the reader on a thrilling journey through Ecuador’s stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and turbulent history.

The book is set in the early 1900s and follows the story of a young woman named Carmen who embarks on a dangerous mission to deliver a message to her father in the Andes Mountains. Along the way, she encounters various obstacles, including bandits, harsh weather, and treacherous terrain. But with the help of a group of fearless mule drivers, Carmen manages to overcome these challenges and reach her destination.

One of the things I loved most about The Devil’s Nose is how it allows you to virtually travel to Ecuador. Iglesia vividly describes the country’s diverse geography, from the lush rainforests of the Amazon to the rugged peaks of the Andes. She also captures the unique culture and traditions of the Ecuadorian people, including their colorful festivals, vibrant music, and mouth-watering cuisine.

But what really sets this book apart is its exploration of Ecuador’s fascinating history. Through Carmen’s journey, we learn about the country’s struggle for independence, its turbulent political climate, and its ongoing fight for social justice. Iglesia’s vivid storytelling brings these historical events to life, making them feel both relevant and compelling.

I highly recommend The Devil’s Nose to anyone who loves adventure, history, and culture. It’s a beautifully written book that will transport you to a fascinating corner of the world and leave you feeling both entertained and enlightened.

When the Guayacanes Flourished (1987)

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This book was an absolute delight to read. It takes you on a journey to Ecuador, a country that is full of vibrant and colorful landscapes, diverse communities, and a rich history.

The book is primarily set in the small town of San Miguel de los Bancos, located in the cloud forest region of Ecuador. It’s a place where time seems to have stood still, and where the traditional way of life is still very much alive. Through the eyes of the author, you get to experience the daily life of the locals, their customs, beliefs, and traditions.

The book also provides a glimpse into the history of Ecuador, particularly during the early 20th century, when the country was going through a period of social and political change. The author shares stories of the struggles and triumphs of the people of San Miguel de los Bancos during this time, and how they were able to preserve their way of life despite the challenges they faced.

One of the highlights of the book is the vivid description of the guayacanes, a type of tree that blooms in brilliant shades of yellow and orange during the months of January and February. The author’s descriptions are so detailed and immersive that you can almost smell the fragrance of the flowers and feel the warmth of the sun on your skin.

“When the Guayacanes Flourished” is a beautifully written book that allows you to virtually travel to Ecuador and experience its rich culture and history. It’s a must-read for anyone who is interested in learning about different cultures and exploring new places.

A Music Playlist to Virtually Travel to Ecuador

The music of Ecuador is a rich and diverse blend of indigenous, African, and Spanish influences that have shaped the country’s culture over the centuries. Listening to a playlist of Ecuadorian music can be a virtual travel experience that transports you to the vibrant streets and lively culture of this South American nation.

Starting with “Nuestro Juramento” by Julio Jaramillo, a classic Ecuadorian ballad, listeners are instantly transported to the romantic atmosphere of the country. The soft melody and emotional lyrics of the song evoke a sense of nostalgia and longing for a past that still lingers in the present.

Moving on to more contemporary tracks like “Yo Naci Aqui” and “El Aguacate” by Juan Fernando Velasco, the playlist takes on a more upbeat and modern tone. These songs capture the essence of Ecuador’s bustling cities and lively music scene, with catchy rhythms and infectious hooks that will have listeners tapping their feet and swaying to the beat.

As the playlist progresses, it delves deeper into the traditional sounds of Ecuador with “A Tajitos De Cana” by Hernan Sotomayor and “A Mi Lindo Ecuador” by Fernando Pacheco and Ruben Barba. These songs showcase the indigenous and folk influences that are still very much a part of Ecuadorian music today. Listening to these tracks is like taking a journey through the rural and mountainous regions of the country, where ancient traditions and customs still thrive.

The playlist then ends on a high note with upbeat tracks like “Light It Up” by Esto es Eso, “Sometimes Ok” by Fausto Mino, and “Kito con K” by Sal y Mileto. These songs capture the vibrant energy of Ecuador’s cities, where modern beats and rhythms blend with the country’s rich musical heritage to create a unique and dynamic sound.

In conclusion, a playlist of Ecuadorian music can be a virtual travel experience that takes you on a journey through the diverse landscapes and cultures of this fascinating country. Whether you’re a fan of traditional ballads, modern beats, or a little bit of both, there’s something for everyone in Ecuador’s vibrant music scene.

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