I spent almost all of my Christmas break in Ecuador. I have family there since that is where my mom is originally from, We usually go every three or four years, and stay mainly near the capital city of Quito. It was an awesome trip! I went to the Amazon for a few days in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve. It was nice to be away from civilization. I saw a couple of sloths and quite alot of Monkeys. One of my favorite memories from the Amazon was watching the sunset over the dried up lagoon bed while lots of bats fluttered around. We went in search for an Anaconda for a couple of days too. We found lots of tracks but never actually found the guy. We also made yuca bread from scratch with a native indian. We pulled it straight out of the ground (yuca is similar to a potato). We then grinded it and squeezed out all of the water. Then we threw the flour onto a pan over a wood fire. That was all that it needed! No yeast, or salt. It was pretty good.
After the Amazon we spent some time with the family during the holidays. In Ecuador you eat Christmas dinner at midnight of Christmas Eve. There is a big emphasis on family in Ecuador, which is something I like. After two weeks into the trip, I had a couple of friends fly in and we went around different parts of the country just sort of doing whatever seemed fun. We went to a town called Banos(translated as showers or baths, not bathroom) where we got to hike, raft, and go canyoning. We also went to the coast where we got major sunburns becuase Ecuador is on the Equator. We went to a ‘Mitad del Mundo’ museum which talks about things like the Coriolis effect and showed a demonstration with a tub of water draining. I can tell you firsthand, that the Coriolis effect is real. I also balanced a raw egg on a nail on the equator.
Overall, Ecuador is a great place for beginner travellers- it is beautiful and has alot to offer.