Aloha Ecuador

On our way to Ecuador, we spent a night in Pasto, a southern Colombian town located two hours from the border, famous for eating Guinea pig.  (Thank god they aren’t world famous or else this post would be about eating furry rodents, as per family rule #4.)

 The next morning was border crossing day.  Ecuador marks our 12th border crossing since Tree and I started our Pan-American adventure in 2010.  Together, we’ve been to Cuba, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and now Ecuador.  We used to get so nervous on border crossing days. We would prepare all of our paperwork the night before, crossing our Ts and dotting our Is. The next morning, we were the first ones at the border, passports in hand, butterflies in stomach, carefully reading the instructions that we used to cling to like they were the only thing standing between us and a dirt nap.

Now, for better or worse, the thrill is gone.  Instead, we are left with a boring two hour experience from which I will spare you the details.

Within our first hour in Ecuador, I noticed a few things things:

1)      The people are very small (and very nice, but it’s hard to capture that part on film)

 2)      The trees are missing

According to ecologists, Ecuador has the highest deforestation rate and the worst environmental record in South America.

3) The snow is back! We haven’t seen any since northern California in mid-2010.


4)  They have really cool roadside attractions. 

Tree doesn’t quite share my love of the tacky and absurd, so I hope at least some of you can fully appreciate The Bienvenidos Black Bishop and Cave Men Fighting Wooly Mammoth in Center Divider for what they really are…genius! Sheer genius!

Our goal was to make it to the Small World Eco-lodge in San Francisco de Borja, but we got stuck in two traffic jams totaling a three hour delay, so we didn’t make it. On the bright side, we ate some interesting street food and took these photos along the way.

 We stopped for the night in a hostel outside of Otavalo. I asked for the matrimonial bed, and they gave us a twin size.  I’m thinking that this is either because 1) Ecuadorians are relatively small (see photo one) or because 2) they really like to cuddle.  I, myself,  fit in both of these categories, so I was happy as a clam at highwater.  

As for Tree….well, a picture speaks a thousand words. -Stevie


  1. For the record, I LOVE roadside attractions, thank you very much.

    • Anonymous says:

      maybe in the little bed a sapling will happen!!!!!
      (get it…Tree, Sapling….)
      auntie coco

    • That must be why it is not uncommon to see families with 5 to 9 children in Ecuador! We need to give these people bigger beds…for the love of the planet! Please!! Someone send some queensize futons!

    • I’m okay with a baby brother or sister so long as it doesn’t sleep in my bed. Or touch me. I don’t really like to be touched by small children. They mess up my fur.

  2. More guinea pig, or Cuy, eatin’ to come in Ecuador, Stevie! It’s everywhere. I think the whole country is actually famous for it…eek, I know! I couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t try it, no way…
    Glad you made it across, and actually am a bit relieved you bypassed the North Ecuadorian Coast. It’s the only place I’ve ever felt unsettled traveling in Latin America.

    • Great. Northern Ecuadorian coast is on Tree’s list as soon as we get back from the U.S. All he thinks about is waves. Tell me more about why it felt sketchy (FARC, banditos, spooky and remote, creepy vibe, pray tell)….any suggestions for us to stay safer?

  3. cheryll says:

    The bunk beds are waiting for you! 🙂 I’m very happy you are safely in Ecuador and on your way. Can’t wait to see you guys!

    • We can’t wait to see you too!! I’m going to squeeze you until your eyes pop out!! And I’m going to eat brownies until my belly button pops out. xoxo.

  4. I share your love of #4, absolutely brilliant! I think when we passed the wooly mammoth cave men scene, we were too awed and humored to stop for the photo op. Good job taking the time on this one, so worth it!

    • Thank you. Thank you Brianna for recognizing the greatness of the roadside dioramas. I have dedicated my life to capturing these pointless scenes and sharing them with the world at large. I’m happy to know that my efforts are not wasted.

  5. Hello !!
    I have been following you for a while, I like your photos and the stories. I went to school in colombia and I liked it very much, keep the good work.
    One more thing guys I would be taking a trip from Austin to Venezuela in about 4 weeks
    if you have any information that can help me I will thanks you ahead of time.
    here is website:
    check it out


    • Congratulations Ossie! You’re in for a great adventure. Having just done the route from the U.S to Venezuela, my most important piece of advice is TAKE YOUR TIME. GO SLOW. There’s so much to experience, enjoy every second of it! If you have any specific questions along the way, please let us know. We’re happy to help in any way we can. Stay in touch!!! Que le vaya bien pana.

  6. so close, yet so far!! argh!! have an amazing time back home and safe travels (oh yes, if you could please bring us a big bottle of dr bronner’s we would be eternally grateful!!!) xoxox

    • No shit, right. I think I want to take an extra suitcase home so I can stuff it with Dr. Bronners, Ezekiel cereal, EmergenC packets, and gourmet dog food…you know, the things we can’t live without!

  7. Alexis Schulman says:

    Yaaaaay! Hurry up and fly home!!!!! I miss you guys! I’m in need of sisterly love!

  8. Heather Matthews says:

    Congrats! I’m following you closely. Love the twin bed…

    • He didn’t make it through the night. At around midnight he got up and went to sleep in the van, which was probably for the best. When I crawled back in bed after going pee, I accidentally sat on his chest. What can I say, he was on my side of the bed.

  9. Mike Van Pelt says:

    Hi Tree

    Its still a bit harry until you pass Ibara Ecuador but from there on (until parts of Peru) you are good. Good luck and safe travels.

  10. Mmmmmm! Brownies, sangri, licorice, cookies, wine, food, food, food! I have a new treat for you…banana bread with chocolate chips!! YUM!! Stay safe and hurry up! Love you!!

  11. panama shaun says:

    Can we get a close up of Trees PJ’s please?

  12. Anonymous says:

    nice bed … perfect for a big family jajaja
    los quiero

  13. So cute!

    Stevie I leave for Burning Man on 8/25 so ANY day before then I definitely wanna meet up for a surf.


  14. Welcome to Ecuador!!! I feel like we have been out of the loop, I did not even know were you where do to our lack of internet for the past 2 and a half months! When are you flying out? When do we finally meet in person?!!!

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