Travel Resources

23 comments

Gringos Abroad Traveler Resources

There is no shortage of websites for travelers – but which ones actually are worth looking at? We have built this page to share our favorites. New here? Start here!

gringos-abroad-travel-resources

Free Travel Tools

  • Online Conversion – Convert everything from inches to centimeters, miles to kilometers to clothing sizes, area, dates, temperature and power. The best I’ve seen.
  • Universal Currency Converter (by XE.com) – Convert any currency (and amount) to any other currency that exists. Is there another option?
  • World Time Buddy – one of the best timezone conversion tools that I’ve seen.

Travel Insurance

  • World Nomads – The best (most flexible) travel insurance that we’ve ever bought. They cover residents of more than 150 countries, including Canada, the States and Ecuador. No more being in limbo – get covered and start traveling.  (Read review)

Recommended eBooks

Technology Tools

  • Audible.com – get English books and training materials on your iPod, smart phone or laptop.
  • Skype – the hands-down leader in travel communication. Instant message, voice or video options make it perfect for travelers. Free for computer to computer, and virtually free for calls to land-lines. We purchased a phone number (based in the US) but rings through to our computer where ever we are in the world. Great stuff.
  • Dropbox – its a great way to share files between computers. Files (music, data, video) all sync across your computers and its free. You get 2gb free, forever. Never a charge. I sync my PC, laptop and Dena’s laptop all with the same account. Worth checking out.
  • Pimsleurs Language Learning Learn Spanish with just 30 minutes per day.

Reviewed Books and DVD’s

{ 23 comments… add one }

  • Denis Cruickshank May 29, 2014, 2:05 am

    I am arriving in Ecuador (Guayaquil) on June 25th and will fly to Cuenca the next day. My problem is that I speak no Spanish but have bought an Ectaco iTravl NTL-2S Deluxe Spanish Dictionary Speech Text Translator. Can you recommend http://www.cuencacondos.com/0030.htm as a reputable company ? I am presuming from your articles that the rent on this place would be higher than I could find once I get there and pick up some Spanish but am prepared to pay extra for a year to ensure that I have somewhere quick and stable so that I can explore the city. Will be initially on a tourist visa but have arranged a lwyer to arrange an investor visa. Can I rent long term on a tourist visa ? Any ideas for a one or two week stay at a hotel in Cuenca that won’t break the bank ?

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines May 29, 2014, 3:59 pm

      I haven’t heard much about them for a few years. I thought that the owner returned to the states. In checking their blog, there was a two year space of no updates – and then they began blogging again two weeks ago. I know that a some expats had a few bad experiences years ago. Maybe things have improved with time.

      I haven’t had any experience with the company.

      No trouble to rent on a tourist visa.

      Reply
  • Roxie February 24, 2014, 5:34 pm

    I live in California and I am traveling with a small group of friends to attend an international religious convention in Quito in January 2014. Although we have limited funds we are hoping to stay several days visiting places of interest. We also want to travel to Guayaquil. Could you give suggestions on ‘must’ sees during our visit that doesn’t require selling my firstborn to fund it?

    Reply
  • Philip Perez May 30, 2013, 3:55 am

    Could someone please recommend an Immigration Attorney in Guayaquil.
    Thank you very much,
    Phil Perez.

    Reply
  • Jim May 7, 2013, 10:35 am

    My girlfriend and I are landing in Quito from Western Canada on May 15 and are renting a car for a three week stay in Ecuador. We are exploring the possibility of moving to Ecuador next fall and buying property. We are looking to explore the Coast for starters and see if we find a climate that draws us to it. I have a passionate attraction to being close to the ocean and we have booked the first few days in Bahia to explore some of the central and North Central coast. We will likely head South from there and some time South of Manta near the park after that. We are fairly flexible and will go where the spirit moves us though. Thanks for the help in our initial online search. I’d enjoy meeting you guys if the opportunity arises at some point but wanted to at least say thanks for your initial help. My virus protection on my laptop doesn’t like your web site and I’m typing on my phone or I’d go into more detail. Thanks again Jim

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines May 12, 2013, 6:50 am

      Sounds like you have an amazing trip planned!

      We are having an issue with our site and it will be fixed over the next couple of weeks. It is a back-end coding problem.

      Thanks Jim!

      Reply
  • Jason March 10, 2013, 9:37 pm

    Brian, I’m bringing a group in June to Paute outside of Cuenca . I’m looking for translators that can work for 4 or 5 days. Thanks Jason

    Reply
  • Miles Grant February 23, 2013, 11:29 am

    Hi Bryan,

    Love the blog by the way :) Thinkin of heading down for a month to explore the coast – perhasps with an island detour at either end. we are in Ottawa and have the easy option of driving across the border to start our flight connections to where ever we are bound for. Do you have a favourite route that you would recommend for travelers headed down your way from the great white north……..thanks eh ;)

    Reply
  • Kim Maksymuik February 1, 2013, 4:24 pm

    Hi Bryan,

    We are sending clients to Cuenca for a brief visit. Any recommendations on a tour guide, hotel and what to see if you only have one day in Cuenca?

    Thanks,

    Kim

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines February 3, 2013, 7:02 am

      Hi Kim, there is a city bus tour (double decker) that we’ve heard is amazing. They can get that right in Parque Calderon. If they start with that in the morning, then they can visit some of the places that they liked in the afternoon. Just 2 blocks from Parque Calderon (passing the amazing flower market) is “Casa de la Mujer” where they can find typical crafts and souvenirs of the Andes.

      You’ve got me thinking – I’m going to write a post about a day trip to Cuenca, and cover it in more detail.

      I don’t have contact for a tour guide here in the city – but they could stop by the tourist bureau (also right on Parque Calderon. They have lots of options for tours, etc.

      Bryan

      Reply
      • Karen June 28, 2013, 3:46 pm

        Check out Richard Totoy ; he was offering Cuenca city tours as well as tours to outlying areas – not sure the details. We stayed in one of his apartments for a couple of months when we moved here. He speaks fluent English.

        Reply
  • Lollie August 7, 2012, 8:41 pm

    Hello Bryan! Thanks for your website. We are moving to Ecuador from Connecticut this month and we have a challenge: PETS! We are bringing along 2 small dogs and a cat and need to figure out transportation from the airport to our apartment. We will have 6 suitcases and 3 pets. Since American Airlines has the best pet policies, we will be landing in Quito and need to get to Cuenca. Yikes! Help! Would a van be gobs of money that far???

    Reply
  • Dave Young April 22, 2012, 5:03 pm

    I read about bringing cars to Ecuador, what about a motorcycle? Also in reguards to moving there how far in advance should one visit to have a look?

    Reply
  • Richard Leibel April 16, 2012, 7:01 pm

    Great blog, thanks for sharing all of your experiences. My partner, myself and our travel buddies (all Canadians)are going to be in Ecuador and the Galapagos for 3 weeks in December. We have found your blog very informative and entertaining. I’ll certainly share our experience’s with you when we return home.

    All the best.

    R

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines April 16, 2012, 7:56 pm

      Nice! Thanks for your comment and all the best on your travels. We just got back from the Galapagos (2nd time) and it was amazing!

      Reply
  • Alice Goers April 1, 2012, 1:17 pm

    I am a 66 year old widow who will be moving to Cuenca on September 7. I will rent for the foreseeable future. During the month of September I will be staying at a TerraDiversa studio apartment but need to find a rental beginning on October 1. I believe that I will be successful if I tell everyone I can about my rental need. I would want to rent 2 or more bedrooms, apartment or home, preferably unfurnished. If an apartment: it must have patio, terrace, linai, deck, courtyard, etc. Any assistance you can provide will be very truly appreciated. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Bonnie Crowder February 21, 2012, 6:10 pm

    love all the info..I’ve been in Ecuador eight months and will be applying for retirement visa to stay permenantly..Need a little help though..My son and daughter are here also and both take thryoid meds…it’s a natural brand, Armour….we live in Manta and none available even at Fybeca…Any suggestions how to find it in Ecuador? Thanks for your help in advance….
    Bonnie Crowder

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines February 21, 2012, 7:22 pm

      Hi Bonnie – I wish I could tell you where to find it… I’ve noticed that many of the smaller health supplement shops have a better selection than the larger chain ones. Just check the expiration dates – sometimes they don’t move much product so it can expire.

      Reply
    • Doug March 18, 2012, 8:39 am

      Bonnie,

      We have had supplements/natural products shipped in from the U.S. via Club Correros. If you have a p.o. box in Ecuador,you can sign up for Club Correros through the Ecuadorian Postal service web site and order products/clothes/electronics, etc. on line and have them shipped to Ecuador. We have used the CC service for over a year and have not had any problems. The service is not cheap, but it has proven to be reliable.

      Doug

      Reply
  • Rick January 27, 2012, 1:04 pm

    My partner and I live in Victoria BC Canada and are planning an extended visit this spring towards a move. Could you give a ballpark figure of what it cost you to travel on your most recent trip between Canada and Ecuador? We plan to stay in Vilcabamba which I believe is not too far from where you live.

    P.S. I used to be the travel writer for Victoria and area for About.com

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines January 27, 2012, 6:33 pm

      Hi Rick – our last minute ticket purchase for 2 adults and a child was USD$3500. We purchased them around 5 days before the flight so they were expensive. A round trip ticket from Halifax NS to Cuenca (or Guayaquil – depending on the schedule) are usuaully $800-1000 ea.

      All the best on our travel plans!

      Bryan

      Reply
  • Sam Heffner January 24, 2012, 6:33 pm

    Still trying to find out if bus travel is safe,dependable, and clean in Ecuador.

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines January 24, 2012, 7:38 pm

      I guess first of all, we should clarify that we are talking about bus travel? :) Maybe in Europe or parts of Canada/US some bus lines might be described that way – but by nature, buses aren’t very safe or clean – in just about every part of the world.

      I would have to say that buses in Ecuador wouldn’t be described as any of these. Generally, the buses are safe. Dependable – yes, if you mean: “Do they arrive?” They don’t work on much of a schedule – neither the city or provincial buses.

      To state: “The buses are safe” would not be 100% true. Generally they are safe, but they do have accidents. If you have ever been in a car between cities you would agree that buses don’t drive very carefully/safely. Also, it isn’t unheard of for people to be pick-pocketed or even robbed on an inter-provincial bus. Friends of ours were robbed last month. But they weren’t hurt, just lost some stuff. As with everything, bus travel carries some risk – however small it is.

      We travel by bus in Cuenca and I will take an inter-provincial bus – but it isn’t my first choice.

      Hope this helps.

      Reply

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We are a Canadian family living in Ecuador (South America) since 2009. We cover expat hacks, language learning, earning abroad, and product reviews. Read about the best gear, places to live, and cost of living. Interested to work with us? Read more about Bryan & Dena

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