As we planned our moved to Ecuador we bought a lot of books. Not just books to learn Spanish or books about becoming expats. Once we decided on Ecuador, we were hungry for information about what was actually there (here).
Thinking about Ecuador retirement? Check out this list of the top books about retirement in Ecuador.
14 Best Books About Travel and Life in Ecuador
We wanted to know not just about Cuenca, but also the other cities and towns in this new country of ours.
We looked into the many travel and expat blogs, but found it hard to sort out the information we wanted. Many blogs are just stories of who-had-lunch-with-who. Others are primarily complaining about “how things are” living in Ecuador. Certainly personal blogs have a place – especially when you know the person writing – but it wasn’t what we needed.
Both Dena and I are big on details. We wanted as much real info as we could find. And with multiple sources, we could kind of get a balanced view of what it was really like here.
As we planned our trip, we spent a lot of time at Chapters – Canada’s version of Barnes and Noble. Armed with a Starbucks coffee, we spent hours (and hours) over many months reading and buying books. We easily read more than 20 books on Ecuador and becoming expats.
14 Ecuador Books about Travel & Relocation
Here are the ones we bought specifically on Ecuador. Looking for more on the Galapagos? Check out our new post: Top 17 Galapagos Books
We hope you’ll share your comments below!
5 Ecuador Travel Books
1. The Rough Guide to Ecuador
Whether exploring the magnificence of Quito’s colonial centre, haggling in its highland markets of Zumbahua or navigating the rivers of the Amazon rainforest, the “Rough Guide” steers you to the best hotels, restaurants, stylish bars, cafes, nightlife and shopping in Ecuador across every price range.
You’ll find detailed coverage on staying safe in Ecuador, practical advice on where to learn Spanish and how to climb Cotopaxi, as well as expert discussions for Ecuador’s history, culture and environmental issues.
Curious about where to move? Here are 7 reasons that Ecuador is the best country for expats.
2. Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands (Moon Handbooks)
I’m a fan of second opinions, and so we decided to purchase a number of travel books about Ecuador to get the full picture. In the Moon handbook for Ecuador, there’s a section that most travelers will appreciate.
There’s a set of recommended tours (that you build yourself) including:
- the 30-day best of Ecuador tour
- the two-week best of Ecuador tour
- culture and history tour
- outdoor adventure tour, among others
We found that in each of the books there were specific facts and details that were unique to each of them. But the majority of details, hotels and travel tips were repeated almost exactly.
3. Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)
The whole book is in full color with excellent photographs. There is a great section at the beginning of the book called “the Best of Ecuador” that details specific highlights from across the country including:
- best wildlife watching
- only in Ecuador
- best art galleries
- best for families
- best markets
At the back of the book there is a full travel tips section covering everything from getting to Ecuador, traveling around once you are here, how to handle finances, cruises in the Galapagos, and finding good restaurants, hotels, and attractions. This is the best book that we’ve seen covering specific features and things you need to know about Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.
4. Lonely Planet Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
Read more about Ecuador travel.
5. Wildlife of the Galapagos (Pocket Guide)
It is packed with great photos – great for identifying the unique species that you will see. Covers 200+ common species and 400+ color photos, maps and drawings.
See our full set of Galapagos books
4 Ecuador Living Books
6. Becoming an Expat: Moving Abroad to Your Richer Life in Ecuador
She covers topics such as immigration, healthcare, moving as a family, how to live rent free and more.
One reader commented that she learned more by reading the book than visiting Ecuador.
7. Living and Retiring in Cuenca: 101 Questions Answered
- it is highly rated both on Amazon.com and by other expats
- it is inexpensive, delivers fast, and covers a wide variety of topics.
If you have read this book, please share your thoughts in the comments below. I would love to have your input on this book.
8. The Complete Guide to Retiring in and Around Cotacachi, Ecuador
The books seems to focus on cost of living sharing everything from the cost of bananas, bus fare, and 3 course lunches to the range of rent prices ($100 to $450/month).
Read an another expat profile from Cotacachi.
9. 17 Books about Ecuador Retirement
In this post, I include the top 17 books about retiring in Ecuador – written by expats in Ecuador.
Check out the full set: Ecuador retirement books
2 Books on Culture and Language
10. Ecuador: Culture Smart (The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture
In this book, you’ll learn about
- local customs and traditions
- impact of history, religion and politics
- Ecuadorians at home, work and play
- food and drink
- dos, don’ts and taboos
- business practices
11. Lonely Planet Latin American Spanish Phrasebook and Dictionary
He says: “the best book for learning Spanish, is the *one you’ll actually use.* It needs to be accurate, well organized and accessible.”
Check out the full post: 8 Travelers Share the 12 Best Books to Learn Spanish
3 Maps of Ecuador: Country, Quito, Galapagos
I know, maps are not that exciting. But what’s interesting is that good maps are not easy to find here in Ecuador. Especially English ones.
While I felt like I was getting a little carried away, ordering maps before we made the move, I am happy that I did. Every city and region have small tourist maps but they are not good quality, and certainly don’t have very many street names on them.
The maps that we purchased on Amazon.com while we were planning a move came in handy even before we left for Ecuador. We were able to get a mental picture of where Cuenca was located in relation to the major cities (and their international airports), how far we were from the coast, the jungle, and other points of interest near Cuenca.
When we moved, we had maps of the three major regions that we could find maps for: of the whole country of Ecuador, of the city of Quito, and the Galapagos Islands. We still don’t have a quality map of Cuenca, although we’ve seen them here in the center of the city.
After more than three years in Cuenca I don’t feel that a city map would be as useful for us as when we first arrived. It’s true that there are good maps online that can be accessed via mobile devices and computers, but sometimes it’s nice to have a paper map in hand and see the large view of the area that you are researching.
12. Map of Ecuador (Waterproof)
Distances between communities are shown, as well as gas stations outside of major towns. National parks and points of interest are also shown. An inset map of Quito is also shown.
13. Map of Quito Ecuador
The legend is in English and in Spanish.
14. Galapagos Islands Map (Waterproof)
Also, information on specific animals and where to find them are clearly displayed.
The map is printed on thin plastic that keeps it from ripping and makes it waterproof.
So these are the books, maps and products we purchased as we were planning our relocation to Ecuador.
Is there one I’ve missed? Please include your recommended research product in the comments below. Thanks!