This was our first morning that we got to sleep in, but we still had to leave for the airport at 10:30. After breakfast, we checked out and waited for our ride. There were four of us from our group going home today. The others continued on with other tours. Our tour guide and bus driver picked us up in a van instead of the bus to take us to the airport. It was a quiet ride, as we looked out the window and viewed the country of Ecuador differently from when we arrived just a week ago.
Yamandu escorted us inside before he left and we thanked him for the wonderful week. We noticed that the airport was not very busy as we made our way to check in. This airport is only a couple of years old and very clean.
As we were walking to our gate, there were beautiful roses on display, which reminded us of our visit to the rose farm.
There was a store that had chocolate samples on display and of course we tried some samples.
Roses were packaged for sale like the ones we witnessed at the rose farm. I would have loved to have brought some home with me, but sadly we couldn’t.
This airport opened in 2013, and everything is spotless.
We ate lunch at Johnny Rockets as our flight did not depart until 2:15. This was the most expensive meal on our trip. It was a good thing we ate in Ecuador, as we did not have time to eat in Miami, as it took to long to go through customs.
After lunch we went to our gate to wait to board. The flight left on time and it was a full flight. We spent our layover in Miami trying to get through customs. There were only 3 people working a very long line. People were not happy and were afraid they would miss their flights.
When we reached the custom agent we talked about the long line. He advised us if we travel out of the country a lot to apply for a Global Entry pass. This would help us to bypass these long lines. By the time we arrived at our gate, we had ten minutes until we started boarding, cutting it too close for me. We didn’t get into BWI until after midnight. It was a long travel day, but we were glad to be home.
Ecuador Travel Final Thoughts
After visiting Ecuador, J had a complete reversal of his perception of the country and was really glad he went. J served in the National Guard and he was sent to South America for two weeks back in 1998. The area has changed for the better and we saw beautiful country sides with towering mountains, abundant waterfalls, winding gentle river to swift moving water and most important of all very welcoming and friendly people.
Our tour guide, Yamandu Almeida, in our opinion performed a great job over the 8 days we were together. Our group contained about 20 people with a wide range in age from 20’s to 60’s. He treated each person with great respect and left no one out. He lives in Ecuador and is well versed in the history and knows the country like the back of his hand. He took us to places we would not even be able to go to even if we had a map.
Our past experience traveling on vacation was to plan and do everything on our own, or take a cruise to get a flavor of a new area. That required a lot of planning. As a DIY vacationer, we would have to drag our luggage wherever we went, plan our meals and lodging.
Taking a trip with Gate 1 Travel was a very nice treat, as they did all the work and we just went along for the ride. As soon as we landed and proceeded thru customs and claimed our luggage, Gate 1 was there to take over. The luggage was delivered to our room each day and taken from our room each morning. All we had to do was unpack and pack. As far as food, all but a couple of our meals were planned. We had breakfast at the hotels and then dinner at the place of lodging in the evenings. When we had to fend for ourselves, our guide referred us to at least 3 difference restaurants to have a meal at the location we had stopped.
In between hotels we were driven to tourist’s location. From volcanic mountains to fast moving streams. Farm house settings to big city hotels. We viewed glaciers that were huge to the forest in the Amazon. The county side of Ecuador was amazing and quite beautiful.
Another factor that made it more enjoyable is that almost all the activity costs were included. The couple of places where we paid for the activity it was very cheap. Very little money, except for what you wanted to purchase was needed. Even the money situation was easy. Ecuador currency is the US Dollar, no need to exchange money.
Everyone did a great job being on time, and the group got along well with each other. Our guide watched out for each and every one of us. An example was when we went to a water falls and the distance was a bit too far for one of our ladies in our group, he saw she was lagging behind and with a short walk back to the village, ask a villager to sit with her rather then to have her sit on the bus. He seems to know everyone at the locations that we visited. The villager gave her a history of the surrounding and his family. This made her feel very comfortable. Even though she did not see the falls, she starting telling us of the history that was conveyed to her and really enjoyed the chat.
I highly recommend Gate 1 travel and would consider another vacation with them. Sometimes, it’s nice for someone else to take care of everything, and just sit back and relax. Our tour guide did a fantastic job. Without his great expertise, we would not have learned as much as we did about Ecuador. Now that we have been there, we would not hesitate to return someday.