Guest Author - Jim Fortune
It's fun to travel to Europe and my favorite countries in Europe are Italy, France, Spain and Greece. But there is a problem with travel to these countries in 2011. That problem is the rate of exchange between the Euro and the dollar. Every Euro today converts to $1.46.
Said another way, everything costs about 46% more in the countries that accept the Euro as it does in the United States. Of course, my favorite countries all accept the Euro as their currency.
So my suggestion is for you to consider going to places where the U.S. dollar is the national currency. One of those countries that you may not have considered is Ecuador. Back in January 2000, the US dollar was named the official currency in Ecuador and was officially accepted everywhere by September 2000.
That gives Americans a tremendous advantage when travelling there. You can use your dollar based credit cards and currency anywhere. Don't worry about exchanging your money to another currency and getting a bad rate of exchange. Your greenbacks are welcome and even your coins are used as well.
So when is a good time to go to Ecuador? There are two seasons in Ecuador. From the middle of November thru most of April and in the first week of May, is the rainy season. The rest of the time is the best time to go to Ecuador - from May to November. Since summer is a popular time of the year for families to travel, it coincides with the best time to see beautiful Ecuador.
What do you bring for clothes? The temperature runs from mid to high 70s (77 - 79) to a low in the evening of 59 or 62. That temperature range sounds really comfortable to me and why I like that time of year. Of course the temperature will vary with the area of Ecuador you visit. In the mountain regions of the Andes or Sierra Highlands the temperatures tend to be a little cooler.
But this is the region that is the most visited part of the country. This area is packed with both nature and cultural things to do. It has the most developed tourist industry where you will find hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, swimming and just places to relax and get your mojo back in sync.
One of my favorite activities is visiting the thermal spas for a dip and a massage and another dip. But don't think that you'll have to leave comfort and luxuries behind. The Sierras have five star hotels where you can get pampered and relaxed like you have never been before.
Don't forget that Ecuador is the place where you can also find the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands. The country is diverse and I am guessing that you will not be able to see all you want to see in one trip.
So plan you time accordingly. Figure a ten day trip. One travel day to get there and one travel day to get home. That will leave you with eight days in country. I would plan on two or three days when you get there for sightseeing - kayaking, mountain biking, etc. and one to two days to relax - massage, spa, thermal baths, etc. Then repeat. Notice that you are doing the relaxing just before you get on the plane to go home. That's the way I like to do it.
Relax, chill, get pampered and then go home.
Despite the economy I hope you are travelling and enjoying yourself. Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?
Jim Fortune - the Bella Budget Travel Guy