How to Pack for Ecuador in the Fall
For Lindsay, it was the time she forgot medicine and got a terrible case of the stomach bug in The Philippines.
Everyone has that item they forgot that sets the tone for the rest trip.
Ecuador packing is especially tough because we were trying to pack light and for a multi-climate trip. Lindsay and I spent ten days in Ecuador and covered some wildly different terrains. Researching your destination for the time of year you’re visiting can be a trip saver.
Our first five days were in Banos -the adventure sports capital of South America. It was a bit cold and rainy while we were there and called for warm, waterproof sportswear that still photographs well.
From Banos, we headed to the hills outside of Otavalo. We got married at My Sacha Ji Wellness Hotel, so that added a whole different packing challenge.
The day after our wedding we did some rural touring and headed to the Otavalo market. The last few days of our trip was spent in the posh urban center of Quito, which called for city touring and elegant evening clothes.
All that, and we didn’t even go to the snow-capped mountains, deep into the rainforest, or the Galapagos Islands. For this guide we’ll stick to the items most people will be needing.
My go to travel pack is a 27 Litre Women’s Casimir pack from The North Face. It’s a small pack that forces you to pack light but has enough space to be a one bag solution. The Casimir is great for a carry-on and can double as a day pack when hiking or touring.
Large Dry Bag:
Having a dry bag is key in humid climates. Tech gear is expensive and you don’t want to get caught in the rain or near a waterfall without any protection. For $19 USD you can’t afford not to bring one.
Leggings are versatile. They can be dressed up or down, they’re comfortable and universally flattering.
Quick Drying T-shirts:
The humidity makes it nearly impossible for clothes to dry. We learned that the hard way when we had to tote around three of Lindsay’s sopping wet T-shirts.
Think layers and the ability to remove things when it gets hot. Flannels were a lifesaver because I could tie them around my waist when I got warm and still look cute.
Early mornings and late evenings in Banos and Otavalo were chilly. Casual sweatshirts were perfect for hanging out around the fire and grabbing morning coffee in the cloud forest.
The weather changes quickly in Ecuador. One minute it’s bright and sunny, the next it’s pouring rain. I loved my Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket because it kept me super dry but was small enough to compress into a pouch and put in my pack or purse during the day.
Lindsay was convinced we’d need these. I wasn’t. I thought we’d be fine with sneakers. Let the record state: She was right. She spent hours meticulously researching the best boot for our needs. She found the Palladium Pampa Sport Waterproof boots and they were perfect. They’re way cheaper than the more expensive brands but the quality was incredible. We’ll be loyal customers from now on.
Wool high socks:
Cotton doesn’t dry well. It just doesn’t. It stays wet and soggy which is gross and not ideal in a humid climate. Wool high socks were a lifesaver in the wet muck, they dried easily and protected my ankles from bugs. Plus the added cushion in the sole kept our feet blister free.
While the Palladium boots were a lifesaver, but they were a bit too heavy to wear while casually strolling the city. It was nice to have the option to switch back and forth.
Despite being pretty cold, we still wore our swimsuits. We visited some hot springs, swam through waterfalls, and soaked in the My Sacha Ji hot tub.
Bring more than you think you’ll need.
When I’m doing adventure activities I love a comfortable bra without wires like this one from Knix.
Make sure you pack your sunscreen, bug repellent with Deet, After Bite, Dramamine, headache meds and Anti-Malarial meds. Most of these items can be purchased in Ecuador for cheaper than you’d find them in other countries.
Flashlight or headlamp:
Our friend Nicole packed her headlamp for the trip. We laughed at first but then realized she was pretty genius. It was clutch when navigating the dark trails while hiking and perfect for making our way back to our rooms at night.
Camera with extra memory cards:
We love our Nikon J1 . It’s small, compact, and takes incredible pictures on auto. What more can you really ask for in a camera?
GoPro HD Hero4 Silver Edition:
For adventure sports, water-based activities, hiking and unique travel photos a GoPro is a MUST. Some of our favorite travel photos are stills grabbed from GoPro video. It’s by far one of the best investments we’ve made in our travel gear. I love it so much that Lindsay got embarrassed when I was singing its praises to a group of travelers asking us about it. I won’t bore you with all the features and specs. Just buy one. Seriously. I’m not on their payroll, I just love mine THAT much.
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Many of these photos are courtesy of Grace Chu Photography. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase using one of these links. It doesn’t cost anything for you, it’s just a way for us to keep this blog up and running. As always, I only link high-quality products and services cause I’d be embarrassed if I posted about something, you bought it, and it ended up being crap. C’mon I wouldn’t do that to you guys.
Dear friends, family, and loyal readers,
On September 14, 2016, Lindsay and I committed our lives and love to each other in a private ceremony in the Andes mountains of Ecuador at a gorgeous wellness resort called My Sacha Ji. We eloped because travel and emphasizing experiences over material possessions have been strong themes throughout our relationships. We had an adventure and started our marriage by building memories together.
We selected Ecuador because of its natural beauty, gorgeous culture, and multiple ecosystems. We also wanted to emphasize a less common LGBT travel destination. We started our ten-day joint elopement and honeymoon in Banos, Ecuador. We hiked the Amazon rain forest, rappelled waterfalls, ate way too much food, and enjoyed some spa services. After our time in Banos, we met up with our photographer Grace Chu and headed to the Andes mountains for a four-day stay at My Sacha Ji Eco and Wellness Retreat.
Honestly, My Sacha Ji is the most beautiful and relaxing place we’ve ever experienced. Set on top of a mountain overlooking the city of Otavalo, the avenue of the volcanoes, and Lake San Pablo, My Sacha Ji will always have a special place in our hearts. We spent four days being pampered and spoiled and just basking in each other. The details are what made our trip and My Sacha Ji itself special. Each day we wandered the open grounds playing with Valentino, Filla, and Aura -the resort’s pups – or watching the llamas chewing their meals. We spent time reflecting in the organic garden and lazing about in the hammocks or hot tub. Each day we learned a bit more about Andean culture, cuisine and the eco-friendly values and architecture of My Sacha Ji.
It was an opportunity to quiet the noise around us and focus on each other and the commitment we were making. We reflected, planned for the future, and spent our time in Ecuador growing even more in love.
Our wedding day was spent just the two of us. Me in a hunter green, off the shoulder, gown and simple sandals and Lindsay in an ethically produced burgundy tweed suit and vegan shoes from Brave Gentleman by Joshua Katcher.
It was just the two of us, a photographer, the owner of My Sacha Ji and an officiant. Maria Teresa, the owner of My Sacha Ji, and Chris, our officiant, helped us create something that felt real and authentic to us.
Our ceremony was heavy on symbolism and every aspect was filled with meaning. Our officiant designed a ceremony that introduced traditional Ecuadorian elements and honored the natural world. We started early in the afternoon and included themes of the physical beauty of My Sacha Ji, the four elements of nature, Ecuadorian culture, the Five Love Languages, and a reading of our own personal vows.
The ceremony started by honoring the Earth in the organic garden, standing back to back and holding hands, while experiencing a limpia, or spiritual cleansing. We moved from the garden to the edge of the property where we washed each other’s feet with water and Ecuadorian rose petals in an act of servitude while promising to serve each other in both times of peace and turbulence. Afterwards we made our way to the wish forest where we wrote our wishes on ribbons and sent our words of affirmation into the air by hanging them in the trees. We finished our ceremony near the fire-pit where we read our own vows, exchanged our rings, and later sent the paper up in smoke in the fire pit.
It was the perfect introduction to married life for us. We will later be hosting an intimate brunch reception here in Washington DC for our close friends and family. We’d like to share our photos and our celebration with you. Thanks for reading and supporting our journey.
Lindsay & Meg Cale
PS: Stay tuned later this week for a review of My Sacha Ji, and an article discussing the importance of sustainability in travel and fashion.
A special thanks to Grace Chu Photography, Sacha Ji and Brave Gentleman for supporting us on our big day!