Oh Ecuador, you were such a pleasant surprise and a country we hope that more people will venture to. However, we really do wish that you hadn't embraced the US Dollar quite so fervently.
You see, despite having 5, 10 and 25 cent coins everything is rounded up to at least 50 cents meaning that a number of traditionally cheap items can end up costing quite a bit more!
However, if you're smart, Ecuador is still a great place for budget backpackers - especially on the coast where basic hostel costs are on par with Guatemala and Nicaragua, and you can get a two course seafood lunch for around $3.
Spending some time in the cities is unavoidable *and sometimes recommended), but these too can be done on the cheap - you just need to look a bit harder.
The costs below are the average we encountered in our time in the country, and the individual items have been chosen for their ubiquity across the world and their popularity amongst backpackers. This will allow us, and you, to make a comparison of living and travel costs across Latin America.
Currencies are £GBP / $USD. Conversion rate as at time of publication.
average daily cost for two backpackers
Despite using the US dollar as its currency (which usually means a little hike in prices), life in Ecuador can definitely be done on the cheap - although you sometimes have to seek it out.
£25 / $38
average cost of a double room
In Cuenca and Quito, if you don't look around for the best value room, it's not uncommon to pay $30 - 35 per double, but even in these pricier areas you can always find value, just maybe not in the Lonely Planet.
£11.4 / $17.5
five hour bus ride
Technically, travel in Ecuador should cost around $1 an hour, but in reality, we rarely found this to be true (with some charging significantly more).
There are a number of different companies travelling along most routes, and whilst you're never going to find luxury in the country, the prices can vary by a few dollars - so do check them all.
£3.9 / $6
one breakfast out
Breakfast is mediocre in most basic comedors - expect some eggs, bread, ham and butter. Weak instant coffee is usually included as well.
Compared to other countries, breakfast is actually pretty poor value for money. Unless you're getting up super early, you're better off holding off for a set lunch which costs the same but provides MUCH better food.
£1.95 / $3
one litre of water
Another place where you have no choice but to buy bottled water. Although we've given you the cost for just 1L, it will work out significantly cheaper to buy gallon containers (around $1.5).
£0.5 / $0.8
one cup of coffee
The coffee served in Ecuador is pretty awful - and at this price, this is what you'd be getting.
Of course, there are plenty of fancier places to get a cup of joe, but you'll pay a lot more money.
£1 / $1.5
lunch in local comedor
Our number one culinary tip for Ecuador? Get yourself to the coast and partake in the almuerzo. Everyday.
You can thank us later.
£1.6 / $2.5
half dozen eggs
Eggs are another thing that reduce in price significantly when bought in bulk, so if you're going to be somewhere for a while, try buying 15 or so.
£0.65 / $1
one litre of beer
Looking for a good cheap beer in Ecuador? Look no further than Pilsner.
Just remember, that you'll have to pay a deposit on every bottle (usually 25c) but you'll be able to get it back when you return the empty.
£0.8 / $1.25
400g pasta with 400g marinara sauce
Jars of marinara sauce are really expensive in Ecuador - save a few cents and make it from scratch.
£1.95 / $3
small bottle of coke (cans difficult to find in Ecuador)
If you're not a stickler for branded coke, check out the locally made - you'll definitely save a few cents.
£0.4 / $0.6
one loaf of bread
If you're in a supermarket, a sliced loaf will cost you more than back home.
Be wise with your dollars and instead opt for small fresh rolls from a local shop or a bakery.
£1.3 / $2
1kg of laundry
During our travels in Ecuador, we spent a significant amount of time on the coast where we could do our own washing.
Laundrettes are common place in cities and will usually get your clothes cold-washed and returned to you the same day.
£1 / $1.5
20 pack of local cigarettes
Marlboro Lights are ridiculously expensive (we heard of some people paying $5 a pack), instead ask for Modern - they're often kept under the counter but they're MUCH cheaper!