Hoping to escape the European winter, a friend and I are boarding a plane tonight and heading for Ecuador. As European countries like the UK and France are going into lockdowns once more, this feels like our last chance to get out; is it a wise choice, time will tell, but for now, Ecuador had already opened its borders for travelers and boasts their #safetravels certificate. So can we actually make it to Quito, and what is it like to fly and ride right now?
Being cheapskates, we were looking for the most economical tickets available. Flights from Madrid to Quito were as low as 250 euros just a couple of weeks ago; we booked ours last week, Amsterdam – Madrid – Quito, for 380 euros each. It’s a little more than we expected to pay, but since we’re leaving from Amsterdam, it makes sense. Neither Air Europa nor Iberia posted any restrictions when booking the tickets, but once we bought the fare, we were emailed a link with special regulations for the Quito flight.
To enter Ecuador, you need a negative Corona test valid for at least ten days or you can choose to self-quarantine once you get to Quito. Our Corona tests in Holland cost 150 euro per person, adding to the overall ticket price; the procedure itself was simple enough – a swab stick up your nose and throat, a thank you, and an email with the results 24 hours later.
Although Holland is among European countries with the most moderate pandemic restrictions (even self-isolation after traveling is merely suggested rather than obligatory), you’re expected to wear a mask at the Schiphol airport, keep your distance, and wear a mask on the plane. We expect we’ll be asked to show the negative Corona tests when boarding, and we’re both a little anxious how we’ll be received in Quito; we’ve heard Ecuador is rolling out the red carpet for travelers right now, but what does that actually look like when you land?
Once in Ecuador, we’re hoping to jump on two dual sports bikes and explore more remote areas and off-road trails. If you’re itching to book your own fly and ride soon, follow along – I’ll post what it’s actually like to be riding South America right now next week.