Authors including Herman Melville and Ludwig Bemelmans have written about Ecuador-passionately portraying the people and the landscape in tales that weave fiction and reality into stories of adventure and intrigue.
Keep reading for three books that will inspire you to travel to Ecuador and make the most out of your time in the country.
The books that follow have been chosen because they paint pictures of the Ecuadorian people, the different regions of the country, and the cultural and political landscapes that form the present day culture.
Far from an info packet or guidebook blurbs, these stories grasp the spirit of the country, from the capital city, the far reaches of the jungle, the small villages along the coast, and the Galapagos Islands.
The Donkey Inside by Ludwig Bemelmans
From the author of the Madeline series of children's books, The Donkey Inside takes the reader through the jungle, into the politics in the country surrounding WWII, and to small villages where colorful tales are told. Bemelmans' story is a combination of a few trips into South America-blending them seamlessly to present a rollicking journey in Ecuador in the 1930s.
Bemelmans has a gift for characters-portraying expats living in Quito as clearly as present day. Outlining the politics, parties, and circumstances that helped to shape today's Ecuador, The Donkey Inside is a great read that provides context to modern culture.
The Mapmaker's Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the Amazon-Robert Whitaker
The Mapmaker's Wife is set in 1735 and chronicles the historic French expedition's adventures while measuring the circumference of the Earth. The team was the first allowed into Spanish territory. The tale is rife with murder, accusations of spying, and journeys that take team member Jean Godin and his Ecuadorian wife, Isabel Grames, deep into the Amazon on a ten-year journey of survival.
Both parts of the tale are intriguing. The team's dynamics and struggle to navigate the Ecuadorian landscape and Spanish government take the reader back in time, painting a well-rounded picture of the pressures and events under Spanish rule. The journey of Godin and Grames is a incredible story that tells of the deep Amazon jungle, harrowing escapes, and a heartfelt tale of lovers struggling to find each other.
Love in a Warm Climate by Kelley Aitken
Love in a Warm Climate is a series of short stories taken from the author's time in Ecuador in the 1980s. The stories tell tales of loss, mourning, love, adventure, and redemption while masterfully weaving the vibrant culture and characters of Ecuador into intriguing tales.
Aitken is a natural storyteller, and when she takes on living as a foreign woman in a Latin American culture, she sheds light on the subtlies and conflicts that come up daily in the small villages and big cities of Ecuador.
These three books, aside from being entertaining, give the reader a historical and present day perspective of a vibrant culture and curious cast of characters that come off the page when exploring the country. This will certainly give you the inspiration you need for embracing the adventure and traveling to Ecuador. For information about planning your own adventure to Ecuador, check out our blog here.
For English books in Quito, The English Bookshop in the historic center on Venezuela and Manabi is a great place whose owner, Mark, is happy to sit down over a cup of tea and chat about Ecuador. From Plaza Grande, head four blocks north towards the Basilica.