Frequently Asked Questions
Check the frequently asked questions about travelling to Ecuador or South America in general. If you have a specific question that is not on this list, go to our Contact Page or check our contact form and send us a message.
The most important: if you are on any treatment that requires regular intake of any medicines or allergic, please make sure you have enough of the medicines for the period of your stay. Please also consult your physician and follow his recommendations related to the trip. Do not forget the prescription copy in case the medicines require it.
Check the set of papers to take with you: passport, travel documents, tickets, travel insurance (it is absolutely necessary to travel in Ecuador), vaccination certificates (if any).
- One large backpack or one duffel bag or suitcase (max. 20 kg)
- One small daypack (max. 6 kg)
- If you use several means of transportation (aircrafts, buses, canoes etc.) during your travel in Ecuador, it is imperative to limit your luggage. Luggage not needed can be stored in your city hotel. If going into the jungle or doing active travel, it is also better to travel with backpacks instead of suitcases.
- Comfortable, casual clothing is recommended aboard the ships.
- Windbreaker type jacket
- Long pants, shorts
- Light sweater (nights could be colder)
- Underwear (avoid synthetics)
- 1 Brim hat
- Bathing suit.
- Sunglasses with a strap.
- 1 pair of comfortable walking or hiking shoes or sandals
- 1 pair of sneakers or sports footwear
- Extra eyeglasses/contact lenses.
- Sun block lotion (at least protection 8).
- Insect repellent.
- Toilet kit.
- Tampons or sanitary towels (available in the cities)
- We recommend bringing your own snorkel equipment
- Flashlight (headlamps models are better).
- Alkaline batteries (available in the cities)
- Self-sealing plastic bags.
- Dry bags
- Reading material
- Small notebook and pencil.
Cameras & Binoculars:
- Films and batteries can be purchased in Santa Cruz and San Cristóbal. Do not forget the chargers for your cameras. We also recommend you to have an extra memory card for your cameras with you. Water-resistant padded cases are a necessity.
Travelers must declare currency in amounts greater than $10,000.
January 01: New Year.
February 12: day of discovery of the Amazon Rainforest (Día del Oriente).
May 01: day of work (Día del trabajo).
May 24: battle of Pichincha (Batalla de Pichincha).
July 24: Simón Bólivar’s day of birth (Nacimiento de Bolívar).
August 10: Independence Day of Quito (Primer grito de Independencia/in Quito).
October 09: Independence Day of Guayaquil (Independencia de Guayaquil/in Guayaquil).
October 12: discovery of America (Día de la Raza).
November 02: All Soul’s Day (Día de los difuntos).
November 03: Cuenca – Independence Day (Independencia de Cuenca/in Cuenca).
December 06: foundation of Quito (Fundación de Quito/only in Quito).
December 25: Christmas (Navidad).
01 January: New Year’s Day (Año Nuevo) American music and dances.
06 January: nationwide celebration of the tree Magi with traditional folkloric dances.
February: carnival in Ecuador (varies).
24 June: Otavalo and Guamote – St. Johan’s day, with dances and other performances.
03 – 05 August: Esmeraldas – Independence Day with Marimbas and afro-American folklore.
02 – 05 September Otavalo: Yamorfestival with many attractions and traditional music dances.
08 – 09 September Sangolqui: dances and bullfights.
03 November: Cuenca – Independence Day with music and dances.
01 – 06 December: Quito – celebrations in Quito with many attractions, bullfights and many other attractions.
28 December: National processions of the Fools Day.
31 December: New Year’s – dances and burning of politician-dolls on a national
It is not allowed to take pictures of military zones and police stations. Please be sensitive when taking pictures of people. Please ask them kindly and explain why and for what reason you would like to take a picture.
The beauty and the variety of the Galápagos Islands can only be protected if tourists follow the rules given by the National Park. These rules are the following:
- Do not touch the animals, as they will smell differently and therefore be left by their parents.
- Do not give food to the animals, as this has a negative impact on the animal’s behavior.
- Do not chase animals, and especially not those that are in their nesting place.
- Do not remove animals or plants from the island.
- Do not buy souvenirs that have been made from animal or plant parts.
- Do not bring plants or animals from the mainland to the islands, or from one to another, as each island has its unique ecosystem.
- Do not throw garbage away.
- Do not leave your name or initials on trunks or rocks.
- Please inform careless visitors about the park rules.
It is recommended to exchange money in Ecuador, as the exchange rate is much better here than in Europe. You should take USD in cash with you or traveler’s checks.
The most common credit cards to pay with or to draw cash are American Express (Banco de Guayaquil), Euro/MasterCard (MasterCard Bank) and Visa (Banco de Guayaquil). In the cities, you will be able to use your credit card in many places, but when paying cash you can save up to 10%.
Unless you enter Ecuador from a country where yellow fever is a risk, vaccinations are not mandatory when traveling to Ecuador. However, we recommend the following vaccinations:
- Tetanus and Polio
- Yellow Fever and Typhoid (if you plan to stay for more extended periods in the jungle)
- Hepatitis A+B
- Malaria prophylaxis (if you plan to stay in the coastal areas and Amazon Basin)
Please contact your family doctor or visit the nearest tropical diseases Institute to make all the necessary arrangements before coming to Ecuador.
There are many Internet Cafés in Quito and in all big cities in Ecuador. They charge you about $1 Dollar per hour. You can also use the Internet to make cheap phone calls to Europe or other parts of the world. Most of these Internet Cafés can be found in la Mariscal. In this area also there are many bars.
- South-American-Handbook (annually new edition).
- Ecuador and the Galapagos-Islands (Lonely-Planet).
- Ecuador & Galapagos-Handbook (Footprint).
- Climbing and Hiking in Ecuador (Bradt Publications).
- Background information.
- Birds of Ecuador, Crespo Greenfield & Matheus, Ecuador, 1990.
The climate is appropriate for traveling all year long. On the coast, the Oriente, and the Galápagos Islands; light and breathable clothing are recommended. When traveling to the highlands, you should consider taking warmer clothes. A raincoat is always suitable. Those planning to do mountain-climbing need special equipment, which can also be rented in Quito.
Ecuador is quite a safe country to travel to. Nevertheless, you should not leave your valuables unguarded. Thefts could occur especially in places that are frequently visited by tourists, such as the historic center of Quito. It’s best to carry your valuables in money-belts, which can be worn underneath your clothes.
It is also recommended to join a group of other people when traveling alone.
The language spoken in Ecuador is Spanish. Many indios of the highland are bilingual. They speak Spanish as well as Quechua. Indigenous people living in the rainforest speak their languages and dialects.
In front of the churches and historic sights, you occasionally find old and disabled people, who get alms from the locals. In the major cities, numerous children are walking through the streets begging for money, children working as shoeshine-boys at the age of four or five are a common encounter.
In the end, it is up to you if you wish to give them money and how much. To give these kids an opportunity to earn money, you can let them clean your shoes without needing to have a guilty conscience.
The time difference compared to middle Europe is 6 hours in winter (Galápagos minus 7 hours) and 7 hours in summer (Galápagos minus 8 hours).
One of the things we cannot miss during the planning of a trip is how electricity works in Ecuador to keep our phones, cameras, and other electronic devices ready and fully charged!
Ecuador operates on a 110v supply voltage and 60Hz.
Ecuador has two associated plug types and sockets. The types are A and B:
Plug A – It has two flat parallel pins (the left pin can be slightly larger than the right pin)
Plug B – It has two flat parallel pins, the same as Plug A, but also has a grounding pin in the lower center part.
* Plugs A & B are the types of plugs used in the United States of America, Canada, Japan, and Mexico.
We always suggest that if you use a different type of plug or socket, you bring your own adapter. However, you can always purchase one in different locations, such as airports, and even some hotels can lend you these adapters during your stay.
Also, USB sockets have become more common, and even charging stations are available in different touristic locations.