Visitors to Ecuador have many questions when planning their trip or deciding if this country is right for them. Where to go, whether it is safe, how to get around, what currency to use and whether to tip are just a few of the most commonly asked enquiries. We’ve combined a list of Ecuador Travel frequently asked questions, which might help you out in thinking about your vacation. We hope our FAQs will help, but if you have any further questions, please do contact us and we will do our best to answer your question.
Ecuador has four main regions and all of them are worthy of a visit, depending on your personal interests and preferences. The highlands spread from the north to the south of the country, and here there is plenty of culture and history, as well as outdoorsy activities to take part in. The jungle region is to the east of the country, and plenty of visitors travel here to get a taste of the Amazon. The Pacific Coast region is to the west of the country, and here you can chill out in the sun, or maybe take surf lessons. Finally, a big draw to this small Andean nation is the region of the Galapagos Islands, where Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution.
The number of days in Ecuador will depend on your preferences and what you want to see and do. If you want to visit just the Andean region then a week might be sufficient, but you would be missing out on a lot! If you want to see the jungle as well then it is best to allow at least another four days, and an additional four days for the coast as well – at a minimum. Trips to the Galapagos Islands generally run from between four to 16 days, so you’ll probably want to add that on top.
This is a bit like asking, “How long is a piece of string?” as it really depends on what you plan to do and how luxurious you like your trip to be. In most cases, visitors to Ecuador will find it to be relatively inexpensive, particularly when compared with prices back home. Those that want to can have a very cheap time on their trip to Ecuador.
Most visits to Ecuador end well and incident-free. However, it is important to remember that many people in Ecuador are not well off. This means that there can be pickpockets in some places, and especially in bus stations or in crowded areas such as markets. Occasionally people do get robbed. This can be avoided by taking precautions such as sticking to routes that tour operators recommend, and by not walking around at night at all – not even for a block in a town like Quito or Guayaquil. You can avoid putting temptation in the path of bad people by not wearing expensive jewelry or watches, not carrying expensive items around with you, and leaving most of your cash/credit cards locked up in the hotel safe. Just take what you will need for the day out with you and then in the worst case, if something does happen you won’t lose very much. For more on Ecuador safety for visitors you can follow this link.
Visa requirements depend on your country of citizenship and vary accordingly. Citizens of many countries will find that they can easily enter Ecuador on a tourist visa – however, it is worth checking well before you travel to be sure. Permission to enter as a tourist is usually granted for up to 90 days. You will be expected to have proof of leaving the country with you, such as a bus or plane ticket out to be allowed into the country.
The Ecuador currency is nice and easy as it is the US dollar. Be aware that people do not much like very tatty notes, and large bills will be a problem, especially in rural areas – but also in Quito. Be sure to bring lots of small bills with you.
Tipping is common in Ecuador, and it is best to tip approximately 10% of a meal or a tour. You might also give a dollar to someone who carries your bags for you, or who does something kind and helpful.
Over recent years Ecuador transportation has been improving, as there has been a lot of work done on the road network throughout the country. This makes it easier to get between towns faster. There are plenty of public buses and these are very cheap. You might also consider flying between some of the larger cities – such as between Quito, Cuenca, Loja, Guayaquil and Lago Agrio, among others. For the sake of time and convenience, it is often easier to organize a tour so that you can get to and from where you want to go quickly and easily.
Ecuador borders Peru in the south and Colombia to the north of the country. There are international buses that will take you across the border in each case, stopping at the various checkpoints to get your passport stamped. Be aware that borders tend to attract some less scrupulous characters who prey on unwitting tourists. It is best not to change money at the border, and take care of your possessions at all times when in these areas.
It is best to seek medical advice regarding the vaccines you should get to visit Ecuador. In most cases you should at least make sure you are covered for Polio, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. If you are visiting the jungle and depending on which specific area you will visit you might need to get the Yellow Fever vaccine too, as some countries will not let you in if you have traveled to a Yellow Fever region and have no evidence of vaccination with you. You might also want to consider the Hepatitis B and the Rabies vaccines. Your medical professional will be able to help you make the right vaccines choices for your trip to Ecuador, with all of this said, no vaccines are required by law and most travelers visiting Ecuador mainland and the Galapagos islands will not need to get any additional vaccines before traveling.
This depends on where you are visiting. If you are just visiting places that are at high altitude, then there is no need to take anti-malarial medication as there is no malaria at high altitude. If you are heading to the jungle or the coast, you may want to consider it. You should seek medical advice about whether or not to take anti- malarial medications, whatever your plans are and wherever you plan to go in Ecuador, as things can change over time, and it is best to get the most up to date advice from local experts like our team of Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders tour guides and travel advisers.
If you have any other questions about your trip to Ecuador do not hesitate to contact us at Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders. We’ll be happy to help!