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Ecuador in a glance: Some general knowledge all travelers should be aware of when visiting Ecuador is: Currency: US$ American Dollars only. Tax (IVA): 12% Travelers Checks: Not recommended, very few places cash and accept them. Electrical Outlets: 2 flat parallel blades at 110v, same as the US. Time: Ecuador GMT -5 / Galapagos: GMT -6 Main Calling Codes: International dialing from Ecuador (add "00", plus (593), for Ecuador, and (2) for Quito Departure Tax: Quito $41 / Guayaquil $28 (cash only) subject to change Read on for the most frequently asked questions.
What do we have to bring for our journey to the jungle?
 Sunglasses
 Cotton shirts, 3 or more
 Long trousers, 3 or more (no jeans)
 Shorts, 3 or more
 T-shirts, 3 or more
 Cotton socks, a pair per day
 Comfortable walking shoes and sandals
 Sweater
 Small backpack (waterproof)
 Flashlight (torch)
 Sun block
 Bathing suit
 Cap or hat
How widespread and available is the Internet?

It is quite widespread throughout the country, with the exception of remote and rural locations, which is to be expected. In main cities (Quito-Guayaquil-Cuenca) you will have WiFi access in many public areas such as restaurants, bars & even in parks.

When is the best time of the year to visit the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador?

Any time of the year is a great time to visit the Amazonian rainforest, since the weather varies slightly from month to month. The Ecuadorian Amazon is characterized for heavy rainfalls during the year with precipitations among 3,000 and 4,000 mm3 and humidity between 85° to 95°. From December to March, it has a marked dry season, the rainy weather goes from April till July; and from August to November precipitations are moderated.

The annual temperature ranges over 25-Celsius degrees (77 Fahrenheit). Average daytime temperature is 88º F (31°C) and nighttime temperature is 72º F (22°C) regardless of the time of year.

What are the main transportation methods in Ecuador?

Main transportation methods throughout Ecuador are limited to buses, vehicles and planes; there is no subway or train transportation available. In Quito there is 3 general transportation systems (Ecovia – Trole – Metrovia) all connecting you to different parts of the city, unfortunately they don’t cope well with the amount of users, especially in peak hours, it is recommended to take taxi’s whenever possible.

How is tipping handled?

Tipping is not common for locals; in medium to high-end restaurants they will add 10% for services, rounding an additional 22% to your bill, including 12% of taxes. Some Hotels might also have the standard 22%. Tipping taxi drivers is not done at all, they might expect it from foreigners, but not from locals, your own discretion should dictate whether you tip them or not, a good guideline would be based on their service, if they had the taximeter on, and if you believe you were charged a fare rate, you can round up the rate.

What documents should I carry?

Carrying your original documents should only be done in the event you will be using them in that particular day; otherwise it is best if you just carry a copy of your passport and any other important documents, keeping the originals stored back at your hotel or lodge.

What is Primary & Secondary Rainforest?

Primary Rainforest makes reference to a more pristine and untouched forest, with thick vegetation and a full ceiling canopy, it is usually found deep in the amazon basin. Primary rainforest is considered to be the most diverse type of forest, biologically speaking. Secondary rainforest, also known as jungle, is characterized by a thin ceiling canopy (lower amount of foliage in higher branches), ground vegetation absorbs more sunlight allowing thick & lush vegetation to blossom. Secondary Rainforest is not as pristine or as diverse as Primary Rainforest and is usually found in the outskirts of Primary Rainforest.

Is medical insurance included in the cost of the trip?

No, we strongly advice to purchase travel insurance for any type of tour you have in mind. Please take in mind that it is now a requirement of the Ministry of Tourism Ecuador to have a International Health Insurance. This is a compulsory requirement in order to enter the country. We strongly advice to purchase travel insurance for any type of tour you have in mind. It is best if you look at your options back home as purchasing travel insurance in the country is limited and will not have the same coverage or benefits you could obtain with insurance abroad.

Do we need vaccinations to travel to Ecuador?

There are no compulsory vaccination requirements to enter Ecuador, however, you may consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure if desired.

Vaccine recommendations for travel to Ecuador:

Routine: Verify that you are up-to-date on all routine vaccinations such as measles, tetanus, etc.

Hepatitis A: Exposure to the virus Hepatitis A can occur through consumption of contaminated food or water. Cases of travel-related hepatitis A can occur in travellers to developing countries with “standard” tourist itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behaviours.

Hepatitis B: Recommended for all unvaccinated persons traveling to or working in countries with intermediate to high levels of endemic HBV transmission especially those who might be exposed to blood or body fluids, have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment (e.g., for an accident).

Typhoid: Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in Tropical South America, especially if staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where exposure might occur through food or water.

Yellow Fever: This vaccination is not mandatory. Recommended for all travellers 9 months of age and older traveling to areas less than 2,300 m (7545 ft) in elevation in the following provinces east of the Andes Mountains: Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Sucumbios, and Zamora-Chinchipe. Generally not recommended for travellers whose itinerary is limited to areas less than 2,300 m (7545 ft) in elevation in the following provinces west of the Andes Mountains: Esmeraldas, Guayas, Los Rios, Manabi, and designated areas of Azuay, Bolivar, Canar, Carchi, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, El Oro, Imbabura, Loja, Pichincha, and Tungurahua. Yellow Fever vaccination should be given 10 days before travel.

Malaria in Ecuador: Although the relative risk of tourists contracting Malaria in Ecuador is low, anti-malaria precautions are recommended for all areas less than 1,500 meters (4,921 ft.) in elevation. Malaria is not present in the cities of Guayaquil and Quito or the Galapagos Islands. Travellers who are only going to these cities or the Galapagos do not need to take anti-malarial precautions. To determine which precautions are most effective, its best to visit a travel medicine clinic at least 4 weeks prior to your visit (in order for the antimalarials to take effect).

Do we need vaccinations to travel to Ecuador?

There are no compulsory vaccination requirements to enter Ecuador, however, you may consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure if desired.

Vaccine recommendations for travel to Ecuador:

  • Routine: Verify that you are up-to-date on all routine vaccinations such as measles, tetanus, etc.
  • Hepatitis A: Exposure to the virus Hepatitis A can occur through consumption of contaminated food or water. Cases of travel-related hepatitis A can occur in travelers to developing countries with “standard” tourist itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behaviors.
  • Hepatitis B: Recommended for all unvaccinated persons traveling to or working in countries with intermediate to high levels of endemic HBV transmission especially those who might be exposed to blood or body fluids, have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment (e.g., for an accident).
  • Typhoid: Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in Tropical South America, especially if staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where exposure might occur through food or water.
  • Yellow Fever: This vaccination is not mandatory. Recommended for all travelers 9 months of age and older traveling to areas less than 2,300 m (7545 ft) in elevation in the following provinces east of the Andes Mountains: Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Sucumbios, and Zamora-Chinchipe. Generally not recommended for travelers whose itinerary is limited to areas less than 2,300 m (7545 ft) in elevation in the following provinces west of the Andes Mountains: Esmeraldas, Guayas, Los Rios, Manabi, and designated areas of Azuay, Bolivar, Canar, Carchi, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, El Oro, Imbabura, Loja, Pichincha, and Tungurahua. Yellow Fever vaccination should be given 10 days before travel.
  • Malaria in Ecuador: Although the relative risk of tourists contracting Malaria in Ecuador is low, antimalaria precautions are recommended for all areas less than 1,500 meters (4,921 ft.) in elevation. Malaria is not present in the cities of Guayaquil and Quito or the Galapagos Islands. Travelers who are only going to these cities or the Galapagos do not need to take anti-malarial precautions. To determine which precautions are most effective, its best to visit a travel medicine clinic at least 4 weeks prior to your visit (in order for the antimalarials to take effect).
Where are the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos Islands (or Archipelago de Colon) are located in South America and are part of Ecuador territorial sea. An archipelago of volcanic islands distributed on either side of the Equator in the Pacific Ocean, 926 km (575 mi) west of continental Ecuador. They lie directly on the equator.

When is the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands?

Every month of the year is a good time to discover Galapagos. The Galapagos Islands have a subtropical climate that is determined by sea currents. There is really not a best time to visit. In part this is because the Galapagos Islands are right on the equator so that air and water temperatures do not vary much. Species like the Galapagos penguin, flightless cormorant, marine iguana, land iguana, blue footed booby, Galapagos hawk, fur sea lion, California sea lion and others spend the entire year in the Galapagos and do not migrate. The waved albatross is one of the few migratory exceptions and is best seen in spring and summer. It depends on your interests. Birdwatchers, divers, sun worshippers all have different requirements and ideas about when is the best month to visit the islands.

  • Galapagos high season is usually considered to be from June to August, summer holidays, and December to mid-January (Christmas vacations).
  • Low season in the Galapagos Islands is springtime (May to June) and September.

Galapagos flights get particularly busy in high season and the prices for accommodation and cruises are higher too in this season.

What is the weather like in Galapagos?

Climate: The islands are isolated from the continent, so the climate is determined almost entirely by the ocean currents, which in turn are influenced by trade winds that push the currents.

  • The dry and cold season goes from July to December
  • The warm season goes from January to June
What to pack for a Galapagos trip?

The dress code is very casual and comfortable. There is really no need to wear anything other than shorts and T-shirts once you arrive in the Galapagos. You will be doing a lot walking and touring, so pack comfortable shoes and light clothes and of course, a swimming suit, as some activities involve snorkeling. Keep in mind that you will probably spend a day or two in Quito, which on the other hand, is at a higher elevation and you will need long pants, sweaters, and coats if you go out at night.

Are there cash machines easily found?

ATMs are easily found throughout the country in main capitals and towns, now that doesn’t necessarily mean you will be able to withdraw money at any time, some may only accept local cards and others might be out of service, you would also have to be aware of the cash limits that go from $300 to $500 per day, it is best if you don’t depend on finding an ATM.

Galapagos:

There are cash machines and banks in Santa Cruz and San Cristóbal Islands.  Isabela Island has NO cash machines or banks. We highly recommend bringing cash in small denominations from the continent.

Amazon Rainforest:

There are usually cash machines and banks in cities near the lodges in the Amazonian rainforest. However, most of these eco-lodges DO NOT take credit cards and no cash machines are available, we highly recommend bringing cash in small denominations.

What information is required for reservation and invoice?

Please, provide the following information:

  • Last names
  • First names
  • Passport numbers
  • Nationality
  • Date of Birth
  • Allergies or illnesses
  • Food restrictions
  • Contact phone number    
  • Dates of trip/ # of days and nights
  • Hotel class:
    • Economy (Budget)
    • Tourist
    • Tourist Superior
    • First Class

Note: The specific datum about tours or cruises that you are interested in is very important too, so we can send you a few options that satisfied your needs.

What type of weather in Ecuador can I expect?

Climate in Ecuador is highly variable and unpredictable; there are no set seasons, and what might be considered a cold season is met at times with a good sunny day and vice versa. In general climate in Ecuador benefits from a year round good weather. A general guideline to follow would be:

  • Highlands – October to May: Wet & Cloudy / June to September: Dry & Sunny
  • Coast – January to May: Hot with Higher Rainfall / June to December: Dry & Sunny
  • Amazon – May to December: Heavy Rainfall / January to April: Lighter Rainfall
  • Galapagos – January to June: Warm Season / July to December: Dry Season
Why is ecotourism important?

Ecotourism is a growing segment of the global tourism industry that is making significant positive contributions to the environmental, social, cultural and economic well-being of destinations and local communities around the world. Offering market-linked long-term solutions, ecotourism provides effective economic incentives for conserving and enhancing bio-cultural diversity and helps protect the natural and cultural heritage of our beautiful planet.