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Passport and Visa
You must be in possession of a passport valid six months after the date of your return.
(Indications: to be confirmed by the Ecuadorian authorities of your country of residence)
Passport valid more than six months after the date of return.
No resident from the European Union, North or South America needs a visa to enter Ecuador as a tourist (maximum 90 days). An extension of more than 90 days is possible (for a maximum of 90 additional days) by going to the Migration Service offices in Quito.
Vaccines: No type of vaccine is required to enter the country.
It is recommended to be vaccinated against yellow fever if you are thinking of visiting the Amazon.
In highland areas such as Quito (2,850m), altitude sickness or "soroche" (headache or nausea) can happen but doesn’t last long; as far as possible, it is advisable to go up by steps, eat little (because digestion is slower in high altitudes) and relax on arrival at altitude.
Similarly, to visit the Sierra region, any traveller with heart problems or high blood pressure should consult his doctor before starting the journey.
Water: It is recommended to drink bottled water during your stay in Ecuador. Tap water is not safe and can cause diarrhoea and abdominal pain. However, tap water may be used for brushing teeth.
On 1st March 2000, the Ecuadorian Congress approved the dollarization of the economy.
This measure, which supposes the adoption of the dollar as the sole legal currency, was inaugurated on the 9th of September 2000 and the Sucre ceased to exist officially.
Thus, the official currency used throughout the country is now the U.S. dollar.
To avoid the disappearing of cents, given that at the beginning of the process of dollarization everything was sold at a minimum price of USD 1 regardless of the product, thus artificially raising the cost of living, the alternative movement of currencies with fractional representations in Ecuador has been adopted and these currencies only have economic value in Ecuador.
You will then find Ecuadorian and American fractional coins, which can be used indiscriminately for any purchase or sale on the national territory.
Traveller’s checks are not used very frequently in Ecuador. There are few commercial establishments accepting them.
The exchange rate depends on where the transaction takes place, and furthermore, it occurs on a limited schedule (until 14:00).
Credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in most tourist towns and there are also Cash Points where you can withdraw money in cash with these cards.
Ecuadorian food is simple but varied. A meal often starts with a good soup "caldo" or "ceviche" (fish soup), then you could perhaps be offered a "cuy" (guinea pig) or "lechon" (suckling pig), roasted.
You will also taste "llapingachos" (potato and cheese pancakes).
Beer, two national brands: Pilsener and Club.
- Chicha (Indian drink), alcoholic or not, a rather rustic drink.
- The local rum, alone or in cocktails.
- Fresh juices.
- Water fire or “Aguardiente” is the national alcohol, made from sugar cane.
- And of course, chocolate.
Allow between 5 and 10 dollars per day and per person for the guide and 3-5 dollars per day per person for the driver.
GMT - 5:00
It is recommended to bring clothes for both temperate to hot climate and cold (see details about conditions above).
The Amazon region has a hot and humid climate; therefore you will need light clothing, as well as in the coastal city of Guayaquil.
The towns of the Andean region have a temperate to cold climate according to the season, which may be dry or rainy. It is advisable to bring warm clothes even though sunny days can follow heavy rain.
January, 1st: New Year
February / March: Carnival (Monday and Tuesday before Lent)
March: Holy Week (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday)
1st of May: Labour Day
May, 24th: Battle of Pichincha / Independence Day
August, 10th: First cry of Independence
October, 9th: Independence of Guayaquil
1st of November: All Saints
November, 3rd: Independence of Cuenca
December, 6th: Foundation of Quito
December, 25th: Christmas
In cities with a high altitude and located in the region of the Sierra, mountain sickness or soroche is common but does not last long.
The recommendations for fighting soroche are: relax upon arrival, drink more water than usual, eat lightly and avoid alcohol.
Normally, it takes a day to acclimatize to the altitude.
In Ecuador, the coca tea is not offered; you can instead have infusions of natural herbs.
To visit some towns in the Sierra, travellers with heart problems or high blood pressure should consult their doctors before travelling.
From the country to Ecuador: prefix 00593 + city code (without 0) + numbers
Indicative of major cities: Quito: 02; Guayaquil: 04; Cuenca: 07; Otavalo: 06; Riobamba: 03
Fax: easily available in most offices and hotels.
Internet: service available in major cities of the country through Internet cafes at low prices.
110 volts across the country. Allow for adapter plugs.
Ecuador has inherited from the pre-Columbian civilizations a remarkable craftsmanship. You can find objects in gold, silver and wood, bags, woollen alpaca or vicuna and cotton. You can also find reproductions of pre-Columbian ceramics, paintings and tapestries.
Most shops are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. with sometimes a break from 13:00 to 15:00.
A common practice for the purchase of crafts in the markets is bargaining. If you want a small discount, ask for a “descuento”.
Boarding fees are included in the ticket for domestic and international flights.