Full country name
República del Ecuador
(Republic of Ecuador)
283,520 sq. km (175,780 sq. mi)
12,920,092 (growth rate: 2.1%)
Quito, with an approximate population of 1.5
Ec. Rafael Correa
International Dialing Code
oil, bananas, shrimp, fish, coffee, textiles, metal work, paper products, wood
products, chemicals, plastics, fishing, lumber.
Electricity:110 AC. 60 HZ
means that European travelers need to bring an adapter for their electric
appliances, which they bring along.
90% of the Ecuadorian population are Roman Catholic and there is a small
minority of other Christian denominations.
official language is the Spanish, but some native communities speak Quichua,
the Incas Empire´s language, as well as many other native languages. English
language is spoken in the most of the touristic facilities.
5 hours minus the Greenwich time in the mainland and minus 6 hours in the
Galapagos. For example, if in Finland it is 7:00 PM in Ecuador it would be
Ecuador has 22 provinces, which are:
In the Coast: Guayas, El Oro, Esmeraldas,
Los Ríos and Manabí.
In the Highlands: Cañar, Carchi,
Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Azuay, Bolivar, Tungurahua, Pichincha, Imbabura and
In the Rainforest: Morona-Santiago, Napo,
Pastaza, Sucumbios, Zamora-Chinchipe and Orellana.
In the Galapagos Islands: Galapagos
September 2000 the new currency system is the US Dollar, so you can find bills
of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 and coins of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents. There is
no restriction to bring any quantity of foreign money or traveler checks. There
are still some small communities which still accept the Sucre, the old currency
but the US dollar is recognized and used everywhere in the country.
each purchase, you pay a tax of 12% IVA. Sometimes it's included in the price
so you don't think that there is a tax. For hotels and restaurants services you
pay another 10% service tax, kind of as an automatic tip.
tips are completely to your discretion, but in restaurants and hotels there is
a 10% service tax so most people don't feel the need to tip but if you are
pleased with the service, feel free to leave a tip.
Banks and Business
hours are from 9:00 am to 6:00 PM, Monday to Friday. Shopping centers are open
from 10:00 am to 8:00 PM from Monday to Saturday. Exchange agencies are open on
Saturday morning too and through the week at the main hotels. There are no
Banks or cash machine facilities outside the business areas. American Dollars
are accepted at all places in the country.
don't want to carry a lot of cash or traveler's cheques, you can also use cash
machines of these major international networks: PLUS and CIRRUS. Unfortunately
they do not dispense large amounts of money and there is a service charge of
10¢ to 50¢.
Passports & Visas
Nationals of Afghanistan, Argelia, Palestinian Authority passport holders,
Bangladesh, Republic of Korea (South), Democratic Republic of Korea (North),
Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Irak, Iran, Jordania, Lebanon,
Libya, Pakistan, People's Republic of China, Syria, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Vietnam,
and Yemen, will as it has been that case before, need a 12-X tourist visa to
enter Ecuador. The application and processing must be done in person, previous
appointment required- at the Consular Section of the Embassy, presenting a
valid passport, the onward or return ticket, proof of economic solvency or an
invitation by an Ecuadorian sponsor. The cost is US$ 60.00
Citizens of all countries except the following can
stay a maximum of 90 days without needing a visa:
Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Iran, Iraq,
Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Palestine
Authority, Panama, People's Republic of China, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tunisia and
For more information about visas please visit the web
site of the American Embassy of Ecuador at www.ecuador.org
First time visitors
Not sure what to expect in Ecuador?
Geographically, Ecuador is a small country
yet is uniquely endowed with a dramatic topography and a variety of climatic
zones, vegetation, birds and wildlife. Without ever leaving the country, a
traveler can move, in a matter of hours, from the rainforest to the high slopes
of the Andes, and then down to the Pacific coast, while observing a
breathtaking panorama of land and seascapes.
route, through Ecuador's wonderful natural world, you will be able to follow
the courses of rivers, broad and narrow; rest along the shores of pristine
lakes, explore mysterious caves and marvel at unique plant and animal species
that have evolved undisturbed on Pacific islands.
the highlands to the sea level, its people, whose cultural origins and
traditions continue to be formed by their immediate geographical environment,
echoes Ecuador's fascinating diversity.
intend to continue respecting this environment, and protecting it, and we
invite you to join us and discover a very special country.
Is it the right vacation for you and your family?
the Galapagos Islands, walking through the rainforest, visiting some charming
colonial cities, or trying an exciting adventure trip in the jungle with
experts and very friendly people, are some options that will make your
vacations in Ecuador an amazing and unforgettable experience.
not recommendable that very small children participate in the excursions.
Children older than eight years old for certain will fully enjoy the Galapagos
Islands and other excursions in the Andes and rainforest. The hotels of the
main cities have facilities for kids with special menus, baby sitters and
A land of diverse ecosystems
is probably the world's most bio-diverse country in both flora and fauna. Its
biological richness is reflected in its wide variety of organisms:
the world's vascular plant species is located within an area that covers just
.02% of the Earth's surface. Its diverse ecosystems have interacted throughout
geological history in a variety of habitats.
Just imagine all these regions in one country:
the Amazon basin
though it is only size of Colorado, Ecuador has 25,000 species of vascular
plants, almost two times as many as in North America (17,000). For instance,
the orchid family for which Dodson has catalogued 2,725 species in Ecuador
comprises up to 11% of the world's total and 30% of Latin America's orchid
varieties. The Andes support 1,050 species, in the Amazon basin and along the
coast, around 800 species have been collected.
3,800 vertebrate species, 1,550 bird species, 320 species of mammals, 350
reptile species, 375 amphibian species, 800 fresh water fish species and 450
marine fish species have been catalogued in this country.
has more bird species per area than any other country in Latin America; 18% of
the world's total species are represented here. Even though Brazil is 30 times
larger than Ecuador, it has the same number of bird species.
to say, Ecuador is a paradise for bird watching and research. Some 15% of the
world's endemic species are found in the Sierra, on the Coast and in the
Amazon, adding up to the densest bird population in the world.
that Ecuador has more than a million insect species, among them 4,500 species
of beautiful butterflies. Of these, 2,500 are nocturnal.
fauna treasury is incomparable even to others found in much larger regions.
has the opportunity to offer you all kinds of tourist destinations within the
whole country, always letting you count on the most experienced personnel.
International cuisine is available all around the country, but you must taste
some of the Ecuadorians specialties, like Humitas (a steamed cornbread),
Llapingachos (fried mashed potato patties with fresh cheese), Locro (a chowder
made with potatoes, fresh cheese and avocado).
majority of Ecuador's daily diet is based on rice.
Ecuadorian cuisine is always garnished with Ají (hot sauce), that varies in
intensity, depending on the regions seasoning. It is wise to try a little first
to avoid any unpleasantness.
Seafood is popular throughout Ecuador. In the northern coast, many plates are
"encocado" (blended with rich coconut milk). You may find an
extensive variety of dishes in the coastal area, but the signature dish is the
Ceviche (lemon-marinated shrimp, shellfish, squid or fish, in cold soup) served
cautious, however, as improperly prepared Ceviche can sometimes be one of the
primary agents for cholera and other nasty bacteria. Most restaurants are aware
of this and act accordingly, but choose your dining establishment wisely.
will be pleasantly surprised by the wide selection of vegetarian restaurants in
the principal cities of the highlands. Although you may not find easily,
processed soy products, Ecuador counts on fresh beans of all types and quinoa
seeds as very good protein supplements.
Drink only bottled or boiled water as well as asking for your drinks "sin
hielo", without ice. Distilled and sparkling waters from Ecuadorian
springs are available throughout the country and are good quality.
the mouthwatering exotic fruits of Ecuador come delicious fruit juices, (jugos)
including naranjilla (a small orange, sour, refreshing citric fruit), tree
tomato, mora (blackberry), guanabana (a fruit with luscious aromatic sweet
white pulp), maracuya (passion fruit) and papaya.
spite of Ecuador being a coffee producing country, coffee quality is often
disappointing, as the best beans are usually exported. But if you can find a
good cafe you'll be able to revel in some first-rate caffeine, made from
|"Seco" or "Al
in coconut milk
|"A la brasa":
|"A la plancha"
are no health requirements to enter the country. People with heart problems or
high blood pressure should consult to their doctor about traveling to the
highlands as well as to the tropical areas.
is recommended to take vitamins B-6 or B-12 before visiting the Coast or Rain
Forest to avoid mosquito bites, and in turn avoid the risk of malaria.
are not allowed to dispense medication, so please bring necessary medications
insurance is highly recommended. We recommend it as standard procedure for you
to take. Ask for advice from your local insurance company for coverage on this
or any other trip.
vaccinations are required to enter Ecuador, however, it is recommended to get
vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, typhoid, and there is a minor risk
of cholera and rabies. It is strongly recommended to get a yellow fever
vaccination if you plan to visit the rainforest during rainy season.
Malaria precautions are more important in most areas below 1,500 m, all year
round. Although there is almost no risk in Guayaquil, Quito or Galapagos
Islands it is a good idea to check local reports on the risk level of malaria.
out where the unsafe sectors are and avoid them.
not go out alone. The chances of getting lost are very high.
cautious with people who are become very friendly too quickly, or that offer to
show you around.
Carry traveler checks and credit cards instead of large sums of cash. You can
always get replacement checks or cancel your cards
Don't wear expensive jewelry or wristwatches. They make you a target.
Carry shoulder-bag, purses and back packs in front of you to avoid having them
snatched or opened.
all bags and other valuables where you can see them in restaurants and other
all important documents in a secure place, such as an inner pocket.
copies of your important documents, card numbers, etc., and leave them to a
trusted companion or leave them at the hotels safety box.
Always carry an identification card when sightseeing
During the hikes, never leave the trails and stay with the group at all times.
The only exceptions are the self-guided trail. It is essential to wear rubber
boots for the rain forest or any other kind of comfortable shoes, else where,
during the hikes.
Drink plenty of liquids during the hikes.
Collecting of flora and fauna is prohibited at the protected areas.
Please do not litter.
Fishing is allowed in most areas.
Please, do not take any animals or plants out of the area. Hunting is not
Please do not buy handicrafts made of feathers, animal skins or insects.
Please do not use audio gear without personal earphones at any encounter with
not give money, presents, or sweets to the kid, but educational material (pens,
notebooks, colored pencil, etc.) is fine.
at least one set of dry clothes in the jungle lodge.
Ways to get into & around the country
has airports in 15 cities, although only 2 of those are international, they
are: Quito international Airport (Mariscal Antonio José de Sucre) and Guayaquil
International Airport (Simón Bolivar). For the excursions inside the country,
other airports are used, some of which are in Cuenca, Baltra (Galapagos), Coca,
Lago Agrio, San Cristobal (Galapagos).
Ecuador there are sufficient road systems to get you were you want to go but
the drivers are a little wild, so be careful! Ecuador is bordered by Colombia
to the north and by Perú in the south and both are easily accessible by car.
passenger can bring two suitcases of 70 pounds (31.8 kg) each, plus hand
luggage, photographic camera or/and video camera, binoculars. Professional
filming equipment may need a special permit.
departure tax of 25.00 is paid in US Dollars.
is located one hour and a half from Quito or one hour from Guayaquil by plane;
you will land on Baltra or San Cristobal's airport, depending on the tour that
you have chosen. Passengers must bring their passports and passport numbers
must be sent one month prior to arrival. The admission fee to the Galapagos
National Park is US$100 per person and it can be paid at the Quito or Guayaquil
airports, before departure or upon arrival at the airport at Galapagos (this
rate is a subject to be changed without notice).
Dollars and traveler checks may be used on board. Credit cards (Visa, Master
Card and American Express) are also accepted aboard the cruises. All safety and
fire prevention measures have been implemented on all vessels and cruises.
The Jungle-Rainforest Depending on the excursion that
you choose, there are two ways to get to the rainforest:
(6 hours approx..) or by plane(45 minutes approx..) Once you arrive, you'll
start your journey on foot and by canoe. Passengers must travel to the
jungle-rainforest with their passports. US Dollars and Travelers checks may be
used in the lodges. Credit cards (Visa, Master Card and American Express) are
also accepted in the lodges. All safety measures have been taken in care.
you are visiting the Andean region, it is recommended that you take with you a
copy of your passport and leave the original one in the hotel. The fee for the
entrance to the National Parks or Natural Reserves is not included in the
prices of the excursions. It must be paid directly.
Whta to bring to galapagos
Domestic airline regulations permit 20 kilos (44 pounds) per person.
Additional luggage may be stored at your hotel. These restrictions do not
include small carry-on, flight bags or camera cases.
During any of your tours, EcuadorToursOnLine can safely guard your excess
luggage until you return, upon which one of our guides will either bring your
bags to the airport
pairs of sneakers.
and short-sleeve lightweight shirts.
windbreaker or light jacket for evenings.
sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and lots of film.
Electric shavers and hair dryers can be accommodated.
walking ashore is over rocky lava terrain. Therefore tennis shoes, sneakers or
walking shoes with rubber soles should likely be worn.
Camera gear with extra film and batteries.
speed films or fine-grain.
resolution and relatively slow color transparency (this last one to be used
with electronic flash).
What to bring to the jungle - rainforest:
For travel in the rainforest you will probably want to
have the following things:
large backpack or one duffel bag and one small daypack.
is also better to travel with backpacks instead of suitcases.
lightweight shirts (cotton or other fast drying materials)
pants (avoid jeans)
- 4 or
5 long-sleeved cotton shirts
pair of shorts
good number of cotton socks
sweaters for the evenings
waterproof poncho (available in the lodge) or a waterproof parka
pair of comfortable walking shoes
pair good quality sandals
pair of rubber boots (available in the lodges, except in sizes larger than 11)
Sunglasses with a strap
Extra eye glasses / contact lenses
Plastic water bottle
block lotion (at least 15 SPF)
Personal first aid kit
Tampons or sanitary napkins
Flashlight (headlamp models are better)
Self-sealing plastic bags
bags (available in the lodge)
Swiss Army knife
Reading material (available in the lodge)
Small notebook and pencil
Camera & Binoculars
Camera gear (avoid tripods!) with extra film and batteries
speed films or fine-grain
resolution and relatively slow color transparency (this last one to be used
with electronic flash)
Binoculars (this is in a essential item, even if you are not a birdwatcher. The
best ones are the waterproof models with light transmission. An excellent size:
What to bring to the andes
wool is ideal and a warm jacket is necessary, in the Sierra, after the sunset.
Do not forget your bathing suit and comfortable shoes for walking. If your are
interested in visiting the Cotopaxi National Park or other places like it, it
is advisable to bring a thick sweater and a jacket.
Recommneded to reading
For the Galapagos:
ECUADOR AND THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS. Lonely Planet Publications, Australia,
GALAPAGOS: A NATURAL HISTORY GUIDE. Michael M. Jackson, University of Calgary
SUBTIDAL GALAPAGOS. James Cribb, Camden House, Canada, 1986.
GALAPAGOS: ISLANDS LOST IN TIME. Tui de Roy Moore, The Viking Press,
FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF THE GALAPAGOS. Michael Harris, Collins Sons &
Co. Ltd, 1982.
FIELD GUIDE TO THE FISHES OF THE GALAPAGOS. Godfrey Merlen, Wilmot Books,
GALAPAGOS, BACK TO NATURE. Steve W.K. Lu, Steve Lu Publishing, Hong Kong, 1995
(pictures only/no text)
Travels Guide to the Galapagos Islands. Barry Boyce.
For the Jungle-Rainforest:
ECUADOR. APA Publications, 1991
TROPICAL NATURE. Forsyth, Adrian; Miyata, Ken, Macmillan, 1984. The best
introductory book for the layman.
NEOTROPICAL COMPANION. Kricher, Jhon C. Princeton University Press, 1989.
ENVIRONMENT AMAZONIA. Prance, G.; Lovejoy, T., Pergamon Press 1985. Excellent
book, quite technical.