“All you need is Ecuador” – the country’s famous tourism slogan does not disappoint. While the country may be small, it’s home to an incredible amount of microclimates and ecosystems. From the arid Andes mountain range to the thick and sticky Amazon rainforest and finally the mega-diverse Galápagos Islands 600 miles of the coast of mainland Ecuador, you can find almost anything under the sun. And don’t forget the sun itself, as you get up close and personal con el sol on the equator line. Not only does Ecuador offer an impressive amount of diversity with its flora, fauna and landscapes but also culturally and linguistically. Like many Latin American countries, Ecuador has a variety of native indigenous populations along with a long and complicated history from ancient times, through colonialism, and into the present day, making it not only a beautiful and fun destination to visit, but a fascinating one as well.
The most common and official language of Ecuador is Spanish, in addition to Northern Quechua and other pre-colonial American languages, which are spoken by over 2,300,000 people.
Ethnologue lists the following 24 recognized languages of Ecuador:
Achuar–Shiwiar, Awa–Cuaiquer, Cha’palaachi, Cofán, Colorado, Ecuadorian Sign Language, Emberá languages, Media Lengua 9 varieties of Quechua, Secoya, Shuar, Spanish, Siona, Tetete, Waorani and Záparo
What will the food be like on my trip?
Unlike much of Latin American cuisine, Ecuadorian food is not known for its spiciness. Instead, Ecuadorian palettes relish sweet local fruits and savory grilled meats. But you can always add spicy ají hot sauce to your dish; a condiment available almost everywhere in Ecuador.
Can I drink the water in Ecuador?
We do not recommend drinking tap water in Ecuador. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water; ask your leader where filtered water can be found. It’s also advisable to peel fruit and vegetables before eating.
Is it safe to travel through Ecuador?
In general, Ecuador is a very safe country to visit. Violence and crime does occur here, but no more than you would find in a major city at home. Development in cities such as Quito, Cuenca, and Guayaquil has resulted safer, more traveler-friendly neighborhoods. The adoption of the U.S. dollar has also brought increased stability to Ecuador.
Are credit cards/debit cards accepted?
Credit cards are accepted at many restaurants, hotels, and shops, especially if they are of the higher-end variety. Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted types, although American Express and Diners Club are accepted by some establishments. Do note, however, that some businesses will add a 5 to 10 percent surcharge for using a credit card. Small stores, supermarkets, restaurants, and remote hotels often only accept cash.
What documents do I need to visit Ecuador?
All travelers need a passport that’s valid for at least six months from the date of entry. You’re also required to provide evidence of onward travel and prove that you have enough money to pay for your trip. These last two requirements are rarely checked, but you should have proof anyway just in case you’re stopped.
Do Americans need a visa to visit Ecuador?
Citizens of the United States, Canada and most European countries traveling to Ecuador for tourism, business or to study do not require a visa unless they expect to stay in Ecuador for more than 90 days in one calendar year.
Do I have to pay for an Ecuador departure tax?
Yes, there is a departure tax. The cost is $30-$40 and depends on if you fly out of Guayaquil or Quito. This tax, however, is usually included in the price of a flight.
What’s the rule of thumb for tipping?
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.
What is the weather like in Ecuador?
Seasons in Ecuador have nothing to do with temperature – instead there is a dry season and a wet season. In Ecuador, the winter season is hot and wet, and the summer is dry and cold. Ecuador’s dry, summer season falls between May and December. January to April is Ecuador’s wet wintertime. There is not much of a transition between the seasons.
Do I need an adaptor for my electronics?
Travelers from North America won’t need to bring an adapter — the outlets in Ecuador are 110 volts, the same as are found in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. However, the outlets here sometimes lack the third grounding hole, so if you have electronic equipment with three prongs you’ll need to bring an adapter or surge protector.
What is Ecuador's currency?
The US dollar which makes it easy!
Can I use my cell phone in Ecuador?
Most restaurants and hotels have Wi-Fi, but if you’d like to be connected outside of Wi-Fi zones, you can buy a pre-activated phone. You can buy additional prepaid minutes in stores throughout the country. The cheapest of these phones usually costs around $40. Ecuador’s main cell phone companies are Movistar, Alegro, and Porta.