This post will be all about Ecuador travel tips and all the cool facts about Ecuador and things to know before visiting Ecuador. From first timers to seasoned travelers, this post will be your go-to guide to get to know more of Ecuador and what awaits you from beautiful beaches, beautiful volcanos, cities to delicious food to try in Ecuador.
Ecuador is located on the equator and is known for its Astonishing landscapes, vast biological diversity, and incredible sky-high experiences. The reason why tourist choose to visit this country because of its preservation efforts and Ecuador is a really easy country to travel since is so small but interesting and with many things to do.
Ecuador Travel Tips And Things To Know Before Visiting Ecuador
1. IS ECUADOR SAFE FOR TRAVELING?
If you are traveling from a Western country to Ecuador. If you will be vigilant and act accordingly and responsibly you will not have any problem, just use common sense.
Try to be cautious when withdrawing money in the ATM take a look around, avoid walking around at night and take a taxi instead. Quito, the capital of Ecuador has a high rate of pickpocketing. I found Ecuador totally safe and I didn´t have any problem visiting Ecuador.
2. CASH AND ATM’S IN ECUADOR
The currency of Ecuador before is named Sucre but now they use U.S Dollar. This was decided in the increasing inflation in Ecuador back in 1997-2000. Being changed to Dollar, these decision helped pull the country economy back. You can use dollar all over the country and this is a good news for everyone. ATM’s can be founded very easy in the cities and small towns in Ecuador.
3. EASY VISA IN ECUADOR
To visit Ecuador is easy to get a vis. There are a lot of countries that can enter the country visa free. And good news there are only 13 countries that require a visa to enter Ecuador. You can stay up to 90 days in Ecuador and there are also countries that are allowed to stay a maximum of 180 day.
4. BEST TIME TO VISIT IN ECUADOR
Ecuador has a subtropical highland climate, which means they experience cool summer. It means it is colder on higher places and warmer in the coast. And the temperature varies in each region because of the geographical diversity of the country.
There are two season in Ecuador and these is named wet and dry. Months of December to April this are the month where it gets the most rain. So this means May is the best time to visit Ecuador. And also the weather in the country doesn’t change that much so it is very much fine to visit other months too. In some places it will be warm during the day and very called at night.
5. HEALTH TRAVEL INSURANCE
Things to know before visiting Ecuador we recommend always to bring a travel insurance when traveling abroad just in case you have any problems. You can always have food Poisson, fever or any other kind of disease. Just make sure you are ready since it can be really expensive if you get a big surgery or problem in Ecuador. You can check ours in this link where you can get covered starting from $40 USD per month.
FACTS ABOUT ECUADOR
6. LEARNING SPANISH OR SPEAKING ENGLISH IN ECUADOR
Another learning opportunity in Ecuador is to learn Spanish. There are a lot of Spanish schools in Ecuador offering packages with different services. It will be hard to find Ecuadorian people even in the most of the touristic areas that can manage speaking English. That’s why it will be really useful in our Ecuador travel tips to learn some basics in Spanish language.
7. ECUADOR IS SO CHEAP
Facts about Ecuador if you are thinking Central America and South America is cheap for traveling you are right. Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia are the cheapest in South America especially if we compare to Costa Rica and Colombia.
You will have to pay entrance fee for Natural Parks, around $3-4 USD for a full meal in a local restaurant. Prices are so affordable in local markets in Ecuador. We will tell you below accommodation, food budget and general entrance fees and tour prices in Ecuador.
ACCOMMODATION BUDGET TRAVEL IN ECUADOR
There are many types of accommodation you can choose from in Ecuador. You can find hostels offering fair comfort for a cheap price. You can get a dorm for $8-10 USD. There are rooms available for $15-25 USD. Ecuador travel tips you can also pitch your tent and it will cost you for only $1-3 USD.
In my experience backpacking in Ecuador in 2012, I was able to pitch my tent in Montañita for $1 USD. If you want to save money you can always ask hotels if you can pitch your tent and it will cost you for a smaller fee than a room.
FOOD BUDGET TRAVEL IN ECUADOR
Street food is cheap and easy to find in Ecuador. You can buy street food in Ecuador for only $1 USD like filled potatoes and patacones (fried banana) for $1 USD. And for beers are also common in Ecuador and it will only cost you $1-2 USD.
There are many local restaurants where you can get meals for $3-4 USD. One of the most popular meals in Ecuador is guinea pig and it costs around $7-10 USD per person in local restaurants.
TOUR/ENTRANCE FEES IN ECUADOR
There are a lot of activities to try in Ecuador. You can climb Volcano Cotopaxi and you have to hire a tour or a guide and expect to pay $150 USD for this amazing activity. Cotopaxi is an active volcano and you can trek, and it would take you up to 6-7 hours to reach to reach to the top and a few hours more to go down. Better joining a few people to get better price!
Quilotoa is a former stunning crater that presents wonderful views. The lake is turquoise colored and it is surrounded by mountains. It can costs $50 USD if you visit on a day tour. There are places like Otavalo market that they are free to explore around in Ecuador. You will have an amazing experience visiting this small town in the mountains.
8. INTERNET AND WIFI IN ECUADOR
Internet is working great in big cities in Ecuador and WiFi is not that hard to find in Ecuador. Most hotels and hostels free WiFi for its residents and visitors you just have to ask or research about details of the hotel. Ecuador travel tips we advise that you get a sim card in Ecuador if you need to catch up with some work online. Internet works great in the cities in Ecuador: Quito, Guayaquil and even smaller cities like Cuenca you will not have any problem.
You can get two different sim cards companies in Ecuador if you travel as a couple since the coverage can change depending on the company that you choose. It will be challenging to find Wi-Fi while traveling in a few beaches and mountains will be hard to get great connection.
9. ADAPTER IN ECUADOR
In our Ecuador travel tips you should know they use the American adapter. A few places make it possible to fit your European adapter in the plug. If you are coming from European countries, we recommend you to bring an American adapter to be able to charge everywhere.
10. LOCAL TRANSPORTATION IN ECUADOR
You can choose from many local transportation in Ecuador. Cost of travel in Ecuador is the lowest in all Latin America and I found so efficient in cities like Quito. And the price of local buses is around half dollar inside the cities. In the cities the cost of taxi is around $1.50 for short distances.
A bus ride from Quito to Baños that cost $4 USD and it will take you about 4 hours. You can choose a more comfortable an express bus that will cost $6 USD. From Quito to Cuenca and Guayaquil the price of the buses is around $10-15 USD. Ecuador travel tips if you wish more comfort check for executive buses.
11. CHIVA BUSES IN QUITO
Have you ever heard about Chiva buses? They are so common in Ecuador and Colombia. You can find them going around Quito. The Chiva is a party bus where everyone is allowed to drink and party with loud music.
The Chiva bus is roaming around the city while people party inside it. I rode this party bus in Colombia but I only saw in Quito. As experienced.Trust me ,it´s so much fun and it will serve you a perfect introduction to local culture!
12. TAKING SALSA LESSONS IN QUITO
Talking salsa lessons when traveling in Ecuador. It’s a well-known fact in South America they love salsa. So what better way to understand the people than to get into salsa as well than learning? Quito and Guayaquil are the most popular cities for salsa lessons in Ecuador since there are many foreigners leaving.
13. NIGHTLIFE IN ECUADOR
Nightlife in Ecuador is great you will find always bars and music around. The best areas for nightlife is Quito and the beaches like Montañita. Plenty of locals go out to bars and foreigners to drink and dance. Prices for a beer and drinks are quite affordable in Ecuador $2-3 USD.
14. Panama Hats
Have you ever heard about Panama hats? One interesting of the things to know before visiting Ecuador that Panama hats are actually from Ecuador. Panama Hats were popular in the country and the indigenous were wearing them. The president of United States Teddy Roosevelt was wearing one in Panama that’s why they thought were from Panama. Prices of an original Panama Hats can go around $30 USD per piece.
15. ECUADOR TIME
Have you ever heard about Ecuadorian time? When meeting locals in Ecuador you will hear about Ecuadorian time. It means they aren’t usually on time as many other tropical countries in the world like Costa Rica and Philippines. And maybe you will be waiting for a few minutes or who knows.
When asking for distance and directions can be similar. They can tell you is so far and actually it’s not. Just make sure you check your map. Just make sure you know about this or you will learn in Ecuador!
More Ecuador Travel Tips And Things To Know Before Visiting Ecuador
FACTS ABOUT ECUADORIAN FOOD
The food in Ecuador maybe isn’t the most popular thing that you will heard about. There are a few delicious dishes that you should try. We will mention our favorite ones.
16. EAT STREET FOOD IN ECUADOR
What I love about street food in Ecuador, is that you can get it anytime during the day and night. My favorite one was Patacones or fried potatoes (called papa rellena in Colombia). I also love Empanadas and Salchipapas (hot dog and fries) they are so tasty.
The prices for street food in Ecuador are starting from $1 USD and they are perfect after drinking few beers before sleeping after partying in Ecuador!
17. EATING GUINEA PIG FOOD
Cuy is a large breed of guinea pigs raised for its meat and is considered a delicacy in Ecuador. Remember that what’s normal for Ecuadorians may not be normal for you but if you have the courage to try eating guinea pig food Cuy. Personally I didn’t try but your choice in Ecuador.
Prices of guinea pig food are little bit pricey comparing to the other meals in Ecuador. A cuy meal can cost around $7-10 USD per person in a local restaurant! It´s not very expensive but there are local restaurants in Ecuador where you can get a menu for $2 USD!
18. CEVICHE IN ECUADOR
Ceviche is served in all parts of Latin America. The raw fish is marinated in lime for 12 hours, so it is no longer so raw. Ceviche usually spends on shrimp, lobster, lemon, cilantro, tomatoes, and plenty of seafood. In Ecuador cuisine serves ceviche usually for lunch and dinner as one of the most popular food in Ecuador.
The difference between Ceviche in Ecuador and Peru is served with broth in Ecuador instead of dry in Peru. Prices are around $3-4 USD and ceviche is so popular in the beaches in Ecuador like Montañita.
19. AFFORDABLE LUNCHES IN ECUADOR
Things to know before visiting Ecuador you can enjoy an affordable lunch in Ecuador starting for $2-4 USD in local restaurants. The lunch usually includes a soup, rice, fried banana, rice a piece of meat, dessert and fruit juice for this price.
20. FRUITS ARE SO DELICIOUS
As a tropical country you will have to try different fruits in Ecuador. There are fresh juices and many fruits in the local markets. The most exotic ones are Guanabana and Tomate de Arbol (similar to a tomato but different taste). You will also find passion fruit, bananas and papayas everywhere in Ecuador. Prices are so affordable.
21. Cacao Beans in Ecuador
Did you know Ecuador is the biggest exporter of cacao beans? You should try chocolates in Ecuador. Apart from trying chocolate is one of the most typical souvenirs to bring home to your friends and family.
22. Coca Leaves
Coca leaves are a great to cure the altitude sickness. There are places like Quito 2800 meters above sea level. You will find Coca leaves in local markets and when eating you will be helpful to avoid headache. Remember only in Ecuador and countries in South America are legal so make sure you aren’t bringing back to your home country or at least check if it’s allowed to bring Coca leaves.
23. Roses in Ecuador
Roses in Ecuador are so popular and you fill in local markets. Did you know Ecuador is also one of the biggest exporter of roses in the world? The business of exporting roses is one of the most popular ones with chocolate in Ecuador last years. You can get a dozen of roses only for $2 USD in Ecuador.
24. UBER VS TAXI IN ECUADOR
Uber vs Taxis in Ecuador. In my opinion Uber is a better option to use in Ecuador since you will have a fixed price and you will be avoiding to get that price. There is no overcharge until your final destination. You will find Uber in most of the big cities like Quito and Guayaquil. Sometimes taxi drivers in Ecuador overcharge and can be so challenging to close the exact price.
25. BORDER CROSSING IN ECUADOR
Border crossing in Ecuador is easy but it will take long time the process at the Immigration Office. Easiest way is by bus.
Overland from Colombia? If you are coming from backpacking Colombia, it’s easier to get to Ecuador by bus. If you are coming from Colombia first you need to go to Ipiales and ride a bus going to Rumichaca where you will get off in the office to get the stamp and crossing the bridge to the Ecuadorian Immigration offices.
The queue is sometimes long. After getting your stamp there are a mini-van going to Tulcan Terminal. Once in Tulcan you can get a bus going to Quito or other destinations in Ecuador.
Overland from/to Peru? I took a night bus from Cuenca to Huaquillas in Peru. I did at night time and it was fast the queue in the Immigration Office. It was so fast not sure because it was an international bus. You can go for local buses and hire shared taxis close to the border in Peru and Ecuador until the bus station.
26. DIGITAL NOMADS IN ECUADOR
There are many Digital Nomads in Ecuador. You will find plenty areas like Quito, Cuenca, Guayaquil and the beaches. Prices for renting an apartment can go from $200-400 USD if you are looking for budget options.
Ecuador has great internet in the cities and easy visa for foreigners. But prices can be little bit higher than other places like Mexico, Bali and Thailand.
FESTIVALS IN ECUADOR
27. FOUNDATION OF QUITO DAY (QUITO)
From November 28th to 6th of December you can enjoy the foundation of Quito. There are typical dances in the streets in Quito, bullfights and of course Canelazo (sweet local drink). Party is in the streets in old town.
28. THE DAY OF THE DEAD
The Day of the death is celebrated in 2nd of November. People make Colada morada, a sweet purple drink and guaguas sweet bread shaped. They sell it in the streets and it´s a typical food to celebrate El Día de los Muertos. It’s so popular in South America and North America.
29. SEMANA SANTA (HOLY WEEK)
There is no a holiday like Semana Santa (Easter) in South America and the whole world have but because of Spanish tradition and Catholic inclinations, Ecuador celebrates Holy Week too.
Ecuador is a relatively a small country but it offers a lot of unique and fun experiences. What would you do if you’re on Ecuador? Have you gone to any of these places yet? Share with us your experiences in the comments below!
PLACES TO VISIT IN ECUADOR
Quito is the capital of Ecuador makes the difference the altitude 2850 meters above sea level. In fact, Quito is the second highest capital in the world next to La Paz, Bolivia. Quito has splendid church structures and it was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1978.
A thing to remember in Ecuador travel tips for Quito if you have altitude sickness is you’ll probably feel the sickness trigger around the city but fear not, eat light meals and have plenty of rest until your body adapts to the altitude. The architecture in Quito and the Miradors, point of views of the city are so beautiful.
Climb on the top of one of Basilica’s tower and notice Quito’s beauty from above. Take the heights higher at the Pichinha Volcano, a dormant volcano of the city. You can go to the top of Pichinha by cable car and you have to hike to the peak of the volcano. The views of the valleys and the city below are spectacular.
Cuenca is a incredible beautiful city. The main attraction of colonial Cuenca is its atmosphere and everyday simple life. Sure there are beautiful architectures like churches here and there but everyday life is very relaxing. That is why most expats chose this place as a resignation place. Local places to eat are great nd so affordable!
I found Cuenca very quiet and peaceful. It’s almost the same as Quito (I love them both!) but Cuenca is smaller and easier to explore than Quito. I would recommend a stay of 3-4 days if it´s your first or last stop in Ecuador going to Peru!
Montañita is a relaxing place but is very tourist friendly because of the waves and partying involved. Most of the tourists go to Montañita because of the surfer-friendly waves. One of the most touristic places in Ecuador.
You can do surfing or even learning since there are surfing coaches available everywhere. Want to learn basic Spanish for reasonable prices? You’re on the right place, heck you could even get certified for yoga. Most importantly, you won’t be bored at night because nightlife is great.
If you go on a budget, there are a few campings where you can pitch the tent for a few dollars per night. There are many day trips to do around Montañita. Apart from nightlife and surfing, sunset is really beautiful in Montañita. I enjoyed hitchhiking around the area and it was working great for short distance trips during the day and even to go to Guayaquil!
You can do a lot of activities in Baños from rafting, hiking, rock-climbing and many more. One of the best tourist attractions in Baños is the Swing at La Casa del Arbol, a swing at the edge of the mountain 2600m above sea level is definitely a must try. You can try Rio Pastaza rapids that are so exciting to shoot.
Most of the backpackers visit Baños, it will be a good opportunity to make new friends. There is cheap accommodation $8-10 USD for a dorm. Also, there are many tours companies offering activities around. Baños is a great place for relaxing in Ecuador, visit waterfalls and enjoy nature.
Otavalo is a humble town in Andean highlands known for the largest outdoor market in South America, Otavalo Market. You’ll find lots of artisan crafts, live animals, and other handmade products in this big market. Speaking of animals, you might want to see birds of prey live at Parque del Condor.
If you want a scenic view then have a 17-minute car ride to Cotacachi then to Cuicocha, a wide crater lake great for trekking. The trek trail would take up to 3-5 hours including rests for taking shots.
Otavalo is a small town in the mountains, prices are cheap and the weather is cold. Otavalo is great to spend 2-3 days walking around the town, market, meeting new friends, practicing your Spanish and trying local food in Ecuador. Ecuador travel tips you can bargain in the market since is part of the culture remember always to do it with a big smile!
35. COTOPAXI PROVINCE
Cotopaxi has two must go places Quilotoa and Cotopaxi volcano. Cotopaxi is an active volcano and a trekking adventure. The former is a stunning crater that presents wonderful views. The lake is turquoise colored and is surrounded by mountains from afar. It has been observed that the trek isn’t easy but it is worth it.
The trekking to the crates is around 6-7 hours ascent and 3-4 hours descent. Cotopaxi looks like it has snowed on its peak from afar but this is because it is a stratovolcano, a volcano formed with layers of lava and ashes from its eruptions.
If you love hiking you can have an amazing experience in Ecuador. There are places to stay in Cotopaxi for around $10 USD. And you can also pitch your tent if you love adventure and trekking. The entrance to the National Park is free of charge. If you are planning to go to the summit better joining a tour!
Guayaquil is Ecuador’s largest city. Guayaquil is the economic heart of the country a modern place especially at Guayaquil’s Malecon 2000, a unique and modern urban park in Ecuador. There are a few places to try local food and prices are so cheap. My favorite one was ceviche and empanadas in Guayaquil!
Ecuador travel tips Guayaquil is a good location to visit before going to the beaches or heading to the North. If you go as a tourist, two days is enough to walk around and visit the most touristic areas.
37. ECUADOR AMAZON
Discover the diversity of wildlife in the Amazon of Ecuador. The rainforest has lots of birds, cayman, piranhas, different species of monkeys and many more. To go to the Amazon is required to have a guide. You can roam the jungle to see some amazing insects at night. There are also bird watching observation towers.
If you are visiting the Amazon in Ecuador, be ready for hard conditions as humidity and insects are everywhere. Ecuador travel tips make sure you know where are you going with a guide or locals who can show you around!
38. GALAPAGOS ISLAND
Galapagos Island is the most exotic place to visit in Ecuador. Galapagos Island attracts a lot of tourists because of its biodiversity on four of its ecological zones. There are also lots of endemic animals in Galapagos like the famous Galapagos sea lions, Galapagos Giant Tortoise, Flightless cormorants and many more.
Most of the flights from Quito to Galapagos will take around 3-4 hours. The flights to Galapagos Island costs around $300-500 USD return ticket and there is an entrance fee $120 USD to enter to Galapagos Island. Prices for accommodation, food and everything are 2-3 times prices that you will find in Ecuador. But the place is so worth it to visit!
39. CLIMB EVEREST’S RIVAL (CHIMBORAZO)
Chimborazo is a perfect place to visit if you love the adventure. For climbing this mountain you will need experience in hiking and proper acclimatization. Chimborazo is supposedly “higher” than Mt. Everest because it reaches out to space more than Everest. Completing the challenge is truly something to remember in your trip to Ecuador.
40. THE CIUDAD MITAD DEL MUNDO
You can go to Ciudad Mitad del Mundo while visiting Quito. Facts about Ecuador Ciudad Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World City) is 26 kilometers North direction, you can get the bus at Ofelia Bus Station in Quito and it will just cost you around less than $1 USD and travel time is around 45 minutes to get there.
Once you are Ciudad Mitad del Mundo there is an entrance fee of $3 USD. The town has restaurants, church, museums, souvenir shops, and a main landmark marking the middle of the world where you can go take pictures. In my opinion I founded so touristic place but great for a short day trip in Quito.
ACCOMMODATION BUDGET TRAVEL IN ECUADOR
There are many types of accommodation you can choose from in Ecuador. You can find hostels offering fair comfort for a cheap price. You can get a dorm for $8-10 USD. There are rooms available mid budget for $30-40 USD and if you prefer luxury accommodation starting from $60 USD.
Having insurance while you are traveling outside your home country is very important. Make sure that you have one too, to keep you safe in your trips around the world.
Hope you find interesting our Ecuador travel tips and let us know if we are missing more things to know before visiting Ecuador in the comments below.
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