Resources

  • Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com) Destination information, hotel bookings, travel forum and photos.
  • Ministry of Tourism Ecuador (http://ecuador.travel) Handy overviews of highlights, cuisine and travel tips countrywide.
  • Latin American Network Information Center (http://lanic.utexas.edu/la/ecuador) Scores of useful links about everything Ecuadorian.
  • Life in Ecuador (www.life-in-ecuador.com) A handy site for tourists and even for those planning to move to Ecuador, with a wealth of tips.

Top Tips

  • Properly acclimatize before attempting any high-altitude hikes. Spend a few days in Quito to allow your body to adapt.
  • Most Ecuadorians eat their main meal at lunchtime. Look for excellent-value almuerzos (set lunches), for just a few dollars.
  • Remember that you are right on the equator, and even if there's a chill in the air, the sun is strong. Factor 50 sunscreen and a hat is the way to go.
  • When traveling on buses, keep your belongings on your lap in front of you and use a money belt for important documents and cash. Put larger items in the storage compartment underneath the bus and get a claim ticket.
  • Alert the driver to where you want to get off if your bus does not enter the terminal for your town; some only stop alongside the highway for certain destinations.

What to Take

  • A waterproof, windproof jacket – it will rain; the wind will blow (especially in the highlands)
  • Ear plugs – often essential for sleeping
  • Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Headlamp or pocket flashlight (torch)
  • Money belt
  • Insect repellent (containing 30% DEET)
  • Good novel for those long bus rides
  • Mobile phone charger

What to Wear

In much of Ecuador, the weather can be unpredictable. The sun may be blazing, but temperatures can drop and storm clouds could appear at any moment. For this reason layers are the way to go; be sure to always carry a waterproof jacket in case of rain. Casual, comfortable clothes are fine for most occasions, though you might want to bring something smarter for a night out to the theater or fancy restaurant in the city. If you're heading to the highlands, thermals and a knit cap will help keep you warm at night. For jungle trips, bring long pants (trousers) and long-sleeved shirts that will protect you from insects; a hat will protect you from both sun and bugs.

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your arrival date
  • Check you have had the recommended vaccinations
  • Make travel insurance arrangements
  • Check the airline baggage restrictions
  • Find out the latest updates on volcanic activity in Ecuador and which volcanoes are currently open for climbing
  • Look into booking a Galápagos cruise