In a country where mobile phone use is commonplace, pay phones and call centers are rapidly disappearing from the landscape. If you're without a mobile phone and you need to make a call, using Skype where wi-fi is available may be your best bet. Or if you lack a computer, there are still a few internet cafes in most towns.
If you have not purchased an international plan for your mobile, it's easy to buy and install a chip with an Ecuadorian local number ($5 to $10). Look for Claro or other mobile carrier signs in storefronts.
In regards to public street phones, some use phonecards, which are sold in convenient places such as newsagents. Others accept only coins. All but the most basic hotels will allow you to make local city calls.
Hotels that provide international phone connections very often surcharge extremely heavily.
All telephone numbers in Ecuador have seven digits (after the area code) – except for cellular phone numbers, which have 10 digits including the initial 0.
Cellular (mobile) numbers in Ecuador are preceded by 09. Bring your own phone and purchase a SIM card (called a ‘chip’, costing $5 to $10) from one of several local networks. Add credit (saldo) at convenience stores, supermarkets and pharmacies.
Two-digit area codes beginning with ‘0’ are used throughout Ecuador. Area codes are not dialed if calling from within that area code, unless dialing from a cellular phone.
Ecuador’s country code is 593. To call a number in Ecuador from abroad, call your international access code, Ecuador’s country code, the area code without the 0, and the seven-digit local telephone number (or the nine-digit mobile number – again without the initial 0).
Whatsapp has changed the landscape of international calling, and many hotels and guides can be reached in this way.