Ecuador | Destination Travel Information
Ecuador is a small but geographically diverse country. At about 256,370 square kilometers , it covers an area slightly larger than of Great Britain. The country is located on the Equatorial Line along the northwestern coast of South America and is bordered by Colombia to the north, Perú to the South and East and Pacific Ocean to the west. Ecuador offers 4 distinct regions: the Andean highlands (Sierra), the mysterious tropical jungle (Oriente), the broad coastal plains and the unique Galápagos Islands.
Ecuador?s climate is so varied that it makes any time of the year the right time for a visit. In the highlands, the weather remains at a perfect, spring like climate year round. Every valley seems to have its own microclimate. In general, however, the average temperature in the Sierra rises to a dry 22º C / 72º F at midday to a cool 8º C /46º F in the early morning and evening. Generally, the driest months in the Northern and Central Andes are from June to September. In the southern highlands, the driest months are from August to January. Rain tends to appear along the Pacific Coast, so although it may rain in northern Esmeraldas, so does near the Peruvian border.
In spite of rainfall, the coast can be enjoyed year-round, with cooler temperatures more common from June to September. In the Oriente or the Amazon basin, heavy rain can fall at any time, but it usually wettest from April to September. The Galápagos and the coast are both hot (averages of 31º C / 88º F) from January to April, when heavy showers are likely. From May to September is the island´ cooler misty season.
High and Low Seasons
The great diversity of attractions and climates means that there are really no high and low seasons in Ecuador. Still, the high international tourist season is from June to early September, which is the best time for trekking, climbing, mountain biking and all adventure sports. There is also a shorter tourist season between December and January, when visitors must take care to book Galápagos tours well in advance. Ecuadorians take long weekends around Carnival, Easter weekend and over Christmas and New Year?s. School vacations in the highlands are from July to September and on the coast from January to March. Ecuador is not overcrowded at any time of the year.
In the highlands region, it is best to dress in layers since temperatures vary, beginning and ending the day quite cool but becoming warm in the midday sun. Wear a sweater over a light shirt and T-shirt, and carry a light, preferably water resistant jacket and umbrella, especially during the rainy season.
In the tropical climates, light cotton clothing is recommended. Bring along a sweater or light jacket since it can cool off in the evenings. In the jungle regions, long-sleeved shirts and long cotton pants, as well as a good pair of walking shoes, are recommended.
Ecuador has some of the best and most interesting handicrafts in all of South America. And, although part of the fun is buying them in local Indian markets, almost all of the best examples can be found in Quito. Among the country?s best and most popular buys are: hand woven sweaters and tapestries, Panamá hats, ponchos, fringed shawls, ethnic jewelry, straw goods, bread-dough figures, ceramics and modern and primitive paintings.
One of Ecuador?s favorite attractions is its food. You can taste and enjoy the freshest and most complete variety of common and exotic fruits and vegetables, many of which are available only at these latitudes. The typical dishes of Ecuador are delicious and highly recommended.
Quito has wide variety of excellent restaurants that offer not only typical but also international and ethnic cuisine. Try your luck at one of the several hotel casinos. And enjoy the rhythm of spicy Latin music or international favorites at one of the many peñas or discotheques.
Passports & visas
All visitors to Ecuador must have a passport valid at least six months.
Ecuador has opened the requirement for visa and at present all citizens don't require a consular visa in order to visit Ecuador.
Upon entry, all visitors are required to complete a brief international embarkation card, which is stamped along with your passport , as it will be required when leaving the country.
Ecuador has a population of approximately 15 million people. About 14% of the people are indigenous , another 60% are mestizos ( mixed Spanish / Indian ) and the remaining 26% are white , black and Asian .The coast and the highlands are home to the majority of the population in roughly even amounts, and a small percentage of the population live in the Oriente and Galapagos.
The official languages of Ecuador are Spanish and Kichwa .English is spoken in the major visitor centers and European Languages may be spoken in some establishments catering to tourists in Quito and the more popular tourist destinations.
Internet access is widely available in Ecuador, with cybercafés located sometimes two to a city block in the more populated urban areas. These services are frequently used not only by tourists, but also by locals. Internet services are usually also available in the big hotels in Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca.
No inoculations are required for entry although some may be recommended for travel to certain remote areas of the country. Travelers with heart conditions or high blood pressure should consult their physician about high altitude travel. Drinking bottled water is highly recommended.
Travel insurance is very important for all visitors to Ecuador. An adequate insurance policy should include coverage for damage, loss of your belongings as well as health care in the event of an accident or illness.
Since September 2000 , the US dollar is the official currency of Ecuador .US dollar bills circulate in the Following denominations : $ 1, $5 ,$ 10, $20 ,$50 and $100 .US coins are used alongside the equivalent size and value Ecuadorian coins of $ 0.01 ,$0.05 ,$ 0.10. $ 0.25 and $ 0.50 these Ecuadorian coins have no value outside the country.
In spite of official government policy, many people, especially in small towns, still think in terms of the country?s previous monetary unit, the "Sucre", which was used for over a century .The last exchange rate for the "Sucre" was s/ 25.000 to US$ 1.00
110 volts-60 AC
Eastern Standard / GMT minus 5 and no daylight savings time throughout the continental area of country. In Galápagos, GMT minus 6.
Banking and Shopping hours
9:00 AM to 13:30 PM Monday through Friday.
Most businesses are open from 8:30 AM to 12:30 AM and from 14:30 PM to 18:30 PM Monday through Friday. Some businesses open from 9:00 AM through 5:00 PM Monday through Friday.
Shopping Centers open from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM Monday through Saturday and from 10:00 AM to 17:00 PM on Sundays.
Shopping hours are for information purposes only and are subject to change without notice.
The tour operator and its agents act only as agents for passengers in all matters pertaining to transportation, accommodations or others services. As agents, all tickets, exchange order of vouchers are issued by them subject to any and all terms and conditions under which such means of transportation, accommodations or other services are offered or provided.
The booking agent, airlines involved and general agent will not be liable for any injury, damage, loss accident, delay or Irregularity which may be occasioned by reason of any deficiency in any vehicle furnished by any such party, firm or corporation in carrying out, or failing to carry out arrangements previously agreed upon, nor for the negligent misconduct of any such other party, firm or corporation in providing or failing to provide are not to be held responsible for any act, omission or event during the time passengers are not on board their conveyance.
The passenger contract in use by the airlines concerned when issued shall constitute the sole contract between booking agent, airline, general agent and the purchaser of these and/or passengers.
TRAVEL TIME: 1 to 5 hours per day
SEASON: All year
ALTITUDE: 1,500 to 15,500 feet (500 to 4,800 meters)
AVERAGE TEMPERATURE – ANDES: DAY 46-75ºF / 8-24ºC, NIGHT 41-53ºF / 5-12ºC
AVERAGE TEMPERATURE – CLOUDFOREST: DAY 60-86ºF/16-30ºC, NIGHT 60-68ºF/16-20ºC
AVERAGE TEMPERATURE – AMAZON: DAY 68-95ºF / 20-35ºC, NIGHT 64-71ºF / 18-22ºC
SUGGESTED ITEMS TO PACK: Sun block, bathing suit, and repellent.