What to Bring?
What to Pack for your trip to Ecuador?
What to pack really depends on where you are going and your style of travel: budget backpacking, luxury island-cruising, a two-week guided historical tour, or a combination of all three. Before you begin packing, consider which regions of Ecuador you want to visit, as each has its own distinct climate. Every type of travel has its own list of bare essentials from corkscrews to hairdryers and crampons to tampons, so we list some of the obvious and not-so-obvious items for the various regions and activities you may encounter in Ecuador. These lists are meant to be suggestive rather than comprehensive.
General Packing List
- Money belt or neck pouch
- Bank card, credit card and / or travelers’ checks
- Cloths for warm and cool weather as one can encounter both in an afternoon in the Andes or if traveling between regions
- First-aid kit (see our medical kit packing list for a list of suggested health supplies)
- Any medications prescribed by your doctor
- Swiss army knife or leatherman
- Watch with alarm clock
- Flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
- Toilet paper and tampons (both can be hard to find outside of Quito and Guayaquil)
- Plastic bags for separating dirty and clean clothes and shoes
- Notebooks and pens / pencils
- Needle and thread
- Biodegradable soap (if in backcountry areas)
Leave copies your important documents, such as your passport, as well as travelers check and credit card numbers, with someone who can fax them to you if they are stolen and / or give a copy to a trusted traveling companion. E-mailing numbers to an on-line e-mail account (such as G-mail, Hotmail or Yahoo) is also a good idea since you can access the Internet from almost anywhere.
Ecuador’s electrical current is 110 volts 60 cycles – the same as North America – so adapters for North American equipment are not needed. However, plug converters (from two to three prongs) are sometimes necessary in older buildings.
Regional Packing Lists
In most parts of the Andes, you can experience all four seasons in one day. Be prepared for cold nights and cold rain, especially if you plan on camping. The following list, combined with the general list above, provides useful guidelines for travel in the mountains:
- Warm, fast drying clothes (synthetics and wool are good, but avoid cotton, especially directly against the skin).
- Good hiking boots that either dry quickly or are water-resistant.
- For trekking through the páramo, rubber boots (wellies) are the best choice for keeping your feet dry.
When planning a Galápagos trip, combine the general list, above, with the following:
- Sun hat
- Sandals (for the boat)
- Sneakers (for dry landings and rocky shores)
- Chacos or Teva-style sandals (for wet landings)
- Swim suit
- Umbrella (for sun protection during island hikes)
- High factor, waterproof sunscreen
- Snorkel and mask (you can rent them in Quito or in Puerto Ayora)
- Beach towel and bath towel
- Wind resistant jacket
- Light sweater or sweatshirt (nights can get rather cool and you don’t want to miss stargazing on deck)
- Extra camera batteries and film / memory card
- Underwater camera (recommended!)
- Motion sickness pills
When planning a trip to Ecuador’s Pacific coast, use both the above general list and the Galápagos list for guidelines. All of the Galápagos equipment minus all that may be rented if you plan on doing a lot of hiking or travel by bus. Travelling light is always recommended. You’ll also need insect repellent (at least 30% DEET) and possibly a mosquito net (many hotels provide them). Malaria pills may also be necessary, read about the disease and how to prevent it in the malaria sub-section of our health page.
Travel to Ecuador’s Oriente, or eastern Amazon rainforest provinces, requires a lot of planning. Be sure to consider the following:
- Rubber boots (a must since hiking boots don’t work well in calf-deep mud – most lodges and arranged tours will provide boots up to size 10 or they can be purchased in most towns for about $5)
- Mosquito net (most hotels and tour companies offer nets)
- Insect repellent (with DEET)
- Malaria pills
- Antihistamine tablets and an epi-pen for people with serious allergies to stings
- Water purification tablets (iodine is recommended), although hotels and lodges should provide potable water.
- Oral rehydration packets
- Binoculars (invaluable in the rainforest. It’s worth spending a bit of extra money to get a good pair: 8 x 40 are excellent for poor light conditions under the forest canopy)
- Plastic bags for keeping your clothes dry
- Swimming suit
- Lightweight quick drying clothes
- At least one long-sleeved shirt
- One pair of loose-fitting pants (no jeans)
- A light sweater (it gets surprisingly chilly in the rainforest, especially on boat trips)
- Poncho that fits over you and your pack (The cheap plastic knee-length type coats are better than Gore-Tex, which will soak right through in a real rainforest deluge. Hotels and lodges should provide these too.)
- A pair of clean socks for each day
- Chacos or Teva-like sandals or sneakers for around camp
- Zip lock bags for food, books, maps and anything else you hope to keep dry
All clothes (undergarments included) should be loose fitting to help keep you cool. To prevent chigger bites, wear long sleeves and pants, tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks or boots.
Sport Specific Packing Lists
- Swim suit
- Tennis shoes or Teva-like sandals with secure ankle straps
- Tee-shirt (quick drying material is best)
- Easy-dry shorts or running tights
- Safety strap if wearing glasses
- Waterproof camera (recommended)
- Dry clothes for after the trip.
Below are supplies you will need on a two day non-technical climb up mountains such as Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. For the more technical climbs, more specialized equipment is needed. For nearly all tours, the items listed under Equipment are provided by the tour company. All equipment may be rented in Quito as well. Helmets are the exception to both of these statements, they are rarely provided and are also very difficult to rent.
- Mountaineering boots
- Ice axe
- Climbing ropes
- 3 sets of batteries
- Glacier Glasses
- Lip Balm
- 2 water bottles
- Two thick insulating layer tops, One thin, one thick insulating layer bottoms
- Gore-Tex type hooded coat
- Gore-Tex type bottom
- Glove liners
- Gore-Tex Gloves
- 2 pairs of socks
- Warm Hat
- Camera – keep it in your inside pocket, it’ll freeze!
- Extra change of clothes, shoes for around camp
What to Pack for your trip to Ecuador?