Things To Know Before Visiting Ecuador

Congratulations on your decision to visit Ecuador! It’s a beautiful place full of friendly people, amazing food, and plenty of things to do. Before you embark upon your trip, however, there are some things that you should know about the country. This way you can make a good first impression, avoid any awkward situations or misunderstandings with locals, and have a more pleasurable experience overall. Here are 7 handy things to know before your first visit.

Things To Know Before Visiting Ecuador
Image credit: Unsplash (Reiseuhu).

Bites & Stings

One major thing to beware of is being bitten or stung by insects.

Fortunately, some precautions can be taken to reduce your chances of contracting a parasitic or bacterial infection from insects.

Wear long pants and sleeves. This will prevent mosquitoes from biting you (they are attracted to heat and sweat ) as well as ticks, fleas, sand flies, etc. You don’t necessarily need to wear full-body clothing in 40-degree weather – especially if you’re just taking a quick walk outside – but consider wearing it during extended outdoor exposure such as trail hikes.

Have Cash

Ecuador has an extremely limited supply of card-based ATMs (which charge high fees) and reduced functionality from bank machines that do accept foreign cards. Even if you’re planning on staying somewhere for at least a week, it’s smart to bring enough cash with you to last a few days. Bring all the money you’ll need for your stay in cash, and plan to do most of your spending with that.

The official currency in Ecuador is the US dollar. There are bills that have denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars. Coins come in denominations of 25 centavos (copper), 1, 5, and 10 dollars.

Food Is Cheap

It’s possible to eat out at Ecuadorian restaurants every day if you want to spend as little money as possible on food. This really helps you to balance out your budget by leaving plenty of cash left to do other things that will make your trip more awesome, like chartering a private jet! As the folks at say there’s no other luxurious way to get to where you’re going safely, on time, and efficiently. A typical 3-course meal with beverage (including tip) will usually cost around $5 at an inexpensive place and not much more than that in any nicer restaurant.

If you’re vegan you’re in luck. Ecuador is a great place for vegetarians (& vegans). Although one thing that Ecuadorians take special pride in is their meat, the cuisine here is diverse enough to accommodate a variety of dietary needs. Pork and beef dishes are common, but many eateries also have chicken, lamb, duck, or other meats on offer. Strict vegetarians won’t have any problems since plant-based foods like beans, rice, eggs, and vegetables are very popular as well. If you’re vegan you’ll be pleased to know that Ecuador even has some delicious desserts made without dairy products! So if you love food, Ecuador will not disappoint.

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Beware of The Water

It’s a good idea to keep drinking water to a minimum in Ecuador if you’re not used to the bacteria and parasites found in the water. If you think about it, you wouldn’t want to drink tap water in your home country- why would you here? It’s best practice to use purified bottled water for all your needs, or else bring purification tablets.

Not Everyone Speaks English

Though most people under the age of 50 will understand some English, it may be hard for them to communicate with foreigners due to cultural differences or just plain shyness. Don’t assume that someone doesn’t understand what you’re saying because they don’t answer; try again later rather than embarrassing yourself. If this occurs frequently, seek out older people, children, or groups of people to interact with.

Public Transportation Will Take Your Everywhere

Ecuador’s public transportation system is fairly developed. People can travel from one side of the country to another by bus in approximately 24 hours. There are also many inter-city flights available for short trips, or you can do what I did and hitchhike! You’ll find that Ecuador is an easy place to get around once you have your bearings.

Be Prepared For An Adventure

Ecuador is so diverse that you never know what’s going to happen next! For example, the untouched state of the Galapagos Islands is home to some of the world’s rarest species. You’ll see condors soaring high in the mountains and rainforests as well as waterfalls just a day trip away from busy city life. The people here are kind-spirited and welcoming, not to mention generous with their knowledge of nature. You’re sure to have many memorable experiences on your first visit!

Ecuador is an amazing place that’s rich in culture, natural beauty, and history. Their people are warm and welcoming; Ecuadorians are proud of their diverse heritage, which shows in the delicious cuisine available all over the country. If you follow these tips, your first visit will be a fantastic one!

Featured image: Flickr (Ecuador Travel).