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Quito/Ecuador

Travel Information

Travelling by busGuidebook

Our Guidebook (PDF-file) with practical tips and important information can be downloaded here.

Reservations

We can advise you in all tours and reservations: day trips, Galápagos, jungle, trekking, mountaineering, motorbike, mountain bike and language schools. All tours can be planed within a short time in situ, except for the tours to the Galápagos Islands. For this tour we recommend making a reservation in advance (especially in high season) and also locally, given that the prices here are considerably lower than in Europe.

We cooperate with the most trustworthy mountain/jungle guides and travel agencies. We assist you finding the best deals for your travels in Ecuador.

Entry Requirements

Tourists don't need a visa for Ecuador.

The passport has to be valid at least 6 months counting from the day of your arrival.

At the airport you will get a mark on your passport that confirms your entry into Ecuador, this will be registered countrywide.

Abidance: Maximum 90 days within one calendar year.

Multiple entries are possible in one year if you consider the 90-days-limit.

An extension for more than 90 days costs approximately US$ 250 and must be done before the 90-days-limit expires.

Not adhering to given statement is punished by a fine from US$ 200 to US$ 2.000 and a deportation within 48 hours.

About Currency

Local currency is US$. Since September 2008 we don't accept US$ traveller checks anymore. You can exchange them personally in the exchange office Vaz Corp. (Av. Amazonas N21-147 y Roca).

Credit Cards

At some cash points you can take out up to US$ 800. The EC-credit card (Maestro) is more convenient than it is for example Visa. Many travel agencies do not accept credit cards and if they do, they normally add to the bill 15 % taxes. Credit cards can be very useful for buying flight tickets directly from an airline office or in case of an emergency (for paying hospitals, etc.).

Passports

The only valid identification document is the passport which has to have the stamp of the Ecuadorian migration on it. To reduce the risk of stolen passports in Quito, we recommend carrying just a copy with you and leaving the original passport in a secure place in your hotel. For trips and flights out of Quito it is mandatory to have your original passport with you.

Opening Hours

Most of the shops are opened from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Shopping centres also open the whole day on weekends. The opening hours for banks are: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Exchange Centres are also opened on Saturday until 3 p.m., they also attend on Sundays in airports and big hotels. Travel agencies are opened from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Altitude, Climate, Time Difference, Language

Quito is located at 2.850 meters over sea level. People that are in a good state of health can tolerate this altitude easily. You will notice the altitude when you walk fast or go upstairs. During the first days it’s not recommended to do sports that require a high physical effort.

During the whole year the temperatures are practically the same, which means in warm days between 15 and 24 degrees and in cold nights between 8 and 10 degrees.

The time difference between Ecuador and central Europe is 6 hours in the winter and 7 hours in the summer. In the winter when it is 12 a.m. in Europe, in Ecuador it is 6 o’clock in the morning and in the summer 5 o’clock in the morning. In the Galápagos it is even one hour earlier.

Spanish is Ecuador’s official language. Quechua, the Inca’s language, is also spoken in the Sierra. In the Amazon zones they speak different Indian languages. English is also spoken in the most important tourist zones as well as in a lot of hotels.

Health, Emergencies

There are not much viruses in the Sierra. On that point of view, Ecuador isn’t more dangerous than other tropical regions. But if you are planning to travel to the warm-tropical regions (jungle, Pacific coast: specially the Esmeralda’s county, northwest of Ecuador) it is recommendable to get a vaccination against Malaria. Please note: For the protection of indigenous peoples, proof of a yellow-fever vaccination must be shown when visiting some areas of the Amazon basin. Ask your doctor about this and other vaccinations before you start your trip. People that have high pressure or suffer from heart and blood circulation troubles also have to consult a doctor, respect the influence that the altitude and the tropic zone have in their health. There are good doctors in Quito that can handle with all type of illnesses and accidents, also several hospitals and emergency stations. The most modern hospital in Quito is the “Metropolitano”.

English speaking physicians, and specialists are available - so don't worry about your medical needs.

Food and Drinks

The Ecuadorian food is very varied and tasty. Big cities have excellent restaurants that offer international and national specialities from the coast and the sierra. Even though, you have to take elementary precautions. Don’t drink water that hasn’t been previously boiled, don’t buy food or drinks, which are sold on the streets or in opened places. Every hotel, campsite and boat provides bottled water.

Tips

Most restaurants add 10 % gratuity, which will be included in your bill. Although, if you are served well you can give the waiter an extra tip, they will be happy about it. In small restaurants the costumer decides. Taxi drivers do not expect tips, but often they try to increase their incomes by putting the prices higher than what it says on the taximeter. Guardians and porters receive US$ 1 for each piece of luggage. For drivers it is usual to give US$ 1 to 1,50 per each day, per person. For local guides US$ 3.

Traffic, Car Rentals, Taxis

The priorities in Quito’s traffic are confusion. Normally streets that go from north to south have priority. For the pedestrians we recommend not to trust in theoretical pedestrian zones, there are a lot of drivers that don’t respect them. Renting a car is relatively expensive and it is not so easy to drive in Ecuador if you don’t know the traffic, this is why we don’t recommend this option. There are cheaper ways to travel, as it is by bus and taxis. The taxis are safer and not so expensive. They are yellow and should have a taximeter; if they don’t have one or it doesn’t work you should accord the price before. It isn’t usual to give tips to the drivers or to sit in the front seat, especially for women that are travelling alone.

Clothing

In Quito you require principally spring or autumn cloths. For trips to the mountains you will need good and resistant shoes, rain protection and warm clothes. You also need sun screen with a high protection factor and insect repellent. For the Galápagos, the coast and the rainforest you need light clothing that is appropriate for the tropic.

Children

We recommend not taking very young children to the trip. Although, 8 years old and older children can enjoy a trip to the Galápagos and the rest of the regions in the country. The best hotels are generally prepared to receive children; they provide kids menus, extra beds, women that take care of your children, etc.

 

Electricity

In Ecuador you have American style (flat) sockets that provide 110 volts electricity. Electric artefacts that haven’t got this electric current, like shaving machines or hair dryers, can’t be used.

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