5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to Ecuador

Ecuador is the second-smallest country in South America, but nowhere else on Earth will you find so much natural diversity.

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In just one day you could see the Amazon Basin, volcanoes, cloud forests and the Pacific coast. You can spend your cash shopping at the indigenous market in Otavalo, or take on some serious treks - like the Quilatoa Loop.

Did You Know?

Ecuador exports 8 million tonnes of bananas a year, has had nine presidents since 1997, its residents make a minimum wage of $318/month, and the Panama hat actually came from Ecuador.

Besides all of the wonderful adventures you can have in Ecuador, as with any place you travel, there are always a few things you should know before you go. And what better way to find out, than to ask a bunch of travelers that have been there? 

1. Get Your Travel Jabs

When traveling to Ecuador, a thorough evaluation of your immunization history is important. This goes for children, adolescents and adults.

Routine immunizations can protect you while traveling to South America; and may even save your life.

Jorge Castillo, Passport Health USA

2. Female Travel Safety Tips

Dress conservatively if you're bothered by catcalls. It's still a macho culture in Ecuador. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

So avoid miniskirts and spaghetti strapped singlets, and no matter how athletic you are, take high altitude precautions seriously.

Kimberly Haley-Coleman, Globe Aware

3. Common Crime Traps

Don't walk up to the virgin monument in Quito, as people do get robbed on the remote track.

There is a mustard scam in Ecuador, which most commonly occurs in Quito. You'll be walking down the street, and will step on a packet of mustard. One of the locals will come to help you clean the mustard off your pants, and will also clean you out your wallet.

Trish Sare, BikeHike Adventures

4. Galapagos Tips

Don't bring anti-malarial medicine. Although there are mosquitoes in Galápagos, none of them are carriers of malaria or dengue fever. Make sure you do bring sunscreen.

The Galapagos gets very hot and sunny. Also consider bringing sea-sickness medicine, or check and see if your cruise has it. A motion sickness medicine called Mareol is available in Galapagos and mainland Ecuador pharmacies.

Carla Torres, Geovisions

5. Explore Ecuador

Especially the lesser known parks and mountains, but always consult a knowledgeable and credible local guide on trails and check conditions, take a compass and at least tell someone how long you'll be gone for.

Also, the best thing you can pack is a good rain jacket. The weather is very capricious in the mountains and podocarp rainforests.

Christina Tunnah, World Nomads

Learn the Local Lingo!

Of course, whenever you're travelling to a foreign country it's always helpful to know a bit of the local language, learn Spanish with our language guide. 

What do you wish you knew about Ecuador before you went?

14 Comments

  • Caroline said

    Be careful when travelling into the rain forest area. Remember more water, more mud slides. Be careful in general as people are very poor in this country. Beautiful tropical country. Very friendly people.

  • Jenny said

    Hey everyone, i was recently in ecuador and let me tell you, it was wonderful. i never felt uncomfortable or unsafe, people are extremely friendly and nice. The prices are incredibly low so its a really good place to go shopping. Its also a very cultural and beautiful place. i can't wait to go back!

  • anantharaj said

    This country how much salary labour work computer billing how salary

  • ericka said

    Exercise caution when traveling to the Vilcabamba area. Tourists and expats have been targeted by armed criminals in the area. You can search and see the news articles. Use common sense and avoid hiking in remote areas.

    http://latinamericacurrentevents.com/san-pedro-de-vilcabamba-ecuador-u-s-expats-victims-of-home-invasion/35285/

  • viviana said

    HI, I live in Ecuador, and about robbery I can honestly say that you should be carefull in the big cities like Guayaquil or Quito, as New york or other big metropolis crime is something thant you can´t avoid. Don´t dress conservatively, I mean is true, you may have to deal with some of the disgusting flirtatious but is a really hot country, and I repeat this will only be in the big cities.

  • Abdul said

    Ecuador is a country I will soon like to visit , have been reading they have a lot of adventurous places to go and different tourist attractions .. Can't wait to go there for the first time

  • Jani said

    Hi,

    I am planning to apply for PR on Ecuador,I just wanted to know more about this place.Please help me.

  • Alicia Erickson said

    Jane,
    Insulin is cheap and easy to get here (lots of Hispanics develop diabetes). Once you are a resident of Ecuador, you are eligible for social security insurance which runs about $70 a month. It becomes effective once you have paid for 3 months and covers all hospital costs, clinics, specialists and medications. Many expats pay for the cost of this insurance by turning in their refunds (taxes of 14% in Ecuador are refunded to retired people). Once you get to Ecuador, other expats will help you get this all straightened out. Otherwise paying out of pocket is not too expensive (dentist visit with filling $30 or specialist visit $30).... or you can go to the free hospital (pain in the but, but there if you needed it)
    Food is and is not expensive here. Cost of bacon (200 grams) is $6.29 (USD), peanut butter (peter pan) 16oz. is almost $10, but a whole chicken is $6, 30 eggs are $4, a bag of potatoes is $1, a bag of limes is $1, bag of onions $1, 15-20 tomatoes costs $1, lunch at an Ecuadorian restaurant costs $2.50 with chicken, rice, juice and beans, lunch at a tourist trap costs $6-8. Eating local and fresh is less expensive. If you have to have stuff like peanut butter, bacon, cereal, etc. then food prices are more expensive as you are eating what locals don't thus the import fees are high (import taxes in Ecuador are expensive). Turkeys are crazy expensive at about $12 a pound, but two large fresh fish from the coast (come in a truck) will run you just $3. Be careful eating out here, as they are carb lovers (plates of rice, potatoes, pasta, corn, etc) and don't know how to cook veggies.
    I hope this helps. .
    Alicia (Gringa living in Cuenca, Ecuador for 4 years)

  • Shaam aaron said

    Hi...Everyone,recently I have planning to move Ecuador for my bright future,I have completed my B.Pharmacy and I have three years work experience as a Pharmacist,Guy's please share with me some information about life in Ecuador and how to get a Pharmacist job up there and if I wants to move USA for my bright future,after getting Professional PR visa,if it is possible?????Please share your amazing experience and valuable words to me....thank you and love you Guys!!!!

  • Neha said

    Hi I am a Bsc(nurse )with 7yr experience pediatric nurse &Amy husband also Msc (nurse) with overall 6year experience we are planning to move on....(for PR) can anyone please explain is there any job opportunities for nursing field and also is there any exams we need to attend???? And what will be the cost of living in Ecudor??? Is it too expensive?????

  • jackson p f said

    sir, i have an idea to visit to equador how can i achieve that .and where i get the tourist visa to equador and what are the rules and regulations for that can you help me?

  • Ivonne said

    Estimado lectores,
    Soy Ecuatoriana viviendo en USA. Quiero mucho a mi país como he vivido mas tiempo en USA, sinembargo, mis recomendaciones son: Vivir en Ecuador es relativamente mas Economico especialmente cuando eres retirado y si tu retiro no es substancialmente. Hay que acostumbrarse a vivir en constante asecho de la gente maliciosa siempre tratando de sacar ventaja especialmente si saben que vienes del extranjero. No todos son así pero la mayor parte. Renta es de acuerdo como tu quieras vivir si escoges un lugar selectivo por supuesto que cuesta como aquí en USA todo es relativo. Todas las casas tienen rejas debido al robo de casas constantemente. La Sierra es meno en especial en Cuenca muchos extranjeros. Hay que adaptarse mucho de acuerdo al estilo de vida que uno quiera vivir. Un profesional puede superar pero dependiendo de quien conozcas.
    Espero les sirba de de algo.

  • Kim said

    Is it worth a trip to the Amazon in Ecuador or is time better spent viewing wildlife in the Galapagos?

    have been to Costa Rica many times and Africa. Our main interest is wild life. My husband likes to fish so he will be wanting to fish while in Ecuador - so plan on being in Ecuador 3-4 days and then go to Galapagos for 7-10 days. Is it worth tagging on trip to the Amazon as well.

  • Brent said

    Neha,
    I hold a Masters degree in Nursing, am board certified, bilingual, licensed in 26 US States, and am a certified pharmacy technician. I have been living in Ecuador since 2012 and can tell you that you won't want to work here as a nurse. You can get your nursing licenses/degrees registered at SNYCT easily but that doesn't change that nurses make about $4 an hour here. Average pay starts at $410 a month for full-time. If you work outside the hospital, plan on doing all the cleaning and do meal preparation in addition to patient care. You're better off to get an online job in the US or Canada before coming, then you at least make enough to live on.

    Saludos!

    PS- Pharmacists can make a good living (maybe $2000 a month), but only if they open their own pharmacy.

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